KEEP WHAT YOU NEED TO LIVE IN GOOD WORKING ORDER

#infrastructure #levees #rivers #maintenance #flooding
No matter what you have, you have to maintain it.
Your home, your car or anything of value undoubtedly requires some maintenance.
Reporters Mitch Smith and John Schwartz wrote for the New York Times about how the levees burst along Midwestern rivers during the flooding of early 2019. The article was published April 1, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“On the river-specked Midwestern prairie, the thousands of miles of levees are an insurance policy against nature’s whims that, at their best, keep cropland and towns dry, floodwaters at bay and the agriculture-driven economy churning,” the reporters write.
During the early 2019 flooding, however, the levees didn’t hold up. The article says a suggested $80 billion in investment is needed over 10 years, for the nation’s levees, the American Society of Civil Engineers suggested in 2017, long before the 2019 floods.
As a society, we are seldom proactive and frequently reactive after a bad situation is upon us.
The article says 62 levees were known to have been breached or overtopped by the Midwest March floods.
It’s not just the levees, but roads, bridges, sewer systems and other infrastructure is aging in this country. They have been neglected because government at nearly all levels has chosen to underfund maintenance. Presumably, they prefer to have insurers pick up the pieces after something bad happens.
The question becomes, are you taking care of what you have? Or, are you rolling the dice hoping nothing bad happens? It’s better to fix something minor to avoid something major happening to you or your valuables.
Perhaps, like government, you say you don’t have the money to maintain, say, your car. It may be better to save on some of your other spending to make sure you have what you need to maintain your car, appliances and other things you need for daily survival.
If your job isn’t paying you enough, there are actually ways you can do something about that. You can take a look at the many vehicles out there that allow you to earn extra money – some potentially a lot of money – you would need to keep your valuables in working order.
But, you have to be willing to spend a few, part-time, off-work hours on your vehicle of choice. Even before that, you have to be willing to take a look at these programs, to see which one might be right for you. To check out one of the best, message me.
Like saving for retirement, keeping what matters to you well maintained and devoid of disaster requires discipline. It requires taking care of the money you have. It may require you to watch every cent you spend, making sure you have what you need in an emergency, or what you need to keep what you need in working order.
Remember, if you have a job, in most cases, you can’t live without a car. If you like to eat, you can’t live for very long without a refrigerator.
As Dennis Quaid’s Esurance ad goes, insurance isn’t sexy, or delicious or fun. But we all need it. Take stock of what you need to live a decent life. Make sure you are doing what you can to maintain those things.
You may have to give up some pleasures to do it, but you’ll have a lot less stress in your life.
Peter

INCOME INEQUALITY IN BOOMING ECONOMY

IncomeInequality #jobs #recession #incomes
Despite strong job growth, Metro Atlanta incomes have faltered since 2007.
So writes Michael E. Kanell, business and economics reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His article on the matter appeared March 25, 2019.
“At the same time, racial inequality remained stubbornly high, even as the economy rebounded from the Great Recession,” Kanell writes.
The Atlanta region ranks 33rd in the country in economic growth, and 57th for inclusion by race, the article states.
Though Kanell covers the Atlanta area, the same thing likely can be applied elsewhere.
As a person, economically and otherwise, are you better off than you were 11 years ago? Have you been able to hold on to that good job you had back then? Has your employer downsized, leaving you out to find other work? Does the other work you may – or may not – have found pay as well as the previous job? Have you been forced to retire long before you wanted to ? Do you have enough saved for retirement to make it at all comfortable?
These and any number of questions can be posed today after a decade recovering from the Great Recession.
Some folks may have lucked out and found better economic circumstances. But many have not. Yes, the economy is growing. But if your individual economy has not grown, in fact has shrunk, you are not alone.
So, if you are in that situation, what can you do?
Fortunately, there are solutions out there, other than trying to juggle multiple, low-paying and time-consuming jobs. There are vehicles out there that potentially can enable you not only to recover economically, but prosper – perhaps as you never have before. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
You can sit around, fret and complain about your situation, or you can do something about it. Don’t expect some serendipitous event to come along to pull you out of your economic funk. Don’t expect a winning lottery ticket to solve your problem.
But you could be open to doing something you perhaps thought you would never do. It may take you out of your comfort zone, but if you’ve had to downsize your economic outlook, that can’t be really comfortable.
Kanell’s article says economically the best-performing regions, according to the Brookings Institution, are: Austin, Texas; San Antonio; San Jose, Calif.; and Dallas.
If you don’t live in one of those areas, or even if you do, you may not have benefitted individually from the nationwide economic growth.
Don’t look at the well-to-do with envy. Look at them as inspiration. You potentially could be among them if you are willing to look at programs that, starting with a part-time effort by you, could yield a pot of gold for you over time.
Times were tough a decade ago. Companies are still downsizing. Manufacturing plants are closing, or becoming more automated.
You can worry about it, or do something about it. It’s your choice.
Peter

