Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump is Uber

Uber and Lyft represent freedom, capitalism, competition and the efficiency and quality of the private sector vs. government.  I’m a business traveler. I’m away on business 25 or more times a year. That’s at least 50 taxi rides to and from airports to my hotel. Plus another 100-plus taxi rides from my hotel to business meetings or conventions where I’m giving a speech. That’s means I’ve taken 150 or more taxi rides a year for the past 25 years. No more. I haven’t even gotten into a taxi once in the past three years. I’ve replaced all those taxi rides with Uber. Taxis are as obsolete as dinosaurs. This is the same reason so many people voted for Donald Trump... because Trump is the Uber of politics. He represents freedom and competition and the marvelous quality and efficiency of the private sector. [more...]

Alaska Closes Acquisition of Virgin in Critical Time for Airlines

Last week, Alaska Air Group finalized its $4 billion acquisition of Virgin America. The merger brings together two beloved airlines which in some ways are similar and other ways very different. Both carriers have loyal customer bases and award-winning resumes. Alaska has always emphasized its customer service and performance and has been awarded “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America” by J.D. Power, nine years in a row. Virgin America is revered by travelers for its innovative and high quality in-flight experience, and has been named top airline in the country in Conde Nast’s reader’s choice awards. The merged airline is surely positioned to compete with the traditional “Big 4” U.S. airlines. [more...]

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Entrepreneurial Way to 4% Growth

Trump Should Fix the Business Climate So a Million Americans a Year Can Start Companies

Consider the economic situation that President-elect Trump is inheriting. Despite the addition of 161,000 jobs in October, the labor-force participation rate fell to its second lowest level in nearly 40 years, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve. More people have joined the ranks of the chronically unemployed, slipping into poverty at alarming rates as their skills decay and dependency on public assistance grows. Considering population growth, America needs at least 325,000 new jobs every month to stanch the growing numbers of discouraged workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Merely bringing back factories from overseas will not solve this problem. Technology has made every factory more productive. Fewer workers make more goods no matter where they’re located. At the same time, fewer U.S. businesses are being started. New firms are the country’s principal generator of new jobs. What can President Trump do to encourage more entrepreneurship? First, increase economic growth. More businesses start when GDP expands at 4% rather than 2%. Existing businesses look for new markets, often turning to young companies for innovative ideas. [more...]

The Prospects of a Trump Economy

If Mr. Trump runs this country like he runs his business, which he intends to do, our economy is in for a HUGE treat. He promises to lower corporate taxes and individual tax rates, thereby boosting profits and helping business owners create more jobs. Couple this with Trump’s plan to slash regulations and we’ll likely see very fast growth in the short run.  One of the hottest items on Trump’s agenda is trade. If he follows through on trade and imposes tariffs on foreign goods, the U.S. could see a great deal of money coming in from abroad as well as jobs returning to the US. The list of what-ifs and possible policy actions goes on, but the most important thing to understand is that for Trump to be successful in growing the economy, he must focus on job creation, civic investment, and shrinking the size of the government. The prospects of a Trump economy are encouraging. No government in history has been as efficient as the private sector. [more...]

Monday, October 31, 2016

More M&A Activity

Coming off a week when AT&T announced one of the biggest deals of the year to acquire Time Warner, more M&A activity headlined the news Monday morning. General Electric Co., the world’s largest oilfield equipment maker, announced it will merge its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes Inc., one of the world leaders in oil services and production. The merger will create the world’s second largest oilfield services provider behind Schlumberger and ahead of Halliburton. GE will end up owning 62.5% of the combined company and paying Baker Hughes shareholders a hefty one-time dividend as part of the deal. Looking several years ahead, GE projects to create $1.6 billion in synergies as a result of the two companies complementing each other. [more...]

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Walmart Takes on Amazon

Competition is heating up in the world of e-commerce. Walmart announced Monday that it will be acquiring the e-commerce site Jet.com for a whopping $3.3 billion as it aggressively moves to take on Amazon’s recent dominance in the online space. Though Walmart is a leader in brick-and-mortar retail sales, online sales for the company only accounted for 3% of its total revenue last year. An acquisition like this is necessary if Walmart is ever going to challenge Amazon. [more...]

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Brexit Money-Quake

The world's ruling elite expected the June 23, 2016 United Kingdom Brexit vote to fail. Investors who believed these elitists were shocked when this referendum won by 52-48 percent, launching a countdown to separation between the UK and European Union. This triggered a worldwide seismic shockwave that on Friday, June 24, wiped out more than $2 trillion from global markets. If these investors had heeded the advice and warnings that monetary expert Craig R. Smith and I have set forth in six books, they could have profited handsomely while this giant “Money-Quake” shook the planet and set assets tumbling. A word to the wise: this Brexit vote is the first of many more soon to come. Read our books and quickly pick up the broken pieces of your investment portfolio. You will want to move quickly at least a portion of what remains before the falling dominos and other pains of aftershocks hit. [more...]

