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Factoring Changing Weather Patterns Into Investment Decisions – Forbes

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Although the total damage from Hurricane Ida, which rampaged a trail of destruction from New Orleans to New York City, is still being tabulated, there is little doubt that it will have a significant impact on the US economy this year. After all considerations, AccuWeather estimates that the price tag for Ida’s damage could reach $95 billion. And although that’s a pretty big number, it would rank Ida as only seventh on the list of most-devastating hurricanes over the last 20 years.

For example, Superstorm Sandy, number three on that list with total economic impact of $210 billion, caused more than $37 billion in damages to New Jersey alone according to The Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. Those damages were split with $7.8 billion for residents, $3.6 billion for businesses, $2.2 billion for municipalities, and $23.5 billion to the state for hazard mitigation. This massively dampened NJ’s economy.  Furthermore, even though Sandy hit nine years ago, numerous state residents remain displaced from their former homes.

We used to call these events “100-year storms” or even “500-year storms”. I’m not sure what we’ll call them now that they have become nearly annual occurrences. Empirical evidence shows that large-scale natural disasters, “acts of God” in insurance terms, are happening more frequently and on a greater scale. And it’s not just hurricanes. We’re also seeing devastation from tornadoes, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, and wildfires.

Data from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) show that, between 2010-19, there were 119 climate- and weather-related events that cost $1 billion or more, causing an average of $80.2 billion in damages per year. The decade before that (2000–09) saw only 59 billion-dollar events in the US, at an average cost of $52 billion. And the 1990s saw even fewer considerable weather crises: 52, which cost an average of $27 billion per year. So, not only are we experiencing these events more frequently, but their cost is continually rising.

This is in line with data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over the last 40 years, which shows that the frequency of extreme weather events is rapidly increasing. NOAA says there were 22 such events in 2020, the highest in history. Additionally, over the last five years, there have been on average 16.2 extreme weather events annually. Between 1980, when NOAA started collecting data, and 2020, the annual average was 7.1 events. This year looks like more of the same since we’ve already had numerous extreme weather events each costing more than $1 billion, and hurricane season is far from over. Similarly, wildfires continue to rage across vast swaths of several states – fires have already consumed nearly five million acres in 2021 but we are still in the third quarter. How will the economy handle these natural crises?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things will get better anytime soon. Last month, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Sixth Assessment Report, called its findings “a code red for humanity” and concluded that the greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events can be attributed to climate change with a high degree of certainty.

With disasters like this approaching biblical proportions, we’re obviously seeing economic distress in addition to horrible losses in human life and property. This is so not just for people directly affected by a weather event, but also for companies and governments that get pushed into distress and even bankruptcy.

Puerto Rico was already in bankruptcy due to its $123 billion in liabilities when Hurricane Maria, second on the AccuWeather list of the most expensive weather-related disasters, struck in 2017. That storm killed an estimated 3,000 people and knocked out power across the island, in some cases for close to a year, with more than $30 billion in damages. Maria saddled the island and its restructuring professionals with a nearly insurmountable task of addressing an infrastructure in shambles even as a smaller workforce remained due to long-term human exodus. Unfortunately, with additional devastating storms and the COVID-19 pandemic, the task of restructuring Puerto Rico became even more difficult along the way.

In addition to hurricanes, we’ve seen an increase in the number of massive wildfires over the last few years. Several such fires forced Pacific Gas & Electric

PCG
into a massive Chapter 11 in 2019 in what at the time was called “the first climate change bankruptcy”. A report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy emphasized that wildfires could become as much as 900% more destructive by midcentury, which should set off some alarms, particularly with so many fires currently raging this year.

The proposed Biden $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan seeks to address some of the issues connected to climate change and extreme weather events, although how much of the proposal actually makes it into law remains to be seen. But relatively minor improvements to infrastructure may help alleviate major catastrophes. Adie Tomer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, has been widely quoted stating that $400 million in investments in weatherized improvements to the Texas power grid could have prevented some of the worst impacts from Winter Storm Uri. Uri, which killed over 100 people in February this year, forced the Brazos Electric Cooperative into bankruptcy, while Vistra Energy suffered $1.6 billion in costs directly related to that storm.

Through it all, the US government seems to be taking on a larger and more expensive role every time. In a 2019 report, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that damage from hurricanes and other weather events would cost the federal government an estimated $17 billion annually ($11 billion in losses to the public sector, $4 billion in direct aid to affected individuals, and $1 billion in administrative expenses.) This astounding figure highlights the impact of weather-induced damage on governmental costs.

When we talk about the cost of these disasters, we usually only look at direct affects — homes and commercial buildings, automobiles, power lines, roads, and levees. However, there are also many other less obvious economic effects, including disruptions to businesses due to severe property damage or loss of workforce. The National Centers for Environmental Information estimates the damage from Hurricane Katrina at $172.5 billion, while AccuWeather, which factors in dozens of additional variables, such as the impact of people unable to work, travel and tourism disruption, as well as clean-up costs, estimates a shocking $320 billion.

The cost of climate change and the resultant frequency of extreme weather events is something investors should be well aware of going forward. It certainly adds a new dimension to the analysis of companies in certain sectors, such as utilities, travel and tourism, insurance, and natural resources to name a few. As with any event that causes distress, climate related events can create risks but also opportunities for the astute investor.

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Bitcoin hovers near 6-month high on ETF hopes, inflation worries

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Bitcoin hovered near a six-month high early on Monday on hopes that U.S. regulators would soon allow cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF) to trade, while global inflation worries also provided some support.

