September 22, 2021 -
We are starting to get our first glimpses of potential tax changes that could be coming as early as last week and as far away as ten years from now.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee has begun their work of crafting $2 trillion of tax increases. There will likely be substantial changes to these specific proposals as the legislative process grinds forward, but these at least give us some hints about where Congress intends to raise taxes for individual taxpayers:
September 15, 2021 -
Historically, September hosts more market tempests than any other month. While history is never a perfect predictor of what will unfold in the future, the conditions this Tempester seem more likely than normal to create some tempests.
Over the next few weeks the key ingredients for shrill headlines, scary games of political chicken, and market-moving madness start coming together:
September 8, 2021 -
On Sunday, September 5, a host of federal unemployment benefits expired. The 9.3 million people receiving benefits from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), or $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs will see their benefits eliminated this week.
September 1, 2021 -
My kids have now been back in school for almost two weeks, and we are having a math outbreak in our house.
Both my sixth grader and sophomore asked me to start checking their math homework this week as their grades are not quite where they want them to be.
It turns out math is fairly unforgiving. Transpose one number, miss one calculation in the series, fail to show your work neatly, or (heaven forbid) not read the entire question, and your answer is just flat out wrong.
Honestly, the challenge for them is not the math. They are both smart and understand the concepts. Their challenge is consistently carrying out the solution to a problem from the first word of the instructions all the way through to the answer.
August 18, 2021 -
Shipping is free, but you pay for it.
I know online retailers go to great lengths to lure you into thinking that shipping is always free. However, shipping is always baked into the prices you pay.
Someone has to pay for the delivery driver that transports your item from the warehouse to your front door. And someone has to pay for the truck driver that delivered your item to the warehouse. And someone has to pay for the railroad to deliver your item to the warehouse where the truck driver picked it up. And someone has to pay for the ocean liner that brought your item to the port before it is loaded on the train. And someone has to pay the truck driver that took your item from the manufacturing plant to the port.
That someone is you, and you should be paying more.
August 11, 2021 -
My high frequency word of the past week has been strain. I must admit I have not spent much time thinking about the connotations of strain during my lifetime, but it is an incredibly flexible word with both positive and negative connotations in our world right now.
The most common strain right now is the “Delta Strain.” This strain could have negative ramifications for your health, your attitude, and the financial markets. This is one strain we could do without.
On the positive side, the recently concluded summer Olympics showcased thousands of athletes who strain their bodies to speeds, heights, and precision that astound us. Strain is incredible effort that can lead to gold.
August 4, 2021 -
Depending on what you are driving and when, the cautionary road sign below could be a sign of future thrills or vehicular anxiety.
Pair a well-maintained sports car with a dry, sunny day and you can almost become one with the road. You feel confident and in control.
Pair a dilapidated SUV with a thunderstorm and your anxiety jumps as the wipers try to keep up so you can see the next curve. You are on edge, but not panicked.
Pair an 18-wheeler with a snowstorm and your knuckles are white with fear. You may decide to take a different route.
Whenever the calendar flips to August or September, I get a bit apprehensive about what may be around the corner. So far this year, the financial markets have been driving a sports car on a dry, sunny day. Traders feel pretty confident and in control.
July 28, 2021 -
Objectivity can be heartless. You can spend most of your life training to be the world’s best in an Olympic event, and another competitor with identical dreams that day can be a mere .001 seconds faster and deprive you of your lifelong aspirations.
The pressure to perform is extreme.
All it takes is one hesitation, a moment of imperfect form, or a fleeting distraction to prevent you from reaching your goal.
Some people thrive under this pressure. Most do not.
July 21, 2021 -
Be honest. Did you feel more confident about the Bucks’ chances at winning the NBA championship before the Finals started or after they lost their first two games?
I know I felt pretty good about the Bucks’ chances when the series was tied 0-0. Losing the first game didn’t shake me too much (after all, it is just one game). Losing the second game created significant doubt. Winning the third game rekindled my hope. The fourth game gave me more confidence, and the fifth game made me think they could win it all.
Confidence and doubt ebb and flow through every aspect of our lives. They are both healthy in the proper doses, but when one of them becomes entrenched it tends to keep its momentum until something changes our mind or our circumstances.
July 7, 2021 -
The Milwaukee Bucks are back in the NBA Finals for the first time in 47 years. It has been what seems like a lifetime. That is likely because I was three years old at the time.
If you happened to have graduated from high school in 1974 when the Bucks were last in the Finals, 47 years later you would be closing in on your own personal postseason of retirement.
Perhaps basketball seasons may have more similarities to your life than you may think.