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Working while in college might hurt students more than it helps

Anthony P. Carnevale, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Source: CNBC

Back-to-school season is in full swing for students throughout the educational pipeline. On college campuses, many students are starting their journey from youth dependence to adult independence—and making their first and probably one of the largest investments of their lives. For most, that means taking out college loans, assuming student debt, and finding a job to help stay afloat.

It didn’t always use to be this way. Since 1980, tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities have risen 19 times faster than average family incomes. Given the costs of college, working while enrolled is the new normal for today’s students; eight out of 10 students work while in college. But the reality is that working while in school doesn’t leave enough to cover living and tuition costs. You just can’t work your way through college anymore.


Americans Now Need at Least $500,000 a Year to Enter Top 1%

One definition of rich is getting into the top 1%. If that’s your goal, it’s becoming harder to reach.

The income needed to exit the bottom 99% of U.S. taxpayers hit $515,371 in 2017, according to Internal Revenue Service data released this week. That’s up 7.2% from a year earlier, even after adjusting for inflation.

Since 2011, when Occupy Wall Street protesters rallied under the slogan “We are the 99%,” the income threshold for the top 1% is up an inflation-adjusted 33%. That outpaces all other groups except for those that are even wealthier.

To join the top 0.1%, you would have needed to earn $2.4 million in 2017, an increase of 38% since 2011. The top 0.01% threshold has jumped 46%.

Meanwhile, the top 0.001% — an elite group of 1,433 taxpayers — earned at least $63.4 million each in 2017, up 51% since the Occupy protests.


FINA-1307.W01 Summer 2017 Syllabus

Syllabus FINA-1307-W01-Summer 2017

Who Are America’s Millionaires?

June 15, 2012

There is a serious ongoing political debate over the tax rates paid by millionaires. Some say the tax rates paid by wealthy Americans are not progressive enough while others argue that the top rate should be lowered while overhauling the tax code. Neither side of this debate, however, has made any attempt to provide a basic profile of who these taxpayers are. How old are they? What is their marital status? What is their education level? What are their sources of income? In other words, put a demographic face on millionaire taxpayers.[1]According to the latest data from the IRS for 2010, there were roughly 268,000 tax returns reporting more than $1 million in adjusted gross income (AGI), a slight increase above 2009 levels. As Chart 1 indicates, however, 2009 had the fewest number of millionaire returns since 2004. Indeed, there were 40 percent fewer millionaire tax returns filed in 2009 than were filed in 2007.

When we look beyond these sterile financial statistics we learn that these taxpayers are typically married (and most of them are two-earner couples), they are highly educated, many are business owners, and nearly half are over the age of 55.

Chart 1

And while the political discourse frequently treats millionaires as monolithic, the data indicates that millionaire status appears to be fleeting or episodic. People rarely report million-dollar incomes consistently year after year because many of them become “millionaires” as the result of a one-time event such as the sale of a business or stock. Thus, it is likely that the taxpayers who reported $1 million or more in income in 2009 are not the same people who filed million-dollar returns in previous years.


The 24/7 Work Culture’s Toll on Families and Gender Equality

The biggest obstacle to women in joining the highest ranks of the business world is a lack of family-friendly policies. That, at least, has been the conventional wisdom in recent years, and it has been embraced by progressive companies that offer flexible schedules or allow people to work from home.

But some researchers are now arguing that the real problem is not the lack of family-friendly policies for mothers, but the surge in hours worked by both women and men. And companies are not likely to want to adopt the obvious solution.

The pressure of a round-the-clock work culture — in which people are expected to answer emails at 11 p.m. and take cellphone calls on Sunday morning — is particularly acute in highly skilled, highly paid professional services jobs like law, finance, consulting and accounting.

Offering family-friendly policies is too narrow a solution to the problem, recent research argues, and can have unintended consequences. When women cut back at work to cope with long hours, they end up stunting their careers. And men aren’t necessarily happy to be expected to work extreme hours, either.


