PODCAST: Jim Patterson on The Kiplinger Letter’s 2021 Forecasts

What to expect from the U.S. economy, the new Congress and next administration, as well as the outlook for bitcoin, self-driving trucks and more.

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2021, the year. There's a lot riding on it. What might actually happen? Forecasting that is the domain of the Kiplinger Letter. Its managing editor, Jim Patterson, gives us the top 10 forecasts for the year. Also: Goodbye and good riddance to surprise medical billing. That's all coming up on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

David Muhlbaum: Welcome to Your Money’s Worth. I’m kiplinger.com senior editor David Muhlbaum, joined by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you doing?

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Sandy Block: 2021 is going gangbusters, no?

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Well, there's been a massive flow of news coming out of Washington, DC. Most of it, well, not particularly good. I mean, it doesn't even matter where you stand on the political spectrum -- there's something to get everybody mad. But along with all that last minute legislating that Congress did at the end of 2020 that got the second round of financial stimulus out, there was a bit of good news on the healthcare front.

Sandy Block: That's right. Good news is good news.

David Muhlbaum: Right, so, in the spirit of emphasizing the positive, Sandy, tell us what this is all about.

Sandy Block: This is about what's called surprise medical billing. And to explain that, well, most people get the idea of healthcare providers being in network and out of network. Basically, health insurers cut deals with doctors and other providers to pre-negotiate rates. And so if your care comes from someone who's in your network, it should cost you less than if you get it from someone out of network. And I think anyone who's gone through open enrollment a few times knows to pay attention to whether their doctors are in or out of network when they're choosing a plan. That's not how everyone's coverage works, but it does describe the situation for a lot of people.

Sandy Block: The hitch is this. It can get complicated trying to figure out who's in network and who's not, particularly if you're in an emergency situation, maybe you're unconscious, or you have to undergo a procedure where there are multiple caregivers involved, particularly if that involves anesthesiology.

David: Yes, anesthesiology -- this is what happened to my wife. But go on.

Sandy Block: So you get a big fat bill from the anesthesiologist that you weren't expecting, even though the doctor or surgeon was in network. That's surprise medical billing. The anesthesiologist wasn't in network, but maybe you weren't really in a position at that point to interview the person and find that out. Another common place where this goes on is with physician's assistants brought in for procedures or lab work or something like that.

David: Ultimately, we didn't have to pay whatever four -figure bill that was. We got the insurance company to beat them down.

Sandy Block: Well, you were lucky, or you might've had some protections based on your state. But now federal law will take over thanks to the No Surprises Act.

David: Oh, of course, it has a cute name. You can't get anything through Congress without a cute name anymore. They're probably hiring naming consultants.

Sandy Block: Sandy Block:

Well, I'll give this one credit for being direct and not a ridiculous acronym that I would have to spell out and take up all our time. It does what it says it does on the tin. So here are a few details. As I said, the legislation addresses what happens when out of network medical providers, from doctors to air ambulance companies, send insured Americans surprise bills, which are also known as balance bills. And sometimes these can be for tens of thousands of dollars. And remember, these are people who have health insurance, and the reason you have health insurance is so you don't get a bill for tens of thousands of dollars. But it happens a lot, usually to people who aren't in a position to ask their health providers if they're part of the insurance network, like I said, maybe you're unconscious and in the emergency rooms.

Sandy Block: So here's a rundown from our friends at Kaiser Health News on what this means. Starting in 2022 consumers won't get balance bills when they seek emergency care when they're transported by an air ambulance, or when they receive non-emergency care at an in-network hospital, but are unknowingly treated by an out-of-network, physician or laboratory. In that case, you only pay the deductibles and copayment amounts that were under the in-network terms of your plan. Medical providers won't be allowed to hold patients responsible for the difference between those amounts and the higher fees they might like to charge.

