U.S. Politics interfering with my financial blog

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It has been a couple of months since my last blog post. Upheaval in U.S. politics makes writing a financial blog very difficult. Who wants to read about financial issues when history is being made in U.S. politics.

I was in University during Watergate and watched as President Nixon was forced to resign. I remember his famous speech “I am not a crook.” Could history repeat itself with another President leaving office in disgrace?

According to the Washington Post, Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading claims over 649 days. Fact checking departments have been working overtime trying to keep up will all the misleading claims made by President Trump. The King of lies has been dominating all forms of media.

No collusion with Russia, yet 16 people have interacted with Russians

  1. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort
  2. Senior Trump campaign official Rick Gates
  3. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn
  4. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.
  5. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner
  6. Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos
  7. Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page
  8. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  9. Trump campaign official JD Gordon
  10. Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone
  11. Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo
  12. Trump associate Erik Prince
  13. White House official Avi Berkowit
  14. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen
  15. White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump
  16. Trump business associate Felix Sater

Less than two years into Trump’s presidency, his business associates, political advisers and family members are being probed, along with the practices of his late father. On Friday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud.

His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is in jail. His former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen is headed behind bars next year. His deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates is now a confessed felon. George Papadopoulos, a former member of his foreign policy advisory board, just got out of jail after flipping. His former national security adviser Michael Flynn may only avoid prison after turning on his former boss.

More inquiries into the Trump’s campaign, Trump’s transition, Trump’s inaugural committee and Trump’s presidency are now under active criminal investigation. The Trump Organization and his Foundation are also under civil investigation. Trump University has already been deemed a fraud.

Now that the Democrats have control of the house of representatives, more oversight will spark even more investigations of the Trump administration in 2019. No end in sight to U.S. politics dominating all forms of media.

Hoping to get back to writing about financial topics soon!

 

 

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Obituary for Common Sense; unknown author

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Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, why life isn’t always fair, and how, on occasion, maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault. 

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three step brothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I’m a Victim. 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.

Our education system gets a failing grade when it comes financial literacy. Everyone should know some basic money lessons like how to budget, the time value of money, implications of too much debt and how credit works.

Making financial decisions and managing  your investments still requires some common sense. You will be successful if you have some.

 

One Year Anniversary of Smart Money

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A really big thank you to all my WordPress & email readers for taking some time out of their busy schedules to visit my blog. I am amazed that people from so many different countries have read at least one of my blog posts. It has been a real learning experience since my first blog post of July 20, 2014. I hope that you have found some useful information in my articles to improve your financial knowledge and well-being.

I can’t believe that I am still blogging. I am much better at answering financial questions then trying to write a financial blog post that people may or may not be interested in. To be honest, I struggle every week to write something that I think is worth reading. Being Italian, I often joke that English is my second language. Please accept my apology for any grammatical or spelling errors that you may find.

There are so many bloggers that have inspired me to write during the past year. The list is just too long to mention. The fact that I have posted one of your articles on my website or made a commented on one of your articles is an indication that you are on that list, thanks for the inspiration!

A special thanks to my daughter, who is the writer in our family, for encouraging me to start blogging. However, the book on my life as an entrepreneur that you want me to write isn’t going to happen. I already spend way too much time on my lap top just trying to write 500 words a week.

Thanks again,  I will continue to write as long as you are willing to read!

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Are you a financial wizard?

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I am a big fan of Harry Potter, if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies then this post will be very confusing. Sometimes my kids think that I am a wizard when it comes to money. It seems that I just have to wave my magic wand and money appears. I wish it was that easy.

I believe that behavioural phycology plays a bigger role than analytical skills in successful investing. What kind of financial wizard are you?

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Ron can be scared and confused sometimes when it comes to investing. He wants to invest, he knows that he should! He comes from a family of very good investors which intimates him. There are periods that his investments aren’t very good but every so often he does comes up with a brilliant investment idea.

