ExxonMobil Stock This Generation

The ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM), the largest of the “Seven Sisters” that originally comprised the Standard Oil Trust brought to the market by John Rockefeller in 1882, provides one of the most important lessons on what it means to be a long-term investor.

With cyclical stocks, I find it difficult to pound it into both the heads and hearts of my audience just how long it can take for an investment thesis to come to fruition.

If you invest in the oil majors, you almost have to dedicate yourself to become an income investor because the investment returns in the sector are so non-linear.

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How Does A Reverse Mortgage Work?

Reverse mortgages work by permitting a borrower to take out money with no immediate requirement for repayment (the house is offered as security for the reverse mortgage lender’s loan).

There is nothing particularly unique about a reverse mortgage that separates it from other real estate transactions except for the fact that the date upon which the bank collects repayment is less definite than traditional loans that involve real estate.

Typically, these types of mortgages come with three variations. Some lenders provide borrowers with an immediate lump sum payment, others provide smaller lump-sum payments in a manner that mimic a home equity line of credit, and the third option—which is most recently discussed, involves a lender paying the borrower a fixed monthly income.

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When Instagram Changed Its Terms of Service

When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $715 million, it got its hands on the four hundred million user base that was severely under-monetized. So what’s the first thing that Facebook decided to do? Why, of course, change the rules so that the user base would enjoy diminished rights and the Facebook-controlled Instagram could take greater commercial advantage of the activities that occur on the image-sharing site that it hosts.

To achieve this, Facebook’s law firms, one of which was rumored to be Charlie Munger’s firm of Munger, Tolles, and Olson, announced that it was changing its terms of service in December 2012 and if you didn’t like it, you had until January 19, 2013 to object by deactivating your account.

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Average 401(k) Balance by Age: The Full Data Set

It took me awhile, but I finally compiled a data set that tracks the average 401(k) by age for American workers from age 25 through 67. It was difficult to get a full apples-to-apples comparison because some studies use premises like “assuming two years of employment with a job before calculating” and also the data sources rely on averages rather than medians which has the affect of an upward skew because people with millions of dollars in a 401(k) raise the numbers of what is “typical.”

My view is that it looks like a good chunk of Americans waste the opportunity in their late 30s to sock aside a meaningful amount for retirement. By age 35, the average American has a little over $32,000 in a 401(k). But over the next four years, the amount only goes up to $39,000. Without factoring in any capital appreciation, that suggests a monthly savings rate in the realm of $140-$150. Because we don’t know the investment gains for the typical investor between those ages, we can at least establish that this is the upper boundary.

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Alexander Hamilton’s One Share in the Bank of New York Stock

Many people know that Alexander Hamilton was the founder of the Bank of New York in 1784. A topic of less regular discussion is the fact that neither Hamilton nor his estate benefitted substantially from his magnificent creation as Hamilton only held one share in his name.

Despite working tirelessly to launch the Bank of New York, which exists today as BNY Mellon, Alexander Hamilton did not furnish or demand any capital in the bank and did not gain riches from it.

How did this come to be?

In 1783, New York attorney Robert Livingston—who was one of the five Founding Fathers that drafted the Declaration of Independence alongside John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—wanted to create a “land bank.”

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