Sandy Block:It said the providers will have to battle it, as what happened in your case, David. It'll be up to the providers to argue with the insurance companies about how much they should be paid. And as I said, it also applies to non-emergency care at in-network facilities. And a bunch of states had already enacted some kind of surprise billing protections, but only 17 were considered comprehensive and they only applied to some kinds of insurance. So there were still a lot of big holes. The new federal rules will cover most types of insurance plans, including those offered by self-insured employers.

Sandy Block: And the last thing I want to mention, David, is this doesn't mean you should let your guard down.

David Muhlbaum: You said it starts in 2022, right?

Sandy Block: Right. So you still got this year to get through. And the other thing is, this is fairly specific. So you should always make sure when you go to a doctor, or any kind of healthcare provider, that they are in your network. Again, if you're unconscious, maybe you don't have that ability, but don't think that this gives you a free opportunity to get care wherever you want. You could still end up getting a big bill for going out-of-network. This will just address situations where you had to be airlifted out of someplace because you were injured and you really weren't in a position to negotiate the rate on that flight.

David Muhlbaum: Okay. So in 2021, while we're still waiting for this new law to take effect starting next year, is there anything people can do to avoid surprise billing beyond what you already said? And at the same time, do you think it's going to fade out as a practice because people, or rather, the people doing surprise billing know the crackdown is coming. Maybe they'll rush in and try to get it all in?

Sandy Block: Well, first of all, I think you want to, if you get a surprise medical bill, and this sounded like what you did, David, you can certainly challenge it. There's nothing preventing you, and you should. You should challenge any bill that seems out of line, so that would be the first thing I would say, check, you know, your state law may offer some protections just because you got a bill. Every insurance company has an appeal process. You can always appeal a bill that you feel is out-of-line or you shouldn't have to pay for, so I would certainly challenge that.

Sandy Block: But that's an interesting question going forward. Will some of these providers be more aware of the fact that if they're out-of-network, they might not get paid or they might not get paid as much. And maybe providers will be more conscious about the fact that they just can't assume that they can charge patients for the difference. And that's a good thing.

David Muhlbaum: All right, we'll hope for the best. Coming up next, we'll talk about The Kiplinger Letter's Top 10 Forecasts for 2021.

David Muhlbaum: Welcome back. Joining us today is Jim Patterson, who has been the managing editor of The Kiplinger Letter since 2017. That tenure means he's overseen five editions of a Kiplinger Letter tradition: 10 forecasts for the year ahead. And today's he's going to join us to talk about what we have to look forward to in 2021. Welcome, Jim

Jim Patterson: Hey guys, thanks for having me.

Sandy Block: So Jim, forecasting is at the heart of what The Kiplinger Letter does. I mean, every Letter is full of forecasts. So why these 10? Is it the time horizon? 2021?

Jim Patterson: It's a tradition born of the feeling that the beginning of the year is a natural time to talk about not just what's coming, but what's coming for the full new year that has just started. It's a time to offer some thought-provoking forecasts for the year ahead. There's nothing that says we have to do it this way, but we find that readers like it, and our thinking is fresh after the calendar turns. And we're all thinking about the new year that's coming. So it just seems like a natural time to do it, and it's become a nice tradition for the Letter.

David Muhlbaum: Got it. All right. Well, let's dig in then and start with the economy because, again, that's a core Kiplinger Letter mission. So, what kind of economic growth are you forecasting for 2021?

Jim Patterson: We're looking for a good year for the economy this year, and hopefully, we'll be right about that because we had a brutal 2020. We're looking for GDP growth of about 5% in 2021, which would definitely qualify as a very good bounce back year after GDP shrank quite a bit in 2020 because of the pandemic. Nothing is certain, especially in this environment where we're still dealing with COVID, but there seem to be a lot of tailwinds that the economy's back coming into 2021. So count us as optimistic for this year.

Sandy Block: So what about the prospects for a third stimulus? Obviously, there's a huge amount of interest in that. Can you give us some details on what you think will pass and when?

David Muhlbaum: Yeah, and also how that ties into the economy.

