Columns/Opinions

Thu
07
Jan

How to respond when risk tolerance is tested

   Your comfort with risk is a key factor in your investment strategy. 
   But once you experience the ups and downs of the market, your risk tolerance could be tested. 
   For example, if you get extremely upset over the results on your investment statement when the financial markets drop, you might decide to invest more cautiously – and maybe that’s the right move for you. 
   However, such a move could also limit your upside potential. 
   To help keep your focus on your long-term goals, consider these steps: 
   First, look past the immediate event of the market drop. 
   These drops are typically followed by rallies, though there are no guarantees. 
   Next, realize the performance of any specific market index, such as the S&P 500, won’t completely track with your portfolio, which should contain a mix of investments not measured by any one benchmark. 

Thu
07
Jan

"When things seem out of control, have peace of mind" by: Betsy Monico

   The Girl Scouts randomly came up several times this week. 
   One young lady credits the noble association for her early college acceptance. 
   She was not super involved, but paid yearly fees and sold cookies. I applauded her commitment regarding dues; however, offered zero accolades for her selling the cookies. 
   Girl Scout cookies are absolutely delicious, forever irresistible, and practically sell themselves. 
   I remember walking door to door back in the old days selling them. My money always came up short. My Dad graciously covered the difference. He was pleased when I eventually earned a degree in English, not math! 
   We never discovered my shortcomings. Maybe my brother and I stashed too many Thin Mints and Tagalongs. 
   One of my besties cleaned out her childhood room last week. She shared photos of the random, yet meaningful contents she uncovered, including some Brownie and Girl Scout memorabilia.

Thu
07
Jan

"By placing our trust in God, we will have a happy new year" by: Caleb Gibson

   When starting the New Year, some choose to read the Bible as their New Year’s resolution. 
   Yet some books can be hard to understand. 
   When we read through the Bible we will come across things are relevant for our lives today even if we do not realize it. 
   Leviticus is a difficult book to read. It doesn’t have any heroic stories like David, Esther, or Daniel. 
   It lists many laws for the Israelites under the law. One amazing part of the book of Leviticus is what is called the year of Jubilee. 
   When is the year of Jubilee? It happens in the 50th year. Numbers are important to God. Five is the number of grace. God created the Earth, and then on the Seventh day He rests. God institutes a law for everyone to rest on the seventh day. 
   They take seven times seven, this equals 49, then on the 50th year they rest.  
   This is a year of three things: rest, restoration, and freedom.

Thu
07
Jan

"Reel reviews: ‘Promising Young Woman’ crafts brilliant revenge from overwhelming common tragedy" by: Jessica Shepard

   With some technical issues aside at our local theater, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of “Promising Young Woman” when I caught it last week. 
   Now, I’ve been salivating for this film since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January. 
   To put things in perspective, the premise for female revenge usually revolves around a woman losing a loved one or family at the hands of some distinct evildoer that’s often male and spending over two hours trying to tell that tale. 
   In fact, most directors spend a lot of the time padding the female lead’s backstory and motivation than the actual act of revenge. 
   Think ‘Peppermint” (2018), the “Kill Bill” movies (2003, 2004) and “The Brave One” (2007) for most of the female-centric revenge films we’ve seen. 
   Honorable mentions go to “Hard Candy” (2005), “Carrie” (1976) and “Jennifer’s Body” (2009) for the teenaged hormone-fueled versions. 

Thu
31
Dec

"I’m finding myself enjoying silence once siblings are gone again" by: Jessica Shepard

   As much as I love having my siblings holed up at home with me for the holidays, I can safely breathe a sigh of relief now that they’re gone. 
   Don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings very much and know that that was the best present to give my mom – having all of us home for Christmas. 
   For the most part, I think we behaved rather well and had a good time between the presents and catching “Wonder Woman 1984” on Christmas Day. 
   Still, three days is just enough time to make me miss being the only one on my side of the house and not having to take dinner plans into consideration with other picky eaters. 
   And even though we kept up with the usual sibling fare – picking on each other, giving compliment sandwiches and generally annoying mom – I’m appreciating the silence more often now that they’ve gone home. 

