Happy Birthday America! Here’s some of what I’ve been reading over the long weekend:
The Death of the American Dream I
A good long-ish editorial from the The American Interest magazine about the “American Dream”. The American Dream used to be owning your own family farm. “In 1900, 41 percent of Americans worked on farms. Today fewer than 2 percent do.” The updated Dream became lifetime employment (plus a pension of lifetime income) plus owning a home through a 30-year (half a lifetime) mortgage. There is no longer lifetime employment these days, and perhaps the government-subsidized 30-year mortgage is up next. Also see Part II.
$1 Billion That Nobody Wants
An NPR investigative article about how the US government keeps making billions of dollar coins, even though most people prefer paper bills. I suppose this answers why you can buy coins from the US mint with a credit card, enabling people to rack up credit card rewards, and also a good way to meet minimum spend requirements for the big bonus cards. I think the two options should be to either stop making paper bills, or stop spending so much money pushing dollar coins on us. Until then, since the coins exist already, we are essentially getting paid by the government to distribute them.
Fidelity’s Experience Proves Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better
Morningstar article outlines reasons why Fidelity is having some issues with their actively managed funds. One issue is manager turnover; Their average manager tenure is 3.2 years, ranked 24th out of the 25 largest firms. They also have too many funds and not enough talent for all those positions. For example, Fidelity has 17 large-growth funds geared toward retail investors alone. As they earn a big chunk of profits from retirement plans, they will be much less likely to allow unconventional managers who take risks for big returns. Also see my review of Fidelity’s Portfolio Advisory Service product.
United and Continental Merger Updates
If you haven’t heard, United and Continental are merging, and you can link your accounts and transfer miles between the two frequent flier programs at your convenience. Combine your two balances to make one award flight, for example. I’m a United Elite and I heart my Economy Plus seats. Thanks reader Michael for the tip.
The Continental OnePass Plus credit card is still offering 30,000 miles + $50, and will still work after the merger.