31 August 2019 FT — Articles to Read

31 August 2019


Question: According to MSN: Money, what is the 20-step guide to a horrible retirement?


Australia cuts Great Barrier Reef outlook to ‘very poor’ – Pg. 3

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and has become a potent symbol of the damage wrought by climate control
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature warned the downgrade from “poor” could also prompt Unesco to place the area on its list of world heritage sites in danger – a move that could hit the $4.3bn economic contribution the reef makes through tourism


German retail sales fall as growth slows – Pg. 4

  • German retail sales took a bigger battering than expected in July, retreating from a gain recorded in June to reveal the biggest drop this year in the latest indication that Europe’s largest economy could well slide into recession
  • The Eurozone is developing a two-speed economy as rising US-China trade tensions and weakening global demand weigh on Germany and Italy, while France benefits from its stronger domestic demand base
  • Seasonally adjusted sales in real terms fell 2.2% last month compared with June,…
  • The single currency bloc’s central bank targets a level of below, but close to, 2%
  • Excluding food, energy, alcohol and tobacco – which tend to have relatively volatile prices – the eurozone’s montly harmonized prices series rose 0.2% in August, the region’s statistics office said yesterday, in line with analysts’ expectations – up from 0.6% decline in July
  • The same measure of core inflation rose 0.9% year-on-year,…
  • Joblessness in the single currency area stayed at 7.5% in July,….


US consumers spend as Fed ponders further cut in rates – Pg. 4

  • The core personal consumption price index was up 1.6% in July versus the same month last year, as it had been in June, …
  • It was up 0.2% from the pervious month.
  • Personal spending adjusted for inflation rose 0.4% in July from June, higher than analysts predictions of 0.3%. The trend was particularly apparent in durable goods, which rose 1.1% in July
  • On inflation, the Fed aims at a core personal consumption expenditure target of 2% year-on-year growth, a goal it has had difficulty reading consistently since the global financial crisis. The index has remained below target all year, even as wage growth accelerates


Renminbi hit by biggest monthly slide for 25 years as Beijing braces for long trade war – Pg. 13

  • China’s currency dropped 3.8% against the dollar in August, completing its biggest monthly fall in more than a quarter of a century as Beijing hunkers down for a protracted trade war with the US
  • Beijing had allowed the currency, which it controls through a managed float, to fall to Rmb7.1567 a dollar late yesterday.
  • The currency’s fall may draw the ire of Washington, which this month officially labelled China a currency manipulator. But it will also help mitigate the impact of US tariffs, which have expanded to cover virtually all goods imported from China
  • Beijing this month allowed the currency to cross the threshold of seven to the dollar for the first time since the global financial crisis after Donald Trump, the US president, announced a duty of 10% of the $300bn of imports from China that were not already facing tariffs
  • Mr Trump has continued to escalate the trade war, last Friday promising to raise that 10% tariff to 15% as well as increase existing tariffs on another $250bn-worth of Chinese imports from 25% to 30%
  • The monthly fall for the onshore rate is the largest since China unified its official and unofficial, or market, exchange rates in 1994, which effectively halved the currency’s official dollar value
  • China abandoned its currency peg and moved to a managed floating exchange rate regime in 2005


Answer: (1) Keep thinking retirement is so far in the future that there is no need to act now; (2) Avoid saving when you are young and instead play catch-up starting at age 50; (3) Bank on being able to work until age 75 or beyond; (4) Live for today; (5) Invest in individual stocks you pick personally; (6) Ignore all the retirement planning tools available to you; (7) Never contribute to your 401(k); (8) Keep the same mix of investments at age 60 that you had at age 25; (9) Take your social security at age 6; (10) Only save in tax-deductible accounts and do not bother with the Roth, let alone taxable accounts; (11) Ignore the need to provide for survivors; (12) Make sure all your savings are in tax-favoured plans, so they are not easily accessibly in an emergency; (13) Assume there will be a major drop in your spending when you retire; (14) Cancel that long-term-care policy you bought years ago; (15) You have been waiting so long to by that boat or RV. You deserve it; (16) Invest heavily in your employer’s stock; (17) Do not worry about inflation after you retire; (18) When someone tries to explain the power of compounding, do not bother listening to all that gobbledygook; (19) When there is a big drop in the stock market, make sure you shift into bonds; (20) Still got money left for retirement? Tell your adult kids you are always willing to help them out financially