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Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

2 years ago

Donor-Advised Fund Tax Benefits (DAF)

Giving through a donor-advised fund can be tax-efficient. Using a donor-advised fund can reduce your tax liability while increasing your charitable impact.

Grow Your Donations Tax-Free.

Your DAF's charitable dollars can be invested before being distributed. Your DAF balance can grow with the market. This increases grantmaking funds. The assets of the DAF belong to the charitable sponsor, so you will not be taxed on any growth.

Avoid a Windfall Tax Year.

DAFs can help reduce tax burdens after a windfall like an inheritance, business sale, or strong market returns. Contributions to your DAF are immediately tax deductible, lowering your taxable income. With DAFs, you can effectively pre-fund years of giving with assets from a single high-income event.

Make a contribution to reduce or eliminate capital gains.

One of the most common ways to fund a DAF is by gifting publicly traded securities. Securities held for more than a year can be donated at fair market value and are not subject to capital gains tax. If a donor liquidates assets and then donates the proceeds to their DAF, capital gains tax reduces the amount available for philanthropy. Gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets are immediately tax deductible up to 30% of Adjusted gross income (AGI), with a five-year carry-forward for gifts that exceed AGI limits.

Using Appreciated Stock as a Gift

Donating appreciated stock directly to a DAF rather than liquidating it and donating the proceeds reduces philanthropists' tax liability by eliminating capital gains tax and lowering marginal income tax.

In the example below, a donor has $100,000 in long-term appreciated stock with a cost basis of $10,000:

Using a DAF would allow this donor to give more to charity while paying less taxes. This strategy often allows donors to give more than 20% more to their favorite causes.

For illustration purposes, this hypothetical example assumes a 35% income tax rate. All realized gains are subject to the federal long-term capital gains tax of 20% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. No other state taxes are considered.

The information provided here is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or tax advice. NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. Furthermore, the content provided here is related to taxation at the federal level only. NPT strongly encourages you to consult with your tax advisor or attorney before making charitable contributions.

More on Economics & Investing

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

1 year ago

The current inflation is unique.

New Stiglitz just dropped.

Here's the inflation story everyone believes (warning: it's false): America gave the poor too much money during the recession, and now the economy is awash with free money, which made them so rich they're refusing to work, meaning the economy isn't making anything. Prices are soaring due to increased cash and missing labor.

Lawrence Summers says there's only one answer. We must impoverish the poor: raise interest rates, cause a recession, and eliminate millions of jobs, until the poor are stripped of their underserved fortunes and return to work.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/11/20/quiet-part-out-loud/#profiteering

This is nonsense. Countries around the world suffered inflation during and after lockdowns, whether they gave out humanitarian money to keep people from starvation. America has slightly greater inflation than other OECD countries, but it's not due to big relief packages.

The Causes of and Responses to Today's Inflation, a Roosevelt Institute report by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this bogus inflation story and offers a more credible explanation for inflation.

https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/RI CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation Report 202212.pdf

Sharp interest rate hikes exacerbate the slump and increase inflation, the authors argue. They compare monetary policy inflation cures to medieval bloodletting, where doctors repeated the same treatment until the patient recovered (for which they received credit) or died (which was more likely).

Let's discuss bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn of the wage price spiral, when inflation rises and powerful workers bargain for higher pay, driving up expenses, prices, and wages. This is the fairy-tale narrative of the 1970s, and it's true except that OPEC's embargo drove up oil prices, which produced inflation. Oh well.

Let's be generous to seventies-haunted inflation hawks and say we're worried about a wage-price spiral. Fantastic! No. Real wages are 2.3% lower than they were in Oct 2021 after peaking in June at 4.8%.

Why did America's powerful workers take a paycut rather than demand inflation-based pay? Weak unions, globalization, economic developments.

Workers don't expect inflation to rise, so they're not requesting inflationary hikes. Inflationary expectations have remained moderate, consistent with our data interpretation.

https://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce#/

Neither are workers. Working people see surplus savings as wealth and spend it gradually over their lives, despite rising demand. People may have saved money by staying in during the lockdown, but they don't eat out every night to make up for it. Instead, they keep those savings as precautionary balances. This is why the economy is lagging.

People don't buy non-traded goods with pandemic savings (basically, imports). Imports don't multiply like domestic purchases. If you buy a loaf of bread from the corner baker for $1 and they spend it at the tavern across the street, that dollar generates $3 in economic activity. Spending a dollar on foreign goods leaves the country and any multiplier effect happens there, not in the US.

