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Posts by David

Advanced Healthcare Directives HIPAA Issues

Unfortunately most states created their statutes and corresponding template language before HIPAA was enacted so sites that collected all these templates and provide them free of charge are typically missing the needed HIPAA authorization (e.g., http://www.compassionandchoices.org, [...]

ForeclosureGate Update

With everyone focusing on QE2, I thought it would be helpful to see where we stand with the foreclosure problems. On October 27th there was a congressional hearing on foreclosure mitigation programs (e.g., HAMP). Katherine Porter gave an in depth analysis of some of the problems facing the [...]

GDP Growth Needed to Reduce Unemployment

The following graph shows the historical relation between unemployment changes and GDP growth. Real (i.e., before inflation) GDP growth of at least 2% is needed just to stay even. And even high growth doesn’t tend to reduce unemployment by more than 1% a year. With housing and deleveraging [...]

Home Negative Equity by State

I often meet young couples these days who are in a slight panic about the need to buy a house before prices start to rise again. With demand low and supply high, I don’t see prices climbing significantly upwards over the next year or two. Here is a quick breakdown of the number of homes that are [...]

Long Term History of US Interest Rates

It is often humbling to look at long periods of history and realize that while their is certainly rhyming that goes on, predicting the future is fraught with long term unresolvable uncertainties. The following graph shows a history of US ten year treasury yields (or their proxy) since 1790. It is [...]


The left/right divide in politics seems to have reached the level of kabuki theater.  The following graphs depict congressional seats if you color them by who donates the most money to their campaigns. If you want to know why the financial reform bill was such a mess, this should help make it all [...]

Changes to Income Distribution

Here are how incomes have changes over the last 30 years. In percentage terms we get the following. Bottom Fifth: 28% decline Second Fifth: 25% decline Middle Fifth: 15% decline Fourth Fifth: 10% decline Top Fifth: 24% increase Top 1%: 128% increase If we break the top 1% into smaller groups we [...]

Mortgage Industry Nuclear Bomb

By now you have probably heard about the freezing of foreclosure’s by some of the country’s largest banks while they try to get their houses in order. This is my attempt to provide an idea of why this is huge and could be a watershed event.  There are certainly some errors in my description (not [...]

No increase to Social Security Benefits for 2011

CPI-W for Q3 is extremely unlikely to breach the 215.596 high of 2008 so there won’t be a CPI based raise in Social Security payments beginning in 2011.

Future of Education

I had an interesting conversation with another financial planner about the future of education.  He had sent out a message to his clients and friends on strategies to make college affordable.  The following are excerpts from messages I sent to him trying to explain why I think the educational [...]
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