Thu
31
Dec

"Should New Year’s Day be celebrated with cheers or fears? " by: John Sample

   It looks like I will survive 2021 and I hope you readers are doing as well as you can in this environment.  
   We are watching new vaccines being approved and vaccinations taking place.  
   I have a son in the medical profession who has had his first shot and will shortly receive the second. He has no adverse reactions.  
   Given my vintage, I assume that I will be eligible this spring. I find this situation interesting as I have never taken a flu shot. I have been vaccinated against various illnesses that older people are susceptible.  
   No matter, I am glad to see 2020 in the rear view mirror much like when I graduated from Tech and was thinking of Mac Davis’s song. 
   Looking into next year, you might be surprised that the pick for best performer is not one of the FANG stocks. It is a value play in Exxon. The next in line is Bitcoin, which concerns me, as it is a direct reflection on the dollar’s loss in value.  

Thu
31
Dec

Avoid tapping into 401(k) early

   If you are facing a financial need, you may think about tapping into your 401(k). 
   After all, it’s your money – why not use it? 
   For one thing, you’d be reducing the amount you have available when you retire. 
   Also, withdrawals taken before you’re 59½ may be taxable and are generally subject to a 10% penalty. 
   Therefore, you may first want to explore some other options. 
   For starters, you could look for ways to reduce spending. 
   And if you’ve built an emergency fund containing a few months’ worth of living expenses, now might be the time to use it. 
   But if you encounter a financial crunch and you don’t have an emergency fund, you could look to your taxable investment accounts or a 401(k) loan. 
   You might also consider other types of loans before withdrawing from your 401(k) or using credit cards extensively. 

Thu
31
Dec

"Learn to put the power of prayer for someone in need" by: Betsy Monico

   This is an oldie, but goodie. 
   My floors are still unkept and I am trying my best to keep up after the Christmas rush. 
   I’ve reminisced the last few days about what has gone right, wrong, and even how I got kicked out of Brownies, Girl Scouts, at one point. 
   Our 5th Rumba is still holding strong. 
   It’s been a struggle-I’m going back to 2012. 
   A few years ago I bought myself a Rumba, the robot vacuum cleaner, and used it like a mad man until it wore out. 
   Useful gift I would say! 
Bosque boy picked himself out a new pair of Nikes a few weeks ago that killed his feet the first day he wore them by the end of school. 
   I surprised him with a little gift my friend suggested: gel inserts for his shoes. 
   He was “balling” again the next day with comfortable feet. 
   A useful gift I might say! 
It would have been insane for me to have NOT used my Rumba when I could. 

Thu
31
Dec

"When you pray, worship in your house, you encourage yourself in God" by: Caleb Gibson

   To understand who we are, we must understand what we have been saved from. 
   Total Depravity is a teaching in Calvinism which tells us that because humanity is in a fallen state, we have no desires for God.  
   They would say that man needs to be regenerated by God before they can have faith in God for Salvation. 
   So, in Calvinism, the cart goes before the horse. They believe they’re regeneration - God changing our attitudes and actions - takes place before they believe in God as their Savior. 
   I believe the Scriptures show us another path. 
   While we are in need of God’s restoration, we all still have the ability to follow God. 
   While Total Depravity is not Biblical, this topic does bring up some solid truths such as the need to be set free from sin. 
   We were all born into sin. David wrote, “Oh, God, I was born in sin, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). 

Thu
31
Dec

"Reel Reviews: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ doesn’t live up to the initial hype/wait" by: Jessica Shepard

   The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we receive, view and pay for entertainment. 
   Concert venues, entertainment centers and theaters have been struggling to make ends meet since March and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. 
   I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of “Wonder Woman 1984” since they mentioned the film going into production and then when it was promised to hit theaters earlier this year. 
   Like other projected blockbuster films it’s been pushed back and met a split audience – some saw it in theaters and others at home via streaming through HBO Max. 
   We chose to stream this time and were relatively surprised at the quality, especially since our internet service provider is less than ideal. 
   Overall, I enjoyed the movie for its over-indulgence of 1980s American life, but the storyline was subpar and villain CGI left a lot to be desired. 

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