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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Vanessa Guadiana | Posted on: March 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

  1. BIG GAINS – The S&P 500 bottomed on 3/09/09 at the end of a 17-month bear market.  In the 5 years since then, the stock index has gained +206% (total return) through its close last Friday 2/28/14.  The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation.  It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).
  2. ANOTHER YEAR7 of the last 10 bull markets for the S&P 500 stock index have reached at least 3 years in length and 5 of the 10 lasted at least 5 years.  The current bull market is the 11th bull for the S&P 500 since 1950 and it will reach 5 years in length as of Sunday 3/09/14 (source: BTN Research).
  3. TAKING PROFITS – The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is the largest state pension fund ($283 billion) in the country.  The fund adjusts its asset allocation model every 3 years.  In June 2014, CalPERS will reduce its allocation to stocks from 50% to 45% (source: CalPERS).
  4. SAME OLD STORY – The cover story for Time Magazine on 3/05/84 (i.e., 30 years ago this Wednesday) was “That Monster Deficit, America’s Economic Black Hole.”  The article, written by Charles P. Alexander, chronicled how the nation’s 1984 deficit threatened to derail the country’s economic recovery.  The fiscal year 1984 deficit was $185 billion (source: Time Magazine).
  5. JUST OUR INTEREST EXPENSE COST – The government paid $416 billion of interest expense on our country’s outstanding debt during fiscal year 2013, an amount larger than the nation’s annual deficit in any fiscal year through 2007 (source: Treasury Department).
  6. SIMPLE YET POWERFUL – 69% of 16,000 retirees in 15 countries surveyed between July 2012 and April 2013 said that the best financial advice they had ever received was “to start saving for retirement at an early age” (source: HSBC: The Future of Retirement Survey).
  7. AND YOUR PLAN IS WHAT? – 38 million of the 84 million American households (45%) that are headed by working-age people (i.e., not retired) do not own any pre-tax retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or an IRA (source: National Institute on Retirement Security).
  8. AT THE VERY END – Federal outlays for Medicare were $498 billion in fiscal year 2013.  $50 billion (10%) of that total was spent on Medicare patients in the final month of their lives (source: Medicare).
  9. IMPROVEMENT – At the end of 2010, 9.0% of mortgages had at least 1-payment past due and another 4.6% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process.  As of the end of 2013, 6.4% of mortgages had at least 1-payment past due and another 2.9% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process (source: Mortgage Bankers Association).
  10. THESE GUYS ARE BUSY – The total number of pages of the Federal Tax Rules, i.e., the IRS explanation of income tax code and regulations, has increased by +34,108 pages (to 74,608) since 1995, an increase of 5 new pages a day, 365 days a year for the last 19 years (source: Internal Revenue Service).
  11. RISK CORRIDORS – Health insurance companies offering plans through ObamaCare will have both their profits and losses smoothed out over the next 3 years (2014-15-16).  “Risk corridors” will force successful insurance companies to give up at least 50% of their profits earned above a gain of +3% per individual plan per year, while struggling insurance companies will receive reimbursement for at least 50% of their losses suffered on individual plans that produced losses of 3% or more per individual plan per year (source: Affordable Care Act).
  12. ANALYZE THAT – More college students graduated with a psychology degree (108,986) in the 2011-12 school year than the combined number of students that graduated with an engineering degree (81,382) or a mathematics and statistics degree (18,842) (source: National Center of Education Statistics).
  13. NOT OFTENMidterm elections will be held on 11/04/14 (i.e., 8 months from tomorrow).  All 435 House of Representatives members will be up for reelection.  The party of the sitting President has gained seats in the House in midterm elections only three times in the last 104 years (source: House of Representatives).
  14. MAESTRO – Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan turns 88 years old this Thursday (3/06/14).  He studied the clarinet at the Juilliard School of Music in NYC for 2 years in the 1940s (source: Biography.com).
  15. IT’S JUST PRACTICE – The Kansas City Royals had the best record in major league baseball during the 2013 spring training season (25-7, 0.781 winning percentage).  However, the Royals finished baseball’s 2013 regular season out of the playoffs in the AL Central Division (source: Major League Baseball).

 

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