aftermath

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Archive for February 2015

Newfound Soup

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Score! A newfie has promised me some island salsify from her own private stash!

I’ll have to reward her kind generosity with some tasty salsify soup.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - kitchen

Written by macheide

13 February 2015 at 7:52 pm

Posted in kitchen

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Pension Volatility — Employer Contribution vs Investment Returns

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Pension Employer Contribution vs Asset Return 2014 dec (50)Employer contributions to pension plans, as illustrated and discussed in my previous post, might seem more volatile than corporate finance officers, investors and creditors and other interested parties (such as the pension plan participants) might like to see. Imagine, for instance, if the employer’s “contributions” to direct compensation paid for salaries were as volatile. But compared to pension asset returns, another key factor in the costs of pension plans, employer contributions appear relatively stable.

For 50 U.S. public corporations with calendar fiscal years, this chart shows employer contributions to single-employer defined benefit pension plans (orange smooth line) contrasted with investment returns on the pension plans’ assets (blue volatile line) for 2000 through 2014.

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Written by macheide

13 February 2015 at 6:18 pm

Posted in άctuary

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2014 Pensions — Employer Contribution

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2014 Pensions - Employer Contribution all (205)For 205 public U.S. corporations, this chart shows the aggregate global employer contributions to single-employer defined benefit pension plans for fiscal years 2000 through 2014. As I’d anticipated last year, the amount continued to decline . . . and the main reason for that decline had absolutely nothing to do with pension funding relief legislation.

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Written by macheide

12 February 2015 at 11:33 pm

Posted in άctuary

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2014 Pension Asset Return

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FR PBO 2014 all fy+1 (275)Investment returns for assets of defined benefit pension plans sponsored by public U.S. corporations generally remained at the healthy levels experienced for 2012 and 2013. This chart shows the aggregate global investment returns during fiscal years ending in 2000 through 2014 for the assets of pension plans maintained by 275 companies (including companies with calendar fiscal years as well as non-calendar fiscal years; and with a fiscal year shift of 1 month, i.e., results for companies with fiscal years ending in January are shifted back to the preceding calendar year). The solid horizontal line in the chart represents zero: years during which investment returns slipped below that line represent years when assets lost value.

Future posts will estimate the annual rates of return based on these investment results, together with estimated cumulative rates of return over multiple years, then will compare those rates of return with investment return assumptions used to determine pension plan costs.

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Written by macheide

11 February 2015 at 9:42 pm

Posted in άctuary

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2014 Pension PBO Funded Ratio

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Pension PBO FR 2014 all fy+1 (275)As I’ve been separately exploring in a post looking at plan assets and projected benefit obligations for defined benefit pension plans sponsored by public U.S. corporations, during 2014 the increase in obligations due to lower interest rates outpaced investment gains in assets. The result: a drop in the aggregate pension plan funded ratio, reversing roughly two thirds of the increase in pension funded ratio experienced during 2013.

This chart shows the aggregate global pension plan funded ratio determined on the basis of projected benefit obligations for 1995 through 2014 for 275 companies, including employers with calendar fiscal years as well as non-calendar fiscal years. The data set for this chart uses a fiscal year shift of one month: companies with a fiscal year ending in January are treated as if in the preceding calendar year.

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Written by macheide

9 February 2015 at 8:20 pm

Posted in άctuary

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Rest of My Rest

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9 feb  —  4hr48min
8 feb  —  3hr44min
7 feb  —  4hr13min
6 feb  —  4hr24min
5 feb  —  4hr32min
4 feb  —  3hr32min
3 feb  —  5hr24min
2 feb  —  6hr2min
1 feb  —  2hr54min
31 jan  —  4hr38min
30 jan  —  3hr55min
29 jan  —  4hr0min
28 jan  —  3hr58min
27 jan  —  4hr42min
26 jan  —  4hr8min
25 jan  —  5hr0min
25 jan  —  5hr0min
24 jan  —  3hr30min
23 jan  —  5hr5min
22 jan  —  4hr38min
21 jan  —  3hr40min
20 jan  —  5hr51min
19 jan  —  4hr41min
18 jan  —  3hr40min
17 jan  —  4hr51min

Recent records for my sleep, as measured by my Fitbit Flex, after subtracting out periods when the gadget considered me to be awake or restless. Is something near an average of 4 hours per night of rest enough?

An NIH publication suggests that healthy adults sleep on average 8-8.5 hours per night. Yeah, but is that counting all the time spent sleeping, or only the time that Fitbit would call restful sleep? Because I’m putting in close to 8 hours per night of time when I’m not consciously awake, so maybe I’m ok.

Shortly after college, upon learning that Edison slept about 4 hours each night (as reiterated in a recent article on sleep deprivation, I spent nearly a year restricting my sleep to 2 hours per day. I only ceased that habit when a close friend persuaded me to test how much better I would feel if I sleep closer to 8 hours per night for 1-2 weeks. After agreeing to his experiment, I felt no better than with my own routines . . . but then I found it impossible to return to that preferred routine, at best managing only stretches when I would do 4 hours per night. Even so, some of the ideas that I worked out during that one year have survived to fuel projects I work on to this day.

From November 1986 through December 1987, I averaged 100 hours per week of hard work, as I assisted the Administration and Congress in the development of pension funding reform. But I had little else to occupy my time those days, so I don’t recall too many short-sleep nights.

During my life I’ve experienced two periods of severe sleep deprivation. First, in 1991 I averaged about 40 minutes of sleep per night during the 30 days when I wrote my book. The result: I wound up in the hospital with total amnesia. Then almost exactly 20 years later, in 2011 after my shenanigans I experienced a period of zero sleep for a stretch that lasted upwards a week or more. The result: what the doc in charge of my head called organic brain syndrome. OK, the morale of that story seems to be to steer clear of sleep numbers that get too close to zero for much more than a few days in a row.

But was that 2-hour habit during my youth really so unhealthy? And more to the point for today, should I worry that Fitbit has me resting little more than Edison used to spend sleeping? Like, perhaps the chemicals that gave me hallucinations in 2011 and that crashed my head in 1991 are not all that disconnected with chemicals that can enhance creativity, when taken in moderation, relatively speaking. Just wondering . . .

//www.internetbumperstickers.com] - non compos mentis

Written by macheide

9 February 2015 at 4:09 pm

Posted in non compos mentis

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2014 Pension MVA & PBO

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Pension MVA & PBO 2014 (275 FY+1)For 275 U.S. corporate sponsors of defined benefit pension plans, this graph shows aggregate global numbers for market value of pension assets (blue diamonds) and projected benefit obligations (red squares) for fiscal years ending in 2000 through fiscal years ending in 2014 (treating fiscal years ending during January as having been for the preceding calendar year). As expected, this chart shows trends that are quite similar to those that had been seen on the original charts shown in this post for 6 companies, for 16 companies, and for for 205 companies: asset increases for 2014 on pace with the gains of 2013, but with even greater increases in projected benefit obligations due primarily to significant declines in discount rates.

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Written by macheide

7 February 2015 at 12:05 pm

Posted in άctuary

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