Investing

A Cup of Sake Suggests Bond Yields Should Be 12%

Record-low yields are trashing pension assets.

A toast to higher returns.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Reaching your 100th birthday in Japan is marked with a silver sake cup, courtesy of the prime minister. But with almost 32,000 people reaching that milestone this year, the government has downgraded the cup to silver plate from sterling silver, halving the cost of the gift. That parsimony is a stark reminder of how a combination of demographics and financial market shifts threaten to make retirement a lot less comfortable around the world for those who can afford it. Many more won't be able to until well into old age.

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