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The Independent Investor: Time to Check Your Insurance Policies
By Bill Schmick,
03:35PM / Thursday, September 21, 2017
With hurricanes to the left and right of us, maybe a review of your home owner's insurance policy makes sense. You may find out that at today's real estate values, you are underinsured.   If you are like me, the last time you visited the insurance subject was during the Katrina/Sandy hurricanes. Since then, houses in some areas have appreciated by more than 30 percent. If so, a devastating event such as the widespread destruction recently caused by Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida could really decimate what is probably your most valuable asset.   Given the fact that hurricanes seem to be sprouting up all over the place, if you have been spared thus

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@theMarket: NK Missile Dud on Wall Street
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Friday, September 15, 2017
The North Korean boy who cried wolf is alive and well, but seems to have less and less impact on financial markets. Kim Jong Un's minions launched another missile over Japan on Thursday night and the markets simply yawned.   Geopolitics are always a risk for the financial markets. For one thing, they are by definition unpredictable. Rarely do the antagonists worry about the economic and financial ramifications of their moves. As such, markets react quickly, but usually the impact only lasts for a short period of time.   It seems that even our tweet-happy president is learning that, in this case, Kim Jong Un, the boy in the wolf's mask, has a bark that is

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The Independent Investor: The Price Tag of Disaster
By Bill Schmick,
03:46PM / Thursday, September 14, 2017
Over the past four weeks, just two hurricanes have cost the country upwards of $300 billion. This has easily surpassed the 2005 hurricane cost of $200 billion, which included Katrina, Wilma and Rita combined. The cumulative cost of weather continues to escalate and with good reason.   Before you leap to the conclusion that global warming is the culprit, let me lay out some facts. Coastal storms are no more (or less) frequent an event now than they have been throughout our history. So what gives?   The answer lies in population growth and demographics within our own society. A few years ago, a study funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

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@theMarket: Markets Brace for the Weekend
By Bill Schmick,
04:33PM / Friday, September 08, 2017
Usually, the weekend is a time when traders try to relax, reduce stress, and prepare for the coming week's markets. This weekend will be an exception to that rule. Just about everyone is focused on the latest news of Hurricane Irma's landfall in southern Florida tomorrow and into Sunday.    Over in Southeast Asia, analysts are also expecting North Korea to fire off yet another missile. Exactly where and when is up in the air.   As if that were not enough, an earthquake and Hurricane Jose both hit Mexico simultaneously last night causing quite a lot of damage. Investors have no idea what economic impact these natural disasters will have on the North

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The Independent Investor: America, the Battered
By Bill Schmick,
06:30PM / Thursday, September 07, 2017
Extreme weather and other climate disasters appear to be occurring far more frequently than we would like. The loss of life and economic damage also seem to be increasing. But does the data support those opinions, and if it does, what price do we pay for all of these perfect storms?   Long-time readers may recall my columns of four and five years ago, where I examined the price tag the world (and the U.S.) pays for weather-related disasters. Given the fact that we are between hurricanes (Harvey has departed Texas, while Irma bears down on Florida); it may be a good time to educate new readers on the economic cost; not to mention the loss of life.   In 2016, the

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