Posts Tagged ‘pension plans’

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse 

In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010.  But there has been a shift.  Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages.  People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with "teaser rates" or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments.  But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures.  Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result.  But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010.  At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are "turning the corner", things just seem to get even worse. 

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate.  For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now.  According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.…
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Seattle’s “Actuarial Valuation” of City Pension Plan Sinks to 62% Funded; I say it’s Far Wors

Seattle’s "Actuarial Valuation" of City Pension Plan Sinks to 62% Funded; I say it’s Far Worse

Courtesy of Mish 

A new Seattle report says the city will have to increase pension contributions to keep its plan solvent. Please consider Seattle’s retirement investments plunge deeply.

The City of Seattle will have to substantially increase the amount of money it pays into its employees’ retirement system to cover future obligations because its related investments took big hits during the economic meltdown, according to a report presented to the City Council Friday.

This situation will put further pressure on a city budget that is already fracturing.

As of Jan. 1, 2008, the city’s retirement "actuarial valuation" funding ratio was 92.4 percent, the report said. That’s the ratio of the assets the city had compared to what it owes for benefits earned by employees. As of Jan. 1 of this year, the funding ratio had dropped to 62 percent – mainly because the city’s stock market holdings tied to retirement accounts dropped 20 percent and other factors.

The study prepared for Seattle by Milliman says the city will have to increase its retirement contribution rates make sure its retirement plans are fully funded. Workers and the city contribute to the plan, but rate hikes for employees are limited to 2 percent, said the report.

City Councilman Mike O’Brien said it’s unrealistic to wait and hope that a Wall Street surge solves the city’s retirement funding problem.

O’Brien said City Councilmembers, who will consider the matter in earnest during fall budget talks, will have to determine whether 1 percent bumps are enough to right the retirement ship.

City of Seattle Pension Results

Inquiring minds are digging into the City of Seattle Pension Plan Funding Report.

An increase in contribution rates is needed to maintain actuarial balance.

  • Employees and employer share rate increases, but rate increase for employees is limited to 2.00% (10.03% total).
  • As of January 1, 2011, employer rate increase needed is 6.97% of payroll.
  • Total employer portion would increase from 8.03% to 15.00% of payroll.

Worse Than It Looks

Note the huge increase in payroll funding. Also note that the study was done on January 1, 2010. The stock market is now down on the year. Thus, it is highly likely that 62% is actuarially overstated .

Is the city going to raise


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NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

Seashell Game

Courtesy of Mish

When it comes to pension funding schemes, NY governor David Paterson and the NY legislature have taken can-kicking to ever increasing levels of absurdity. Please consider State Plan Makes Fund Both Borrower and Lender.

Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund.

And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.

As word of the plan spread, some denounced it as a shell game and a blatant effort by state leaders to avoid making difficult decisions, like cutting government spending or reducing pension benefits.

“It’s a classic Albany example of kicking the can down the road,” said Harry Wilson, the Republican candidate for comptroller, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Under the plan, the state and municipalities would borrow the money to reduce their pension contributions for the next three years, in exchange for higher payments over the following decade. They would begin repaying what they borrowed, with interest, in 2013.

But Mr. Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will have rebounded to such a degree by that time that the state’s overall pension contribution burden will have been reduced.

Another oddity of the plan is that the pension fund, which assumes its assets will earn 8 percent a year, would accept interest payments from the state that would probably be 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

This week, Mr. Paterson called borrowing “a last resort,” but added, “I have never said I wouldn’t borrow.”

Oddities Galore

The idea is so absurd that I struggle to believe anyone would propose it, let alone actually vote for it. Yet it passed, and the governor signed it.

Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will bail them out. I have the odds of that at something like 15%.

Plan assumptions of 8% annualized are highly unlikely to happen. Amazingly, even IF 8% returns came home, Seven State Pension Plans will be Out of Money by 2020.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

******

Lower picture courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Courtesy of Mish

The New York Times article Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes has been making the rounds. At least 20 people sent me the link. Let’s take a look at few snips, then a look at a followup Times article on addressing the problems.

In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year.

It’s what the system promised, said Mr. Tassone, now 47, adding that he did nothing wrong by adding lots of overtime to his base pay shortly before retiring. “I don’t understand how the working guy that held up their end of the bargain became the problem,” he said.

According to pension data collected by The New York Times from the city and state, about 3,700 retired public workers in New York are now getting pensions of more than $100,000 a year, exempt from state and local taxes. The data belie official reports that the average state pension is a modest $18,000, or $38,000 for retired police officers and firefighters. (The average is low, in part, because it includes people who worked in government only part time, or just a few years, as well as surviving spouses getting partial benefits.)

Some will receive the big pensions for decades. Thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year; nine did so in their 30s.

The Times article is 4 pages long so please give it a closer look.

Legal Theft

Undoubtedly Mr. Tassone is not as stupid as he sounds. He knows full well he gamed the system, but it was legal.

Tassone argues he held up his end of the bargain. Excuse me for asking what end is that? Public unions are legalized mobs. They coerce votes from corrupt politicians willing to buy there patronage.

There is no "public end" because there is no one working on the public’s behalf. Indeed the public in general has been crucified with never ending tax hikes to support union thugs who pack every school board in the country, and promise Armageddon if police or firefighters get laid off.

