Columns/Opinions

Thu
15
Apr

"Hunting for new eyeglasses isn’t cheap or easy" by: Jessica Shepard

   I have to admit that I’m a little grateful for the stomach bug that hit our household over Easter. 
   Honestly, that only reason is that we didn’t waste a lot of money on candy or food. 
   On the flip side of that, I managed to score some 80% off Easter candy leftovers at the store. 
   And that’s pretty important to me as of last week. 
   I’m all about saving money where I can in order to work towards purchasing a new pair of eyeglasses. 
   Mom and I both got our eyes checked up beyond our annually recommended visits. 
   For me, it’s been just over four years and my mom’s a little late by two. 
   But, we both received good news – our current prescriptions were overpowered. 
   That means our eye sights have gotten better – or, at least I’m looking at it like that. 

Thu
15
Apr

"Monthly retirement account statements should make people smile" by: John Sample

   Same song, second verse over and over again. 
   We set new closing records for the major indexes and averages. 
   Your monthly or quarterly statements for your retirement accounts should make you smile. 
   This, of course, can’t go on forever, but you have to at least enjoy the ride for now. 
   Trying to predict if and when this trend will stop is drawing out spoken support from both sides. There is logic to both opinions, which makes it that much more interesting to me.
   The Federal Reserve Chairman indicated that the Federal Reserve would not raise rates this year. 
   That is a significant factor supporting the equities markets. 
   Last week, the measure for inflation known as the Producer Price Index had a substantial jump last month. 
   I had the occasion to go to Home Depot and McCoy’s this spring to pick up materials and it is not fun. 

Thu
15
Apr

PSA: Help protect your family’s inheritance

   Investing in an IRA is a great way to save for retirement. 
   But if you don’t need all the money, you may want to leave what’s left to your children or grandchildren. 
   What’s the best way to do this? 
   Until recently, when you left the proceeds of your IRA to your beneficiaries, they could “stretch” required withdrawals over their life expectancies. 
   These required withdrawals were generally taxable, so this “stretch IRA” was a good way to reduce the annual taxes due and benefit from longer tax-deferred growth potential. 
   But recent legislation has greatly limited the stretch IRA strategy, so you may need to look for alternatives. 
   For example, you could convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA during your lifetime. 
   By doing so, you would pay taxes on the amount converted, so your heirs could generally take withdrawals tax-free. 

Thu
15
Apr

"Book of Isaiah tells us Jesus gave us crown of beauty in exchange for ashes" by: Betsy Monico

This week flew by. Don’t they all? 
   I learned and taught World War 1 and the Great Depression to my 5th grade social studies students. 
   My junior high and high school history teachers are not to blame, but I wonder what I was doing when I should have learned this stuff. 
   I was likely daydreaming or writing notes to pass later in class. I did not appreciate the troublesome journey that people of the United States endured. 
   I get it now! 
   Sadly, courses related to math and science also escaped me. My passion was literature, reading, and writing. 
   I can quote and recall memorable themes discovered from every novel we read and paper I wrote. 
   I also adored writing for the “Eagle Beat” when I was an upperclassmen. 
   Yes, we did get to leave campus to sell ads. 
   That rare freedom was a treat, but also writing and sharing our words in print was a valuable experience to me. 

Thu
15
Apr

"We all share in the victory of the Lord, each member is important" by: Caleb Gibson

   This last Sunday I preached my last sermon… Of my 20s. 
   By the time you read this, I will be 30 years old. This time has been a great time of blessing for me. 
   I can look back and give thanks for all that God has done in my life. 
   Preachers typically get much of the honor and criticism of the church. 
   When things go correctly, they celebrate with the pastor. 
   When things go wrong, they can be critical of the pastor. 
   This is also relevant to the worship team and those who serve on the front lines. 
   We must remember that everyone has an important role in the church. 
   In 1 Samuel 30 is a story about David before he was king. Because he was hiding from King Saul, he had many mighty warriors who partnered up with him to protect David who was to be the future King of Israel. 

