If you’re like most of us, it’s hard to not keep an eye on how the U.S. economy is recovering from everything that’s happened since the start of 2020. However, it’s also easy to fixate on the gloomier economic indicators and try to interpret them as potential warning signs for the recovery and our portfolios. A popular one as of late is federal government debt, which reached a record $28 trillion in March. You might hear pundits and colleagues suggesting that this spells doom for the stock markets and your portfolio. Before making any rash decisions, let’s examine the relationship between federal debt and stock market performance. (more…)
Concerns about market downturns certainly come as no surprise. After all, steep corrections and crashes can be alarming for even the most steely and disciplined investors. So, when markets reach all-time highs, investors tend to be concerned about investing their hard-earned money in overvalued stocks. Questions about reducing or even eliminating equity allocations or keeping excess cash on the sidelines soon follow. While these lines of inquiry are completely natural—no one enjoys buying high and selling low—we believe that every day is a good day to invest no matter what the market has done recently. (more…)
When the prices of goods and services increase over time, consumers can buy fewer of them with every dollar they have saved. This erosion of the real purchasing power of wealth is called inflation. Inflation is an important element of investing. In many cases, the reason for saving today is to support future spending. Therefore, keeping pace with inflation is a crucial goal for many investors. To help understand inflation’s impact on purchasing power, consider the following illustration of the effects of inflation over time. In 1916, nine cents would buy a quart of milk. Fifty years later, nine cents would only buy a small glass of milk. And more than 100 years later, nine cents would only buy about seven tablespoons of milk. How can investors potentially prevent this loss of purchasing power from inflation over time? (more…)
This paper summarizes the economics of climate change. We first review the basics of climate science and the historical evolution of greenhouse gas emissions. We then discuss the relation between climate change and economics and assess the economic costs, direct and indirect, of climate change. These costs are uncertain and sensitive to the choice of discount rate, but overall, the expected costs are economically significant, and early mitigation efforts may be more cost-effective than later actions. We discuss the tradeoffs associated with different potential actions, such as carbon taxation and cap-and-trade programs. Finally, we examine the implications of climate change for asset pricing and investment choices.