John Wasik

New tech trend for 2012 and beyond

Jan 3, 2012 17:51 UTC

Jan 3 (Reuters) – Despite gloomy headlines from Europe over
the past year, a new technology mash-up is emerging that could
spark some exciting ideas for investors.

There is long-term growth in convergent technologies that
integrate the Internet, green transportation, building-based
micro-power plants and power distribution into a collaborative
worldwide grid, according to author and consultant Jeremy
Rifkin, founder of the Foundation on Economic Trends.

It is a development trend that stretches into the next
decade and is worth investing in right now, said Rifkin.

Rifkin calls this synergistic movement the “Third
Industrial Revolution,” which is also the title of his latest
book ().

Under Rifkin’s “five pillars” plan, energy would be widely
distributed in much the same way information is sent through
the Internet. This system would be intelligent, sending power
where it needs to go. If it’s designed efficiently, it will
lower the cost of electricity for everyone, create jobs, reduce
our reliance upon fossil fuels and aid development.

Key wealth management concerns for 2012

Dec 29, 2011 16:18 UTC

29 (Reuters) – You won’t get too many arguments at
holiday parties if you say that 2011 has been one of the most
challenging years for investors.

With the European crisis unresolved and major bi-polar
dysfunction in Washington, it’s never been more difficult to
plan ahead. Yet there are always core wealth management
concerns that you need to address.

Here are some that I think are key.


Under pressure from the brokerage and insurance industry,
the Securities and Exchange Commission is reconsidering a
proposal to make all advisers fiduciaries.

Promising Sectors for 2012

Dec 27, 2011 18:49 UTC

Dec 27 (Reuters) – For 2012, think volatility — again.

Yet that doesn’t mean that economic recovery won’t be part
of the story. A focus on the industries likely to benefit from
a rebound and long-term demographic trends bodes well for these

* Health Care. If you don’t have health-care stocks as part
of core holdings in broad-based index or sector funds, you’re
going to missing almost guaranteed growth.

The leading edge of the 77-million-plus Baby Boomer
generation has hit 65, a wave that will last more than 20
years. That will increase the demand for medical services,
devices and pharmaceuticals.

Biggest financial surprises of 2011

Dec 22, 2011 17:36 UTC

By John Wasik

(Reuters) – In every year, there are a host of surprises that come along like earthquakes: They are nearly impossible to predict.

Who would have thought that Congress would be at loggerheads over raising its debt ceiling or that Standard & Poor’s would cut the credit rating on U.S. Treasuries? On top of that, who would have then foreseen that U.S. paper would still be regarded as a global safe haven, gold would tumble and interest rates would continue to fall?

We can be thankful that more didn’t go wrong with the global economy, although things could certainly go haywire next year. Here are some things that surprised me personally and professionally this year and may flummox us in the next 12 months.

Getting the best rates on homeowner insurance policies

Dec 19, 2011 20:49 UTC

Dec 19 (Reuters) – In just the last year alone, we’ve seen
epic snow, wind, fire and rain. There were a record 12 extreme
weather events in 2011 according to the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, each causing at least $1 billion in
damages. With climate change rearing its ugly head, Mother
Nature may even become surlier. Depending upon where you live,
that means it may be more difficult to find affordable
insurance coverage.

I routinely shop this time of year for the best homeowner’s
policy, and I’ve found that it’s gotten more complicated than
ever. Several insurers have put in exemptions for certain kinds
of storm damage while others insure less by low-balling the
replacement cost of my house.

Since my policy is hovering around $1,000 a year – it’s
climbed in recent years by $200 – I was hoping to find a better
deal. So I asked Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the
Consumer Federation of America, how I should vet homeowner’s

Why Is the FDA Saying It’s OK to Eat Seafood 10,000 Times Over the Safe Limit for Dangerous Carcin.. http://t.co/NouGboGO

Dec 19, 2011 13:56 UTC

Why Is the FDA Saying It’s OK to Eat Seafood 10,000 Times Over the Safe Limit for Dangerous Carcin.. http://t.co/NouGboGO

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011: His Greatest Slate Work http://t.co/EaN29d0R via @slate

Dec 18, 2011 22:32 UTC

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011: His Greatest Slate Work http://t.co/EaN29d0R via @slate

Record low mortgage rates don’t mean everyone can get them! http://t.co/3UcgOOM0

Dec 17, 2011 02:59 UTC

Record low mortgage rates don’t mean everyone can get them! http://t.co/3UcgOOM0

Why are rock-bottom mortgage rates so hard to get?

Dec 16, 2011 17:45 UTC

By John Wasik

(Reuters) – With home mortgage rates still hovering around record lows – and they may fall further still – this should be the perfect time to lower your borrowing costs.

Yet with tough standards and more people in a home-equity hole due to the housing slump, it’s difficult to get the best rates. There are some ways to improve your odds and a revamped government program might help, but you’ll have to jump through some hoops to sweeten your loan application.

Mortgage applications are surging, largely due to refinancings. Weekly applications climbed 4.1 percent through December 14, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The share of refinancing loans was the highest recorded rate this year.

Fed loaned banks $29 Trillion. http://t.co/pSJrQGmv

Dec 16, 2011 14:22 UTC

Fed loaned banks $29 Trillion. http://t.co/pSJrQGmv