Periscope Newsletter & Blog

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Periscope Weekly Investment Newsletter.

April Fool's Day

No foolin':  We are living longer these days.  We see evidence of this trend in the form of lower life insurance rates, longer retirements, and the emergence of post-retirement careers. This increase in lifespans means that many more families will grapple with long-term care than in previous generations.  In fact, 70% of people turning age 65 will use long-term care during their lives. (1) To learn the basics, Click Here to visit the Department of Health and Human Services' newly
redesigned web site.

The field of long-term care insurance is also evolving as we live longer.  When we purchase long-term care insurance, we are transferring risk that we don't want to an insurance company.  When we buy life insurance, we transfer mortality risk.  When we buy long-term care insurance, we transfer morbidity risk.  In 2013, long-term care insurance claims increased 13% to $7.5 billion. (2)

Taking its cues from the life insurance industry, long-term care insurance companies introduced gender-based pricing last year.  They also started asking more detailed medical questions and conducting medical exams during the underwriting process instead of relyingsolely on family history and health questionnaires. Conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and diabetes have a high risk of morbidity.  What does this mean?  If you are woman with arthritis, it may be difficult, or at least expensive, to purchase long-term careinsurance.  The news isn't all bad: Long-term care insurance companies are adjusting their practices so that they are sustainable.  This is good news because we want them to be here when we need them, over the long-haul.

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Concussions and Stock Markets

Unfortunately, I've recently witnessed my lovely, ski-racing daughter go through a concussion. The experience is terrifying for us parents! She's going to be fine, but it's not pleasant to watch someone you love experience dizzy spells and short-term memory loss.
This dizzying, short-term memory-loss stock market is not nearly as disturbing. Even with the millions of dollars we have invested in it, the market is acting normal. As I've said many times, if you're watching the news to find out what's going on in the stock market, you're missing the point. 
The news media will not tell you what's going on, they'll sell you what is scary.

What's driving the market? A major theme that our analysts at Litman Gregory say will likely last longer than any of us think, is the easy money policies of many countries in the world. Interest rates, in as much as they can be controlled by any force, will remain lower longer than we may think possible. The recent turbulence in the market is below normal--not above it.  In fact, the amount of instant information we have access to is above normal. I believe that, over time, we will treat the financial news media as noise because, largely, it is. 


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