The Morrison County Record http://mcrecord.com Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Thu, 28 May 2015 14:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Excuses for Slow GDP Growth http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/28/excuses-for-slow-gdp-growth/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/28/excuses-for-slow-gdp-growth/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 14:00:40 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=e038f9a88b094a065272babd6903fcf5 The weather has done it again. For the second year in a row, officialdom blames bad winter weather for blah first-quarter economic growth. But this excuse doesn’t wash. Stimulus hasn’t worked.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in late April reported annualized growth of a piddling 0.2% for the first quarter of 2015. The culprit, of course, is not bad policy, but bad weather, if you believe the Federal Reserve Board.

Last year, the economy would have boomed during the first quarter, no doubt, if not for the “polar vortex.” But instead it shrunk by more than 2% (experts use the oxymoron “negative growth”). The same people who believe that will likely believe that the U.S. economy would have boomed during the first-quarter of 2015 if not for the dreadful winter.

The April reading was the BLS’s first take. Its next estimate for the first quarter GDP is due out tomorrow.

At least no one’s using the term “polar vortex” to describe the non-stop snowfall that hit much of America this past winter. And this year’s first-quarter growth is multiples better than last year’s first quarter mini-recession.

Winter may be over, but the economy remains cooled. The Fed is likely hoping for monsoons, tidal waves and earthquakes over the next few quarters to rationalize yet more non-growth in an economy that falls short of Fed projections. 

Per the chart below, the Fed has been overly optimistic about economic growth for each of the past four years – and that streak is likely to continue this year, given first-quarter performance.

Fed predictions for the future continue to be rose-colored, but not as rosy as they were previously, based on the Fed policy statement issued recently.

“Federal Reserve policy makers said some of the headwinds holding back the U.S. will probably fade and give way to ‘moderate’ growth,” Bloomberg reported. Maybe the Fed considers 0.3% annualized growth to be “moderate,” since it would be a 50% improvement over the first quarter.

Other factors cited as affecting economic growth include:

  • The strengthening dollar, which the end of quantitative easing (central bank bond buying) boosted here and the beginning of QE in other countries.
  • Lower oil prices, resulting in a slowdown in the energy sector – the one sector of the economy that has been thriving in recent years.
  • Dock worker strikes on the West Coast, which disrupted exports. Maybe the economy slowed down to demonstrate solidarity with the dock workers.

In its policy statement, the Fed said the slowdown was due, “in part” to “transitory factors.” So the economy has stumbled along, not even hitting 3% growth for nine years and we’re supposed to attribute the current economic state to transitory factors. When something is transitory, you expect it to change after a brief period. Our economic doldrums have been anything but transitory.

As The Wall Street Journal put it, “Transitory or not, growth sure was lousy.”

The Fed may have been referring to oil prices, which dropped to the point where the booming oil shale industry stopped booming. But even if oil prices return to higher levels (they edged up lately), the industry can’t just flip a switch and resume drilling.

And ironically, falling oil prices were the one bright spot for American consumers, giving them more disposable income and causing consumer spending to increase – although apparently not enough to boost economic growth.

It should be clear to anyone who is not a member of the Federal Open Market Committee that Fed policy is not working. The Fed’s twin mandate has been to maximize employment and stabilize prices, which for some reason it interprets as boosting the rate of inflation to 2%.

After trillions in bond buying and years of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), it has accomplished neither. Inflation in the U.S. has been minimal and is likely to stay that way, given that the dollar has strengthened considerably, making imports cheaper. Maybe the Fed should declare victory and move on, since cheaper prices, combined with increasing income (however tepid) finally should boost consumer spending.

And while the unemployment rate has dropped considerably, the drop is largely due to millions of Americans having given up looking for work.

“One reason the jobless rate has fallen to 5.5% is because so many people have left the workforce,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The labor participation rate has plunged to 1978 levels during this supposedly splendid expansion. Most economists acknowledge that if the participation rate had stayed constant, the jobless rate would still be close to 8%.”

When headwinds prevail, those who are steering the boat have two choices. They can continue to move full force into the headwinds and get nowhere – or they can change direction. Changing direction would be the wiser choice today.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The weather has done it again. For the second year in a row, officialdom blames bad winter weather for blah first-quarter economic growth. But this excuse doesn’t wash. Stimulus hasn’t worked.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in late April reported annualized growth of a piddling 0.2% for the first quarter of 2015. The culprit, of course, is not bad policy, but bad weather, if you believe the Federal Reserve Board.

Last year, the economy would have boomed during the first quarter, no doubt, if not for the “polar vortex.” But instead it shrunk by more than 2% (experts use the oxymoron “negative growth”). The same people who believe that will likely believe that the U.S. economy would have boomed during the first-quarter of 2015 if not for the dreadful winter.

The April reading was the BLS’s first take. Its next estimate for the first quarter GDP is due out tomorrow.

At least no one’s using the term “polar vortex” to describe the non-stop snowfall that hit much of America this past winter. And this year’s first-quarter growth is multiples better than last year’s first quarter mini-recession.

Winter may be over, but the economy remains cooled. The Fed is likely hoping for monsoons, tidal waves and earthquakes over the next few quarters to rationalize yet more non-growth in an economy that falls short of Fed projections. 

Per the chart below, the Fed has been overly optimistic about economic growth for each of the past four years – and that streak is likely to continue this year, given first-quarter performance.

Fed predictions for the future continue to be rose-colored, but not as rosy as they were previously, based on the Fed policy statement issued recently.

“Federal Reserve policy makers said some of the headwinds holding back the U.S. will probably fade and give way to ‘moderate’ growth,” Bloomberg reported. Maybe the Fed considers 0.3% annualized growth to be “moderate,” since it would be a 50% improvement over the first quarter.

Other factors cited as affecting economic growth include:

  • The strengthening dollar, which the end of quantitative easing (central bank bond buying) boosted here and the beginning of QE in other countries.
  • Lower oil prices, resulting in a slowdown in the energy sector – the one sector of the economy that has been thriving in recent years.
  • Dock worker strikes on the West Coast, which disrupted exports. Maybe the economy slowed down to demonstrate solidarity with the dock workers.

In its policy statement, the Fed said the slowdown was due, “in part” to “transitory factors.” So the economy has stumbled along, not even hitting 3% growth for nine years and we’re supposed to attribute the current economic state to transitory factors. When something is transitory, you expect it to change after a brief period. Our economic doldrums have been anything but transitory.

As The Wall Street Journal put it, “Transitory or not, growth sure was lousy.”

The Fed may have been referring to oil prices, which dropped to the point where the booming oil shale industry stopped booming. But even if oil prices return to higher levels (they edged up lately), the industry can’t just flip a switch and resume drilling.

