The Morrison County Record http://mcrecord.com Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 20:35:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bad $$ Ideas of the Young http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/bad-ideas-of-the-young/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/bad-ideas-of-the-young/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 20:00:14 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=64afad7a22ea2d4d824e586c88bab497 You found the one to start a life with. You now share home, love – and your financial backgrounds with your new partner and family. Here’s what to know and how to tackle debt, budgeting and other aspects of your newly merged money matters.

Young couples and families often begin the journey together with a large amount of debt from student loans, car payments and perhaps one or both partners’ past credit card usage. The responsibilities of starting a family only deepen the hole.

If you are a young adult still looking for a high-paying job, who can’t afford a home or car and who constantly struggles with debt, then financial planning and effective debt management can help you. So can dispensing the following preconceived money notions common to young families.

We don’t need professional help. Young families with debt – especially those with children – need to think hard about meeting a financial planner to put finances in order. A planner can not only set a proper budget for you, but also advise you on how to invest for the best possible returns.

For example, planners can advise you on saving for a home, setting up a college fund for your kids and establishing a fund to handle unexpected emergencies.

What’s wrong with a little credit card debt? The greatest financial blunder a young family can make is carrying too many credit cards – and the accompanying huge bills and balances.

Mitigating and managing credit card debt becomes particularly tricky when these balances typically carry one of the highest rates of interest (often more than 17%). Inexperienced new adults with fresh plastic frequently make the mistake of paying only the monthly minimum. Continuing to do this means paying off the entire balance – assuming a family racks up no more debt on a given card, which is unlikely – will take more than a decade.

Attempt to make at least $100 more than the minimum payment on each card account and try to use cash instead of plastic as much as possible. If you or a member of your family has difficulty controlling card use, you can look for assistance from a credit counselor.

Let’s fly without a budget. Poor budgeting is close kin to any debt issue. Young couples tend to overspend mostly because they often underestimate expenses and practice the flawed habit of spending first and then planning to save what’s left. Unfortunately, spending incessantly rarely leaves anything at the end of the month.

Make (and follow sincerely) a frugal budget, keeping in mind all your daily expenses and saving plans, needs and intentions.

Retirement is far away. Many young adults just don’t understand the significance of saving for retirement and so skip investing in 401(k) workplace retirement plans or individual retirement accounts. These youngest wage earners literally labor under a misconception that the future is too far away to worry about, and instead focus on such short-term goals as buying a new car.

If you invest at least 15% of your income in retirement savings consistently from an early age, you’ll remain far ahead financially after retirement. Here’s timeless advice for all young adults: You’ll need that money sooner than you think.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit www.kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp
 
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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You found the one to start a life with. You now share home, love – and your financial backgrounds with your new partner and family. Here’s what to know and how to tackle debt, budgeting and other aspects of your newly merged money matters.

Young couples and families often begin the journey together with a large amount of debt from student loans, car payments and perhaps one or both partners’ past credit card usage. The responsibilities of starting a family only deepen the hole.

If you are a young adult still looking for a high-paying job, who can’t afford a home or car and who constantly struggles with debt, then financial planning and effective debt management can help you. So can dispensing the following preconceived money notions common to young families.

We don’t need professional help. Young families with debt – especially those with children – need to think hard about meeting a financial planner to put finances in order. A planner can not only set a proper budget for you, but also advise you on how to invest for the best possible returns.

For example, planners can advise you on saving for a home, setting up a college fund for your kids and establishing a fund to handle unexpected emergencies.

What’s wrong with a little credit card debt? The greatest financial blunder a young family can make is carrying too many credit cards – and the accompanying huge bills and balances.

Mitigating and managing credit card debt becomes particularly tricky when these balances typically carry one of the highest rates of interest (often more than 17%). Inexperienced new adults with fresh plastic frequently make the mistake of paying only the monthly minimum. Continuing to do this means paying off the entire balance – assuming a family racks up no more debt on a given card, which is unlikely – will take more than a decade.

Attempt to make at least $100 more than the minimum payment on each card account and try to use cash instead of plastic as much as possible. If you or a member of your family has difficulty controlling card use, you can look for assistance from a credit counselor.

Let’s fly without a budget. Poor budgeting is close kin to any debt issue. Young couples tend to overspend mostly because they often underestimate expenses and practice the flawed habit of spending first and then planning to save what’s left. Unfortunately, spending incessantly rarely leaves anything at the end of the month.

Make (and follow sincerely) a frugal budget, keeping in mind all your daily expenses and saving plans, needs and intentions.

Retirement is far away. Many young adults just don’t understand the significance of saving for retirement and so skip investing in 401(k) workplace retirement plans or individual retirement accounts. These youngest wage earners literally labor under a misconception that the future is too far away to worry about, and instead focus on such short-term goals as buying a new car.

If you invest at least 15% of your income in retirement savings consistently from an early age, you’ll remain far ahead financially after retirement. Here’s timeless advice for all young adults: You’ll need that money sooner than you think.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit www.kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp
 
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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Getting All Your Social Security http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/getting-all-your-social-security/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/getting-all-your-social-security/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:30:07 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=54dc34181066ad51f56c6f2d130bb9b9 Social Security benefits are complex and you can often miss benefits you are entitled to. If you fit into one of the categories below, pay attention.

Widow or widower younger than 70. If your deceased spouse earned benefits, you may be able to collect those payments while you delay your own benefit and let it grow.

I recently had a widower client who planned to build up her own Social Security benefit and delay receiving it until she turned 70, to maximize the monthly income. She was not aware, though, that she can collect survivor benefits now between ages 60 to 70, on her late husband’s Social Security record with no effect on her own benefit.

Married with two incomes. If both you and your spouse earn benefits, coordinate both payouts with your other income.

Let’s say Jim and Jane, both 60, are a married couple who both have significant benefits coming. Jim, the primary earner, plans on deferring his benefit until age 70 and Jane will start taking hers at her Full Retirement Age (or FRA, which ranges from 65 if you were born in 1937 or later to 67 of you were born in 1960 or later).

Both Jim and Jane get an FRA monthly benefit of $2,500; both expect to live to 90. Jane plans to take a spousal only benefit at FRA, which is half of her husband’s FRA benefit, and allowing her own benefit to increase until she turns 70, which provides a better result.

 

 

Total Cumulative Benefit*

Strategy

80

85

90

Both take at FRA

$900,000

 

$1,200,000

$1,500,000

One defers to 70

$885,600

 

$1,233,600

$1,581,600

Both defer to 70 and one takes Spousal only at FA

$931,200

$1,327,200

$1,723,200

 * assumes no inflation increases

 

Divorced. You might qualify for benefits off your ex-spouse’s record. This comes with a lot of conditions: You must be unmarried and your ex must be at least 62; and you must be divorced for at least two years after a marriage that lasted at least 10 years.

Claiming this benefit doesn’t affect your ex-spouse’s other potential benefits and your ex-spouse will not be notified of your claim.

If you get married again, you lose this benefit.

Minors. Children of a deceased worker who are younger than 18 (or younger than 22 if the living worker is disabled) are entitled to a monthly benefit.

A child’s death benefits depend on how long the deceased person worked: The longer the worker’s employment, the larger the benefit to the surviving minor. Each child can receive 75% of the basic benefit.

Benefits to a surviving family are limited. If your surviving spouse also receives a survivor benefit, for example, each of your children’s benefits drops. The maximum benefit allowed per family ranges from 150% to 180% of the deceased’s basic benefit; if the family total exceeds this amount, each person’s monthly allowance decreases.

If you die and your surviving spouse collects benefits while still working, he or she can forfeit those benefits to potentially free your kids from a reduction in survivor’s benefits.

None of the above. It’s still important to meet with a financial advisor to plan your Social Security claiming strategy and coordinate benefits with your other sources of income.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

John Dragstrem is a CFP at Wheaton Wealth Partners in Wheaton, Ill., and Naples, Fla.

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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Social Security benefits are complex and you can often miss benefits you are entitled to. If you fit into one of the categories below, pay attention.

Widow or widower younger than 70. If your deceased spouse earned benefits, you may be able to collect those payments while you delay your own benefit and let it grow.

I recently had a widower client who planned to build up her own Social Security benefit and delay receiving it until she turned 70, to maximize the monthly income. She was not aware, though, that she can collect survivor benefits now between ages 60 to 70, on her late husband’s Social Security record with no effect on her own benefit.

Married with two incomes. If both you and your spouse earn benefits, coordinate both payouts with your other income.

Let’s say Jim and Jane, both 60, are a married couple who both have significant benefits coming. Jim, the primary earner, plans on deferring his benefit until age 70 and Jane will start taking hers at her Full Retirement Age (or FRA, which ranges from 65 if you were born in 1937 or later to 67 of you were born in 1960 or later).

