Columns/Opinions

Thu
01
Aug

How Does Social Security fit into your retirement income strategy?

   August 14 is Social Security Day. 
   Since it was enacted on Aug. 14, 1935, Social Security has helped millions of Americans retire with some financial support. 
   How can you best use Social Security as part of your retirement income strategy?
   For starters, think about timing. 
   You can begin collecting Social Security as early as 62, but your benefits will increase if you wait until your full retirement age, at 66 or 67. 
   And you’ll get even larger payments if you wait until 70.
   Also, be aware that Social Security will probably only replace slightly more than a third of your pre-retirement income. 
   So, while you’re working, contribute as much as you can afford to your employer-sponsored retirement plan and IRA.
   Finally, keep in mind that all Social Security filing strategies should be based on your specific needs and health considerations. 

Thu
01
Aug

"Whether you’re in a season of rest or unrest, God is with you" by: Betsy Monico

My youngest is here tonight with her best friend. 
   We looked back at pictures from four years ago of our first, dual family vacation to St. Pete’s Beach. 
   The baby of the group was really a baby. Her little bikini resembled more of a tutu than a bathing suit. It was lavender, tiny, childlike, and just precious. 
   This year she will enter seventh grade! I reminded the girls that time is fleeting; therefore, we better make the most of every single day and never take anything for granted. 
   Life is a gift! Our four years of vacations together were a gift as well. We split up this year for several reasons.  
   I vividly remember some of my summer trips too whenever I was their age. 
   We did the river with another family, visited Salado, and stayed at the Stagecoach Inn. 
   There are details of those vacations I will never forget, yet I may forget to get milk or toilet paper tomorrow at the store. 

Thu
01
Aug

"If we are excited about life’s little things, then we should celebrate Jesus’ victory" by: Caleb Gibson

   This past weekend, our church teamed up with Discover Life Church and churches around us to help put on an event called LIT Fest. 
   The word LIT is an acronym which means Leaders In Training and it is a free three-day event for junior high and high school students. 
   During this event, we get to be a part of a team where we play volleyball, basketball, obstacle courses, water balloon fights, and stuff like that. 
   When my team went to play volleyball, we lost the first match.  
   I really wanted to win the second match. 
   We were neck and neck and finally won the match, I was so excited and happy to win just one game. 
   I was celebrating, jumping, and high fiving!  
   Yet that was really a small victory compared to most things. 
   How important is a volleyball match in the grand scheme of life? 

Thu
01
Aug

"Reel Reviews: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ a disappointment from Tarantino" by: Jessica Shepard

   ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a 2019 comedy-drama film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
   The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, co-starring Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Rafal Zawierucha, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, and Al Pacino.
   The film is set in 1969 Los Angeles where a fictional aging television actor and his stunt double and longtime friend navigate the changing Hollywood film industry.
   It also features a large ensemble cast who star in “multiple storylines in a modern fairy tale tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.”
   Or, at least, that’s what it totes itself as being.
   Personally, I’m usually an avid fan of Tarantino’s movies but this one woefully falls short for me.

Thu
25
Jul

"Council should keep discussions on city manager in the open" by: Mike Reddell

   Y’all know I don’t ever think highly of executive sessions, or more appropriately, elected officials talking behind closed doors.
   As always, I’m under no illusion that carping about tax-supported government discussions in private achieves any notable change.
   So, I’ve decided to call out incredible examples of secrecy.
   And, for starters, city council outdid itself at its July 11 meeting.
   Amid the transition from the old to the new city manager system, council’s meeting agenda include two open session items on timelines on plans for the interim city manager hiring and the mayor’s compensation and for hiring a permanent city manager.
   But that’s not what city council did. Instead, it pulled both of those agenda items behind closed doors – to be discussed along with three other items that were listed for executive session. 

