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The Independent Investor: Taketh Care of Your Workers and They Will Taketh Care of You
By Bill Schmick,
03:30PM / Thursday, October 19, 2017
Employers have had it all their own way for a decade or more. They have been able to freeze wages, cut benefits, force overtime and even deny vacations with impunity. Now, for many, it's time to pay the piper.   There is a saying, "what goes around, comes around," which means in this case that if you have spent years abusing your employees, the first company that offers them even the slightest uptick in benefits or salary will pick off your best workers in the time it takes to sign on the dotted line.   I can walk into a company and tell you within seconds whether or not its employees are well treated and happy. I'm sure you can, too. It shows

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@the Market: Markets Need a Time Out
By Bill Schmick,
10:59AM / Saturday, October 07, 2017
The S&P 500 Index has gone up eight straight days. The other averages have done the same thing. That hasn't happened since 2013. It's time for a break.   It appears that stocks are in "melt-up" mode. That's a term we financial geeks use to describe an unrelenting rise in equity prices. Consider it an investor stampede where the fear of missing out on even higher prices creates a buying frenzy.   There are some fundamental reasons for the market's rise. The economy appears to be chugging along. Interest rates remain low while inflation continues to bump along the bottom. This Friday's payroll numbers were a disappointment to

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The Independent Investor: Tackling Taxes
By Bill Schmick,
05:05PM / Friday, October 06, 2017
President Donald Trump introduced a flurry of tax proposals last week. Tax reform, as well as tax cuts, was included in his plan. Give him an "A" for effort in tackling something that no politician has dared to do since Reagan.   Naturally, depending upon your political views, critics will disparage his efforts, claiming it is yet another tax break for the rich. Others will approve of at least some of his suggestions. On the surface, his plan would significantly reduce the marginal tax rates, increase standard deductions, repeal personal exemptions, limit itemized deductions and let corporations and businesses expense new investment, but not deduct interest

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The Independent Investor: Time to Check Your Insurance Policies
By Bill Schmick,
03:35PM / Thursday, September 21, 2017
With hurricanes to the left and right of us, maybe a review of your home owner's insurance policy makes sense. You may find out that at today's real estate values, you are underinsured.   If you are like me, the last time you visited the insurance subject was during the Katrina/Sandy hurricanes. Since then, houses in some areas have appreciated by more than 30 percent. If so, a devastating event such as the widespread destruction recently caused by Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida could really decimate what is probably your most valuable asset.   Given the fact that hurricanes seem to be sprouting up all over the place, if you have been spared thus

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@theMarket: NK Missile Dud on Wall Street
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Friday, September 15, 2017
The North Korean boy who cried wolf is alive and well, but seems to have less and less impact on financial markets. Kim Jong Un's minions launched another missile over Japan on Thursday night and the markets simply yawned.   Geopolitics are always a risk for the financial markets. For one thing, they are by definition unpredictable. Rarely do the antagonists worry about the economic and financial ramifications of their moves. As such, markets react quickly, but usually the impact only lasts for a short period of time.   It seems that even our tweet-happy president is learning that, in this case, Kim Jong Un, the boy in the wolf's mask, has a bark that is

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