Both Jim and Jane get an FRA monthly benefit of $2,500; both expect to live to 90. Jane plans to take a spousal only benefit at FRA, which is half of her husband’s FRA benefit, and allowing her own benefit to increase until she turns 70, which provides a better result.

 

 

Total Cumulative Benefit*

Strategy

80

85

90

Both take at FRA

$900,000

 

$1,200,000

$1,500,000

One defers to 70

$885,600

 

$1,233,600

$1,581,600

Both defer to 70 and one takes Spousal only at FA

$931,200

$1,327,200

$1,723,200

 * assumes no inflation increases

 

Divorced. You might qualify for benefits off your ex-spouse’s record. This comes with a lot of conditions: You must be unmarried and your ex must be at least 62; and you must be divorced for at least two years after a marriage that lasted at least 10 years.

Claiming this benefit doesn’t affect your ex-spouse’s other potential benefits and your ex-spouse will not be notified of your claim.

If you get married again, you lose this benefit.

Minors. Children of a deceased worker who are younger than 18 (or younger than 22 if the living worker is disabled) are entitled to a monthly benefit.

A child’s death benefits depend on how long the deceased person worked: The longer the worker’s employment, the larger the benefit to the surviving minor. Each child can receive 75% of the basic benefit.

Benefits to a surviving family are limited. If your surviving spouse also receives a survivor benefit, for example, each of your children’s benefits drops. The maximum benefit allowed per family ranges from 150% to 180% of the deceased’s basic benefit; if the family total exceeds this amount, each person’s monthly allowance decreases.

If you die and your surviving spouse collects benefits while still working, he or she can forfeit those benefits to potentially free your kids from a reduction in survivor’s benefits.

None of the above. It’s still important to meet with a financial advisor to plan your Social Security claiming strategy and coordinate benefits with your other sources of income.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

John Dragstrem is a CFP at Wheaton Wealth Partners in Wheaton, Ill., and Naples, Fla.

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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State eleases 2015 School Accountability results http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/state-eleases-2015-school-accountability-results/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/state-eleases-2015-school-accountability-results/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:26:47 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581103 Data show nearly two-thirds of schools on track to meet state’s goal of cutting achievement gaps in half by 2017

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to reduce achievement gaps in reading and math by 50 percent by the year 2017. Additionally, 119 schools across Minnesota that serve racially and ethnically diverse student populations with high levels of poverty have demonstrated exemplary academic achievements in state exam proficiency, student growth, graduation rates and closing achievement gaps. This is according annual school performance data released today by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The 2015 Multiple Measurements Ratings (MMR) are part of Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind Flexibility waiver. The MMR evaluates a school’s performance on four key measures, including:

  • Student proficiency on state exams.
  • Student growth over time.
  • Reduction of achievement gaps between white students and students of color, students living in poverty, students receiving special education services, and English learners.
  • Increased graduation rates for high schools.

In order to reach the 2017 goal of cutting achievement gaps by 50 percent, each year schools must help more students reach increasingly challenging proficiency targets.

Measuring Progress in Closing Achievement Gaps

This year’s data show almost two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to reduce achievement gaps in reading and math by 50 percent by the year 2017. In reading, 43 percent of schools met their 2015 targets in every non-white student group, and an additional 22 percent met their targets for all but one. In math, 41 percent of schools met their 2015 targets for every non-white student group, and an additional 21 percent of schools met their targets for all but one.

“We have set an ambitious goal to close achievement gaps by half by 2017,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Every year we ask our schools to meet tougher and tougher targets, and every year I am inspired by the incredible dedication and passion of our educators to meet these targets and increase student achievement. There is still work to do, but I know our teachers and administrators are committed to helping every child succeed.”

Along with MMR scores for every school in the state, the department released the list of 2015 Reward schools—public schools that have demonstrated exemplary academic achievements in state exam proficiency, student growth, graduation rates and closing achievement gaps. Every year, the top 15 percent of schools that receive Title I funding (allocated to schools with high levels of students in poverty) are recognized as Reward schools. This year, 119 schools received the Reward designation. Thirty of those schools have achieved that designation four times, and 14 schools have achieved that designation for a fifth consecutive time.

“I want to congratulate each of the Reward schools today, and especially give big congratulations to the 14 schools receiving this designation for the fifth time in a row,” Cassellius said. “These schools have proven year after year that they are leaders in education for our state. I am excited to visit each of these schools and learn about best practices that can be shared with schools throughout Minnesota.”

The department will share lessons learned and strategies from these schools with other Minnesota schools.

Regional Centers of Excellence are Working

This year’s MMR also shows that schools working closely with Minnesota’s Regional Centers of Excellence continue to demonstrate success. The Regional Centers of Excellence provide hands-on assistance to help struggling schools improve their performance and close achievement gaps. By working directly with schools, the centers build the capacity of a school to analyze data to focus on their own improvement.

Seventy-four percent of the initial cohort of Priority schools and 56 percent of the initial cohort of Focus schools—identified for support from the Regional Centers in 2012—improved student growth from 2011 to 2015, a sign that these schools were able to sustain their improvement after working with the centers, even after the high levels of support ended.

This year’s MMR results do not include new designations of Priority and Focus schools that are eligible to receive intensive support from the state’s Regional Center of Excellence. New Priority and Focus schools were designated in 2014 and will work with the centers for three years to implement school improvement strategies. While the newest cohort of Priority and Focus schools have received less than one year of support, early results for those schools are promising, with 65 percent of current Priority and 63 percent of current Focus schools showing improved growth from 2014 to 2015.

“Once again, we see that the Regional Centers of Excellence are making an impact for our students,” said Cassellius. “This nationally-recognized investment in strategic support for our schools provides educators with an invaluable outside eye and meaningful direction as they look to implement their turnaround plans and increase student achievement. The centers, along with investments in early literacy and increased per-pupil funding, are playing a key role in our efforts toward better support Minnesota schools and students. These investments are helping us move the needle and ensure that every child has equal opportunity to succeed in career and college.”

The department also released its list of schools eligible to apply for the Celebration designation due to their significant progress in closing achievement gaps. Schools designated Celebration-eligible may choose to apply for full Celebration designation and winners will be announced in early December.

Press Kit Materials

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Use caution to keep yourself, others safe in work zones during Labor Day weekend http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/use-caution-to-keep-yourself-others-safe-in-work-zones-during-labor-day-weekend/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/use-caution-to-keep-yourself-others-safe-in-work-zones-during-labor-day-weekend/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:24:35 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581098 As Labor Day weekend approaches, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be alert and use extra caution while driving through highway work zones.

“Most projects will shut down over the holiday weekend, but there are still many work zones around the state that will affect travel,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We ask drivers to pay attention in work zones and make it a safe weekend for everyone. Check www.511mn.org before you leave to get current road conditions for your route.”
Highway projects that may affect weekend travel Sept. 4-7 include:

Twin Cities area

  • Interstate 494 in Plymouth – multiple lane and ramp closures
  • I-35E in St. Paul and Little Canada – lane and ramp closures
  • Highway 5 between St. Paul and Highway 55 – lane and ramp closures
  • Highway 5 between Waconia and Victoria – road closed, detour
  • Highway 100 in St. Louis Park – ramp closures and lane shift
  • Highway 169 in Jordan – single-lane traffic in both directions

Central Minnesota 

  • I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael – lane shift, narrow lanes and reduced speeds, expect delays
  • Highway 169 along south shore of Lake Mille Lacs – bypass lanes, minor traffic delays
  • Highway 25 at Highway 12 east of Melrose (7 miles south of Buffalo) – closed, detour

West Central Minnesota 

  • Highway 12 between Atwater and Litchfield – detour

Northern Minnesota   

  • Highway 29 in Alexandria – lane closures and lane shifts near I-94, delays possible
  • Highway 2 between Cass Lake and Ball Club – lane shifts, flagging activities, some delays
  • Highway 371 between Cass Lake and Walker – lane closures, pilot car, some delays
  • Highway 10 in Detroit Lakes – single-lane traffic in both directions, expect delays
  • Highway 2 (Bong Bridge) between Duluth and Superior – eastbound lanes closed, detour
  • Highway 23 between Duluth and Duquette – single-lane, detour
  • Highway 70 east of I-35 – both lanes will be open through the weekend, part of roadway will have a gravel surface

Southern Minnesota    

  • I-35 Owatonna to Albert Lea – single-lane traffic in both directions, slow traffic
  • I-90 between St. Charles and Stewartville – single-lane traffic in both directions, slow traffic
  • I-90 between Alden and Highway 22 – single lane, slow traffic
  • Highway 14 between Nicollet and Mankato – detour
  • Highway 22 south of St. Peter
  • Highway 59 in Marshall – short detour

For a complete list of projects, including construction dates and traffic impacts, visit www.mndot.gov/roadwork/current.html. Motorists may also sign up to receive email updates for major projects at www.mndot.gov/emailupdates.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

To learn about funding Minnesota’s transportation system, visit Get Connected a twww.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/use-caution-to-keep-yourself-others-safe-in-work-zones-during-labor-day-weekend/feed/ 0 Trump’s 12 Business Lessons http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/trumps-12-business-lessons/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/trumps-12-business-lessons/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=82e8d80451c24302ec3529cc2fc7b4c6 Donald Trump is one controversial guy. Love him or hate him, though, no one denies he is a good businessman. In 2004, I was a contestant on his TV show, The Apprentice. During that time and the years following the show, I learned 12 helpful things about business from my exposure to Trump.