Only marginally higher wages. The ECI is up 1.6% from 2019. Almost all gains went to the 25% lowest-paid Americans. Contrary to the inflation worry about too much savings, these workers don't make enough to save, even post-pandemic.

Recreation and transit spending are at or below pre-pandemic levels. Higher food and hotel prices (which doesn’t mean we’re buying more food than we were in 2019, just that it costs more).

What causes inflation if not greedy workers, free money, and high demand? The most expensive domestic goods produce the biggest revenues for their manufacturers. They charge you more without paying their workers or suppliers more.

The largest price-gougers are funneling their earnings to rich people who store it offshore through stock buybacks and dividends. A $1 billion stock buyback doesn't buy $1 billion in bread.

Five factors influence US inflation today:

I. Price rises for energy and food

II. shifts in consumer tastes

III. supply interruptions (mainly autos);

IV. increased rents (due to telecommuting);

V. monopoly (AKA price-gouging).

None can be remedied by raising interest rates or laying off workers.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, omicron, and China's Zero Covid policy all disrupted the flow of food, energy, and production inputs. The price went higher because we made less.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, oil prices spiked, and sanctions made it worse. But that was February. By October, oil prices had returned to pre-pandemic, 2015 levels attributable to global economic adjustments, including a shift to renewables. Every new renewable installation reduces oil consumption and affects oil prices.

High food prices have a simple solution. The US and EU have bribed farmers not to produce for 50 years. If the war continues, this program may end, and food prices may decline.

Demand changes. We want different things than in 2019, not more. During the lockdown, people substituted goods. Half of the US toilet-paper supply in 2019 was on commercial-sized rolls. This is created from different mills and stock than our toilet paper.

Lockdown pushed toilet paper demand to residential rolls, causing shortages (the TP hoarding story was just another pandemic urban legend). Because supermarket stores don't have accounts with commercial paper distributors, ordering from languishing stores was difficult. Kleenex and paper towel substitutions caused greater shortages.

All that drove increased costs in numerous product categories, and there were more cases. These increases are transient, caused by supply chain inefficiencies that are resolving.

Demand for frontline staff saw a one-time repricing of pay, which is being recouped as we speak.

Illnesses. Brittle, hollowed-out global supply chains aggravated this. The constant pursuit of cheap labor and minimal regulation by monopolies that dominate most sectors means things are manufactured in far-flung locations. Financialization means any surplus capital assets were sold off years ago, leaving firms with little production slack. After the epidemic, several of these systems took years to restart.

Automobiles are to blame. Financialization and monopolization consolidated microchip and auto production in Taiwan and China. When the lockdowns came, these worldwide corporations cancelled their chip orders, and when they placed fresh orders, they were at the back of the line.

That drove up car prices, which is why the US has slightly higher inflation than other wealthy countries: the economy is car-centric. Automobile prices account for 9% of the CPI. France: 3.6%

Rent shocks and telecommuting. After the epidemic, many professionals moved to exurbs, small towns, and the countryside to work from home. As commercial properties were vacated, it was impractical to adapt them for residential use due to planning restrictions. Addressing these restrictions will cut rent prices more than raising inflation rates, which halts housing construction.

Statistical mirages cause some rent inflation. The CPI estimates what homeowners would pay to rent their properties. When rents rise in your neighborhood, the CPI believes you're spending more on rent even if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Market dominance. Almost every area of the US economy is dominated by monopolies, whose CEOs disclose on investor calls that they use inflation scares to jack up prices and make record profits.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/02/its-the-economy-stupid/#overinflated

Long-term profit margins are rising. Markups averaged 26% from 1960-1980. 2021: 72%. Market concentration explains 81% of markup increases (e.g. monopolization). Profit margins reach a 70-year high in 2022. These elements interact. Monopolies thin out their sectors, making them brittle and sensitive to shocks.

If we're worried about a shrinking workforce, there are more humanitarian and sensible solutions than causing a recession and mass unemployment. Instead, we may boost US production capacity by easing workers' entry into the workforce.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/06/01/factories-to-condos-pipeline/#stuff-not-money

US female workforce participation ranks towards the bottom of developed countries. Many women can't afford to work due to America's lack of daycare, low earnings, and bad working conditions in female-dominated fields. If America doesn't have enough workers, childcare subsidies and minimum wages can help.

