Reading List for August 28-30

Aug 28, 2020
Investing, Economics, Current Events

Wow, the end of August is here!  (Not quite sure if I should add "already" or "finally" to the end of that sentence.) This week we have something for everyone, plus lots of Economic News.



  • Big news this week is the shake up on the Dow, triggered in part by Apple’s 4 for 1 stock split. Read about who is now in and who is now out! (There will be no more tigers in the Dow “tank”) This is such big news, I leave you three options for the details! (CNBC) (WAPO) (Morning Brew)
  • We teach that low-cost index funds are the way to go. How did that strategy hold up during the pandemic turmoil in the markets this year? Looks like passive funds beat active funds. (Morningstar)
  • In case you are keeping up with the TikTok drama, now Walmart is getting into the act! Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft on TikTok bid. (CNBC)
  • As the S&P 500 erased the losses from the spring, the price/earnings ratio is reaching levels not seen for 20 years. If you want a deeper, more technical dive into the stats, this article if for you. (WSJ subscription)
  • Here is a Friday market roundup from Yahoo Finance.



  • Jerome Powell discussed the Revised Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy during his opening speech at the virtual Jackson Hole conference yesterday. The bottom line is that interest rates are likely to stay low for a while. Here is a summary and a link to the speech, which was made public if you don’t want to read and decipher the statement itself. (AP)  
  • Underlying the revision to the Fed’s policy strategy is the persistent low inflation rate, and apparent decoupling of low-employment and inflation. The Economist explains this well.
  • We won’t know the extent of the impact of the expiration of additional $600 in unemployment benefits on August spending, but there are some pretty good guesses. (Politico)
  • Another 1 million filed first time unemployment claims last week.

All in all, 27 million American workers filed for some form of jobless assistance under various government programs during the week ending August 8, representing a decrease of around 1 million claims -- but still highlighting that this jobs crisis remains in full force. (CNN)

  • The Consumer Confidence Index sank to a 6-year low of 84.8 after rising briefly following the low points earlier this year. (MarketWatch)
  • On the other side of the spectrum, both housing prices and new home sales jumped--housing prices by 4.3% in June (CNBC), and new home sales by 13.9% in July (AP) .
  • Durable Goods orders increased for the third month in a row (think cars and low interest rates. (MarketWatch)
  • The New York Times has had a string of informative articles on racism in the world of finance and economics. Here is another one on home appraisals.


Paying for College

  • There is still much confusion over the details of the extended reprieve on Federal student loan repayments through the end of the year. (WAPO)
  • Check out the results of this telling survey of 1000 millennials about their college money mistakes! (College Finance)




Financial Pitfalls


Education during the Pandemic

  • Listen to this story about the impact of remote learning on the economy as parents must make tough choices, and on the children. IdeaStream
  • School lunch programs adapted quickly to feed students no longer at school who otherwise would not have food, but changes to the program effective September 1 means that more kids will go hungry. (WAPO)
  • Anyone start the year remotely this week and suffer a Zoom outage? (APNews)
  • Keeping teens mentally healthy during these difficult times is a especially difficult. Share this one with parents too. (NYT-subscription)


Chart of the Week

Stare at this one from Visual Capitalist and see if you can describe the implication before reading the link.

About the Author

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.