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Hello Cash for Clunkers. Goodbye Inflation.

The August 2009 Consumer Price Index – the main indication of inflation – has a surprise. It’s one that may mean no raises next year if you receive social security, invest in TIPS or if your income is somehow tied to the CPI. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) apparently decided those Cash for Clunkers checks decreased the price of new vehicles. With an estimated 700,000 cars bought under the program, that’s a lot of money not being counted as what Americans spent on cars.

8 Tax Tips for Starting a New Business

Here are 8 tax tips that will help you start a new business. As you create this new business and run it in the future, keep in mind the first rule of tax law. It is the first thing my tax professor in law school told us on the first day of class. Here’s what he said. “Ladies and gentlemen. Let me tell you the one rule, which if followed, will keep you out of tax trouble. It is this: Pigs may get fat but hogs are slaughtered.” In other words, when it comes to taxes you may be able to get away with being (a little) greedy. Be too greedy, however, and you will not enjoy the results.

Does Google Have a Crystal Ball That Lets You Predict the Future?

Google may indeed have a crystal ball that lets you peak into the future. It may help you predict things like whether there’s a growing (or dying) market for a product or service. Or who is going to win a political race. And who knows what else. It may be able to do that faster and cheaper than other tools you might be using.

Critical Events, Critical Planning in the Life of a Business

If you own a business, consider this question. Will your bank, suppliers, and employees – and investors – feel more confident or less confident if the death of a key person is followed by a large infusion of cash into the business?

3 Secrets to Effective Communication

People won’t buy something until they understand it. It doesn’t matter whether it is a product, a service or an idea.

You have probably come across people who refused to take action even after you clearly and concisely laid everything out for them. They just didn’t seem to get it. And, because they didn’t get it, [...]

An Exciting Race – Who Will You Bet On?

Imagine an exciting race between two great sailing ships. They are about to glide along a sea filled with sand bars and uncertain currents.

The ships are identical in all respects – except one. One ship has a rudder; the other does not.

Wagers are about to be placed on the outcome of the race. [...]

The Hundred Dollar Loan

We see the world through our own experiences. You and I can both look at the same thing and see something entirely different. That’s most definitely true when we talk about financial concepts like retirement planning, financial planning or estate planning.

If you cannot put yourself into another’s shoes and cannot see things as they see [...]

A Little Mouse Once Dreamed…

A little mouse once dreamed of the future. He was a smart little mouse and sought out the elderly mice of his community to benefit from their wisdom.

The elderly mice spoke of the past. They pondered the future. They reflected on the friends they had enjoyed during their lives. And remembered the lessons learned – [...]

The Bridge Builder – Are You Making Fatal Mistakes in Your Financial and Retirement Planning?

What would you think of a bridge builder who makes assumptions like these in designing a new bridge you will drive across every day?

Earthquakes never happen.
The temperature will never be lower than 65 nor higher than 75.
Ships never run into bridges.
The wind never blows more than 30 mph.
The quality of concrete and steel used in [...]

The 2009 IRS Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

As it does each year, the IRS has released its Dirty Dozen – the top tax scams taxpayers should be aware of. This year the IRS has included a 30-second video on YouTube warning: “If it seems too good to be true, ask a reputable tax advisor or go to www.irs.gov.” Unfortunately, after watching the [...]

Grandma’s Feather Bed

Remember the good old days of Grandma’s feather bed? Remember when you had a pillow fight with your brothers and sisters? Your parents were yelling at you to cut it out before someone got hurt.

And then one of the pillows broke open…

Wow! You’d never seen so many feathers. They were floating [...]

60-Second Course on Charitable Gifts

Here’s a 60-second course in charitable giving. If you understand this, you’ll have a framework to help understand complex charitable gifts. Start your stopwatch.

Picture in your mind Bessie, the milk cow. (You can read about her on the famous cows website.)

That’s it. That’s all you need to know. If you can picture Bessie, you understand [...]

Roth IRAs Offer 3 Estate Planning Benefits

Because it looks like income tax rates will go up in future years (how else will Congress pay for all the bailouts they’re making?), Roth IRAs promise to become even more popular. Although we usually focus attention on the income tax benefits of a Roth IRA, there are also estate planning (and not just estate [...]