Columns/Opinions

Thu
29
Nov

"Risky business when nothing stays the same" by: John Sample

   Another week of pain in spite of the holiday.  
   At least this week started with a move up - the largest single-day move north in over a month.  
   All of this comes with another Federal Reserve rate hike facing the markets next month.  
   There is talk now that maybe the Fed feels it is at the more neutral area where next year the number of rate hikes may be less than predicted.  
   I for one think there is much more reality to this theory than some would acknowledge.  
   The economy will average just over 3 percent for 2018 but will be below that percentage in 2019. While not great, it is much higher than what we experienced for most of the 10 years of the recovery since 2008. 
   Some point out how successful retail sales were last weekend into Cyber Monday to indicate that growth will continue.  
   I would counter at the same time GM announced that it will close five plants between the U.S. and Canada.  

Thu
29
Nov

Take advantage of tax diversification

   As an investor, you’ve probably heard about the importance of diversification.  
   By owning a mix of investments, you have more opportunities for success, and you can help reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio.  
   But you might not have realized the benefits of tax diversification in your investment accounts. 
   Specifically, you could help yourself by owning investment accounts in three tax categories: tax-deferred, taxable and tax-free. 
   Tax-deferred accounts include the traditional IRA and 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plans.  
   When you invest in tax-deferred vehicles, your money can grow faster than if it were placed in an investment on which you paid taxes every year. 
   Taxable investments are those held in a standard brokerage account, outside your IRA or 401(k). 

Thu
29
Nov

"Start rest of life with delighting yourself in the Lord" by: Betsy Monico

   This is the last afternoon of our wonderful Thanksgiving break at home. 
   Actually, that is a lie. Every minute of life here is not wonderful!  
   I cannot say we really fight, but we spat, stress each other out, and sometimes spontaneously leave the room to escape to find our own peace. 
   Even with the ups and downs that come naturally with family dynamics, I have enjoyed my time at home. Thankfully too, our house is decorated for Christmas. 
   My laundry is nearly finished, and we have leftovers in the fridge to get us by until Wednesday. I like being here to casually entertain whoever shows up. 
   I stress the word casually, because nothing here is fancy. My expectations of “home” sure have changed over the years. 
   When we only had two kids and lived in Dallas, I was a slave to my home. I still am, but in a very different way. 

Thu
29
Nov

"Have a more effective faith by acknowledging what God has done" by: Caleb Gibson

   There are many ways to save.
   You can shop for things that are on sale. 
   This past Friday we saw many people trying to save money by buying things. 
   Another way is by saving. Simply take your spare money and save it. 
   Proverbs 13:11 says, “…whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.” 
   In the same way, we all have a memory bank. The more we acknowledge God’s goodness, the more productive our faith will become.
   Paul told Philemon, “that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6) (NKJV). 
   Live in daily thanksgiving towards God for saving, redeeming, forgiving, and loving us.
   In Christ, we have access to the father. Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” 

Thu
29
Nov

"Reel Reviews: ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ perfect for family movie night" by: Jessica Shepard

   Did you know that “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is the first feature-length theatrical sequel from Walt Disney Animation Studios since Fantasia 2000, which was a sequel to the 1940 animated film Fantasia? 
   Ralph Breaks the Internet debuted as the No. 1 film over Thanksgiving weekend and earned over $127 million. 
   It’s also definitely a family-centered film and rated PG for some action and rude humor. 
   As usual with Disney flicks, there’s a handful of vaguely adult-aged jokes and gags, but, largely this is a children’s film. 
   It also features John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and Ed O’Neill reprising their roles from the first film, with Alan Tudyk returning to voice a new character, alongside new additions to the cast including Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Bill Hader (in an uncredited role), and Alfred Molina. 

Wed
21
Nov

"Christmas season offers a wide array of events beginning Friday" by: Shelly Story

   Though many of you have yet to consume the Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas season is in full swing in Bay City and Matagorda County.
   The downtown merchants started things off with Christmas Around the Square last week. 
   If you missed it, don’t despair. 
   There are still plenty of great shopping and fun opportunities.
   The Friday after Thanksgiving is a day shoppers flood the stores vying for Christmas gifts at special prices. 
   But the next day, Small Business Saturday, is even better. 
   Locally operated and owned shops offer unique gifts that can’t be found elsewhere and a more relaxing and enjoyable shopping experience. 
   It is the perfect time to head to downtown Bay City and support our small businesses.

Wed
21
Nov

"Holiday events around house turn non-traditional" by: Jessica Shepard

   Well, the good news from last weekend is that we got one of our Christmas trees up and decorated.
   The only downside was that we had to restring a few sections of lights.
   And by ‘we,’ I mean mom did.
   Mostly because she’s got long, slender arms and hands.
   I always end up looking like I lost a fight with a garbage disposal when I try to help.
   Artificial tree or real, my hands end up scratched, sore and a little bit traumatized.
   Other than that, everything panned out as planned.
   We’re debating on the kitchen tree making an appearance and if the rain stays away, we might even put up some lights outside.
   It’s just a break from the annual traditions where we put the tree up on Thanksgiving.
   Which means having it done now is throwing me off my groove a little bit.
   It all depends on how things go from here on out.

Wed
21
Nov

"Don’t let the stock market anxieties give you indigestion" by: John Sample

   We have moved into the holiday season for sure, though many assume Halloween is the kickoff date. 
   I am amused that Wal-Mart started putting out Christmas decorations just about the time I renewed my hunting license for the first day of dove season in September. 
   With this week holiday shortened for Thanksgiving, one might assume that things would be calm, but that is far from the fact. 
   Last week, the Dow gave back more than 500 points and the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index moved toward dropping below 2700. 
   Then you get this week off to a terrible start with the Dow giving up almost as much in one day as we did all last week. 
   The 2700 barrier proved to be nothing as the S&P 500 moved south of that quickly. 

Wed
21
Nov

Questions to ask when considering an annuity

   When you retire, you don’t want to worry about running out of money. 
   And that’s why you should consider every available source of income. 
   One such source might be a fixed annuity – but is it right for you?
   A fixed annuity can potentially provide you with a lifetime income stream. 
   Still, you always have other choices. So, ask yourself some questions:
   First, is your other income from Social Security and pensions enough to meet your retirement expenses? 
   If not, consider an annuity.
   Second question: How much of your retirement funds should go into an annuity? 
   An annuity should only make up a certain percentage of your portfolio, along with stocks and bonds. 
   This investment mix should be based on your age, risk tolerance and other factors.
   Third question: What issues should you explore with a financial professional? 

Wed
21
Nov

"We have only 1 chance to love God with all of our heart" by: Betsy Monico

   A long chapter of my life has officially come to an end. It is the chapter affectionately titled “Driving a Suburban.” 
   When I had my first child, I traded in my Grandmother’s hand me down Ford Explorer and got my first Suburban. 
    My original one was white. I put a single car seat in it, smiled big, and took off.  I followed up with red, but always felt like I was driving a fire truck. 
   Next, I went with white again and filled it up with kids and car seats immediately. 
   When that one was worn slap out, I went with a 2012 white one again. 
   Purchasing a Suburban proved to be more challenging each time. The price increased and each model was fancier. I refused to ever buy one with a television. 
   Back in the old days before cell phones ransacked my family, we talked in the car. 
   Some of my fondest memories with my crew will always be from our local and not so local journeys in our Suburbans. 

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