Reading List for August 14-16

Aug 14, 2020
Advocacy, Personal Finance, Economics, Investing

Advocacy/Personal Finance

  • No surprise here, but nice statistics to quote when advocating for financial literacy education. An NFEC survey found that 85% of Americans agree that high school students should take a personal finance class in high school. PR Newswire NFEC
  • The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund is establishing one-on-one financial counseling and assistance to those in need in over 50 counties and cities to help people navigate through the pandemic. (PR Newswire)


Economics – this week’s stats are in

  • Weekly initial jobless claims dropped below one million for the first time in 20 weeks. Over 28 million are still collecting unemployment benefits, down 3 million, but a year ago, that number was 1.7 million. (Yahoo Finance, CNBC)
  • Which states have the worst unemployment figures? Guess before reading on Yahoo Finance.
  • U.S. productivity rose at a 7.3% rate in the second quarter, (biggest quarterly increase since 2009) following a small decline in the first quarter. Labor costs also jumped, rising at an annualized 12.2%, following a 9.8% rate in the first quarter (biggest quarterly increase since 2014).  The lackluster productivity during the record long 11-year expansion that followed the Great Recession confounded economists. I’m sure we will be following up on this news next week when economists explain how this statistic is consistent with the precipitous drop in GDP the same quarter.  (Yahoo Finance) (CNBC)
  • Retail sales rose a disappointing 1.2% in July after an 8.4% increase (revised up) in June, mostly held down by a slide in the auto sector. (CNBC) Given that additional unemployment benefits expired at the end of July, and the Senate has gone home until September with no new assistance plan, it will be interesting to see the August figure.
  • Ed Yardeni looks to the past technological and economic events to gain insights for the future in this blog post, a great read for history buffs and regular folk alike!


  • In case you missed this issue earlier, here is another take on the concerns about young people turning to investing (for sport) during this pandemic, taking risks beyond what they can handle. NPR
  • In case you are interested, here is an in-depth look at Ray Dalio/Bridgewater’s All Weather Portfolio (of Dollars and Data).


  • Planet Money explains how, despite the economic crisis, the housing market is going crazy. (Think a) urban exodus, b) record low mortgage rates, and c) those buying houses have not lost their jobs!).
  • Not a great time for New York landlords, but if you were ever thinking about moving into Manhattan, now may be a good time! Rents are dropping (Fox Business), and the usually tight market has a huge number of vacancies! (Curbed)
  • Refinancing just got more expensive, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they will charge an additional 0.5% on refinancings. (NY Times)


  • If you read the recent post on What’s New With Insurance, there was a discussion about business interruption insurance, and whether or not the pandemic would be considered as a qualifying event (if not specifically stipulated in the policy). Well, the first ruling to be issued by a court favors the business. (Yahoo Finance


  • Caution is urged for those taking early withdrawals from retirement accounts under the CARES act: the rules only apply if you can prove you have been impacted by the coronavirus. (WAPO)


Student Loans

  • Here is a follow-up article by Adam Minsky on the upcoming changes to student loan servicing. (Forbes)



  • For Fortnite fans: the war between the game’s developer, Epic Games, and Apple and Google has risen to another level. Apple (and Google) have removed it from their app store, following the introduction by Epic games of a payment platform to buy the game’s virtual currency directly from them. (Vox) A must read for fans!

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