Sunday, October 31, 2010
Fittingly, perhaps, on this Halloween the Pontiac car line ends it run and becomes a ghost.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Whoa! The rich don't have to work; they're rich. They work to keep a business growing, or for fun, or to keep busy. Why on earth would they change their retirement plans?
They haven't. As with so many news items about the rich, this one isn't about the rich. It reports a Merrill Lynch survey of people with $250,000 or more in investable assets. A quarter-million or so is a long way from being rich enough for a relationship with Bessemer or Northern – or even with Merrill Lynch's BofA sibling, US Trust.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Alex Brown, former Bear now playing for the Saints, is suing his investment advisers for putting him into such blue chips as airplane hangers and variable universal life insurance.
John Elway, the former Denver Broncos quarterback, and his business partner gave $15 million to a hedge-fund manager now accused of running a Ponzi scheme.
Those who play football, basketball or baseball for a living make such big bucks the rest of us don't feel too sorry when they lose millions to financial vultures or mere incompetents. But rich jocks need more financial smarts or more reliable guidance.
For professional athletes "retirement" can be a long, long time.
"Eighteen holes of golf is like sitting in a rocking chair compared with a day's hunt," proclaims this 1931 ad from The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World.
Gentlemen hunters may have become more cautious after the Great Depression. The protagonist in this Chase nest egg ad from October, 1960, seeks pheasant, not bear. Still, give him credit for using a muzzle loader.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I speculated that it would more likely be more than $100 billion. To date, a net $135 billion has been pumped into the two agencies. Now we learn that an additional $124 billion may be needed.
Yikes! That's supposedly a "worst case scenario," and maybe as little as $6 billion more will be required. However, based upon the track record of the estimators in 2008, it seems just as likely to me that we'll burn through $500 billion before we're done.
Wish I could get that rate, but it's reserved for the truly wealthy.
I've often advocated for lower corporate taxes to improve private sector job creation, but if corporations are already paying almost no tax that would be pointless.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Maybe number seven isn't bad, considering that America's savings rate suggests we prefer poverty to wealth.
Cheerier note: Lounsbury presents data showing we're number one when it comes to low tax rates.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Note that Princeton's wealth is managed by Andrew Golden, a disciple of Yale's David Swensen.
Whatever. At the time, I predicted that the tax cut would not be perceived as such. Here's what I wrote:
"Anyway, this is how the credit will look to me. Sometime in about June (why June? no one has said, but most likely IRS is busy until then) my tax withholding will go down by about $13. Yay! Then next January my tax withholding will go up by about $6. That's because next year the same $400 credit will be spread over 12 months instead 7. Crap, that will still feel like a tax increase to me. I will have grown accustomed to that $13 extra. Then in 2011 my withholding will go up again by another $7 as the credit expires—another tax increase."
Although I'd like to tell the Times I told you so, it's not satisfying.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Maybe Wall Street didn't read The Washington Post headline: Lack of proper mortgage paper trail could leave big banks reeling again.
Do we have a new threat to the wealth that wealth managers manage or a false alarm?
Beyond sloppy documents, the foreclosure debacle has exposed one of Wall Street's little-known practices: For more than a decade, big lenders sold millions of mortgages around the globe at lightning speed without properly transferring the physical documents that prove who legally owned the loans.
Now, some of the pension systems, hedge funds and other investors that took big losses on the loans are seeking to use this flaw to force banks to compensate them or even invalidate the mortgage trades themselves.Their collective actions, if successful, could blow a hole through the balance sheets of big banks and raise fundamental questions about the financial system ….
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Yet if some of yesteryear's six-figure assets are now worth little, items once purchased for a pittance may now represent real money.
Paul Greenwood, who turned a hedge fund into "sort of a Ponzi scheme," spent $3 million of his loot on old teddy bears. Tomorrow Christie's auctions them off, including this distinctive Steiff harlequin bear.
For another glimpse of old stuff that now possesses significant value, see The Telegraph's Rare and Unusual Ephemera for Sale.
Who knew an autographed color photo of Nixon was a collector's item?
Moral: Name an experienced trust bank as your executor. A trust officer will seek the expert advice necessary to determine that your comic book collection is now worth more than your Vegas penthouse.
No word on how soon the rule might be implemented.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
According to The Wall Street Journal, the IRS is now gearing up for the the first part of that prediction.
Monday, October 04, 2010
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) [has] vowed that extending the current tax brackets for the middle class would be the first order of business when Congress returns in November.
Lawmakers made a similar promise last year when they vowed to fix the estate tax before January ….
What if the lame-duck Congress fails to act on all the tax questions now left dangling in pre-election hot air? By one estimate, the cost to Americans next year could exceed $200 billion.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
Organizations representing a wide array of constituencies have called on Congress to ban tax patents before the end of the year, warning that a failure to do so will inhibit tax preparers from using strategies that could save their clients money.