By contrast, driving the country into recession with interest-rate hikes will reduce employment, and the last recruited (women, minorities) are the first fired and the last to be rehired. Forcing America into recession won't enhance its capacity to create what its people want; it will degrade it permanently.

Nothing the Fed does can stop price hikes from international markets, lack of supply chain investment, COVID-19 disruptions, climate change, the Ukraine war, or market power. They can worsen it. When supply problems generate inflation, raising interest rates decreases investments that can remedy shortages.

Increasing interest rates won't cut rents since landlords pass on the expenses and high rates restrict investment in new dwellings where tenants could escape the costs.

Fixing the supply fixes supply-side inflation. Increase renewables investment (as the Inflation Reduction Act does). Monopolies can be busted (as the IRA does). Reshore key goods (as the CHIPS Act does). Better pay and child care attract employees.

Windfall taxes can claw back price-gouging corporations' monopoly earnings.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/03/15/sanctions-financing/#soak-the-rich

In 2008, we ruled out fiscal solutions (bailouts for debtors) and turned to monetary policy (bank bailouts). This preserved the economy but increased inequality and eroded public trust.

Monetary policy won't help. Even monetary policy enthusiasts recognize an 18-month lag between action and result. That suggests monetary tightening is unnecessary. Like the medieval bloodletter, central bankers whose interest rate hikes don't work swiftly may do more of the same, bringing the economy to its knees.

Interest rates must rise. Zero-percent interest fueled foolish speculation and financialization. Increasing rates will stop this. Increasing interest rates will destroy the economy and dampen inflation.

Then what? All recent evidence indicate to inflation decreasing on its own, as the authors argue. Supply side difficulties are finally being overcome, evidence shows. Energy and food prices are showing considerable mean reversion, which is disinflationary.

The authors don't recommend doing nothing. Best case scenario, they argue, is that the Fed won't keep raising interest rates until morale improves.

Theresa W. Carey

Theresa W. Carey

2 years ago

How Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) Works

What is PFOF?

PFOF is a brokerage firm's compensation for directing orders to different parties for trade execution. The brokerage firm receives fractions of a penny per share for directing the order to a market maker.

Each optionable stock could have thousands of contracts, so market makers dominate options trades. Order flow payments average less than $0.50 per option contract.

Order Flow Payments (PFOF) Explained

The proliferation of exchanges and electronic communication networks has complicated equity and options trading (ECNs) Ironically, Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi schemer, pioneered pay-for-order-flow.

In a December 2000 study on PFOF, the SEC said, "Payment for order flow is a method of transferring trading profits from market making to brokers who route customer orders to specialists for execution."

Given the complexity of trading thousands of stocks on multiple exchanges, market making has grown. Market makers are large firms that specialize in a set of stocks and options, maintaining an inventory of shares and contracts for buyers and sellers. Market makers are paid the bid-ask spread. Spreads have narrowed since 2001, when exchanges switched to decimals. A market maker's ability to play both sides of trades is key to profitability.

Benefits, requirements

A broker receives fees from a third party for order flow, sometimes without a client's knowledge. This invites conflicts of interest and criticism. Regulation NMS from 2005 requires brokers to disclose their policies and financial relationships with market makers.

Your broker must tell you if it's paid to send your orders to specific parties. This must be done at account opening and annually. The firm must disclose whether it participates in payment-for-order-flow and, upon request, every paid order. Brokerage clients can request payment data on specific transactions, but the response takes weeks.

Order flow payments save money. Smaller brokerage firms can benefit from routing orders through market makers and getting paid. This allows brokerage firms to send their orders to another firm to be executed with other orders, reducing costs. The market maker or exchange benefits from additional share volume, so it pays brokerage firms to direct traffic.

Retail investors, who lack bargaining power, may benefit from order-filling competition. Arrangements to steer the business in one direction invite wrongdoing, which can erode investor confidence in financial markets and their players.

Pay-for-order-flow criticism

It has always been controversial. Several firms offering zero-commission trades in the late 1990s routed orders to untrustworthy market makers. During the end of fractional pricing, the smallest stock spread was $0.125. Options spreads widened. Traders found that some of their "free" trades cost them a lot because they weren't getting the best price.

