Weekend reads: Ray Dalio on what business and political leaders must do to keep the U.S. from splintering

Weekend reads: Ray Dalio on what business and political leaders must do to keep the U.S. from splintering

Ray Dalio is a billionaire fund manager. He’s an ardent capitalist but sees an imbalance that threatens the U.S., which he calls a “75-year empire” in decline.

In an interview with Jonathan Burton, Dalio lays out what he thinks U.S. business leaders and politicians should be doing to better allocate wealth and what investors should do to protect themselves.

A few big winners and a lot of pain

An index may not reflect what is really going on in the stock market. The S&P 500 Index
SPX,
-1.11%

 has returned 5.3% this year, with dividends reinvested, through Sept. 19. But the benchmark index is weighted by market capitalization, with the FAANG stocks, plus Microsoft
MSFT,
-1.24%
,
making up 24% of its total value. Look at how well those tech giants have performed this year:

Now consider that among the S&P 500, 55% of stocks are actually down this year, even with dividends reinvested.

This year’s tech-dominated stock market action has reflected the obvious need to expand investment in cloud technology and connectivity. But Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, expects the investment focus to change, as she explained in an interview with Howard Gold.

Value among chip company stocks

This may surprise you — semiconductor stocks as a group trade at a low valuation to earnings estimates, compared with the S&P 500, despite the industry’s rapid growth.

Cyclists take a break in Bloomington, Ind.


Zach Dobson/courtesy Visit Bloomington

Retiring to a friendly place for cycling … and excellent beer

Silvia Ascarelli helps a reader who plans to retire on a military pension in five years and move to a place away from heat and humidity, with low or no state income tax, that is safe for cycling and known for craft beer. Here are several possible destinations.

Don’t expect a vaccine miracle

It’s understandable to be hopeful that one or several Covid-19 vaccines will enable a return to some semblance of normal life over the next several months. But Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who co-invented the rotavirus vaccine, explained why masks will still be needed even after vaccines are deployed, in an interview with Jaimy Lee.

Family, money, conflict

Quentin Fottrell — MarketWatch’s Moneyist — works through a number of sticky situations with readers this week:

• My family paid $7K for my uncle’s funeral. My cousins were poor, but then renovated their kitchen. Should I ask for it back?

• ‘We bet on the wrong horse’: I co-signed my nephew’s $55K student loan: He has no degree and no job. What should we do?

• I moved into my in-laws’ home. My husband wants to pay his parents’ mortgage, but it will come out of my income. How can I protect myself?

• I’m a 54-year-old widow. My fiancé and I plan to renovate my home. Is that a good idea? Will a second marriage affect my Social Security?

An overlooked stock sector for income

The Federal Reserve made it clear this week that very low interest rates — short-term and long-term — will be with us for years. So if you are looking to generate income from your nest egg, you will need to look at a variety of options, including the utilities sector, where compelling yields are still available.

Related:Four reasons people bail out of value investing — and why they shouldn’t

Investors — stop wasting your energy on things you cannot know

Jonathan Clements explains how keeping up with current events and financial-market expectations can actually harm your performance as an investor.


Getty Images

Sacrifice a little, save a lot

Richard Quinn has a variety of ideas, large and small, that can save you or someone you care about a lot of money over time, setting up a much easier retirement.

Read on:The two things that are most likely wrecking your retirement savings

A tip to avoid being wiped out by medical costs

Howard Gold explains the cost of long-term care insurance coverage, and determines that with such high costs stacked against you as you get older, you may have no good alternative.

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