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Letting the cat out of the economic hat

The late Ted Geisel, author of the Dr. Suess books, was the subject of a recent conference at the New York Law School. As reported in the New Yorker, the purpose was to explore the similarity between Geisel's books and the current impasse in Washington. He uses implausible facts to create a plausible world. Geisel created unlikely circumstances and improbable characters that were knitted together in a story that had a message.

A healthy lifestyle can add years to your life

Recently, a study receiving wide circulation indicated that a satisfying marriage or relationship, on a scale of happiness, was equivalent to an additional $100,000 of annual income. I found myself wondering if the same study also included some dollar value for having good health. For retirees, nothing could be more valuable in dollars than avoiding serious health problems.

Reading between the lines on housing price boom

The current nationwide boom in housing prices illustrates some important investment fundamentals that have little to do with housing. For one thing, a basic commodity that undergoes a price collapse will exhibit a "snapback" in values with a speed that will take most experts by surprise. It wasn't that long ago when experts were predicting a "second round" of foreclosures that would "dwarf" the original collapse back in 2008. Apparently, that isn't going to happen.

Saving and rolling with a Tesla sedan

Once we disabuse ourselves of the notion that solar roof panels have to "pay us back," they offer one of the best cash-flow investments we can possibly make if we consider the value of the annual after-tax savings in electrical energy costs. The number of solar households increased by 50 percent in 2012, which constitutes a "tipping point" in my book. I contributed to that statistic, but I didn't stop with roof panels. Recently I took delivery of an all-electric Tesla sedan -- a noble experiment for which I had signed up years ago as a leap of faith.

Successful budgeting is key to success

The story has it that the late Tony Curtis -- an actor and father of Jamie Lee Curtis -- had problems managing his money, so his financial adviser suggested that he keep track of every dime he spent for a thirty-day period. The list at the end of the month read something like this: newspaper 25 cents. Tuna sandwich $2.50, Miscellaneous $3,513.00.

So much for successful budgeting. It's one of the toughest challenges that we face, and arguments about money are supposedly the most common cause of relationship failures.

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