Too many people think that long-term care planning is just a decision about whether to purchase long-term care insurance. However, long-term care planning is so much more. It is a discussion about how you will fund this expense, where you will receive long-term care, and who will provide the care.
Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Every year millions of Americans wait until the last minute to prepare and file their taxes. Regardless of whether you’re one of these people, there are still things you need to be aware of before you send those forms in.
Austrian economics does more than tell you what happens when the government disturbs market forces. In the hands of knowledgeable investors and entrepreneurs, it can tell you exactly what to expect from the market. Market behavior depends on how people behave. And how people behave is central to the Austrian perspective.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
World War II might have dragged the country out of the Great Depression, but it did so at a great price. Central planning took center stage, and politicans and bureaucrats suddenly knew what was best for America, the economy, and your life. On top of that, they replaced the free market with a new economic system… Creditism.
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
Its acceptance is as widespread as its justification is important, for it provides the rationale for the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary expansion since 2008. While critics may dispute the wealth effect’s magnitude, few have challenged its conceptual soundness. Such is the purpose of this article. The wealth effect is but a mantra without merit.
Baron Rothschild, the famous French financier, was once heard to say that he knew of only two men who really understood money -- an obscure clerk in the Bank of France and one of the directors of the Bank of England. “Unfortunately,” he added, “they disagree.”
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
Economic theories don’t lend themselves to laboratory testing, so the work of a national appraisal firm is especially enlightening. A new study lends support to the Austrian business cycle theory, which says that the less government is involved, the faster a market will recover.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The first principle in dealing with government is: Don't be awed by it. What little the government achieves is almost always due to the voluntary participation of its citizens. Those who don't want to help the government can go their own ways without running into much trouble.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
The financial world is plodding along like a drunken sailor avoiding debt collectors by keeping no cash in his wallet. It’s not the kind of calm that’s going to last or end well. But the storm will have to wait until after the Olympics.What a game! We’ve never watched ice hockey closely before. But watching […]
President Obama crowed in his State of the Union speech about the economy, even mentioning “a rebounding housing market.” Maybe he was referring to friends in high places, like the seller of Penthouse One in New York, which just closed for $50.9 million, all cash. Millions of mere-mortal homeowners likely wanted to throw something at […]
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress.There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information […]
Amidst all the revelations about how the American people, many of whom are absolutely convinced they live in a free society, have their telephone calls, emails, website visits, and who knows what else under surveillance by their own government, let’s not forget the massive infringements on financial privacy that have gone on for decades.Consider, for […]
The exercise had an awesome name, inspired by the movies: “Quantum Dawn 2.”On July 18, scads of U.S. banks, stock exchanges and government agencies took part in a digital fire drill — a practice run in the event all of Wall Street came under massive cyberattack.This isn’t the first time banks have come under an […]
The faces of the Detroit bankruptcy are the thousands of pensioners whose promised benefits are suddenly part of the restructure negotiation. When Motown filed for Chapter 9 last July, the city had $11.5 billion in unsecured liabilities. The vast majority of this was pension and health care benefits owed to retired city employees.The images of […]
The Largest Company in History:“The United States Corporation of Government (USCOG)”I follow global social and commercial networks, looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.Innovation surges when industry and government models change. Buggy whips. Landline phones. Railroads. The Soviet Union. Apartheid South Africa. All marked social and commercial innovation, both bad and good.We are witnessing a new form of […]
During the 2008 credit crisis, a horde of central bankers, Treasury officials and large corporations screamed that the end of the world was upon us — unless trillions of your money were spent (or created) to prop up the existing financial and banking systems.
The presumption was that the existing structure must never be changed, or the Fed’s control over the financial and monetary system ever brought into question. Everything is just as it should be. This is a minor blip on the radar screen, nothing to be concerned about, provided certain steps were taken.
So we were all looted. There was the debt run-up, the new regulations, the funny money creation, the absorption of bad debt that was revarnished and relabeled as assets, the complicated payouts to every institution that Bernanke and his friends deemed to be too big and too crucial to our well-being to be allowed to fail. The government must be permitted to throw around inconceivable amounts of money, they said, in order to save our glorious system.
Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives and every conventional media outlet on this green earth agreed: No expense can be spared to solve this great emergency. Anyone who resists this multiyear bailout, began under Bush and continued under Obama and to be continued by whomever follows, is clearly an egregious cretin who doesn’t understand the depth of the emergency we (as a nation) face.
Yet here we are not too many years later, and it seems that entrepreneurs understand something that the political and banking classes did not understand: The system is rotten and needs to be fixed. It doesn’t serve consumers, which is to say that it does not serve society. There are too many layers between us and the people running the show.
These young entrepreneurs have been hard at working to find new ways for us to develop financial relationships with each other, human ways that don’t rely on force, fraud and freaking out at every sign of trouble. The most-remarkable thing is how they are doing this within the rigid existing structure, regardless of every barrier thrown in their way.
I’ve been exploring some fascinating new digital-age systems for banking, money, loans and payments. If you aren’t following this stuff day to day, you would miss them. They might be used by millions to transfers billions of dollars, yet even still, they aren’t in our purview. This is because people are using digital media as never before to create and innovate in ways that the mercifully spared money institutions of old could not even imagine.
Let’s name a few from simple to complex. And let me say, just before marching through these things, if you have had a rotten day, working in a routine job in which nothing new ever happens, or you have been sitting in a desk listening to some drone professor babble on about the dated falsehoods that clog his brain, these little tools will seriously lift your spirits.
Squareup. This is an innovation by Jack Dorsey (Twitter fame) and his friends, and came about only in 2010. The first problem they were trying to overcome was there has to be an easier way for merchants to accept credit cards. They decided to give the hardware away for use on simple mobile phones, and then charge per transaction. Win!
In the course of developing the business, which is valued already at $1 billion, they solved an even stranger problem that all of us have but never really noticed that we have: If we don’t have our wallets with us, we can’t buy anything.
Now this is genius: Square allows you to pay by saying your name. The merchant matches a picture of your on the square system with your physical face. You look each other in the eye and the deal is done. Anyone can sign up. Yes, it is incredible. Simple and wonderful.
The Lending Club. Again, this is mind-blowing. The Lending Club matches up lenders and borrowers while bypassing the banking system altogether. The idea emerged in October 2008, just as the existing credit system seemed to be blowing up. Today, the company originates $1 million in loans per day.
Anyone can become a lender with a minimum investment of $25 per note. Lenders can choose specific borrowers or choose among many baskets and combinations of borrowers to reduce risk.
Any potential borrower can apply, but of course the company wants to keep default rates at the lowest possible level, and these are published daily (right now, they are running 3%). As a result, most applications to borrow are declined (this is good!).
The average rate of interest on the loans is 11%, cheaper than credit cards but more realistic than the Fed’s crazy push for zero. As a result, the average net annualized return is 9.6%.
The focus if of course on small loans for weddings, moving expenses, business startups, debt consolidation and the like. If you are an indebted country with large unfunded liabilities, you probably can’t get a loan. But if you are student with a job who needs upfront money to put down on an apartment, you might qualify.
Dwolla. This is a super-easy, super-slick online payment system that specializes in linking payments through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Like most of these companies, the idea was hatched in 2008 in response to the crisis. The system was breaking down and needed new services that worked. Dwolla got off the ground in 2009, and today, it processes more than $1 million per week.
An easy way to understand Dwolla is to view it as the next generation of PayPal, but with a special focus on reducing the problem that vexed PayPal in its early years: getting rid of credit card fraud. Dwolla is focussing its product development on ways to pay that do not require sending credit card information over networks.
Dwolla has also taken a strong interest in the Internet payment system called Bitcoin, a digital unit of account that hopes to become an alternative to national monetary systems. It is a long way from becoming that, but it is hardly surprising that a young and innovative company would be interested in competition to failed paper money.
These are a few of the services, but there are hundreds more. None were created by the money masters in Washington. They are results of private innovation, individual entrepreneurs thinking their way through social and economic problems and coming up with solutions. They accept the risk of failure and enjoy the profit from success.
What they all have in common that is missing from the current monetary, financial and banking structure — a maniacal focus on serving the individual consumer. If or when the official structure blows up, such private enterprises will be there to save us.