Showing posts from August, 2012

Leadership That Gets Results - Finance For Non-Financial Managers

Managers need to deal with several kinds of reports each day. And with all the different data they need to review, most non financial managers often feel perplexed at the mere sight of financial reports. To most non financial managers, fiscal reports speak their own language - a language that is quite unfamiliar to them. And without a strong finance background, they often find themselves overwhelmed with what these reports are showing. These conditions make learning finance for non-financial managers a must in any type of organization, especially if the organization places much value in a leadership that gets results.It truly is vital for an organization that values leadership that gets results to have its non financial managers learn the financial side of things, in the same way that financial managers must also be aware of the other aspects of the organization other than their area. The good news is there are now several programs on finance for non-financial managers and they can pr…

Should You "Bank" on Your Home?

We are just about to close on the selling of our home of 19 years and I was wondering what the appreciation was over the past two decades. This was inspired because my realtor keeps reminding me of how much I paid compared to our selling price. The actual cost can get really complicated (considering home improvements, tax benefits, repairs and maintenance, etc.) but I wanted to keep it simple.
I took our purchase price as the present value and our selling price minus realtor fees and updates to the house for selling as our future value. The 19 years of compounding yields a whopping 2.2% return on our house. I know all of you finance people want to look at my investment (down payment) and calculate the return based on that, with tax advantage on interest, also calculating in home repairs and maintenance, but that gets complicated really fast, and I don't have all of those records (shame on me). But this shows that our house appreciated an average of 2.2% over 19 years or about the …

Is a Lack of Financial Education the Reason for Poor Financial Management Decisions in America?

Americans study all of the essential things in school, algebra, science, history, languages and the arts. However, many people wonder why there may be a lack of financial management classes to learn basic financial planning strategies. Many students don't know the first thing about retirement, savings, credit cards, debt or even basic budgeting strategies. Although some might say this is something that should be taught by parents, today's parents are the byproduct of the credit card generation; therefore many parents only learned the cause and effect of their financial matters by trial and error.It is not only the parents that are financially challenged. Even teachers lack the training because of an education system that lacks the teaching of fundamental skills needed to achieve fiscal responsibility. Some of those more savvy in the diligence of their finances may seek the services of a financial management advisor, however given today's economic turbulence, the very root …

100s of Indicators But These 10 You MUST Watch

These are the PowerPoint slides I used during recent presentations to the AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) in Boulder and Denver, Colorado in support of my book with Simon Constable called The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter.

Healthcare and Insurance Reform: Innovation Zones, Vertically Integrated Mutuals, and Hybrid Policies

McKinsey & Co. was supposed to publish this in some forthcoming piece about mutuals and co-ops but just called to say that it isn't going to publish anything so controversial during a presidential race. So I append below my original draft. There is some chance that the edited version will eventually appear, presumably after the election, and quite a lot of their editing went into it, so I won't post the that version, just my original IP. I realize I haven't blogged in awhile but I'll have some investment-related stuff very soon.

U.S. healthcare system is ill. Prices for medical services (and hence insurance
premiums) have increased faster than inflation for decades and now comprise
almost one fifth of aggregate economic output. No end to the trend appears in
sight. Some American hospitals and doctors offer the best medical treatment in
the world, bar none, but most Americans can afford access only to lower tier
services that palpably lag global best practices. Tens of…

Financial Management and Budgeting in Business

Importance of Financial ManagementFinance is a key functional area of business management. This area is commonly referred to as Financial Management. The term defines the achievement of key financial objectives by making investment and financial decisions. Essentially, it is the management of all the processes associated with the efficient acquisition and deployment of both short and long-term financial resources. Financial Management assists an organisation's management to reach its financial objectives such as the creation of wealth, solvency, liquidity, growth and return on investment achieved through a process of financial planning, control and decision-making.Financial ControlFinancial control consists of different strategies to manage finances necessary to achieve the primary purpose of every business; which is to earn profit. Budgets are the traditional financial control method and provide a measuring basis which performance can be assessed. By engaging in a yearly budgetin…

Paying for College – Your Award Letter

Sallie Mae just released a study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs titled “How America Pays for College 2012”. The burden is shifting to the student, up from 25% in 2009 to now 34% in 2012.  As a student, after you complete the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and send it to your school, the school will send you an award letter, stating scholarships, grantos, work study, and amount available through federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. As you start the fall semester, it is a good time to start paying on your student loans. How are you going to pay?
If you borrow money for college, you should take advantage of subsidized federal student loans before unsubsidized federal and tap private student loans as a last resort. The difference between these options is that the interest of a subsidized student loan does not accumulate until you are done with school while the interest in an unsubsidized student loan starts to accumulate while you are still in colleg…

The Importance of Finance For Non-Financial Managers

There are companies who are willing to have their employees be enrolled in courses that can help them gain a better understanding of the different aspects of the business. In this way, they too can have a grasp of where other departments are coming from, especially during meetings with different departments. And there are actually courses that can help employees gain basic knowledge about different areas of the business. One example of this are courses on finance for non-financial managers. Non-financial managers can truly learn a lot from this kind of course, especially in terms of having a better understand of different financial concepts.It can prove to be quite helpful for non-financial managers to have knowledge about finance and accounting, especially that these two areas are quite significant in any kind of business. Through a course on finance for non-financial managers, they would be able to better understand the different concepts of finance and accounting, and use the knowl…

Who Do You Trust?

Peregrine Financial Group and a missing $200 million? Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Heartland, where corn is tall and people are honest. It's of small towns where people leave their keys in their cars and they don't lock their front doors. Embezzlement of this nature happens in New York, Greece, but not in Iowa.
Peregrine Financial Group was an Iowa-based brokerage firm and the CEO allegedly used $200 million of his clients’ money to keep the business going. He attempted suicide and confessed to embezzling in his suicide note.
If this can happen in Iowa, it can happen in your neighborhood and with you investment counselor. I do not want to imply that all financial advisors are dishonest, but the few bad ones remind us to keep on our toes. A few basic points to keep in mind as you talk to your financial professional:
1. No one is going to be or should be more concerned about your financial wellbeing than you. It is your money and your future. You need to take responsibility for your fina…