And ironically, falling oil prices were the one bright spot for American consumers, giving them more disposable income and causing consumer spending to increase – although apparently not enough to boost economic growth.

It should be clear to anyone who is not a member of the Federal Open Market Committee that Fed policy is not working. The Fed’s twin mandate has been to maximize employment and stabilize prices, which for some reason it interprets as boosting the rate of inflation to 2%.

After trillions in bond buying and years of ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), it has accomplished neither. Inflation in the U.S. has been minimal and is likely to stay that way, given that the dollar has strengthened considerably, making imports cheaper. Maybe the Fed should declare victory and move on, since cheaper prices, combined with increasing income (however tepid) finally should boost consumer spending.

And while the unemployment rate has dropped considerably, the drop is largely due to millions of Americans having given up looking for work.

“One reason the jobless rate has fallen to 5.5% is because so many people have left the workforce,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The labor participation rate has plunged to 1978 levels during this supposedly splendid expansion. Most economists acknowledge that if the participation rate had stayed constant, the jobless rate would still be close to 8%.”

When headwinds prevail, those who are steering the boat have two choices. They can continue to move full force into the headwinds and get nowhere – or they can change direction. Changing direction would be the wiser choice today.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Brenda P. Wenning is president of Wenning Investments LLC in Newton, Mass. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Florence Greene http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/28/florence-greene/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/28/florence-greene/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 11:17:41 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576414 Florence    Greene

Florence Greene, 94 year old resident of Little Falls, passed away Saturday, May 23, 2015, at Highland Senior Living in Little Falls.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 28, at the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls, with Ruth Jeremiason-Jensen officiating. Burial will take place at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north in Little Falls. A visitation will be held from 10-11 A.M. on Thursday at the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls, MN. Florence was born June 15, 1920, in Burnhamville Township, Todd County, to the late Ernest and Winnie (Mortensen) Axel. She grew up in Pequot Lakes and Swanville, where she graduated from high school. Upon graduation Florence attended St. Cloud State Teachers College where she received her teaching degree. Florence taught for one year at a country school. She was united in marriage to Ray Greene, Jan. 25, 1943, in Swanville. They spent a short time in Bremerton, Wash., during the war, and later made their home in Little Falls. Florence was employed at J.C Penny in Little Falls for many years, but her main job was raising her children and caring for her family. She enjoyed knitting and making quilts. Florence also loved traveling and camping with her family and husband Ray. She will forever be remembered as a strong and wonderful mother and grandmother. Florence was a member of First Lutheran Church in Little Falls where she taught Sunday School for many years. She was greatly loved and will be dearly missed.
Florence is survived by son, Larry (Sally) Greene of Little Falls; daughter-in-law, Karen Greene of Glenwood; grandchildren, Paul Greene of Roseville, Rachael (Tim) Gallagher of Buffalo and Aaron Greene of St. Cloud; great-grandchildren, Charlotte Gallagher and Abraham Gallagher; a sister-in-law, Susie Greene of Little Falls; a brother-in-law, George Greene of Sonoma, Calif., and many nieces and nephews.
Florence was preceded in death by parents, Ernest and Winnie Axel; husband, Ray Greene; son, Dr. Michael Greene; and sisters, Gertrude Moe and Bernice Perry.

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Downton Abbey, Women and $ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/downton-abbey-women-and/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/downton-abbey-women-and/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 19:00:03 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=59b7a77a0b7295aecc17e330f41041a2 Women’s financial independence has come very far since the old days. Yet when it comes to managing money, women still lag far behind men. The silver lining is they know what they don’t know and when to seek help.

In the latest season of TV’s Downton Abbey, the women characters face financial issues with confusion. The cook gets an inheritance and doesn’t know what to do. She turns to the butler for advice, despite his inexperience. The wealthy women of the estate have difficulties in making financial decisions, too. One of them inherits a business but may be neglecting it because she is focused on motherhood.

While much has changed since the early 20th century when the show is set, women today still have a long way to go to in achieving financial literacy on par with men.

In “Lessons from Downton Abbey about women and money,” the PBS.org website outlines how women continue to fall behind men in money management confidence and in financial literacy, even though women of today are more likely to be college-educated.

The article cites studies that show women are less capable of answering basic financial questions. The 2009 National Financial Capability Study surveyed 1,500 Americans and asked them three questions about investing. Only 22% women get all of them right, compared with 38% of men. The gap exists in other industrialized counties.

Women are less confident in themselves, too. In the study, they were more likely to choose “I don’t know” as an answer. When researchers gave the same questions to Dutch respondents with the “I don’t know” choice removed, the women got more questions right. (But they still underperformed men.)

After controlling for factors such as age and education, the results persist. For example, young women with college degrees were still 13 percentage points less likely to answer those financial literacy questions correctly than were young college-educated men.

The article mentions what experts see as a glimmer of hope, which is women’s honesty about their lack of financial knowledge. They know what they do not know.

Just as the cook seeks the butler’s help, and the housekeeper suggests that she should ask a more experienced man outside of the insular world of the estate, the ability to recognize that they need more knowledge and perhaps some professional guidance is important.

An advisor can help women – and men, too, of course – make financial decisions, take a comprehensive look at their situation and get their financial house in order. No one wants to make the wrong decisions and end up with little at retirement. And yet, if women let confusion or fear keep them from planning, their finances will not be in good shape.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Claire Emory, CFP, CFA, RIA, owns and operates Clarity Financial Planning LLC in Arlington, Va.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Women’s financial independence has come very far since the old days. Yet when it comes to managing money, women still lag far behind men. The silver lining is they know what they don’t know and when to seek help.

In the latest season of TV’s Downton Abbey, the women characters face financial issues with confusion. The cook gets an inheritance and doesn’t know what to do. She turns to the butler for advice, despite his inexperience. The wealthy women of the estate have difficulties in making financial decisions, too. One of them inherits a business but may be neglecting it because she is focused on motherhood.

While much has changed since the early 20th century when the show is set, women today still have a long way to go to in achieving financial literacy on par with men.

In “Lessons from Downton Abbey about women and money,” the PBS.org website outlines how women continue to fall behind men in money management confidence and in financial literacy, even though women of today are more likely to be college-educated.

The article cites studies that show women are less capable of answering basic financial questions. The 2009 National Financial Capability Study surveyed 1,500 Americans and asked them three questions about investing. Only 22% women get all of them right, compared with 38% of men. The gap exists in other industrialized counties.

Women are less confident in themselves, too. In the study, they were more likely to choose “I don’t know” as an answer. When researchers gave the same questions to Dutch respondents with the “I don’t know” choice removed, the women got more questions right. (But they still underperformed men.)

