The financial press is beating the drum of inflation. The Federal Reserve has targeted a 2% inflation rate, but it is the latest "economic car wreck" that captures our attention. Should you be worried?
If you have ever registered to run in a race, one of the first questions is, “how far is it?” Most of us, especially if we are not active runners, would be scared to learn we need to run a 26.2- mile marathon when we thought a 5k race, 3.2-miles, was already a big deal. Planning for your retirement can feel the same way.
Saturday Night Live characters, Hans and Frans, were made famous for saying, "we are here to pump you up!" They were over-the-top characters. They tapped into America's psyche, which is on a perpetual race to get in shape or lose weight. Right along with the physical fitness desire, many Americans pledge to improve their financial fitness. If you hired Hans and Frans to train you, they would likely focus on strength and balance. Having power and balance go a long way in helping your physical being, but these attributes can also improve your financial situation.
Tax filing season is upon us. For the next several months, taxpayers will be busy gathering documents to prepare their taxes or hand the information over to professional tax preparers. Identity thieves will also be busy during this season looking for additional schemes to exploit consumers. Filing false tax return data and stealing the resulting fraudulent refund is a scheme that has increased.
After any sporting event, it is not unusual to see athletes hold their index fingers in the air proclaiming, "we are number one." Being "Number One" is a great thing, but not all of the time. The Nilson Report, a global card and payments trade publication, indicates that the United States surpasses every country globally as the most credit fraud-prone, with nearly $9.5 billion lost through illegal transactions. In the movie Talladega Nights, the character Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR driver, proclaimed, "if you're not first, you're last." Well, the United States might want to be in last place when it comes to credit card fraud.
The recent attacks on the United States Capital were stunning to watch. The divide in opinions, and political beliefs, has been growing wider in our nation for some time. But, the radical step of storming our government building was a step further than most Americans can understand or accept. What it did provide was clarity that a new government transition would begin, and talk of a continued Trump administration faded.
When I was a young Army officer candidate in Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) we had to learn to navigate across the terrain. I could read a map and use a compass but taking those skills and applying them to the natural terrain did not come easily for me. Even during the daylight, it was easy to get on the wrong path, and drift to undesired outcomes. Then, they had us do the same thing at night. The added complexity of working at night magnified the opportunity for bad results. Whether I was at Fort Knox, KY, Fort Riley, KS, or in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, the same thing happened…I would struggle to stay on the course that I desired. I sometimes even wondered if I would leave the darkness of the forest. Fortunately, I learned a level of navigation proficiency and did not have to spend the rest of my life fighting the darkness, poison ivy and ticks.
When you look at the headlines in your news feeds, it would easy to conclude not much is going well in America, or the world, for that matter. The media conveys the most shocking events to capture our attention. Stories of puppies, as good as they are, just don't draw people in like political scandal, or a chemical factory leak.