Jim Patterson: Right. It's still a moving target, but we do think there's going to be some additional stimulus bill coming out of Washington, especially now that Democrats will control both houses of Congress narrowly, but they will be in the majority, and they will have the White House as well. And there was some bipartisan support building for further stimulus measures even at the end of 2020. We had a bill pass that included $600 checks for most Americans. And then there was a lot of talk of, that's not enough, and a lot of talk about lawmakers revisiting this issue in 2021. So it's hard to say what the size of this future legislation will be at this point, but we think there's a pretty good bet there will be more stimulus, probably will include more money for most individuals under certain income thresholds.

Jim Patterson: There's been a lot of talk about boosting the $600 that went out late last year up to $2,000 total for a lot of recipients. So that's probably a starting point that a lot of lawmakers are going to be looking at. There may also be more help for businesses in the form of more loans that could become grants under certain conditions. So there's a lot that could go in here, but the bottom line is we think there will be more money coming out of Washington and probably some of it will be in the form of checks to individuals.

David Muhlbaum: So federal spending is obviously a big chunk of the GDP growth that you're forecasting for 2021. What are some other factors in the economy that will contribute to the growth?

Jim Patterson: One thing that's very positive is, that despite all of the economic hardship that the pandemic wrought, a lot of consumers are in a very good position financially. For folks who have not lost their jobs, they have a lot of money in the bank these days. They're not spending money on going out to eat. They're not spending money on travel like they normally would. The personal savings rate has risen quite a bit during the pandemic because people, on the one hand, can't spend money on things they normally would. On the other hand, they might be very concerned about spending money the way they normally would because of the uncertain economic outlook. So we think there are a lot of consumers out there who have the financial means to spend pretty freely as it becomes easier to, say, go out to eat again, or to travel again.

Jim Patterson: And of course, we do have COVID vaccines that are starting to be distributed. It's taking a while. The ramp up has been slower than hoped for so far, but there is good reason to think that vaccination will get to where it needs to be in 2021, which would enable a lot more of normal life to return and for folks to go about their normal affairs. We think there's a lot of pent up demand for things like travel. I think everybody wants a vacation at this point, right? Like a real vacation where you go to the beach or you go to the amusement park with your kids. And so many people haven't been able to do that. When it becomes feasible again, we think that travel, for instance, is really going to thrive. So just as 2020 was a really down year where a lot of things went wrong, it seems like there's a lot of bounce-back potential in 2021.

David Muhlbaum: How about bounce back for people who don't have jobs? Unemployment has been miserable in 2020.

Jim Patterson: 2021 is looking like a better year for the labor market. We think there's the potential for job growth to really ramp up again as certain industries that have been absolutely crippled by COVID hopefully start to come back, thinking especially about the restaurant industry, the travel/tourism industries. Now, the unemployment numbers might be stubborn about coming down gradually, but that's partly an artifact of how the unemployment rate is calculated. As the economy heals, as more employers start to hire, a lot of people who don't have jobs and who aren't even looking for jobs, and thus aren't counted as unemployed, they will start getting back in the jobs market. They'll start looking again. They'll become counted as unemployed again. So that could make the unemployment rate actually go up, or not come down as quickly as you might expect it to, but that's actually a good thing. More people looking for jobs, again, implies optimism about the economy.

David Muhlbaum: I appreciate your caveats on the numbers, but you want to give us what you think the unemployment rate will be at by the end of 2021?

Jim Patterson: We think it's going to come down to somewhere in the low 5% range. So that would be a more historically normal number. We saw it shoot up this year. It has been coming down something like 5.3% is our estimate as of right now.

Sandy Block: Yeah. I remember when I used to write about this stuff, we always talked about unemployment being a lagging indicator, right, Jim?