The SEC then studied the issue, focusing on options trades, and nearly decided to ban PFOF. The proliferation of options exchanges narrowed spreads because there was more competition for executing orders. Options market makers said their services provided liquidity. In its conclusion, the report said, "While increased multiple-listing produced immediate economic benefits to investors in the form of narrower quotes and effective spreads, these improvements have been muted with the spread of payment for order flow and internalization." 

The SEC allowed payment for order flow to continue to prevent exchanges from gaining monopoly power. What would happen to trades if the practice was outlawed was also unclear. SEC requires brokers to disclose financial arrangements with market makers. Since then, the SEC has watched closely.

2020 Order Flow Payment

Rule 605 and Rule 606 show execution quality and order flow payment statistics on a broker's website. Despite being required by the SEC, these reports can be hard to find. The SEC mandated these reports in 2005, but the format and reporting requirements have changed over the years, most recently in 2018.

Brokers and market makers formed a working group with the Financial Information Forum (FIF) to standardize order execution quality reporting. Only one retail brokerage (Fidelity) and one market maker remain (Two Sigma Securities). FIF notes that the 605/606 reports "do not provide the level of information that allows a retail investor to gauge how well a broker-dealer fills a retail order compared to the NBBO (national best bid or offer’) at the time the order was received by the executing broker-dealer."

In the first quarter of 2020, Rule 606 reporting changed to require brokers to report net payments from market makers for S&P 500 and non-S&P 500 equity trades and options trades. Brokers must disclose payment rates per 100 shares by order type (market orders, marketable limit orders, non-marketable limit orders, and other orders).

Richard Repetto, Managing Director of New York-based Piper Sandler & Co., publishes a report on Rule 606 broker reports. Repetto focused on Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-TRADE, and Robinhood in Q2 2020. Repetto reported that payment for order flow was higher in the second quarter than the first due to increased trading activity, and that options paid more than equities.

Repetto says PFOF contributions rose overall. Schwab has the lowest options rates, while TD Ameritrade and Robinhood have the highest. Robinhood had the highest equity rating. Repetto assumes Robinhood's ability to charge higher PFOF reflects their order flow profitability and that they receive a fixed rate per spread (vs. a fixed rate per share by the other brokers).

Robinhood's PFOF in equities and options grew the most quarter-over-quarter of the four brokers Piper Sandler analyzed, as did their implied volumes. All four brokers saw higher PFOF rates.

TD Ameritrade took the biggest income hit when cutting trading commissions in fall 2019, and this report shows they're trying to make up the shortfall by routing orders for additional PFOF. Robinhood refuses to disclose trading statistics using the same metrics as the rest of the industry, offering only a vague explanation on their website.

Summary

Payment for order flow has become a major source of revenue as brokers offer no-commission equity (stock and ETF) orders. For retail investors, payment for order flow poses a problem because the brokerage may route orders to a market maker for its own benefit, not the investor's.

Infrequent or small-volume traders may not notice their broker's PFOF practices. Frequent traders and those who trade larger quantities should learn about their broker's order routing system to ensure they're not losing out on price improvement due to a broker prioritizing payment for order flow.


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Adam Hayes

Adam Hayes

2 years ago

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff, the largest Ponzi scheme in history

Madoff who?

Bernie Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over at least 17 years, and possibly longer. He pioneered electronic trading and chaired Nasdaq in the 1990s. On April 14, 2021, he died while serving a 150-year sentence for money laundering, securities fraud, and other crimes.

Understanding Madoff

Madoff claimed to generate large, steady returns through a trading strategy called split-strike conversion, but he simply deposited client funds into a single bank account and paid out existing clients. He funded redemptions by attracting new investors and their capital, but the market crashed in late 2008. He confessed to his sons, who worked at his firm, on Dec. 10, 2008. Next day, they turned him in. The fund reported $64.8 billion in client assets.

Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felony counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, and money laundering. Ponzi scheme became a symbol of Wall Street's greed and dishonesty before the financial crisis. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170 billion, but no other Wall Street figures faced legal ramifications.

Bernie Madoff's Brief Biography

Bernie Madoff was born in Queens, New York, on April 29, 1938. He began dating Ruth (née Alpern) when they were teenagers. Madoff told a journalist by phone from prison that his father's sporting goods store went bankrupt during the Korean War: "You watch your father, who you idolize, build a big business and then lose everything." Madoff was determined to achieve "lasting success" like his father "whatever it took," but his career had ups and downs.

