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Talking Pictures


Although The Jazz Singer movie is usually credited as being the first talking picture, the truth is the first movie with an actual soundtrack was invented in 1905, twenty years before The Jazz Singer premiered.  This cinematic treasure, whose title has been lost to the ages, was directed by Steven Stereoski, who also invented the […]

Index Returns


The chart compares the average twelve month returns for the 49 volatility control indices (VCIs) first offered in the fixed index annuity arena before December 2016, against the S&P 500 Index using a 32% participation rate for each period, from 2017 to 2021. Since the context is fixed index annuities, periods with negative returns are […]

Emotions & Financial Decisions


Financial markets are not efficient. The main reason why is because most financial decisions are affected by cognitive biases which often cause less than optimal choices. These biases are reduced a bit by greater intelligence and financial literacy, but this advantage goes out the window when the bias is emotionally driven. Two of most effective […]

Participation Rate versus Caps


The concept behind fixed index annuities (FIAs) is simple; using a fixed annuity means both principal and credited interest are protected from stock market risk, and linking potential interest to an external index may provide more interest than earning a fixed rate. Today, there are FIAs that base the interest earned on 35% of the […]

Social Security Benefit Taxation


Social Security Benefit Taxation (SSBT) came about due to legislation passed in 1983 saying if your income exceeded a certain level ($32,000 for joint returns, $25,000 for singles), 50% of the benefit would be taxed. Ten years later the amount of benefits subject to tax was increased to 85% at income exceeding $44,000 for joint […]