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"Getting Going" column in WSJ
Old 01-06-2003, 07:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 398
"Getting Going" column in WSJ

I regularly read the "Getting Going" column that appears in the Wednesday Wall Street Journal and in the "Sunday Edition" of the WSJ that is carried by many local newspapers nationally. (In fact, that is how I learned about FIRECalc.) These weekly editions of the column are different, and both are usually written by Jonathan Clements.

I have a masters degree in economics that gives me an "academic" perspective on investing, and it is apparent that Mr. Clements has a similar perspective, since I almost always concur with his observations and advice. My only caveat about his column is that space limitations sometimes cause the advice in a single edition of the column to be incomplete, but he generally provides the relevant information in other columns.

Occasionally the column is written by somebody else, and is usually of the same quality. It is worth noting, then, that the edition that appeared on Sunday January 5 contained a substantive error.

I have made several posts in the "Technical Forum -- Calculators" area of this site regarding inflation-adjusted Treasury securities (TIPS), in which I have advocated their inclusion in the portfolios of retirees. The referenced "Getting Going" column attempted to explain TIPS, but unfortunately got them confused with Series I Savings Bonds. The Series I Bonds have the feature that they accumulate value at a rate that is adjusted for inflation, but (unlike TIPS) is not taxed until the bonds are redeemed. This makes Series I bonds attractive to people with high current income, but causes the interest rate that they pay to be about 1% (100 points) less than TIPS pay. Thus, long-term TIPS are currently paying about 2.9% above the inflation rate, not the 1.9% rate erroneously attributed to TIPS (instead of Series I Savings Bonds) in the column.
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