Your Financial News Roundup
April 5, 2023
1. Economy: The World Bank warns of a “lost decade” ahead; and former President Donald Trump faces felony charges.
2. Tech: Twitter alternative Post gears up for a public beta; while deepfakes take the Internet by storm.
3. World: Belize reaffirms its support for Taiwan; while Finnish PM Sanna Marin loses her re-election bid to conservative leader Petteri Orpo.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 2/4]: A Primer on the 60/40 Portfolio
📉 A Lost Decade Ahead: The World Bank is sounding the alarms of a potential “lost decade” ahead for the global economy. Factors impacting the decline include an aging workforce, lower productivity rates, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and rampant inflation. To combat the slowing economic growth, policymakers must focus on boosting investment, increasing labor force participation, and raising productivity. (Voice of America)
Our Take: Policymakers should address macroeconomic issues, such as closing gaps in health and education, while private investment focuses on clean technology and job creation.
⛓ From President to Defendant: A New York grand jury charged former President Donald Trump with 34 felony counts. The 16-page indictment claims Trump falsified business records by using “hush money” payments to illegally suppress negative information about him prior to his 2016 election campaign. Trump denied all criminal charges in court and again in his speech to his supporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort. (CBS News)
Our Take: At this stage, it’s unclear if prosecutors have enough ammo to send Trump to jail. However, the pending indictments and criminal prosecutions could potentially affect the legality of his re-election campaign if he wins.
🐣 Twitter Competition Heats Up: Post, a publisher-focused alternative to Twitter, is gearing up for a public beta launch. The company’s goal is to create a platform where publishers can generate income via micropayments. Users would pay a small fee for different types of media, such as articles from traditional media outlets, subscription newsletters, and ad-supported content. While critics question the viability of the business model, the startup has already signed up 25 premium publishers and is estimated to have 946K+ daily active users. (TechCrunch)
Our Take: Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, several strong contenders have entered the space to vie for our attention, including T2, Mastodon, and more recently, Bluesky and Post. Given that Twitter has yet to gain mass market appeal, with ~330M active users compared to Facebook’s ~2.9B, it’ll be an uphill battle for Post and the other startups to gain and maintain traction.
👀 The Rise of Deepfakes: AI-generated images are on the rise, from Pope Francis wearing a white puffer coat to former President Donald Trump getting detained by police. With the rise of these realistic images, audio, and videos, it’ll become a challenge to discern what’s real and what’s fake. As the usage of AI-generated tech grows, companies and legislators will need to quickly implement guardrails to enforce transparency and consent. (CNN)
Our Take: As AI becomes easier to access and cheaper to use, deepfake reality will become more prominent. While it’s important to democratize access to AI tech, it’s also crucial to enforce responsible practices to prevent widescale harm.
🤝 Belize and Taiwan Get Cozy: On Monday, Belize prime minister John Briceño met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and reaffirmed his nation’s formal recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign and independent country. During a joint session, Briceño thanked Taipei for their financial support while Tsai spoke about the threats the nation faces from its neighbor. Just a week ago, Honduras ended its decades-long relationship with Taiwan in favor of recognizing ties with China. Tsai is slated to meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, drawing China’s ire. (US News)
Our Take: Beijing has been gradually wooing Central American countries to form strategic allegiances in exchange for economic assistance, including Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador. Meanwhile, the U.S. is reaffirming its support for Taiwan, further straining its relationship with China.
🇫🇮 Finland Votes Conservative: In a tense 3-way election race, Finnish conservative leader Petteri Orpo emerged victorious, defeating the center-left Prime Minister Sanna Marin. When Sanna Marin first entered the political scene in 2019, she became the world’s youngest leader at age 34. Since then, she’s navigated a global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Finland’s entry into NATO. Despite losing her re-election, her party, the Social Democrats, won additional parliamentary seats, setting up a potential coalition opportunity with Orpo’s National Coalition Party. (BBC)
Our Take: “Rockstar PM” Sanna Marin is a progressive icon who governed a coalition with 5 other women in charge. Her stunning loss to a right-wing surge in the country is a major setback for global feminist politics, especially as it follows the heels of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s resignation earlier this year.
Finance Concept of the Week
Investing with Funds [Part 2/4] — A Primer on 60/40 Portfolio
Exploring Time-Tested Investment Strategies
The 60/40 portfolio, made up of 60% stocks and 40% bonds, is a popular, low-cost investment strategy. It balances risk and return, as it leverages the higher potential returns of stocks with the stability of bonds. This portfolio is well-suited for beginner and experienced investors alike and is commonly used for retirement investing.
- Stable Returns: The 60/40 is fairly resilient to market fluctuations. It’s meant to provide stable returns over the long term and is less volatile than an all-stock portfolio.
- Diversified by Design: The portfolio’s built-in diversification reduces the impact of a single asset performing poorly.
- Ease of Management: Once you make the portfolio, it requires little ongoing management.
- Wide Usage: The 60/40 is a common investment strategy recommended by financial advisors, so there’s a lot of public information on how to manage it.
- Flexibility: You can easily adjust the ratio of stocks to bonds to reflect your risk tolerance, like a 70/30 or 80/20 split.
- Limited Growth Potential: The biggest downside is that more stock-heavy portfolios outperform the 60/40, especially over the last 10 years. If you want higher returns, a riskier portfolio setup may be better.
- Fixed Asset Allocation: With a fixed asset allocation, your ratio of stocks and bonds remains relatively constant. If you are the type of person who likes to tinker with their portfolio based on changes in the market or your own goals, this setup may not be flexible enough for you.
How to Make the Most of It:
To make the most of a 60/40 portfolio:
- Choose the Right Funds: Consider using low-cost index funds or ETFs to keep expenses low.
- Rebalance Regularly: To maintain the desired mix of stocks and bonds, you should rebalance your portfolio periodically — usually 1-2x a year or 1x a quarter depending on your preferences and market conditions.
- Add Other Asset Classes: While the 60/40 is a good starting point, you may want to add other assets to your portfolio over time. This will further diversify your portfolio and potentially grow returns.
- Monitor Performance: You should check in on your portfolio when you rebalance it to make sure it meets your financial goals. If you are unhappy with its performance, you may want to adjust your asset mix or explore other investing strategies.
Risk Level – Medium
The 60/40 has a medium risk level, as it’s considered to have a balanced risk-reward profile (moderate risk for moderate returns). Bonds and stocks are negatively correlated, so they rarely go down at the same time.
People tend to buy a fund or two to cover stocks and bonds each, like VTSAX and BNDX – Vanguard’s index funds for the U.S. stock and bond markets, respectively.
To determine the best allocation for your needs, consider your risk tolerance, investing goals, and time horizon. If you have a longer time horizon and want higher risk, putting more towards stocks makes sense (e.g., 70/30). But if retirement is coming up around the corner or you have a shorter time horizon, then putting more towards bonds may be better.
Common Funding Sources:
- Individual brokerage accounts
- Retirement accounts — 401(k) or IRA accounts
In general, using ETFs is more tax-efficient for taxable brokerage accounts and mutual funds are more suited for retirement accounts.
Tip of the Week
💵 Whenever you are negotiating a salary, let the company throw out a number first. If they ask you for your desired salary, turn the question around and ask what the budget is for the role and how the comp package is structured.
Personal Finance Resources
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