Erin Reid, left, an assistant professor at Boston University, and Robin Ely, a professor at Harvard Business School. “These 24/7 work cultures lock gender inequality in place,” Ms. Ely said. CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times

“These 24/7 work cultures lock gender inequality in place, because the work-family balance problem is recognized as primarily a woman’s problem,” said Robin Ely, a professor at Harvard Business School who was a co-author of a recent study on the topic. “The very well-intentioned answer is to give women benefits, but it actually derails women’s careers. The culture of overwork affects everybody.”


The Public Pension Funding Trap

To make up for shortfalls in contributions, plans take extraordinary risks to earn higher returns.


May 31, 2015 5:56 p.m. ET


State and local government pensions were national news during the recession, as unfunded liabilities rose into the trillions of dollars and overheated commentators predicted that rising pension costs could push governments into bankruptcy. Today attention has faded and the public-pension industry claims that plans are back on track. Don’t be too sure.

Governments are still failing to make their full contributions; as recently as this week New Jersey’s chief budget analyst deemed it not “fiscally or physically possible” for the state to make its nearly $3 billion full pension contribution this year. Public pensions are taking greater investment risk with the money they do receive. If those investments fail to pan out, the budget picture for many governments will once again be grim.


Thanks to rising stock markets, the average pension funding ratio, which compares a plan’s assets to its benefit liabilities, rose to 76% from 72% in 2014, according to the Public Plans Database. This led the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems to crow in December that “the vast majority of public pensions are well funded and are growing stronger as the economy continues to recover.” More recently the National Association of State Retirement Administrators statedthat “most states have made a reasonably good effort” to fund their plans. The “perception that many plans and states have failed” is wrong; funding problems persist, Nasra said, in “only a handful of states.”



U.S. Gets “Big F” on Health Report Card

By Dr. Mercola

In a health report card published in September, titled “F as in Fat,” the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health1 predict that half of all American adults will be obese by 2030.

The report also predicts obesity-related illness will raise national health care costs by $48 billion annually over the next two decades by adding another 7.9 million new cases of diabetes, 5 million cases of chronic heart disease and stroke, and 400,000 cancer cases – all courtesy of Americans’ ever-expanding waistlines.

That prediction is only slightly more dire than the American Journal of Preventive Medicine‘s projection that 42 percent of all adults will be obese by then.2 According to the authors,

“If obesity were to remain at 2010 levels, the combined savings in medical expenditures over the next two decades would be $549.5 billion.”

Weight gain since 1970

That’s no chump change, especially in light of the current struggles to keep Medicaid going, and the fact that medical expenses not covered by health insurance is one of the top reasons for personal bankruptcy in the US. Most families are already only one bad diagnosis away from a financial catastrophe and many are at risk of abject ruin should their health fail.

To me this is yet another compelling argument to stay as healthy as you can by following the recommendations on this site, many of which cost next to nothing. All you need to do is give your body the raw materials like healthy unprocessed food, sleep, exercise, appropriate amounts of sunshine to optimize your vitamin D levels, love, emotional balancing and staying away from toxins and poisons and you probably won’t need to set foot in a doctor’s office or hospital, outside of an unfortunate accident.


U.S. Weight, Lifestyle and Diet Trends, 1970- 2007

For this post, I compiled statistics on U.S. weight, health and lifestyle trends, and graphed them as consistently as possible. They span the period from 1970 to 2007, during which the obesity rate doubled. The data come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of the graphs are incomplete, either because the data don’t exist, or because I wasn’t able to find them.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30+; overweight is a BMI of 25+. Yes, it’s frightening. It has affected adults and children (NHANES).

The percentage of Americans who report exercising in their spare time has actually increased since 1988 (BRFSS).


The chicken market is so hot right now. Why can’t I trade on it?

By Lydia DePillis January 10, 2014
You might not have noticed yet, but there’s a calamity underway in the beef market: Cattle futures have reached record highs, driven by smaller herds that have been winnowed by years of drought.