Thu
25
Jul

"97 days until Halloween; daylight savings time robbery " by: Jessica Shepard

   That’s right, there’s just over three months until Halloween hits.
   I’m already scoping out new decorations online and trying to plan out my costume this year.
   Not to mention, since it actually falls on a Thursday this year, I get to take a few liberties with my column when the time comes.
   Well, maybe – I’ve still got to run everything by Mike, so, it might not be as fun as I hope.
   Honestly, I blame a lot of this preliminary excitement on retailers like Target, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby because they’ve already started putting out Halloween decorations and teasing trends online.
   Plus, mom got an email from catalog retailer Oriental Trading Company this week and they’re advertising party items, decorations, candy and more.
   I mean, I don’t – need – a life-sized poseable mermaid skeleton or a dummy to dress up, but, it’s still cool to think about buying it and all the fun I could have dressing it up or displaying it.

Thu
25
Jul

"We can’t keep going down the path of gathering more debt" by: John Sample

   A big week for earnings reports that have proved positive keep the equities markets moving north. 
   It certainly doesn’t hurt that most expect the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, while the Executive Branch and Congress came up with a deal to extend the debt ceiling for two years. 
   With the 10-year Treasury holding at 2.05% and crude prices in the mid-$50 range, there just isn’t much in the economy to stall this market. 
   That seems to be ignored amid an almost a daily onslaught of political news and foreign unrest.
   Maybe, in fact, all the traders have moved up the coast to Long Island and are reading a good book.
   I would like to point out that Coke, United Technologies and Lockheed Martin reported better than expected earnings. 
   This follow up on big tech Microsoft beating expectations last week. 
   The next thing you know, the second-quarter GDP will come in higher than expected.

Thu
25
Jul

Don’t chase last year’s mutual fund category winners

   The world of mutual funds can be confusing.
   With more than 9,000 funds on the market, how can you choose the ones that are right for you?
   You could start by considering the various categories of mutual funds: Small Cap Growth, Large Cap Growth, Large Cap Value and many more.
   You might think you should consider the best-performing category.
   But things change rapidly in the mutual fund world – last year’s top category could become one of the worst-performing this year, and vice versa.
   Instead of trying to chase performance, look for a mix of funds across a range of categories that reflect your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.
   Mutual funds are popular, and for good reason.
   Because each fund generally contains dozens of securities, you can get more diversification than you typically would from individual stocks or bonds.

Thu
25
Jul

"Don’t save the best for last or tomorrow: Tomorrow may never come" by: Betsy Monico

   In life and especially at my age, we usually have regular, particularly predictable days.  
   Not so often, we also have days and events that prove to be total “Game Changers.”  
   When my first child began driving and could help me with errands and our daily trips to town…I thought “Game Changer!”  
   For my women readers, the first time I visited the Maddox Shop in Dallas, I thought…Game Changer! This weekend I also thought the same.  
   I got my first weed-eater that I can actually operate on my own.  
   Since Amazon delivered it – I have tidied up my parents’ yard and even helped my husband here with some of the fence rows.  
   It is just amazing! My next acquisition will most likely be a battery powered blower.  
   I often brag on my arm strength, but totally give up when it comes to “pulling” a gas operated machine into action.  
   I remember another time that this happened.  

Thu
25
Jul

"Just as God had a purpose for Jonah to save Ninevah, we also have a purpose" by: Caleb Gibson

   The story of Jonah stands as one of the most memorable stories in the Bible.  
   God called Moses to go and set the people free from Egypt.  
   God called Noah and told him to build the ark.  
   Like many people in the Bible, God called Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh.  
   This calling was important because if that city continued to do evil, they would be destroyed. 
   Now Jonah’s story starts off a little different than the stories of most men of God.  
   Instead of being like Moses and Noah and immediately obeying the voice of God, Jonah fled to the opposite direction.  
   Now the city of Nineveh was not like Jonah’s home town.  
   Many horror stories had been told of the people of Nineveh, and Jonah was not interested in being a part of any future ones.  

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