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…)
Is there a chance that America could actually default on its debt?
When will the debt ceiling issue be solved? The NFL, the NBA, the EU, Congress … wherever you look, it seems people would rather wrangle these days than resolve their differences. The U.S. Treasury has set a hard deadline of August 2 for Congress to settle its divide on the federal debt ceiling, and if partisan bickering interferes, the world economy could suffer a severe hit.
What would happen if we miss the deadline? According to federal budget analysts at the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Treasury would only be able to make a slight majority of its 80 million monthly payments in August. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would likely be put in the same position as a struggling consumer low on cash and behind on his bills: he would have to selectively decide which debts to pay for the month and which to ignore.1
Should August 2 come and go without a solution, Congress’s inaction (and Geithner’s subsequent decisions) would have dramatic global repercussions. Most likely, his big priority would be to pay off bond investors so that a formal (more…)
Getting rich quick can be liberating, but it can also be frustrating. A sudden wealth windfall can help you address retirement saving or college funding anxieties, and it may also allow you to live and work on your terms. On the other hand, you’ll pay more taxes, attract more attention, and maybe even contend with … Continue reading “When a Windfall Comes Your Way”
You may have seen this statistic before or one resembling it: the average 65-year-old retiring couple can now expect to pay more than $250,000 in healthcare costs during the rest of their lives. In fact, Fidelity Investments now projects this cost at $285,000. The effort to prepare for these potential expenses is changing the … Continue reading “Healthcare Costs are Cutting into Retirement Preparations”
Preparing for retirement just got a little more financial wiggle room. This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced new contribution limits for 2022.
Financial markets can be challenging to understand. But when markets enter a “bad news is good news” cycle, it becomes even more difficult to follow along. Enter the Fed’s decision for tapering bond purchases.
The past year and a half have tested all of us, but overall, the economy continues to strengthen, COVID-19 trends are greatly improving, and this still relatively young bull market is alive and well. As the leaves turn colors and begin to fall to the ground, there are many reasons to be thankful.
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