Jim Patterson: Right. Absolutely. The unemployment rate is, it's very important. It's probably the best single barometer of how people overall are doing, how the average consumer is doing. But it is a backward looking sort of indicator both on the upside and the downside for the economy. Employers tend to be slow to lay off workers when the economy is weakening, because they're not sure how bad things are going to get. And you don't want to lose people you've trained and people you know, people you trust to do a job. And on the other hand, when we're coming out of a recession and things are getting better, employers tend to be reluctant to bring people on because they don't know if the recovery is for real. They don't know if it's going to continue. It's expensive to bring new people in and train them. So it tends to, as you said, to lag way behind other economic indicators.

David Muhlbaum: Jim, when we're talking about federal spending, this also brings up the return of a certain Washington critter you mentioned in the Letter forecast, the fiscal hawk.

Jim Patterson: Right. The elusive fiscal hawk, rarely seen, but often talked about.

David Muhlbaum: The fiscal hawks have returned. They are roosting again on the halls of Congress. What's a fiscal hawk, Jim?

Jim Patterson: A fiscal hawk is the Washington shorthand for lawmakers — but it could be any policy pundit who's concerned about the federal deficit, the growing national debt and advocates for getting spending under control or matching spending with our available tax revenues. You know, someone who's looking to balance the books and not see us go deeper into red ink.

David Muhlbaum: So where were they the last four years?

Jim Patterson: You know, it's hard to find a full-time year round fiscal hawk in Washington. It really depends on who's in office. When there's a Republican president in office presiding over deficit spending, a lot of the Republican fiscal hawks tend to go south for the winter, it seems. And the same is true of Democrats. I remember when we had a democratic president and democratic Congress and we were running some big deficits, some previously hawkish Democrats suddenly didn't have a problem with deficits either. It depends on, is your party in power and do you approve of the sort of spending that's going on, that's driving those deficits.

David Muhlbaum: There's some squawky sounds coming from a Democrat here, Joe Manchin, on federal spending for the stimulus.

Jim Patterson: Right. Joe Manchin is an unusual situation. He's a Democrat, but he's probably the most conservative, fiscally conservative, Democrat in the Senate. Certainly one of the most conservative and is seen as a potential key swing vote on a lot of legislation. I said earlier that Democrats are going to control both houses of Congress and that's true, but especially in the Senate, it could not be any more narrow. They have 50 democratic senators, plus they will have Vice President Kamala Harris who will cast tie-breaking votes if there are ties.

Jim Patterson: So if it's split 50/50, the Democrats have 50 plus one, essentially. But that does require that every Democrat support a given piece of legislation, and Joe Manchin is the sort of more conservative Democrat who has expressed a lot of concern about, are we spending beyond our means? Do we need to scale back what we're doing with stimulus? So yeah, he could be the sort of fiscal hawk who does squawk and makes a difference when he complains.

Sandy Block: Well, Jim, as David and listeners know, I'm from West Virginia. So I'm well aware of the contradiction between being a fiscal hawk and naming every single road in the state after our former Senator Robert Byrd. Just a little bit of West Virginia lore there.

Sandy Block: But let's stay off the economy for a minute, and politics, because that's not all that you do. One topic I know you followed closely over the years is delivery services, in part, because shipping is critical to a lot of your business owning clients. You're confident that this is the year we're going to see autonomous trucks, which means a truck with no trucker, and not just in testing. Is that right?

Jim Patterson: That's right. And I know this is the stuff of David's nightmares. I know he's in your head and hates the thought of driving without human drivers. But yes, we do think there's going to be big advances in autonomous trucking in 2021. There's certainly been a lot of work going on in this sector for a long time, but we think we'll see some significant steps being taken this year. We'll see more pilot programs where there are essentially robot trucks on the road with no human being in the cab, doing some limited routes, gaining data about how this works and paving the way for an expansion in the next few years.

Jim Patterson: There's a lot of interest in autonomous trucking for a lot of reasons. One is that there's a crunch in the trucking industry, not enough drivers, necessarily. Truck driving is a difficult job. It's difficult to recruit new drivers. A lot of the drivers who are behind the wheel now are getting older and there aren't a whole lot of young folks coming along to take their place. So fleet owners are very interested in the possibility that at least some trucking could be done autonomously to rely less heavily on the limited number of human drivers that are qualified to be doing this work.

