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Ventured&Gained - Personal Finance News and Insight I Bloomberg

How Grandchildren Botch the Best-Laid Retirement Plans

Grandmother


For people without enough money to retire, one solution seems obvious: keep working. But life often gets in the way. Health issues make it impossible to work, or they lose a job and can't find another.

Here's another factor that disrupts the best intentions: grandchildren. Women are more likely to retire when their children have babies, according to a new study from American University business professor Robin Lumsdaine and strategy consultant Stephanie Vermeer. If women age 58 to 61 are helping to care for their grandkids, they are 29 percent less likely to be working full-time compared to women who aren’t grandmothers.

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Bill Gross Calls It: 2015 Is Going to Be Terrible

Bill Gross

(Corrects Pacific Investment Capital Management Co.'s full name in the third paragraph.)

Bill Gross, bond king, ousted executive, self-styled poet of the markets, has a bold, depressing prediction for 2015, and he's not couching it in any of his usual metaphor: “The good times are over,” he wrote in his January investment outlook note. By the end of 2015, he goes on, “there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes.”


Gross is putting himself way out on a limb: Not one of Wall Street’s professional forecasters predict the S&P 500 will drop in 2015. Their average estimate calls for an 8.1 percent rise. And while the global economy looks weak, the U.S. has been heating up, with GDP up 5 percent in the third quarter.

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Value Managers Root for More Market Turmoil 

NYSE

For the third time in 15 years, Eric Cinnamond is stuck on the sidelines watching many of his fund manager peers profit from a late-stage bull market.

Almost six years after the market low of 2009, most small-cap stocks are way too expensive for the manager of the $600 million Aston/River Road Independent Value (ARVIX) fund. His fund is 76 percent in cash, and his predicament is taking more than a financial toll: “2013 and 2014 have been really tough psychologically,” he says.

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Dividend Stocks Could Be Dangerous in 2015, Ketterer Says

Sarah Ketterer

At a time when U.S. stocks are beating the rest of the world, Sarah Ketterer mostly invests overseas. And at a time when index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are ascendant, she invests the old-fashioned way: She scouts for well-run companies and buys them when they look cheap.

So far that approach is paying off for the 54-year-old chief executive officer and fund manager at Causeway Capital Management. Ketterer's largest fund, the $6.3-billion Causeway International Value Fund (CIVIX), beat its peers by an annualized 3 percent over the last three and five years, according to Morningstar.

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The Best and Worst Investments of 2014

Bitcoins

(This version corrects the description of the AllianceBernstein All Market Real Return Portfolio's top holdings.)

To lose money in the markets in 2013, you had to really try. Three-quarters of the world's stocks rose, by an average of 42 percent. The S&P 500 jumped 30 percent.

This year, the S&P's up another 12 percent, but the market laid lots of traps for investors. You could have owned lots of energy stocks while the price of oil was plunging. Or, almost anything in Russia or Eastern Europe while the Ruble was in free fall. You could have easily panicked and sold out during the intense sell-offs in late January, October and December, then missed out on the market's rebounds.

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This ETF Hacks Into Cyber-Security Spending

Cyber Attacks

The battle against hackers just got real.

After high-profile cyber-attacks and breaches that stretch from Sony Pictures Entertainment to JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Jennifer Lawrence, everyone is thinking about cyber-security. Even before the debacle with Sony, investing in cyber-security was projected to jump 40 percent to $42 billion by 2017, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. And yes, there’s now an exchange-traded fund to play it.

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When Santa Claus Showed Up on U.S. Currency

Santa Claus Bank Note

Money can be so boring. Or, at least, U.S. paper currency. Green, black, cream, some president’s head. With the holiday season upon us, there are holiday stamps, holiday checks, holiday-themed toilet paper. Would it be so horrible to have holiday-themed currency?

They didn’t think so before the U.S. Treasury stepped in to un-democratize the design of U.S. currency. Before it did that in 1861, there actually was holiday-themed currency featuring Santa Claus, and earlier versions of St. Nicholas.

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Everything About the Holidays Costs More Except Toys

Toys

The holidays really are getting more expensive. The price of celebrating Christmas with the family — food, drink, plane tickets, gas, etc. -- have more than doubled since 1984, rising 30 percent faster than inflation. Food, in particular, has gotten pricey: Meat, fish and bread all beat inflation by more than 50 percent in the last decade; this year, turkey and ham prices are way up.

At least gift-giving has gotten cheaper, especially if you want to be generous to children. The same three decades that have us paying more for food and travel have also seen the price of toys drop 55 percent since 1984. (Everything else, as measured by the consumer price index, or CPI, is up 124 percent.) In other words, in inflation-adjusted dollars, toys today are 80 percent cheaper than they were in the 1980s.

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Big Stock Market Gains Mean More Taxable Pain in 2015

Taxes

It's hard to imagine mutual fund managers nostalgic for the big losses many booked in the financial crisis. But for actively managed funds, those realized losses did come to serve one useful purpose -- as the bull market stretched on and managers took profits, they offset capital gains.

Six years into a bull market, those losses are largely used up. That means more investors who own actively managed funds in taxable accounts will confront the biggest taxable distributions seen since before the crisis.

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About Ventured&Gained

Ventured&Gained offers posts and features about the real issues and opportunities facing individual investors. Analyses or commentary are the views of the author and/or commentator, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Suzanne Woolley, Editor
swoolley2@bloomberg.net

Ben Steverman, Deputy Editor
bsteverman@bloomberg.net

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