That’s some pricey beef! (Barchart.com)

Over time, that will make beef more expensive on the shelf. But at least in the shorter term, the retailers that sell a lot of it — big fast-food companies, for example — are able to hedge their risk by buying futures contracts, which lock in the price for a certain amount of time. That at least allows them to plan for the supply problem by factoring price increases into their menus.

The same isn’t true, however, of poultry. Americans have been eating more and more of the birds in recent decades, but there is no futures market for this increasingly valuable commodity — which saddens commodity traders who see consumers opting for chicken as beef prices rise.

“If I could be ‘long’ chickens right now, that would be the trade of a lifetime,” trader Dan Norcini of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho told The Wall Street Journal.

That’s a lot of fried chicken. (Pew Environment)

Too bad for him! But so wait: Why is there a futures market for beef, but not for chicken?

Well, there used to be. Different commodities exchanges have tried three times to cash in on the growing demand for poultry, first with the Chicago Board of Trade in the 1960s, again in the 1980s and 1990s with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Each attempt has failed, for reasons that tell us a lot about how agribusiness works.


Using 3-D printing to make jet engines

Ben Geie


    Source: FORTUNE

A worker ensures the dimensional conformity of a prototype pattern. Today Alcoa can 3-D print the dies used to manufacture turbine parts.Courtesy: AlcoaAlcoa’s embrace of additive manufacturing allows it to turn ideas into reality faster.

Company Snapshot

Name: Alcoa
Ranking: 130
Headquarters: New York City
Employees: 60,000
Revenue: $23 billion (2013)

If you’ve spent any amount of time in an aircraft about to take off—gazing out the window at the tarmac, thinking about the cold beverage you’ll have at altitude—you’ve probably spent at least a passing moment wondering how exactly manufacturers make sure the iron birds don’t break. The answer is materials science, of course. But that’s not the whole story.

There’s a great deal of testing that goes into airplane parts to be sure they can handle the temperatures and stresses of aviation. Alcoa would know. The metals producer, more than 125 years old, makes parts for gas turbines, the engines that plane manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus install to give planes the power to get you to your next meeting. The problem? All that testing takes time. Between tooling, development, and casting, it used to take Alcoa upwards of a year to manufacture one of the nickel-alloy parts that go into an engine, where it must withstand temperatures of up to 2,000˚F. Then the company caught wind of something called additive manufacturing—better known as 3-D printing.


Younger Generation Faces a Savings Deficit

Postrecession Thrifty Ways Fade Amid Weak Jobs Market, Hefty Student Debt


After a flirtation with thrift after the recession, young Americans have stopped saving.

Adults under age 35—the so-called millennial generation—currently have a savings rate of negative 2%, meaning they are burning through their assets or going into debt, according to Moody’s Analytics. That compares with a positive savings rate of about 3% for those age 35 to 44, 6% for those 45 to 54, and 13% for those 55 and older.

The turnabout in savings tendencies shows how the personal finances of millennials have become increasingly precarious despite five years of economic growth and sustained job creation. A lack of savings increases the vulnerability of young workers in the postrecession economy, leaving many without a financial cushion for unexpected expenses, raising the difficulty of job transitions and leaving them further away from goals like eventual homeownership—let alone retirement.


World’s first 3-D printed cars go on sale next year

Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY8:05 p.m. EST November 7, 2014

LAS VEGAS — For those frustrated at having to search dealers’ showrooms for just the right set of wheels, along comes an innovation that could make creating a custom-made car as easy as a few keystrokes.

A Phoenix company said this week that it plans to produce what it’s calling the world’s first 3-D printed car. Local Motors says it plans to make them available for sale in about a year at prices ranging from $18,000 to $30,000.

The basic idea is simple: Buyers would be able to select their ideal car on a computer screen, then hit the print button. A giant machine would then start making the car out of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, weaving it out of thin lines of paste that harden to form the chassis, body and even the dashboard. The process takes about 40 hours.