Early Madoff investments

At 22, he started Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. First, he traded penny stocks with $5,000 he earned installing sprinklers and as a lifeguard. Family and friends soon invested with him. Madoff's bets soured after the "Kennedy Slide" in 1962, and his father-in-law had to bail him out.

Madoff felt he wasn't part of the Wall Street in-crowd. "We weren't NYSE members," he told Fishman. "It's obvious." According to Madoff, he was a scrappy market maker. "I was happy to take the crumbs," he told Fishman, citing a client who wanted to sell eight bonds; a bigger firm would turn it down.

Recognition

Success came when he and his brother Peter built electronic trading capabilities, or "artificial intelligence," that attracted massive order flow and provided market insights. "I had all these major banks coming down, entertaining me," Madoff told Fishman. "It was mind-bending."

By the late 1980s, he and four other Wall Street mainstays processed half of the NYSE's order flow. Controversially, he paid for much of it, and by the late 1980s, Madoff was making in the vicinity of $100 million a year.  He was Nasdaq chairman from 1990 to 1993.

Madoff's Ponzi scheme

It is not certain exactly when Madoff's Ponzi scheme began. He testified in court that it began in 1991, but his account manager, Frank DiPascali, had been at the firm since 1975.

Why Madoff did the scheme is unclear. "I had enough money to support my family's lifestyle. "I don't know why," he told Fishman." Madoff could have won Wall Street's respect as a market maker and electronic trading pioneer.

Madoff told Fishman he wasn't solely responsible for the fraud. "I let myself be talked into something, and that's my fault," he said, without saying who convinced him. "I thought I could escape eventually. I thought it'd be quick, but I couldn't."

Carl Shapiro, Jeffry Picower, Stanley Chais, and Norm Levy have been linked to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC for years. Madoff's scheme made these men hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1960s and 1970s.

Madoff told Fishman, "Everyone was greedy, everyone wanted to go on." He says the Big Four and others who pumped client funds to him, outsourcing their asset management, must have suspected his returns or should have. "How can you make 15%-18% when everyone else is making less?" said Madoff.

How Madoff Got Away with It for So Long

Madoff's high returns made clients look the other way. He deposited their money in a Chase Manhattan Bank account, which merged to become JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2000. The bank may have made $483 million from those deposits, so it didn't investigate.

When clients redeemed their investments, Madoff funded the payouts with new capital he attracted by promising unbelievable returns and earning his victims' trust. Madoff created an image of exclusivity by turning away clients. This model let half of Madoff's investors profit. These investors must pay into a victims' fund for defrauded investors.

Madoff wooed investors with his philanthropy. He defrauded nonprofits, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Peace and Hadassah. He approached congregants through his friendship with J. Ezra Merkin, a synagogue officer. Madoff allegedly stole $1 billion to $2 billion from his investors.

Investors believed Madoff for several reasons:

  • His public portfolio seemed to be blue-chip stocks.
  • His returns were high (10-20%) but consistent and not outlandish. In a 1992 interview with Madoff, the Wall Street Journal reported: "[Madoff] insists the returns were nothing special, given that the S&P 500-stock index returned 16.3% annually from 1982 to 1992. 'I'd be surprised if anyone thought matching the S&P over 10 years was remarkable,' he says.
  • "He said he was using a split-strike collar strategy. A collar protects underlying shares by purchasing an out-of-the-money put option.

SEC inquiry

The Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating Madoff and his securities firm since 1999, which frustrated many after he was prosecuted because they felt the biggest damage could have been prevented if the initial investigations had been rigorous enough.

Harry Markopolos was a whistleblower. In 1999, he figured Madoff must be lying in an afternoon. The SEC ignored his first Madoff complaint in 2000.

Markopolos wrote to the SEC in 2005: "The largest Ponzi scheme is Madoff Securities. This case has no SEC reward, so I'm turning it in because it's the right thing to do."

Many believed the SEC's initial investigations could have prevented Madoff's worst damage.

Markopolos found irregularities using a "Mosaic Method." Madoff's firm claimed to be profitable even when the S&P fell, which made no mathematical sense given what he was investing in. Markopolos said Madoff Securities' "undisclosed commissions" were the biggest red flag (1 percent of the total plus 20 percent of the profits).

Markopolos concluded that "investors don't know Bernie Madoff manages their money." Markopolos learned Madoff was applying for large loans from European banks (seemingly unnecessary if Madoff's returns were high).