Bitcoin last stood at $62,359, near Friday’s six-month high of $62,944 and not far from its all-time high of $64,895 hit in April.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first American bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading this week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, a move likely to lead to wider investment in digital assets.

Cryptocurrency players expect the approval of the first U.S. bitcoin ETF to trigger an influx of money from institutional players who cannot invest in digital coins at the moment.

Rising inflation worries also increased appetite for bitcoin, which is in limited supply, in contrast to the ample amount of currencies issued by central banks in recent years as monetary authorities printed money to stimulate their economies.

But some analysts noted that, after the recent rally, investors may sell bitcoin on the ETF news.

“The news of a suite of futures-tracking ETFs is not new to those following the space closely, and to many this is a step forward but not the game-changer that some are sensing,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne, Australia.

“We’ve been excited by a spot ETF before, and this may need more work on the regulation front.”

 

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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These are the only times it's smart to make changes to your investment portfolio – CNBC

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Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

Recent market volatility has many investors wondering if now is a good time to alter their investments.

The short answer experts generally advise? It’s rarely actually a good time to make changes to your investment portfolio.

“Most investors who jump in and tweak their portfolios typically do it in response to market conditions and history has shown us this just doesn’t work out in their favor,” says Tony Molina, a CPA and senior product specialist at Wealthfront. “What often feels right when it comes to investing, is usually wrong.”

Though you may feel tempted to modify your investments when the market dips, you’re often better off leaving them alone for the long haul. The reality is, downturns happen but your money is safer if you ride out the storm. Just as quickly as the market can go down, it can also go up — and keeping your cash invested throughout these fluctuations is what helps your money grow over time. This is especially true when investing in index funds and ETFs.

But, we wondered, is there ever a good time to adjust your investments? Turns out, there are a couple conditions when it’s OK.

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When it’s a good time to make changes to your investment portfolio

While it’s typically best to leave your investments alone, you may want to change course if there has been a change in your investing goals’ time horizons, and consequently, your risk tolerance, advises Ivory Johnson, a CFP and founder of Delancey Wealth Management.

On one hand, you may find that you have extended the number of years until retirement and can take on more risk. Or, on the other hand, perhaps you’re retiring sooner than you thought and shortening that timeframe means that you need to put your money in lower-risk investments.

Using a robo-advisor is an effective workaround to avoid having to worry whether your investments match your risk tolerance. Robo-advisors have users fill out a brief questionnaire that helps them know how to best allocate your cash depending on your investment goals and the top robo-advisors will regularly rebalance your portfolio for you as needed.

Betterment, for example, will recommend a stock-and-bond allocation based on your goals and adjust automatically whenever you make a deposit, withdraw funds or change your target allocation. Betterment’s algorithms will also check your portfolio drift (how far you are from your target allocation) once per day and rebalance if necessary.

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The automated investing platform through SoFi Invest® automatically rebalances investors’ portfolios as well, but on a quarterly basis. SoFi is a good option for investors also looking for lending products as SoFi members receive a 0.125% interest rate discount on SoFi’s student loan refinancing and personal loans.

Johnson adds that he would generally change an investment allocation when a big event has taken place, such as a severe illness or a large economic windfall (like an inheritance). In both of these cases, an investor’s need for capital appreciation reduces, he says.

Molina agrees that a good time for investors to make changes to their portfolios would be in response to major life events. Specifically, he means events that put the investor in a position where they would need to access their investments in the near future (three or so years). Examples include marriage, a family emergency or as an investor nears retirement.

“This would be a good reason to reduce their investment risk or pull out their funds altogether,” Molina says.

Much of an investor’s decision to change their portfolio in this scenario depends on how soon they may need to withdraw their funds. “In general, if you need the funds within the next three years or less, you may want to consider changing your investment strategy,” Molina adds.

When it comes to investing in individual stocks, keep in mind that you should be using money that you are comfortable having tied up for at least the next five years. While individual stock investors are advised to hold for the long term (especially during times of volatility) in order to best maximize their returns, they may choose to sell a losing stock if it is more risk than they can handle and it generates significant financial loss. Investing in index funds and ETFs are an easy way to take on less risk and diversify your investments.

Bottom line

If you’re thinking of adjusting your investments, most of the time it’s probably not the best move for your long-term growth in the market.

The exceptions to this rule are if your time horizon and risk tolerance suddenly change. Another exception is if there has been a major life event where you no longer need your money to be invested, or where you could be better off financially with the cash accessible in your wallet.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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Cushman Investment in WeWork Rests on Successful Stock Listing – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Cushman & Wakefield Plc agreed to invest $150 million in WeWork Cos., contingent on the flexible work company successfully completing its forthcoming stock listing, a person familiar with the matter said. 

The investment was born of a partnership the two companies unveiled Aug. 9. They said at the time that they were discussing a potential investment but hadn’t signed a definitive agreement.

A spokesman for Cushman said the company was pleased with the progress of the WeWork partnership but declined to comment on the investment. A spokesperson for WeWork also declined to comment on the investment. WeWork is preparing to go public via a $9 billion blank-check merger in late October.

The companies cited the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst for their accord. For many businesses, the return to the office has been a stilted process. Widespread vaccines in the U.S. brought some workers back, but the return stalled, along with vaccination rates, and outbreaks of new variants played a role.

“The partnership we announced with Cushman & Wakefield in August is a testament to WeWork’s long-term value proposition and we remain incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we team up with one of the leading real estate firms in the world,” WeWork said in a statement Sunday.

The deal represents a marriage of old real estate and new. Cushman & Wakefied is more than a century old and one of the largest commercial real estate services companies in the world. WeWork is barely a decade old.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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