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looking for reality data.
Old 02-28-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
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looking for reality data.

First I want every one to know that I am not trying to change anyone's mind. I'm just trying to figure out how to make realistic projections about what the next 20 + years are going to bring from a financial and living standard stand point.

I just got through re-reading "Culture Matters". The nut shell message in the book is that economic out come is for all practical matters predicated by culture. If you have a culture of thrift, self sufficiency, honesty, hard work, reciprocity, trust, etc. The out come will be positive with general high quality out comes and incomes. ( Western Europe, North America,Australia.)

The converse is true if those things are lacking then no matter how many natural resources or other geographically positive attributes are available the out come will always be a very small minority of politically powerful people controlling almost all of the wealth and the average person living very poorly and in fear of their government. ( Most of Asia, Africa, South and Central America.)

We have been amazingly successful in the US over the last 40 years or so in implementing multiculturalism so that our culture is now much closer to a mixture of 1/4 African,1/4 Asian 1/4 South and Central American and 1/4 What I will call old American culture. I'm not making judgment, right/wrong/ good/ bad, I'm just observing and trying to fit the data to reality.

Now the 64 thousand dollar question is.. Is there any way to integrate the data from other parts of the world with firecalc. For instance is it some how possible to go back 30-40 years and figure the outcome if you had 1/4 of you money in Mexico, 1/4 in Mozambique, 1/4 in the China and 1/4th in the US. My theory is that would give much more realistic out comes than data based on a cultural base that does not exist.
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:48 PM   #2
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This board gets more bizarre every day.
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
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Now the 64 thousand dollar question is.. Is there any way to integrate the data from other parts of the world with firecalc.
FIRECalc is based on the performance of US markets dating back to 1871. Just my opinion, but I suspect you're out of luck unless you can provide a good source of equivalent data for the markets in Mexico, Mozambique and China for the same time period. If you can, you might want to send Dory36, the guy who designed and owns FIRECalc, a PM and see if he'll come out of retirement long enough to respond.

Let us know how it works out.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:02 PM   #4
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:07 PM   #5
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thanks for the responses. I guess part of the question is there any long term data available say for instance Mexico with peso devaluation etc. I assume that the picture would not be terribly cheerful but would, I think, give us a more accurate forward long term projections.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:21 PM   #6
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This board gets more bizarre every day.
And I thought it was just me.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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thanks for the responses. I guess part of the question is there any long term data available say for instance Mexico with peso devaluation etc. I assume that the picture would not be terribly cheerful but would, I think, give us a more accurate forward long term projections.
Try this-

Amazon.com: Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns: Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, Mike Staunton: Books

It is more relevant to developed economies then to Mexico, but it is very interesting.

Ha
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:48 PM   #8
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Thanks Ha Ha,
That looks like a good book. I'll get a copy.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:30 PM   #9
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thanks for the responses. I guess part of the question is there any long term data available say for instance Mexico with peso devaluation etc. I assume that the picture would not be terribly cheerful but would, I think, give us a more accurate forward long term projections.
Sevo, you left Mexico out of your original equation
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1/4 African,1/4 Asian 1/4 South and Central American and 1/4 What I will call old American culture
.Along that same line, is your 1/4 Asia South Asia, East Asia or both? Also, what happened to the Middle East?
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #10
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....
We have been amazingly successful in the US over the last 40 years or so in implementing multiculturalism so that our culture is now much closer to a mixture of 1/4 African,1/4 Asian 1/4 South and Central American and 1/4 What I will call old American culture. I'm not making judgment, right/wrong/ good/ bad, I'm just observing and trying to fit the data to reality.

......
While it may anecdotally appear to be 25/25/25/25 percent in your particular locality - I'm not so certain that is the case

Where are you getting your data from?

As far as I know the USofA is still about 70 to 80 percent "white" (granted that may include more than a few persons of hispanic ethnicity nowadays)
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:11 AM   #11
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Mickael B I understand your question. I just grabbed at those numbers . I think that there this a very powerful argument that living standards and general income are closely tied to the culture of the general population of a country. There are people from all over on this board maybe even from other countries. I am hoping that they can help with their real world experience.

Texarky, Thank you for you reply. All we have to go on is anecdotal evidence. That's why I'm asking the questions. One of the things that is important is this is about the effects of culture not skin color. Whether or not the US is 70 % "white" , what ever that means, is not really relevant.

