Some #MoneyConscious Mash Up titles would be better suited for a politics blog. The titles would write themselves. Gibberish is a great word to describe the obtuse political lexicon that permeates our airspace.
At a Democratic National Convention woman’s outreach conference this week, gaffe-prone Joe Biden praised former senator Bob Packwood as the kind of Republican he misses. Packwood was ousted from office in 1980 for sexually harassing women. Also this week, the ever-capricious Sarah Palin defended her daughter’s punch to a party host’s face. Note to self, don’t host a party with The Palins. Well, duh?!
Let’s proceed onto a medium of cents, rather than a medium of senselessness.
For the purpose of this blog, Monday was a sleeper. Tuesday, however, brought the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) final-demand Producer Price Index (PPI) for August. Augusts’ PPI came in as flat as the earth in the fourth century (0 percent) after July’s 0.1 percent increase. This is welcome news for those struggling with increased food and energy costs, as they were responsible for the PPI’s containment. August’s year-over-year PPI was up 1.8 percent.
Of note, however, beef broke a record this week when it topped out at $4 a pound. What’s for dinner is what’s expensive. In 2009, beef cost $2.134 a pound.
The BLS then reported on Wednesday that August’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased 0.2 percent after July’s 0.1 percent increase. August’s year-over-year increase was 1.7 percent. The sub-category for energy decreased, while food increased at a slow pace. These trends are good for those struggling from increased inflation, specifically with food and energy prices. If you see wiggle room in your budget, appropriate your extra funds wisely.
Later on Wednesday, The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that its Housing Market Index increased 4 points from 55 points in August to 59 in September. The Housing Market Index is a result of NAHB member’s perception of general economic and housing market conditions. It, also, takes into account current and future prospective home sales. This, too, is welcome news for those struggling financially. A home is the largest asset for many Americans and increases in home values increase their net worth, at least on paper, like legalized pot in Colorado increases Peyton Manning’s pizza biz.
Wednesday’s other big news was the Federal Open Market Committee’s bi-annual meeting. The Fed announced that, much to the chagrin of the youngest and oldest Americans, interest rates will remain unchanged. The good news is that the Fed’s taper of Quantitative Easing III is on target for completion in October. The Fed now expects U.S. 2014 GDP to increase between 2.0 and 2.2 percent, held down due to first quarter’s abysmal 2.9 percent contraction. The Fed, also, expects unemployment improvements to remain as subdued as Keanu Reeves’ home intruder this week. Inflation is expected to remain contained. Though we think the Fed celebrated National Gibberish Day a couple days early, this should be welcome news for American households.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor shocked Wall Street when it reported that initial jobless claims, claims of first time unemployment insurance applications, dropped by a significant 36,000 to 280,000. Other than a pending election, no reason is readily apparent for this drop. The four week average, which reduces week to week volatility, dropped 4,750 to 299,500. If unerring, both numbers are welcome news.
The Conference Board announced on Friday its August Leading Indicators Index, which is an index of indices and the perfect one for lazy wheelchair-bound concert goers at a Kanye West show. The index was up 0.2 percent in August after July’s upwardly revised 1.1 percent increase. Held down by decreased building permit applications and a rise in unemployment, it indicates moderate future economic growth.
While this week’s overall economic news was more positive than recent history, we understand many Americans have yet to feel it at home. As we say, middle-America will be the last to know when the good times are here again. Manage your personal finances cautiously. Contain spending, increase savings and investing with a slight overweight in cash.
This week the Government Accountability Office reported that about 9,000 U.S. taxpayers have each accumulated $5 million in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). Here are five tips to help you join The Club of Mitt Romney. While all five tips aren’t easily accessible to everyone, most of us would benefit from doing one or two. IRA’s are an integral part of every retirement plan.
Of course, what’s available to all of us regardless of income or heritage is to make financial decisions appropriate for our personal lives. Most of us assume we can’t take drastic measures, even if necessary, to improve our financial situations. We can often do more than we assume. This guy lives in a van.
Living in a van isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Making more money is. Here are 25 ways to make more money. Pick one or two ways and become less dependent on your beastly boss. Since we know many breeders with expensive new humans, here are 10 ways to spend less and live better even with your own personal replica trolling about your house.
Mostly, though, our lives as a whole are dictated by our outlook on life, i.e., our tude. Negativity breeds negativity. Positivity breeds positivity. Both are contagious. The world would be a much better place if people were gayer (gayer as in ol’ time, not gay as in tap dancing hyena). Here are 5 cheap ways to get into a better mood.
That’s this week’s #MoneyConscious Mash Up. We hope you found it more interesting than Kendall Jenner’s report of supermodel hazing or Kendall Jenner and return each week for our slightly slanted take on a topic that usually puts you to sleep.
Finally, we’re riding a high legal in all 57 states this week. We’d like to publicly thank those who pre-ordered copies of #MoneyConscious Financial Planning Guide: 12 Steps to a Richer You. You helped launched us to #9 on the iTunes’ “Business & Personal Finance” chart and positioned our books amongst the Dave Ramseys, Suze Ormans and Robert Kiyosakis of the world.
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