The public is


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There Are Now More Government Employees than Goods-Producing Workers in the US

There Are Now More Government Employees than Goods-Producing Workers in the US

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

For the first time there are decidedly more government employees than goods-producing (manufacturing) employees in the US according to the Department of Labor.

This chart is from The Mess That Greenspan Made here.

It is interesting to think about this in terms of health care, pension plans, job security, employee loyalty, and so forth.

The reason for this is not the growth of government jobs but rather the drastic shrinkage in US based manufacturing employment while government employment remains resilient. As a percent of the population, the number of government employees is now about 9% which is slightly lower than it was in the 1970′s.

The Service sector dominates. There is a nice chart showing goods-producing, government, service, and non-employed percentages from EconomPicData here.

US corporations have been offshoring jobs for many years, in part due to the structural problems of benefits and environmental costs in a developed nation and Asian mercantilism. Some of this transfer of employee is due to natural market forces, but a great deal of it is a result of purposeful national policy and trade practices such as currency pegs, for example.

As Adam Smith observed in Wealth of Nations (1776):

"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising … customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers."

In this case if one substitutes "kleptocrats" for "shopkeepers" and "dollar debt slaves" for "customers" then the quotation may fit the current situation in the US and its reserve currency empire quite well. It also helps to explain the steady role of the government bureaucracy in administering this paper empire, as well as the outsized financial sector.

But one underestimates the resilience of a free people at their peril, as did Napoleon dismissing the English, echoing Smith, "L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers," prior, of course, to his Waterloo in June, 1815.


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Government Fraud: Pensions

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Government Fraud: Pensions

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

I warned people about this over a year ago….. 

This morning I had seen a third "notice" that there are widespread "critical shortfalls" in Union Pension Funds.

I put up a short video on the topic and am now getting emails telling me that this is more widespread than has been reported – additional funds have been sending these deficiency notices out.

And in that article I called for general strikes organized by the unions of this nation – what’s left of them anyway.

In fact, here’s the original call:

Yes, I am potentially calling for the Longshoremen to strike every port in the United States.

I am potentially calling for the Teamsters to strike.

I am potentially calling for every State Employee covered by CALPERS to strike.

Of course none of them did.

Now we get this from The Wall Street Journal:

Public employee pension plans are plagued by overgenerous benefits, chronic underfunding, and now trillion dollar stock-market losses. Based on their preferred accounting methods — which discount future liabilities based on high but uncertain returns projected for investments — these plans are underfunded nationally by around $310 billion.

The numbers are worse using market valuation methods (the methods private-sector plans must use), which discount benefit liabilities at lower interest rates to reflect the chance that the expected returns won’t be realized. Using that method, University of Chicago economists Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Rauh calculate that, even prior to the market collapse, public pensions were actually short by nearly $2 trillion.

Oh, so there’s a little book-cooking going on?

Yeah, you’ve got these "public" pension plans that don’t like the rules that private pension plans have to use for their accounting, and this is what they’re telling their "auditors":

Some public pension administrators have a strategy, though: Keep taxpayers unsuspecting. The Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Board and the Montana Teachers’ Retirement System declare in a recent solicitation for actuarial services that "If the Primary Actuary or the Actuarial Firm supports [market valuation] for


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Phil's Favorites

Is Facebook today's Compuserve? How Libra could hasten its demise

 

Is Facebook today's Compuserve? How Libra could hasten its demise

Will Libra be Facebook’s downfall? (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Marc-David L. Seidel, University of British Columbia

When Mark Zuckerberg was five years old in 1989, two dominant players in telecommunications made a big announcement.

Compuserve (the first major commercial online service provider) and MCI Mail (one of the first commercial e-mail service providers) introduced commercial e-mail relays to the public internet. These relays connected their centralized networks to the public, outside of their direct con...



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Zero Hedge

Yuan, Stocks Erase Mnuchin Ramp

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The overnight ramp in yuan and US equity futures - on the back of Mnuchin's comments - has been entirely erased as the algos were taught that tenses matter...

...a deal that WAS 90% done is different from a deal that IS 90% done... ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Metals Bulls Praying This Indicator Does Not Peak Here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold has been strong of late as the US Dollar has been weak. This combo has driven the Gold/Dollar ratio to a key price zone and momentum level, that looks to be important to metals bulls.

This chart looks at the Gold/Dollar ratio over the past 6-years. The long-term trend is down, while the trend over the past 3-years is pretty much flat (sideways trading range).

The rally of late has the ratio testing the 2018 highs as well as its 38% Fibonacci retracement l...



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Insider Scoop

Analysts Say Homebuilder Environment Still Looks Good For Lennar

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Lennar Corporation (NYSE: LEN) stock remains attractive in the long term, sell-side analysts said Wednesday after investors sent the share price on a post-earnings roller-coaster ride.

The homebuilder had a strong ...



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ValueWalk

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

 

Beyond Meat vs Impossible Burger: Comparing The Vegan Meat Burgers

Courtesy of Vikas Shukla, ValueWalk

Pexels / Pixabay

The trend of vegan food has been gathering momentum in the last few years as people become more health conscious. They have also begun to realize the environmental impact of raising meat for human consumption. According to PETA, it takes an estimated 1...



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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

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