Working Past 66: The Impact on Social Security Benefits

A reader of my recent article on when to take Social Security benefits asked whether my analysis would change if a person does not retire at age 66 and plans to work until age 70—and is earning more now than he expects to earn at retirement. That’s a good question.

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Dealing with Pension Plan Deficits

In January, it emerged that Shell UK had become the latest—and probably the last—company in the UK’s FTSE 100 Index to announce it was closing its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to new members. The news points up a dilemma facing the trustees of many large corporate pension providers.

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US Housing Finance: Let’s Put Quality Before Quantity

The US government’s housing finance policies in recent decades can be summarized by one simple phrase: quantity over quality. The implicit goal was to increase the quantity of housing finance by keeping mortgage rates low and promoting wider home ownership. For several decades, the system worked. But if we view the long-term stability of home [...]

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Why Aren’t US DC Participants Annuitizing Their Savings at Retirement?

Two-thirds of US defined contribution (DC) plan participants say that a secure retirement income stream is the most important feature they’re looking for, as we noted in our seventh annual survey report. But US workers rarely convert their retirement savings to lifetime income by purchasing a traditional fixed annuity. What’s standing in the way?

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Putting Recent Active Manager Performance in Context

History suggests that reports of active management’s death are premature. In fact, conditions appear ripe for a comeback, as my colleague Scott Wallace ably explained in a recent article for Institutional Investor.com’s Global Market Thought Leadership blog, attached below.   

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Euro-Area Governments Should Heed S&P’s Warnings

Market reaction to S&P’s decision to downgrade several euro-area countries last week has been rather muted, probably because the move was not really a surprise. Still, I think euro-area governments should pay close attention to the rating agency’s reasoning.

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US Housing Finance: Is Government Involvement Necessary?

A debate is raging about whether the US government’s significant role in housing finance is sustainable. In future articles, I will explain in detail why we believe the private sector needs to play a greater role in the future of housing finance. But for now, let’s take a step back and ask a key question. [...]

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Do “Risk-Free Assets” Still Exist?

The current sovereign-debt crisis in Europe is raising long-term questions about some of the bedrocks of finance and investment theory. Namely, are the concepts of a “risk-free rate” and “risk-free assets” still meaningful when the creditworthiness of so many developed countries is under threat?

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For Volcker Rule, The Devil Is in the Details

Many aspects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 could go a long way toward protecting investors and American taxpayers from a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. But, as written, some provisions of the law and proposed implementing regulations could significantly harm investors by driving up trading costs and [...]

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The Perils of Past Performance, Part 2

Last month, I wrote that even great investors are very likely to underperform in one of the next three-years periods. Here’s some historical evidence that even champs can sometimes look like chumps.

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