Trump’s presidential campaign has gone from what many considered a political sideshow to making him a formidable contender.  Part of Trump’s appeal is his success and zeal as an entrepreneur.  Rather than getting political, I’ll stick to my comfort zone and discuss what I learned from The Donald.

The dozen business lessons that we can all learn from him: 

1. The importance of being a great communicator. This takes a certain level of empathy and understanding of your audience.  It also takes a great level of honesty and resolve to speak your mind, and Trump is certainly not lacking in either of these areas. He’s shown that he’s not afraid to speak his mind as a campaigner, considering his many controversial remarks to date. While plenty of people will not agree with him, it’s easy to see that as a chief executive officer he’s used to telling his people exactly what he wants and why.  I believe that Trump is one of the great communicators of our time. 

2. Avoid singular dependency. In business, Trump began as a real estate behemoth, but he has diversified well beyond his core real estate business. He now has a presence across multiple industries including golf courses, resorts, casinos, both high end and middle tier real estate, retail, media, model management, book and magazine publishing. This level of diversification has seen him through tough times.

3. Know and believe in your brand. While the rose marble, gold monikers, pink ties, luxury real estate, and a prominent hairdo may not be your idea of style, they’ve served Trump well.  His sense of personal and business swagger is unmistakable and identifiable.  For this Trump is unapologetic.  This can certainly work against you, but Trump uses this conviction well. He is always talking about how his buildings and other holdings are the biggest, the best or the most opulent. Whether his superlatives are accurate or not, he conveys the sense that his faith in his brand is supreme, so you should share it.

4. Have a strong conviction in your own principles. This is the underlying foundation for any business owner.  Behind every great success lies a set of core values and guiding principles that help shape every decision.  Starting out as a young man in the 1970s, when New York seemed to be sliding into chaos, Trump realized that the city was still the greatest on earth and proceeded to make his own fortune by putting up skyscrapers there.

5. Have the courage to take calculated risks. Trump’s success (and billions) isn’t by accident.  Yes, he got a healthy start at a young age, because his father Fred was a prominent developer, and he lived a relatively privileged lifestyle.  But instead of squandering family money or taking it for granted, he took risks and built on it.  A great example is his first big deal in which he took Manhattan’s highly unprofitable Commodore Hotel and transformed it into the still-thriving Grand Hyatt, adjacent to Grand Central Station.  Deals like that don’t get done on a whim and don’t become profitable without taking a calculated risk. 

6. Surround yourself with excellence. Trump always talks about this network of the best and brightest. The whole point of the TV show was that the smartest and most energetic people end up performing the best. He is friends with investor activist Carl Icahn, the recently deceased Wall Street titan Alan “Ace” Greenburg and many others who were and are great business leaders of our time. 

7. Have a deep understanding of the legal system and business environment.  Trump is famous for lawsuits and several corporate (although not personal) bankruptcy filings, mainly his Atlantic City casinos.  While this isn’t necessarily a great thing, his in-depth knowledge of the legal system has undoubtedly helped him out.  Like any good business owner he has a solid understanding of business laws and tax codes. 

8. Be flexible and open to new ideas.   This can be summed up pretty easily: “Hey, Donald, let’s do a TV show called The Apprentice?” Switching from bricks-and-mortar developer to on-air host was quite a leap. If he wasn’t before, the program made him a big-time celebrity. His catchphrase, “You’re fired,” defined his exacting standards to the public.

9. Understand the economy and debt.  These are important topics that any business owner, particularly one who basically runs his own empire, should know.  Trump needs to know how the economy can affect his different businesses, to the upside and to the downside. In the early 1990s, he almost lost his kingdom because of a real estate downturn. He had gone deeply into debt to erect his many buildings, buy an airline and a huge yacht. He came out of that determined to use other people’s money for his funding, not his own resources.

10. Why you need to have enormous energy.  I have to wonder if Trump ever sleeps.  If he does, it’s probably not too much.  Like other uber-successful business leaders of our time like Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google, Trump’s steam never seems to run out. 

11. Don’t cry over spilled milk, learn from failure.  Business doesn’t always comes easy and there will be let downs, even for Donald Trump.  Some of his casinos shut down, The Apprentice didn’t last forever. He’s been involved in some famous lawsuits, and his ownership of a team in the ill-fated United States Football League didn’t work.  But in true Trump style, he picked himself up, brushed himself off, and refused to let these speed bumps stop him. 

12. Love, love, love what you do. Trump loves what he does and it shows.  I call this “harness what you have.”  It’s marrying your love for an industry or market with your inherent skill set as a business person, whether it’s sales, analytics, creative writing or finances.  If you love what you do and are fully engaged in your business, the possibilities are endless. 

Regardless of what happens in the political arena, I think Donald Trump isn’t going away anytime soon.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Wes Moss, CFP, is the chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors and a partner at Wela, both in Atlanta. He hosts “Money Matters,” a live financial advice show on Atlanta’s News 95-5 and AM 750 WSB Radio. In 2015 and 2014 Barron’s Magazine named him as one of America’s top 1,200 Financial Advisors. His newly released book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think published by McGraw Hill, is available on Amazon, iTunes and at your local bookstore.

Wes writes weekly about personal finance in the “Bargain Hunter Section” for AJC.com, the site of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wes is also the editor and writer for About.com’s Personal Finance blog. Connect with Wes on Twitter at @WesMoss365 and on Facebook at Wes Moss Money Matters. You can also visit his website, WesMoss.com to learn more about Wes, and take his complimentary Money and Happiness Quiz.

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.

 

]]> Donald Trump is one controversial guy. Love him or hate him, though, no one denies he is a good businessman. In 2004, I was a contestant on his TV show, The Apprentice. During that time and the years following the show, I learned 12 helpful things about business from my exposure to Trump.

Trump’s presidential campaign has gone from what many considered a political sideshow to making him a formidable contender.  Part of Trump’s appeal is his success and zeal as an entrepreneur.  Rather than getting political, I’ll stick to my comfort zone and discuss what I learned from The Donald.

The dozen business lessons that we can all learn from him: 

1. The importance of being a great communicator. This takes a certain level of empathy and understanding of your audience.  It also takes a great level of honesty and resolve to speak your mind, and Trump is certainly not lacking in either of these areas. He’s shown that he’s not afraid to speak his mind as a campaigner, considering his many controversial remarks to date. While plenty of people will not agree with him, it’s easy to see that as a chief executive officer he’s used to telling his people exactly what he wants and why.  I believe that Trump is one of the great communicators of our time. 

2. Avoid singular dependency. In business, Trump began as a real estate behemoth, but he has diversified well beyond his core real estate business. He now has a presence across multiple industries including golf courses, resorts, casinos, both high end and middle tier real estate, retail, media, model management, book and magazine publishing. This level of diversification has seen him through tough times.

3. Know and believe in your brand. While the rose marble, gold monikers, pink ties, luxury real estate, and a prominent hairdo may not be your idea of style, they’ve served Trump well.  His sense of personal and business swagger is unmistakable and identifiable.  For this Trump is unapologetic.  This can certainly work against you, but Trump uses this conviction well. He is always talking about how his buildings and other holdings are the biggest, the best or the most opulent. Whether his superlatives are accurate or not, he conveys the sense that his faith in his brand is supreme, so you should share it.

4. Have a strong conviction in your own principles. This is the underlying foundation for any business owner.  Behind every great success lies a set of core values and guiding principles that help shape every decision.  Starting out as a young man in the 1970s, when New York seemed to be sliding into chaos, Trump realized that the city was still the greatest on earth and proceeded to make his own fortune by putting up skyscrapers there.

5. Have the courage to take calculated risks. Trump’s success (and billions) isn’t by accident.  Yes, he got a healthy start at a young age, because his father Fred was a prominent developer, and he lived a relatively privileged lifestyle.  But instead of squandering family money or taking it for granted, he took risks and built on it.  A great example is his first big deal in which he took Manhattan’s highly unprofitable Commodore Hotel and transformed it into the still-thriving Grand Hyatt, adjacent to Grand Central Station.  Deals like that don’t get done on a whim and don’t become profitable without taking a calculated risk. 

6. Surround yourself with excellence. Trump always talks about this network of the best and brightest. The whole point of the TV show was that the smartest and most energetic people end up performing the best. He is friends with investor activist Carl Icahn, the recently deceased Wall Street titan Alan “Ace” Greenburg and many others who were and are great business leaders of our time. 

