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Entertainment Value

Entertainment Value

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal points out that there is a wealth of financial lessons to be learned from the trials and tribulations of Downton Abbey’s Crawley clan. The series may take place in the 20s, but many of its lessons apply to our financial concerns today. Investment Diversification: Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, invested most of his wife’s fortune – which was keeping Downton Abbey afloat – in a speculative Canadian railway stock. When the company went bankrupt, the Earl lost the money and came close to losing Downton.
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Making It Work – Part 1

Making It Work – Part 1

There’s no denying that people over the age of 50 who find themselves laid off face some significant challenges finding new employment. Statistics show that it takes longer for older workers to find new jobs. And a cruel irony is that the difficulty in finding a job is compounded by the length of time a person has been out of work. It’s a sad truth: one of the things holding people back from getting a job is being unemployed. Many people who find themselves in this very frustrating situation have gone into business for themselves.
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Wanted: The Purple Squirrel

Wanted: The Purple Squirrel

The most recent employment numbers are encouraging, even taking into account job cuts resulting from the federal government’s current sequestration. There is growth in almost every category, including business services and construction. The unemployment rate has dropped and some economists are encouraged. There are still hurdles, though. Part of the reason that the unemployment rate has fallen is that some people have given up on the search for a job. And then there’s the hesitation on the part of businesses to pull the trigger and hire for open positions. Companies are looking for Purple Squirrel, which, in HR speak, is an employee who is perfect and then some.
Filed in: Jobs, Other, Unemployment
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All Is Not Well in Stockton

All Is Not Well in Stockton

It didn’t come as a surprise when the California city of Stockton declared bankruptcy; city officials had been issuing warnings for quite some time. Stockton is insolvent and has not been keeping up with payments towards its employees’ pension fund accounts. It is the city’s largest financial liability and, while the bankruptcy judge agreed the city is broke, he has not determined if the pension payments can be included in the negotiations. If the judge decides that payments to the pension fund can legally be reduced just like most outstanding debt in bankruptcy proceedings, city employees will potentially face lower pension benefits; if payments to the pension fund cannot be legally reduced, it means that all the city’s creditors, except the pension fund, will get pennies on the dollar and the city might never dig itself out of its hole. It’s a mess.
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Which Way Are You Running?

Which Way Are You Running?

Government reports are telling us that unemployment rates are going down. Finally. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t upheavals ahead for the job market. Luck favors the prepared: now is as good a time as any to take stock and determine, as much as possible, if your job is in jeopardy. And if it is, start thinking about what course you might take. Some warning signs are obvious: the company has posted weak earnings; there are rumors your company is about to be acquired or merged; consultants have arrived to assess the company’s strategy and operations; and, maybe most of all, you work in an industry that is contracting.
Filed in: Jobs, Unemployment
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