After controlling for factors such as age and education, the results persist. For example, young women with college degrees were still 13 percentage points less likely to answer those financial literacy questions correctly than were young college-educated men.

The article mentions what experts see as a glimmer of hope, which is women’s honesty about their lack of financial knowledge. They know what they do not know.

Just as the cook seeks the butler’s help, and the housekeeper suggests that she should ask a more experienced man outside of the insular world of the estate, the ability to recognize that they need more knowledge and perhaps some professional guidance is important.

An advisor can help women – and men, too, of course – make financial decisions, take a comprehensive look at their situation and get their financial house in order. No one wants to make the wrong decisions and end up with little at retirement. And yet, if women let confusion or fear keep them from planning, their finances will not be in good shape.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Claire Emory, CFP, CFA, RIA, owns and operates Clarity Financial Planning LLC in Arlington, Va.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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4 Generations http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/4-generations-4/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/4-generations-4/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:03:58 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576406 4 Generations

Four generations of the Mueller family attended an Easter gathering at CentraCare Health in Long Prairie.
Pictured in the front row are, Hailey Cimenski, great-grandfather Kenneth Mueller holding Colten Cimenski, back row, grandmother Lori (Mueller) Yourczek, mother Melanie (Yourczek) Cimenski, Hannah Cimenski and Bethany Cimenski.

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Four Generation http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/four-generation/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/four-generation/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:03:51 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576403 Four Generation

Four generations of the Mueller family attended an Easter gathering at CentraCare Health in Long Prairie.
Pictured are Vincent Kenneth Yourczek, held by his great-grandfather Kenneth Mueller, grandmother Lori (Mueller) Yourczek and father, Joshua Yourczek.

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Charles Dave Cook http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/charles-dave-cook/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/charles-dave-cook/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:02:50 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576400 Charles Dave   Cook

Charles "Dave" Cook, 68-year-old resident of Little Falls, passed away Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at his residence.
A Memorial Service was Saturday, May 23, at Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Falls, with Chaplain Greg Valentine officiating.
Charles David Cook was born, Nov. 14, 1946, to Charles W. and Mildred (Wuelling) Cook in Little Falls. He attended school in Little Falls, graduating in 1963 and went on to earn a Bachelors and then a Masters Degree from St. Cloud State University. Dave worked for the State of Minnesota in various Workforce Center locations. He worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor until his retirement in 2010. In 2008, Dave returned to the Little Falls area, living in the original family home where he was raised. Dave had an intense love of music, although he could not play an instrument and sang "out of tune". He attended the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth regularly. Dave enjoyed photography, specializing in nature scenes and he kept a wild flower garden. He was interested in Native American Culture and collected numerous dreamcatchers. Dave particularly loved spending time with his grandchildren.
Dave is survived by his mother, Millie Cook of Little Falls; son, Chris Cook and his children, Mike and Emma, of Becker; daughter, Kelly (Mark) Kolbinger and their children, Kaitlin and Kia, of Becker; and very special friend, Kathy Cline of Owatonna.
Dave was preceded in death by his father, Charles "Chuck" Cook.

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LF resident injured after assault, shooting in Randall trailer park http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/lf-resident-injured-after-assault-shooting-in-randall-trailer-park/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/lf-resident-injured-after-assault-shooting-in-randall-trailer-park/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 17:38:55 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576392 38 year old Ryan Deters, of Little Falls, has been hospitalized following a shooting and assault in a Randall mobile home park at approximately 10:02 a.m., Tuesday, May 26, according to the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department.

Deters was allegedly hit with a wooden baseball bat by Kyle St. Martin-Smith, 25, of Randall, and struck in the left forearm by two pistol rounds fired by St. Martin-Smith. Deters was transported by Gold Cross Ambulance to St. Gabriel’s Hospital for treatment of injuries; the severity of the injuries are unknown.

No one else was injured, and St. Martin-Smith was taken into custody without incident after officers surrounded the residence, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The incident occurred while Deters was in the process of selling his truck to the St. Martin-Smith. Deters had allegedly been invited to the St. Martin-Smith’s residence, whereupon St. Martin-Smith began striking Deters with the bat and later pulled out a pistol and fired two rounds, injuring Deters.

Sheriff Shawn Larsen said that there is no danger to the public, as the shooting appears to be an isolated incident between two individuals who knew each other and that St. Martin-Smith is in custody.

Assisting the County Sheriff’s Department on the scene were the Randall Police Chief, the Little Falls Police Department and Gold Cross Ambulance. Reports have been filed with the County Attorney’s Office for formal charges against St. Martin-Smith. The investigation is ongoing.

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Delay Retiring? $$ Questions http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/delay-retiring-questions/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/delay-retiring-questions/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 17:30:04 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=4baa5ec545fc672c30493939744814ca If you’re fortunate enough to look forward to a company or state pension, retiring as soon as possible and collecting the benefit may tempt you, or you might want to collect Social Security benefits at the minimum age of 62. Before launching your golden years, consider all effects on delaying retirement and continuing to work.

First, two obvious points: Find out if you accrue extra pension benefits for extra years of service; regarding Social Security, your monthly benefits generally rise the closer you are to age 70 before you begin taking them.

For example, let’s say John becomes eligible to retire at 55 and receive a pension of $5,500 per month. If John waits until age 60 to retire, his pension increases to $7,500 per month, a considerable difference of $24,000 a year.

Recently, one of my clients asked which of the above I recommended. I asked what makes this person happiest. We then dove into possible scenarios and future goals.

After about an hour, this person – still young enough to re-enter the workforce and with the $7,500 coming in monthly – decided to delay retirement in exchange for the extra benefits.

The same can be done if you delay your Social Security benefit past normal retirement age. Postponing benefits to close to or past what the Social Security Administration terms your full retirement age (FRA) can increase your benefit as much as 8% per year.

For each month after age 62 that you delay applying, you increase the amount of your actual benefit. When you delay applying past your FRA (67 for anyone born after 1960), you increase your benefit above that point – a sum known as the primary insurance amount (PIA).

These increases are Delayed Retirement Credits. With DRCs, each month you delay ups your benefit two-thirds of 1%, making a total increase each year of 8% (a little less if you were born before 1943).

Essentially, delaying pension or the Social Security benefits increases your income floor. Think of your floor as a guaranteed stream of income that never decreases throughout the rest of your life no matter what happens to the economy, the stock market or any job you take while retired.

If you need approximately $5,000 monthly for expenses in retirement and you have a $3,000 income floor (between either or a combination of a pension or Social Security), you need only find another $2,000 per month from other sources such as employment or savings in a 401(k) or individual retirement account. You may also build your floor with payout from a longevity annuity, using some of your retirement savings for the insurer’s premium.

