Your Financial News Roundup
April 19, 2023
1. Economy: Americans face an aging population and dwindling workforce; while SEC Chair Gary Gensler is under fire for the agency’s regulatory crackdown on crypto.
2. Tech: Apple launched a savings account offering a 4.15% APY; and Amazon joins the generative AI race with Amazon Bedrock.
3. World: Argentina is enduring a 103% inflation rate; while Sudan is experiencing civil unrest.
Personal Finance Concept [Part 4/4]: A Primer on the All-Weather Portfolio
📈 The Longevity Economy: Like many developed countries around the world, the U.S. faces an aging population as Americans live longer and have fewer children. However, some believe this presents an opportunity for the nation’s 70M+ baby boomers to establish “the longevity economy.” Policymakers can tackle the challenges posed by the ticking demographic time bomb through innovation, boosting immigration, and encouraging labor market participation. (FiveThirtyEight)
Our Take: The most straightforward response to the demographic shift, as demonstrated by France’s pension reforms, is to raise the retirement age. But, each country must address the issue with its specific circumstances in mind. Luckily, the U.S. has an advantage due to its robust immigration track record.
🔥 Gary Gensler Gets Roasted: Gary Gensler, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), faced intense criticism from lawmakers on Tuesday during a House committee hearing. They questioned Gensler’s muddled track record and hasty rulemaking. In 2022, the SEC targeted crypto firms over vague charges of violating securities laws despite their efforts to cooperate with the SEC. Lawmakers also rebuked Gensler for holding private meetings with crypto scammer, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), and failing to protect retail investors — the mission of his role and agency. (Reuters)
Our Take: Gary’s hostile actions against crypto have led to calls for crypto firms to go offshore, harming U.S. innovation and leadership. Among other dubious actions, his dealings with SBF have led to accusations of corruption — harming the SEC’s integrity.
📱Top of Wallet Status: Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs to launch a savings account that offers a 4.15% APY (annual percentage yield) and comes with FDIC insurance up to $250K, similar to traditional banks. This offering is the 11th highest rate in the savings account market and will complement the Apple Card while being integrated into Apple devices. The tech giant plans to leverage its ecosystem and brand influence to drive adoption. (CNBC)
Our Take: Many online banks offer high-yield savings accounts (HYSAs) to attract customers while promoting more lucrative services. As Apple launches more bank-like offerings, this could be its next major move as it develops a full line of financial products and services.
💪🏾 Big Tech Piles On: Last week, Amazon launched Bedrock, which allows enterprises to build generative AI-powered apps using pre-trained models from startups like AI21 and Stability AI. Bedrock’s core features include the Titan FM family, made up of 2 in-house models: 1 for text generation and 1 for embedding. Other notable product launches include the AI-powered code-generating service CodeWhisperer and Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances powered by AWS Inferentia2 and Trainium chips. (TechCrunch)
Our Take: With Amazon’s announcement, Apple is the only major player not in the generative AI space (yet). Amazon is one of the 1st major firms to include this new tech in its enterprise suite, posing major changes to engineering and IT organizations.
⚠️ If You Feel Inflation is Bad: Facing an inflation rate of 103%, Argentinians have seen the prices of basic goods spiral out of control. Argentina has had decades of high inflation, but the current rate has pushed the poverty rate to 40%! A historic drought destroyed the country’s crops, leading to billions of dollars in lost exports and a surge in food prices. As the president has a 20% approval rating, inflation threatens to unseat the ruling party in this year’s election. (USNews)
Our Take: If you thought U.S. inflation was bad, Argentina has had double-digit inflation for decades and was never able to break the cycle. This is the worst-case scenario for the central banks of major economies, hence the aggressive interest rate hikes to avoid this outcome.
⚔️ Power Struggle in Sudan: Fighting erupted in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) under de facto president Gen. Abdel al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force headed by Sudanese deputy Gen. Mohamed Dagalo. Sudan has been under military rule since the 2 ousted the long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019. 180+ civilians have died and 1000+ have been injured since their power struggle broke out. Nearby nations, such as Egypt, Kenya, and South Sudan, are calling for peace. (BBC)
Our Take: 4 years ago, the Sudanese celebrated the removal of Bashir. Now, the bitter power struggle between the rival generals could turn Sudan into a war-torn country like Libya or Yemen.
Finance Concept of the Week
Investing with Funds [Part 4/4] — A Primer on the All-Weather Portfolio
Exploring Time-Tested Investment Strategies
Want a portfolio that can thrive in all seasons of the year?
Created by Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the All-Weather Portfolio (AWP) provides investors with steady growth and stability in all economic seasons. With its low-risk profile and simple asset allocation, it’s a suitable option for cautious investors looking for a long-term investment strategy.
The All-Weather Portfolio is made up of:
- 40% Long-Term Bonds: Includes U.S. Treasury and other high-quality bonds with long timelines to maturity. They provide reliable income streams and counters deflation (when the prices of goods go down).
- 30% Stocks: Features a diverse mix of U.S. stocks that offers growth and protects against inflation. Holding an S&P 500 fund like VOO or SPY works well.
- 15% Medium-Term Bonds: Includes investing-grade corporate and high-quality bonds with medium-term maturity timelines to balance risk and income.
- 7.5% Commodities: Covers physical assets like gold, oil, or soybeans, as they protect against inflation and currency devaluation (when your country’s currency is worth less abroad).
- 7.5% Cash: Such as U.S. Treasury bills, cash, and other cash equivalents to provide stability and liquidity to your portfolio. Cash in your savings account also counts.
- Well-Diversified: This portfolio is diversified across 4 different asset classes, reducing risk and the likelihood of sharp declines in market downturns.
- Slow and Steady Returns: Designed to perform well in bull and bear markets, you can earn steady returns over time. In particular, it can provide strong returns during times of high inflation (like now).
- Simple to Create and Manage: Once created, it requires minimal upkeep and only needs to be rebalanced 1x a quarter or 1-2x each year. Plus, the asset allocation is easy to follow, making it accessible to anyone.
- Lower Fees: By using low-cost index funds or ETFs, you can keep your fees low and returns higher.
- Limited Upside: Because the AWP contains 55% bonds, it won’t perform as well as portfolios with larger amounts of stocks during bull markets — like what we had over the last 10-12 years.
- May Not Be For You: The AWP may not be suited for everyone as it doesn’t account for your risk tolerance, time horizon, or unique financial goals. It’s the least flexible strategy of our series.
- Potential to Underperform: In certain markets, like during long periods of high inflation, the AWP may not perform as well as other strategies that hold more stocks or real estate.
Risk Level – Low
The AWP is considered a low-risk strategy due to its strong diversification across asset classes and the inclusion of low-volatility assets like cash and bonds, along with assets that move against the stock market.
- Retirement Accounts
- 401(k) or 403(b) plans
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Taxable brokerage accounts
Note that holding commodities can trigger tax consequences, so it’s recommended to hold those in a tax-advantaged account.
Tip of the Week
💵 As your income increases, it’s tempting to spend more on things like a bigger house or fancier car. Avoid the sneaky trap of lifestyle inflation by doubling down on saving and investing for your future instead.
Personal Finance Resources
🚀 Check out our collection of personal finance resources on Gumroad, featuring both free and paid options:
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