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The Independent Investor: Pay Gap for Women Is Growing
By Bill Schmick,
07:22PM / Thursday, January 17, 2019
If Citigroup, one of the world's largest banks, is any indication, women earn 29 percent less than their male counterparts. It also revealed that only 37 percent of its managerial jobs were held by females.   Wall Street has long been known as "the last bastion" for white males. But to Citigroup's credit, it just made public its internal assessment of the existing pay gap between the genders. One reason it did so was the new disclosure standards that are now required in the United Kingdom since last April.   Last year, when Citigroup first reported these numbers for its U.K. workforce, women were paid 44 percent less, and if bonuses were

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The Independent Investor: Changes to Social Security and Medicare Benefits
By Bill Schmick,
04:03PM / Thursday, January 10, 2019
As the year begins, those who are retired, or who plan to soon, need to know the changes the government has recently announced to your benefits.   The good news is that retirees will get a 2.8 percent increase in Social Security payments. While that doesn't sound like much, it happens to be the largest cost-of-living adjustment in seven years. What that amounts to for the average couple in retirement is about $67 per month, or an average monthly payment of $2,448.   If you are one of those workers like me, who waited until 70 years of age before collecting benefits and are considered a "high earner," then you will be receiving as much as $73 more

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The Independent Investor: The Fed Stands Tall
By Bill Schmick,
06:25PM / Thursday, December 20, 2018
Sometimes it takes a while, but financial markets almost always test a new incoming Federal Reserve Bank chairman. On Wednesday, Jerome Powell faced his test and passed with flying colors. Of course, a glance at the stock market averages at the end of the day on Wednesday would have the casual observers scratching their heads.   As most readers know, the stock market has been declining since October. One of the reasons for the sell-off is the fear that the Federal Reserve Bank's gradual tightening policies have gone too far. Their continuous interest rate hikes coupled with the selling of $50 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds every month had started to reduce the excess

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The Independent Investor: Will Our Country's Military Win the Next War?
By Bill Schmick,
10:51AM / Friday, December 07, 2018
There was a time, not long ago, when most Americans would answer that question in the affirmative without much thought. It was one of those "truisms" that we didn't give much thought. But today, many experts are debating that answer.   Back in the day, after World War II, our military prowess, (aided by the development of the atomic bomb) was unquestioned throughout the world. Growing up, it was never a question of spending on defense for me, it was simply how much. Republicans wanted more, Democrats wanted less. Today, not only is the amount of spending crucial but also its predictability and even more importantly, what those billions are spent

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The Independent Investor: Sustainability Investing and Millennials
By Bill Schmick,
05:10PM / Thursday, November 29, 2018
The demand for sustainability investments is growing. Companies that offer measurable social and environmental impacts that address issues like world hunger, climate risk, poverty and access to health care, seem like a good investment for those socially-minded. Finding companies that also provide a good financial return at the same time is not so easy.   Sustainability investing is different from the decades-old trend called "social investing." Generally, social investments are those that bet on solar power, clean water, or the avoidance of "sin stocks" such as tobacco, guns or liquor companies. Most of these areas were not viable investments without a

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