Some of the car’s major components are then attached to complete the car, such as the wheels, controls and powertrain.

Instead of about 25,000 parts in some modern cars, Local Motors says the prototype that it’s showing off last week in Las Vegas at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show has about 50.

Because the car is easily changed on a computer screen, it can be shaped to however the buyer would like it, says CEO John “Jay” Rogers.

“If I want this car to be 10% bigger, I just click a button,” he says.

Don’t like the model called the Strati after all? Hang on to it for a few months, then go and choose another model. The 3-D-printed car will be recyclable as long as it has not been painted, Rogers says. Buyers quick to change fashions can grind up their existing car into fine particles again and use the materials to make a new model.

Rogers says the car will pass safety tests. And unlike other cars that can take months for improvements, Local Motors can change any part of its cars with a few keystrokes, allowing changes within hours of a crash test.

The notion of a 3-D-printed car “sounds feasible at some point,” says John O’Dell, an editor for Edmunds.com who specializes in eco-friendly cars.

He noted that handcrafters have made one-of-a-kind cars for generations, so the notion of a car made just for a particular person isn’t entirely new. Those cars, however, were generally not the for the masses. Rather, they appealed to the whims of the super-rich in the past century.

So O’Dell says he’ll watch with interest to see if Local Motors can pull off the idea of 3-D printed cars for the masses.

Investing: Can you retire on $1 million?

 John Waggoner, USA TODAY9:31 p.m. EDT October 23, 2014


f you read any financial advertising, you know that your savings are inadequate, and you’re likely to freeze to death in the dark a few weeks after retirement. For this reason, most Americans’ retirement planning involves keeling over at their desks, or, failing that, starting a bomb-disposal unit as a retirement business.

But how much is enough? How about $1 million?

If results from the past decade are any indication, the answer is a moderately qualified “yes.” The qualification depends on how much you withdraw each month, and how you invest it.

Financial planners have long said that if you want your retirement savings to outlast you, you should start with an initial withdrawal of 4% to 5% of your savings. Because the median family income — half are higher, half are lower — is about $50,000, let’s use a 5% initial withdrawal rate. (Five percent of $1 million is $50,000.)


Middle-class adults have $20K saved for retirement


Washington Scrutiny of ‘Supersize’ IRAs

The U.S. is Asking About Hard-to-Value Holdings, and Some Proposals Would Speed Withdrawals by an Heir

Updated Oct. 10, 2014 12:08 p.m. ET
Source: The Wall Street Journal 

Washington is taking a hard look at tax-sheltered retirement accounts, especially “supersize” ones worth millions of dollars. Savers should consider what it could mean for them.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, recently released areport on individual retirement accounts, requested by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.). Its publication coincided with Senate hearings on retirement savings held last month.

The GAO study addressed questions many people asked after disclosures that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a traditional IRA worth as much as $101 million and technology entrepreneur Max Levchin put more than 13.3 million shares ofYelp YELP -5.11% stock in a Roth IRA before the firm went public in 2012.

How many supersize IRAs are there? The GAO estimates more than 300 individuals or families have IRAs with balances greater than $25 million, while more than 9,000 have IRAs worth more than $5 million. The GAO wasn’t able to distinguish between regular and Roth IRAs, given the data.


Digital highlights, October 4th 2014

 by The Economist

Drowned by the wave
Rapid technological progress is leading to the increased automation of tasks that have previously been performed by armies of skilled workers. In our video, we explore the effect that this will have on labour markets and the world economy

Thinking outside the box

Brunello Cucinelli, a leading fashion-house in Milan, is unusual among medium-sized businesses in Italy in that it has opened its doors to outside investors. If Italy is to prosper again many other family-owned companies will have to do the same
Being led from behind

Afghanistan’s army is feeling increasingly isolated as it contends with a resurgent Taliban ahead and an ineffectual government at the rear. A recent agreement struck by the new president will provide welcome support from NATO troops