How the Mega-Rich Avoid Paying Taxes | Fox Business

It is rumored that some of the wealthiest Americans manage to pay less in taxes than some of their employees. They achieve this by one of two methods: doing their own financial and tax planning or paying someone to do it for them. Simple, isn’t it?

via How the Mega-Rich Avoid Paying Taxes | Fox Business.

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7 Tips for Finding Your Passion

“Life is short. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.”

Passion finding has been the topic of several conversations with friends recently and is a clear reminder that many of us will reach a point in our lives, if you haven’t already, where the desire to leave behind the mundane is too strong to ignore and figuring out what we love to do becomes an unavoidable question with the answer not always showing up in a big transparent way.

via 7 Tips for Finding Your Passion by Jaimee Ratliff l Inspirational Words l How to Find Your Calling l Advice on Finding Your Passion l Self Help Tips l Self Help Advice l Advice on Living Out Your Dream – Beliefnet.com.

Market Outlook

Most broad market indexes were just about flat for the first quarter of 2015. What’s behind the ho-hum performance of the broad market?

The Overall Market

Markets across the world were volatile over the last 3 months. Many (including our own market) climbed and dropped 5% this quarter alone and that’s a wild ride. Some international markets did better in local currency but because of the strong dollar, most of them turned in a negative return anyway (in dollar terms).

The mighty dollar is also making it harder for American companies to compete and show profits overseas and that’s one reason why our market stalled this quarter.

But the American market faces other headwinds as well. Jobs rose by only 189,000 in March and that’s the lowest employment increase over the last 14 months. Exports dropped for the third month in a row to 47.5. New orders declined almost 1 point to 51.8 and jobs shed 1.4 points to 50. Keep in mind that any reading below 50 indicates contraction so the direction of these indicators is worrisome to economists.

What’s behind this rough patch?

Some pundits claim that the economic slowdown can be explained by the unseasonable cold we endured last winter. Indeed the average work-week fell in winter and 180,000 people said they couldn’t get to work specifically because of the weather. Typically that number runs 40,000 lower.

(Many of the people who fault the weather for the weaker economy expect things to perk up as the warmer temperatures allow consumers and workers more opportunity to work and spend.)

via Steve Martin – Outlook.

How much do your cranky pants cost? | Purposeful Money with Erin Baehr, CFP®

Right about this time of year, a couple weeks before April 15, I start getting cranky. Okay, crankier than my usual tax season cranky.

When I’m at my crankiest, or dealing with any extreme emotion for that matter, my good sense about money tends to go out the window. I lose my energy to shop for good deals, I buy whatever looks good in the grocery store, and start to lose perspective about costs vs benefits.

Oh, it’s all understandable and temporary, but what about when negative emotions become chronic? Can that actually sabotage our financial goals?

I venture to say yes.

All kidding about cranky pants aside. In addition to the emotional harm unresolved issues can cause, I do think there is a financial component as well. If somewhere deep in your psyche you feel the need to prove your worth to someone, or the world, you may tend to spend more on things for appearance sake. Or take a job not right for you because it will get that person’s approval. Someone with trust issues may hold on too tight to money and not take appropriate risk with investments. Another with self-worth issues may not see a doctor when necessary or take care of herself and end up spending more on medical costs.

via How much do your cranky pants cost? | Purposeful Money with Erin Baehr, CFP®.

The right time to save for retirement

Although this is written from a Canadian’s perspective, the points are valid for American’s – and are excellent.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Steve

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You’ve probably seen some of those studies hectoring Canadians about not saving enough for retirement. Often they draw that conclusion after presenting a survey, such as a recent one which found “only” 48% of Canadians are currently saving for retirement. If those kinds of studies make you feel guilty for not saving or not saving enough, you’re not alone. But are those studies telling you the right thing?

Everyone knows saving for retirement is a good thing, but like many good things, it can get pushed far beyond the point of where it makes sense. The truth is, there are many situations where saving for retirement shouldn’t be a priority. That’s especially true for people in the first half of their working lives who are struggling to buy a home or cover mortgage payments while starting a family. “In order to shame people into saving, we’ve sort of developed this national obsession with trying to make everyone feel guilty about not saving quite a bit, even at young ages when there’s no natural reason why they should be doing that,” says Malcolm Hamilton, well-known retirement expert and fellow with the C. D. Howe Institute.

Altus Wealth Solutions.