Putting off retirement is a big decision. Talk to a competent financial professional; look at your recent Social Security statement to see how much delaying might increase your benefit and, if you get a pension, talk to your human resources department to get estimates of your payouts.

Take your time and make the right decision. Neither retirement nor the work world will go anywhere until you say.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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If you’re fortunate enough to look forward to a company or state pension, retiring as soon as possible and collecting the benefit may tempt you, or you might want to collect Social Security benefits at the minimum age of 62. Before launching your golden years, consider all effects on delaying retirement and continuing to work.

First, two obvious points: Find out if you accrue extra pension benefits for extra years of service; regarding Social Security, your monthly benefits generally rise the closer you are to age 70 before you begin taking them.

For example, let’s say John becomes eligible to retire at 55 and receive a pension of $5,500 per month. If John waits until age 60 to retire, his pension increases to $7,500 per month, a considerable difference of $24,000 a year.

Recently, one of my clients asked which of the above I recommended. I asked what makes this person happiest. We then dove into possible scenarios and future goals.

After about an hour, this person – still young enough to re-enter the workforce and with the $7,500 coming in monthly – decided to delay retirement in exchange for the extra benefits.

The same can be done if you delay your Social Security benefit past normal retirement age. Postponing benefits to close to or past what the Social Security Administration terms your full retirement age (FRA) can increase your benefit as much as 8% per year.

For each month after age 62 that you delay applying, you increase the amount of your actual benefit. When you delay applying past your FRA (67 for anyone born after 1960), you increase your benefit above that point – a sum known as the primary insurance amount (PIA).

These increases are Delayed Retirement Credits. With DRCs, each month you delay ups your benefit two-thirds of 1%, making a total increase each year of 8% (a little less if you were born before 1943).

Essentially, delaying pension or the Social Security benefits increases your income floor. Think of your floor as a guaranteed stream of income that never decreases throughout the rest of your life no matter what happens to the economy, the stock market or any job you take while retired.

If you need approximately $5,000 monthly for expenses in retirement and you have a $3,000 income floor (between either or a combination of a pension or Social Security), you need only find another $2,000 per month from other sources such as employment or savings in a 401(k) or individual retirement account. You may also build your floor with payout from a longevity annuity, using some of your retirement savings for the insurer’s premium.

Putting off retirement is a big decision. Talk to a competent financial professional; look at your recent Social Security statement to see how much delaying might increase your benefit and, if you get a pension, talk to your human resources department to get estimates of your payouts.

Take your time and make the right decision. Neither retirement nor the work world will go anywhere until you say.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The Street’s Fed Blame Game http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/the-streets-fed-blame-game/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/the-streets-fed-blame-game/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=9ca8844ccab06350eaf06e1735277d65 When the economy and the stock market eventually flag, Wall Street has a convenient scapegoat at the ready: the Federal Reserve and its plan to raise interest rates.

The business cycle, though, is going to end whether the Fed raises rates or not. We are getting near the finish line of the current cycle.

I don't know that this cycle will end before the Fed raises rates, but I believe the central bank can probably slip in at least one or two rounds before it starts to contract. The current speculation is that the Fed will wait until at least September to tighten monetary policy.

Wall Street is hooked on cheap money, which is the product of the Fed’s holding rates near zero since the financial crisis. Perversely, any sign of economic weakness cheers the market, which believes that the Fed will postpone action to avoid hurting the economy even worse. On April 6, for instance, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.66% in the wake of a poor jobs report.

The investment community’s paranoia about the Fed recently found expression in an ill-informed Wall Street Journal column. It claimed the Fed has already slowed the economy by virtue of its tightening talk. Puh-leez – this is so wrong.

For one thing, the credit markets are booming. Financial conditions aren't tight, unless you think that a stock market that doesn't move relentlessly higher is a sign of tightness.

Mundane realities won't stop the Street from blaming the bank for the long fall from sky-high valuation levels (although not as high as the tech bubble) to the concrete below. The reason for the upcoming fall is the inevitable end of the business cycle; for the size of that fall, blame the Street's foolishness in chasing prices to ridiculous heights. But it will blame the Fed for that too, even as it took credit for all the great performance that preceded the slump. It's just the nature of the beast.

Earnings tremble on the negative, from the looks of the first quarter reports thus far. Thomson Reuters projects that they will rise just 2.1% compared with 2014’s first period. As such earnings are probably not a good springboard for further rallies, I expect yet another pullback in June. Nevertheless, the market's guiding light is Fed policy and apparently will remain so. The trend is your friend, until the end.

If you want to blame the Fed for something, it’s better to focus on its lack of the firepower needed to combat the next economic downturn. The central bank won't be able to get rates high enough to provide the Fed with much of a safety cushion going into the next downturn, as Chair Janet Yellen will discover.

But even the ability to cut by two percentage points - which the bank will almost certainly not have - can't stop a contraction. Monetary policy is a cushion in downturns, not some reality transmogrifier out of Calvin and Hobbes.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

M. Kevin Flynn, CFA, is the president of Avalon Asset Management Company in Lexington, Mass. Website: avalonassetmgmt.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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When the economy and the stock market eventually flag, Wall Street has a convenient scapegoat at the ready: the Federal Reserve and its plan to raise interest rates.

The business cycle, though, is going to end whether the Fed raises rates or not. We are getting near the finish line of the current cycle.

I don't know that this cycle will end before the Fed raises rates, but I believe the central bank can probably slip in at least one or two rounds before it starts to contract. The current speculation is that the Fed will wait until at least September to tighten monetary policy.

Wall Street is hooked on cheap money, which is the product of the Fed’s holding rates near zero since the financial crisis. Perversely, any sign of economic weakness cheers the market, which believes that the Fed will postpone action to avoid hurting the economy even worse. On April 6, for instance, the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.66% in the wake of a poor jobs report.

The investment community’s paranoia about the Fed recently found expression in an ill-informed Wall Street Journal column. It claimed the Fed has already slowed the economy by virtue of its tightening talk. Puh-leez – this is so wrong.

For one thing, the credit markets are booming. Financial conditions aren't tight, unless you think that a stock market that doesn't move relentlessly higher is a sign of tightness.

Mundane realities won't stop the Street from blaming the bank for the long fall from sky-high valuation levels (although not as high as the tech bubble) to the concrete below. The reason for the upcoming fall is the inevitable end of the business cycle; for the size of that fall, blame the Street's foolishness in chasing prices to ridiculous heights. But it will blame the Fed for that too, even as it took credit for all the great performance that preceded the slump. It's just the nature of the beast.

Earnings tremble on the negative, from the looks of the first quarter reports thus far. Thomson Reuters projects that they will rise just 2.1% compared with 2014’s first period. As such earnings are probably not a good springboard for further rallies, I expect yet another pullback in June. Nevertheless, the market's guiding light is Fed policy and apparently will remain so. The trend is your friend, until the end.