David Muhlbaum: I mean, you know my skepticism of autonomy, Jim, we've hashed it over. Also, trucking itself is sort of legendarily resistant to change and is a relatively disaggregated industry, but money talks. I assume there's a lot of venture capital riding on this revolution?

Jim Patterson: There is. There's a lot of money being invested here. There are some very large companies, familiar names in the trucking industry like Daimler and Navistar are partnering with some tech startups, a company called TuSimple for one, another is Waymo. A lot of money is being put into this, and it's because there's a lot of potential savings here. We estimate in the Letter that in the long-term, if we had full autonomy of the trucking industry that could save something like a hundred billion dollars in operating costs for the trucking industry. So you're right. This is a somewhat conservative industry where change generally comes slow. But if you're talking about billions and billions of dollars of savings, you know, money does talk.

David Muhlbaum: Hmm. When I was a kid, we used to sometimes get a trucker's attention on road trips, and we'd do this arm gesture, pulling down-

Jim Patterson: Oh, yeah, of course, to blow the horn?

David Muhlbaum: ... to blow the air horn, yeah. Well, it worked sometimes, but I imagine this being a bygone thing since everyone's got a device to stare at on their road trip. But at the same time, I imagine some little kid sitting at the window looking up at the window of one of these autonomous trucks. And there's no one to blow the horn.

Jim Patterson: Yeah, tell parents out there, if you've got little kids, you might want to get them to do this while there's still a lot of human truckers on the road, just to make sure they get that experience. Maybe in the future, there'll be some sort of robotic arm that can go back and blow the horn.

David Muhlbaum: We'll just have a camera pointed at the window with some software recognition. It'll recognize the gesture and it'll blow the horn on the truck.

Jim Patterson: Artificial intelligence, you can code anything.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah, right.

Sandy Block: Oh, this is sad. Yeah. I used to not only do the horn gestures, but try to get them to... I had a CB radio for a while. So we would try and get them to talk to us on the CB. And if your code name was Juicy Lucy, believe me...

Sandy Block: But, Jim, I wanted to ask you about your bitcoin forecast. I just got done wrapping up our cover story on taxes and the IRS is paying close attention to bitcoins because they've done so well. The Letter mentions that PayPal is going to let users buy, sell and hold certain cryptocurrencies and use their balances to pay the 26 million merchants using the payment processor. So as a PayPal user, but not a bitcoin holder, why would I want to do that?

Jim Patterson: Well, there's a variety of reasons why there's this growing interest in bitcoin. And of course, there's the whole separate issue, as you mentioned, of the speculative mania that's driving Bitcoin prices up so much. But we were really looking at bitcoin more as what it's supposed to be, which is as a payment mechanism, a medium of exchange. There are folks who like bitcoin because they view it as more secure than conventional currencies or not prone to being inflated. You know, there's a fixed number of bitcoin that can be created, which you can't say the same about the US dollar, for instance. There's an anonymity factor to using bitcoin. So different people have different reasons for being interested in using it as a payment mechanism.

Jim Patterson: And it's sort of a philosophical issue. You know, if you're skeptical about the health of the U.S. dollar, for instance, and you're looking for an alternative payment medium, bitcoin might appeal to you the way that gold has traditionally appealed to a lot of people as a store of value, as something that can't be tampered with. You can't create more gold and you can't really create unlimited bitcoin. There are algorithms that govern how much bitcoin is in circulation. So the answer is, it depends, but there are some valid reasons for folks to be interested in it, beyond just the fact that its price is skyrocketing.

