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December 6, 2020

A Public Commitment

Instead of birthday gifts, ask family and friends to crowdfund an emergency-savings account. And make it more credible with a “commitment device” – a penalty for failing to follow through and use the donated money only for emergencies. Savers can establish circumstances under which the funds might be used – such as promising to only dip into the funds to pay for a medical emergency or to ease an unemployment spell. The more credible the commitment, the more comfortable givers may be to contribute. Contributors can be rewarded with an update. -Benjamin Harris, Executive Director of the Kellogg School of Management’s Public-Private Interface in Evanston, Ill., and former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden.
December 1, 2020

VJ Day meet VV Day

About 75 years ago, during the summer of 1945,  Americans celebrated VJ day as World War II came to a finish.  Good feelings combined with a huge pent up demand for products and cash from the GI Bill, resulted in the “golden age of capitalism”.  GDP exploded and the middle class expanded until well into the mid-seventies.  On December 10th, when the FDA meets to approve the logistics of providing at least three vaccines to a world held captive by Covid-19, we may experience our own VV day, or Victory by Vaccine for the global economy.  The market’s outperformance during the month of November may be indicating that a demand fueled recovery is becoming a reality.  Just don’t kiss a stranger in Times Square, it might be frowned upon in 2020.
November 30, 2020

LOST AND FOUND MONEY

Using MissingMoney.com to search for unclaimed property held in state treasury departments as well as unclaimed retirement-account balances. You can search on behalf of yourself and family members. If you have a common last name like Smith or Johnson, it may take you much longer than if you have unique last name. There is a certain amount of paperwork involved to file a claim, and you must provide proof of identity, but it may be worth the time to uncover funds to add to a rainy-day account. – George Papadopoulos, a fee-only wealth manager in Novi, Mich.
November 12, 2020

Splurge & Save

Anytime you make a frivolous splurge purchase – dining out, buying a pair of shoes, or even something as small as buying name-brand cereal rather than the generic- force yourself to automatically sock away an equal amount into a rainy-day savings account. This has a few advantages: It makes the associations with saving less painful; it effectively doubles the price of the splurge, thereby inducing a little more caution before the spending; and it creates an easy way to track how much you’re spending on frivolous things since the size of your emergency savings will mirror the amount of frivolous spending.  -Jonathan Bogard, PH.D.candidate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Los Angeles
November 3, 2020

Mr. Dorsey Goes to Washington

It was not a great week for Jack Dorsey, the head of both Square and Twitter.  First, the tech titan was summoned to Washington to answer questions about the influence of social media and the way information is parsed out to the country.  As he weirdly channeled the Duck Dynasty in appearance, he took heated questions about Twitter’s content moderation.  Then later in the week, Wall Street had a chance to weigh in on the quarterly reports from Jack’s two companies.  Unfortunately, Twitter was down over 20% and Square dropped about 9%.  Shed no tears for Jack though, both stocks are higher for the year, with Square more than doubling.  More importantly, the long-term outcomes for companies that are paraded before Congress, has many times been very positive.  Nothing like a good monopoly or access and influence to 145 million people. Bucks unlimited.