Pensioners and Wildly gyrating Markets.

Put and call options. Etching 1991

The last few months have seen the price of oil dropping to $27.- a barrel. Some years ago, it was ‘peak oil,’ with dire predictions of shortages. People were hoarding it.  Now, they are finding oil everywhere, even under our houses, the local cinema and park-land. People have signs in the window; ‘Close the farm-gate, we want water.’

World markets are reacting like the drunken sailor at Woolloomooloo before being chucked at the back of the Bumper Farrell  Wagon. Bumper Farrell was a revered rugby player and policeman. (1916-1985) His first name derived, when as a schoolboy at the back of the school, he would be caught smoking used second hand cigarette butts, named ‘bumpers.’ He became a most feared policeman. His great grandfather was an Irishman who left the potato shortage for Australia in 1837 as a convict for having stolen a pig.

His fame as a rugby player grew in tandem with his rise in the police ranks to such an extend, the police paddy wagons (Irish again) were suitable named ‘Bumper Farrell wagons.’ It was a badge of honour to make a claim to have been picked up by such a wagon. Of course, if by the man himself, it would ensure an entry to almost everywhere that was unlawful, especially at illegal betting joints.

With the fluctuating money markets, the money men are back in full swing again. They are the ‘Short and Long sellers.’  They thrive on volatility. They are busy dealing in contracts of ‘options.’ An option is usually a contract in buying and selling shares   ( or currencies) that the trader doesn’t actually hold. It usually has a delayed settlement date. This means that provided the market goes your way, either up or down, depending on going ‘short or long,’ you only pay for the option contract and not for the shares.  And collect the difference!  A single contract holds 100 shares. It is believed that the short sellers (and long sellers) are actually negatively manipulating markets. The leverage on options, both selling and buying (Puts and Calls) are much higher than with ordinary shares.

I wonder what the return of retirement funds will be this year? The return on superannuation income is for many retirees the income they have saved up for during their working years. Australia also has a pension system that pays roughly 30% of average earnings. Not a fat pot. Our pension is minimal because of the ‘means test.’ The value of assets and other income is taken in consideration and the pension gets deducted accordingly.  I have a small pension from Holland. This resulted the Australian pension promptly being deducted. It seems a hand-out in Australia, instead of an entitlement that one has worked and paid for. I don’t know what happens if one has too many assets. Does one perhaps end having to top up the politicians to supplement their income?

It’s all good if health continues,…but what about if one gets ageing problems? I mean, a fall and lengthy hospital stay? The loss of eyesight and the driver’s license, a sense of direction or loss of not knowing where the fridge is, (where is my potato-leek bake)? I read a post whereby an old person needs a toilet every hour.  I am not quite there yet! But, what then? So far so good. I can still take two steps at the time. I was told by a friend that I am merely old and not yet ‘old old.’ That is when eighty is reached.

And then there is that sweet couple, George and Irish, who both turned 100 years and still together. Have a look!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-13/canberra-couple-george-and-iris-barlin-celebrate-100th-birthdays/7166080

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19 Responses to “Pensioners and Wildly gyrating Markets.”

  1. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Very interesting story and great etching again. The “older” couple are lookin’ good! I especially liked Bumper Farrell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Bumper Farrell had a reputation as being ‘as rough as guts’ a policeman you would ever come across. He had his own moral code in the police force. He did keep crime down but only those crimes he did not like. Some reckoned he was ‘as crook as Rookwood’. Rookwood is Australia’s largest cemetery.
      He was known to put suspects in a steel cage and push the unfortunate around the police cells, after which he would cover the person with telephone books before stomping on him. It would leave no signs!
      There are lots of books written about him, some of it is a bit rich.

      Like

  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Don’t know about you Gerard, but I have little love for the people who make their living speculating on the market. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, it was a long time ago, Curt. You would not have loved me then.
      I just had to try being a registered share and option dealer. I was curious and traded for a couple of years. It was a world on its own with the same good and bad people and behaviours you would find in any other occupation.

      It is different now and one can almost hear the roar of the split second internet gambling-den it must be now.

      Like

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Oh, I would have liked you Gerard. You still would have been the same person you are today. I’d bet on it. And yes, I realize there would have been good and bad speculators (like there are today). –Curt

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, I know Curt.
        Back in the 1670’s in Holland a single tulip was worth ten times the yearly salary of a skilled tradesman. The tulip mania was in full swing. Real estate in Australian cities have reached that stage. In Sydney a reasonable house costs around a million. Unbelievable.

        Like

  3. Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

    In the US Social Security is not cut because of other Income–at least not yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was one of the reasons my parents left Australia for good. The humiliation of having to empty their pockets in front of the social security officer. The other reason was my brother Frank’s schizophrenia and his treatment here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

        I have to back up a little, Social Security is cut here if you are still working and drawing it at the same time, after a certain threshold is met. After age 70, you can work as much as you want and it not be cut. But your investment income is never counted as wages.
        If I may ask, what happened with your brother, Frank?

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Frank did have a bad run in Australia with mental health problems and was repatriated back to Holland around 1974 at the same time when my parents decided to return as well. He has had good care ever since and is still alive. He would never have survived here. He had jumped off a bridge about a year or so before his return.
        Even today in Australia, many people with mental health problems wander the streets and jails are used as de-facto mental hospitals for many.
        In low taxation paying countries, mental health funding is cut to the bone and ‘society’ is used to integrate the mentally ill. A lofty idea that doesn’t seem to work in severe cases.
        The pension in Australia is subject to ‘means’ and ‘asset’ testing. In Holland everybody, rich or poor, gets the basic pension and no testing of any kind.

        Like

  4. Yvonne Says:

    Who was it said “Old age ain’t for sissies”?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rod Says:

    As far as I can see, traders of the sort you describe contribute nothing to society. I’m not so clear what harm they may, for example, by increasing volatility.

    Like

  6. elizabeth2560 Says:

    I am now a self-funded retiree and am an income investor in the share market ie: I do not “trade” as such. I think the amount pensioners receive in Australia is a disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      In Australia being ‘a pensioner’ has a whiff of failure about it. It sounds much better to call oneself, ‘a self funded retiree.’ Or, even a ‘superannuant,’ which sounds a bit like ‘superman.’

      Like

  7. shoreacres Says:

    I heard an amusing and too truthful phrase the other day that was new to me: “Too poor to retire, too young to die.” I believe I might embroider that on a pillow, if I ever were to find the time or the inclination to take up embroidery.

    We’re a long way from the days of my dad’s investment club. A dozen or so guys would meet in homes once a month (as I recall — maybe twice) and discuss what to buy, what to sell. I suppose they pooled money, and went in together on share, splitting profit and absorbing loss.

    I do remember the oft-told tale of the year they decided not to invest in Texas Instruments. A company that made calculators? What in the world? Who needs a calculator when you have a slide rule?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The elderly often fall for all sorts of dubious schemes. They appear on TV confessing to having been lured in a ponzi scheme. If it isn’t finance it is in the area of romance. Even experts in finance get taken. A bank manager forking out hundreds of thousand in an effort to make money or find love, or both. He finally faces the truth. Someone from a warm African country has set him up. The money gone and no love.

      Like

  8. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    That couple give me hope yet, they look as though they are still enjoying life.

    Like

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