Inflation is really a secondary form of taxation. It is caused by government action and acts by eroding the purchasing power of dollar-denominated assets. This effect happens when the government increases the amount of currency in circulation faster than the growth of real production. The net effect is more dollars chasing after fewer goods and services.
The inevitable “next question” is to find out what inflation means to us as individuals, and how we can fight against it.
Continue reading “Toeing the Line with Inflation”
In his famous novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times.” Dickens novel is set in the years leading up to the French Revolution. The struggle of people against the entrenched power structure feels familiar to many. It seems to describe our current social and political climate. Despair and opportunity are swirling beside one another. This is creating a tale of two futures for the US economy. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Futures”
Regardless of whether the economy is surging or crashing, debt is always a topic of discussion in the media. Whenever the news cycle shifts to US budget deficits, it creates a renewed focus on the impact of debt. This is important because most of the developed world is deeply indebted. The most important thing to understand about debt is exactly what it is, and by extension, what it is not.
Continue reading “The Great Magnifying Glass”
When most people think of “creating wealth” it conjures up grandiose mental pictures of fabulous riches and exotic celebrities. However, “wealth” simply means you own valuable assets. There is no particular reason why normal, regular people can create wealth using nothing more than their current income and intelligent decisions. The principal barrier to achieving this goal is a mindset that “It takes money to make money.”
Continue reading “Creating Wealth on your Current Income”
When many young people endeavor to purchase their first automobile, they face a wide variety of choices. One of the choices available is to lease or buy. If buying, you can purchase the automobile with cash or finance it. It is highly important to make the right decisions when purchasing a car since the wrong move can turn that shiny new street cruiser into an automotive prison that locks up your financial resources for years on end.
Continue reading “Automotive Prison?”
With all of the recent news about the real estate market, it is probably a good idea to take a look at the different kinds of real estate that are available. In general, real estate breaks out into “residential” and “commercial” properties. The key difference between these categories we will be examining is the way that they are valued. This is very important because price increases & decreases are driven by the means of valuation.
Continue reading “Getting Real about Real Estate”
The advent of boom and bust business cycles is certainly not a new phenomenon. Economic expansions and contractions have been commonplace throughout human history. The thing that made the recent economic downturn so painful is the fact that it followed successive decades of “fine-tuning” the economy by government and quasi-government institutions that skewed incentives and systematically diverted economic resources away from their optimal use. When this artificial stability (necessarily) collapsed, the result was a much more intense adjustment than most people had anticipated.
Continue reading “The Six Stages of Boom, Bust, and Recovery”
There is a popular phrase in investing terminology called the “smart money.” Typically this phrase is used to describe the investors that are ahead of market sentiment. These are the people with the foresight to sell before the market crashes and buy before the market booms. The critical question to ask is how we can become part of the smart money?
Continue reading “The Smart Money”
There are many schemes to “Get Rich Quick” but all of them rely on some form of luck or market timing that is not indefinitely sustainable. Thus, all of these “get rich quick” bubbles eventually burst. The only RELIABLE way to get rich quick is by selling “get rich quick” systems to all of the suckers. (It may not have been PT Barnum who said that there is a sucker born every minute, but whoever did appear to be right)
Continue reading “Getting Rich Quick or Getting Poor Slow?”
One of the personal finance topics that many people desperately avoid thinking about is that of insurance, specifically life insurance. The most prominent reason for this is because most people do not cherish the thought of their own demise. Another reason is that there are many insurance products available, and many people get confused.
Continue reading “The Dreaded Question of Insurance”