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Married women more at risk in retirement than singles

2019-06-17

JakeOfSpades |

Her retirement will likely be less secure than his.


Two-earner couples benefit less from Social Security and save too little in 401(k) accounts


Women today will spend about half of their adult years on their own.


They are more likely not to marry; when they do marry, they do it later; and they are more likely to divorce.


Therefore, it is important to understand the differential risk women approaching retirement face based on their marital histories.


A recent study used the National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) to assess the retirement security of women in their 50s. The NRRI is calculated by comparing households’ projected replacement rates — retirement income as a percentage of preretirement income — with target replacement rates that would allow them to maintain their standard of living. Those falling short are considered “at risk.”


The Survey of Consumer Finances, which underlies the NRRI, provides a lot of information about the economic status of women. As expected, married women are better off than single women. Their households have higher earnings, greater financial assets, more home equity, greater assets in a defined-contribution plan, and are more likely to be covered by a defined-benefit plan.


Yes, married households have the advantage of two potential earners and savers, but for each earnings and asset measure, single women have much less than half the resources of married couples. Given the much stronger economic position of married women, one might expect that they are less likely to be at risk in retirement than single women.


It turns out, however, that the NRRI is higher — that is, a greater percentage of households are at risk — for married women than for single women (see figure below). Married women show 46% at risk compared with about 39%, on average, for all single women.



Why such a counterintuitive finding? The answer hinges on the outcome for two-earner couples, who have a much higher percentage at risk than their one-earner counterparts (see below).

The number of earners in a household affects the outcome in two ways. The first is through the Social Security system. Social Security provides a nonworking spouse a benefit equal to 50% of the worker’s benefit. If the second spouse goes to work, the spousal benefit gradually declines and disappears completely when the second spouse’s worker benefit matches or exceeds the level of the spousal benefit. In addition, Social Security has a progressive benefit formula that provides a higher benefit relative to earnings for lower earners. Given that one-earner couples earn less than two-earner couples, they gain from this progressivity.


The second way in which two-earner couples get in trouble is that they tend to undersave in their retirement plans. The problem arises because in about half of two-earner couples only one of the earners is covered by an employer retirement plan. A recent study showed that the covered workers in this situation do not increase their contributions to compensate for the fact that their spouse is not saving, so that the contribution rate for couples with a single saver was only about half of that for two-earner, two-saver couples.


These findings highlight the need for two-earner couples to save more, and the best way to address this issue would to broaden access to retirement savings plans in the workplace. In addition, plan sponsors could help educate their married workers about the potential need to save for two.


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Binance to block customers in the United States from trading, plans to launch Binance.US “soon”

2019-06-14

JakeOfSpades |

By CryptoSlate


Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced a partnership with BAM Trading Services to open a US-based division since according to a recent update in its Terms of Use it “is unable to provide services to any US person.”


CZ: “Short term pains necessary for long term gains”


Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced on Twitter that it will soon be blocking new jurisdictions including all U.S. visitors from trading on Binance.com.




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In a recent blog post, Binance announced that it will be updating its Terms of Use and may require some customers to provide further evidence, if necessary, to validate they are in accordance with the firm’s policies. The revised agreement also mentions that any US individual or corporation will no longer be able to use the platform.


“Binance is unable to provide services to any U.S. person. Binance maintains the right to select its markets and jurisdictions to operate and may restrict or deny the Services in certain countries at its discretion.”

Users will have 90 days to adopt the new terms and after Sept. 12, 2019, those who do not comply will continue to have access to their wallets and funds but will lose the privilege to trade or make deposits on Binance.com.



Although the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange will be ceasing trading operations for US citizens, it announced that it will soon launch a fully licensed and regulatory compliant exchange, dubbed “Binance.US,” with the help of BAM trading Services, a FinCEN registered company.


Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance said:

“We are excited to finally launch Binance.US and bring the security, speed, and liquidity of Binance.com to North America. Binance.US will be led by our local partner BAM and will serve the U.S. market in full regulatory compliance.”

Approximately 20 percent of Bincance.com daily traffic comes from the U.S., which may affect the firm’s financial returns in the short-term. Zhao believes the effect may be short-lived and at the end will have a great impact in the long-term well being of its company.


Oil sinks 4 percent to $51.14 on rising US crude stockpiles, fear of faltering demand

2019-06-12

JakeOfSpades |
  • U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week through June 7, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  • Concerns that the U.S.-China trade war will dent global economic growth and fuel demand continue to weigh on the market.
  • Goldman Sachs says OPEC’s strategy of limiting oil supply will be “only modestly supportive” as new U.S. production comes online later this year.


