Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Much Is Your Social Security Benefit Worth?

Social Security benefits are the gold standard of retirement income.  As Nobel Laureate Robert Merton commented in his article “The Crisis in Retirement Planning,” published in the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2014): “Ask someone what her pension is worth and she will reply with an income figure: ‘two-thirds of my final salary,’ for example.  Similarly, Read more […]

Alaska Healthcare Profiled

According to an April 6, 2017, CNN story titled “High-cost Alaska sits in the eye of health care reform storm,” Alaska currently has the highest healthcare costs of any U.S. state.[1]  In this first profile edition, we look at the state of Alaska and compare just how different the cost profile is for people living Read more […]

Rieger Report: Why foreign investors like U.S. municipal bonds

A trend that has been catching attention is purchases of U.S. municipal bonds by foreign investors.  A terrific summary was recently published by VanEck’s Michael Cohick and that can be found by clicking here. As that research points out, the Federal Reserve data on foreign investor holdings has jumped to end 2016 at $106 billion.  That Read more […]

Rising Rates Arrive

Which of the figures below belong together?   It’s obvious, even if analogies aren’t your strong suit, that A is like C and B is like D.  A and C are not like B and D. The economic relevance of this simple visual exercise is this: At its March 2017 meeting, the Federal Open Market Read more […]

Next Generation Retirement Investing

For many plan participants, the goal of a retirement account is to provide a steady stream of income that will sustain their standard of living in retirement. Therefore, participants need a framework that aligns the management of their savings with their retirement income goal. This framework has three related components: Risk management that addresses the Read more […]

Futures Prices for Europe’s Fear Gauge Jump. U.S. Investors say, “Le Pen? Le Who?”

Futures tied to VSTOXX, the Eurozone’s version of VIX, are signaling risk ahead. The French elections, which take place April 23 (first round) and May 7 (run-off election) and the possibility of Marine Le Pen leading France’s exit from the Eurozone appear to have spooked European options investors. They are now paying higher premiums for Read more […]

Capturing the World’s Largest Growth Story: the Emerging Markets Consumer

3 billion people entering the middle class1 and $30 trillion of annual consumption by 20252 – these are two numbers that summarize the drastic demographic and economic shift currently happening in emerging market countries and what McKinsey & Co. has called, “the biggest growth opportunity in the history of capitalism.2” The Dow Jones Emerging Markets Read more […]

Remarkably Unremarkable

In geopolitical terms 2016 was a tumultuous year. From the outcome of the Brexit referendum to the surprising conclusion of the U.S. presidential election, 2016 was a year of political surprises. The markets, braced or not, reacted differently in each case. We saw heightened correlation in the aftermath of Brexit and observed higher dispersion immediately Read more […]

Employer Self-Insured Trends Still Moving Upward

According to the S&P Healthcare Claims Indices, employers should be cautious about getting comfortable with trends in the 4.5%-5% range.  While the most recent data indicates that trends dropped from almost 5% in June 2016 to around 4.5% in July 2016, the overall movement of the trend is still upward.  The S&P National Medical Healthcare Read more […]

Our Humble Solution to Unite Europe

Henry Kissinger famously said, “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?” In the world of investments, a similar question could be asked, “What index do I use if I want to invest in Europe?” The answer isn’t apparent, and this is why: the leading regional index in Europe, the EURO STOXX Read more […]