Venture Debt – I invested $120,000 in my business school friend’s venture debt fund. He started his own after spending 8 years at one of the largest venture debt funds as a Managing Partner. I’m very focused on income generating assets in this low interest rate environment. The true returns are yet to be seen, as the fund has a 5-7 year life before it returns all its capital.
Today I sent my Annual Message to the Congress, as required by the Constitution. It has been my custom to deliver these Annual Messages in person, and they have been broadcast to the Nation. I intended to follow this same custom this year. But like a great many other people, I have had the "flu", and although I am practically recovered, my doctor simply would not let me leave the White House to go up to the Capitol. Only a few of the newspapers of the United States can print the Message in full, and I am anxious that the American people be given an opportunity to hear what I have recommended to the Congress for this very fateful year in our history — and the reasons for those recommendations. Here is what I said …
Since the early 1960s, successive governments have implemented various schemes to alleviate poverty, under central planning, that have met with partial success. In 2005, the government enacted the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), guaranteeing 100 days of minimum wage employment to every rural household in all the districts of India. In 2011, it was widely criticised and beset with controversy for corrupt officials, deficit financing as the source of funds, poor quality of infrastructure built under the programme, and unintended destructive effects. Other studies suggest that the programme has helped reduce rural poverty in some cases. Yet other studies report that India's economic growth has been the driver of sustainable employment and poverty reduction, though a sizeable population remains in poverty.
The 1872 census revealed that 91.3% of the population of the region constituting present-day India resided in villages. This was a decline from the earlier Mughal era, when 85% of the population resided in villages and 15% in urban centers under Akbar's reign in 1600. Urbanisation generally remained sluggish in British India until the 1920s, due to the lack of industrialisation and absence of adequate transportation. Subsequently, the policy of discriminating protection (where certain important industries were given financial protection by the state), coupled with the Second World War, saw the development and dispersal of industries, encouraging rural–urban migration, and in particular the large port cities of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras grew rapidly. Despite this, only one-sixth of India's population lived in cities by 1951.
I guess I just don’t understand why the specific importance of focusing on “dividends” instead of focusing on the total return of your investment, including stock appreciation. I don’t really care if a company decides to issue a dividend or not; presumably, if they don’t issue a dividend, then they’re doing other things to increase the value of the company, which will be reflected in the stock price of the company. As an investor, I can make money by selling a percentage of my holdings or collecting dividends, and I don’t really care how that’s divided up – it’s an artificial distinction.
India became the tenth-largest insurance market in the world in 2013, rising from 15th in 2011. At a total market size of US$66.4 billion in 2013, it remains small compared to world's major economies, and the Indian insurance market accounts for 2% of the world's insurance business. India's life and non-life insurance industry has been growing at 20%, and double-digit growth is expected to continue through 2021. The market retains about 360 million active life-insurance policies, the most in the world. Of the 52 insurance companies in India, 24 are active in life-insurance business. The life-insurance industry is projected to increase at double-digit CAGR through 2019, reaching US$1 trillion annual notional values by 2021.
As interest rates have been going down over the past 30 years, bond prices have continued to go up. With the 10-year yield (risk free rate) at roughly 2.55%, and the Fed Funds rate at 1.5% (two more 0.25% hikes are expected in 2018), it’s hard to see interest rates declining much further. That said, long term interest rates can stay low for a long time. Just look at Japanese interest rates, which are negative (inflation is higher than nominal interest rate).
For example my business is a LLC taxed as a S corp. I am active in it and my wife is not. She owns half the company because she fronted the money to start the company (but is not active at all in the business). I get paid a W2 salary for my work I put into it and any profits are distributed to my Wife and I as “dividends”. However the dividends are still taxed as active income at the higher tax rates.
You are also free to choose a fund that is based on any index that you want. For example, there are index funds set up for just about every market sector there is — energy, precious metals, banking, emerging markets — you name it. All you have to do is decide that you want to participate, then contribute money and sit back and relax. Your stock portfolio will then be on automatic pilot.
Thirst for income is likely to continue with interest rates expected to stay low, keeping government bond yields low for longer and their valuations unattractive. Looking past bonds, the prices of high-dividend shares are historically high, which limits the likelihood that their dividends will rise markedly from here. Striving too high for an income target tends to push your portfolio further out on the risk spectrum.