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Latest Issue

Worth a Thousand Words

November 26, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a good holiday. I’m writing this issue early in the week while enroute to join family in Dallas. Today will be different and I hope you like it.

The charts and comments below are drawn from the “Clips That Matter” feature of our Over My Shoulder service. Because we know a picture is worth a thousand words, my co-editor Patrick Watson and I select a few important charts and graphics and send them to subscribers each week with some brief comments. Many say these clips are their favorite part of the service.

Please enjoy, and I’ll have a few more words afterward.

COVID Retirement Boom

“Where did all the workers go?” is a recurring question lately. This chart has a partial answer. The blue line shows retirees as a percentage of the US population. As you would expect, it turned higher after the first Baby Boomers turned 65 in 2010. The red dotted line shows the smoothed trend for that period.


Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Then came 2020, and we see by the red arrow the percentage of retirees rising sharply above the previous decade’s trend. COVID-19 appears to have motivated a bunch of early retirements, which seem to be accelerating. Everyone has their own reasons, but we suspect this isn’t entirely health concerns. Some retirees probably saw big portfolio gains as markets surged, and decided they could afford to retire earlier than planned.

The percentage may look small, but this divergence represents something like 3...

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