In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.The U.S. was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
People jacked up about income inequality can find a new hobby. The 1% are victims of a doomsday machine, and the countdown is ticking. Machine, thy name is “family.”This came to mind as I was reading a preview of Columbia Professor Andrew Ang’s forthcoming, must-read book on Asset Management. Ang is that oxymoron, an exciting […]
Here’s a fun fact: Although we all hate the U.S. dollar, as it continues to hemorrhage wealth, its foothold as the world’s reserve currency isn’t going to disappear overnight.A Russian gas deal with China won’t change that — as we’ll highlight below.But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into a story that’s right […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
“As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress of the United States. It is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding […]
The Keynesian disaster recovery plan has been to lower rates, force people to take more risk in search of yield, and entice others to borrow and spend and, magically, more jobs will be created. If people won’t buy stocks, central banks will.Back in 2011, Ben Bernanke, when asked if QE2 was driving up stock prices, […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices are rising at a 2.1% annual rate. This suggests to us that the current stock market boom will die with a bang, rather than a whimper.Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why […]
Entrepreneurs are high-tailing it out of the United States, and it’s the politicians’ faultThe U.S. government is driving some of its most productive citizens abroad. The only beneficiaries are countries such as Singapore and Switzerland, which offer sanctuary to Americans fleeing avaricious Uncle Sam.Three years ago Eduardo Saverin, one of Facebook’s founders, joined 1,780 other […]
Politicians love raising the minimum wage because they don’t have to ask voters to pay more in taxes. They just dump the costs onto shop owners. But they don’t act like politicians and go into debt to pretend like they have all the money in the world. They face real world situations. And sometimes that means replacing workers with more affordable options...
As the world gets more digital, people forget about the benefits of transacting in cash. And government officials know that.
The experts will tell you the recession is over, but they’re only torturing the data to hide the truth. The economy never recovered from the downturn it experienced. But the downturn happened in 2000, not 2008. The country’s been in the middle of a 14 year recession and hardly anyone knows the truth.
Every time Bitcoin crashes, it winds up at a price greater than it’s previous high. Yet the experts still call it a currency fad that will fade away. But a little over a year since it really took up, the digital currency is still going strong, and is once again seeing its price rise. But is there another reason why people are buying Bitcoins.
All paper currency has a shelf life. It could be 5 years or 500 years, but at some point, the value of any paper currency eventually reaches zero. That's why, for centuries, people have turned to one shiny metal to safeguard their personal store of wealth. And, as Jim Rickards explains, you still have that option. Read on...
Harold Hamm isn’t your typical entrepreneur. His life’s story shows you success in America doesn’t always depend on a fat checkbook
It’s a destructive cycle that comes around everytime your politicians ask you to take to the polls. The government’s meddling creates unexpected problems that eventually overshadow the planners’ original intentions. But that only leads the way for even more interventions.
Politicians love inflation. It’s a way to pay for the government’s debts without upsetting the public by raising taxes, or their special interests by cutting government. So they’ll flood the economy with easy money and eat away at your savings. But that’s only part of the story...
You can count the number of people who went to jail over the 2008 financial crisis on one hand. Which is strange considering the U.S. loves to put people away in jail. But as one author discovered in his most recent book, having the right connections and a big enough bank account, can protect you from even the worst crimes.
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
“So we have, indeed, had a disappointingly slow recovery, and our consistent expectations for a pickup in growth have been dashed over a number of years… And the labor market is behaving in some perplexing ways and showing patterns that are novel.”–Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen in a speech to the Economic Club of New […]
When Michael Lewis’ new book Flash Boys came out, the author caused a stir while making the media rounds to promote it. “The stock market is rigged,” he told 60 Minutes flatly. His comments set off a firestorm of debate as to whether sharp techies and their fast computers are screwing small investors.As titillating as […]
Why Is U.S. Health Care So Much More Expensive?After years of research and many conversations with health policy experts, I see three key culprits of expensive health care in the U.S.In no particular order, they are the third-party payer system (i.e., employer-provided health care), malpractice suits, and administrative support costs/paperwork.The unintended consequence of institutionalized employer-provided […]
When you think of economists, you might think of policy pundits arguing ideas on how to fix the country’s stagnant economy. But that’s only part of their job. Most of the time, their job boils down to decision-making, and how to make the best decision based on your particular circumstance.
Economists aren’t physicists. But they sure do like to act like they are sometimes. When scientists reach a consensus about something, it usually means they’re breaking new ground on a theory based on hard facts and proven evidence. When economists agree on something, it shows the limitations of a field that tries to model how humans are supposed to behave. And that’s where the danger lies. Especially when it comes to things like U.S. Treasurys.
