Betting on a Loss

"Not every investor is trembling with anxiety over the next financial blowup. Some are embracing the market's volatility—and constructing portfolios to profit from it."

"Not every investor is trembling with anxiety over the next financial blowup. Some are embracing the market's volatility—and constructing portfolios to profit from it. A growing number of money managers and financial firms are rolling out investment products designed to exploit big declines known as 'black swan' events. Most of the products are geared toward institutional investors such as pension funds, endowments and high-net-worth families—but black-swan strategies are trickling down to Main Street as well. ... Some of these specialized funds aim to profit when markets tank. Others are designed to protect against a market plunge but still profit when markets rise. Investors don't typically put all of their money into these funds—but they are putting in more these days."

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What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

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