Friday, June 24, 2016

Great Britain Voted Thursday to Exit the European Union - This “Brexit” Could Unleash Global Chaos

Yesterday, the British people voted in a national referendum to declare their independence from the European Union. The ruling political establishment, right and left, had joined to crush this populist uprising with a campaign of fear and authority. But a majority of voters, sick of the European rot that has been destroying the Great in Great Britain, pushed back – and history changed. Brexit’s victory unleashed a shock wave around the world that for a time halted stock trading in Asia, sent Dow futures plunging by more than 700 points, drove the 10-year Treasury bond yield to modern record lows, and sent gold surging upwards by more than $80. [more...]

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Big Bank that is One of the Market’s Most Undervalued Stocks

U.S. stock markets are now factoring in more than a 50% chance that the Federal Reserve will increase the Fed funds rate in June or July. Rate hikes are positive for most financial stocks because the companies then earn increased fees on customers’ deposits. In addition, withering expectations of a global recession are fueling growth prospects for financial institutions, bringing increased investor attention to the sector. Consequently, bank stocks are turning bullish, with stock price charts surprisingly in sync with each other. [more...]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Millennial Problem

Millennials are America’s biggest generation and, like it or not, they’re going to change the world. The question is, will this change be for the better? According to a new Gallup poll, Gen X and Baby Boomers must change along with these millennials to make sure the future goes well.  Gallup recently released an extensive study detailing how Millennials function in the workforce. Not surprisingly, millennials are a very different breed of employee. One of the most notable pieces of data is workforce engagement. Whiles it’s no secret millennials are the least employed generation, 55% percent are unengaged at work. This number is astonishing! Combined with the 16% who actively disengage at work, a meager 29% of millennials are actually engaged in their job.  This number is lower than any other generation. [more...]

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Messy Breakup: Halliburton to Pay Baker Hughes $3.5 Billion After Failed Merger

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

Halliburton, the oil services provider few look at fondly, paid rival firm Baker Hughes $3.5 billion in terminations fees after an attempted merger was shot down from every direction. Halliburton is the second largest such company, with Baker Hughes in third (first goes to industry giant Schlumberger). Once valued at $34.6 billion in 2014, this merger would now have only been worth $28 billion given the precipitous fall of oil over the last two years. The oil industry’s near collapse was a major factor leading to the scuttled deal. Halliburton and Baker Hughes both rely on oil company contracts; and, given that oil was, until recently, too expensive to pull out of the ground for many producers, their services saw little request. But the oil industry is slowly recovering. So what else killed this deal? Hint: the government. [more...]

Apple has been 'The Biggest Wealth Destroyer' for Investors

By Jeff Cox - Finance Editor for CNBC.com

Investors managed to make it through a volatile April modestly ahead of the game, though individual returns were held back by one principal culprit: Apple. The tech giant was "the biggest wealth destroyer" for market participants during the month, according to Openfolio, a social networking platform that compares more than 65,000 shared portfolios within its community.  [more...]

Monday, May 2, 2016

Could Puerto Rico Be the First Falling Domino of Financial Doomsday?

On Sunday May 1, America's Caribbean Island Puerto Rico defaulted on a debt payment of $422 million. This island that Spanish explorers named “rich port,” Puerto Rico, is roughly the size of Connecticut and is home to 3.5 million U.S. citizens. How has it run up a staggering total debt of more than $72 billion, more than any U.S. state except New York and California? Puerto Rico has been turned into a cash-short poor port by U.S. economic manipulation along with welfare and government pension politics. The U.S. government built Puerto Rico's current economy on exotic tax breaks, especially for drugs. At one point, nine of America's 12 biggest drug companies had major facilities in Puerto Rico. [more...]

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goldman Sachs Sees 'Upside Risk' for U.S. Economy

By Jeff Cox - Finance Editor for CNBC.com

Remember last year when China devalued its currency and the market went nuts? Well, so much for that. The subsequent tightening in financial conditions that came with the bold currency move has vanished, according to Goldman Sachs. The bank said its proprietary Financial Conditions Index has returned to its August 2015 level, providing a bright spot in an economy that otherwise has been lackluster. [more...]

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quickie Last Minute Tax Tips from TaxMama

Good news! This year we get a few extra days to file our tax returns – until April 18th (19th in MD and DC). But what if you’re just not ready? Relax. File an extension – no excuses needed. You get an extra six months to file. Use Form 4868 for personal extensions (check with your state for their forms). Oh, you heard it’s an extension to file, not an extension to pay? That’s true. But they will grant you the extension even if you don’t pay the whole balance due. By filing the extension, you avoid the non-filing penalty of 5% per month...AND if you really have a hardship when it comes to paying, there’s a special form to give you more time to pay (Form 1127). Whatever your tax problem, TaxMama has an answer - free at www.taxmama.com - click on Ask a Question.  [Read more of my ideas and suggestions here...]

