13 July 2019 FT — Articles to Read

13 July 2019


Question: According to MSN: Money, what are five (5) easyish steps to becoming a millionaire?


Trump labour chief quits over role in Epstein’s 2008 plea deal – Pg. 1

  • In 2008, while US attorney in Miami, Mr Acosta agreed to a secret plea deal with Mr Epstein that allowed him to serve only 13 months in jail on state charges after he admitted to soliciting prostitution from an underage girl. The deal also grated federal immunity to unnamed “co-conspirators”
  • In February, a federal judge said Mr Acosta had broken the law when he failed to inform Mr Epstein’s victims about the pleas deal


Singapore suffers slowest growth in decade – Pg. 6

  • Singapore’s trade-dependent economy experienced its slowest rate of growth in a decade in the second quarter, raising fears that the worsening global outlook and trade tensions are weighing on the Asian region
  • The figures come ahead of publication of China’s second-quarter growth statistics tomorrow, which economists polled by Reuters expect to show a 6.2% year-on-year expansion – the slowest in three decades, and down from 6.4% in the first quarter
  • Singapore’s trade and industry ministry said yesterday its economy shrank 3.4% quarter-on-quarter, …
  • …possibility that Singapore could enter a technical recession this year, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth
  • Its dependence on high-technology exports has made it particularly vulnerable to trade tensions, which have disrupted supply chains across Asia


US to near $22tn debt ceiling in September, Mnuchin warns – Pg. 6

  • Jay Powell…has said the fate of the debt ceiling was one of the main sources of uncertainty in the global economy, along with trade tensions and Brexit, which is driving the US central bank to consider a cut in interest rates as early as this month
  • In addition to a possible default, the US would face a government shutdown in early October if no agreement is reached


Why inheritance tax needs to be reformed – Pg. 10

  • Taxing transfers between generations, however, is a sensible way of correcting the injustice of hereditary wealth, whereby some have to work for riches while others are gifted them by the lottery of birth
  • The British system tries to balance these concerns. A tax-free allowance exempts inheritances of the size most children can expect.  Richer estates face a 40% rate on assets worth more than 325,000 (sterling).  Married couples can pool their allowance and family homes are treated favourably, potentially raising the tax-free threshold to 950,000 (sterling) in some circumstances.  Only 5% of estates are taxed
  • Inheritance tax has turned into a tax on the merely well-off that the super-rich can easily dodge
  • Exceptions for certain assets, such as farmland, as well as assets in trusts mean it can be reduced by judicious planning and giving wealth away while still alive


Bond vigilante ‘bullies’ put heat on the Fed – Pg. 15

  • The bond market “vigilante” of old used to bully wastrel governments. Now they appear to have moved on to a grander target – the US Federal Reserve
  • …the prospect of monetary easing still looks odd when set against some otherwise decent US economy data
  • The message from the market is clear: interest rate futures indicate that traders think the Fed could unravel all of last year’s four rate increases by 2020


Answer: (1) Save automatically; (2) Pay off your debts (Prof Note: I could NOT disagree more.  There is “good” debt and there is “bad” debt.  One needs to understand the difference between them.  Also, if starting at zero (or negative) one needs to leverage, potentially significantly, if wealth is to be created.  A peer of mine is a wealth manager and he always talks of one’s relationship with debt.  The more I ponder this characterization, the more I agree with it); (3) Make responsible spending choice (Prof Note: Remember the $5.00 Starbucks that actually costs $75.00?!  Know the difference between nominal and real interest rates.  Understand inflation.  Understanding investing.  Not understanding, i.e. figuring this out at a younger age, can be extremely financially harmful.); (4) Trim your bills (Prof Note: While one still needs to live, think about staycations, and activities that require less $$$, i.e. no drinking at bars.); (5) Set realistic goals (Prof Note: I actually think goals should be on the otherside of reality.  Make they a stretch.  While I always wanted to author a book it was a small dream and one I never realized would become a reality.)