Thu
15
Apr

"Reel Reviews: ‘The Seventh Day’ could’ve been awesome, but cliché plot drowned Guy Pearce’s skills" by: Jessica Shepard

  ‘It’s a bit out of season for horror movies, but, I’m glad to see them in theaters and via rental or streaming services. 
   There’s only so much cute, fluffy and animated-fun that I can sit through. 
   Plus, after a big hit like “Godzilla v. Kong,” it was hard to find something to watch to keep that excitement afloat. 
   “The Seventh Day” had promise with Guy Pearce leading the film, but fell flat with another generic exorcism excuse. 
   In fact, there’s some eerie child-like singing in the soundtrack that’s pretty much a dead on replica from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1999 film “End of Days” if you’re paying attention. 
   But, where End of Days had a decent plot and several likeable characters, The Seventh Day falls flat in its storytelling though the cast is pretty stellar. 

Thu
08
Apr

"Why couldn’t freeze take out poison ivy or fire ants?" by: Mike Reddell

   I hope all of our readers had a great Easter weekend.
   Most of last week was spent hosting a stomach bug of some magnitude.
   When I was able to go outside Saturday and Easter Sunday, everything seem glorious.
   I felt better and on Easter I felt closer to the risen Lord than I have in years. It was quite uplifting.
   Our oaks were wearing the bright green leaves of spring. 
   A few short weeks ago I fretted whether the freeze had set them back, but they’re all looking healthy.
   Like many others, we are forced to clean up the plants that didn’t survive the cold.
   We’ve always had one of the strangest tropical plants – a split-leaf Philodendron - I’ve ever seen in the back yard. 
   Its tendrils were more like tentacles and it has survived previous freezes, but not this one.
   Our crepe myrtles live that’s good news.

Thu
08
Apr

"Stomach bug ruins all Easter plans but we made due" by: Jessica Shepard

   If you hadn’t heard lately there’s been some nasty sort of stomach bug going around.
   It’s running through several schools afflicting children and adults alike and I still don’t know how I encountered it!
   It’s somewhere between stomach flu and food poisoning and it hit the Reddell household last week.
   That means it made for a pretty lame Easter, too.
   I got it first and we assumed it was food poisoning in the beginning, but, by day four of my road to recovery Mike got it.
   That’s when we ruled out food poisoning because neither of us had ate or drank the same thing at the same time.
   But, we decided that after careful consideration that Mike probably got it from helping clean up the restroom post one of those nausea and vomit-induced episodes where I wasn’t wearing my glasses.
   Regardless, mom was the only one lucky enough to miss out on the experience.

Thu
08
Apr

"Spring is in the air and anything is possible for investors" by: John Sample

   A year later and things are differently changing for the better. 
   The country had a box office opening for a new feature film and the attendance pushed gross receipts to over $32 million for the opening of Godzilla vs. Kong. 
   I was able to get vaccinated after having little or no luck for months. 
   In fact, I got vaccinated Wednesday, and then got calls from two separate hospitals that I had registered with to get a vaccine. 
   The unemployment report came out Friday announcing that new jobs added climbed to 916,000 and the unemployment rate was 6%. 
   That was the greatest employment increase since August 2020. 
   If that was not enough, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index pushed through to record territory above 4000.
   All I can say is that if you check your brokerage account and it is not up a significant amount, you need to pause and figure out why. 

Thu
08
Apr

"PSA: Will investors change behavior after the pandemic?"

   The COVID-19 pandemic may end up changing our lives, from how we work to how we learn.
   But will there be similar changes for how we invest?
   Some areas may be affected.
   For example, many people found that they didn’t have enough liquid savings to meet their needs and had to dip into their retirement accounts.
   To prevent this from happening, try to build an emergency fund containing several months’ worth of living expenses, with the money held in a separate, easily accessible account of cash or cash equivalents.
   But, in other ways, post-pandemic life will be similar to life before.
   Apart from building an emergency fund, you should still put away what you can afford into your IRA, 401(k), and other retirement accounts.
   If you have children, you may still want to explore college-funding vehicles – because even if online learning becomes more prevalent, higher education will still be costly.

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