7. Have a deep understanding of the legal system and business environment.  Trump is famous for lawsuits and several corporate (although not personal) bankruptcy filings, mainly his Atlantic City casinos.  While this isn’t necessarily a great thing, his in-depth knowledge of the legal system has undoubtedly helped him out.  Like any good business owner he has a solid understanding of business laws and tax codes. 

8. Be flexible and open to new ideas.   This can be summed up pretty easily: “Hey, Donald, let’s do a TV show called The Apprentice?” Switching from bricks-and-mortar developer to on-air host was quite a leap. If he wasn’t before, the program made him a big-time celebrity. His catchphrase, “You’re fired,” defined his exacting standards to the public.

9. Understand the economy and debt.  These are important topics that any business owner, particularly one who basically runs his own empire, should know.  Trump needs to know how the economy can affect his different businesses, to the upside and to the downside. In the early 1990s, he almost lost his kingdom because of a real estate downturn. He had gone deeply into debt to erect his many buildings, buy an airline and a huge yacht. He came out of that determined to use other people’s money for his funding, not his own resources.

10. Why you need to have enormous energy.  I have to wonder if Trump ever sleeps.  If he does, it’s probably not too much.  Like other uber-successful business leaders of our time like Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google, Trump’s steam never seems to run out. 

11. Don’t cry over spilled milk, learn from failure.  Business doesn’t always comes easy and there will be let downs, even for Donald Trump.  Some of his casinos shut down, The Apprentice didn’t last forever. He’s been involved in some famous lawsuits, and his ownership of a team in the ill-fated United States Football League didn’t work.  But in true Trump style, he picked himself up, brushed himself off, and refused to let these speed bumps stop him. 

12. Love, love, love what you do. Trump loves what he does and it shows.  I call this “harness what you have.”  It’s marrying your love for an industry or market with your inherent skill set as a business person, whether it’s sales, analytics, creative writing or finances.  If you love what you do and are fully engaged in your business, the possibilities are endless. 

Regardless of what happens in the political arena, I think Donald Trump isn’t going away anytime soon.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Wes Moss, CFP, is the chief investment strategist for Capital Investment Advisors and a partner at Wela, both in Atlanta. He hosts “Money Matters,” a live financial advice show on Atlanta’s News 95-5 and AM 750 WSB Radio. In 2015 and 2014 Barron’s Magazine named him as one of America’s top 1,200 Financial Advisors. His newly released book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think published by McGraw Hill, is available on Amazon, iTunes and at your local bookstore.

Wes writes weekly about personal finance in the “Bargain Hunter Section” for AJC.com, the site of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wes is also the editor and writer for About.com’s Personal Finance blog. Connect with Wes on Twitter at @WesMoss365 and on Facebook at Wes Moss Money Matters. You can also visit his website, WesMoss.com to learn more about Wes, and take his complimentary Money and Happiness Quiz.

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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CMVOTF investigations in St. Cloud result in several arrests http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/cmvotf-investigations-in-st-cloud-result-in-several-arrests/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/cmvotf-investigations-in-st-cloud-result-in-several-arrests/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 13:21:09 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581091 Over the past two months, the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force (CMVOTF) has been conducting an investigation into criminal activities occurring at 604 22nd Ave. N., St. Cloud.

On Aug. 21, CMVOTF investigators stopped a vehicle related to the residence and recovered approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine. Arrested as a result of this stop was Derek Stirn, 31, of St. Cloud for second-degree possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Also arrested in this stop was David Pappenfus, 28, of St. Cloud for second-degree possession of methamphetamine.

A search warrant conducted at the residence after the traffic stop Aug. 22, netted two more grams of methamphetamine. Arrested as a result of the search warrant was Dottsie Fortune, 32, of St. Cloud, for 5th degree possession of methamphetamine.

The CMVOTF continued its investigation and Aug. 31, executed another search warrant at the residence of 604 22nd Ave. N., St. Cloud. During the course of this search warrant, two rifles were located that are believed to be stolen. Arrested at the time of this second warrant was Derek Stirn, 31, for being a felon in possession of a firearm, Dottsie Fortune, 32, for disorderly conduct, and Ryan Weber, 27, for obstructing the legal process.

The investigation into the two rifles is ongoing.

The CMVOTF is comprised of officers from the cities of St. Cloud and Little Falls, and deputies from Stearns, Sherburne, Benton, Morrison and Todd counties.

The St. Cloud Police Department SWAT team assisted in this execution of the second search warrant due to the presence of the firearms. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/cmvotf-investigations-in-st-cloud-result-in-several-arrests/feed/ 0 ECM Publishers Awarded LLS National Media Award http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/ecm-publishers-awarded-lls-national-media-award/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/ecm-publishers-awarded-lls-national-media-award/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 12:15:09 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581087 The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud to announce ECM Publishers has been awarded The LLS National Media Award. ECM Publishers, parent company of Sun Newspapers and Sun Media, and the Morrison County Record, has consistently supported LLS since 1992 when its employees first participated in Dress for LLS, an annual fundraiser in which employees dress up in costumes or dress down in jeans and raise money for blood cancers. Along with Dress for LLS, Sun Newspapers also formed a Light The Night Walk team three times under the direction of inside sales executive Michelle Ahrens, fundraising thousands of dollars for the mission.

Sun Newspapers has sponsored ads for Light The Night and Team In Training, campaigns hosted by LLS. It also highlights people in area communities who have partnered with the organization in a variety of ways: Man & Woman of the Year candidates, team captains, and top fundraisers, to name a few.

The Lifeblood Awards, where ECM Publishers will accept its award, is the one night of the year completely set aside to honor and thank the participants and fundraisers, patients and volunteers who are truly the lifeblood of the LLS mission, according to Teri Cannon, executive director of LLS, Minnesota Chapter. The Lifeblood Awards will take place Thursday, Sept. 17, as September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

ECM Publishers has continually played a great role towards the success of LLS’s mission, striving for a world without blood cancers, Cannon said. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/02/ecm-publishers-awarded-lls-national-media-award/feed/ 0 Backowski / Genske http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/backowski-genske/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/backowski-genske/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 22:24:11 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581085 Backowski / Genske

Gary and Patty Backowksi of Flensburg announce the engagement of their daughter, Carmen Backowski to Joshua Genske, son of Kristopher and Stephanie Genske of Waconia.
Carmen is a 2011 graudate of Little Falls Community High School, and a 2014 graduate of Bemidji State University. She is employed at the University of Minnesota Extension Health & Nutrition.
Joshua is a 2010 grauduate of Mayer Lutheran High School and Bemidji State University. He is employed at Eagle Construction.
A Sept. 19, 2015 wedding is being planned. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/backowski-genske/feed/ 0 Helen Moris http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/helen-moris/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/helen-moris/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 22:24:01 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581082 Helen Moris

Helen Doris Moris was born to Shannon Coyer and David Moris of Long Prairie, Aug. 27, 2015, at 4:13 at CentraCare Health-Long Prairie. She weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.
She will be welcomed home by Donnie, Bo, Hope, Zane, Noah and Troy.
Grandparents are Dorthy Moris and Steven Landowski. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/helen-moris/feed/ 0 Stephen F. Wiersgalla http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/stephen-f-wiersgalla/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/stephen-f-wiersgalla/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:03:15 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581074 Image-19544Stephen F. Wiersgalla Jr., age 75, of Browerville passed way at his home surrounded by his family, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015.
Steve was born July 28, 1940, in Long Prairie, to Steve and Delores (Dorothy Twardowski) Wiersgalla. The family moved to Milwaukee, Wisc., when Steve was a year-old and moved back to a farm east of Browerville, when Steve was 14. He graduated from Browerville High School in 1959. After graduation, Steve joined the U.S. Army and served his country in Germany from 1960-1963. In response to the Berlin crisis his unit was sent in to Berlin, Germany. On Nov. 6, 1963, Steve was united in marriage to his loving wife Sue Travis in Clarissa. They settled in Browerville and began their family. In 1975, Steve Joined the Minnesota Army National Guard and retired after 20+ years as a 1SG. He worked for Banta Printing for over 30 years. Steve also served as the Mayor of Browerville for 20 years. He was very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, elected as 6th District Commander in 1983. He achieved the All American Commander Award. He was also a member of VFW Post 3922 and American Legion Post 12. Steve loved his family. He especially enjoyed the grandkids. One of his favorite things to do was feed them candy and send them home all sugared up for mom and dad. He also enjoyed trips to North Dakota to fish and hunt.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 51 years, Sue; children, Denise Biggs of Browerville, Steve (Andrea) of Browerville, Vicki (Eric) Kueker of Verndale and Todd (Kari) of Staples; brothers, Dwight (Celeste) of Little Falls, Richard “Rick” (Kathy) of Baxter and Terry of Sherman, Texas; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren.
Preceding Steve in death were his parents Steve and Delores; father and mother- in-law, Ted and Elsie Travis; twin sons, Michael Stephen and Mark Donald.
A memorial service for Steve was held Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, at 11 a.m. at the Post Chapel at Camp Ripley. Burial was at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, near Camp Ripley.
Caring for Stephen and the Wiersgalla Family is Taylor Funeral Home Staples Chapel 218-895-9009 www.taylorfunerals.com ]]>
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How to Grow a Business http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/how-to-grow-a-business/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/how-to-grow-a-business/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:30:04 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=a02e060ff7351c3bd92c7f259493f787 Some small businesses start with a strong initial intention and moneymaking idea; others seem to begin accidentally with no deliberate strategy. As your business evolves, the need to develop a conscious strategy becomes more important. Here’s what to know.

