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Home prices jump by largest amount in seven years:
Bottom Line: The headline might sound redundant at this point. Ho-hum more improving housing data… After years of the housing crisis its still music to the ears of many… The latest CoreLogic data from February housing showed the following:
So it’s a bit surprising that
We all know the old saying “real-estate is local” and it’s a true as ever. You’re liable to find dramatic differences in real-estate markets around state. It’s important that you understand the characteristics of the local market before sticking your toe in. For example in PBC the average difference year over year on a single family home is just over $50,000 vs. $15,000 of difference for the average home state-wide.
Gas prices will be on the way down – perhaps significantly:
Bottom Line: When trying to understand what direction gas prices are headed people generally will look at what oil has been doing and figure that will determine the direction of prices at the pump. While oil prices are the biggest factor in gas prices it certainly isn’t the only consideration. Other factors include:
Oil prices have been relatively static at this year in a range of about $90-$95 per barrel. They’ve actually been rising over the past month from $91 to $94 (as of this entry). Yet we’ve actually experienced about a 5 cent per gallon drop at the pump over the last month. So what’s going on?
Two big changes. Refining issues in January and February increased the prices of wholesale refined gasoline as multiple key refining facilities were offline for various issues. Those issues are behind the refineries and demand for gas has been a bit weaker than anticipated leading to high inventory levels of refined gasoline. Those two factors have led to wholesale refined gas dropping from a high of $3.17 per gallon to $2.91 per gallon as of this entry. This provides the opportunity for potentially another 15 cents per gallon to come off of gas prices over the next two weeks.
Setting your own salary in business:
Bottom Line: If you own a business what is the barometer for you determining how much you earn? Many successful businesses turn unsuccessful on the demands of their owners salaries.
I’m reminded of the banker who eventually provided a business loan to help fund my smoothie company. He asked if I needed income from the business and planned on using it for my personal needs. When I said no the conversation continued.
If possible its best not to collect a salary until your company is profitable if you’re the founder of a new company. The average company that survives doesn’t become profitable within the first six months. For many more it can average a couple of years. Reliance on a company for your day to day income can strain needed resources for your business operations and influence decisions based on your personal needs rather than the needs of your young company.
If you do need a salary from day one Entrepreneur.com recommends doing comparative market analysis of what a person working in your day to day capacity (management) would earn. Try to stay at the low end of that range in the early going.
When comp spirit isn’t a good thing in business:
Bottom Line: Jeff Bezos is the founder and
The customer is always number one. We all know that right. When we are in fierce competition with another company or even someone else in the office do we always think and act accordingly? It’s easy to focus on competition and react to them rather than ensuring you win by providing the best service / experience for your customers. This is common place within technology today. Think about how effective this has been as a practice for Amazon. Despite a myriad of companies that sell items online Amazon.com has been the leader in online retailing almost since the advent of the consumer internet. Think about how this is applicable in your business and try to remind yourself daily – regardless of how distracting the competition may be.
Report – mass confusion over 401k rollovers:
Bottom Line: Yesterday I shared the information regarding the great migration of Americans as a result of the improving housing market. Of the 70 million Americans relocating over the past two years 49% indicated that they would have moved sooner if not for the housing situation. As we move we frequently change employers. As we change employers we often have retirement account considerations with 401k’s.
The GAO finished a report on 401k plans after we change jobs and found the following:
This is critically important for a couple of reasons. First once you leave an employer and can rollover a 401k plan you open up your investment options to whatever you want them to be. You can choose your investment house and make your own investment decisions or have your advisor manage those assets.
With regard to the confusion over the plan options. Frequently when people are confused with regard to rolling over a 401k plan they either leave it in the same state it was in when the leave a company or the cash it out. Either option isn’t ideal and cashing out is a tragedy. Before leaving your employer try to become fully educated as to the options and costs of keeping your existing 401k plan or understand the rollover process.
Biggest long term threat to the stock market… Gen Y?:
Bottom Line: So we’ve had twelve consecutive weeks of individual investors putting money into the stock market (after four years of net withdrawals). As market psychology improves what about the biggest skeptics… The younger generation? Well nothing has changed with them.
40% of generation y’ers still say they will never invest in the stock market. Not only does this not bode well for business investment and growth in the future, it doesn’t bode well for savings rates of your kids either.
Baby Boomers have been big stock market investors for most of their adult lives. The results have largely been successful and positive. All told the stock market has returned an average rate of 8.4% per year easily besting any other investment option historically. If nearly half of the younger generation doesn’t entertain investing in stocks they’ll lose that opportunity. Beyond that what happens when Boomers are no longer big owners of equities and their kids aren’t?
Perhaps Gen Y will change their view of investing in the future. If they don’t the market could be in for a long term issue with Boomer money existing stocks. The lack of business investment could also result in slower business formation and growth which could be detrimental to the long term economy as well.
Gmail update makes it quicker and easier to find what you’re looking for:
Bottom Line: So a day after Yahoo added Dropbox options for sending large files, Google came out with an enhancement to its Gmail service.
Google is enabling greater search options within its email service that will include finding old emails sent by search for a piece of an email address (if you can’t remember someone’s full email address but you’ve sent them something before), and text of emails that you’ve archived. If it works as well as Google suggests that it will, it’s a big plus when you’re on the go and can’t remember an email address or subject matter.