 

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Harry is a bold and reckless investor. He jumps in without thinking. Even when he does make an investment plan, something always goes wrong. He has a lot of natural talent but most of his successes comes from just blind luck. Without the aid of his investing friends, he would have lost everything.

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Snape is a market timer and sometimes a day trader. He thinks he is smarter than the whole market. He can invest for the  long-term or short sell the market. He gets in and gets out of the market numerous times but ends up losing everything. (Snape could also represent the mind set of Hedge fund managers)

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Dumbledore is an overconfident and arrogant type investor. Although, he is very knowledgeable and a seasoned investor, he refuses to get any advice. He makes many mistakes which eventually destroys his portfolio.

 

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Hermione is a hard-working, dedicated and insightful investor. She comes from a non-investing family but that doesn’t discourage her from being the best in her class. She is always doing research and see things that others miss. She is always prepare and reacts well to pressure. She not only invests wisely, she knows how to protect her portfolio and gets excellent investment results.

 

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These people look like they all work on Wall Street?

 

When it comes to making investment decisions, does gender play a role? There are some interesting theories and studies available. I found these two thought-provoking:

“A six-year study by two professors, Brad Barber and Terrance Odean, found that men trade 45% more than women, and it reduces their net returns by 2.65 percentage points per year as opposed to 1.72 percentage points for women. The study involved using account data for over 35,000 households from a large discount brokerage.”

“There are three significant ways in which men and women differ on financial decisions, as described in a new analysis by Nelli Oster, director and investment strategist at BlackRock. “Several studies, including a national survey by LPL Financial, show that women tend to research investments in depth before making portfolio decisions, and the process, as a result, tends to take more time,” explained Oster. “Women also tend to be more patient as investors and consult their advisors before adjusting their portfolio positioning, whereas men are more prone to market timing impulses. To gather information, women often prefer group discussions to men’s more independent learning approach.”

What do you think, does gender play a role in making investment decisions? Which fictional character above defines your investment decision making process?

 

 

 

Let me introduce myself

I graduated from university with a degree in Economics. I started my own business when I was in my late twenties. Owning your own business requires a wide variety of skills but I really excelled in financial management. I then enhanced my Economics degree by completing several courses in order to become a financial advisor. I have enjoyed a very long, successful career as an entrepreneur. I am now in my early 60’s and retired.

I decided to write a financial blog because I am concerned about the economic future of Canadians. The financial crisis of 2008 was a warning sign of too much debt in world economies. The banking system almost collapsed and the problem has been kicked down the road by printing more money. Keeping interest rates below normal historical levels enables both consumers and government from defaulting on their debt. The problem of too much debt in world economies hasn’t been resolved. Closer to home, headlines like “City of Detroit files for bankruptcy” and “Consumer debt hits record $1.4-trillion”in Canada, should scare you. I live in Ontario and I am petrified!

Ontario’s growing debt problem has been estimated to reach $282 billion dollars by the end of 2014! That means to pay it off, the government would have to collect more than $28,000 in extra taxes from every man, woman and child living in Ontario. Yes, I said living not working. Keep in mind, the Ontario government’s annual budget deficit hasn’t been balanced yet so this debt keeps growing.

I believe that the lack of financial literacy among Canadians has caused this debt spiral to continue. We have allowed governments to buy our votes to pay with promises that are becoming unaffordable. Easy credit and a buy now, pay later attitude of Canadian consumers have reduced our savings rates. I still can’t believe that 30% of Canadians carry credit card debt and pay almost 20% in interest charges on their outstanding balance. Raising consumer debt has turned the retirement slogan of freedom 55, to freedom 75 because of the lack of savings. Unfortunately, I find that money and financial matters take a back seat to other priorities in the lives of both the young and old. It doesn’t help that the vocabulary and acronyms used by the financial industry are really confusing.

My goals are to encourage you to take control of your finances and to provide you with information that will improve your financial knowledge and hopefully overtime increase your personal wealth. I will also offer my views on possible financial trends that could affect your financial well-being. Money can’t buy happiness but it can give you the freedom to do what you love.