If you want to blame the Fed for something, it’s better to focus on its lack of the firepower needed to combat the next economic downturn. The central bank won't be able to get rates high enough to provide the Fed with much of a safety cushion going into the next downturn, as Chair Janet Yellen will discover.

But even the ability to cut by two percentage points - which the bank will almost certainly not have - can't stop a contraction. Monetary policy is a cushion in downturns, not some reality transmogrifier out of Calvin and Hobbes.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

M. Kevin Flynn, CFA, is the president of Avalon Asset Management Company in Lexington, Mass. Website: avalonassetmgmt.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Live fire training at Camp Ripley means noise for neighbors, May 26-27 http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/live-fire-training-at-camp-ripley-means-noise-for-neighbors-may-26-27/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/27/live-fire-training-at-camp-ripley-means-noise-for-neighbors-may-26-27/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 12:40:47 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576387 1-125 Field Artillery Battalion will conduct live fire training on Camp Ripley May 26-27, 2015.  A noise very similar to loud thunder will be heard throughout the Camp Ripley area as well as in some of the surround communities. Camp Ripley Garrison Command would like to apologize in advance for any inconvenience this noise may cause to our neighbors.

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Delylah Klosowski http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/delylah-klosowski/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/delylah-klosowski/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 22:04:53 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576384 Delylah May Klosowski was born to Annika and Kyle Klosowski of Little Falls, May 19, 2015, at 11:16 a.m. at St. Gabriel's Hospital. She weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.
Grandparents are Dennis and Maurine Klosowski and Allen and Trudy Czech, all of Little Falls. Great-grandparents are Rita Ploof Vosen, of Little Falls.

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Ending a Bad Money Cycle http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/ending-a-bad-money-cycle/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/ending-a-bad-money-cycle/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:03 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=0bb0ca9e337a3f63647a97afdf874cbd Living paycheck to paycheck causes obvious stress. Even worse, it puts you at risk for financial disaster when an unexpected expense or loss of income drives you to credit cards and mushrooming debt. Here’s how to escape this vicious merry-go-round.

Economists at Princeton and New York University estimate that about a third of all US households live paycheck to paycheck. Some of these households hold a small number of assets but many have hard-to-access illiquid holdings such as houses and retirement accounts.

Nevertheless, you can break this trap.

Realize the benefits. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle. Instead of feeling deprived when cutting costs, think of what you’ll gain.

After gaining control of your finances, you can pay off debts, build an emergency fund to protect your family, save for large purchases and invest for a comfortable retirement. Understanding such plusses make getting (and staying) motivated easier.

Spend with purpose. To put your money where you want it, track your spending to understand your current spending.

You can use such online tools as Mint.com or such downloadable software as You Need A Budget. If you like low-tech solutions, keep your paper receipts for a month. Once you form a view of your spending, create a realistic spending plan.

To supercharge your savings, pull out cash for your frequent and pricey outlays like groceries and entertainment.

Cut costs. To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to reduce your expenses. One of the best tactics, because it’s easy to get your arms around: lower your monthly recurring outlays.

Have a gym membership you don’t use? Subscribe to a magazine you barely read? Can you switch providers to reduce your phone bill, or call your utility companies and negotiate a lower rate?

Making these changes takes effort, but from then on you keep saving with no additional effort. Cutting costs also doesn’t automatically mean that you deprive yourself. If you like to go out with friends, for instance, find free and fun activities nearby, or invite friends over for a dinner instead of going to a costly restaurant.

Boost income. If you cut costs to the bone, consider how you can earn more.

Ask your boss for a raise. Find a part-time job for a few months or do odd jobs for friends, family and neighbors. Do freelance or consulting work or use sites like eBay to sell possessions you no longer want or use.

Pay yourself first. Start a nest egg before you do anything else with your money. Set up a savings account with an automatic transfer right away. You might miss the cash, but if it’s out of your hands, you’re less likely to spend it.

If no high-interest debt needs your financial attention immediately, give yourself a goal of saving at least three months’ expenses. One reason people end up living paycheck to paycheck: digging out from unexpected big-ticket costs such as car repairs, a medical bill or a job loss.

Eventually, you want to invest for retirement. If your workplace offers a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, take advantage. Again, since the money comes out before it even hits your pay, you barely notice it’s gone.

Once you escape a hand-to-mouth financial life, make sure you never go back. As your income increases over time, use at least half to fund your wealth-building plans. Saving, paying down debt and investing are among your best tools to break the cycle forever.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Living paycheck to paycheck causes obvious stress. Even worse, it puts you at risk for financial disaster when an unexpected expense or loss of income drives you to credit cards and mushrooming debt. Here’s how to escape this vicious merry-go-round.

Economists at Princeton and New York University estimate that about a third of all US households live paycheck to paycheck. Some of these households hold a small number of assets but many have hard-to-access illiquid holdings such as houses and retirement accounts.

Nevertheless, you can break this trap.

Realize the benefits. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle. Instead of feeling deprived when cutting costs, think of what you’ll gain.

After gaining control of your finances, you can pay off debts, build an emergency fund to protect your family, save for large purchases and invest for a comfortable retirement. Understanding such plusses make getting (and staying) motivated easier.

Spend with purpose. To put your money where you want it, track your spending to understand your current spending.

You can use such online tools as Mint.com or such downloadable software as You Need A Budget. If you like low-tech solutions, keep your paper receipts for a month. Once you form a view of your spending, create a realistic spending plan.

To supercharge your savings, pull out cash for your frequent and pricey outlays like groceries and entertainment.

Cut costs. To stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to reduce your expenses. One of the best tactics, because it’s easy to get your arms around: lower your monthly recurring outlays.

Have a gym membership you don’t use? Subscribe to a magazine you barely read? Can you switch providers to reduce your phone bill, or call your utility companies and negotiate a lower rate?

Making these changes takes effort, but from then on you keep saving with no additional effort. Cutting costs also doesn’t automatically mean that you deprive yourself. If you like to go out with friends, for instance, find free and fun activities nearby, or invite friends over for a dinner instead of going to a costly restaurant.

Boost income. If you cut costs to the bone, consider how you can earn more.

Ask your boss for a raise. Find a part-time job for a few months or do odd jobs for friends, family and neighbors. Do freelance or consulting work or use sites like eBay to sell possessions you no longer want or use.

Pay yourself first. Start a nest egg before you do anything else with your money. Set up a savings account with an automatic transfer right away. You might miss the cash, but if it’s out of your hands, you’re less likely to spend it.

