In May 1961, President Kennedy announced an initiative to safely land an American on the moon before the end of the decade, and before the Russians. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Apollo space flights were scheduled to meet that deadline, but encountered some serious setbacks, the worst of which came in January 1967, when a cabin fire during a launch rehearsal killed all three astronauts on board. Now, after several redesigns and tests, NASA was ready in 1968 to resume manned space flights. But before heading into space, NASA had a pragmatic financial problem to resolve.
One of the awkward, unintended consequences of the Information Age is that everyone has so much information at their fingertips, in so many formats, that many of us hardly read anything. A recent compilation of surveys on American reading habits by Statistic Brain found 80 percent of American families did not buy a book in the last year. Another reported that 54 percent of all college graduates haven’t read a book since their graduation. Your reading this article isn’t a cure-all for the demise in text, but it could be a start. And when it comes to personal finance, the benefits could be substantial.
Hedging strategies attempt to reduce the financial risk – of either suffering a loss or missing a gain – and are used by both institutions and consumers. There are multiple forms of hedges, but they all share a common structure: for a fee, one party guarantees some aspect of a transaction for the other party; a guaranteed interest rate, a guaranteed price, a guaranteed period, or some combination. Hedges increase the total cost of a transaction, but put boundaries on the risks. For life insurance, consumers have several hedging options for circumstances where their current financial circumstances may not quite match their opportunities.
As 2017 approaches, many of us have year-end financial issues that need attention, particularly items that have tax consequences, such as required minimum distributions for IRAs, contributions to qualified retirement plans, options to defer income, and charitable contributions (including credit card donations). Given these tasks, and the social custom of New Year’s resolutions, the beginning of the calendar year may also seem like a good time to meet with your financial professionals, review your progress and adjust your objectives. Or maybe not. The calendar year, from January 1 to December 31, may not be in sync with your internal fiscal year.
What do you think about when you think about Arnold Palmer? This is what I think about: a measly life insurance policy that transformed the business of sports and made possible the flow of millions of dollars to modern athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James.
When someone says interest rates are at an all-time low, they really mean all-time, as in the past 5,000 years, or essentially, recorded history. In fact, when the central banks of Japan and several European countries decided in 2015 to push interest rates into negative territory, it was so far outside the norm that some wondered if this phenomenon had ever occurred before. The initial answer: not that we can tell.