New Factory Orders Rise 1.1% in March

Capital goods make a 3.5% gain.

May 2, 2014 at 1:57PM

New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.1% in March, according to a Department of Commerce report [link opens in PDF] released today. After orders improved a revised 1.5% for February, analysts had expected a slightly larger 1.4% rise.


Source: Department of Commerce. 

While the overall number didn't live up to expectations, new orders for durable goods increased 2.9% for the second-straight month of expansion. Investors use durable goods orders as a proxy for manufacturers' longer-term confidence in the economy.

New orders for capital goods proved especially strong, increasing 3.5% excluding more volatile aircraft numbers.

March didn't prove to be as accommodating to manufactured nondurable goods, with new orders down 0.6%.

Unfilled orders increased 0.6% for the 13th expansion in 14 months, reaching its highest level since data were first collected in 1992. Shipments increased 1.2%, while inventories expanded 0.3%, also a record high .

Since both shipments and inventories increased by relatively similar absolute amounts, the inventories-to-shipments ratio (a statistic used to measure the sustainable flow of goods) remained steady at 1.30.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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