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My latest posts, articles & citations.

The Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, January 23, 2007

After years of steep underfunding, pension plans are now healthy, thanks to several years of double-digit investment gains and rising interest rates, separate studies from benefits consultants suggest.

The pension plans of Fortune 100 companies ended 2006 with 102.4% of the assets needed to pay pensions indefinitely, according to an estimate expected to be released today by Towers Perrin, a Stamford, Conn., benefits consultant. That is up sharply from a low point of 81.9% in 2002, though still below the 125.8% recorded at the height of the stock-market boom in 1999.

The Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, December 26, 2006

After her fiance died suddenly, Patricia Galvin left New York for San Francisco in 1996 and took a job as a tax lawyer for a large law firm. A few years later, she began confiding to a psychologist at Stanford Hospital &Clinics about her relationships with family, friends and co-workers.

The Wall Street Journal | Friday, August 11, 2006

WAUSAU, Fla. -- Katherine Harris, the Florida congresswoman, U.S. Senate candidate and controversial former secretary of state, dangled a live possum by its tail. Other candidates waited their turns.

"Keep shaking!" auctioneer David Corbin admonished the candidates. "Don't let it crawl up your arm and bite!"

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Rod Smith gave his possum a quick shake, and it went limp.

The Wall Street Journal | Thursday, April 13, 2006

At a time when companies are scaling back health benefits for other retirees, former top executives at many corporations are receiving partial or full lifetime medical coverage on top of pensions valued at millions of dollars, a Wall Street Journal analysis of dozens of recent securities filings indicates.

The Wall Street Journal | Monday, March 29, 2004

Henry Schacht, Lucent Technologies Inc.'s former chief executive and still a director, met with retirees in 10 states last fall to explain why Lucent was cutting their medical and life-insurance benefits.

The Wall Street Journal | Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The loud message comes from one company after another: Surging health-care costs for retired workers are creating a giant burden. So companies have been cutting health benefits for their retirees or requiring them to contribute more of the cost.

IRE Journal | Thursday, July 31, 2003

 Sounds like the latest game show, doesn't it?

"Swindle millions from shareholders! Grab all the pension you can! Enjoy houses, cars and other luxuries at the expense of others!"

The Wall Street Journal | Monday, December 30, 2002

Corporate owners get a variety of tax and accounting benefits from life insurance on employees.

The kind they load up on is "cash value" life insurance, so-called because besides a death benefit, it includes a tax-sheltered investing account. This account is like a big, nondeductible IRA: The policyholder deposits money into it, the insurer subtracts a slice to pay for fees and insurance, and the remainder grows tax-free. That growing remainder is known as the cash surrender value, or cash value. It's an asset.

The Wall Street Journal | Monday, December 30, 2002

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, some of the first life-insurance payouts went not to the victims' families, but to their employers.

The Wall Street Journal | Friday, October 11, 2002

Until recently, executive deferred-compensation plans largely escaped scrutiny by regulators. That changed after Enron Corp. filed for bankruptcy late last year, and court documents showed that some Enron executives had withdrawn millions of dollars from their accounts just before the Chapter 11 filing.


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