Conventional wisdom recommends creating a long-term business plan for the next five years and then a tactical plan for the near term, typically one year. The problem with this approach: Your business assumptions often change faster than your ability to execute ideas. Businesses require continuous planning to keep pace with changing market forces and new demands from customers and employees.

John Hagel III, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge consultancy, challenges the conventional approach to strategic planning, arguing that the best-performing companies – especially in technology – deploy an effective approach he calls “Zoom In-Zoom Out.”

First, successful companies zoom out to develop long-range assumptions about the forces that may affect the business over the next 10 to 20 years and create a vision around these findings. Then they zoom in to focus on a short time, say six to 12 months, and work on two or three initiatives that Hagel terms “needle movers.”

He also warns against the common pitfall of spreading skimpy resources over too many choices, benefiting no one initiative. Growing is a great business objective if growth translates into results.

Leaders must also stay engaged with the status of long-term assumptions. Hagel explains how companies often latch onto rigid assumptions in their long-range plan, failing to alter strategy when the market shifts. Eastman Kodak (KODK) and Microsoft (MSFT) offer two examples: Both once dominated markets, but failed to adapt to change.

Hagel explains how Kodak’s executives believed that photography’s future always hinged on film (oddly, the company was among the first to seriously explore digital photography, in the 1970s, yet missed the opportunity to invest in this new direction). Microsoft accomplished its initial goal of becoming the leader in desktop computing, then became mired in its own plan as the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) outmaneuvered Bill Gates and company in the personal technology space.

Kodak and Microsoft zoomed in to create initial success, but neglected to zoom out to challenge assumptions.

Hagel emphasizes achieving critical mass in a market before any potential competitors. Think about how you might create a winning strategy that other businesses in your area or field can’t replicate easily: a clear market niche, a unique solution to your optimal consumer’s biggest challenge or a recruiting program that makes your business the employer of choice.

Over-diversification of operations, especially into incompatible or competing activities (think of a manufacturer that makes bird feeders, lawn mowers and silicone implants), tends to strain resources and retard growth in each separate line of the business. If you need too long to explain your whole enterprise, it’s likely to be poorly structured.

The best-performing companies define the optimal customer and that customer’s needs and expectations, and methodically build products and services to respond to that need. Leaders must challenge assumptions about the business, considering regulation, demographics, new methods of competition, the investment environment and emerging client needs. Hagel advises business leaders to discuss long-view issues in every management meeting and dive into specific objectives every six months.

Hagel cautions against two common failures: ignoring the big picture and focusing solely on the incremental and adopting a rigid long-term strategy. While businesses do tend to look at financial metrics, these lagging indicators may not help you understand trends that might affect you long term. Hagel favors metrics to serve as leading indicators, such as customer satisfaction, levels of repeat business, demonstrations of loyalty through referrals and major sources of business opportunities.

Discuss trends revealed through the leading indicators, and then decide the direction of your business and what you must do to get on the right path of growth.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Scott Thompson is the co-founder of Bridge Business Consultants (BBC). BBC is a consulting firm that specializes in helping business owners and certified public accounting firms recognize tax incentives and realize expense recovery. BBC also specializes in business exit planning and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal for their Business Exit Solutions. Scott is a certified specialist in Retirement Planning. Laura Thompson (co-founder) is a CPA and certified specialist in Estate 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.

]]> Some small businesses start with a strong initial intention and moneymaking idea; others seem to begin accidentally with no deliberate strategy. As your business evolves, the need to develop a conscious strategy becomes more important. Here’s what to know.

Conventional wisdom recommends creating a long-term business plan for the next five years and then a tactical plan for the near term, typically one year. The problem with this approach: Your business assumptions often change faster than your ability to execute ideas. Businesses require continuous planning to keep pace with changing market forces and new demands from customers and employees.

John Hagel III, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge consultancy, challenges the conventional approach to strategic planning, arguing that the best-performing companies – especially in technology – deploy an effective approach he calls “Zoom In-Zoom Out.”

First, successful companies zoom out to develop long-range assumptions about the forces that may affect the business over the next 10 to 20 years and create a vision around these findings. Then they zoom in to focus on a short time, say six to 12 months, and work on two or three initiatives that Hagel terms “needle movers.”

He also warns against the common pitfall of spreading skimpy resources over too many choices, benefiting no one initiative. Growing is a great business objective if growth translates into results.

Leaders must also stay engaged with the status of long-term assumptions. Hagel explains how companies often latch onto rigid assumptions in their long-range plan, failing to alter strategy when the market shifts. Eastman Kodak (KODK) and Microsoft (MSFT) offer two examples: Both once dominated markets, but failed to adapt to change.

Hagel explains how Kodak’s executives believed that photography’s future always hinged on film (oddly, the company was among the first to seriously explore digital photography, in the 1970s, yet missed the opportunity to invest in this new direction). Microsoft accomplished its initial goal of becoming the leader in desktop computing, then became mired in its own plan as the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) outmaneuvered Bill Gates and company in the personal technology space.

Kodak and Microsoft zoomed in to create initial success, but neglected to zoom out to challenge assumptions.

Hagel emphasizes achieving critical mass in a market before any potential competitors. Think about how you might create a winning strategy that other businesses in your area or field can’t replicate easily: a clear market niche, a unique solution to your optimal consumer’s biggest challenge or a recruiting program that makes your business the employer of choice.

Over-diversification of operations, especially into incompatible or competing activities (think of a manufacturer that makes bird feeders, lawn mowers and silicone implants), tends to strain resources and retard growth in each separate line of the business. If you need too long to explain your whole enterprise, it’s likely to be poorly structured.

The best-performing companies define the optimal customer and that customer’s needs and expectations, and methodically build products and services to respond to that need. Leaders must challenge assumptions about the business, considering regulation, demographics, new methods of competition, the investment environment and emerging client needs. Hagel advises business leaders to discuss long-view issues in every management meeting and dive into specific objectives every six months.

Hagel cautions against two common failures: ignoring the big picture and focusing solely on the incremental and adopting a rigid long-term strategy. While businesses do tend to look at financial metrics, these lagging indicators may not help you understand trends that might affect you long term. Hagel favors metrics to serve as leading indicators, such as customer satisfaction, levels of repeat business, demonstrations of loyalty through referrals and major sources of business opportunities.

Discuss trends revealed through the leading indicators, and then decide the direction of your business and what you must do to get on the right path of growth.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Scott Thompson is the co-founder of Bridge Business Consultants (BBC). BBC is a consulting firm that specializes in helping business owners and certified public accounting firms recognize tax incentives and realize expense recovery. BBC also specializes in business exit planning and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal for their Business Exit Solutions. Scott is a certified specialist in Retirement Planning. Laura Thompson (co-founder) is a CPA and certified specialist in Estate 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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Lucille A. Cameron http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/lucille-a-cameron/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/lucille-a-cameron/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:24:37 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581066 Lucille A.   Cameron

Lucille A. Cameron, 100-year-old resident of Pillager, passed away Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, at the Riverside Assisted Living in Pillager. Funeral Services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, at Lincoln Evangelical Free Church in Cushing, with the Rev. Jim Brown and the Rev. Dan Crocker officiating. A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the Shelley Funeral Chapel in Little Fall and one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church. Burial will be at Scandia Valley Cemetery in Sandia Valley Twp., Morrison County.
Lucille was born in Sioux Falls, S.D. July 28, 1915, to John and Bertha Borden. The family moved to Lincoln, in 1935, where she met and married Robert "Bob" Cameron. Together they started their family and farmed in Cushing area. In 1955, they moved to Minneapolis. Lucille made her living as a seamstress and sewing for commercial factories. Lucille retired back to the farm in 1979. She loved sewing for her family, gardening, flowers, canning, horses, card making and most of all spending time with her family, right up to the great-great-grandchildren.
Lucille is survived by her son, Darrell (Marion) Cameron of Maple Grove; daughters, Marilyn (Don) Weigel of Pillager, Eleanor (Denis) Bell-Quarry of Cushing and Ardith (Jerry) Krogh of Faribault; sister-in-law, Ruth Fuchs; special friend, Harriet Rassler; grandchildren, Sharon, Carol, Bruce, Robert, Todd, Jayne, Pamela, Crystal, Andrew and Brittany; 23 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandsons. Lucille was preceded in death by her parents, John and Bertha Borden; husband, Robert Cameron; brothers, Fred, Albert and Kenneth; sisters, Arletta and Ethel; son-in-law, Dennis Lundberg and granddaughter, Jeni Haefemeyer. Pallbearers will be Lucille's grandsons, Bruce Quarry III, Dan Parker, Noah Strouth, Steve Haefemeyer, Andrew Cameron and Brent Parker. Honorary pallbearer will be Tom Bestland.