The questions that are going to effect all of us is this. As we head toward and through retirement are the voters of this country going to let us keep what we have worked for or have we crossed over to a "world culture" that is so strong that the US standard of living is going to shift toward world wide norms, with world wide norms of "wealth distibution". The IMF gives roughtly 10,000 world/ 47,000 US income.

The next question is this: if we are smart enough to recognize a trend toward world norms is there anything we can do to improve our outcome on an individual basis?

Again I don't want to offend anybody but my personal bias it that it is always better to be willing ask questions even if they are a little unnerving than to be totaly suprised. There are lots of wise people on this board and I'll looking for their take on the out come of our rapid societal change.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:52 AM   #12
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Sevo, my investing approach is to be exceedingly pragmatic. If it worked over the last ~100 years why should it suddenly morph to something else? You are asking interesting philosophical questions but I don't think they will help you in investing except maybe in establishing your US to foreign stock ratio. Currently I'm targeting 33% international which is half indexed. If you are retired I don't think you want to put high percentages in countries like Mexico/Mozambique/China.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:16 PM   #13
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I think that there this a very powerful argument that living standards and general income are closely tied to the culture of the general population of a country. There are people from all over on this board maybe even from other countries. I am hoping that they can help with their real world experience.
I think living standards in the US and most of the developed world depend mostly on working, earning, saving, and LBYM.

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The next question is this: if we are smart enough to recognize a trend toward world norms is there anything we can do to improve our outcome on an individual basis?
Definitely. Work, save, invest. LBYM. Teach your children well.

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The questions that are going to effect all of us is this. As we head toward and through retirement are the voters of this country going to let us keep what we have worked for or have we crossed over to a "world culture" that is so strong that the US standard of living is going to shift toward world wide norms, with world wide norms of "wealth distibution". The IMF gives roughtly 10,000 world/ 47,000 US income.
Is your question "are the voters of this country going to vote the US into lowering it's standard of living toward that of other cultures?" More clarification is needed.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:23 PM   #14
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The next question is this: if we are smart enough to recognize a trend toward world norms is there anything we can do to improve our outcome on an individual basis?
First you ask if there is a trend toward world norms. This "question" is supported by grossly inaccurate population statistics.

Then you assume this trend, and ask if we are "smart enough to recognize" this assumed trend.

Why not drop the varnish and cut to your real agenda here?

Ha
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:06 PM   #15
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.....

Texarky, Thank you for you reply. All we have to go on is anecdotal evidence.

You were the one who said you you were trying to fit data to reality - but admittedly have only anecdotal data.

You don't think we we can infer some "cultural" things from the US Census data - which categorizes 70 to 80 percent of US population as "white"?

One statistic I read stated that non-Hispanic whites were estimated to be 68% in the year 2006.
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet...mat=&-_lang=en
(So to translate that into your "culture" idea, I think most of those will fall into your "old American culture" box - whatever that is - leaving you with 32% to divide up your other three categories into.)

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....
That's why I'm asking the questions. One of the things that is important is this is about the effects of culture not skin color. Whether or not the US is 70 % "white" , what ever that means, is not really relevant.
Not my intention to make this about skin color - just facts/data - I'm reading from US Census and other places that specializes in this sort of data. (doesn't take long to Google this stuff up)

I think that little bit of data is somewhat relevant when you are alleging (from what data I know not) that 50% of US culture is African-American & Asian-American. The Census data on ethnicities in the US doesn't jibe with that. Perhaps we can look to it to see if your assumptions on that hold water - before we go further with the analysis.

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.... our culture is now much closer to a mixture of 1/4 African,1/4 Asian 1/4 South and Central American and 1/4 What I will call old American culture.
(BTW - do you place African-Americans (blacks, or whatever you want to call them) whose families have been here for hundreds of years in your "African" box or your "old American culture" box?)
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:01 PM   #16
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Ha Ha My real agenda is very simple and not varnished in any way. I would like to at some time make the big jump to retirement. On the other hand I have had the privilege of spending time in several countries out side the US where wonderful people worked very hard lived below their means and because of the basic lack of honesty and integrity in their society and governments their living standards were very poor from our perspectives. I don't want to be an alarmist and believe me I want very badly to be wrong but I am concerned that we are rapidly headed away from basic concepts such as meeting obligations. A case in point is the fact that a large number of births in our country now are to unwed mothers. Which means that the fathers of these children do not understand the concept of meeting what was once considered an a basic obligation in our society, that is to care for your own children.