David Muhlbaum: You know, we've gotten 20 minutes in here without saying the word T-R-U-M-P, Trump. That's, I mean, it's quite something. We're recording here with a week of his term to go without certainty that the president's going to serve out that whole week/term, as Congress moves to impeach him a second time, I mean, wow. But Jim, the Letter forecast is that he's out, but not down. How much influence is Donald Trump going to exert in 2021?

Jim Patterson: I think the short answer is a lot. And as you alluded to, we don't know exactly how his term will end. As we speak right now, the House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings against him. It's not clear whether the Senate would act on that if the House does impeach him, and when that Senate would act. But the fact remains, and this is borne out by a lot of reporting that we've done just talking to voters out there, is that Trump remains extremely popular among certain parts of the Republican Party. And even if he's not able to run again in 2024, if he were impeached and convicted, he'd be barred from running, he'd still be very influential in Republican circles. He'd sort of play kingmaker potentially in giving his support to another candidate, or if he's eligible to run, he could threaten to run again in 2024. And this is a product of the fact that he's extremely popular with this key part of the Republican base. And nothing has really changed that over the past four years.

David Muhlbaum: Well, thank you very much, Jim. We've covered many, but not all of the forecasts from The Kiplinger Letter today. So there are more in the link that I'll include in the show notes. And that link itself includes a solicitation to sign up for the Kiplinger Letter so you can get their weekly forecasts every week.

David Muhlbaum: Thank you so much, Jim.

Jim Patterson: Thank you very much for having me, guys.

David Muhlbaum: We've induced Jim to stick around for some Financial Jeopardy. My predecessor here, Ryan Ermey was a huge Jeopardy fan. He even appeared on the show once. And he had a few times adapted some questions to make a podcast-friendly format that challenged our guests and listeners with Jeopardy questions. I'm taking my first stab at doing this. Jim and Sandy are going to be our contestants/guinea pigs. And I'm not going to follow the format as precisely as Ryan did. We're just going to ask you some Jeopardy questions. Another change is, back when we were all sitting in the studio together, we'd raise our hands to answer. That's not going to work here in a virtual space. So Jim and Sandy, I'm just going to ask you to buzz in if you have the answer or any other recognizable sound you choose to utter.

David Muhlbaum: And frankly, I don't even know if I'm going to get into that because I might just hand you the question because I don't understand the format well enough. Maybe that's all just as well from a copyright perspective. I don't know, I do not hope to hear from their lawyers. But here are some questions that I hope you'll find interesting and relevant to what we like to talk about here.

David Muhlbaum: "In economics, this four letter type of taxation system utilizes a single tax rate that applies to all citizens."

Sandy Block: Bzzt. Flat.

David Muhlbaum: What is flat tax, Sandy?

Sandy Block: Flat tax. That's a flat tax.

David Muhlbaum: What is flat tax, Sandy!

Sandy Block: A flat tax, actually, you'll see it if you read our Retiree or everybody Tax Map, because some states have a flat tax. The U.S. government, federal government, does not. But that basically means everybody pays the same tax rate instead of a progressive tax rate, where it goes up as you get wealthier, everybody pays 5% or 4%. And there are a few states that have a flat tax, but a lot of people think it's regressive to charge everybody the same rate. So you do not see it in the federal system, but you do see it in some other places.

David Muhlbaum: Right. Who was it? It was, oh, it was a long time ago, like 20, 25 years ago. There was a presidential candidate, Steve Forbes.

Sandy Block: Yes, flat tax.

David Muhlbaum: Flat tax, yes. Okay. All right. A thousand dollars to Sandy. Okay.

David Muhlbaum: "The Fed says bigger banks can risk more because Uncle Sam won't let them go under." That's a four-word principle.

Jim Patterson: Bzzt.

David Muhlbaum: Jim.

Jim Patterson: What is too big to fail?

David Muhlbaum: Yes. What is too big to fail? Yeah. So 2020, it was a pretty bad year to be a banker or a bank investor, what with interest rates plunging to near zero, pandemic-driven recession, all that joy. But I looked it up, and we did not have a lot of bank failures, just a handful.

