Musings.

Musings

The world, the economy, the markets, and our lives are dynamic. Events can have a large or small impact on us. They can create excitement, cause fears, raise questions, and spark insight.

Listed here are our most spontaneous, timely, and succinct comments on wealth, life, and more.





  • December 31, 2010 - The Centre for Economics and Business Research, a UK thin

    The Centre for Economics and Business Research, a UK think tank, tells Reuters that the Euro has a slim chance of seeing 2020. In our opinion, the Euro's future depends German capacity and patience with its less austere brethren. (Reuters)



  • December 29, 2010 - With two days remaining in the year, you may be consideri

    With two days remaining in the year, you may be considering a last minute Roth conversion to take advantage of special rules still in force for this calendar year only. Fidelity provides a quick checklist to consider in your decision whether to convert in 2010. Would you benefit from a 2010 Roth conversion?



  • December 27, 2010 - In a December 2007 commentary, I compared the financial c

    In a December 2007 commentary, I compared the financial crisis to a 12 step recovery program. Step 7 was "Executives' heads roll." Well, given HP and BP, 2010 continued the wave of CEO turnover three years later. Year of Dramatic CEO Departures (WSJ)



  • December 23, 2010 - Wonder how many people expected this to happen in advance

    Wonder how many people expected this to happen in advance of the Christmas holiday. Parcel bomb blasts embassies in Rome (WSJ) Was this what Janet Napolitano referred to when saying that the Dept of Homeland Defense is on the watch 364 days a year? Napolitano Calendar troubles(UPI)



  • December 22, 2010 - As the relentless march of last minute legislative priori

    As the relentless march of last minute legislative priorities continues in this lame duck session of Congress, The Red Flag Clarification Act of 2010 became law December 18. The Journal of Accountancy reports that the law includes a rare positive by giving CPAs permanent exemption from requirements related to identity theft under the FTC Red Flags rule. Hawk100 advocates tight privacy standards for the protection of member information. Jounral of Accountancy



  • December 22, 2010 - Hawk100 received this action item from Forefield Advisor:

    Hawk100 received this action item from Forefield Advisor: The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 "has created a federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax savings opportunity, but you must act quickly because it expires at midnight on December 31, 2010." GST tax is a separate tax imposed on transfers made to persons two or more generations below you. GST tax, had been repealed for 2010, is reinstated but with a tax rate of 0%. That rate applies both for outright gifts and money put in a trust for the sole benefit of grandchildren (or other skip persons). Such transfers will incur only federal gift tax at 35% (to the extent that the donor's $1 million gift tax exemption has been used), but will not incur GST tax. A provision in the new law, called the "step-down" rule, will prevent GST tax from being imposed on trust distributions for which GST tax was already imposed. (Note: On gift tax return, the donor should elect to "opt out" of the automatic allocation of the $5 million GST tax exemption.)



  • December 21, 2010 - I like this article about financial tips for the sandwich

    I like this article about financial tips for the sandwich generation.



  • December 21, 2010 - "Net Neutrality" rules are set to pass through the FCC ma

    "Net Neutrality" rules are set to pass through the FCC marking an executive branch circumvention of Congress after that body failed to pass internet regulation in the first two years of the Obama administration. The set of rules would make the first significant regulation of the internet in the U.S. and could open the way for censorship of web content. Hawk100 expects net neutrality to raise the cost of entertainment and commerce conducted online. FCC Gets Votes to Pass Net Neutrality (WSJ)



  • December 20, 2010 - The IRS has published employer withholding tables which r

    The IRS has published employer withholding tables which reflect the extension of the Bush tax cuts which Obama signed into law last week. The withholding tables are useful for family and business budgeting. IRS Notice 1036



  • December 20, 2010 - E&Y is likely to face civil fraud charges, alleged by NY

    E&Y is likely to face civil fraud charges, alleged by NY attorney general and governor elect Andrew Cuomo. The pending suit would claim that E&Y aided in the 2008 collapse of Lehman by supposedly helping the firm cover risky transactions that in effect defrauded investors of Lehman's true risk. New York Set to Allege Ernst & Young Stood By as Lehman Cooked Its Books (WSJ) Cuomo apparently hopes to overlook how quickly the crisis escalated in the third quarter of 2008 and to amplify the audit role as if E&Y was entrenched in day-to-day management of Lehman. Lehman's last annual audit report by a broker dealer was filed Feb 15, 2008 and its last audited 10-K annual report was filed Jan 29, 2008. Both events preceded the March 16, 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns by more than a month. We doubt that E&Y was complicit in any fraud that led to Lehman's collapse. Though we expect that E&Y will settle the case rather than go to trial. Disclosure: Hawk100's president was formerly employed by E&Y and certain Hawk100 members remain actively employed by E&Y.