What I am trying to figure out are things like this. In ten years or so when I should be able to draw S.S. the money that I am supposed to get is going to have to come out of the pay check of those same guys that are not even responsible enough to work now and support their own children? Can we depend on them the way the generations before depended on us? And if not what is the work around for the problem?

As usual I had a poor choice of words for my references about culture. What I am trying to point out is that behaviors that I have seen in cultures from Asia and Africa and South/Central America that I believe are associated with economic decline and in some cases economic collapse are now becoming more and more common in the US culture and are now considered totally acceptable.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:02 AM   #17
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I see what you are getting at now. I think you might need to take a broader look at things though. You might want to look at some of the positives. Not to be too much of a PollyAnna, but:

There are hundreds of thousands of kids in schools all around this country who are smart, responsible, hardworking. Sure we have some bad schools & wayward kids, but we also have a lot of good kids in this country - pop media it seems doesn't want to focus on them - probably because when it comes to culture & kids our media is focused on getting them to buy things - try to look past what you see in the media (MTV esp.) or in certain localities.

Look at the massive influx of people from Latin America that's been happening the past 30 years bringing with them by-and-large a culture of family, hard work, entrepreneurship, etc. Those folks constitute most of our immigrants (legal & illegal)

I've noticed immigrants tend to bring "portions" of their culture with them and over time adopt "portions" of American culture. Most immigrant kids (born here or there) tend to adopt the best of both. I, for one, do still believe in the "melting pot" rather than the "salad bowl" theory of immigrant assimilation - despite the campaign of the left to convince us otherwise. (BTW - I have 25 years of up-close-&-personal experience with immigrants of all stripes - by and large they are a positive for our culture IMO)

Those two things just off the top of my head - I'm sure there are other positives you could find to balance with the negatives.

I'm just hoping we don't break the system for our kids & future immigrants by saddling them with $$$$ in debt, a socialist economy, and a government from which you need permission to do pretty much everything/anything in your life.
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:47 AM   #18
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Can we depend on them the way the generations before depended on us?
This is probably better discussed in another forum dedicated to politically related financial discussions.

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And if not what is the work around for the problem?
Work hard, save your money and make sure to become financially self-sufficient in retirement.

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As usual I had a poor choice of words for my references about culture. What I am trying to point out is that behaviors that I have seen in cultures from Asia and Africa and South/Central America that I believe are associated with economic decline and in some cases economic collapse are now becoming more and more common in the US culture and are now considered totally acceptable.
So you feel we are importing our economic troubles. Would you then agree with Greenspan when he said that excess consumption in the US was really an important positive effort to offset the intentional excess savings taking place in foreign countries? Likewise, that our excess public borrowing was really a coordinated effort by the govít to offset the excess savings being generated elsewhere?
IOW, we forced ourselves to overspend, overborrow andoverconsume in a heroic effort to counteract poor financial habits elsewhere?

That is one way to see things. My view - my neighbors are of "old america" western eurpoean descent and they have overspent themselves to financial ruin.

I lived most of my adult life outside the US. My personal experience is that good financial sense and behavior is not specific to any nationality, race, religion, color, or, as you put it, culture. If you were born in the US you already enjoy a lifetime advantage in standard of living over most of the world's population. Being thrifty and managing your financial life with common sense will take care of the rest.
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:48 PM   #19
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Look at the massive influx of people from Latin America that's been happening the past 30 years bringing with them by-and-large a culture of family, hard work, entrepreneurship, etc. Those folks constitute most of our immigrants (legal & illegal)
This is the image but not the reality. Latins in the US are generally midway between Anglo whites and Afro-Americans in metrics of social dysfunction. Compared to whites Latins show more divorce, more out of wedlock children, more crime, lower terminal level of schooling, etc.

Pew Hispanic Center

And, since the hand that rocks the cradle..., have a look at this

http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/42.pdf

I think the group that your idea does apply to is Asians. Although they are a heterogeneous group, taken as a whole they surpass Anglo whites in the areas mentioned above.

Ha
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:38 PM   #20
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What I am trying to point out is that behaviors that I have seen in cultures from Asia and Africa and South/Central America that I believe are associated with economic decline and in some cases economic collapse are now becoming more and more common in the US culture and are now considered totally acceptable.
Are you kidding? Who do you think runs wall street, the banks and the auto industry who have run this economy into the ground?

I suggest that this thread does not belong in this forum.
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