Fulcrum Financial

Author's posts

Government shutdown great for some businesses

I’m occasionally surprised by the variety of anecdotes that support theories of market efficiency and the rapid adaptation of consumer behavior in free economies. The recent government shutdown seems to have introduced one such case. CBS reports that traffic is suddenly booming for “sugar daddy” websites. The news organization quotes folks at seekingarrangement.com and whatsyourprice.com …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/10/government-shutdown-great-for-some-businesses/

It costs $241,080 to raise a child and other reasons why averages can be completely uninformative

A popular news service reported that it costs $241,080 to raise a child and then remarked, “the cost of raising a child is climbing at a rate that many families can’t keep up with.” The news agency cites falling wages and lower employment rates as support for this struggle to keep up. A host of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/10/it-costs-241080-to-raise-a-child-and-other-reasons-why-averages-can-be-completely-uninformative/

In a reversal of predictions, typing has replaced speaking

When I was in junior high school in the early 90’s, my typing teacher mournfully predicted that typing would soon become an obsolete skill. Before long, computers would type as we dictated. Her prediction was not uncommon at the time. Many were enthralled by the ability of computers to understand and type out spoken words. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/09/in-a-reversal-of-predictions-typing-has-replaced-speaking/

How the information age might have doomed REI’s generous returns policy

REI, a retailer of outdoors equipment and clothing, has ended its extremely generous merchandise returns policy. This policy allowed customers to return any REI product, no matter how much time had passed since the date of purchase, no matter the condition of the returned product, and with or without a receipt. REI’s generosity earned it …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/09/how-the-information-age-might-have-doomed-reis-generous-returns-policy/

Geniuses and dropouts must ask: is college worth it?

More school is not for everyone. In 1973, Paul Simon–the son of a college professor and elementary school teacher–recorded a lesser known song called “Kodachrome” with the lyrics: “When I think back on all the crap I’ve learned in high school It’s a wonder I can think at all Though my lack of education hasn’t …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/05/geniuses-and-dropouts-must-ask-is-college-worth-it/

It’s a rare occurrence when the DJIA moves 0.00%

Last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 14,865.06, down ever so slightly from 14,865.14, a move of 0.00%, or more precisely, -0.000538%. This non-move was especially surprising given the volatility during the day–the DJIA reached a low of 14,785.36, nearly 80 points or 0.54% below where it both started and finished. Such …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/04/its-a-rare-occurrence-when-the-djia-moves-0-00/

Be sure you’re using the right calculation when assessing portfolio performance

Many investors never evaluate their investment performance beyond simply noting gains and losses. Perhaps this is because they are not aware of how to conduct a proper evaluation. A couple basic calculations can help you better assess your portfolio returns and your financial advisor. A growth calculation is quite simple for the portfolio that never …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/04/be-sure-youre-using-the-right-calculation-when-assessing-portfolio-performance/

Has California’s tax on the rich driven out the poor and middle class?

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal identifies a paradox: (i) “conservative lore” predicted rich people would leave California in response to a massive tax increase, yet, in fact, (ii) poor and middle class people have left instead. As evidence, the article summarizes the following about those who have left the state: 1. Their …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/03/has-californias-tax-on-the-rich-driven-out-the-poor-and-middle-class/

Fumbling the Interpretation: Statistical Models and the Super Bowl

Predictionmachine.com generated a statistical model for the 2013 Super Bowl that reports a 67% probability of the 49ers winning. The probability of this outcome is different than predicting that the 49ers in fact will win. Yet such simplistic, and incorrect, interpretations are common to  Monte Carlo style models (the type of model run by Predictionmachine.com). …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/02/fumbling-the-interpretation-statistical-models-and-the-super-bowl/

Whether Simulating Super Bowls or Financial Portfolios, the Assumptions Matter

Statistical models are created by identifying influential random variables and then assigning characteristics to those variables. In the case of football, how many rushing yards the 49ers will gain is a random variable. So is the number of interceptions the Ravens will make. The formulation of a statistical model involves identifying the most important of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/01/whether-simulating-super-bowls-or-financial-portfolios-the-assumptions-matter/