The Insurance & Annuities Channel

U.S. Household Incomes: A 50-Year Perspective

The Census Bureau has released its annual report on household income data for 2016. Last year the median (middle) household income rose to $59,149, a 4.1% increase over 2015 and a record high. The median income adjusted for inflation is also at a record high, above the peak of $58,882 set in 2000. The mean (average) household income set a new high of $83,143. More about that in another commentary. Meanwhile, let's take a closer look at the quintile averages, which dates from 1967, along with the statistics for the top 5%.

Random Gleanings at 38,000 Feet

Reflecting on the months of travel as we wing our way back to Tampa at 38,000 feet, one of the more interesting encounters in those travels was spending time with Steve Forbes (Forbes Magazine). Although Steve is a staunch Republican, he suggested that Republicans worship at the altar of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). 

Are Cryptocurrencies the Best Investment Opportunity of the Next Decade?

This is part one of a comprehensive primer on cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

The Parable Of The Broken Window

Economists have been working overtime recently to account for the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Damage assessments are still being completed, but estimates are nearing $200 billion in property and business losses.

Pension Storm Warning

Elected officials at all levels have promised workers they will receive pension benefits without taking the hard steps necessary to deliver on those promises. This situation will end badly and hurt many people. Unfortunately, massive snafus like this rarely hurt the politicians who made those overly optimistic promises, often years ago.

The Big Four Economic Indicators: Industrial Production Down 0.9% in August

Today's report on Industrial Production for August shows a 0.9% decrease month-over-month, which was below the consensus of 0.1%. Industrial Production peaked in November 2014, only one point higher than its pre-recession peak in November 2007. The year-over-year change is 1.54 percent, down from last month's YoY increase.

Natural Disasters Have Not Caused a Single Muni Default: Moody’s

For the first time since we’ve been keeping track, two separate Category 4 hurricanes struck the mainland U.S. in the same year. It should come as no surprise, then, that the combined recovery cost of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is expected to set a new all-time high for natural disasters.

Opportunities in U.S. Commercial Real Estate Debt Investing

Unmet borrower needs continue to grow in the U.S. commercial real estate lending market.

Losing Religion?

Many investors no longer view the US as the global safe haven to turn to during bouts of volatility. We argue that US and global fundamentals remain strong, however, many global investors seem to be losing religion.

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected by Hurricanes

Today's seasonally adjusted 284K new claims, down 14K from last week's 298K, was better than the forecast of 300K. Hurricane Harvey and Irma impacted this week's claims.

Consumer Price Index: August Headline at 1.9%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 1.94%, up from 1.73% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 1.68%, down fractionally from the previous month's 1.69%.

A Six-Step Plan to Track Prospects

This article will walk through six steps you can take to ensure that transitioning prospects into clients is a successful venture.

NFIB Small Business Survey: Index Maintains Momentum in August

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for August came in at 105.3, up 0.1 from the previous month. The index is at the 97th percentile in this series. Today's number came in above the forecast of 105.0.

Congress’ Must‑Do List Is Looking More Doable, but After That …

After an uncharacteristically eventful August in Washington, Congress returns to D.C. for an even busier fall: In September, it has a mere 12 legislative days to fund the government for fiscal 2018 (and thus avoid a shutdown), raise the debt ceiling and address a smattering of other must-pass bills...

Do Natural Disasters Portend Defaults?

Never before in the US have we experienced a natural disaster of the magnitude of Harvey. The damage is of such a degree that we find it nearly impossible to comprehend. Yet Harvey does not stand alone. Climate events that preceded it give us much-needed insight into how municipalities recover, and whether disasters precipitate credit defaults.