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‘She can start repairing the damage in economic diplomacy’ — analysts react to Yellen as Biden’s Treasury secretary



Economists and other analysts are sounding off following Monday’s news that President-elect Joe Biden has selected former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department.

Biden plans to nominate Yellen, said a Wall Street Journal article citing unnamed sources, and other news outlets also reported that she was picked. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would become the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary.

Below are some initial reactions, as the main U.S. stock gauges



 closed with gains on Monday after moving up toward session highs as the headlines about Yellen hit. Equities were rising again Tuesday.

• “She is well within the orthodoxy of the economics community, and I suspect that fact along with her familiarity will lead to a largely positive response from financial markets. More broadly, from what we have seen so far, Biden appears to be mainly choosing old Democratic hands to fill his most vital Cabinet and White House posts, people from the Obama (and in some cases, even the Clinton) years. Progressives had hoped to wield major influence in the next administration, but if Biden’s personnel choices so far are any indication, he intends to govern more from what constitutes the middle of the Democratic Party today than to push the envelope far to the left.” — Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont

From MarketWatch’s archives, December 2018:Yellen is worried about the next financial crisis

And see:Biden names Blinken secretary of state, Kerry as climate envoy

• “There’s a lot to be excited about, but here’s a big one: As a former Fed chair, she has great relationships across the globe. She can start repairing the damage in economic diplomacy from the past four years.” — Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, in a tweet

• “Ms. Yellen’s vast experience as a labor economist will be invaluable as the new administration and the Fed attempt to help the labor market regain its pre-pandemic footing. … Overall, Ms. Yellen will be a welcome addition to the administration at a time when the economy continues to be adversely affected by Covid-19 and needs ongoing support from both monetary and fiscal policy.” — Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics

• “We expect her to easily win Senate confirmation. To us, Yellen is likely to support restarting 13(3) loan programs like Main Street and the Muni facility. She also could support help for housing. We see her economic background giving her more credibility to negotiate a stimulus package.” — Jaret Seiberg, analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group

Related:Mnuchin pulls plug on some coronavirus emergency lending programs

• “Investors should embrace former Fed Chair Yellen as the next Secretary of the Treasury. If nothing else, her stock track record is very good: the S&P 500 compounded at 13 percent/year on a price basis during her tenure, even as she raised rates. Our only concern is that as a trained economist and former central banker, Yellen is not the sort of individual who will champion novel disruptive technologies like a U.S. central bank digital currency. China’s lead on this count will therefore continue to grow, with unforeseeable consequences for the greenback.” — Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research

• “The market responded positively to the news of Yellen’s nomination. This reflects the market’s familiarity with Yellen as Fed Chair from 2014 to 2018. … We conclude by viewing Yellen’s nomination as a moderate selection, which should mitigate the risk of any material progressive rules or regulations that would be disruptive to the banking and financial services sectors.” — Edwin Groshans, analyst at Height Capital Markets

• “Yellen is an excellent choice for Treasury secretary. She was my boss when I was a Senior Economist for International at the Council of Economic Advisors in 1998-99. The most wise boss ever!” — Nouriel Roubini, New York University economics professor often called “Dr. Doom,” in a tweet

Read more:Yellen, pushed aside by Trump, returns to center stage of economic policy

• “Great to see there will be an experienced hand at @USTreasury. Every Treasury secretary has a learning curve (even former Fed chairs) but this is an excellent selection.” — Tony Fratto, founder of Hamilton Place Strategies and a former spokesman in the George W. Bush White House, in a tweet

This is an updated version of a report first published on Nov. 23, 2020.

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S.E.C. Commissioner Hester Peirce on the outlook for crypto regulation, and whether this will finally be the year we see a Bitcoin ETF.

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My husband doesn’t get along with my son. I brought most of the wealth into our marriage. How do I split my estate?




Dear Quentin,

How do couples typically handle their estates in a second marriage? My husband and I have been married for seven years, and it is the second marriage for both of us. I have one adult child from my previous marriage; he has no children.

I brought the majority of our wealth to our marriage, including almost $1 million in my 401(k) and a nice home that is almost paid off; otherwise, we have no debt. My husband and I bought a second home together. We work hard to fund our new 401(k)s, and own a successful business together.

I am turning 65 this year, so estate planning is long overdue. My husband is five years younger than me, and we are both in very good health. We have two issues facing us: I see our retirement as living very comfortably on the monthly income generated by our 401(k)s, pension, Social Security, etc., and leaving whatever may be left to my son.

‘The other issue is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son at all, and feels no obligation to get along with him.’

I am not interested in scrimping, but I want to be able to have enough money to last us until age 90 (or beyond) by not touching the principal. My husband is more interested in dipping deep into our savings, and living it up in retirement while we are young enough to enjoy it.

The other issue is that my husband no longer gets along with my dear son at all, and feels no obligation to get along with him, to the point that neither one wants anything to do with the other. As far as he is concerned, my son doesn’t meet his expectations, and so deserves nothing from me and certainly nothing from him.

I want my estate planning to be fair to both my new husband and my son. How do people typically handle this type of quandary? I think that I need to create some type of trust to pass on my share of our estate to my son. My pre-marriage assets involved my son as I pursued my graduate degree through night school and worked long hours throughout his childhood.

Second Wife

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at

Dear Second Wife,

Don’t allow your husband’s feelings toward your son to influence your estate planning.

Your relationships with your husband and your son and your own plans for retirement are all fair game when making decisions about your estate, but your husband and son’s fractured relationship is their business, not yours. You worked hard for this money, and your son is your legal heir. Any effort by your husband to spend all of your savings and fritter away any inheritance that you intended to leave to your son should be resisted at all costs.

You have worked too hard your entire life to compromise your plans for a comfortable retirement where you have money set aside for long-term medical care insurance, unforeseen emergencies and/or your son. If you jointly own your home, you can leave your half to your son in your will, and specify it can only be sold after your husband passes away.

If you own the home, you can give your husband a life estate. Your son would pay capital-gains tax on the value of your home when he sells it, and not when you bought it. You could also make your son the beneficiary on your life-insurance policy, and/or gift him a certain amount of money per year to see how he manages and spends that money.

Figure out what is fair to yourself first before moving on to what is fair to your husband and your son. It’s OK to put your needs first. I caution against your dipping into savings at a rate that is beyond your own risk tolerance.

Ultimately, you are entitled to leave all other separate property to your son when you die — and, along with a financial adviser, set up a trust with that in mind for you, your husband and your son. Not necessarily in that order.

The Moneyist: ‘I cut his hair because he won’t pay for a haircut’: My multimillionaire husband is 90. I’ve looked after him for 41 years, but he won’t help my son

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook

 group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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These money and investing tips can help you make a place for crypto in your portfolio




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These money and investing stories, popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week, can give you a better understanding of bitcoin and other cyrptocurrency, and help you figure out if digital currency has a place in your portfolio alongside stocks, bonds and other traditional assets.

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