Pertinent Category: Daily Economy

Best of 2015: Medicare is Hardly Self-Financed

– December 28, 2015

This week, as we recharge for the new year, we highlight a few of our best-read blogs of 2015. This piece originally ran in August. Many believe that Medicare (similarly to Social Security) does not add anything to the federal budget deficit because it is financed by dedicated tax revenue. This belief is one of the reasons for the outrage at the suggestion that Medicare needs to be reformed to prevent future budget deficits from spiraling out of control.

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Fed Rate Increase Didn’t Rattle the Market

– December 24, 2015

Americans have spent a lot of energy worrying about what might happen when the Federal Reserve Bank raised interest rates. They have worried that an increase could hurt economic growth, and could be a setback for investors. But a week after the increase, the effects have so far been pretty mild.

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How Much Should You Hold in Emergency Savings?

– December 23, 2015

Although saving for the long-term future is important, you should also consider holding some share of your money in cash and similar short-term investments (sometimes called cash equivalents) such as CDs, money market funds, and short-term treasuries.

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You Can’t Invest What You Don’t Save

– December 22, 2015

The most brilliant investment strategy in the world will not make up for a lack of putting money aside. How much you save versus how much you spend is the most important driver of whether you will succeed in having money for your future financial goals.

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What’s Holding the Economy Back, in Five Charts

– December 21, 2015

Throughout much of the later part of this year, our Bob Hughes has been saying the economy’s trajectory has been one of slow and steady growth. This morning, we have more evidence that this is the case.

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Fighting an Uphill Battle for Financial Literacy

– December 18, 2015

As an organization that strives to promote financial literacy to all Americans, it helps to both understand what financial literacy is, and to understand the breadth of the challenge before us.

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We Can’t Burn Gasoline Fast Enough

– December 17, 2015

It appears to defy economic logic: Large numbers of American oil rigs have gone idle, and thousands of oil workers have lost their jobs. Nevertheless, the price of gas has stayed low. Even with far fewer working rigs, production remains only slightly off its peak, and inventories are at their highest point in recent memory.

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Liftoff at the Fed: What Now?

– December 16, 2015

Normally, raising interest rates is a form of a contractionary monetary policy, meaning that the central bank believes the economy is overheated or strong enough, so that higher rates are necessary to prevent future excessive inflation. But this is not the case today. Inflation has been stubbornly low in the past few years, which is a big concern for the Fed. The FOMC today continued to lower its projection for inflation in the short term.

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What to Watch in the Economy in 2016

– December 15, 2015

The economy will enter the election of year of 2016 with good momentum, and there are a number of reasons to believe it will continue to improve, according to the new edition of Business Conditions Monthly, out today from the American Institute for Economic Research. There are also two main factors that could present obstacles to that continued growth, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at AIER, and the lead author of the report.

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What Are Growth and Value Stocks?

– December 14, 2015

When I started my first job with a 401(k) plan, I remember looking at the options and seeing these words in the fund names: Value and Growth. I had some investing experience, so I knew that I should diversify across asset classes. But it sure was tempting to pick those funds with the flashy names. Something like “Goldman Sachs Growth Opportunities” sounded so promising. As it turns out, those titles aren’t terrific indicators of how well funds might perform.

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Retail Sales Strengthen at Holiday Time

– December 11, 2015

Today’s retail sales report from the Commerce Department contained more good signs for the holiday shopping season, as consumers focus on small-ticket items.

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The Power of Small Amounts of New Information

– December 10, 2015

I noted an interesting exercise in how new information, even in small doses, can change peoples’ behavior, during my recent visit to the Southern Economic Association annual meeting.

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