Columns/Opinions

Thu
21
Feb

Patience is one of most important tools you have in uncertain times ahead

   Another holiday-shortened week and another week of gains which now has pushed the consecutive streak to eight weeks. 
   Of interest last week was the news that retail sales dropped in January by over 1 percent instead of gaining ground. 
   This provided some with proof that the economy is slowing. While I think we can come to grips with that logic, the important element is to determine the degree to which the economy is slowing. 
   Some would argue that this is just the first sign that we are headed to a recession. 
   The fact that we will certainly get to a recession, if for no other reason than the last one was 10 years ago, but when it happens is the essence of the story. 
   Others are speculating that we will slow down this year to a GDP rate of just above 2 percent. 
   You can find an explanation to fit almost any postulation. 
   All of this of course impacts your investments and I am not limiting that to just stocks.

Thu
21
Feb

Market Outlook for 2019: Uncertainty is certain

   As you know, 2018 was a down year for the financial markets. 
   What will 2019 bring? And, just as importantly, what moves will you make?
   Some of the same issues that we saw in 2018, such as concern over tariffs and trade disputes, are still around. 
   Yet, the U.S. economy does not seem to be heading into recession – and a recession is usually a key ingredient for an extended bear market.
   However, you should still be ready for choppy markets in 2019. 
   The more prepared you are, the less upset you’ll be when turbulence hits.
   Your next move: Stay diversified. 
   Owning a variety of investments can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio, even though diversification can’t protect against all losses.
   One more suggestion: Try to overlook the headlines announcing big drops in the stock market. 

Thu
21
Feb

"The Lord will never leave you - whether the big stuff, or little things" by: Betsy Monico

    I strongly suspect we all have a public and a somewhat private life. 
   Our public life comprises of how we behave when we work, attend events around town, and run errands. 
   Privately too, we all have our own dislikes, likes, hobbies, and things that nobody has a clue about or really cares about.
   For example, I love sunshine. It makes me smile. 
   It surprises me that I lived in England for nine months. It is gray – much like Seattle. 
   I walked to and from school. My afternoon cup of hot tea was the best. 
   I missed my Texas sunshine, but enjoyed being fully submerged in another culture and scurrying around London. 
   I also love purple martins. A few scouts showed up this week. I talked to them. I am a full-blown “bird nerd.” 
   Nobody may care, but it fits where I am going with my column this week. 
   Likewise, only a few people know that I am not a fan of my birthday. It was last week. I turned 46. 

Thu
21
Feb

"Reel Reviews: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ leaves an opening for a sequel" by: Jessica Shepard

   Alita: Battle Angel is an American cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. 
   It was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis, and produced by Cameron and Jon Landau. 
   Rosa Salazar stars as Alita, a cyborg, with supporting roles portrayed by Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson.
   In the year 2563, a catastrophic war known as “The Fall” has left the Earth devastated. 
   While scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City, cyborg scientist Dr. Dyson Ido (Waltz) discovers a disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain. 
   Ido rebuilds the cyborg, who does not have any recollections of her past, and names her “Alita” after his deceased daughter.
   Alita (Salazar) befriends Hugo (Johnson), who dreams of moving to the wealthy sky city of Zalem. 

Thu
14
Feb

"Council agenda poses interesting questions" by: Mike Reddell

    Interesting item on city council’s workshop agenda Thursday. 
   Mayor Mark Bricker wants a discussion on “an elected officials governance policy that outlines the roles and duties of elected officials to maintain a respectful and effective government.” 
   That seems an odd play given the mayor is fresh from bruising battles over the Bay City Housing Authority (BCHA), his veto of May’s charter revision election and his unpopular decision to place the Olympian Joe Deloach statue downtown. 
   Last week, he lost a round in district court here in trying to oust three BCHA commissioners and council overrode his Jan. 29 election veto. 
   His actions left turmoil in their wake and seem contrary to “a respectful and effective government.” 
   I’m wondering if council members are to quietly listen to a lecture from a mayor whose past actions have fomented discord. 

