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How do those “free dinners” really work?

You’ve probably got a dinner invitation in your mail. Free dinners are popular marketing ploys. “The hook” is the free meal. You bite. The salesperson reels you in with a compelling presentation. They land you when you buy what they’re pitching. No surprise – typically it’s an annuity. Why typically? Because they have high commissions, […]

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Tariffs – a Balanced Look (i.e., no politics or opinions)

“Tariffs are one of the oldest trade policy instruments, with their use dating back to at least the 18th century. Historically, the main objective of a tariff was to raise revenue (my emphasis). In fact, before ratifying the 16th Amendment in 1913 and formally creating the income tax, the U.S. government raised most of its revenue (taxes) from tariffs. Even so, […]

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Different kinds of debt by age - some surprises!

Different kinds of debt by age – some surprises!

When it comes to debt, there are many different kinds.  There is mortgage debt (primary mortgages, second mortgages, lines of credit, etc.), vacation home or secondary residences, credit cards, education loans (both owed by students, or by parents and/or grandparents), vehicle debt, and other miscellaneous debts (e.g., loans against pensions or life insurance). I’ve written […]

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The Markets: Who Buys When People are Selling?

The Markets: Who Buys When People are Selling?

You may hear, when markets get “volatile,” that there are more sellers than buyers. Can that even happen? What does that phrase even mean? BTW, you hear it too in any market, including the real estate market.   The article below, “A Question of Equilibrium,” explains the basics of how buyers and sellers always agree […]

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How should you really evaluate retirement health care costs?

A crucial part of retirement income planning is helping you estimate health care expenses in retirement, both in the first year of retirement and over a your life expectancy. These costs are notoriously difficult to estimate because they depend on: 1) a client’s health care usage (i.e., health status) both now and in the future; […]

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Looming Government Pension issues impacts everyone!

Looming Government Pension issues impacts everyone!

Looming government pension issues at the State and Local levels impact not only current government employees, but retirees and taxpayers alike. Many have seen the National Debt Clock. However, this is only U.S. Treasury debt – which doesn’t include agency debt, unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, State and Local debt, some student education […]

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Home buying: Prequalification? Debt ratios? Rent vs Buy?

Home buying can be daunting, even for those who’ve done it before. The question of getting loan approval can be tricky. Having your debt to income ratios evaluated for loan qualification is also confusing to some. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a good short description as to the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval.  […]

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How do you use APR to calculate loan costs?

Lately it seems that many people are receiving offers to refinance their mortgages. Should you refinance? What does that offer tell you about expenses? It does say something about expenses. Here’s how you may determine what they’re saying those expenses are. Online there is a lot of discussion about the APR, but not a lot […]

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You've heard of the "1 percenters" - what percenter are you?

You’ve heard of the “1 percenters” – what percenter are you?

You can get a sense of what “percenter” you are through a handy site that summarizes income or wealth (and other stuff too) called Shnugi. The numbers are based off of the results of the Survey of Consumer Finances by the Federal Reserve.   There are two measures that people often confuse being similar. Income and […]

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