November 2011

From time to time I am asked if there are investment secrets that only the wealthy know about? When I walk through bookstores, hear advertisements on the radio about day-trading seminars, and see titles of books that make me think so. Everyone wants to think there are short cuts, or secret ways to instant success or dramatic […]

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Your employer-provided retirement plan (e.g., 401k) is one of the most important pieces of your financial plan — yet it is often misunderstood and under-utilized. Master your retirement plan to retire early, on time, and achieve financial success. During this time of year, either 4th quarter or the 1st quarter of next year, your company […]

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For Christian daily living Matthew 6:25 – 34 might be one of the most important Bible verses in the entire Bible. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than […]

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Are you thinking about buying new tires before the hard winter weather hits?  Have you looked at them lately, do they look bald?  The old rule of thumb is to stick a penny in the tread and if the tread doesn’t go above Abe’s head then it is time, even if close you are ready. […]

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Interesting and funny but unscientific article about the amount of time consumed playing just one game, Angry Birds.  This article cites a recent report that around the world people spend 200 million minutes on Angry Birds every day. This adds up to 866,666,667 hours per year, and in America to it might compute to 43.3 million working hours, that […]

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The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago yesterday released its monthly National Activity Index. This index  measures the activity of the US economy following 85 monthly indicators, relative to averages starting in 1967, with zero being the average. The index rose to minus .13 in October from minus .20 in September, this improvement is attributed to increases in manufacturing. […]

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Many people ask me about savings accounts, money markets and CDs, and the latest version of CDs, market linked or index CDs: Q. Most financial experts say that we should accumulate 3 – 6 months of income or expenses in a safe savings account, for emergencies, such as job loss, uninsured damage to property or […]

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A couple of weeks ago my 1998 42″ Sears Craftsman Lawn Tractor model # 917.271021 with a 15.5 hp Kohler engine, decided to empty its transmission fluid on my back yard. The transmission case somehow got a crack in it, and it is too old and costly to replace. I was not happy with the […]

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A good friend of mine recently said that thankfulness is a big part of stewardship. I think he is right. Some people look at Thanksgiving as the one of the holidays on the way to Christmas, looking somewhat past it, and focused on the big game at the end of season. Of course to be thankful […]

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1: Negative Spending Have you created a budget and do you stick to it?  If not, you may be spending more money than you make.  People who have created a budget have a good idea of their monthly income and expenses and can accurately diagnose their financial condition.  Other signs of negative spending include the […]

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Over the last few years I have counseled or held educational events for over 1,000 people. More than 50% of them are women, and it seems as if they are a little better than men at taking charge of their financial life. If you were to guess which issue women worry about most, would you […]

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Step 1: Get Your Financial House in Order Before you even think about the purchase of a home, look at your entire financial plan. The purchase of a house affects not only the amount of money you currently have in savings and investments (if you use some of it as a down-payment), but the payments, […]

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Morningstar Inc. known as a leader in providing mutual fund analysis for the investment community and consumers, recently introduced a new system. The well know star ratings of providing 1- 5 stars based upon mutual fund’s past performance, has been helpful to some people at evaluating mutual fund choices.  Past performance is often no indication of future performance, but merely […]

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Shopping for Christmas gifts can surely be a budget buster. If you go shopping and  do not have a list or calculated in advance how much you are going to spend on particular individuals, your emotions may get the best of you, and you will wake up with a massive debt hangover after the holidays. […]

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Some providers of financial products and services, think that they have found or created a unique tax strategy and will submit that strategy for patent protection. Some believe that owning such a strategy provides them with market protection and potential income when others what to license their strategy. President Obama recently signed the America Invents Act (Public […]

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An article in The Wall Street Journal today 11/15/11 about the Federal Housing Administration or FHA “Loan Backer’s Cash Runs Low” states that an audit being released today that FHA has close to a 50% chance of running out of money and require a tax-payer bailout. This follows the 10/23/11 news that PMI group the third largest mortgage insurer was […]

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It is early Monday morning, and I am up and running. I usually start Mondays with a headache thinking about all of the things I want to accomplish this week at work and home, my concerns about a whole host of things, including staying on budget and being a good steward and being healthy to […]

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Did you know that our Federal lawmakers are exempt from insider trading laws? According to the report on 11/13/11 CBS 60 minutes lawmakers can and do buy stock and real estate based on secret inside information, in some cases information that they are privy to because they serve on special private committees. If anyone else traded stock based on […]

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The article Tax Report: Hidden Tax Deductions for Special Education, in the 11/13/11 Wall Street Journal highlights several tax breaks for students who fall into the “Special Needs Category.”  This article is worth reading if you have special needs children in your family, or you do financial planning or tax preparation for those that do.

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Wonderful quotes about giving from C.S. Lewis, the best Christian apologist of the 20th Century. I found these very challenging. Charity–Giving to the poor–is an essential part of Christian morality…I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we […]

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