Here’s an interesting trivia question: what animal kills more human beings every year than any other? The shark? The lion? Rhino?
The answer is the mosquito, and the statistics are not even close. Over 400,000 people were killed last year by mosquito-borne malaria. Mosquitos carry four different encephalitis viruses, plus the West Nile virus—and most recently, the Zika outbreak that is threatening attendees at the Rio Olympics.
Continue reading Deadly But Necessary
According to conventional wisdom, the odds that you and your spouse will divorce go down if you wait and marry at older ages. But a new research report by a sociologist at the University of Utah paints a different picture. The researcher, Nicholas Wolfinger, drew a graph of peoples’ age of marriage and divorce rates based on government statistics, with confidence intervals (shaded red), and found that your divorce risk is very high if you marry in your teens, and it does indeed go down, as expected, but only until you reach age 30.
Continue reading Does When You Marry Affect Your Chances of Divorce?
Most people have seen bogus emails purported to be from the executors of the estate of Nigerian princes or other obscure foreign notables who want to give them millions of dollars, and sometimes they get bogus calls telling them they can win a lottery sweepstakes or receive debt relief.
Continue reading Beware the Bogus IRS
We’re in one of the longest-running, biggest wealth-producing bull markets in history, but you wouldn’t know it from the headlines or the gloomy mood of investors. On March 9, the bull market in U.S. stocks, represented by the S&P 500, celebrated its seventh year. The index has risen 194% since closing at 676.53 on March 9, 2009. The Russell 2000 is up 213% over the same seven years. The Nasdaq 100 has gained 311%. Corporate earnings are up 148% from the first quarter of 2009.
Continue reading The Anxious Bull
America leads the world in economic productivity, total economic output, earnings and wealth per citizen and a variety of other categories. Now we can add something new to the list: time spent in automobiles during our daily commutes to work.
Continue reading Leading the World in Wasted Time
In recent years, a new category of assets has appeared on the scene, which can be more complicated to pass on at someone’s death than stocks, bonds and cash. The list includes such valuable property as digital domain names, social media accounts, websites and blogs that you manage, and pretty much anything stored on the cloud. In addition, if you were to die tomorrow, would your heirs know the passcodes to access your iPad or smartphone? Or, for that matter, your email account or the Amazon.com or iTunes shopping accounts you’ve set up? Would they know how to shut down your Facebook account, or would it live on after your death?
Continue reading The Most Complicated Part of Your Estate
Years ago, the way to most efficiently save on estate taxes was to set up credit shelter trusts that would pour assets from one spouse to another when death occurred, so that both spouses would get the maximum estate tax exemption. In those simpler days, people who didn’t have to pay estate taxes didn’t have to file an estate tax return.
Continue reading Estate Tax Complexities