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The Retired Investor: The Fed's Key Inflation Gauge
By Bill Schmick,
03:42PM / Thursday, October 21, 2021
Inflation is worrying investors. Every new data point seems to be heightening their anxiety. Oil and other commodities are raging higher. The rate of wage increases is also climbing, but the most important variable the Fed is watching is about to move higher.   Housing and/or home ownership is one of the most important components of the U.S. economy. However, housing prices per se are not included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Instead, the CPI measures the cost of shelter, which is broken down between actual rents paid and the Owners' Equivalent Rent or OER.   OER is the amount of rent that would need to be paid in order to substitute a currently owned

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The Retired Investor: Barbie Gets Better With Age
By Bill Schmick,
04:23PM / Thursday, October 14, 2021
Despite this new age of video games, electronic toys, and diminishing attention spans, children are returning to a toy that is almost as old as me. Mattel's Barbie doll is back and at the top of many holiday shopping lists.   Some of the credit for Barbie's new-found popularity can be attributed to the pandemic. The lockdowns and the subsequent search for things to keep children occupied had mothers remembering their own fascination with all-things Barbie. Buying a Barbie, however (at least until recently), had parents wrestling with several negative stereotypes. Leading the list was the doll's image of a whites-only toy that ignored the realities of the melting

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The Retried Investor: Golf Continues to Grow
By Bill Schmick,
04:40AM / Thursday, October 07, 2021
In 2020, during the midst of the pandemic, golf made a comeback. More than 24.8 million people discovered outdoor refuge on the links, last year and the popularity of the sport continues to grow.   Golf, as many have discovered, is an outdoor activity that has proven to be an almost perfect answer to the limitations of the pandemic. Players can get outside, exercise, and at the same time, socially distance themselves from one another. Last year the U.S. saw the largest increase in golfers (2 percent) in 17 years. This year, the number of rounds played was up 16.1 percent, compared to the same period in 2020, according to the National Golf Foundation. And with this increase

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The Retired Investor: Out of Gas
By Bill Schmick,
04:19PM / Thursday, September 30, 2021
Winter approaches and with it a potential natural gas crisis. Areas of Europe are already scrambling to find the energy required to heat homes and continue their economic rebound. Could the U.S. be next?   Over the last year, prices for European natural gas have jumped by almost 500 percent. Natural gas prices on this side of the pond have also spiked by more than 100 percent this year. But it isn't just countries in the Northern Hemisphere that are feeling the scarcity. Parts of Asia, which are importing liquified natural gas (LNG) at record prices, are being forced to switch to coal and heating oil as LNG shipments decline. Japan and Korea are somewhat protected so

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The Retired Investor: Weather Worsens Global Trade
By Bill Schmick,
05:46PM / Thursday, September 23, 2021
Changes in climate are impacting a global economy that is fighting to recover from a pandemic. Supply chain bottlenecks continue to worsen as continuous weather-related catastrophes close ports, and snarl land, sea, and air transportation routes. Can it get any worse?   Yes, and it probably will, according to climate experts. Nearly all actively publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change. The less than 2 percent of experts that disagree have published contrarian studies that either cannot be replicated or contain errors. I'll go with the consensus on this issue.   Here in the U.S., we receive ample proof of

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