The regulator asked Madoff for trading account documentation in 2005, after he nearly went bankrupt due to redemptions. The SEC drafted letters to two of the firms on his six-page list but didn't send them. Diana Henriques, author of "The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust," documents the episode.

In 2008, the SEC was criticized for its slow response to Madoff's fraud.

Confession, sentencing of Bernie Madoff

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC reported 5.6% year-to-date returns in November 2008; the S&P 500 fell 39%. As the selling continued, Madoff couldn't keep up with redemption requests, and on Dec. 10, he confessed to his sons Mark and Andy, who worked at his firm. "After I told them, they left, went to a lawyer, who told them to turn in their father, and I never saw them again. 2008-12-11: Bernie Madoff arrested.

Madoff insists he acted alone, but several of his colleagues were jailed. Mark Madoff died two years after his father's fraud was exposed. Madoff's investors committed suicide. Andy Madoff died of cancer in 2014.

2009 saw Madoff's 150-year prison sentence and $170 billion forfeiture. Marshals sold his three homes and yacht. Prisoner 61727-054 at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina.

Madoff's lawyers requested early release on February 5, 2020, claiming he has a terminal kidney disease that may kill him in 18 months. Ten years have passed since Madoff's sentencing.

Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme aftermath

The paper trail of victims' claims shows Madoff's complexity and size. Documents show Madoff's scam began in the 1960s. His final account statements show $47 billion in "profit" from fake trades and shady accounting.

Thousands of investors lost their life savings, and multiple stories detail their harrowing loss.

Irving Picard, a New York lawyer overseeing Madoff's bankruptcy, has helped investors. By December 2018, Picard had recovered $13.3 billion from Ponzi scheme profiteers.

A Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) was created in 2013 to help compensate Madoff's victims, but the DOJ didn't start paying out the $4 billion until late 2017. Richard Breeden, a former SEC chair who oversees the fund, said thousands of claims were from "indirect investors"

Breeden and his team had to reject many claims because they weren't direct victims. Breeden said he based most of his decisions on one simple rule: Did the person invest more than they withdrew? Breeden estimated 11,000 "feeder" investors.

Breeden wrote in a November 2018 update for the Madoff Victim Fund, "We've paid over 27,300 victims 56.65% of their losses, with thousands more to come." In December 2018, 37,011 Madoff victims in the U.S. and around the world received over $2.7 billion. Breeden said the fund expected to make "at least one more significant distribution in 2019"


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Darius Foroux

Darius Foroux

1 year ago

My financial life was changed by a single, straightforward mental model.

Prioritize big-ticket purchases

I've made several spending blunders. I get sick thinking about how much money I spent.

My financial mental model was poor back then.

Stoicism and mindfulness keep me from attaching to those feelings. It still hurts.

Until four or five years ago, I bought a new winter jacket every year.

Ten years ago, I spent twice as much. Now that I have a fantastic, warm winter parka, I don't even consider acquiring another one. No more spending. I'm not looking for jackets either.

Saving time and money by spending well is my thinking paradigm.

The philosophy is expressed in most languages. Cheap is expensive in the Netherlands. This applies beyond shopping.

In this essay, I will offer three examples of how this mental paradigm transformed my financial life.

Publishing books

In 2015, I presented and positioned my first book poorly.

I called the book Huge Life Success and made a funny Canva cover in 30 minutes. This:

That looks nothing like my present books. No logo or style. The book felt amateurish.

The book started bothering me a few weeks after publication. The advice was good, but it didn't appear professional. I studied the book business extensively.

I created a style for all my designs. Branding. Win Your Inner Wars was reissued a year later.

Title, cover, and description changed. Rearranging the chapters improved readability.

Seven years later, the book sells hundreds of copies a month. That taught me a lot.

Rushing to finish a project is enticing. Send it and move forward.

Avoid rushing everything. Relax. Develop your projects. Perform well. Perform the job well.

My first novel was underfunded and underworked. A bad book arrived. I then invested time and money in writing the greatest book I could.

That book still sells.

Traveling

I hate travel. Airports, flights, trains, and lines irritate me.

But, I enjoy traveling to beautiful areas.

I do it strangely. I make up travel rules. I never go to airports in summer. I hate being near airports on holidays. Unworthy.

No vacation packages for me. Those airline packages with a flight, shuttle, and hotel. I've had enough.

