What is Your New Normal?

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The “New Normal” refers to everything from freakish weather systems to the global marketplace to a new sitcom on NBC. It’s a very convenient and flexible phrase, as it can be used to describe positive changes or convey perfunctory cynicism. It can refer to any change that appears to be both substantial and long-term, such…

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Let’s Talk Taxes

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We might as well talk about taxes because that’s all anybody is going to talk about from now until the end of the year. January 1, 2013 marks the date when several tax changes are scheduled to take place if no action is taken by Congress, namely[1]:   ·         2% payroll tax cut expires ·        …

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Are Unemployment Rates Cyclical?

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Some economists have labeled the first 10 years of America’s millennium the “lost decade”–at least from a financial point of view. The label stems from Japan’s woes in the 1990s when unemployment was high and economic growth contracted following an extended bubble period of high land values, low interest rates, and market liquidity. Sound familiar?…

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Will the President Make You Rich?

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In a word: No. The fact is that while an American president can be influential in setting policy in this country, Congress actually passes the laws. It’s a pretty good system. Congress is comprised of many more elected officials, which means there’s an inherent checks and balances system whereas no one person, administration or party…

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Carpe Diem and Other Relevant Clichés

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Have you thought about when you will retire, or what you will do with all that spare time? If you’re a baby boomer, that may still be a foreign idea. Like many, you may be well entrenched in your career, in your highest earning years, with the kids out of the house and perhaps still…

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Have We Reached “The Tipping Point”?

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In New York City between 1990 and 1999, the homicide rate dropped 73 percent, burglary 66 percent, assault 40 percent, robbery 67 percent and vehicle hoists 73 percent.1 Fascinated by the question of why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote of this and many other…

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Tax Plans: Obama vs. Romney

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Oh, there’s nothing like a good brouhaha to stir up a presidential election. If you’re a fan of political mudslinging, grandstanding rhetoric and muckraking media, you must be thoroughly enjoying this pre-election season. A big part of the presidential campaign platforms is tax reform at both the personal and business level. Tax changes present an…

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Oops, I Did It Again

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September was a tough month for the GOP presidential campaign, marked by a series of unfortunate utterances by Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The most damaging of all was an hour-long video of him speaking at a private fundraiser, which came on the heels of misspoken comments about recent foreign policy.    You’ve probably heard the…

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The Fed Steps Up

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Five million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. Less than half of the eight million jobs lost during the recession have been restored. In his press conference announcing the latest plan by the Federal Reserve to help improve the U.S. economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made it clear that the…

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Scraping Together Retirement Income

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  According to the Federal Reserve’s 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances released in June, the typical U.S. household between ages 55 and 64 held just over $42,000 in their tax-exempt (IRA, 401(k), etc.) retirement plans, and the average value of bank savings accounts dropped in half, to $18,000. That’s about $60,000 available for retirement which, when coupled with…

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