Auto Loans Are Not the Next Subprime

The latest macro worry from the past week deals with auto loans. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York there are more than 7 million Americans who are 90 or more behind on their car loan payments. That’s a million more people than at the end of 2010. This has led a number of…

What’s Up With My Tax Refund?

A reader asks: I’ve seen a number of social media and other reports about people being upset that their tax refund was lower than in previous years.  I haven’t seen any analysis around whether this was just a withholding issue or their total tax actually went up.  Do you have any data on this? I’ve seen…

The Dreaded Earnings Recession

Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley equity chief Mike Wilson told CNBC an earnings recession has arrived and the market is not ready for it: “We are increasingly convinced that consensus earnings expectations for 2019 have further to fall and that the optimistic uptick currently baked into fourth-quarter 2019 estimates is unlikely,” Wilson wrote Monday. “A modest…

Animal Spirits Episode 68: The Rich Man’s IRA

This week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben is sponsored by YCharts: Mention Animal Spirits and receive 20% off your subscription price when you initially sign up for the service. We discuss: Why is money flowing out of SPY? How can index fund firms differentiate themselves? Should you decrease the number of stocks you own at the outset…

How to Wreck a Pension Plan in 3 Easy Steps

It’s hard to find many investment books since the turn of the century that don’t include the research paper from Roger Ibbotson and Paul Kaplan called Does Asset Allocation Explain 40, 90, or 100 Percent of Performance?1 The study was meant to decipher whether it was asset allocation or market timing and security selection that…

How Investing Works According to Hollywood

The biggest hole in my resume as an armchair TV critic is the fact that I never watched The Sopranos. I’m currently remedying this situation on the HBO Go app starting with the first season. I noticed a couple of episodes had some stock market talk sprinkled in. After a big score from a heist,…

Stock Market Counterfactuals

December was an awful month for stocks. The S&P 500 fell up to 15% at one point, culminating in the Christmas Eve shellacking which saw stocks fall almost 3% a day after they had fallen 2%. Stocks did rally more than 6.5% from that point until the end of the month. All told, the S&P…

Budgeting With Cardi B

I don’t really know Cardi B’s music very well because I’ve more or less given up on the new rap music scene (I’m entering the get off my lawn stage of music preferences) but I do see her Instagram videos pop up on my Twitter stream from time-to-time. If nothing else, she’s direct in her…

Animal Spirits Episode 67: Banning Buybacks

This week’s Animal Spirits with Michael & Ben is sponsored by YCharts: Mention Animal Spirits and receive 20% off your subscription price when you initially sign up for the service. We discuss: Apple vs. Amazon in a heavyweight battle of fundamentals & market caps. Facebook employees make a lot of money. Is banning stock buybacks really going to…

Insert Your Economic Story Here

The Great Depression is endlessly fascinating to me because I can’t imagine something like that happening in modern times in the U.S. The Great Recession was the worst financial crisis we’ve seen since the 1930s but it was child’s play compared to that period. The Great Recession saw GDP decline 5.1% with the unemployment rate…