After writing about retirement savings and spending for the past couple of years, I thought it was about time to take a look at what others have written on these subjects; here is what I found. 4% Withdrawal Rate A seminal contribution to this literature was made by William Bengen (1994) with his analysis of… Read more

Ray Dalio is the founder of money manager Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund advisor on the planet.  One of Bridgewater’s claims to fame is the “all-weather portfolio” that is designed to perform reasonably well in any market environment.  The big idea is that there are four possible fundamental economic scenarios based on inflation and… Read more

Tony Robbins has a terrific new book on winning the financial game (“Money: Master the Game”). The highlight of the book is a series of interviews with famous investors, in which Robbins extracts valuable insights into the strategies of the successful. The primary lesson is “don’t lose money” and the second “don’t forget lesson number… Read more

National Markets: Since the recession began, we’ve said that residential real estate markets would not recover until the homeownership rate (the percentage of households owning the home they live in) fell to the 64 percent to 65 percent range.  We also said that residential markets would recover when the homeownership rate fell to that range. … Read more

In two recent speeches Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen has highlighted issues of personal finance. In each case she referred to results from the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), the most recent version of which (2013) was released just last month. In September, Chairman Yellen commented on the meager levels of wealth for… Read more

One of the major stories of recent years is that of rising income and wealth inequality, whereby the rich are supposedly getting richer and the poor poorer. A primary piece of evidence for this is increases in the shares of income and wealth accruing to the top 10% of the distribution, the top 1% of… Read more

In order to better understand the state of household finances, the Federal Reserve has recently conducted a special survey called the Survey of Household Economics and Decision making, or SHED. This is in addition to the tri-annual Survey of Consumer Finances. Key findings from the SHED include the following: (a) most families indicate that they… Read more

Housing is traditionally a very volatile sector of the economy. It tends to lead the business sector (indeed, some economists like Ed Leamer of the UCLA Forecasting Group say that housing IS the business cycle). Housing is subject to booms and busts. A case in point is the major housing boom of the early and… Read more

Previously published on July 11, 2014 on NewGeography.com Part two of a two-part report. Read part 1. The problem with analyzing California’s economy — or with assessing its vigor — is that there is not one California economy. Instead, we have a group of regions that will see completely different economic outcomes. Then, those outcomes… Read more

Previously published on July 10, 2014 on NewGeography.com Part one of a two-part report. California is a place of extremes. It has beaches, mountains, valleys and deserts. It has glaciers and, just a few miles away, hot, dry deserts. Some years it doesn’t rain. Some years it rains all winter. Those extremes are part of… Read more

The “New Normal” is a phrase coined a few years ago by the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), or at least that’s what they claim. It referred to a lengthy period of slow economic growth that they expected to persist as people recovered from the financial crisis. In view of the very modest economic growth… Read more

In 1873, Karl Marx published the first volume of his magnum opus Das Kapital (“Capital”, in English) which purported to describe the dynamics of a capitalist economy.  Although I have never studied Capital sufficiently closely to do justice to the work, the basic idea was that ownership of the means of production (capital) becomes increasingly… Read more

Yale University boasts one of the most successful endowment funds in the country, and maybe the world.  The Yale fund (“the fund”) has outperformed 99% of like funds for the past two decades.  The manager of the fund, David Swensen, is a superstar in the investment management industry.  I recently perused the 2013 Yale Endowment… Read more

The bankruptcy rate for professional athletes just a few years from retirement is extremely high.  To take one example, 60% of NBA players are reported to become bankrupt within five years of retirement from the league.  This is a league with average compensation $5 million per year.  I am interested in applying my Sustainable Wealth… Read more

I have suggested that people would be better off if they massively increased their savings rates.  The aggregate Personal Savings Rate (PSR) is defined as the difference between disposable (after-tax) income and consumption spending.  It is reported each month by the Department of Commerce and has recently been running around 4%, compared to a 50-year… Read more