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Miscellaneous

Did You Know?

Did you know that the three major US stock indices are all positive for the year?

According to CNNMoney.com, as of last Friday (June 12)

  • The DOW ended the week up for the year, albeit slightly, at +.26 percent
  • The S & P 500 has been in positive territory since early May and now stands at a gain of 4.76 percent for the year
  • While the NASDAQ moved to the plus side the beginning of April and is now at a whopping +17:87 percent year-to-date.

Although there is still a great deal of ground to make up, it is encouraging to see growth for the year from all three. Investments are beginning to rebound and positive signs abound.

Yet it is hard to pick this up from the mainstream media, which is mired in the swamp of doom and gloom, focused on negativity and pessimism.

As for me, I am full of optimism and expectations. Will you join me?

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

Another Sign That the Economy is Beginning it’s Recovery

Yesterday I posited that an increase in blog readership might be indicative of increase consumer confidence and a sign that the long awaited economic recovery is underway. There are, of course, no hard facts behind that assertion. However, I have another parallel observation that is quantifiable.

Many of my websites, including this blog, include Goggle ads.  Although I don’t make a lot of money from the Google ads, it is generally enough to cover the cost of the sites and to maintain them.

(The ads are from companies who agree to pay a certain fee each time someone clicks on their ad. The content of the ads are matched with the content of each page on my websites, with the highest paying ads automatically displayed. Some people think that I control which ads are displayed—that is not the case; Google controls the entire process, sending me a small check each month for my portion of the clicks.)

I was pleasantly surprised when I analyzed my report from Google for March.  All other things being equal, here is what I found:

  • The number of times the ads were viewed increased 7 percent, meaning that more people are visiting my sites.
  • The number of times ads were clicked on, increased 16 percent, suggesting that people are now having a greater propensity to click on an ad; that is they are more willing to consider buying a product or a service.
  • The amount of money I earned increased 30 percent, meaning that advertisers are willing to pay more for each click this month than in past months.

Since advertisers are willing to pay more when people respond to their ads, this suggests that these advertisers are now more optimistic about their future economic prospects.

Again, this is a microcosmic observation, producing somewhat empirical conclusions, but when you’re looking for signs of economic recovery, I’ll take good news wherever I can find it.

(read more)

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Miscellaneous

The Real Question About the Economic Crisis

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

At the World Economic Forum, Jim Wallis suggested that wondering when the global economic crisis would be over is the wrong question to ask—even though it is the one foremost on our minds.

He posited that the real query should be, “How will this crisis change us?” After all, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. Drawing parallels between the years preceding the Great Depression and the past few, he offered that we have indeed repeated history. Here then is how I suggest we must change:

  • Learn to be happy with less. Virtually everyone in the US is better off then half of the world’s population.
  • Don’t spend what we don’t have.  Satisfying today’s urges with tomorrow’s income is courting disaster.
  • Plan for the future. That includes having an emergency fund and a retirement plan.
  • Whenever possible, avoid debt. When that is not possible, pay off debt as quickly as possible.
  • Charge cards are intended to be a convenience when making purchases, not a means to buy when we have no money. The first month that the balance can’t be paid in full is an indication of living beyond one’s means—cancel the card and don’t apply for any more.
  • Shun greed.  

In essence, greed got us here in the first place. I hear a chorus of readers concurring, “Yes, corporate greed caused this mess to happen.”  Wait a minute; let’s not blame corporations. Although corporations are legal entities, they cannot think and act on their own accord. It is people who control corporations; many of them are greedy. The stockholders who own stock in the corporations seek higher returns on their investments; they are sometimes greedy. The people with 401ks, IRAs, money market accounts, CDs, and any interest bearing investment want to make as much as they can; they are partly to blame as well. On and on it goes. Virtually everyone, in one way or another, is culpable for the mess we are in—we have an insatiable desire for more.

As my first bullet point suggests, let’s instead seek to be more happy with a bit less. And we’ll all be better off.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is publisher, editor, author, and blogger with 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for tips and insights.

Categories
Miscellaneous

Changing Property Values in a Bad Economy

We’ve been hearing nothing but bad economic news for the past several months.

The stock market is tanking, with folks losing huge portions of their retirement accounts. People are being evicted from their homes as banks foreclose on properties in record numbers. Even renters who pay on time every month can be pinched when their overextended landlords lose their rental properties. This puts downward pressure on real estate values, with bargain hunters (who have cash) snapping up deals. Just yesterday, I heard of businesspeople in China looking to buy homes in the US because of their relative affordability.

With my retirement funds suffering the same plummeting fate as everybody else, I expected to learn similar bad news on the value of my home. Curiously, the assessed value of my home—according to local authorities—did not go down in 2008; it did not stay the same; it went up 4.6 percent. Say what?

There are two possible conclusions that I can make. The first is that the media has overstated the situation and my home really has increased in value. The other consideration is that, since my taxes are based on my assessed value, the township is seeking to increase revenue.

I’m not sure which scenario bothers me more: errant journalism or tax-hungry government officials. What I do know is that I’ll being paying more in property taxes in 2009.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Miscellaneous

GM Falls From Their Pinnacle

For 77 years, General Motors (GM) has been the world’s largest auto manufacturer. That reign has ended with Toyota assuming the number one spot. Ironically, Toyota usurped GM with their sales falling 4 percent (9 million vehicles sold); GM’s drop, however, was a larger at 11 percent (8.4 million).

Amazingly, since 1999, Toyota’s sales have increased 70 percent, largely because of demand for fuel-efficient cars. This is all bittersweet for Toyota as they are forecasting their first operating loss in 71 years. (GM, however, is begging for a bailout.)

Interestingly, GM took the top spot from Ford in 1931 in midst of the great depression. Now, in the throes of another economic downturn, they are passing the crown unto another.

In hard economic times, there are winners and losers. Those businesses that manage and position themselves well are likely to come out ahead, whereas those who enter a downturn in an already weakened condition, do not fair so well.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.