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Learning from Buffett's Wisdom

In our new book, The 30-Minute Millionaire, there's a chapter called "Buffett Rules."  We talk about learning from the ultra-rich.  Very few of us are going to emulate, say, Mark Zuckerberg and come up with a seemingly trivial idea that turns into a billion dollar business.  If you look in the right places, though, you'll find plenty of useful nuggets for your path to becoming a millionaire. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha who built a business empire by following a remarkably simple set of rules: understand the companies in which you invest, don't chase returns, and don't expect to make a lot of money by taking on a lot of debt.  Also, learn how to take a loss, don't invest for the short term, and believe in America and the things that make it great.  Virtually every move Buffett has ever made is in line with these very simple and practical principles. Learn how you can apply Buffett's wisdom to your own investment decisions. [more...]

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Crucial Advice on Your Branding - Web Presence and Social Media

By Karen Leland

The Week of April 4th is Explore Your Career Options Week. If you want to keep your career options open, be aware that a strong personal brand on social media can help or hurt. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com poll, 52% of employers use social networking sites to research candidates, and 35% of those same employers reported that they were less likely to interview job candidates who didn’t have an online presence. In addition, 51% use search engines to dig up details on a job candidate. So that picture of you chugging back a beer on your Facebook page may not be such a good personal brand move for your future career prospects. Take advantage of all your career options by making sure your social media is up to par with these five easy, but often overlooked, tips. [more...]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What Small Business Owners Can Learn from Yahoo

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

Yahoo just can’t catch a break, and they deserve not to. Running a business is hard, no matter the size, but some people fail to see when they are making mistakes, and more often than not, someone is ready to capitalize on those mistakes. Yahoo’s management and board can’t seem to make any good decisions regarding the ailing tech company. Given that their core company is theoretically valued at zero dollars, you would think they’d have made big plans to right the ship. But no, they considered selling certain major assets, but to no avail. Now, activist hedge fund group Starboard Capital is launching a proxy war to take over Yahoo’s entire board. Yahoo wants to sell its core business due to failures to stay competitive in the tech market; Google (Alphabet) and Facebook are two major threats Yahoo can’t fully handle. For Starboard, this isn’t enough, and the hedge fund wants a whole-sale replacement of the board. Luckily for Yahoo, the company has until the end of June to work out a deal, so not all hope is lost. At the end of June comes Yahoo’s annual meeting, where if things don’t improve, they could see Starboard take over the entire company. [more...]

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of the U.S. Economy

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

The U.S. economy is currently floating in limbo. Consumer data suggests economic recovery, while markets indicate greater hesitancy in U.S. monetary policy and the global economy. On the good side of things, we have consumers. Americans kicked off 2016 with a bang, showing increases in retail sales across the board. Online sales, clothing and automobiles were all up. Auto manufacturers have dirt cheap gas to thank for the increase in sales. Consumers are no longer being discouraged by expensive gas. Household purchases, which make up the bulk of consumer spending, further bolstered retail numbers. Despite setbacks in the oil industry, U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs in January – another step in the right direction for a strong economy. But what’s the bad news? [more...]

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Link Between Falling Markets, Falling Political Establishments and Rising Gold

By Lowell Ponte

We may be witnessing a revolution to restore integrity to both our money and our politics. Stock prices since the start of 2016 have been plummeting, and gold is soaring, as people lose faith in the powers that conjured a fake prosperity based on paper money, politicized markets and zero interest rates. Voters in the U.S. are rejecting candidates of the old ruling elites in both major political parties. Candidates who promise to overthrow these elites, such as businessman Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are winning big. [more...]

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Where is Rock Bottom? Oil Slides Back Erasing Friday’s Gains

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

After ducking under $28 a barrel earlier last week, oil rallied back into the low 30s with Brent, a benchmark for oil prices, closing 10% up Friday, north of $32. However, what was initially billed as a potential recovery of the gutted oil market is seeing a reversal once again. Monday, both Brent crude and US Oil slid back over 4% on Friday’s gain, hovering just above $30 for the time being. While OPEC officials stated the organization wants to see prices rise, Saudi Arabia, the dominant player in OPEC, continues to pump oil into the market. [more...]

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Economic Projections

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

First things first: Puerto Rico is turning into America’s Greece. The island territory is laden with debt it can’t pay, and what’s worse, Americans are the ones holding the receipts. About 50% of Americans over the age of 40 hold Puerto Rican debt in some way in California, New York, and Florida; nearly 100% of the over 40 population is exposed in some way. Puerto Rico’s debt comes from a laundry list of issues: over 60% of its population is on Medicare or Medicaid, importing energy is wildly expense, and, not unlike Greece, its government can be rather stubborn. The way I see it, no one knows what Puerto Rico will do, but the options are: 1) default (this is bad for everybody; 2) The U.S. grants Puerto Rico the ability to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy; or 3) The U.S. gives Puerto Rico a $70+ billion bailout package. None of this will go well for anyone, and frankly there is no way to tell what will happen; but we will see a decision in 2016, and it could put a dent in the U.S. economy. [more...]