Paper Chase: Shop Local
OPEC, in it s most critical meeting in years amidst plunging oil prices because of oversupply and weak globe demand. However, to the surprise of many, the ministers decided not to limit production. Oil prices are at their lowest point in over 4 years below 70 dollar per barrel.
The Nasdaq has hit a new 14 year high and gdp grew at 3.9% up from previous measure of 3.5%.Related yet unrelated, Apple’s value is at 700 billion dollars making it the most valuable company in the world.
While consumers are spending more money on healthcare and technology, there has not been the same enthusiasm for discretionary items. it’s been ok, but not robust which is at odds with improved consumer feeling reflected in confidence and gas numbers. I’m looking forward to a good finish to the year and a good start in 2015 as economic numbers continue to move forward.
Larger retailers have been using market share to provide gains, but are looking for true growth occurring when gdp rises and the economy improves. Stores like Macy’s are seeing success establishing omnichannels or strategies to provide a seamless shopping experience between online, store and mobile device.
78% of shoppers plan to spend as much or more at small businesses as in 2013. 94% of people shop at small businesses because they view it as important. 67% of people value the contributions to the community. 57% of people know the owners personally. Small, community based businesses offer more than just price advantages. They are unique, and often provide both personalized service and convenience.
95% of high net worth households give to charity at about $3000 per household. Charitable giving is an important element of financial planning. Charity amounted to 300 billion dollars last year or 2% of gdp, so it’s obvious that people want to give back.
When giving, it’s important to know what the mission or program are. Guidestar,org, charitynavigator.org, and charitywatch.org are great resources. Charity Watch has information about different charities as does Guidestar which also has accounting and forms. Charity Navigator goes deeper into the financing vis a vis how much it costs to raise money. Ideally, 75% of charity expenses should go to programming with about 15% going towards administrative costs, and 10% to fundraising.
Another option is a donor advised fund in which a charitable contribution can be made. A tax deduction is received once set up, and the actual grant making can be done at a later time. The investment grows and actual securities can be deposited into it.
Frugal Wine Guide
I’m no expert, but I know when entertaining, you need something sparkling, something red and something white. My sparkling wine choice is Prosecco which you can get really good stuff for at around $16. For white, the all purpose Pinot Gris can be had for $15. For red, a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon can run you $13. Remember, you will get a discount if you buy by the case. If you want to ball, Dom Ruinart is $135 and every bit the equivalent of Dom Perrignon.
90% of U.S. wine is produced in California. The retail value of California wine shipments is 23.1 billion dollars. In 2010, the U.S. became the top wine consumer. 2013 saw the 21st consecutive year of U.S. wine shipment growth. Generally, there has been steady growth for wine market except for Prosecco which has boomed.
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