The 4 most fascinating things I read this week


There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are the 4 most fascinating ones I read this week.

1. No time for retirement

According to The New York Times:

A record 7.2 million Americans age 65 and older are working — double the number 15 years ago — partly because many older Americans love to work and partly because many feel too financially squeezed to retire. … While the overall number of Americans working has fallen by 4.4 million since the Great Recession began four and a half years ago — with many dropping out of the work force in frustration and some retiring early — the number of Americans 65 and older who are working has jumped by 1.4 million, a whopping 25 percent increase.

For example, check out how far the rate among those between the ages of 65 and 69 has jumped over the last two decades:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Your commute might be killing you

Seriously. According to The Atlantic Cities:

[A] study tracked 4,297 people who lived and worked in 11 counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth or Austin, Texas, metropolitan areas, and compared their commuting distances with various medical health indicators, including cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, and metabolic risk variables like waist circumference. The longer the commute, the greater the likelihood these health indicators measure up on the fat and sick side of the scale. The researchers also found that people who drove longer distances reported doing less physical activity overall.

And even when the researchers adjusted for each person’s physical activity habits and cardiorespiratory fitness, both waistlines and body mass index increased right along with commute distance. Higher blood pressure was observed in commuters driving 10 miles or more to work.

3. The new Ben Graham speaks

Motley Fool Inside Value advisor Joe Magyer took great notes from a presentation by NYU professor Aswath Damodaran — Joe calls him “the new Ben Graham.” It’s a must-read for serious value investors. A couple choice quotes:

  • “When everyone is a value investor no one is a value investor. If everyone says they’re a value investor and everyone is doing it, then value investing is dead.”
  • “There is a belief that if you look at a company long enough and hard enough to make the risks go away.”

4. The business of bribes
James Surowiecki has a great piece in the New Yorker about the role of corruption and bribes in business. More specifically, he tackles the role they don’t play:

Without bribes, [some argue], it takes much longer to do anything, and you end up with less economic activity — fewer Walmarts, less trade. Seen this way, bribes grease not just palms but the very wheels of commerce.

This argument is appealingly counterintuitive, but it’s wrong. While bribes may make things run more smoothly in the short run, in the long run they hurt both the business of the bribers and the economies of the bribed. As the economists Daniel Kaufmann and Shang-Jin Wei have shown, bribes beget more bribes: far from cutting through the red tape, they give bureaucrats a reason to produce more of it; each regulation creates another opportunity to collect a payoff. Walmart’s bribes in Mexico may have enabled the company to build its stores more quickly, but they also gave local officials an incentive to make the permit process as difficult and arcane as possible.

Enjoy your weekend.

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The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

A version of this article, written by Morgan Housel, originally appeared on fool.com

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