Oil prices sank 4% on Wednesday, with losses accelerating into the settlement after government data earlier showed a large increase in U.S. crude stockpiles for the second week in a row.


The latest sign of rising supply comes as the market continues to grapple with concerns about weakening fuel demand amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.


Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was down $2.33 or 3.7%, at $59.96 around 2:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $2.12, or 4%, to $51.15 per barrel.


U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week through June 7, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected stockpiles to fall by 481,000 barrels.


Crude futures fell to a nearly five-month low last week after EIA figures showed crude stocks surged to the highest level since July 2017.



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“At a minimum, these results are going to keep traders on the sidelines, or more likely, pressing crude until it stops going down,” Michael Bradley, equity strategist at energy investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Company, said in a research note.


Brent is now down 20% from its 2019 high in April, while WTI is trading nearly 23% lower over the same period.


Oil prices have drawn some support from expectations that OPEC and its allies will continue to prop up prices by limiting production. However, crude futures have been buffeted by concerns that the U.S.-China trade dispute will lead to slower global economic growth and weigh on oil demand.


President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he is holding up negotiations until Beijing agrees to return to the terms of negotiations laid out earlier in trade talks.


“It is constant concern about the demand outlook because of what’s happening with the situation with China,” said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.


Stocks and other assets have been bolstered by hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates and stimulate growth, but energy commodities need more evidence that economic activity will rebound, Kilduff added.

“Oil is reacting to the disease, while other assets are reacting to the cure more,” he said.


EIA on Tuesday cut its forecast for global oil demand growth to roughly 1.2 million barrels per day in 2019, down from last month’s projection of about 1.4 million bpd. OPEC and the International Energy Agency are scheduled to update their demand outlook on Thursday and Friday, respectively.


OPEC and other major producers are set to meet in the coming weeks to discuss their policy of withholding 1.2 million bpd from the market.


Goldman Sachs on Wednesday said it expects OPEC+ to roll over the policy, given the “historically high” uncertainty in the oil market.


The investment bank says it believes the group’s core members, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will take steps to keep the market from tipping into oversupply or undersupply.


“From an effective production perspective, we expect that core-OPEC will continue to balance the market by responding to consumer demand, and if needed produce below or above its targets, as already exhibited during the first five months of the year. This would lead to a balanced market despite the vagaries of demand and Iran/Venezuela/Libya production,” Goldman said in a research note.


Goldman says that outcome will be only “modestly supportive” of oil prices, keeping Brent near $65.50 per barrel in the third quarter. The oil market will come under renewed pressure in the second half of the year as new infrastructure allows a surge of U.S. production to come online, the bank says.


After surging last year, U.S. crude oil output has steadied around 12 million-12.4 million barrels per day, according to preliminary weekly readings

Hong Kong Protest Draws Up to 1 Million in Rebuff to China

2019-06-09

JakeOfSpades |


Demonstrators march during a protest against a proposed extradition law in Hong Kong on June 9.


Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government faced new pressure to withdraw legislation easing extraditions to China after as many as 1 million people turned out to oppose the measure.


Hundreds of thousands of white-clad demonstrators, many chanting for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation, choked 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) of central city boulevards for hours Sunday as they marched to the local government headquarters. As skirmishes broke out after dark, riot police used pepper spray and batons to disperse violent protesters who attacked them, Hong Kong police said on Twitter.


Organizers put the turnout at 1.03 million as of 9:30 p.m., while police estimated 240,000 participants at the rally’s peak.


Either way, the figures suggested one of the largest protests since the former British colony’s return to China more than two decades ago. A crowd of 1 million would require almost one in seven of Hong Kong’s estimated 7.5 million residents to attend.


Late Sunday, the Hong Kong government signaled a determination to press ahead with the bill, which would for the first time allow extraditions to mainland China. But the scale of the opposition raises the stakes for Lam and her backers in Beijing, who are already engaged in a global clash of values with the U.S.


Thousands Protest Hong Kong Law Easing Extraditions to China

Demonstrators march on June 9.


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A demonstration of about half a million people in 2003 led the city to scrap a controversial national security proposal and contributed to the eventual resignation of then-Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Hong Kong still hasn’t passed that measure.


“For anyone with the right mind in any leadership after seeing this huge, massive turnout this afternoon, they should not just rethink the whole situation,” Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker, told Bloomberg during the protest. “They should scrap this very controversial bill and let Hong Kong have some breathing space.”


