Runnymede Blog

The Best and Worst 529 College Savings Plans of 2014

Submitted by Chris Wang on Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:34

chloe2My weekends are packed with activities to entertain my 2-year-old daughter Chloe. Virtually all my friends have children, from newborns to kindergarten age. We all reminisce about the days where college was a third of the cost and wonder how the heck we will pay for our kids to go to college. With 50 colleges charging over $60,000 a year, where will prices be in another 10-15 years?!?!? My dad always thinks outside the box and he thought I should train to become a football placekicker so I could earn a scholarship. While definitely a cool idea, it never progressed past a Nerf football being kicked about 15 yards in the backyard.

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Stock buybacks fueling earnings growth and higher prices

Submitted by Chris Wang on Thu, 08/14/2014 - 05:08

Apple-share-buybacksIn the first quarter, US companies returned a record amount of cash to shareholders via stock buybacks and dividends. This trend has helped drive the stock market's record-setting rally; but is this a good or bad sign for the bull market going forward?

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Storm Warning: Warren Buffett stockpiling record cash

Submitted by Chris Wang on Wed, 08/6/2014 - 02:46

warren_buffett_cashBerkshire Hathaway just reported its most profitable quarter ever. Operating income topped $4.3 billion, far surpassing analyst expectations. Thanks to Warren Buffett's savvy investing, Berkshire is now sitting on its largest stockpile of cash in its storied history. Cash and cash equivalents are above $55.4 billion for the first time ever and is 55% higher than a year ago.

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A Look Inside Captive Insurance Companies' Investment Portfolios (2014)

Submitted by Andrew Wang on Sat, 08/2/2014 - 07:57

Marsh recently published its 2014 Captive Benchmarking Report, analyzing 1,148 captive insurance companies (managed by Marsh globally) for benchmarking analysis. Since the credit crisis, captives that have a parent company have invested approximately one third of investments toward loans to their parent company or other intercompany investment. Prior to 2008, many more captives were invested in equities. The motivation behind intercompany investments with the parent entity or affiliates is to minimize the cost of capital employed in the captive and enhance the parent company's liquidity. Reinjection of resources to the operations of the parent company is also a side effect of the current low interest rate environment. Further, the parent company has greater control over the captive’s invested assets.

captive-investment-portfolio-fig2

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Wednesday Wangdoodles

Submitted by Chris Wang on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:00

doodleWelcome back to Wednesday Wangdoodles. We had so much fun with our first installment that we are back for the second time this month. For the newbies to Wangdoodles, I will help point you to interesting investment and financial articles that are worth a few minutes of your time. Hope you enjoy.

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An impartial review of the Allianz 365i Annuity with Income Maximizer Rider

Submitted by Chris Wang on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:00

annuitiesThe annuity business has grown in popularity as investors, especially those nearing retirement, look for options to protect themselves from stock market volatility and give them a decent income stream in retirement. With over $200 billion in annual sales, the annuity industry is big business with lots of salesmen trying to persuade you to make a purchase.

Today I will dig deep into the Allianz 365i Annuity which has been requested by several readers in recent weeks. Sales of indexed annuities, a fixed annuity that provides a minimum guaranteed rate of interest combined with an interest rate tied to movement of an index, increased to $39.3 billion in 2013, a 17% gain year over year. This is the biggest percentage increase of any form of annuity.

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Wednesday Wangdoodles

Submitted by Chris Wang on Wed, 07/9/2014 - 10:00

doodleMy favorite baseball writer Rob Neyer had a ongoing segment at ESPN.com called "Wednesday Wangdoodles" where he provided links to interesting articles around the web that he felt one should read about America's pastime. In my homage to Neyer, I will breathe life back into Wangdoodles from an investment perspective. I will help point you to interesting investment and financial articles that are worth a few minutes of your time. Hope you enjoy.

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Graph of Every Job in America Shows Service Sector Dominates

Submitted by Andrew Wang on Tue, 07/8/2014 - 11:10

service-sector-1428072_78120956The June non-farm payrolls report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that 288,000 non-farm payroll jobs were added during June – beating economists’ expectations of an increase by 211,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent.

According to the national employment report compiled by payroll processor Automatic Data Processing, the U.S. private sector added 281,000 new jobs last month, the fastest pace since late 2012. Of the new jobs added in June, 82% were service-sector, 5% were factory-sector, and 13% were construction.

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First Half 2014 in Review: Melt up!

Submitted by Chris Wang on Thu, 07/3/2014 - 11:56

I've bemedium_2932154983en in the business for almost 17 years now and I can't remember a time when virtually all assets classes went up together. Needless to say these are highly unusual times. If you have investments, you should send a thank you card to the central bankers for their easy monetary policy. The ECB is trying negative rates. The Fed's balance sheet is over $4.3 trillion. The Bank of Japan is buying assets faster than the Fed! While this may not end well, the financial markets are partying like it's 1999. With that said let's take a look back at the first half of 2014.

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Robert Shiller definitely concerned about stock market peak

Submitted by Chris Wang on Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:30

Robert Shiller, Yale professor and Nobel prize winner, is "definitely concerned" about the valuation of stocks which are trading at historic highs. Using his CAPE (cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio) model, stocks are trading at 26x multiple which is well above its long-term average of 17. Shiller points out that the CAPE level has only been higher 3 previous times: 1929, 2000 and 2007. That sure sounds like a dire warning of a huge market drop. But is it?

Shiller_CAPE

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