Why You Should Ignore The Doomsday Stock Market Predictions

The stock market has not been pretty as of late.  All three major US indexes are in or have at some point recently dropped into correction territory, which is noted as a 10% drop.  Some stock market predictions are coming out that are driven by pure fear.

The bulls that drove the stock market to more than double over the last few years have taken a break, and the bears have been more than happy to step in and finally be right.  However, I think that there are some who are way off the mark.

Is This 2008-2009 All Over Again?

There are many out there who will happily tell you that the stock market is headed for another crash like the one that happened in 2008-2009 when the markets lost over half their value in about an 18 month period.

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5 Simplistic Ways Small Businesses Can Save Money

Working with a small budget? Need ways to cut back on operational costs in an effort to increase profit? Owners of small businesses don’t have the same financial luxuries of a large organization.  As such they must make economic decisions that will allow them to save money while still providing the same quality of products and/or services. There are essentially hundreds of ways in which you can cut back on your overhead costs.  However, some of them may require a large initial investment or an array of resources you may not have at the moment.

The good news is, however, modern technology has made some money saving options a lot easier for small business owners to accomplish. Here are five considerations.

1.  Outsource Instead of Hiring

There’s more to hiring an employee than just paying for their salaries. As a business owner you would also be required to pay employee taxes, insurance costs, and more which can add up on a small budget. Not to mention the costs of office space, furniture, and training for a new employee to start. However, if you were to hire a freelance contractor or outsource certain aspects of your business, you will come off a lot cheaper.

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Could Donald Trump Actually Be President?

By now, I’m sure that everybody knows that Donald Trump has been leading many polls for who people would vote for if the election for the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee were held today.  This upsets many people, causes our understanding and appreciation of Democracy to be brought into question, and has made Americans the butt of many a joke.

So could ‘The Donald’ actually be President?  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for yes and reasons for no and come back to answer at the end (or you could just skip ahead).

Reasons President Trump Could Happen

Name Recognition

I’m 40 years old and I have memories of Donald Trump in some form or another for at least 20-30 years.  I religiously watched early seasons of ‘The Apprentice’ until the repetition made me (and tens of millions of other fans) drift away.  Before that, he had his name all over buildings in cities around the world, and was not afraid of the camera.  Compared to just about any other candidate out there, Donald Trump by and far is the most well known name.

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Why We Pay Taxes

The United States of America is almost 320 million people strong. We live spread out across a diverse slab of land stretching almost 3000 miles across, not counting our noncontiguous states and territories. Our armed forces are stationed on 662 bases in 38 foreign countries and on 19 aircraft carriers traversing the high seas.  Why do we pay taxes? Because this stuff is expensive to maintain.

Taxes Pay For Things

How expensive? Try almost four trillion dollars in 2015 alone. And that’s just federal spending. It’s a sum of money we can’t even fathom – is there even that much cold hard cash in circulation? At that level the individual dollar, and even the individual million dollars, is a fleck of paint on the Sistine Chapel.

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Avoiding Audits After Tax Season

To paraphrase Jim Croce:

You don’t tug on superman’s cape
Don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with the IRS

At least, that’s how Al Capone would have sang it. The Department of Education, on the other hand… Go nuts. They’ve never educated a single person. And they have never put anyone in prison. The IRS has routinely done both. They have the power to give you an education in finance and consequences that you never wanted, and they can take you from your office directly to the penn without passing go, or collecting $200. These reasons should encourage you to avoid IRS attention in the form of an audit after tax season. Here’s how:

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US Heading For Economic Problems If Literacy Levels Stay Low

Most people know that the USA no longer leads the world in education.  However, few Americans realize how literacy levels have fallen compared to other countries.

A report by the Education Testing Service (ETS) outlines how the drop in educational standards is much worse than most people imagine. This review analyzes information gathered by the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to the report, America’s Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future:

Recent research reveals an apparent paradox for U.S. millennials (born after 1980, ages 16–34).  While they might be the most educated generation ever, scores do not match.  They consistently score below many of their international peers in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. As a country, simply providing more education may not be the answer. There needs to be a greater focus on skills — not just educational attainment — or we are likely to experience adverse consequences that could undermine the fabric of our democracy and community. Real world career building skills are important.  Someone going into PR or marketing would benefit from public speaking and writing classes.

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Good Old Uncle Sam Will Be Getting Our Money This Year

I got an e-mail I knew was coming regarding a 2015 tax refund.  The e-mail was from our CPA (and family friend).  The e-mail started  “Welcome to the world of No Tax Refunds”.  This wasn’t a surprise as I had done some rough math.  Still, that’s never news you want to get.  Especially for us, having gotten used to refunds for the past few years.

Our Normal Two-Part Refund

We typically get a refund from Uncle Sam.  For simple years, we have the proper amount taken out of my paycheck that would normally lead to a balanced return, but things like itemized deductions (mortgage interest, etc.), credits for having children, and other various components usually push us to get a refund.mb-money201308

On top of it, we always have a ‘refund’ fund running in our savings account.  Whenever we make any side income, we put a percentage aside.  In addition, if we sell stocks, or do other things that we know will be counted as income, we’ll put a percentage aside.

Typically, the two of these together makes for a nice chunk of change, though usually it just goes toward savings goals, having funded our new roof, built our ‘one day new’ car fund, car repairs, vacation funds, and things like that.

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The Downside Of Hiring The Best People

Hiring the best and brightest is probably the goal of many organizations.  We laugh at comics like Dilbert.  They contain funny characters like Wally, who are horrible at their job.  In an ideal world, those type of employees wouldn’t exist.  If we could only hire the most qualified and the most competent and everything would run smoothly. If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately in the real world, things don’t always work out that way.

Personal Experience: My Dentists Office

I have been going to the same dental practice since as long as I remember.  Since I’m 40 years old, that’s at least 35 years or so.  For most years, the practice was owned and practiced by one dentist.  He always did a great job, and was on the cutting edge of many technologies that are now standard, but were not at the time.  On top of that he’s a really nice guy.

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Business Owners Use Technology to Grow

As in almost every aspect of daily living, technology has become an integral part of retail for both the consumer and the business owner. Technology comes with a lot of advantages on both sides as well. Consumers can find precisely the products for which they are searching, compare prices, and make purchases from stores that are not within a comfortable driving distance. Businesses can reach more potential customers and get feedback to discover what works and what does not. Marketing has changed from the standard commercial to crafting a website that will be found through the most popular search engines. Technology is also helping businesses that see the majority of sales offline grow as well. The integration of e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) transactions in a single store system has contributed to the success and growth of many small businesses, as well as plenty of larger ones.

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Are Cheeseburgers Worth As Much As Babies?

I have been reading a lot about the protests going on, apparently throughout the United States, where fast food workers want to make a minimum of $15 per hour.  Last week here in Detroit, a bunch of workers protested, and 25-30 got arrested after they took to the streets…literally, by blocking traffic on major thoroughfares during the morning rush hour.

I have to be perfectly blunt on where I stand with this issue, and it’s not at all with the workers.  Before you paint me as some heartless scumbag, let me outline my reasons.

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