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Comments Off on Polaris – Proud Sponsor Of Skepticon 5

Polaris Financial Planning is proud to announce their support for Skepticon 5!

Skepticon and Polaris

This is our third year of sponsorship for the worlds largest free conference on skepticism.  The hard work of student is changing the world.  Please make plans to attend Skepticon.

Skepticon has a great history.

…in the Fall of 2008, JT Eberhard, Lauren Lane, and the MSU Chapter of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster invited PZ Myers and Richard Carrier to the Missouri State campus to criticize belief in god. The event was well-attended and was retroactively dubbed Skepticon.

The event went well and they decided to do it again.

PZ Myers and Richard Carrier returned, joined by several new faces such as New York Times best-selling author Victor Stenger, Dan Barker, Rebecca Watson, D.J. Grothe, Robert Price, Joe Nickell, and JT Eberhard.

As Skepticon 3 approached, they were limited to 500 seats.  JT Eberhard put out a public plea for help.    They had the speakers, they had the volunteers and they had people that wanted to attend.  Without additional financial resources to move to a larger facility, hundreds of people would be turned away.

Polaris Financial Planning stepped up and provided the funds to move to the Springfield Expo Center and Skepticon 3 hosted more than 1,000 guests.  The funds from Polaris allowed an extra 500 people to attend. Phil Ferguson the owner of Polaris Financial Planning and blogger at SkepticMoney said, “This is the best investment I have ever made!”

Skepticon 4 followed the tradition of growth and Polaris was able to help the conference grow to around 1,200.  Now it is time for Skepticon 5 and Polaris is delighted to help again.  Please join me at this amazing event!

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In: Investing

Comments Off on Are You Stimulated?

NOTE:  This post is part of an ongoing education series.  This information is for educational purposes only.  This information does not constitute investment advice.  No rational person would make investment decisions based on a blog post.  Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.  If you wish to have specific advice for your situation please contact Polaris Financial Planning.

 

There has been a lot of talk about economic stimulus lately and I thought I would spend a little time on it here.  The GOP claims that it is being done to help Obama win the white house.  Well this is nothing new and I would argue that it is in the best interest of our economy.

Let us not forget that the GOP was all for economic stimulus when their guy was in the white house.

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008….

….was signed into law on February 13, 2008 by President Bush with the support of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

There are two competing philosophies one involves cutting (austerity) and one involves spending (Keynesian economics).  You can see how well austerity is working in Europe! (via WSJ)

Spaniards are already reeling from a July round of cuts that eliminated Christmas bonus pay for public employees, lowered unemployment benefits and raised sales taxes, bringing new pain to wage earners hit by public-sector pay reductions two years ago.

“We cannot and will not accept more cuts,” said Angel Arriero, a 39-year-old information engineer at a government ministry, marching in Madrid’s late-summer heat Saturday with his wife and young daughter. He said his pay had dwindled by more 10% since Spain’s economy was plunged into crisis four years ago.

It is very hard to get people to spend more money to stimulate the economy when they have less.  Paul Krugman (my hero) says the problem in America is easy to fix.

American consumers and businesses, aren’t spending enough, and efforts to get them to open their wallets have gone nowhere. Krugman’s solution: The federal government needs to step in and spend. A lot. On debt relief for struggling homeowners; on infrastructure projects; on aid to states and localities; on safety-net programs. Call it “stimulus” if you like. Call it Keynesian economics, after the great economic thinker (and Krugman idol) John Maynard Keynes, who first championed the idea that government has an essential role in saving the free market from its own excesses.

The Federal Reserve – the fed is…

…the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907.

The FED is taking more steps to help stimulate the economy.

The Federal Reserve’s new economic stimulus plan involves printing vast sums of money to help people buy homes, but over the next year the program could do more to boost the economy by lifting stock prices.

Printing more money can be bad and cause inflation.  However, if your economy is stagnant it could free up some money and encourage people to start spending and investing.  If the fed buys more bonds it will drive the price of bonds up the the yield goes down!  The effect is that bonds pay less money.  So, if you want better returns – you need to buy bonds.  This could give quite a boost to the market.

By giving an open-ended commitment to pour money into the market for mortgage-backed securities, the Fed will likely keep on supporting stocks and other asset classes by keeping returns low on MBS. Investors in search of yield will have more reason to buy equities and to lend money to companies.

Peter Hooper, an economist at Deutsche Bank in New York, thinks the Fed’s bond buying program will add at least a half a percentage point to gross domestic product over the next year, largely by boosting stock prices and making people feel more wealthy.

Lets hope it works.  People need jobs!

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In: Investing

Comments Off on Congressional Law Banning Insider Trading Leaves A Loophole For Insider Trading

NOTE:  This post is part of an ongoing education series.  This information is for educational purposes only.  This information does not constitute investment advice.  No rational person would make investment decisions based on a blog post.  Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.  If you wish to have specific advice for your situation please contact Polaris Financial Planning.

In April I did a post about a new law that was designed to stop insider trading….

While insider trading is already illegal, there’s some question as to whether current laws that focus on Wall Street apply to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and staff are encouraged to discuss pending legislation with firms that might be impacted.

Of course they apply.  Even if they did not it would be immoral and unethical to use this information for personal prophet.  All elected officials should put their funds in a blind trust or at least index funds.

I was stunned that they even had to vote on a law to make something illegal that is already illegal.  There are strong and well established laws on insider trading.  Some people just thought that they did not apply to lawmakers.  So, they passed a law to take away some special privilege that allowed them to do something that is illegal for everyone else.  Now I see this news…

[a] 14-page memo notifies House members and aides covered by the law that their spouses and children aren’t covered.

Are you f-in kidding me.  So a member of the house can have special knowledge give it to their spouse or kids and they can go make a fortune.  This is why people don’t trust politicians.  If they (or their family, or friends, or anyone they give information to…) use this inside information to make trading decisions – they should go to jail!

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, also criticized the House decision not to include congressional spouses and children.

“I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s unfortunate because the reality is the whole point of this legislation is we should play by the exact same rules as every other American citizen, and when all of America looks at Washington, they know it’s broken.”

“We’re trying to restore just a small measure of confidence through this kind of transparency and accountability,” Gillibrand said.

Well, you failed.  Now get back in there and fix it.