M/A/R/C Research
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Archive for the 'Economy' Category

Time for a Quick Quiz About Your Taxes!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

April 15 is about a month away. As all of us know it is an important day because it is the deadline to file your tax return. I must admit, since I usually have to pay I always send in my taxes a few days before the 15th.

Time for a quick quiz about your taxes…but nothing too personal!

Click Here to Take The Quiz.

I look forward to reading your comments.

A Quick Quiz About…Money!

Monday, December 1st, 2014

By the sound of this post you may think the subject is about money…well, it is, but probably not exactly how you thought. The subject is: other people’s money! I was reading an MSN story a few weeks ago and it was discussing the net worth of a number of famous people. I did a little extra homework and developed this fun & quick quiz.

As always, the quiz will be timed so no need to get any help from friends or the internet. The answers will be posted in a few weeks.

PS: All answers are based on net worth from earlier in 2014.

Click Here to Take The Quiz.

What Would You Do if You Had $5,000 to Invest?

Monday, July 28th, 2014

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a friend of mine (R.P.) who wanted to know my opinion on investing $5,000 long term. She and her husband were thinking about investing in a mutual fund that didn’t have big fees and let it sit for 10 years to see what happens.

Based on her answers to a few other questions, I think they are better off investing in a stable stock for a company like Ford or General Electric that we all know will be around for years to come and probably grow 15% on an annual basis.

What advice would you give?

  • Mutual Fund?
  • Individual Stock?
  • Something Else?

I look forward to reading your comments!

Trust Me, Keep an Eye on your Credit Card Statements

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

It was supposed to be a normal Saturday morning; I would get up early, water the plants and do a little landscaping. After responding to a few emails, I decided to review my American Express Account online. As I was reviewing my charges I noticed that according to my online transaction record, I had eaten at Subway and a Chinese restaurant and filled up my gas tank earlier that week…nothing out of the ordinary, really….except that I had done all of those things in Florida. Since I am not a magician, nor can I appear in multiple states at the same time, this wasn’t possible because I had been in Dallas all week (which my other charges on that card from the week could easily prove).

This was quickly resolved by a quick call to American Express (who couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful) and I quickly received a new card. Strangely, this is the second time this has happened to me in the past year.

I have heard many stories that are a lot worse than this one, but with identity and credit theft on the rise we all need to be paying more attention.

  • Do you have any best practices that can prevent this from happening?
  • Have you had your credit card stolen in the past year?
  • Was the situation resolved quickly?

I look forward to reading your comments!

How is Your 401K Doing This Year?

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

As you are reading this, 2014 is nearly halfway over. In our office, we have a friendly wager between 5 of us to see how our 401K is performing YTD. My range this year has fluctuated from -5.4 in February to 3.2% in March. Currently, I am at 1.52%. It’s fun to see the progression throughout the year and as of today, R.A. is the leader of our pack!

My question to you is:

  • How is your 401K doing this year?
  • How often do you look at your 401K?
  • How often do you make changes?

I look forward to reading your comments.

So, the Weather is Bad. Time to Shop!…Online!

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Over the past few years, it appears the weather has gotten craizer, with a much higher frequency of snow and sleet. To me, this seems like an opportunity for retailers to sell more. I’m not talking about selling more in-store…but online! If an area is going to be hit with bad weather, doesn’t that give retailers a reason to increase advertising and marketing about their online offers, even mentioning the bad weather and convenience of online shopping? I know you’re probably thinking, “How often are meteorologists actually right?” but let’s focus on the times when they are correct. The weather in Texas a few weeks ago was horrible. Rain was pounding and I kept checking my email looking for offers from Kohl’s, Nordstrom Rack, Charles Tyrwhitt, Joseph A. Bank and other retail stores that send me emails. Guess what?! I didn’t get a single one that mentioned bad weather or the convenience of online shopping in bad weather. This seems like a missed opportunity to me. Why not mention bad weather and offer 10% off, free shipping, or some other incentive in an email to your subscribers? If this had been an option for me a few weeks ago, I would have shopped and increased revenue for stores!

There are lots of things that just don’t make sense to me, and this is one of them. So, I ask you: If the weather is bad and driving might be frustrating or challenging why isn’t your inbox filled with offers from retailers?

Time To Place Your Bet…

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Last week I was reading the NY Daily News and noticed a very interesting line. For the first time ever I noticed a prop bet on a stock. Not just any stock, but Apple. The funny thing is I am very interested in this stock since I own a number of shares which I bought over 5 years ago based on the Blog Stock Challenge,

Here are the odds based on Apple’s stock price at the end of 2012:

 

450 or less…………………… 20-1
451-500……………………….. 15-1
501-550……………………….. 10-1
551-600……………………….. 8-1
601-650……………………….. 5-1
651-700……………………….. 3-1
701-750……………………….. 2-1
751 or more…………………. 3-2

 

BASED ON THE ODDS OF 3-2, the stock price will be over $751 at the end of this year.

