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The Retired Investor: Pandemic Has Been Good to Pet Industry
By Bill Schmick,
04:30PM / Thursday, November 26, 2020
Sales are increasing wherever you look in the pet sector. Toys, beds, grooming products, leashes, day care, you name it; the pet industry is experiencing double-digit increases in revenue. Better yet, there are few signs that consumer spending in this area will slow down anytime soon.   As readers are aware, the retail sector has been one of the hardest hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The pet care industry is an exception to that rule. In the past, I have written extensively about how recession-proof the pet industry can be.  In both the 2001 and 2008 recessions, pet care sales grew between 5-7 percent. Consumer spending on pets has grown 36 percent in the

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The Retired Investor: The Rise of RCEP
By Bill Schmick,
03:59PM / Thursday, November 19, 2020
The Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP) is a trade pact that could change the global trade equation over the next decade. It is an example of multilateralism and free trade that could leave the United States in the dust.    The 15 nations that comprise RCEP represent about one third of the world' s population (2.2 billion people), and 29 percent of global gross domestic product. The partnership is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The RCEP is officially the world's largest trading bloc.   What makes this trade deal noteworthy, apart from its size, is the

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The Retired Investor: Small-Town America Is in Vogue
By Bill Schmick,
01:53PM / Thursday, November 12, 2020
The on-going coronavirus pandemic has boosted consumer demand for small-town real estate. Whether that trend will continue with a vaccine on the horizon is anyone's guess.    In the meantime, it could be a godsend for those looking to retire and possibly downsize during this period. The obvious driver in this trend change has been the safety factor. The devastating carnage that occurred in the nation's large cities during the first surge of the coronavirus convinced many families to pull up stakes and find dwellings as far from the mayhem (and people) as possible.   Home listings in small towns jumped more than 100 percent this spring, according to

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The Retired Investor: Polling Business Takes a Body Blow
By Bill Schmick,
04:20PM / Thursday, November 05, 2020
There has been one clear loser thus far in the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections and it is not the candidates. The polling industry has gotten it wrong twice in a row. Can the industry survive that kind of mistake?   As votes across the nation continue to be counted, the pollsters and the media, which count on those polling results, are asking how Vice President Joe Biden's 10-point lead nationwide could have evaporated in the blink of an eye.    Political polling is a type of public opinion polling, which in the past (when done right), is a fairly accurate social science with established rules about sample size, random selection and margin of

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The Retired Investor: Food Faces Escalating Prices
By Bill Schmick,
04:18PM / Thursday, October 29, 2020

It has been a long time coming. Commodities have been in the doghouse for years, but a combination of events are conspiring to lift the prices of soft commodities much higher.

A definition of soft commodities refers to future contracts of substances that are grown, rather than extracted or mined. We know them best as food and fiber commodities, such as wheat or lumber.    Shortages are occurring in everything from soybeans to wheat and it is not just in the United States. Readers might immediately think to blame the pandemic for this trend. You would be only partially correct. At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the hoarding of food in certain areas of the world

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