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The Independent Investor: Should You Roll Your 401(k) Into an IRA?
By Bill Schmick,
03:40PM / Friday, December 15, 2017
Some retiring workers roll their 401(k) tax-deferred savings account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are good reasons to do so. But for those who are not retiring, the decision is not so clear cut. Here are some pros and cons to ponder.   In my neighborhood, for example, a local company with more than 300 employees is being acquired by another company from Chicago. As a result, the employees of the acquired company are being offered a choice: they can roll over their existing 401(k) into a new plan offered by the Chicago company, roll their 401(k) into an IRA, or just take the money out, pay taxes and spend it.   Obviously, the last option is

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The Independent Investor: Will the Lights Go Out?
By Bill Schmick,
09:53PM / Thursday, December 07, 2017
The deadline looms. There is no deal in sight. Various political factions are jockeying to get their demands met. It is all part of an annual compromise to fund the government for another year.   So what else is new?   If the government does shut down on Saturday morning, it will be the 18th such occurrence in U.S. history. In every case, the nation has survived, although at times the cost has been great. There was, for example, a 16-day shutdown back in 2013 that resulted in a $24 billion hit to economic output and caused 850,000 workers to be laid off.   We all know it costs the American people more to shut down the government than it does to keep

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The Independent Investor: The Bots Are Coming
By Bill Schmick,
04:43PM / Friday, December 01, 2017
One no longer needs to imagine a post-apocalyptic world where humans are hunted into extinction by intelligent robots. While a shooting war may not break out between the two sides before 2030, a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates that as many as 375 million human workers will be replaced by automation.   Most readers are already aware that companies using high degrees of automation, such as Amazon, are decimating the brick and mortar method of selling products. Most analysts believe it is inevitable that this trend will extend to all kinds of products. Pharmaceuticals and food are just the most recent items to be transitioned over to the internet. While

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The Independent Investor: Why Stocks Continue to Climb
By Bill Schmick,
05:30PM / Thursday, November 23, 2017
As we approach the end of the year, most investors are both dumb-founded and pleased at the stock market's performance. President Trump and his followers would like us to believe it is all because of them. Hog wash.   There has been no substantive legislation since the new administration took office. Promises can only take us so far. Some say any further upside will be short-lived, because living on hope alone has already taken us too far. And yet, somehow the economy is still growing, even gathering momentum.   Recall, too, that Donald Trump and the Republican Party gained power on the promise of undoing many of the trade agreements the U.S. has forged over

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The Independent Investor: Cracks in the House of Saud
By Bill Schmick,
05:11PM / Thursday, November 09, 2017
Over the weekend, the government of Saudi Arabia announced multiple arrests of royal family members as well as other governmental officials. The official explanation was a new campaign to root out corruption, but many believe the raid was a power grab by the reigning Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.   Corruption in Saudi Arabia is as common as sand. It is what makes the wheels run so global observers discounted that excuse. The assumptions ranged from a thwarted coup against the reigning family to a consolidation of power orchestrated by the heir apparent.   As a result, gold jumped over $10 an ounce, oil spiked 3 percent and investors held their breath

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