Thu
14
Feb

"Not enough patience to be tech support or to deal with it" by: Jessica Shepard

   Among my many other duties for the paper, I’m also first-line defense in tech support. 
   Lately, due to outages or work on our phone and internet line, I’ve been dealing with customer support over the phone. 
   Let me tell you if there was ever a job I’d never want to have – that’d be it. 
   I’ve worked fast food, grocery, and private customer service jobs and there’s nothing worse than maintaining a long phone call with someone who is in need when technology fails them. 
   Now, granted, I only call for support after I’ve exhausted my own avenues and abilities. 
   It also cuts down on the time I’m spent on the phone. 
   Well, usually it does; that was not the case Tuesday. 
   The basic tech support tenets about unplugging and re-plugging something in or turning it off then on again just sort of went out the window. 

Thu
14
Feb

"Keeping spending lower than income " by: John Sample

   We made it through another week with the various indexes climbing for the seventh-straight week.  
   The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is up over 8 percent for the year.  
   Does this remind you of last year? We had a great January followed by a pullback in February that took until October to recover.  
   I am not postulating that we will repeat last year’s movements, but be aware that the markets’ price-to-earnings multiple is back pushing 16. That is not a value level by any means of measure.  
   I still contend that no recession is on the horizon for this year and possibly next. My reasoning is that the Federal Reserve is taking time off from raising rates.  
   It appears that we will get a budget resolution so that the government will not be shut down.  
   Moreover, trade talk negotiations will continue with China, avoiding the 25 percent tariffs.  

Thu
14
Feb

Your financial advisor can do some ‘life coaching’

   Life coaches seek to improve the quality of life of their clients.  
   And financial professionals do the same thing, from an investment perspective.  
   So, what tips from life coaches might you also get from your financial advisor? 
   For starters, both life coaches and financial advisors recommend creating a plan. 
    A financial advisor will look at many elements – including your age, income, family responsibilities and desired retirement lifestyle – to create a long-term investment strategy. 
   Also, a financial advisor, like a life coach, will help you identify and prioritize your goals.  
   You might be encouraged, for instance, to devote more resources toward a comfortable retirement than to a secondary goal, such as a vacation home. 
   Here’s one more skill shared by life coaches and financial advisors: helping you move beyond your comfort zone.  

Thu
14
Feb

"We have important roles in God’s kingdom; ask the Lord what your job is" by: Betsy Monico

   “This is my story, this is my song” is one of my favorite lyrics from the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” 
   I have mentioned it before, probably once a year, since I started this journey of writing a column. 
   It takes me back to Caney Baptist with my Pappaw, and also the fact that I believe we all have a story, a song, a purpose. 
   My story began in Fairfield, back in 1973. More importantly though – it really started when I discovered that God had plans for me. 
   It would be more of a “hook” to say my assignment on earth was still some unknown mystery.  However, I vividly recall when I discovered why God put me here. I am a “kid” person. Don’t get me wrong, I love adults. 
   I visited with one girlfriend on the road last night for over an hour. The random, adult conversations that take place daily in my library keep me going. We laugh and cry on nearly a daily basis. 

Thu
14
Feb

"5 simple things to make this Valentine’s Day special" by: Caleb Gibson

   Here are five things every single guy/girl can do during Valentine’s Day:
Give
   Instead of sitting on that $50 you would have spent on that fancy dinner, give to your local Church or Non-Profit. 
   This will cause your heart to be filled with joy. I know my heart feels better after I do. 
   Volunteer your time and put it to good use. 
   Others will see that and be encouraged. 
   Take time to go and give something to your Grandmother or Mother. 
   Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” 
Laugh
   It can be easy to get all emotional on Valentine’s Day. Instead turn that emotion into a smile. 
   Watch a Comedy show. 
   Take a laugh at the idea of how little this day really matters. 
   I mean it’s not like you weren’t single the day before, right? 
   Yes, this day is marketed very well but just find the humor in it. 
   Life is not meant to be so serious. 

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