Boomers, Markets & Money

A Down-to-Earth Discussion of Financial and Lifestyle Information for Baby Boomers


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Save Money and Enrich Your Life at the Library

Shell Display at the Sanibel Library

Shell Display at the Sanibel Library

Libraries are using technology to enrich our lives in surprising ways.

While on vacation, I spoke to Sanibel Island Public Library Director Margaret Mohundro who graciously offered ideas on ways to save money at the library.

Each library has unique offerings so she recommended consulting your local library to see what is available.

Convenience has increased as well. Many services can be accessed right from your home with an Internet connection and a library card number.

Savings and Shells at the Sanibel Island Library

Savings and Shells at the Sanibel Island Library

Here are just a few of Ms. Mohundro’s suggestions:

Museum Passes. Most libraries have passes to local museums, which you can check out for free. You can even do this when you travel. You usually can get a visitor library card for about ten dollars—“It’s a steal!” Some museums will offer passes to the whole family.

Learn a language for free with Mango. You can learn about forty languages at the library or online at home.

Research using online subscription services. The Sanibel Public Library offers subscriptions to Morningstar Investment Research Center, Weiss Financial Ratings Series as well as many others. The Florida Electronic Library provides free magazine articles. This information is from trusted and vetted sources.

Check out free audio and eBooks. You can check out books for your electronic devices such as iPhones, e-readers, and MP3 players. Not all publishers sell electronic books to libraries but many good titles are available.

Dramatic Shells From Around the World

Dramatic Shells From Around the World

• Author lectures and book discussion groups are a good way to stay informed.

Take out puzzles or Scrabble.

You can use the Wi-Fi and computers. And libraries are always a nice place to relax and read a book or magazine.

Resources are available for all age groups. Ms. Mohundro told me about R.E.A.D. which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs. Children sit with therapy dogs and read aloud to them as they work on improving their reading skills.

Bouquet Made with Shells

Bouquet Made with Shells

Check out other libraries in your regional system to see if they have different museum passes, events, and services. For example, my local library in Rhode Island offers Universal Class, which offers over 500 online non-credit Continuing Education courses.

Sanibel Island is well-known for its shells.  The library has a beautiful collection of shells from around the world.


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Articles for Baby Boomers Around the Web

Here are a few articles that I found interesting and helpful.

1. Good news for Boomers—we are becoming more content. The New York Times Article “Why Am I Getting Mellower?” Psychology professor Jerrold Lee Shapiro said that as we age we tend to become more accepting of ourselves and more empathetic to others. The New York Times Jan. 17, 2013

2. Baby Boomers are looking for ways to adjust to retirement by working with retirement coaches and senior life advisors. This article talks about the emotions that people experience as they navigate through this stage. One person interviewed earned his doctorate at the age of 60 and is enjoying teaching college at 63. “Baby Boomers Reinvent Retirement to Fit Their Needs” Pressconnects.com January 15, 2013

3. Forbes blog post “7 Steps for Baby Boomers to Take NOW” lists changes that this generation should be making in their financial behavior. Erik Carter suggests that parents put their own needs first. An American Financial survey found that 93% of parents provide financial support to their adult children. He also suggests inputting an early retirement date in your retirement calculator in case you are forced to retire earlier than you planned. Forbes.com Jan. 9, 2013

4. I thought this article did a great job collecting articles about retirement, financial preparedness, and the elderly. Unfortunately, some of the numbers are quite sobering in “35 Shocking Statistics That Should Scare Any Baby Boomer?” For example, number 35 is “A study conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.” ETF Daily News January 18, 2013

5. A Blast From The Past: “Jane Pauley to Host Baby Boomer TV Specials”. I remember watching Jane Pauley when I was stuck in the house when my oldest was a newborn. She’s teaming up with AARP to produce two programs on the Baby Boom generation –a documentary and a public forum. Hollywood Reporter by Eric Jan. 17, 2013


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How to Fudge Statistics: Lessons from CEO Salaries

Some points in AAII’s article “Questioning High Approval Rates for Executive Compensation” were amusing.

The article summarized some of the points of Towers Watson’s October 2012 “Getting Pay for Performance Right: Executive Compensation Flash Survey Findings”.Dollar Sign

Points from the AAII Article:

  • The Dodd-Frank Act requires that shareholders vote approval of CEO pay at least every three years—unfortunately, the votes are non-binding. What’s the point of that?
  • The Tower Watson survey found that stockholders voted yes for most compensation proposals. Ninety percent of companies reported that executive pay packages received seventy-one percent or greater approval ratings by shareholders.
  • However, 81% of companies surveyed said they defined the peer group they were compared against. Or as AAII put it “compensation committees are handpicking the companies to measure pay against.” Do you get to pick the person’s salary that you are compared to?
  • Only about 38% of companies considered discussions with stockholders, who actually own the firm! Company boards and compensation committees influenced decisions in 77% of cases.

Compensation Conflict

The situation boils down to a topic covered in every introductory corporate finance class—the agency problem. BusinessDictionary.com defines an agency problem as “A conflict arising when people (the agents) entrusted to look after the interests of others (the principals) use the authority or power for their own benefit instead.”

CEOs and upper level executives are only employees of shareholders. However, minority shareholders don’t have voting control of the firm and usually don’t have the resources to organize to protect their interests. Hence, we see some outrageous pay packages. In my opinion, this money should be turned over to shareholders in the form of dividends or reinvested in the company to create real long-term value.

What is Your Opinion On High-Level Executive Compensation?

Please leave a comment on your thoughts on this issue. Any suggestions for improvements in the compensation process are most welcome.

Resources:

Questioning High Approval Rates for Executive Compensation” AAII Journal December 2012

Tower Watson Executive Pay Bulletin November 8, 2012

America’s Highest Paid CEOs”apr Forbes, April 2012