Noted For Your Thursday Morning Procrastination – February 19, 2015

Here is the happenings around the net that I found interesting. Perhaps you will find them interesting too.

  1. No Economy is an Island – Dan Alpert – A more rigorous look under the hood of the U.S. economy.
  2. Tech investors have gone to war against banks – Index Ventures co-founder Neil Rimer said that Funding Circle exemplifies “the new class of fintech entrepreneurs who are combining technology and novel business models to offer much better value than banks and other customers have been offering their customers.”
  3. Many Fed Officials Were Inclined to Keep Zero Rates Longer – Policy makers concluded that a number of developments “had likely reduced the risks to U.S. growth,” including foreign central banks adding accommodation. They said lower oil prices were “potentially exerting a stronger-than-anticipated positive effect” on global and U.S. growth.
  4. Dividend Weighting for a Portfolio – If you are looking for a domestic stock portfolio that spans multiple capitalization sizes, there are a number of choices. Many advisors go with one of the low-cost leaders — say, the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), with an expense ratio of 0.05%; Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (SCHB), which costs 0.04%; or iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF (ITOT), at 0.07%.
  5. How retirement plans vastly underestimate inflation – Over 30-year periods 3.9% inflation brings the purchasing power of $100 to $32. Thirty years is too little for some with younger spouses. IRS Publication 590 shows that the unisex joint and last survivor life-expectancy of a 65-year-old with a 55-year-old spouse is 32 years, bringing the 50% chance of one of the two living past age 97, in terms of the 65 year-old’s age.
  6. Are you investing in too many funds? – I don’t want to set a specific limit to the number of funds you should have — five, six, seven or whatever. But once you’ve got a diversified core portfolio, any extra potential benefit you may reap by piling on more investments declines. Monitoring and managing your portfolio also becomes more difficult, and rebalancing can become a real hassle. As you get into narrower and more arcane investments, fees are likely to go up as well, which can undermine performance.
  7. Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars? – Policy makers pointed to the dollar’s rising value as “a persistent source of restraint” on exports in a surprisingly dovish set of minutes published Wednesday. The greenback fell against a broad group of its peers.
  8. Fed Appears to Hesitate on Raising Interest Rate – It also noted that fewer officials were concerned about the appearance of raising rates when inflation is running well below the Fed’s 2 percent goal.
  9. Japan’s Annual Exports Jump Most Since 2013 – And with the economy recovering at a subdued pace after slipping into recession last year, stronger exports growth would let the central bank hold off on any additional stimulus. The Bank of Japan’s governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, said on Wednesday he saw no need now to expand monetary stimulus as the bank raised its view on output and exports and stuck to its assessment that the world’s third largest economy is recovering moderately.
  10. Basic personality changes linked to unemployment, study finds – “In early unemployment stages, there may be incentives for individuals to behave agreeably in an effort to secure another job or placate those around them,” the researchers wrote, “but in later years when the situation becomes endemic, such incentives may weaken.”
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