Isn't It Amazing That…

Did you know that the distance from your listing agent's office to the property you're selling can affect how long the property stays on the market? Did you know that where you live affects where you invest? Those factoids and more in this week's Take As Needed.

Isn’t It Amazing That…

• It has been estimated that 90% of all the data ever collected was created in the last 2 years alone, according to Forbes. A friend who is a researcher at Harvard told me, “I have enough data to last me the rest of my life. The problem is to figure out how to make sense of it all.”

• Investors have a bias toward their home industries, according to BloombergView.com. As you might imagine, West coasters are overweighted toward tech by 9.5%, while investors in the Northeast favor finance by 9%. But the biggest home bias was in the South, where the average portfolio has 13.5% more in energy stocks than the rest of the country.

• While we are on distance-related biases, a study in the Journal of Housing Research shows that for every mile between a property and its listing agent’s office, average time on the market goes up by 0.36% and the overall likelihood of selling goes down by 0.5%. A 20-mile gap alone can add up to real money and time lost, if we are not careful. Just another example how we real estate buyers and sellers know so little about the mechanics of such a major financial area of our lives.

• Male entrepreneurs are 68% more likely to get funded than female entrepreneurs. And the ones deemed more attractive are 35% more likely to get funded, a study quoted in Worth has found. And don’t forget about age biases. Noam Scheiber of The New Republic says that Silicon Valley is “…one of the most ageist places in America.” Come to think of it, maybe these expressions of common bias may not be so amazing after all. It might be nice if they were.

• The chicken or the egg? Global financial services firm Aegon found in a survey that 75% of habitual savers rate their health as excellent or good, while only 62% among those who not regularly save said the same. Is this causality?

• The Institute of Medicine claims that $750 billion with a “B”, or 30% of all healthcare provided in a year, is “unnecessary.” After we stop the reflex finger pointing, every doc, and every consumer, for that matter, might sheepishly look into the mirror. I am not talking just about no-brainers like health food store sales and iffy cosmetic procedures on the consumer side, but the mass of gray area medicine that is too often decided, consciously or not, by the self-dealing incentives at all levels built into fee for service medicine.

• The average American adult has $167,000 in “life” insurance (great euphemism), while one rule of thumb says this barely three times median income figure ought to be at least five to seven times income. According to an industry association, of course. And the real number should factor in individual issues such as age, age of children, net worth, and liabilities, etc.

• Lastly, the average retirement has been calculated to last 6,470 days. Put this fact together with a survey done by the American College of Financial Services that found that only 1 in 5 seniors was able to have even a basic idea on how to make a nest egg last, and we should all scurry back to review our plans.