A reminder worth repeating

Digital Estate Planning: More Than a Lifeline

AICPA Insights September 23, 2015

Whether you think of our connected world as a benefit or as a time waster, there’s no escaping the complex red tape associated with providing access to our digital assets after we pass away. What lives online is neither easy to access nor is it clear cut as to who can get to it.

Remember, if you don’t give specific, detailed instructions, your wishes are not likely to occur.  Just sayin…

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Mistrust of the Media? Say it ain’t so!

Trust in the media is at an all-time low. That’s a terrible thing for all of us.

September 28 at 4:41 PM Washington Post

The rise of outside partisan groups — on the left and the right — has coincided with a bumper crop of partisan-first media outlets designed to foment rage and exasperation with the mainstream media’s alleged missteps. It’s good business for them — and just plain terrible for the American public.

You can think the media thinks too highly of itself. (We do.) You can ask who appointed us the refs. (Fair.) And, you can be skeptical — in fact, you should be skeptical — of something being reported that smells fishy to you. (We, as humans, can and do get stuff wrong.) But, what you should not wish for is that the mainstream media disappear or be rendered irrelevant.

“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.” –  Ida B. Wells

Don’t stop reading (skeptically). Just sayin….

An Economist Blog post on why raising Corporate taxes won’t help workers or the deficit

Stop cheering, Keynesians

Wait, more money for doing the same thing is not helping?

SEATTLE SEES UNEXPECTED FALLOUT FROM $15 PER HOUR MIN. WAGE

by WARNER TODD HUSTON 24 Jul 2015 Seattle, WA

…many have suddenly found that the new rate has had unexpected consequences.

Some workers across the city are left telling bosses to give them fewer hours at the higher wage because a full week’s earnings now puts them past the threshold for some welfare payments such as food stamps and assistance with rent.

Of course, one of the things that supporters of the higher wage said was that they wanted to help lift min. wage workers out of poverty and welfare.

So another law that didn’t do what the legislators wanted it to do?  Shocking! Just sayin…

Is this the revolution we were looking for?

Are Broken Marriage Vows Grounds for Blowing Up Someone’s Life?

By 

This might be a good day for us to rethink our attitudes about the victims of hacking, whether it’s Sony’s Amy Pascal or the married dude next door, because the mob is coming for us, too. Do we really want to live in a world where no one is allowed to make mistakes? Are we arrogant enough to believe that we’ll never screw up? If we do screw up eventually, do we want our future personal failings to be judged and prosecuted by a self-righteous mob who may or may not share our values and ideas about right and wrong?

When it’s our private lives that are smeared across the internet, we might finally ask ourselves:Is this the revolution we were looking for?

Food for thought: Just sayin…

Getting Sports fans to understand “Go Green!” isn’t just a cheer

The Natural – Ian Gordon for Mother Jones

“The question is, how do you change people’s cultural attitudes?” he says. “How do you change their minds? You don’t do it by arguing in Congress. You don’t do it through talking heads on Sunday talk shows. You’ve got to connect with them in a place where they’re open to changing their minds.”

“Sixteen percent of Americans follow science,” Hershkowitz says, citing aNational Science Foundation survey. “Seventy percent follow sports.” And many of them are not exactly sympathetic to the climate change agenda.

He let me know that there are 154 pro sports teams (“if you don’t include professional lacrosse”), 90 of which share 50 animals as mascots or team names; 31 of those animals are endangered or at risk of going extinct in the wild.

 

Maybe sports fans just need to be given the information so they can make informed decisions?  If you asked all the NFL Philadelphia Eagles fans to support 1% of every licensed gear sale being directed to Eagle habitat preservation, how many people do you think would be against it?  I know, it’s Philly, but I still think they’ve all got hearts and brains (they just get underused occasionally). 😉 Just sayin…

What is being asked of Greece:

A three-year memorandum and 86-billion-euro loan in return for the following reforms   13 July 2015 / 15:07:39  GRReporter

All measures of the new agreement:

  • VAT on restaurants immediately increases from 13% to 23%.
  • VAT on hotels rises from 6.5% to 13% as of October 2015.
  • Gradually reducing VAT on the islands as of October 2015.
  • Gradually increasing the retirement age as of July 2015. In 2022, it will reach 67 years or 62 years in the event of 40 years of service.
  • The above measure excludes heavy and unhealthy professions and mothers of disabled children.
  • Gradually eliminating the social solidarity benefit for all pensioners by the end of 2019.
  • Increasing the health insurance contributions of pensioners from 4% to 6% in the main and supplementary funds.
  • Merging all additional health insurance funds until 1 January.
  • Privatisation of the independent power transmission operator.
  • Reforming the labour market and applying the instruments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • Opening shops on Sundays, changing the ownership of pharmacies, dairies, bakeries, opening of closed professions.
  • Reducing defence spending by 100 million euro in 2015 and 200 million in 2016.
  • Competitions for the sale of Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports by the end of October 2015.
  • Completing the competitions for the airports and railways in the country as well as for Egnatia Highway and the old airport in Athens.
  • Introducing a unified payroll table for public sector wages from 1 January 2016 and determining wages in accordance with the qualities and responsibilities required for occupying a specific post.
  • A new permanent plan for mobility in the public sector as of October 2015.

– See more at: http://www.grreporter.info/en/threeyear_memorandum_and_86billioneuro_loan_return_following_reforms/12985#sthash.2ph6P96e.dpuf

Time Passages – The California Incline is finally getting a makeover

Santa Monica-area residents brace for California Incline construction

 March 23,2015 LA Times

You know it as this:

California Incline

Light trails are captured with a long camera exposure as cars move up and down the California Incline in Santa Monica. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

But it started as this:

California Incline in 1916

A view up the California Incline in Santa Monica circa 1916. The passage hasn't been renovated in 85 years. (Ernest Marquez Photograph Collection)

So, that trip to Malibu this summer should be maybe be rescheduled for summer 2016. Just sayin…

The importance of financial literacy, understated

This is all important stuff, because those who don’t understand basic financial concepts, such as how money grows, how inflation affects us, and how diversification can reduce risk, are likely to make suboptimal financial decisions throughout their lives, ending up with poorer results as they approach and enter retirement. Consider the inflation issue, for example: If you don’t appreciate how inflation shrinks the value of money over time, you might be thinking that your expected income stream in retirement, from Social Security and/or a pension, will be enough to live on. Factoring in inflation, though, you might understand that your expected $30,000 per year could have the purchasing power of only $14,000 in 25 years. (emphasis added)

“Market Forecasters will fill your ear but they will never fill your wallet” – Warren Buffet

In his annual letter to shareholders which you should read here:

Investors, of course, can, by their own behavior, make stock ownership highly risky.
And many do. Active trading, attempts to “time” market movements, inadequate
diversification, the payment of high and unnecessary fees to managers and advisors,
and the use of borrowed money can destroy the decent returns that a life-long owner
equities would otherwise enjoy. Indeed, borrowed money has no place in the investor’s tool kit: Anything can happen anytime in markets. And no advisor, economist, or TV commentator – and definitely not Charlie nor I – can tell you when chaos will occur.