Showing posts from March, 2020

Why the Right Is Right.

One of the best explanations I've heard.

Nancy Pelosi: Number One Enemy of the American People


Weathering the COVID-19 Crisis

It's important to fully screen information you may be getting from various media sources. Some, like MSNBC and CNN are sensationalizing this crisis in order to get you in a fearful state and go against the Trump administration, which the hate. And hate is the right word. Chuck Todd, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow come immediately to mind. Avoid these people.

If you must, ad the end of this article, I've included a few articles if you are a glutton for punishment. These people are nuts.

So having said that, more rational minds are needed, and many are available.

How you weather this storm is up to you, but I've assembled some articles that may be of help.

Weathering The Storm: Coronavirus And Its Financial Impact On Homeowners

One way or another, future historians will consider the Coronavirus Pandemic among the most noteworthy events of the early 21st Century. Schools and businesses are shut down, and, throughout the country, Americans have been directed to “shelter in place,…

How Crisis Legislation Can Have "Unintended" Consequences

Little of the Democratic Party's wish list made in into the COVID-10 Relief Bill. That's a relief in itself. But we will hear of these again, I'm sure. The devil in is in the details, and Democrats will in the future try to sneak progressive and undemocratic issues into bills that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. 
On Friday, the House passed the massive $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package (click the link to read the entire bill) which the Senate had passed on Wednesday. There is way too much in this bill which is just pork, though the main features are certainly needed.

There’s a lot in those 880 pages, and much of it is problematic: The bill is neither targeted and temporary, nor directed exclusively at the coronavirus—as scholars at The Heritage Foundation and its president, Kay C. James, have explained.

Before the bill made it through the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., temporarily derailed it by insisting that any relief bill include a …

Managing Your Finances Through Hard Times

Excellent article from Investopedia, with many links to additional resources.

Investopedia's mission is to help people be in control of their financial lives, and that mission is just as important as ever given the health and economic crisis we are all living through. We've organized the most important information about a variety of financial topics that are particularly relevant in today's financial markets that will impact your investments and your personal finances. From managing your portfolio through volatility to the latest on student loan interest and mortgages, this guide is here to help you plan for and react to the current economic realities.
Read the full article here.

If You Must, Avoid Mistakes Using a HELOC

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, has long been a popular way to tap the equity in your home and get your hands on a quick infusion of cash. In the past, one big plus of using a HELOC—rather than an unsecured loan or credit card—was that you could deduct the interest you paid on up to $100,000 of the balance.

But under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the rules have changed. And if you're not clear on how the new law affects you, you could make some mistakes with your HELOC that could cost you big-time! Once you make these errors, it can be difficult or impossible to undo them. So, it's crucial that you're clear on what you can (and can't) do with a HELOC today.
1. Not understanding the new HELOC rules

If you opened your account before Jan. 1, 2018, you could take out a HELOC and spend the money on anything. Whether you spent this cash to fund a child's college tuition or foot the bill for a wedding or even a new boat, you could deduct the interest on thi…

What Is a Good Credit Score?

For a score with a range between 300-850, a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good. A score of 800 or above on the same range is considered to be excellent. Most credit scores fall between 600 and 750. Higher scores represent better credit decisions and can make creditors more confident that you will repay your future debts as agreed.

Credit scores are used by lenders, including banks providing mortgage loans, credit card companies, and even car dealerships financing auto purchases, to make decisions about whether or not to offer your credit (such as a credit card or loan) and what the terms of the offer (such as the interest rate or down payment) will be. There are many different types of credit scores. FICO® Scores* and scores by VantageScore are two of the most common types of credit scores, but industry-specific scores also exist.

What Is a Good FICO® Score?

One of the most well-known types of credit score are FICO® Scores, created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. …

Top 10 Most Common Financial Mistakes

1: Excessive/Frivolous Spending

Great fortunes are often lost one dollar at a time. It may not seem like a big deal when you pick up that double-mocha cappuccino, stop for a pack of cigarettes, have dinner out or order that pay-per-view movie, but every little item adds up. Just $25 per week spent on dining out costs you $1,300 per year, which could go toward an extra mortgage payment or a number of extra car payments. If you're enduring financial hardship, avoiding this mistake really matters – after all, if you're only a few dollars away from foreclosure or bankruptcy, every dollar will count more than ever.

