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Archive for May, 2009

The Silent Spouse

Friday, May 29th, 2009, by

Here is a mystery that I’d like to solve… Why is it that one spouse/significant other always takes the lead on mastering financial planning, while the other simply acquiesces in whatever decisions are made? This is not a gender specific issue…the passive spouse can be either one. In working with clients, I’ve never had a […]

Falling into the VAT, Part III

Thursday, May 28th, 2009, by

The question about the VAT (Value Added Tax) is not if…but when. This is a no brainer.  Indirect taxation is always an easier mode of plunder for governments…going  back four hundred years at least. Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), legendary finance minister to Louis XIV, famously said.. “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the […]

Falling into the VAT, Part II

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009, by

The VAT (Value Added Tax), when it comes, will be an easy sell to a diminished and demoralized debtor nation desperate for solvency. Like the income tax, or social security and medicare payroll taxes, it will first emerge as a mere sliver of its potential…hardly a blip on our consciousness. As an exercise in nostalgia […]

Falling into the VAT

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, by

I just finished reading David Brook’s May 15 column in the New York Times “Obama spending theory rests on cuts in health costs“…and it confirmed my worst fears. I don’t fault the President for trying to reform health care, but I am dismayed by his boundless naivete.  Or cynicism.  I can’t tell the difference anymore. […]

Are You a Stock or a Bond?

Friday, May 22nd, 2009, by

It’s not a rhetorical question. Your risk preference as an investor is dictated to a large extent by the degree to which your income is stable. For example, if your income is derived from commissions or other highly variable compensation structures, you have, in essence,  income characteristics more resembling a stock than a bond. The […]

The Lost Generation

Thursday, May 21st, 2009, by

This was the descriptive phrase that Gertrude Stein, and later Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald used to describe the war weary and disillusioned post World War I Generation. It could also describe the generation that came of age during the Great Depression… …with the lessons of the Stock Market Crash and widespread unemployment that […]

Working the Rebate

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, by

Time is running out on the best slam dunk deal going. I refer to the $8,000 first time home-buyers refundable tax credit, which runs through the end of November. I covered the mechanics in an earlier series of posts…so today I’d like to explore some options of how to invest your new windfall if you […]

The BRIC is Back

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, by

Well…that was quick. It was just a scant few months ago that risk averse investors dumped the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) emerging market stocks as global paralysis set in. That was then and this is now. Risk appetite is once again fashionable, as evidenced by the meteoric rise of these bellwether markets from their […]