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The Independent Investor: Why Stocks Continue to Climb
By Bill Schmick,
05:30PM / Thursday, November 23, 2017
As we approach the end of the year, most investors are both dumb-founded and pleased at the stock market's performance. President Trump and his followers would like us to believe it is all because of them. Hog wash.   There has been no substantive legislation since the new administration took office. Promises can only take us so far. Some say any further upside will be short-lived, because living on hope alone has already taken us too far. And yet, somehow the economy is still growing, even gathering momentum.   Recall, too, that Donald Trump and the Republican Party gained power on the promise of undoing many of the trade agreements the U.S. has forged over

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The Independent Investor: Cracks in the House of Saud
By Bill Schmick,
05:11PM / Thursday, November 09, 2017
Over the weekend, the government of Saudi Arabia announced multiple arrests of royal family members as well as other governmental officials. The official explanation was a new campaign to root out corruption, but many believe the raid was a power grab by the reigning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.   Corruption in Saudi Arabia is as common as sand. It is what makes the wheels run so global observers discounted that excuse. The assumptions ranged from a thwarted coup against the reigning family to a consolidation of power orchestrated by the heir apparent.   As a result, gold jumped over $10 an ounce, oil spiked 3 percent and investors held their breath

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The Independent Investor: Are You Ready for a Down Market?
By Bill Schmick,
05:02PM / Friday, November 03, 2017
It has been some time since we have had even a tiny decline in the stock market. Human behavior is such that we expect what has come before to continue into the future. When it doesn't, a whole host of emotions arise and most of them will be detrimental to your financial health.   A new survey by E-trade Financial, a discount broker dealer, reveals that well-heeled investors (those with $1 million or more in equity investments) are as bullish as they have been all year. Almost 75 percent of million dollar players are now bullish as we enter this final quarter of the year. Most of these investors are 55 or older and are significantly more optimistic than younger

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The Independent Investor: IRS Changes Tax Rules for Next Year
By Bill Schmick,
02:39PM / Friday, October 27, 2017
As politicians squabble over tax reform and cuts, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to do their job. New tax provisions for 2018 are out and some of them may be of interest to you.   Right now, there are seven marginal tax rates (soon to be three or four, if tax reform happens). Each tax bracket applies to a different income range. The highest tax rate (39.6 percent) will apply to all those who make $426,700, or $480,050 (married). The lowest rate, at 10 percent, would apply to those making $9,525 as an individual and $19,050, if married. You can review the other five brackets at your leisure by going to IRS.gov.   The IRS has also increased the

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The Independent Investor: Taketh Care of Your Workers and They Will Taketh Care of You
By Bill Schmick,
03:30PM / Thursday, October 19, 2017
Employers have had it all their own way for a decade or more. They have been able to freeze wages, cut benefits, force overtime and even deny vacations with impunity. Now, for many, it's time to pay the piper.   There is a saying, "what goes around, comes around," which means in this case that if you have spent years abusing your employees, the first company that offers them even the slightest uptick in benefits or salary will pick off your best workers in the time it takes to sign on the dotted line.   I can walk into a company and tell you within seconds whether or not its employees are well treated and happy. I'm sure you can, too. It shows

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