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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 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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The Independent Investor: The Price Tag of Disaster
By Bill Schmick,
03:46PM / Thursday, September 14, 2017
Over the past four weeks, just two hurricanes have cost the country upwards of $300 billion. This has easily surpassed the 2005 hurricane cost of $200 billion, which included Katrina, Wilma and Rita combined. The cumulative cost of weather continues to escalate and with good reason.   Before you leap to the conclusion that global warming is the culprit, let me lay out some facts. Coastal storms are no more (or less) frequent an event now than they have been throughout our history. So what gives?   The answer lies in population growth and demographics within our own society. A few years ago, a study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

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The Independent Investor: America, the Battered
By Bill Schmick,
06:30PM / Thursday, September 07, 2017
Extreme weather and other climate disasters appear to be occurring far more frequently than we would like. The loss of life and economic damage also seem to be increasing. But does the data support those opinions, and if it does, what price do we pay for all of these perfect storms?   Long-time readers may recall my columns of four and five years ago, where I examined the price tag the world (and the U.S.) pays for weather-related disasters. Given the fact that we are between hurricanes (Harvey has departed Texas, while Irma bears down on Florida); it may be a good time to educate new readers on the economic cost; not to mention the loss of life.   In 2016, the

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