I try to avoid crowds and popular spots. July Paris? Nuts and bolts, please. Christmas in NYC? No, please keep me sane.

I fly business class behind. I accept upgrades upon check-in. I prefer driving. I drove from the Netherlands to southern Spain.

Thankfully, no lines. What if travel costs more? Thus? I enjoy it from the start. I start traveling then.

I rarely travel since I'm so difficult. One great excursion beats several average ones.

Personal effectiveness

New apps, tools, and strategies intrigue most productivity professionals.

No.

I researched years ago. I spent years investigating productivity in university.

I bought books, courses, applications, and tools. It was expensive and time-consuming.

Im finished. Productivity no longer costs me time or money. OK. I worked on it once and now follow my strategy.

I avoid new programs and systems. My stuff works. Why change winners?

Spending wisely saves time and money.

Spending wisely means spending once. Many people ignore productivity. It's understudied. No classes.

Some assume reading a few articles or a book is enough. Productivity is personal. You need a personal system.

Time invested is one-time. You can trust your system for life once you find it.

Concentrate on the expensive choices.

Life's short. Saving money quickly is enticing.

Spend less on groceries today. True. That won't fix your finances.

Adopt a lifestyle that makes you affluent over time. Consider major choices.

Are they causing long-term poverty? Are you richer?

Leasing cars comes to mind. The automobile costs a fortune today. The premium could accomplish a million nice things.

Focusing on important decisions makes life easier. Consider your future. You want to improve next year.

Patryk Nawrocki

Patryk Nawrocki

1 year ago

7 things a new UX/UI designer should know

If I could tell my younger self a few rules, they would boost my career.

1. Treat design like medicine; don't get attached.

If it doesn't help, you won't be angry, but you'll try to improve it. Designers blame others if they don't like the design, but the rule is the same: we solve users' problems. You're not your design, and neither are they. Be humble with your work because your assumptions will often be wrong and users will behave differently.

2. Consider your design flawed.

Disagree with yourself, then defend your ideas. Most designers forget to dig deeper into a pattern, screen, button, or copywriting. If someone asked, "Have you considered alternatives? How does this design stack up? Here's a functional UX checklist to help you make design decisions.

3. Codeable solutions.

If your design requires more developer time, consider whether it's worth spending more money to code something with a small UX impact. Overthinking problems and designing abstract patterns is easy. Sometimes you see something on dribbble or bechance and try to recreate it, but it's not worth it. Here's my article on it.

4. Communication changes careers

Designers often talk with users, clients, companies, developers, and other designers. How you talk and present yourself can land you a job. Like driving or swimming, practice it. Success requires being outgoing and friendly. If I hadn't said "hello" to a few people, I wouldn't be where I am now.

5. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Copyright, taxation How often have you used an icon without checking its license? If you use someone else's work in your project, the owner can cause you a lot of problems — paying a lot of money isn't worth it. Spend a few hours reading about copyrights, client agreements, and taxes.

6. Always test your design

If nobody has seen or used my design, it's not finished. Ask friends about prototypes. Testing reveals how wrong your assumptions were. Steve Krug, one of the authorities on this topic will tell you more about how to do testing.

7. Run workshops

A UX designer's job involves talking to people and figuring out what they need, which is difficult because they usually don't know. Organizing teamwork sessions is a powerful skill, but you must also be a good listener. Your job is to help a quiet, introverted developer express his solution and control the group. AJ Smart has more on workshops here.

ANDREW SINGER

ANDREW SINGER

2 years ago

Crypto seen as the ‘future of money’ in inflation-mired countries

Crypto as the ‘future of money' in inflation-stricken nations

Citizens of devalued currencies “need” crypto. “Nice to have” in the developed world.

According to Gemini's 2022 Global State of Crypto report, cryptocurrencies “evolved from what many considered a niche investment into an established asset class” last year.

More than half of crypto owners in Brazil (51%), Hong Kong (51%), and India (54%), according to the report, bought cryptocurrency for the first time in 2021.

The study found that inflation and currency devaluation are powerful drivers of crypto adoption, especially in emerging market (EM) countries:

“Respondents in countries that have seen a 50% or greater devaluation of their currency against the USD over the last decade were more than 5 times as likely to plan to purchase crypto in the coming year.”

