Formula for life

If you’re looking for a quick list of ways to improve your physical and mental health, you could do worse than follow a list compiled by Bala Afshar, author of The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, who works as “chief digital evangelist” for the Salesforce CRM organization.

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Senate Tax Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its proposed tax “reform” bill last month, and now the Senate has followed suit.  Interestingly, the two bills are different enough that the two sides are going to have to meet and hammer out a compromise.

Here’s a quick glance at the provisions in the Senate bill and some of the differences.

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Bitcoin Bubble?

It is probably not a good sign for an investment when its largest clearing firm takes out an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal asking for more regulatory oversight and warning investors that its investment category is so volatile that futures contracts could create devastating losses.  Yet this is exactly what has happened recently when Interactive Brokers, the clearing firm for the bitcoin cryptocurrency, responded to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s plans to start listing bitcoin futures.

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Ancient Adult Beverages

People have been drinking alcoholic beverages for a very long time.  Recently, a team of researchers found evidence of large-scale wine making in 6,000 BC—in clay vats big enough to hold 400 bottles of wine, in the Caucasus mountains in the modern nation of Georgia.  The grapes came from vitis vinifera, the only grapevine species known to have been domesticated, and the grandparent of all 8,000-10,000 modern wine-making grape species.

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’Tis the Season

The period between Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season would seen like a sleepy time for financial planners, but in fact it is anything but.  You might be surprised at how much activity takes place on behalf of you and your investments in the final month of the year.

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“Bearing” in Mind

One of the oddities of a significant bull market—and this one we’re in today qualifies, as the second-longest in modern American history—is that they tend to go on longer than you might expect from the pure market fundamentals.  The last leg of a bull market tends to be driven by psychology; people have recently experienced an up market, and so they tend to expect more of the same.  They buy at prices they would never consider buying at when the markets have experienced a downturn, driving prices ever higher without regard to the price.  As a result, the long tail of the bull market will also see some of the greatest, fastest increases.

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The Antisocial Side of Social Media

Have you ever wondered whether social media was having a positive or negative impact on our mental well-being?  The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a warning about the negative effects of social media on young kids and teens, and of course it mentions cyber-bullying.  But it notes that the same risks may be true for adults.  The key issues include:

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An Independent Fiduciary

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