The extradition bill has been criticized by Western governments and international business organizations as a threat to the “one country, two systems” framework credited with maintaining Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center. It’s one of several moves by President Xi Jinping’s government that have raised concern about Hong Kong’s autonomous structure, which guarantees free speech, capitalist markets and British common law.


Lam is working to pass the measure by the end of the current legislative session in July. with hearings slated to resume Wednesday. Last week, the government scaled back the bill, raising the proposed extradition limit to crimes that carried sentences of seven years in prison, compared with a three-year threshold initially.


In a statement Sunday, the Hong Kong government praised protesters for staging a “generally peaceful and orderly” demonstration, but defended the bill. The government said the legislation was written to ensure that suspects received a fair hearing in court and couldn’t be extradited for political offenses.


“Based on experience in recent weeks that face-to-face explanations by relevant officials have helped to dispel misunderstanding, the government will continue to engage, listen and allay concerns through calm and rational discussion,” the government said.

Thousands Protest Hong Kong Law Easing Extraditions to China

Demonstrators gather at Victoria Park on June 9.


On Sunday, demonstrators, who wore white as a symbol of justice, chanted “Oppose extradition to China!” and “Carrie Lam resign” as they marched through the city. Temperatures reached 32-degree Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) at the start of the protest.


“We hope the government can withdraw the bill,” said Ada Kwan, 48, an education company owner, as she pushed her 92-year-old mother in a wheelchair along the route. “This will harm Hong Kong’s democracy, rule of law and autonomy.”

Solidarity protests were also staged in dozens of cities around the world, with about 2,000 people demonstrating in Sydney, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. In New York, protesters planned to march from Times Square to the Chinese consulate.


Even before Sunday, the bill had emerged as another tension point between China and the U.S., which grants Hong Kong special trading status based on its legal autonomy from the mainland. The U.S., as well as Canada, the European Union and the U.K., have expressed concern about the legislation.


Thousands to Protest Hong Kong Law Easing Extraditions to China

Demonstrators hold placards featuring Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.



Lam has said the law is needed to bring fugitives to justice and was spurred by the case of a Hong Kong man who could not be extradited to Taiwan for the murder of his 19-year-old girlfriend. But opponents are concerned that it could open the door to Hong Kong citizens and foreigners being prosecuted by Beijing.


Arnold Li, 36, a marketing officer carrying his toddler during Sunday’s protest, said he was concerned that the legislation would leave the next generation with no legal protection. Meanwhile, Wong Kin Yuen, 76, a Shue Yan University professor who heads its English language and literature department, said this was only the second protest he had attended.

“If this so-called bill passes, it will be more scary,” Wong said. “Every Hong Kong citizen would think it’s a severe problem. What if I say something in my class and could be sent to China the next day?”

— With assistance by Natalie Lung, and Magdalene Fung

(Updates with police using batons, tear gas in second paragraph.)

President sees good chance for Mexico deal as he escalates feud with Pelosi

2019-06-07

JakeOfSpades |

President Donald Trump speaks before he departs Shannon Airport, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Shannon, Ireland.


President Donald Trump said there was a “good chance” of a deal with Mexico over migration as he flew back from Europe on Friday, just days ahead of tariffs taking effect on Mexican products.


MEXICO TALKS

As U.S. and Mexican officials talked in Washington, Trump tweeted from Air Force One that Mexico would buy U.S. farm products “at very high levels.” That appeared to be a new development in talks that have to date centered on Trump's demands that Mexico curb the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S. border. Trump has said 5% tariffs on all Mexican goods would begin Monday in the absence of a deal, and rise over time to 25%.



Also Friday, White House economist Kevin Hassett and Mark Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, both made positive comments on the U.S.-Mexico talks, taking place at the State Department. Short told reporters the tariffs could be halted if discussions went well.


U.S. stocks DJIA, +1.17% jumped Friday as a disappointing jobs report fueled hopes of an interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve.


‘NERVOUS NANCY’

Trump also dubbed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “Nervous Nancy” in a separate tweet that appeared to reference reported comments by her, in which she told senior Democrats she’d like to see the president “in prison.”

“Nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement, especially since I was with foreign leaders overseas. There is no evidence for such a thing to have been said,” Trump tweeted. Politico reported Pelosi made the comment in a meeting with senior Democrats as lawmakers debate opening an impeachment inquiry against Trump in the wake of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.


The president implored Democrats to work with him on lowering prescription drug prices and infrastructure. In May, Trump broke off talks with Democrats on infrastructure after Pelosi accused him of engaging in a “coverup.”



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