You may reach me via email:
or the voicemail of death (I may not get to your call):
Ash's favorite wedding pic
Small & Large businesses cite the same two top concerns:
Bottom Line: Business regardless of size is nervous. That’s no surprise right? Also the top two concerns of businesses (big and small) are the same regardless of size. They also are likely the two biggest concerns we have. The implications are very important. First the concerns:
Sound familiar. Looks like we’re all in the same place… After all businesses are actually the sum of their people. So what does this mean to us?
First if we see the politicians “punt” on the fiscal cliff, meaning a short-term agreement that doesn’t resolve anything and create more certainty, they will effectively have accomplished nothing in the eyes of businesses. That means no new hiring. No new raises issued. No new expansion plans for future growth etc.
The healthcare issue over the longer term is also certain to only worsen. The crisis with healthcare is cost. The Affordable Care Act created new mandates that are increasing the cost of healthcare. With the rest of the mandates being phased in through next year that trend will only continue. And so will the lack of expansion within the business world.
What all small businesses must consider now (mobile shopping):
Bottom Line: I’ve been a mobile bug for a couple of years now (bug has a duel meaning). The reason I’ve been bugging you about mobile has officially arisen.
54% of all adults now own a smart phone. 70% of all smart phone owners say they will use it to help shop during the holidays. If you don’t have a mobile strategy you’re dead to all of those people!
Additionally you need to see what your company looks like on mobile devices and look at your closest competitors to see how they appear on mobile devices. How do you compare?
If you want an FHA loan – get it now:
Bottom Line: The Federal agency that gained the most attention for financial woes yesterday was the USPS (as the lost nearly $16 billion). The direr situation may actually be within the FHA.
The FHA backs more than $1 trillion in mortgage loans and the news regarding their loan-loss reserves (money set aside for defaulted loans) is a little scary. It appears as though the FHA is going to have negative loan-loss reserves and the total is likely to be in the billions. That will have consequences.
If you are in the market for an FHA loan over the near-term – you should move on it sooner than later. The FHA currently offers the most flexible loan products in the marketplace.
Those limits are likely to go higher. They will need to improve their credit quality to have fewer defaults and they’ll quickly need to raise cash. That will likely mean they’ll change additional fees and charge higher ongoing rates to fill their depleted coffers. Already earlier this year they made mortgage insurance mandatory regardless of the amount of money you’d put down on a home.
Money flowing out of US companies & into bonds & yes European stocks:
Bottom Line: Dow is down 5%+, S&P 6%, NASDAQ 10%+. Yes elections have consequences but that’s not what this story is about. By my count we’ve seen about $430 billion come out of stock over the last two weeks. I’ve been walking down the path of what to consider with the financial markets for three weeks anticipating what would actually occur (and has) to keep you ahead of the curve. My concern now is what you’re doing with money you’ve removed from the market.
Before you make that move…
As money is flowing out of the stock market it’s flowing into bonds. Two things... 1. Remember bonds are debt 2. The most common bond purchase? Ten year Treasury Bonds that carry an interest rate of about 1.5%.
For most people locking your money up for ten years at 1.5% is a really bad idea. The average rate of inflation is around 4%. You’re almost certain to lose money over ten years buying those bonds. Not good. If you really don’t know where to put your money – if nothing else… Pay off any debt including your home. Any debt you have will carry a higher interest rate than the 1.5% you’d be earning from the bonds.