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Mary LaPorte http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/mary-laporte/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/mary-laporte/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:24:25 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581062 Mary LaPorte

Mary LaPorte, age 61, of Brainerd, died Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, at her home surrounded by her loving family.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Emblom Brenny Funeral Service in Little Falls, with Fr. Joseph Herzing officiating.
Private interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Little Falls.
Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. until the hour of service at the funeral home.
Mary Elizabeth Zilka was born Jan. 7, 1954, in Little Falls, the daughter of Thomas and Clara (Zasmeta) Zilka. She grew up in Little Falls where she attended school graduating with the Class of 1972. She was blessed with two sons and two daughters. As a military wife, Mary lived in many different places in the United States and returned to Minnesota in 1998. Mary enjoyed playing bingo, dancing, singing, fishing and playing games on the computer. She especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a member of the VFW Auxiliary in Brainerd.
Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Lori (Scott) Fearing of Staples, Brenda (Tim) Bongs of Crosby and Alicia LaPorte of Rochester; grandchildren, Jamie, Joshua, Joanna, Jenell and Jayda; great-grandchildren, Vivian, Savaha and MiKaylyn; siblings, Theresa, Tom, Jim, Julie, Donna, Kathy, Helen and Valerie.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Tom and Clara; sons, Stephen and William; brother, Johnny and sister, Delores.
Memorials preferred to the family.

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Local bar caught serving alcohol to minors; owner allegedly aided escape from police http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/local-bar-caught-serving-alcohol-to-minors-owner-allegedly-aided-escape-from-police/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/local-bar-caught-serving-alcohol-to-minors-owner-allegedly-aided-escape-from-police/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:14:41 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581057 By Gabby LandsverkStaff Writer

The Grub and Pub Bar in Morrison County is facing civil penalties after an undercover, underaged officer was allegedly served alcohol at the business and helped out of the building by the owner to escape citation when police arrived.

According to Morrison County Sheriff Shawn Larsen, a sting operation was conducted after multiple complaints were made that the Grub and Pub was serving alcohol to underaged customers, even after a warning from the sheriff.

Initially, the Sheriff’s Department contacted the business owner, Russell Holewa, Feb. 11, advising him of the complaints and that officers would be conducting a walk-through of the establishment to ensure compliance with all laws.

After complaints continued, another walk-through was conducted July 17 in response to a report of underaged drinking at the bar.

Two minors were found and cited for underaged drinking.

In response, the Sheriff’s Department decided to conduct an undercover sting operation July 25, sending in two plainclothes officers, one of whom was under the legal drinking age.

A bartender at the Grub and Pub, Kayla Candia Bjerke, Hillman, has been charged with a gross misdemeanor in connection with the incident.

According to the criminal complaint, the officers arrived at the bar at 12:05 a.m. and ordered beer. Bjerke asked to see IDs and, while one officer provided one which indicated he is over 21, the other officer stated he did not have his ID on him. Bjerke then allegedly told the officer it was OK, that she would “just say he bought it,” gesturing at the officer who was of age, and served beer to both of the officers.

Later, both officers were again served beer and witnessed Bjerke serving to three others suspected to be minors.

Holewa was allegedly present from 1:15 a.m. onward, during which the underaged officer was served at 2:10 a.m., after legal closing hours. Police arrived shortly afterward at 2:15 a.m.

Holewa was not witnessed serving anyone, but the officer alleged that when law enforcement arrived, Holewa advised the undercover officers to follow him outside to avoid detection.

“He pretty much helped our undercover officers figure out where they should run to evade law enforcement,” Larsen said.

When contacted by law enforcement, Holewa allegedly stated that he was aware that the bartender had served minors in the past and he had warned her not to do so again.

County Attorney Brian Middendorf said the county‘s options for responding to the incident include imposing a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation, suspending the liquor license for up to 60 days and/or attempting to revoke the license entirely.

In the latter two cases, the license holder has a right to a hearing to contest the allegation, in which case the cost to hire an administrative law judge to oversee the hearing is estimated at $1,000-$2,000, Middendorf said.

“What I would recommend is that the Board give (Larsen) and I the authority to sit down with the bar owner and discuss the situation and see if we can reach an agreement as to the appropriate consequences,” Middendorf said.

Larsen added that similar problems with the bar occurred under the same owner in 2006, when the Board denied a 2 a.m. closing time for the bar after complaints.

The 2 a.m. closing time was since reinstated and is now up for renewal Sept. 27, which the County Board could choose to deny in light of the charges.

There was a consensus among the Board members that some action was needed to insure compliance.

“I have to agree that we have to do something because if we don’t, the licenses don’t mean nothing,” said Commissioner Mike Wilson. “You can’t serve minors … We need to look at this one and make sure we treat them all the same no matter who gets caught.”

Commissioner Kevin Maurer echoed Wilson’s concerns about setting a precedent for strict enforcement of liquor licenses.

“What meaning do the licenses have if they don’t incur some accountability?” Maurer said. “This has been going on and it needs to be addressed.”

Middendorf added that his office is still reviewing whether criminal charges will be filed against the bar owner, but said the current focus is on civil penalties.

The decision will have to be made by the Board as to what action will be taken against the bar and Holewa.

“It’s our opinion that there should be licensing consequences against the bar owner,” Middendorf said. “I don’t think this behavior is acceptable in our county from someone with a liquor license.” ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/local-bar-caught-serving-alcohol-to-minors-owner-allegedly-aided-escape-from-police/feed/ 1 Veterans headed to eight-day tour of Alaska http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/veterans-headed-to-eight-day-tour-of-alaska/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/veterans-headed-to-eight-day-tour-of-alaska/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:19:54 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581052 Three veterans will leave for an eight-day tour of Alaska, Tuesday. Pictured are (from left): Dave Brezinka of Upsala; Herb Wielenberg of Freeport; Ivan Blenker of Melrose and their trip host Bob Erickson of Erickson’s Outdoor Adventures, who is funding the trip.

Three veterans will leave for an eight-day tour of Alaska, Tuesday. Pictured are (from left): Dave Brezinka of Upsala; Herb Wielenberg of Freeport; Ivan Blenker of Melrose and their trip host Bob Erickson of Erickson’s Outdoor Adventures, who is funding the trip.

Bob Erickson, who owns Erickson’s Outdoor Adventures in St. Cloud, is financing a trip to Alaska for three veterans. They leave Tuesday.

The three — Dave Brezinka of Upsala; Ivan Blenker of Melrose and Herbert Wielenberg of Freeport — were nominated by service organizations for their military service and service to their communities.

Brezinka served in the 78th Combat Engineer Battalion and served in Germany; Blenker was in the 632nd Engineering Company and served in Viet Nam; and Wielenberg was in the 23rd Infantry Battalion and served in Viet Nam.

The four men will go fishing for halibut in Homer, silver salmon fishing on the famous Kenai River and on a river rafting trip. They will visit an active gold mine, take a glacier trip, visit a dog musher and meet the interesting residents of the area, as well as many of the entrepreneurs who migrated to Alaska from the lower 48.

One of those who migrated is Howard Hunt, a 93-year-old World War II Air Force veteran. He was born in Iowa and migrated to Alaska to homestead after his military duty. Erickson said Hunt is likely the best-known veteran in Alaska.

Hunt flew the world famous bomber of World War II, the Memphis Belle, and eventually started an Alaskan airline with four fellow pilots. He filed many gold and oil claims and still retains some of those.

Hunt has had many adventures including salvaging wrecked aircraft from the mountains or oceans, salvaging a four-engine plane that ran out of fuel and landed on the ice 40 miles out of Churchill, Alaska. Hunt floated the plane to shore as it was breaking up. He disassembled the plane, put it on seven flatbed rail cars and shipped it to Wildwood, N.J., to its original owner. Erickson said Hunt was written about in Life Magazine for this feat.

Hunt will meet the four men at the airport in Anchorage, wearing his World War II uniform, Erickson said.

Once the trip is completed, Erickson plans to put together a DVD to share the trip, as well as other interesting events he’s seen in Alaska.