If no high-interest debt needs your financial attention immediately, give yourself a goal of saving at least three months’ expenses. One reason people end up living paycheck to paycheck: digging out from unexpected big-ticket costs such as car repairs, a medical bill or a job loss.

Eventually, you want to invest for retirement. If your workplace offers a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, take advantage. Again, since the money comes out before it even hits your pay, you barely notice it’s gone.

Once you escape a hand-to-mouth financial life, make sure you never go back. As your income increases over time, use at least half to fund your wealth-building plans. Saving, paying down debt and investing are among your best tools to break the cycle forever.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Congratulations Announcement http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/congratulations-announcement/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/congratulations-announcement/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:09:02 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576377 Congratulations Announcement

At a recent gathering the Block family took time for this 4 generation photo. Pictured are Tyrone Block held by great-grandpa Joe Block of Pierz, mother Ashley Block of St. Cloud and grandpa Alan Block of St. Cloud.

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Sofia Kanieski http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/sofia-kanieski/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/sofia-kanieski/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:08:49 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576374 Sofia Kanieski

Sofia Rose Kanieski was born to Summer (Smith) and Dustin Kanieski of Swanville, May 21, 2015, 5:22 at CentraCare Health-Long Prairie. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
Sofia was welcomed home by Kaycee and Hunter Vilinski and Brooke Smith.
Grandparents are Penny and Jeff Kent, Stacy Kanieski and the late Doug Nuehring.

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Donald Anthony Madges http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/donald-anthony-madges/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/donald-anthony-madges/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:08:26 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576371 Donald Anthony   Madges

Donald Anthony Madges, 83, Randall, died at his home Saturday, May 23, 2015.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 28 at St. James Catholic Church in Randall, with Father Jimmy Joseph officiating. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 27, at Brenny Funeral Chapel in Randall and one hour prior to services at the church. Interment will be at St. James Catholic Cemetery.
Donald was born June 30, 1931, in Browerville, to Anton and Agnes (Dukowitz) Madges. He attended country school and graduated from Browerville High School in 1949. Donald was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952. Donald was united in marriage to Rachel Hosek on January 31, 1955 at St. James Catholic Church in Randall. They moved to St. Paul and Donald worked for the United States Postal Service from 1959-1966. In 1966 they bought a farm near Randall, which he continued to farm until his retirement 19 years ago. Donald enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing the guitar and accordion.
Donald is survived by his wife, Rachel; children, Pamela (Thomas) Zak of Randall, Richard Madges of Brainerd, Michael (Deb) Madges of Becker, Brenda (Dennis) Schwientek of New Brighton, Donald (Jackie) Madges of Randall, Jeff (fiance; Shelly) of Randall and Jerry Madges of Minneapolis; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; siblings, Helen Pitmon of St. Paul and Gertrude Hosek of Verndale; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother-in-law, Roger Hosek.

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LuVerne Delores (Johnson) Niemi http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/luverne-delores-johnson-niemi/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/luverne-delores-johnson-niemi/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:08:19 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576368 LuVerne Delores (Johnson)   Niemi

On May 21, 2015, LuVerne passed away peacefully at home while in her bed. LuVerne was 86 years old.
LuVerne was born in the town of Little Falls in Morrison County, June 28, 1928. She had one younger brother, Harley and was the daughter of Julius and Bertha Johnson.
LuVerne grew up in Little Falls and moved to Brainerd at the age of 16. She attended Brainerd High School and was a member of the graduating class of 1946. She married James Anthony Niemi, July 28, 1947. After their marriage, they moved multiple times for James' work, including to the Mesabi Iron Range and Glendive, Mont. They eventually settled in the Brainerd area where LuVerne was an employee in the meat department at SuperValu. She continued to work in the super market industry from 1964 until her eventual retirement over 25 years later. She moved to Nisswa in 1976 where she would live for the rest of her life.
She was a member of many groups and loved being involved in every aspect of her community. Some of these groups include Nisswa Women's Club, Fireweeds, Women's Guild, as well as numerous other volunteering opportunities at the local Catholic parishes. LuVerne frequently spent time with her high school classmates and was looking forward to their upcoming 70th Year Reunion.
The things that LuVerne obtained the most enjoyment from were her hobbies such as gardening, sewing, shopping, traveling overseas and painting. She was a true artist at heart. She spent most of her free time outdoors or on the lake. She loved animals and had numerous pets throughout her life, including her dogs Michael O'Toole and Rusty. Above all, LuVerne obtained the most fulfillment from making others happy and always put others before herself. She was a devout Catholic and her faith served as her life's foundation. LuVerne left an impact on all that she crossed paths with. She was dearly loved by family and friends.
LuVerne was preceded in death by her husband James Niemi; her parents, Julius and Bertha Johnson; her brother, Harley Johnson; and her children, Kay Aase, Gary Niemi; and two infant babies.
LuVerne is survived by her daughter, Debra (John) Hillstrom; her son-in-law, Brian Aase; her grandchildren, Kelly (Jeremy) Aase-Wiczek, Stacie (Andrew) Ryan, Ashley (John) Valesano and David Hillstrom; and her great- grandchildren, Thomas Ryan, Trey Wiczek, Karsen Wiczek and Lucy Ryan.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 at St Christophers Catholic Church in Nisswa with Father George Zeck officiating. Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Brainerd. Visitation will be 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Christophers Church and continue the hour before services Wednesday at the church

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Genevieve Kessler http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/genevieve-kessler-2/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/genevieve-kessler-2/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:07:59 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576365 Genevieve    Kessler

Genevieve Louise (Wielinski) Kessler, 82-year-old resident of Kokomo, Ind., died Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Kokomo.
A memorial mass will be held Friday, May 29 at 11 a.m. at the Emblom-Brenny Funeral Service in Little Falls, with Fr. Joseph Herzing officiating. A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the hour of the service at the funeral home.
Genevieve Louise Wielinski was born June 7, 1932, in Little Falls, to the late Joseph and Cecelia (Lepinski) Wielinski. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and Little Falls High School graduating with the Class of 1950. She was united in marriage to Jerome G. Kessler July 25, 1953, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Little Falls. The couple moved to California and eventually made their home in Chula Vista, California. Genevieve received a Bachelors Degree in Manufacturing Engineering and had a hand in the Space Race; working on several projects including Surveyor I. She was also the founder of the Senior Women's Basketball Association in San Diego, Calif.. She enjoyed camping, traveling, sewing, needlework, discovering new things, Crossword Puzzles and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, James Kessler of Boulder Creek, Calif., and Roberta (Edward) Heidebrecht of Greentown, Ind.; siblings, Margaret "Maggie" Plunkett of Port Orchard, Wash., and Joe (Margaret) Wielinski of Little Falls; grandchildren, Lisa (Rob) Forester, Tom (Tyra) Lee, Kristin (Jason) Gartner, Kariane (Steven) O'Keefe, Rebekke Heidebrecht, Kassia Cooper, Mary Heidebrecht; seven great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Shirley (Kessler) Maier of Sauk Rapids, Pat (Kessler) Ritter of Minneapolis and a brother-in-law, Joe Kessler of Bella Vista, Ark., and Ken Kessler of Washington State.
Genevieve was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Cecilia (Lepinski) Wielinski; husband, Jerome G. Kessler (Sept. 7, 1987); daughters, Mary (Kessler) Lee (Sept. 3, 1990) Deborah (Kessler) Johnson (July 23, 2006); sisters, Barbara Szakasitis (October 28, 2010), Lucille Wimmer (Sept. 29, 2011); brother-in-law, Larry Kessler and long-time partner, Robert Perry.