  • December 17, 2010 - Hawk100 supports the tax-bill, generally, though any comp

    Hawk100 supports the tax-bill, generally, though any compromise means that you don't receive 100% of what you ideally want. Pros: extending tax rates offers economic stability and encourages effective decision-making; lower rates stimulate economic growth and potentially tax revenues. Cons: the two-year horizon preserves doubt in long-term investment decision-making, increased spending attached to the bill puts greater strain on fiscal policy.



  • December 17, 2010 - WSJ reports that "Congress passed the most far-reaching t

    WSJ reports that "Congress passed the most far-reaching tax bill in a decade late Thursday, averting across-the-board tax increases, enacting new breaks for individuals and businesses, and laying a marker for how Washington might work in an era of divided government."



  • December 17, 2010 - Hawk100 President Richard Clemens recently wrote each Ohi

    Hawk100 President Richard Clemens recently wrote each Ohio Senator regarding the omnibus spending bill before Congress. Dear Senator: I strongly urge you to use your vote in the U.S. Senate to fight against the omnibus spending bill currently proposed. Any attempt to cram this 2000 page, earmark laden bill upon the American people, using a rushed legislative process, fails to meet minimum duties to the people. This reflects the behavior that rallied so many to vote overwhelmingly for Federal, State, and Local representatives who promise to fight irresponsible governance.



  • December 16, 2010 - Participating in Webinar on Family Business Wealth Manage

    Participating in Webinar on Family Business Wealth Management hosted by CFA Institute. Panelists include Jean Brunel, Rick Pitcairn, and Elizabeth Miller. Hawk100 agrees with their consensus opinion that a family business needs to be considered in the alignment of total wealth for families and individuals.



  • December 10, 2010 - China raised its bank reserves for the third time this mo

    China raised its bank reserves for the third time this month. Will further tightening constrain its economic growth? (Reuters)



  • December 08, 2010 - When selecting the amount and type of life insurance that

    When selecting the amount and type of life insurance that aligns with your life, Hawk100 can help you ponder three serious questions. (1) How long will my family expect that my life has value to them? (2) How much would my family expect to be paid if I were wrongfully killed? (3) Is it more important to limit my family's suffering upon my imminent death or to accumulate material items that will be discarded when I am gone?



  • December 08, 2010 - The Dec 7 Journal had an intriguing story following the d

    The Dec 7 Journal had an intriguing story following the decision of dead miners' families whether to settle or sue over their loss. In response to the company's offer of $3M to surviving families, a grieving father says, "I don't think it's justifiable that they want to put a dollar sign on my boy." I suspect the father already "put a dollar sign on [his] boy" by severely underinsuring his son's life, if he purchased any insurance at all. Dead Miners' Kin...(WSJ)



  • December 07, 2010 - Assange was arrested in London. What will be the future

    Assange was arrested in London. What will be the future of Wikileaks and the others that are sure to follow? (WSJ)



  • December 06, 2010 - In a statement, Constance Horner, Pfizer's lead independent

    Pfizer CEO Kindler resigns. (WSJ) "In a statement, Constance Horner, Pfizer's lead independent director and a former Washington official, praised Mr. Kindler's efforts to change Pfizer, and said it consequently 'is now a stronger, more diversified and more focused company.' " Connie, imagining a company simultaneously becomes more diversified and more focused reflects your Washington experience and business ineptitude.



  • December 03, 2010 - Some helpful tips advised when enrolling in Medicare: 1.

    Some helpful tips advised when enrolling in Medicare: 1. Check deductibles and co-payments as well as the premium when evaluating costs. 2. Verify what drugs the Part D plan covers. 3. Verify what pharmacies you can use. 4. Decide whether you need ?donut hole? coverage. 5. Provide comprehensive information on the policies of interest to your Hawk100 wealth advisor. 5 Tips to Tackle Medicare(Financial Planning) Email Hawk100 to share your comment.



  • December 01, 2010 - The crisis in Europe appears to be widening, rather than

    The crisis in Europe appears to be widening, rather than narrowing, following last week's emergency funding for Ireland. Europe Crisis Widens(WSJ) Email Hawk100 to share your comment.