Any group interested in viewing the DVD is welcome to contact Erickson at (320) 251-2253. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/veterans-headed-to-eight-day-tour-of-alaska/feed/ 0 CLC to begin Cultural Thursday series Sept. 3, with focus on Cuba’s history http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/clc-to-begin-cultural-thursday-series-sept-3-with-focus-on-cubas-history/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/clc-to-begin-cultural-thursday-series-sept-3-with-focus-on-cubas-history/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:15:54 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581049 A Cuban man in Havana, left, visits with Gary Payne on one of Payne’s trips to the area.

A Cuban man in Havana, left, visits with Gary Payne on one of Payne’s trips to the area.

Central Lakes College (CLC) instructor Gary Payne will present on Cuba for the semester’s first Cultural Thursday event.

Payne will hold two presentations: One at noon and another at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 3, in lecture hall room E354, Brainerd campus.

The noon presentation on the turbulent history and politics of Cuba will last 50 minutes and the 7 p.m. in-depth presentation will be 90 minutes.

Payne has toured Cuba three times over the last two decades, and will use the digital images he has gathered to demystify the story of this controversial nation. Payne has visited most of the nations south of the U.S. border and finds that Cuba’s people are healthier and more educated.

Payne’s Cuba presentation is drawn from his Race, Ethnicity and Oppression class at CLC and was first presented years ago in a Cultural Thursday presentation. It has been updated to address events at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo and the involvement of organized crime in several attempted assassinations of Fidel Castro.

With the U.S. travel ban to Cuba recently lifted, CLC is offering a tour for local residents and students to the beautiful island nation in Spring 2016.

For more information on this or other Cultural Thursday events, contact Tracey Kloeckl-Jimenez at (218) 855-8183. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/clc-to-begin-cultural-thursday-series-sept-3-with-focus-on-cubas-history/feed/ 1 Saved Enough to Retire? http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/saved-enough-to-retire/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/saved-enough-to-retire/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:00:28 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=c1b006c4a7d92dae80dbb5b8bfe29886 One reason retirement funding may mystify you: How do you know when you saved enough so you won’t run out of money during your golden years? The answer begins with an understanding of your day-to-day expenses, and how those expenses may change in 30 or more years of retirement.

According to a recent survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 84% of future retirees believe that savings will cover their post-career years – yet fewer than one in three respondents actually calculated how much they will need. Only around 20% had more than $100,000 set aside. More than 10% had nothing at all saved for retirement.

A conventional savings rule says you withdraw no more than 3% to 5% each year from your retirement savings to make your money last, aka a sustainable rate of withdrawal. Opinions vary about appropriate sustainable rates; the 4% rule comes under considerable scrutiny lately. Working with the above range will get you close.

This equates to $1 million in retirement funds for you to withdraw $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

Don’t despair: There are ways to increase your sustainable rate of withdrawal while still maintaining a relatively high degree of certainty that your money will last.

The first and possibly most critical factor is to plan and then to monitor your plan closely, either on your own or with a financial pro. Your plan needs to include projections or modeling to show what your future income might be based on your sources of income, such as retirement savings, pensions, Social Security benefits and the like.

Developing a plan can give you more confidence in your ability to make savings last. Similarly, planning can also reveal if you saved too little and allow you time to adjust your efforts. Review and update your plan once a year or so.

Second, adjusting your portfolio holdings can also boost your level of sustainable withdrawal. More risk in your holdings is actually good for your long-term holdings; a significant position in the stock market helps you achieve a higher level of returns – and, in your retirement, withdrawals – over time. Without some exposure to risk, your funds will fall behind the inflation of day-to-day expenses, not to mention such hyper-inflation items as health care.

The third important factor regarding your savings’ sustainability: the pattern of income that you’ll need in retirement. Over three or more decades, your income needs will likely change. During your first several years, for instance, you’ll likely spend more than average as you travel or take on new hobbies. On the other hand, you may continue to save during this time of your life, perhaps with income from a part-time job.

Later in retirement, many folks lower expenses as they become more sedentary, not traveling as much and having fewer extraneous expenses. Declining health and energy in still-later years often increase health-care costs.

Best to maintain a realistic view of your own life span, erring on the long-term side. It’s not unreasonable to project a retirement plan to your late 90s. With planning, that can be completely good news.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

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.

 

]]> One reason retirement funding may mystify you: How do you know when you saved enough so you won’t run out of money during your golden years? The answer begins with an understanding of your day-to-day expenses, and how those expenses may change in 30 or more years of retirement.

According to a recent survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 84% of future retirees believe that savings will cover their post-career years – yet fewer than one in three respondents actually calculated how much they will need. Only around 20% had more than $100,000 set aside. More than 10% had nothing at all saved for retirement.

A conventional savings rule says you withdraw no more than 3% to 5% each year from your retirement savings to make your money last, aka a sustainable rate of withdrawal. Opinions vary about appropriate sustainable rates; the 4% rule comes under considerable scrutiny lately. Working with the above range will get you close.

This equates to $1 million in retirement funds for you to withdraw $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

Don’t despair: There are ways to increase your sustainable rate of withdrawal while still maintaining a relatively high degree of certainty that your money will last.

The first and possibly most critical factor is to plan and then to monitor your plan closely, either on your own or with a financial pro. Your plan needs to include projections or modeling to show what your future income might be based on your sources of income, such as retirement savings, pensions, Social Security benefits and the like.

Developing a plan can give you more confidence in your ability to make savings last. Similarly, planning can also reveal if you saved too little and allow you time to adjust your efforts. Review and update your plan once a year or so.

Second, adjusting your portfolio holdings can also boost your level of sustainable withdrawal. More risk in your holdings is actually good for your long-term holdings; a significant position in the stock market helps you achieve a higher level of returns – and, in your retirement, withdrawals – over time. Without some exposure to risk, your funds will fall behind the inflation of day-to-day expenses, not to mention such hyper-inflation items as health care.

The third important factor regarding your savings’ sustainability: the pattern of income that you’ll need in retirement. Over three or more decades, your income needs will likely change. During your first several years, for instance, you’ll likely spend more than average as you travel or take on new hobbies. On the other hand, you may continue to save during this time of your life, perhaps with income from a part-time job.

Later in retirement, many folks lower expenses as they become more sedentary, not traveling as much and having fewer extraneous expenses. Declining health and energy in still-later years often increase health-care costs.

Best to maintain a realistic view of your own life span, erring on the long-term side. It’s not unreasonable to project a retirement plan to your late 90s. With planning, that can be completely good news.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

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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Highway 27 lane closures between Little Falls, Long Prairie begin Sept. 8 http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/highway-27-lane-closures-between-little-falls-long-prairie-begin-sept-8/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/highway-27-lane-closures-between-little-falls-long-prairie-begin-sept-8/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:26:53 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581044 Motorists on Highway 27 between Little Falls and Long Prairie will encounter lane closures, flaggers and potential delays as segments of the road are reduced to a single lane beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The closures will occur from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, between Ninth Street NE in Long Prairie and 127th Avenue in Little Falls, and will be complete by the end of September.

Flaggers and a pilot car will allow one-way, alternating traffic through each day’s work zone. Motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop as they approach each work zone, obey the flaggers and use caution as they follow the pilot car through the work zone.

Also, motorists entering a work zone from driveways or roads that intersect Highway 27 must wait for the pilot car to pass, then follow it through the work zone.

The closures are needed while crews resurface 22 miles of Highway 27. When complete, the project will help extend the life of the pavement and help ensure Highway 27 serves local and regional motorists for many years.

For more details on how to safely navigate work zones with pilot cars, visit www.mndot.gov/d3/graphics2/pilotcar.pdf.

To learn more about MnDOT and transportation funding, visit MnDOT’s Get Connected website at:www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected/.

 

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, check www.511mn.org. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/highway-27-lane-closures-between-little-falls-long-prairie-begin-sept-8/feed/ 0 Commodities: Winners, Losers http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/commodities-winners-losers/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/commodities-winners-losers/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:30:08 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?guid=473aff24aaf49b3b5c8ec0f6f594a932 Commodities have been in a bear market for the past seven years.  In the past several months, the downturn has accelerated significantly. This produces losers, but also winners, namely the developed world.

Three of the largest economic areas of the globe, Europe, Japan and the U.S., receive a net benefit from lower commodity prices.  Low oil and other raw materials prices, which affect consumers and manufacturers alike, are the equivalent of a massive tax reduction on consumers and corporations. 

This holiday won’t last forever, though: Low commodity prices will eventually curtail commodity supply and pricing will turn back up. 
 
But in the meantime, for commodity producing countries, especially those with high debt levels, a vicious cycle is in play.  They have to produce even more supply at reduced prices to service their debt, fund government operations and protect market share. 

Saudi Arabia is used to running government budget surpluses.  This year, the Saudi government has already burned through almost $62 billion of foreign currency reserves, and borrowed $4 billion from local banks in July – its first bond issue since 2007. The kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2015.  Conditions are similar or worse in Russia, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil and many other commodity-centric countries.

