Monday, June 13, 2016

John Oliver on retirement plans

John Oliver on retirement plans, advisors and fees.

His conclusion:  Index Funds.    Now where have you heard that before?

MSFT buys LinkedIn

I guess I didn't see this one coming.   http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-13/microsoft-to-buy-linkedin-in-deal-valued-at-26-2-billion-ipe079k9

I was looking back at my blog posts from 2011, and I was convinced that LinkedIn was overvalued then.  I think it still is, but you'd have done pretty well if you bought the stock at the IPO.  That's why I'm an indexer and not a stock picker!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

R&D expenditures - then and now.

Here's an interesting article comparing R&D expense in 2006 with now.

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-04-29/amazon-and-facebook-are-big-spenders-on-r-d


Top R&D today:
Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Intel and Apple.

Top R&D in 2006:
Ford, Pfizer, GM, J&J, Microsoft, IBM, Intel.



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Radiohead - it's all about taxes.

Radiohead the band has an incredibly complex corporate structure, comprising of numerous individual companies.  As a colleague of mine has been known to say: "I bet there's a tax story in there somewhere".

Read about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/29/radiohead-corporate-structure-firms


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Should students use laptops in the classroom?

Step into any classroom and you'll see rows of students with laptops open tapping away at their keyboards.  Some of these students are taking notes, some are checking facebook or instagram.

Aside from distractions, I've wondered whether laptop usage is a good thing or not.  Turns out, the evidence is pretty clear.   We shouldn't use laptops for note taking.

Here are a few articles...

Scientific American reports that deeper understanding comes from handwritten notes:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/

See also:
http://lifehacker.com/the-benefits-of-writing-by-hand-versus-typing-1778758792

Laptops are a distraction to not just the owner, but also other students: http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2013/08/20/new-study-shows-computers-in-class-distract-both-users-and-non-users/

And one Prof even writes about being a Luddite:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/04/28/confessions-of-a-luddite-professor/

I think that we should seriously consider imposing laptop bans in classrooms, but also encourage online students to be low-tech and keep notes using pen and pencil.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Plan to Stop the Pension Plan Rip-Off

Via Huff Po.
A Plan to Stop the Pension Plan Rip-Off


Quote:
There's big money to be made from "advising" these plans. A study from The Maryland Public Policy Institute looked at data from 33 state pension funds. In last fiscal year they examined, researchers found these pension funds paid collective fees of $6 billion!The Wall Street firms that collected these fees touted their ability to pick stocks and bonds that would "outperform a given section of the stock or bond market." They were handsomely rewarded for this alleged prowess. Unfortunately, it was a myth.The study found an inverse relationship between high fees and returns. The median five-year return for the pension funds in the study was 12.83 percent. If plans had fired their high-priced Wall Street investment bankers and instead invested in low-management-fee index funds, the annualized five-year return would have increased to 14.45 percent.The study found no evidence that alternative investments, such as hedge funds and private equity, beat the market.