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Community garden takes root in Gamradt Park http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/community-garden-takes-root-in-gamradt-park/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/community-garden-takes-root-in-gamradt-park/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:26:51 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=576357  

Shelby Rakow-Batters (back left) and Maddie Doroff helped prepare the ground for tomato plants by laying down old copies of the Record to prevent weed growth.

Shelby Rakow-Batters (back left) and Maddie Doroff helped prepare the ground for tomato plants by laying down old copies of the Record to prevent weed growth.

 

 

Little Falls Community High School students, led by agriculture teacher Erin Daninger, helped Live Better Live Longer with preparing and sowing seeds for the organization’s community garden in Gamradt Park in west Little Falls. The field trip was an opportunity for the students to get hands-on experience as part of their class “Planning and Planting a School Garden,” Daninger said.

Erica Kurowski carefully labeled the rows of vegetables that fellow students planted in the Community Garden

Erica Kurowski carefully labeled the rows of vegetables that fellow students planted in the Community Garden

Amanda Peterschick and Reed Hines helped rake up dead grass to use as mulch for newly planted vegetables.

Amanda Peterschick and Reed Hines helped rake up dead grass to use as mulch for newly planted vegetables.

 

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College $ Burden: Plan Early http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/college-burden-plan-early/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/college-burden-plan-early/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:00:03 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=4119a237363ed41c534ba7261bcf45ed The cost of a college education increases every year, largely unbeknownst to you until you confront the bill. The pile of money you must save is staggering. If you have children, plan for college costs as soon as possible.

Children are costly even before college. Raising a child from birth to 18 runs some $245,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, varying widely depending on where you live and how much you earn. Estimates for high-income earners in the Northeast, for example, can reach $455,000, with urban areas usually pricier.

These figures are based on housing, food, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, including cell phones and computers. The bad news, especially if you’re still in sticker shock: These prices do not include the cost of a college education, which shot up some seven-fold in recent decades and at more than twice the rate of health-care costs since 1983.

“The younger the child, the more college is likely to cost,” according to JP Morgan Asset Management, which calculates that the eventual outlay for a newborn’s four-year college education will reach some $424,425 for a private college, $190,767 for a public. Either way, such a sum shapes up as one of your family’s largest expenses ever.

Here planning comes in, establishing a goal and determining how much you need to (and can) save for your child’s tuition. More than simple saving, this means creating an investment plan and strategy that can increase growth potential and steadily accumulate more for college. Your biggest advantage for this job outweighs even your paycheck’s size: time.

The sooner you start saving, the more time you enjoy to grow your college fund through long-term compounding. Even the smallest contributions make a difference over many years.

For example, let’s say you still have 15 years to save for your child to attend four years at a public college. Targeting a goal of $194,000 (this leaves a little extra for your kid’s pizza and laundry money) and figuring a conservative return rate of 4% annually, with such a lengthy time to save you only need to put away $650 a month.

The right investing vehicle is also significant. A 529 College savings plan, for instance, offers tax-free investing and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The investments won’t incur capital gains taxes, increasing available funds when you’ll need them.

Note: Some states do offer tax deductions or credits for contributing to any 529; states also offer different 529 options.

Diversification of investments within the 529 plan, as in most portfolios, helps you to achieve your results without undue risk. If true to history, a balanced stock/bond portfolio delivers higher returns than do straight bonds or cash. Choose a fund that will help your investments outperform the inflation rate of tuition (generally about twice the general inflation rate, the latter right now at slightly less than 2%).

Two more, very cautionary notes: Don’t forget to examine all the fees and expenses associated with a 529, such as asset-based fees (a sort of retainer scaled on the size of your investment), enrollment or maintenance fees and sales commissions to the fund managers. And do not forsake saving for your retirement to save your children’s college expenses.

You and your kids can get student loans much easier than you can borrow money to fund your golden years.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Maureen Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Her websites are www.CrimminsWM.com and www.RootsofWealth.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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The cost of a college education increases every year, largely unbeknownst to you until you confront the bill. The pile of money you must save is staggering. If you have children, plan for college costs as soon as possible.

Children are costly even before college. Raising a child from birth to 18 runs some $245,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, varying widely depending on where you live and how much you earn. Estimates for high-income earners in the Northeast, for example, can reach $455,000, with urban areas usually pricier.

These figures are based on housing, food, clothing, health care, education, child care and miscellaneous expenses, including cell phones and computers. The bad news, especially if you’re still in sticker shock: These prices do not include the cost of a college education, which shot up some seven-fold in recent decades and at more than twice the rate of health-care costs since 1983.

“The younger the child, the more college is likely to cost,” according to JP Morgan Asset Management, which calculates that the eventual outlay for a newborn’s four-year college education will reach some $424,425 for a private college, $190,767 for a public. Either way, such a sum shapes up as one of your family’s largest expenses ever.

Here planning comes in, establishing a goal and determining how much you need to (and can) save for your child’s tuition. More than simple saving, this means creating an investment plan and strategy that can increase growth potential and steadily accumulate more for college. Your biggest advantage for this job outweighs even your paycheck’s size: time.

The sooner you start saving, the more time you enjoy to grow your college fund through long-term compounding. Even the smallest contributions make a difference over many years.

For example, let’s say you still have 15 years to save for your child to attend four years at a public college. Targeting a goal of $194,000 (this leaves a little extra for your kid’s pizza and laundry money) and figuring a conservative return rate of 4% annually, with such a lengthy time to save you only need to put away $650 a month.

The right investing vehicle is also significant. A 529 College savings plan, for instance, offers tax-free investing and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The investments won’t incur capital gains taxes, increasing available funds when you’ll need them.

Note: Some states do offer tax deductions or credits for contributing to any 529; states also offer different 529 options.