2: Never-Ending Payments

Ask yourself if you really need items that keep you paying every month, year after year. Things like cable television, music services or fancy gym memberships can force you to pay unceasingly but leave you owning nothing. When money is tight, or you just want to save more, creating a leaner lifestyle can go a long way to fattening your savings and…

A New Challenge

I challenge anyone reading this to spend two hours with this video of Jim Rohn. It's a classic. You'll be glad you did.

Why You Should NOT Vote for Bernie

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

General Comments on Markets and Portfolios

Markets and Coronavirus

Stocks are down again. Don't worry. Fluctuations (even large ones) are normal. It's been a bout of market volatility that will likely be seared into our memories for a long time. News that the coronavirus had spread beyond China caused a rapid repricing of the consensus view that an earnings recovery was right around the corner in 2020, and that the stock market's torrid valuation-driven advance in 2019 was justified.

That consensus quickly crumbled as it became clear that there could be a temporary but nevertheless significant shock to both the demand and the supply side of the global economy. And even the Fed's "emergency" half point rate cut did not halt the market slide.

As fewer people travel and go on cruises and possibly are forced to work from home, demand could come down. As countries take turns going into various forms of lock down, supply chains could be affected as well. It's a double shock to the system. With valuation…

What Is Freaking Me out Right Now

Other than the collapse of the energy markets? Which is killing my energy portfolio -- but I have to think long term. But interest rates have a bad omen about them.

A year ago, the 10-year Treasury yield was 2.6%. Today, it's continued its plunge -- falling off a cliff -- to .73%, as I write this. That is after a low this morning of .67%.

Of course the Fed didn't help, by cutting the Fed rate by .5% last week. Stupid idea. There is nothing wrong with the economy -- recent market activity is all psychological, not fundamental -- and they are not keeping their powder dry in case of a real weakness in the economy.

This has all the hallmarks of a bubble or "buying panic." Either we are going permanently lower in rates -- joining the "zombie" financial systems of Japan and Europe -- or we unwind a la the "taper tantrums" of the past and rates shoot higher, which could also now destabilize the financial system because everyone is positioned the other wa…

Seven Important Personal Finance Guidelines

It takes time and discipline to become money smart. It doesn't happen overnight. Some people go through life never saving and living paycheck to paycheck. Learning how to be able to handle your money at an early age may not seem sexy, but it will certainly put you down the right path. But if you think you have enough time to become serious about your finances, think again. You may still feel young and invincible even when you hit your 30s, but the scary truth is that you are halfway to retirement. It is time to put the financial foolhardiness of your 20s behind you and become more frugal with your cash by mastering these top financial habits.

1. Actually Stick to a Budget

Most 20-somethings have played around with the idea of a budget, have used a budgeting app, and have even read an article or two about the importance of creating a budget. However, very few individuals actually stick to that budget, or any budget at all. Once you turn 30, it's time to ditch the wishy-washy pr…

How to Fight Tax Identity Theft

(Reprinted from Scammers who misrepresent themselves as IRS officials are an ongoing and evolving threat, and one that requires a degree of savvy to avoid. The key to combating this tax scam is understanding what the IRS can and cannot do and staying alert for any communications that ring false or make unauthorized requests for money or information.

How Does Tax Identity Theft Happen?
Tax identity theft takes several forms, but the objective is the same: To harness the power of the IRS to intimidate victims into giving up their money or personal information.

Specific ways tax identity fraud can appear include: Hijacked tax returns: A criminal submits a tax return using your identifying information and has your refund redirected to them. It's common to learn of this scam when you try to file your legitimate tax return, only to have the submission rejected on grounds that a return has already been filed using your Social Security number.Fake tax collection efforts: An of…

Selling Your Home? Know the Tax Rules

You may be wondering if there are tax deductions when selling a home. And the answer is: You bet!

Sure, you may remember 2018's new tax code—aka the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—changed some rules for homeowners. But rest assured that if you sold your home last year (or are planning to in the future), your tax deductions when you file with the IRS can still amount to sizable savings.

1. Selling Costs
These deductions are allowed as long as they are directly tied to the sale of the home, and you lived in the home for at least two out of the five years preceding the sale. Another caveat: The home must be a principal residence and not an investment property.

Just remember that you can’t deduct these costs in the same way as, say, mortgage interest. Instead, you subtract them from the sales price of your home, which in turn positively affects your capital gains tax (more on that below).
2. Home Improvement and Repairs
If you renovated a few rooms to make your home more marketable (and so you co…