Commodity prices and stocks (even before the selloff that started last month) are getting crushed.  The iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), an exchange-traded fund that tracks a Standard & Poor’s commodity index, is down 14% year-to-date.  It is 24% below where it traded at the start of March 2009, the market’s financial crisis low point.  The United States Oil (USO) ETF, which follows the petroleum industry, is almost 50% below its Great Recession low.  Steel, as measured by producer ArcelorMittal (MT) is down 80%. Freeport-McMoran (FCX), a large copper and commodities company, if off by about half.  

Over the past five-plus years since March 2009, the U.S. economy has expanded from a gross domestic product to $18.12 trillion as of the second quarter 2015, from $14.09 trillion in 2009’s second quarter

A basic measure of economic activity is bulk transport.  Since March 2009, the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT) is up over 200%.  The CSX, Canadian National and Union Pacific railroad stocks have at least tripled during this time.  For comparison purposes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 190%. 

Normally, economic growth means rising demand and prices for commodities. But despite slow and steady growth, raw materials, including oil, agricultural chemicals, aluminum, copper and steel, are all down. 

One explanation is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  Many commodities, like oil and gold, are priced in greenbacks. Dollar strength means commodities are cheaper and vice versa. Because other nations’ currencies are weaker, they can buy less oil, so demand for it flags, leading to falling prices.

The chart above shows that, although the dollar has appreciated since mid-2014, it has stabilized in the past several months.  Yet commodities have legged down sharply over the summer.  The most recent negative price action in commodities is likely tied to worries about economic growth rates in China.  In recent years, China’s economy has been expanding at 7% plus.  In 2016, some economists are forecasting less than 4% growth.
 
Just recently, the People’s Bank of China provided 110 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) to 14 financial institutions to help boost the economy, a day after injecting nearly $100 billion into two government policy banks.  China also began to devalue their currency in an effort to stimulate exports, because their goods become cheaper to foreign buyers.  Many investors view the interventions as desperate measures and an indication that China’s economy and financial system is deteriorating rapidly.  The Chinese stock market continues to trade lower.
 
Slowing growth in China is a demand problem for commodities.  Possibly a bigger problem for commodities is an oversupply problem.  During the past ten years, new commodity hedge funds, China and many emerging economies created steadily rising demand for commodities that stimulated a strong supply response. 

Commodity companies were building new mines, processing centers, and other facilities to expand supply to meet demand.  At $100 per barrel, oil producers could not produce oil fast enough from new resources accessed by U.S. fracking technology.  This new supply has come on line and cannot be easily shut down in the short run.  U.S. oil production is currently running near all-time highs even with oil (West Texas Intermediate crude) below $50 per barrel, and in recent days briefly south of $40, and the rig count down by more than half over the past 12 months.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your Risk. Additional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.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.

 

 

 

 

]]> Commodities have been in a bear market for the past seven years.  In the past several months, the downturn has accelerated significantly. This produces losers, but also winners, namely the developed world.

Three of the largest economic areas of the globe, Europe, Japan and the U.S., receive a net benefit from lower commodity prices.  Low oil and other raw materials prices, which affect consumers and manufacturers alike, are the equivalent of a massive tax reduction on consumers and corporations. 

This holiday won’t last forever, though: Low commodity prices will eventually curtail commodity supply and pricing will turn back up. 
 
But in the meantime, for commodity producing countries, especially those with high debt levels, a vicious cycle is in play.  They have to produce even more supply at reduced prices to service their debt, fund government operations and protect market share. 

Saudi Arabia is used to running government budget surpluses.  This year, the Saudi government has already burned through almost $62 billion of foreign currency reserves, and borrowed $4 billion from local banks in July – its first bond issue since 2007. The kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2015.  Conditions are similar or worse in Russia, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil and many other commodity-centric countries.

Commodity prices and stocks (even before the selloff that started last month) are getting crushed.  The iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), an exchange-traded fund that tracks a Standard & Poor’s commodity index, is down 14% year-to-date.  It is 24% below where it traded at the start of March 2009, the market’s financial crisis low point.  The United States Oil (USO) ETF, which follows the petroleum industry, is almost 50% below its Great Recession low.  Steel, as measured by producer ArcelorMittal (MT) is down 80%. Freeport-McMoran (FCX), a large copper and commodities company, if off by about half.  

Over the past five-plus years since March 2009, the U.S. economy has expanded from a gross domestic product to $18.12 trillion as of the second quarter 2015, from $14.09 trillion in 2009’s second quarter

A basic measure of economic activity is bulk transport.  Since March 2009, the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT) is up over 200%.  The CSX, Canadian National and Union Pacific railroad stocks have at least tripled during this time.  For comparison purposes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 190%. 

Normally, economic growth means rising demand and prices for commodities. But despite slow and steady growth, raw materials, including oil, agricultural chemicals, aluminum, copper and steel, are all down. 

One explanation is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  Many commodities, like oil and gold, are priced in greenbacks. Dollar strength means commodities are cheaper and vice versa. Because other nations’ currencies are weaker, they can buy less oil, so demand for it flags, leading to falling prices.

The chart above shows that, although the dollar has appreciated since mid-2014, it has stabilized in the past several months.  Yet commodities have legged down sharply over the summer.  The most recent negative price action in commodities is likely tied to worries about economic growth rates in China.  In recent years, China’s economy has been expanding at 7% plus.  In 2016, some economists are forecasting less than 4% growth.
 
Just recently, the People’s Bank of China provided 110 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) to 14 financial institutions to help boost the economy, a day after injecting nearly $100 billion into two government policy banks.  China also began to devalue their currency in an effort to stimulate exports, because their goods become cheaper to foreign buyers.  Many investors view the interventions as desperate measures and an indication that China’s economy and financial system is deteriorating rapidly.  The Chinese stock market continues to trade lower.
 
Slowing growth in China is a demand problem for commodities.  Possibly a bigger problem for commodities is an oversupply problem.  During the past ten years, new commodity hedge funds, China and many emerging economies created steadily rising demand for commodities that stimulated a strong supply response. 

Commodity companies were building new mines, processing centers, and other facilities to expand supply to meet demand.  At $100 per barrel, oil producers could not produce oil fast enough from new resources accessed by U.S. fracking technology.  This new supply has come on line and cannot be easily shut down in the short run.  U.S. oil production is currently running near all-time highs even with oil (West Texas Intermediate crude) below $50 per barrel, and in recent days briefly south of $40, and the rig count down by more than half over the past 12 months.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your Risk. Additional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.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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Angie Dooley chosen as September Employee of the Month http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/angie-dooley-chosen-as-september-employee-of-the-month/ http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/angie-dooley-chosen-as-september-employee-of-the-month/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:48:49 +0000 http://mcrecord.com/?p=581037 By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Angie Dooley can be found at the customer service desk at Coborn’s Superstore most of the time, but sometimes she can be found working a check-out lane. She is the Chamber’s September Employee of the Month.
Angie Dooley can be found at the customer service desk at Coborn’s Superstore most of the time, but sometimes she can be found working a check-out lane. She is the Chamber’s September Employee of the Month.

Angela “Angie” Dooley can be seen out front at Coborn’s Superstore, most of the time working at the courtesy counter, sometimes on a check-out till. She represents the store to each and every customer she greets — and was nominated as the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce’s Employee of the Month for September.

“Angela is always smiling and upbeat,” said supervisor Diane Gonzalez. “She treats all of our customers with respect — she brings joy to her customers.”

Eileen Sandberg, another supervisor, said Coborn’s was honored to have Dooley as part of their team.

“She comes to work upbeat and with a smile for all,” said Sandberg. “She gives all our guests exceptional service. She treats all of our guests and fellow employees with dignity and respect.”

Dooley, who has two caughters, Jacyndia, 16, and Brooklynn, 8, is engaged to T.J. Ady.

She said she enjoys making people happy and that she loves her job.

“It makes my day complete to make others happy,” said Dooley.

She was “truly honored” to be recognized as the September Employee of the Month for the work she does.

“When you love your job as much as I do, it doesn’t feel like work,” she said.

In her spare time, Dooley is a distributor for “It Works Global.” She enjoys spending quality time with her family, bike riding, gardening, attending concerts and taking an occasional trip to the casino.

As Employee of the Month, Dooley will receive professional photography services from Silker Studio and salon services from Fresh Hair Professionals.

The award is also accompanied by gift certificates from AmericInn, Baby’s on Broadway, Franciscan Sisters, Fitness Connection, Lindbergh Historic Site, Pizza Ranch, RadioShack, ServiceMaster, Subway and Vacuum Cleaner Outlet and Service Center

She will also receive flowers from Coborn’s as well as a cookbook from CHI St. Gabriel’s Health Hospice Program. ]]> http://mcrecord.com/2015/09/01/angie-dooley-chosen-as-september-employee-of-the-month/feed/ 0