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The Retired Investor: No-Shows Threaten Economy
By Bill Schmick,
04:18PM / Thursday, January 13, 2022
Last week, economists calculated that almost 5 million workers failed to show up at their jobs. Given the present upsurge in cases of the Omnicom variant, that should come as no surprise. However, it clearly has Wall Street economists reducing their estimates of first quarter 2022 GDP.   Slower economic growth normally has a negative impact on everything from the stock and bond markets, interest rates and employment. How this will ultimately affect the economy in the months ahead is a question worrying every trader and portfolio manager in the financial markets.   The first warning sign that this wave of coronavirus infection was impacting business came during

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The Retired Investor: My Dog's Medical Bills Are Higher Than Mine
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Thursday, January 06, 2022
On the surface, it was a good year if you were in the veterinary business. Year-over-year sales grew by 9.1 percent, while patient visits increased by 3 percent. For pet owners, however, not so much.   Owners found that the cost of keeping their pets healthy jumped by about 10 percent. Some of that price increase was due to higher fees, but consumers were also purchasing more products and services.   My chocolate Labrador Retriever, Titus, is now 13 years old. The rule of thumb: every year of a dog's life equals seven years of my life. That would put Titus' age at 91, versus my age of 73. I won't detail all his health ailments, suffice it to say that

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The Retired Investor: Climate Change Is Costing Billions
By Bill Schmick,
04:04PM / Thursday, December 30, 2021
In 2021, worldwide, the costs of the ten worst disasters caused by climate change totaled more than $170 billion. It was the fourth time in the last five years that we have suffered that level of damages. Scientists expect next year to be even worse.   Insurance companies, like Zurich-based Swiss Re, bear the brunt of the costs of extreme weather. During the last decade, losses have been rising 5-6 percent per year, according to Swiss Re's recent analysis. They expect at least one $10 billion catastrophe, such as severe flooding, a winter storm, or a massive wildfire will be part of the new normal in weather changes.      What is worse, more than

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The Retired Investor: Time to Hire an Investment Adviser?
By Bill Schmick,
03:26PM / Thursday, December 23, 2021
Individual investors have had a decade or more of gains, compliments of a stock market that has gone up with few interruptions. But as we enter a new era of tighter monetary policy, the road ahead may be a bit rockier than most investors expect. As such, it might be time to enlist a little professional help to preserve those profits.   There is a saying on Wall Street that just about anyone can make money in a bull market. That may be a bit harsh. I don’t want to denigrate the efforts of so many who work hard at managing their own retirement portfolios. Some work diligently at following the markets and have made it a full-time occupation. Most others "dabble"

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The Retired Investor: Has Labor Found Its Mojo?
By Bill Schmick,
02:56PM / Thursday, December 16, 2021
Workers in America are rethinking who they are and what they want. For the first time in decades, the stars have aligned to give the labor movement a much-needed lift. Will this prove to be a flash in the pan or something more lasting?   The share of American workers who claim union membership has been declining for years. There is a myriad of reasons for this decades-long decline. U.S. legislation and the court system has created enormous challenges to forming unions. The transfer of jobs to low-paying countries overseas has also devastated union membership. Labor membership can also be expensive with high monthly dues. In the past thirty years of declining real wages, most

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