Jim Patterson: That's right. The financial sector came through the COVID crisis quite well. Banks were pretty well capitalized coming into this downturn, and then the Federal Reserve did do quite a bit to backstop the financial system. So one thing we didn't have to worry about in 2020, maybe the only thing we didn't have to worry about was, the sort of financial crisis that we had in 2008, where people were afraid banks were going to fail. So yeah, cross that one off the list of bad things that didn't happen in 2020. It's not a very long list.

David Muhlbaum: The traditional rule of thumb for mortgage holders is, "Don't do this unless you can lower your interest by 2%."

Sandy Block: Bzzt.

David Muhlbaum: Sandy.

Sandy Block: Refinance.

David Muhlbaum: What is refinance!

Sandy Block: What is refinance, Ken, or Alex, or David, or whatever your name is. Actually, I think some people would challenge that. That used to be the case when fees for refinancing were a lot higher, and basically, it would take you a long time to make back the money it cost to refinance. Now that fees have gone down so much, mainly I think because of technology, because a lot of people are doing this mainly online, we're hearing that people are actually finding it still profitable to refinance for as little as a one percentage point difference. But the general rule is if you're going to refinance, figure out how much it's going to cost and how long you have to live in your house at the lower monthly payment to make up for the upfront costs of refinancing.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Thank you for giving us a capsule account on that, Sandy. I threw that one in particularly because it was one of the topics discussed on this very podcast with Pat Mertz Esswein about a year ago, and she goes into a little bit deeper on the qualifiers to what Jeopardy said. And I'll throw in a link to that podcast so people can dig deeper there.

David Muhlbaum: Okay, last question. "A Satoshi is the smallest unit in this currency system."

Jim Patterson: Bzzt.

Sandy Block: Oh, good.

David Muhlbaum: Jim.

Jim Patterson: What is bitcoin?

David Muhlbaum: Yes, and why is it a Satoshi?

Jim Patterson: A Satoshi is, I think, the cryptic, possibly apocryphal name of the founder of bitcoin, right?

Sandy Block: Oh, right.

David Muhlbaum: That's right, the presumed pseudo... pseudo... I can't do that word.

Sandy Block: Pseudonym. It's a pseudonym.

David Muhlbaum: Pseudonym. Thank you. I was like Porky Pig there.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Who developed bitcoin, he authored the white paper that came up with the very first concept of a blockchain database, whether that's actually his name, or did this person even really exist, or it could be a group. I don't know. It's all very-

Sandy Block: Very serious.

Jim Patterson: He's the Keyser Söze, so they say, of the financial cryptocurrency world.

David Muhlbaum: Yes. Who remembers who won?

Sandy Block: I think we tied.

David Muhlbaum: I think you guys tied, you tied.

Sandy Block: We were tied. Yes, we tied.

Jim Patterson: I'd like my winnings paid in Bitcoin, please, David.

David Muhlbaum: Your winnings will be paid in Kipcoin.

Sandy Block: Kipcoin!

David Muhlbaum: Kipcoin is the new innovation. We're going to be hearing lots more about Kipcoin and I think I'd probably better stop now because I'm going to hit some regulatory problems if I keep promoting Kipcoin.

Jim Patterson: The SEC might be calling you, David.

Sandy Block: Yeah, yep, that's right.

David Muhlbaum: Well, thank you very much, Jim.

Jim Patterson: My pleasure.

David Muhlbaum: And that will just about do it for this episode of Your Money's Worth. If you like what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and a review. And if you've already subscribed, thanks. Please go back and add a rating or a review as well. It helps other people see and learn about Your Money's Worth.

David Muhlbaum: To see the links we've mentioned on our show, along with more great Kiplinger content on the topics we've discussed, go to kiplinger.com/podcast. The episodes, transcripts and links are all in there by date. And if you're still here because you want to give us a piece of your mind, you can stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by emailing us directly at podcast@kiplinger.com. Thanks for listening.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.