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Defying the odds and Social Security benefits

For a blast out of the past, I suggest attending your 50th high school reunion as soon as the opportunity arises. My 50th back in Springfield, Vt., last week was a Norman Rockwell scene that included an alumni day parade through a one-stoplight, brick-building town -- a parade complete with marching bands, class floats and a trailer with chairs for my classmates who couldn't have walked two miles. Later, at a dinner party in the evening, we were squinting at each other's name tags and reminiscing.

Private equity industry facing tough times

"Schadenfreude" describes the feeling of smug satisfaction someone might gain upon hearing about the bad luck of someone else. It is not a good character trait.

Nevertheless, I found myself like Peter Seller's "Dr. Strangelove" having to yank my hand back down after reading that the private equity industry was in trouble these days. My initial burst of satisfaction was tempered by what the troubles of these grossly overpaid people could mean for the rest of us.

Future Trends 2012

When 85-year-old Yogi Berra opines, “the future ain’t what it used to be,” it should be a reminder of how impossible it is to predict coming events with any accuracy. The best we can hope for is an educated guess. One of the best forward indicators, actually, is the bulls/bears+bulls index. Historically, when money managers as a group are more than 50 percent bullish, the market usually tanks soon after and vice versa. At least investment professionals are good for something, even if it’s not for what they would want us to think they know. That index is still bearish.

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