Diversification of investments within the 529 plan, as in most portfolios, helps you to achieve your results without undue risk. If true to history, a balanced stock/bond portfolio delivers higher returns than do straight bonds or cash. Choose a fund that will help your investments outperform the inflation rate of tuition (generally about twice the general inflation rate, the latter right now at slightly less than 2%).

Two more, very cautionary notes: Don’t forget to examine all the fees and expenses associated with a 529, such as asset-based fees (a sort of retainer scaled on the size of your investment), enrollment or maintenance fees and sales commissions to the fund managers. And do not forsake saving for your retirement to save your children’s college expenses.

You and your kids can get student loans much easier than you can borrow money to fund your golden years.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Maureen Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Her websites are www.CrimminsWM.com and www.RootsofWealth.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Stock Ownership, Social Change http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/stock-ownership-social-change/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/05/26/stock-ownership-social-change/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=bbf52522ed6ff26afdac5f582dc1cade The philosophy called socially responsible investing claims that your investments should reflect your values. The most common implementation of SRI is to refuse to invest in certain companies because you disagree with one or all of their practices.

Certain SRI mutual funds rank companies based on their values, and then either include or exclude them from the fund accordingly. Like all mutual funds, SRI funds then vote proxies on behalf of their shareholders. They apply their value system to these votes, which is where SRI followers believe change may happen.

However, there are three problems with this belief.

First, you cannot help or hurt a company by buying, selling or ignoring its stock. The company is not involved in your transaction, one way or the other.

The company does not even need to know that the exchange has occurred. When you buy shares of a company’s stock, you are buying them from another investor who is selling.

Buying shares of a company you like does not make that company richer. In the same way, selling shares of a company that has fallen out of your favor does not make the company poorer.

Second, even if the mutual fund has enough ownership in the stock to sway the vote toward more responsible activities than the company would have chosen otherwise, it is up to the board whether to consider those votes when they make their decisions. There is no guarantee that the results of the vote will make any difference. Real change in companies occurs via the board members.

Just because you are a partial owner does not mean you have any sway in the company. When you buy a stock, you are purchasing your share of the company’s earnings and dividend distributions. For most individual investors, their ownership is negligible. As a result, they have little or no ability to steer the direction and vision of the corporation.

If you want to incite change, then try to get on the corporation’s board of directors. The board has the authority and responsibility to articulate the mission of the organization.

With enough stock ownership, you could simply vote yourself on the board of a company. The average stock ownership of shareholder board members is 5.6%. That could get very costly. You would have to buy $15 billion of Wal-Mart’s stock but only $35 million of Zoe’s Kitchen to command enough ownership to become a board member. As a result, only the ultra-rich or those who have pooled their investments can realistically take this route onto corporate boards.

Third, the SRI ranking system has already weeded out companies that really need help being socially responsible. The value they pretend to add from their voting is only occurring on the companies they have already decided are sufficiently socially responsible. Thus they are not really redirecting any irresponsible companies.

SRI funds usually have higher than normal expense ratios to pay for the extra effort of ranking the companies. This puts a drain on their return, often making them a worse investment than comparable non-SRI mutual funds. With questionable results and worse returns, SRI is a nice dream but a bad investment philosophy.

In conclusion, invest in companies because they are good investments, and purchase goods or use services from companies you believe in. If you try to use your stock purchases to pursue your political or social agenda, only your own portfolio return will be affected.

If you have strong opinions or are passionate about helping bring about real change, consider stirring up support for or organizing boycotts against a company, pursuing a career in corporate governance and becoming a board member or pushing for legal reform that protects the free market from a company’s deceptive or fraudulent practices.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David John Marotta, CFP, AIF, is president of Marotta Wealth Management Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com and blogging at www.marottaonmoney.com. Both the author and clients he represents often invest in investments mentioned in these articles. Megan Russell, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, specializes in explaining the complexities of economics and finance at www.marottaonmoney.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors

 

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The philosophy called socially responsible investing claims that your investments should reflect your values. The most common implementation of SRI is to refuse to invest in certain companies because you disagree with one or all of their practices.

Certain SRI mutual funds rank companies based on their values, and then either include or exclude them from the fund accordingly. Like all mutual funds, SRI funds then vote proxies on behalf of their shareholders. They apply their value system to these votes, which is where SRI followers believe change may happen.

However, there are three problems with this belief.

First, you cannot help or hurt a company by buying, selling or ignoring its stock. The company is not involved in your transaction, one way or the other.

The company does not even need to know that the exchange has occurred. When you buy shares of a company’s stock, you are buying them from another investor who is selling.

Buying shares of a company you like does not make that company richer. In the same way, selling shares of a company that has fallen out of your favor does not make the company poorer.

Second, even if the mutual fund has enough ownership in the stock to sway the vote toward more responsible activities than the company would have chosen otherwise, it is up to the board whether to consider those votes when they make their decisions. There is no guarantee that the results of the vote will make any difference. Real change in companies occurs via the board members.

Just because you are a partial owner does not mean you have any sway in the company. When you buy a stock, you are purchasing your share of the company’s earnings and dividend distributions. For most individual investors, their ownership is negligible. As a result, they have little or no ability to steer the direction and vision of the corporation.

If you want to incite change, then try to get on the corporation’s board of directors. The board has the authority and responsibility to articulate the mission of the organization.

With enough stock ownership, you could simply vote yourself on the board of a company. The average stock ownership of shareholder board members is 5.6%. That could get very costly. You would have to buy $15 billion of Wal-Mart’s stock but only $35 million of Zoe’s Kitchen to command enough ownership to become a board member. As a result, only the ultra-rich or those who have pooled their investments can realistically take this route onto corporate boards.

Third, the SRI ranking system has already weeded out companies that really need help being socially responsible. The value they pretend to add from their voting is only occurring on the companies they have already decided are sufficiently socially responsible. Thus they are not really redirecting any irresponsible companies.

SRI funds usually have higher than normal expense ratios to pay for the extra effort of ranking the companies. This puts a drain on their return, often making them a worse investment than comparable non-SRI mutual funds. With questionable results and worse returns, SRI is a nice dream but a bad investment philosophy.

In conclusion, invest in companies because they are good investments, and purchase goods or use services from companies you believe in. If you try to use your stock purchases to pursue your political or social agenda, only your own portfolio return will be affected.

If you have strong opinions or are passionate about helping bring about real change, consider stirring up support for or organizing boycotts against a company, pursuing a career in corporate governance and becoming a board member or pushing for legal reform that protects the free market from a company’s deceptive or fraudulent practices.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David John Marotta, CFP, AIF, is president of Marotta Wealth Management Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com and blogging at www.marottaonmoney.com. Both the author and clients he represents often invest in investments mentioned in these articles. Megan Russell, the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, specializes in explaining the complexities of economics and finance at www.marottaonmoney.com.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors

 

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