ADJUSTING YOUR FINANCES IN YOUR 50s

#aging #AdjustingFinances #retirement #investments
Are you in your 50s?
Do you have enough saved, or are you on track to have enough saved, for retirement?
Wes Moss, who writes the Money Matters column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, took on this subject in his March 17, 2019, column. He also is chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors, and has a Money Matters radio show that airs Sunday mornings on WSB radio in Atlanta.
First, Moss talks about the TSL strategy. That stands for taxes, savings and life. He says that for a younger person, 30 percent of your income should go to taxes, 20 percent to savings and the remaining 50 percent for life expenses.
But, when you reach 50, he says, you may want to adjust those percentages to put a bigger percentage into savings.
He also says many people save for their children’s college expenses. But college tuition can be covered through loans, scholarships (and having the child work through college), among other things. But there are no loans to cover your retirement, unless you take out a reverse mortgage on your house.
In short, Moss advises to make saving for a child’s education secondary to saving for your own retirement.
Moss also suggests playing catch-up with your retirement contributions, which the law allows you to do at that age. As for paying off one’s mortgage, as Moss advises, give it some thought before you dump cash into your house. If your interest rate is low, say, 5 percent or less, and you have an investment adviser who routinely can make you a lot more than that every year, it may be wiser to put your cash into other investments rather than your house. The aforementioned reverse mortgage, or a home equity line of credit, may be the only ways to get that cash back out of your house.
That brings us to Moss’ other point: stick with stocks. If you have your retirement nest egg invested in stocks or their derivatives, don’t panic at every downturn and don’t be overly cautious, and grab profits, on every upturn. If you have a good investment adviser, he or she will guide you to investments that are suited to your situation. Adjust as needed, but don’t dump stocks wholesale based on the news.
You may say this is all well and good if you have lots of money. If you can barely cover your taxes and life expenses, how in the world can you save, with your current income? That could be discussed in detail in a different setting, but it boils down to spending less on things that aren’t necessities, and saving more.
There is also another way to add to your income: check out one of the many vehicles out there that allow you to leverage your non-work time, perhaps just a few hours a week. You could potentially dwarf the income from your job eventually. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Meanwhile, in this day and age, your 50s could be a scary time. You’re at the age when your employer may yearn for someone younger , and cheaper, to do your job. Company reorganizations happen frequently, and many people find themselves unexpectedly out of work.
In past generations, people didn’t really start saving for retirement until their 50s. Decades ago, companies cherished their experienced employees. Now, they are seen as a mere cost, in most cases.
You can certainly make adjustments to your retirement plan in your 50s, but it’s better to start a retirement plan much earlier in life. Today, you don’t know when, or at what age, your retirement will come. And, in most cases, it will come, whether you’d planned for it or not.
Peter

WHAT IS COLLEGE’S JOB?

#college #StudentDebt #education #tuition #CollegeAlternatives
“Parents once sent their children off to college for an education.
“Now, parents expect colleges to provide maturation.”
So writes Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She was discussing recent suicides on the Georgia Tech campus with a professor there. Her column appeared in the Dec. 24, 2018, edition of the AJC.
Yes, parents want kids to learn calculus and whatever else is likely to land them a job, she writes, but they also want colleges to turn their kids into respectable adults, and to address any mental health issues the kids may have, she writes.
“Just because schools say they provide these (maturation) services doesn’t mean they do it well,” Downey quotes the professor.
“When I attended the President’s Convocation after arriving at Georgia Tech, we were told to look to the left and right – at least one of you will be gone – more like one-and-a-half,” Downey quotes William S. Bulpitt, a 1970 honors grad from Georgia Tech.
Back in Bulpitt’s day, the pressure was enormous to stay in school . Those who flunked out likely got drafted and sent to Vietnam, Downey writes.
Today, college campuses have counselors that students can see, to save parents from paying dearly for private counseling – not that college tuition is a really cheap alternative.
Also, today’s teens suffer more with anxiety and depression, and have fewer coping skills than those in generations past, Downey writes. The causes are numerous: over-involved parents, unrelenting and sometimes unkind social media etc.
When the kids get to college, those mental health struggles intensify, Downey writes.
First, let’s analyze why kids go to college, whether or not they are well suited for it. Parents want their kids to get a good job, and they are told that the best way to do that is to go to college. If they can’t swing it financially, they borrow the money. Many often end up graduating, or sometimes never seeing graduation, with a big debt to start their adult lives.
Instead of sending a teen-ager who is ill equipped to deal with college to college, why not help them find a vehicle that will help them earn money – potentially a lot of money – without incurring the expense, or debt, of college. There are many such vehicles out there to help people, regardless of education, earn money spending a few part-time hours a week. To check out one of the best, message me.
Certainly, the college experience can be worthwhile, even spectacular, for the right person.
It’s not just the education, but the camaraderie, the extracurricular activities and the ability to live away from home for those who choose, that make college great for some.
One can’t eliminate the academic or social pressure, but the young adult has to be prepared for it, and the right person needs encouragement from parents, faculty and peers.
In short, don’t assume your son or daughter is suited for college. At the same time, don’t put unnecessary pressure on the student to go to college. If you send your child to college, make sure it is for the right reasons.
Don’t presume the degree your son or daughter would get, presuming he or she stays long enough to earn it, will yield the employment results you, and they, expect.
There is no shame in not going to college. If your son or daughter chooses not to go, make sure he or she is acquainted with ALL the ways available to make a living, or even, perhaps, a fortune. The money you might spend, or borrow, to send a child to college may be better utilized in setting up a retirement account for the child — or yourself.
If your child goes to college ill equipped, the school may not be the best place for the student to deal with his or her problems.
Peter