Those of us in our 50s grew up going to the movies. But only occasionally does Hollywood take its eye off the 2 to 24 age group to make movies about something other than vampires, superheroes and animated whatever.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is different. It is a sweet story acted by a stellar cast in their 60s and 70s aimed at an audience over 50. It hits the target: the first wave of 78 million baby boomers is retiring, or hoping to.
Costing only $10 million to make, Marigold has grossed over $100 million.
Outsourcing a retirement is not something anyone wants to do. Going somewhere exotic might be fun for a week or month, but learning a new language just to transact day-to-day business, in unfamiliar surroundings, is a frightening prospect as you turn 60 or 70.
“Is this all that 40 years in the civil service will buy?” Jean Ainslie (Penelope Wilton) disgustedly asks her husband, Douglas (Bill Nighy), as they tour a modest cottage in an English retirement village, replete with handrails and panic buttons.
So the Ainslies become customers of Sonny Kapoor’s (Dev Patel’s) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a British comedy-drama based on Deborah Moggach’s 2004 novel, These Foolish Things, and directed by John Madden.
Joining the Ainslies are fellow retirees Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench), Graham Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson), Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith), Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup) and Madge
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Hardcastle (Celia Imrie).
Sonny is the No. 3 son of a wealthy family from Delhi. The Marigold is an aging palace that his father left to his brothers and him, but the others sons are too busy with their successful careers and have no interest in the place. Sonny has big dreams, and a big idea: Retirees around the world must find cheaper places to retire. The Marigold can be just the place.
Like any wild-eyed entrepreneur, Sonny believes 100% in his idea, but lacks capital and management skills. Sonny’s mother wants him to return to Delhi for an arranged marriage. His brothers want the hotel knocked down and the land sold. So it is dust, cobwebs, broken facets and an exuberant Sonny that greet the retirees after braving a difficult journey to get there.
Retired High Court Judge Graham grew up in India. He wishes to return there to explore a secret from his childhood. Money is not his issue. Money was not on randy Norman’s mind, either. The other retirees have different stories, illustrating how a person can end up in retirement empty-handed.
Widowed housewife Evelyn, who had never worked a job in her life, must find a job to pay for her Marigold stay. Her home was sold to pay off her late husband’s debts. Madge is currently in between husbands, with no prospects in sight.
And after caring for the house and books of a single family for decades, the bigoted Muriel was let go for a younger replacement, leaving her bitter and broken. She reluctantly opts for the India trip to have her hip replaced there, rather than wait six months in England.
Most of the party do their best to adapt to this strange land filled with bright colors, masses of people, grinding poverty and stifling bureaucracy. A bitter Mrs. Ainslie refuses to explore and spends her days at the Marigold reading Tulip Fever, a novel set in 1630s Amsterdam, capturing that city’s frenzy of commerce and mania in tulip bulb prices.
Meanwhile, her husband takes great delight in exploring new places, only to have Jean ridicule him each day when he returns to the Marigold for tea in the late afternoon.
In Tulip Fever, author Deborah Moggach effectively portrays a man caught up in a mania. The artist begins to neglect his work, be negligent in his grooming and is totally obsessed with trading tulip bulbs. He leaves his painting entirely to his apprentice. He has great success trading and then hatches a plan to mortgage everything to raise the money needed for his lover and him (the wife of the man who commissioned him) to run away together.
Jan the artist tells his lover, Sophia, “Luck’s been on our side, all these weeks. Tell me we should put all our eggs into one basket!”
Moggach writes, “He means, of course, the risk beyond all risks: the most dangerous risk of all. The king of kings, the Semper Augustus. Claes van Hooghelande has one bulb left.”
In the movie, Jean and Douglas are caught up in a frenzy of their own. They had dumped all of their retirement funds into their daughter’s Internet startup company, and of course, they were to be rich once the venture went public. But news about company progress is spare, and their daughter is uncommunicative.
The droll, easygoing Douglas takes it all in stride. But the regret-filled Jean blames Douglas for everything. She’s not enjoying the life she’s entitled to, that is, a life their daughter’s startup was to make possible. Instead, Jean’s stuck in India in a dilapidated hotel, eating food too spicy for her English palate. Her only brief moment of joy comes when Graham tells her the chef has agreed to simply grill the chicken for that night’s meal.
Retirees have time, but only some have the money to enjoy it the way they’d like. That’s the lesson in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Putting your head in the financial sand and depending upon others will have you working through retirement or pathetically trolling in bars for someone to take care of you.