Best business commentary
February 5, 2008
The subprime drawing board
Plans to fix our mortgage mess “are like belly buttons,” says David Weidner in MarketWatch. “Everybody’s got one, and they’re all pretty much useless.” But some recent plans have emerged that could “have positive effects for everyone.” The Center for American Progress, apparently “hell-bent on appeasing everyone,” wants the government to extend interest-only loans to troubled homeowners and buy and sell existing subprime debt. More promising, Punk Zeigel analyst Richard Bove would offer 1 percent subsidized loans to many subprime borrowers, at a “reasonable” taxpayer cost of $150 billion. Either way, “it won’t be pretty,” but doing nothing would be uglier still.
Paradise isn’t easy
Retiring overseas may sound attractive, says Jeff Opdyke in The Wall Street Journal, but it “can have its logistical headaches.” Because most countries have lower costs of living, retiring baby boomers assume they can move abroad to “stretch their nest egg.” Before pulling up anchor, though, make sure you figure out banking, health care, and housing. The Internet makes banking easier, and Social Security checks will be sent almost anywhere. But dealing with local banks and real estate laws can be tricky. And while some countries will “lure” you with retiree tax incentives, remember, the IRS taxes your income “no matter where it’s earned in the world.”
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