“Conscious” Capitalism? An oxymoron it is not. It is a movement sweeping across the globe and growing in size, popularity and in the impact that it is having for those business leaders who embrace it. It, in my opinion, should become the standard by which businesses are evaluated for investment and judged in the court of public opinion for its popularity by the consumer. A bold statement indeed, and maybe one better served as a vision for an ideal world, but the pragmatic nature of its four core tenants give it great viability. (more…)
Exactly one month ago today, I returned from a 12-day trip to Uganda. While there, myself and a group of 15 others did water projects such as building a rainwater harvest tank and making and distributing bio-sand filters. The organization that hosted the trip was a non-profit based out of Boone, NC called Wine to Water. Their founder, Doc Hendley, received a CNN Hero award back in 2009 for the incredible work that he himself had done both in Darfur and Uganda. Doc has inspired thousands, myself included. The work they do at Wine to Water changes lives. In fact, it changes entire communities. They do real boots on the ground stuff, bringing clean water to those in need. They make an impact with what they do. And I’ve seen it first hand. (more…)
If #GivingTuesday wasn’t great enough on it’s own, Facebook ‘s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stole the show with an absolutely extraordinary pledge to give away 99% of his Facebook fortune over his and his wife Priscilla Chan’s lifetime. That amount, as it stands today would total over 45 billion dollars. This will be done through their ongoing platform entitled the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Basically, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative allocates money to organizations around the country — and eventually, the world — in order to make it a better place for everyone. (more…)
There is something extraordinarily special about this day, Giving Tuesday, that simply compelled me to write about it. Unfortunately not everyone will share my overly rose-colored view of #GivingTuesday. Some may see this simply as a day of slight annoyance due to the abundance of e-mails asking for monetary donations. But here at Epic Capital, we see things differently. Given the number of non-profit organizations where our employees have served as board members, we recognize the potential impact of a global campaign like this. (more…)
Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death. No, this is not a review of Theater Charlotte’s dinner mystery entitled Wine, Chocolate & Murder (doors open at 6:30 on Saturday, February 15th), although I do hear that makes for a fun night out with your Valentine. This is going to be much more personal, and it’s my hope, that you will find it much more valuable. There is a social movement currently taking place which I think it is simply outstanding, and well worth discussing.
Are you familiar with TED Talks? If you are not, go to www.TED.com. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It is a global set of live conferences (mini presentations) that promote “Ideas Worth Sharing”. You can find extremely interesting presentations, no longer than 10-15 mins. in duration, given by thought provoking individuals on a very wide array of topics. Its popularity has spawned other TED Channels, one of which is TED MED (www.TEDMED.com) solely focused on health and medicine. It is on this particular site that I came across “Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death”, presented by Michael Hebb back in April of 2013. (more…)
“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” That’s a quote from a pretty intelligent guy by the name of Albert Einstein. It is tough to challenge just about anything that came out of his mind, but it’s probably even tougher to measure what one actually takes out of this world. We spend a lifetime of taking out. But can one spend a lifetime of putting back (or giving back)? (more…)
How will Wall Street remember 2012?
Stock market bears might characterize 2012 as a year of living dangerously, a year in which Wall Street coped with major risks to the American and European economies. Stock market bulls might end up remembering 2012 for what didn’t happen: Greece had resisted a temptation to exit the euro, and it looked as if bipartisan negotiation might save the U.S. economy from heading over the fiscal cliff. In late November, stocks appeared on track for some solid yearly gains.
Key economic indicators improved. The year saw major rebounds in the housing market and consumer confidence. By October, existing home sales were up 10.9% from a year ago with the median sale price at $178,600; 11.1% better than in October 2011. New home sales volume in October had increased 17.2% in 12 months, and the National Association of Home Builders builder sentiment index hit 46 in November, sharply above the October 2011 low of 17. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence poll hit a 57-month high of 73.7 in November, while the University of Michigan’s November consumer sentiment survey reached a peak unseen since July 2007 at 84.9.1,2,3
By October, unemployment was at 7.9%, down 0.4% from January and 2.3% from three years before. After a 0.2% reversal in May and a flat reading in June, personal spending increased consistently through the third quarter, albeit (more…)
The window of opportunity for many tax-saving moves closes on December 31. So set aside some time to evaluate your tax situation now, while there’s still time to affect your bottom line for the current tax year. With that in mind, here are 10 things to consider as the curtain closes on 2011.
1. Deferring income to 2012 means postponing taxes
Consider opportunities you might have to defer income to 2012. You might be able to delay a year-end bonus, for example. If you’re able to push what would have been 2011 income into 2012, you may be able to put off paying income tax on the deferred dollars until next year.
2. Paying deductible expenses sooner may help you in 2011
Does it make sense for you to accelerate deductions into 2011? If you itemize deductions, it might help your 2011 bottom line to pay deductible expenses like medical costs, qualifying interest, and state and local taxes before the end of the year, instead of waiting until 2012.
3. Income tax rates to remain the same in 2012
The same six federal income tax rates that apply in 2011 will apply in 2012. So, depending upon your income, you’ll fall into either the 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% rate bracket. And, as in 2011, long-term capital gains and (more…)
We have all suffered through (and many are still suffering through) the second worst economic downturn in our country’s history. “I Was There” and no one is even handing out the proverbial free tee-shirt. But there have been signs of hope, as the stock market has rebounded well off its 2009 lows, corporations are in much better financial shape, investors have delevered, and many economic indicators are still moving in the right direction (albeit at a much slower pace than most would like to see). The most stubborn areas can still be seen today in the housing market and the elevated levels continuing in unemployment. Add to that the US debt debacle, as well as European debt woes, slowing growth in the emerging markets, an S&P US rating downgrade and the media is once again having a feeding frenzy. (more…)
If we slash trillions from the federal budget, what does that do to our GDP?
The summer of discontent stretches on. As July ebbs into August, we have no resolution on the federal debt limit issue. The possibility of default is still in play. Republican leaders want major cuts to entitlement programs as a condition of raising the debt ceiling; Democrats agree on the necessity of cuts but also want tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans to bring in added revenue.
A trillion-dollar divide. On July 14, CNBC.com reported that both parties had tentatively agreed on nearly $1.4 trillion worth of reductions to the federal budget. That’s not too surprising: $1.4 trillion is the projected size of the budget gap for the fiscal year ending in September. Republicans have called for $2.4 trillion in cuts.1,2
This federal belt-tightening is going to lead politicians, economists and consumers into the second part of the debt cap (more…)
The I.R.S. just increased the annual contribution limits on IRAs, 401(k)s, and other widely used retirement plan accounts for 2020. Here’s a quick look at the changes.
Across the country, people are saving for that “someday” called retirement. Someday, their careers will end. Someday, they may live off their savings or investments, plus Social Security. They know this, but many of them do not know when, or how, it will happen. What is missing is a strategy – and a good strategy … Continue reading “Creating a Retirement Strategy”
Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers. Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit … Continue reading “Establishing Good Credit in College”
Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”
What is a relationship with a financial advisor worth to an investor? A 2019 study by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest money managers, attempts to answer that question. Vanguard’s whitepaper concludes that when an investor works with an advisor and receives professional investment advice, they may see a net portfolio return about 3% higher … Continue reading “Measuring the Value of a Financial Advisor”
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