Time to make your bet.

I look forward to reading what you think!

Have fun!

PS – This is a fake wager no money will transfer hands.

Is It Time For The President Of The USA To Get A Raise?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I was reading the Sunday newspaper a few weeks ago and I read Parade Magazine’s 30th annual article that highlighted what people earn. For the first time I can remember (maybe ever) listed in the report was President Barack Obama’s salary. At one point I remember either reading or hearing the President’s salary was $200,000 and at the time I didn’t give much thought. So when I read the article and it mentioned the President’s salary is now $400,000 I gave it a little more thought and my belief is that a raise and a big one is justified.

I was curious and wanted to see the history of the President’s salary, I thought I would share that with you:

Presidential pay history

Date established

Salary

Salary in 2009
dollars

September 24, 1789

$25,000

$566,000

March 3, 1873

$50,000

$865,000

March 4, 1909

$75,000

$1,714,000

January 19, 1949

$100,000

$906,000

January 20, 1969

$200,000

$1,175,000

January 20, 2001

$400,000

$487,000

I thought the chart was kind of interesting especially with the salary as it relates to 2009 dollars. It’s amazing to see that the current $400,000 salary in 2009 dollars is much less than it was 200+ years ago.

Also, I was amazed that there have only been five raises in the history of our great country.

When I started writing this blog there was a few topics I wanted to stay away from and at the top of the list was politics. I am hoping this doesn’t turn into a political debate but rather what makes sense for a salary of the President of The United States.

When I was thinking about this I didn’t care if the President was a Democrat, Republican, male, female, white, or African American, I really just wanted to think about what makes the most sense.

Isn’t this the most important position in this great country?

If it is the most important position, shouldn’t the salary be much higher?

To me, it should be $1,000,000 per year. I realize they get many benefits beyond their current salary but I believe the current salary is too low.  For comparison, Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, earns an annual salary of $2.46 million, over 6 times more than the President of the United States.

What do you think?

  • Before you read this posting did you know what the President’s salary is?
  • Do you think the position deserves a raise?
  • What do you think about the salary I am suggesting?

I look forward to reading your comments.

I say success is all about you and has nothing to do with the economy.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Yes, the economy was challenging in 2009, and the same in 2010, and still hard, unpredictable, and at times frustrating in 2011!

I say all of that doesn’t matter –don’t worry about the economy, worry about your company! There are some (perhaps not all) companies that did well!  If it was your company that didn’t do well, don’t blame it on the economy, or a certain industry segment that went flat, or the fact that 5 of your contacts at your clients changed jobs, or that you lost one of your biggest accounts.

I say NONE of that matters!  Too many times we hear stories from friends and industry contacts who say, “Well, the economy is really hurting us.”  Sometimes people can get lost and caught up in the economy – don’t let that happen to you and your company. All of us are paid to do a job and need to do it. The easy excuse is to blame a down year on the economy. I would rather blame a down year on things that we did that didn’t work out or strategies that may need a little more time to flourish.

  • Keep doing the things that will put your company in a position to be successful!
  • Evaluate what isn’t working and either tweak that strategy or get rid of it.
  • Ask your clients what other services you could offer that could help them.
  • Challenge your internal teams to find ways to be more efficient – you will be pleasantly surprised to see what creative ideas your team will suggest.

I say success in 2012 is all about you and not the economy!

  • What do you say?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Sorry Walgreens This Sales Promotion Doesn’t Work For Me!

Monday, June 7th, 2010

I was buying a Sunday Dallas Morning News newspaper last week in a Walgreens and I noticed a promotion they had that was displayed at the cash register. The item was a book that was selling for $21.99 or you could buy two for $43.98. Even though it was very early, I could still do the math and quickly figured out that there was NO discount for buying additional copies of the book. Quickly I thought — Are you kidding me! That’s the promotion you went with! That’s the impulse item you put next to the register. Even though I am not a retail guru I would think that the planners or store managers would use that sacred space for items that really move and frankly can make them a lot of money.

Instead they go with a promotion that to me isn’t even a promotion.

  • With the economy being the way it is doesn’t everyone want and almost need to get a deal?
     
  • Isn’t everyone looking to buy something on sale?

There are a number of promotions and deals that really can work. Lots of retail stores are doing:

  • buy one get one free
     
  • Pay full price for the first item and the second is a penny
     
  • Buy two suits and get a sport jacket for free

Retail stores are really getting creative these days.

  • What promotions do you like?
     
  • What promotions in your opinion don’t work or a total waste of time?
     
  • What retail store does the best job?

I look forward to reading your comments.