Between 2011 and 2021, the real lost 218 percent of its value against the dollar, and 45 percent of Brazilians surveyed by Gemini said they planned to buy crypto in 2019.

The rand (South Africa's currency) has fallen 103 percent in value over the last decade, second only to the Brazilian real, and 32 percent of South Africans expect to own crypto in the coming year. Mexico and India, the third and fourth highest devaluation countries, followed suit.

Compared to the US dollar, Hong Kong and the UK currencies have not devalued in the last decade. Meanwhile, only 5% and 8% of those surveyed in those countries expressed interest in buying crypto.

What can be concluded? Noah Perlman, COO of Gemini, sees various crypto use cases depending on one's location. 

‘Need to have' investment in countries where the local currency has devalued against the dollar, whereas in the developed world it is still seen as a ‘nice to have'.

Crypto as money substitute

As an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, Winston Ma distinguishes between an asset used as an inflation hedge and one used as a currency replacement.

Unlike gold, he believes Bitcoin (BTC) is not a “inflation hedge”. They acted more like growth stocks in 2022. “Bitcoin correlated more closely with the S&P 500 index — and Ether with the NASDAQ — than gold,” he told Cointelegraph. But in the developing world, things are different:

“Inflation may be a primary driver of cryptocurrency adoption in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and Mexico.”

According to Justin d'Anethan, institutional sales director at the Amber Group, a Singapore-based digital asset firm, early adoption was driven by countries where currency stability and/or access to proper banking services were issues. Simply put, he said, developing countries want alternatives to easily debased fiat currencies.

“The larger flows may still come from institutions and developed countries, but the actual users may come from places like Lebanon, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia.”

“Inflation is one of the factors that has and continues to drive adoption of Bitcoin and other crypto assets globally,” said Sean Stein Smith, assistant professor of economics and business at Lehman College.

But it's only one factor, and different regions have different factors, says Stein Smith. As a “instantaneously accessible, traceable, and cost-effective transaction option,” investors and entrepreneurs increasingly recognize the benefits of crypto assets. Other places promote crypto adoption due to “potential capital gains and returns”.

According to the report, “legal uncertainty around cryptocurrency,” tax questions, and a general education deficit could hinder adoption in Asia Pacific and Latin America. In Africa, 56% of respondents said more educational resources were needed to explain cryptocurrencies.

Not only inflation, but empowering our youth to live better than their parents without fear of failure or allegiance to legacy financial markets or products, said Monica Singer, ConsenSys South Africa lead. Also, “the issue of cash and remittances is huge in Africa, as is the issue of social grants.”

Money's future?

The survey found that Brazil and Indonesia had the most cryptocurrency ownership. In each country, 41% of those polled said they owned crypto. Only 20% of Americans surveyed said they owned cryptocurrency.

These markets are more likely to see cryptocurrencies as the future of money. The survey found:

“The majority of respondents in Latin America (59%) and Africa (58%) say crypto is the future of money.”
Brazil (66%), Nigeria (63%), Indonesia (61%), and South Africa (57%). Europe and Australia had the fewest believers, with Denmark at 12%, Norway at 15%, and Australia at 17%.

Will the Ukraine conflict impact adoption?

The poll was taken before the war. Will the devastating conflict slow global crypto adoption growth?

With over $100 million in crypto donations directly requested by the Ukrainian government since the war began, Stein Smith says the war has certainly brought crypto into the mainstream conversation.

“This real-world demonstration of decentralized money's power could spur wider adoption, policy debate, and increased use of crypto as a medium of exchange.”
But the war may not affect all developing nations. “The Ukraine war has no impact on African demand for crypto,” Others loom larger. “Yes, inflation, but also a lack of trust in government in many African countries, and a young demographic very familiar with mobile phones and the internet.”

A major success story like Mpesa in Kenya has influenced the continent and may help accelerate crypto adoption. Creating a plan when everyone you trust fails you is directly related to the African spirit, she said.

On the other hand, Ma views the Ukraine conflict as a sort of crisis check for cryptocurrencies. For those in emerging markets, the Ukraine-Russia war has served as a “stress test” for the cryptocurrency payment rail, he told Cointelegraph.

“These emerging markets may see the greatest future gains in crypto adoption.”
Inflation and currency devaluation are persistent global concerns. In such places, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now seen as the “future of money.” Not in the developed world, but that could change with better regulation and education. Inflation and its impact on cash holdings are waking up even Western nations.

Read original post here.