Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Do All Black Lives Matter?

Too many people are now suggesting that while there are huge outcries within the Black community when a Black man or woman is killed by a white person – especially a policeman – the community seems not to care about Black on Black murder victims. “Why is that?”, they ask. Shouldn’t all Black lives matter? Spoiler alert; they do.

One reason some crimes result in smaller outcries within the Black community is because all communities find some homicides more outrageous than others – it’s human nature. However, being “less outraged” by a particular person’s death does not mean that you think that person’s life is less valuable – that his or her life matters less. The extent of one’s reaction is usually more a reflection on the how and why of the death than on the “worth” of the deceased. So, for example, we are saddened when a baby drowns; we are outraged if it drowns at the hands of its own mother. Clearly neither baby’s life is less valuable than the other; it’s the same baby.

Some factors affecting the decibel level

There are many reasons why some homicides are mourned or protested more loudly, or broadly, than others– for example…. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


As some of you may have noticed, I have been on an extended vacation from blogging. During that time, I had fun doing all kinds of things that it is no longer safe to do…. So, what is one to do when just going outside can put your life at risk? Stay inside and blog, of course! The current plan is to tidy up some of the existing posts, and broaden the topic areas covered in future posts; that could change.


Over the next month or so I plan to tidy things up a bit. I hope to fix the broken links to web pages of years past. In addition, Google, Blogger, and others have made some technical changes that have negatively impacted the blog. I’ll try to clean that up too.

Some other posts are technically fine, but the data needs to be updated. A prime example is the calculator that computes inflation from any year in the past (beginning in 1900) to “now.” It uses the CPI-U at the beginning of each year to do the computation. I need to add recent years. Unfortunately, I suspect some legacy posts may prove too difficult to bring up-to-date to be worth the effort that it would take to do so. We’ll have to see.

{October update: This is waaay more work than I ever imagined. It will take at least six to twelve months to get everything updated! If you want to be kept up-to-date on new and updated posts, follow me on Twitter at @Obsandnotes } 

Broader Focus

Finally, I intend to begin posting about topics outside the realm of finance; I’ll include things which are more related to current events. In the past, I have almost always attempted to be as objective as possible in my posts and avoid expressing my opinion. In future posts, not so much.

As always, thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2020 Last modified: 10/19/2020

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What Will $1 be Worth in the Future? (calculator)

This calculator:

  • Converts current prices to equivalent prices any number of years in the future
  • Compares purchasing power today to purchasing power in the future
Enter an amount, how far into the future you want to compute, and the inflation rate you want to assume.  Below we see that at 5% inflation for 20 years, an item that costs $100,000 now will cost over $265,000.  That means that 20 years from now the purchasing power of $100,000 will have been reduced by over 62%; $100,000 then will only be able to buy what we can buy now for about $37,000. Be sure to enter inflation percentages as decimal amounts -- that is, 0.05 for 5%, 0.025 for 2.5%, etc. 

Notes: Enter data only in the tan cells. On some phones you may need to double click to enter data. On some computers, you may have to enter some fields more than once for it to "take." Please leave a comment if you are having problems.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How Much Will Your Bond/CD be Worth in N Years? (calculator)

This Calculator Computes the Future Value of Your Bond/CD for Any Amount, Number of Years, and Interest Rate

Enter data only in the colored cells below.
Note: normal/annual compounding is once a year; semi-annual is 2 times/year; quarterly is 4 times/yr; etc. Be sure to enter interest rates as decimal amounts - 0.03 for 3%, 0.025 for 2.5%, etc.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How Much Will You Receive in Social Security Income?

Social Security is a key component of most people's retirement plan. Here's a quick estimate of the retirement benefits that you can expect -- under the current rules....

Percent of Salary Replaced by Social Security Retirement Benefits

How much will I receive in Social Security? what percent of my income will replace?
Percent of Salary Replaced by Social Security

The Percentage of Your Salary Replaced by Social Security is Determined by Your Salary Level

The chart above (click to expand) shows the approximate percent of your salary that Social Security will replace if you retire at age 65. The actual calculation is complicated, and is based upon your lifetime earnings (see links in related materials below). For these estimates, I have assumed that you will earn your current salary, adjusted for inflation, for the remainder of your career.