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‘Fully Connected’ won’t help cure information overload

“Fully Connected: Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload” by Julia Hobsbawm, 2017, Bloomsbury, $28, 256 pages

Your phone will not stop ringing. It chimes constantly, too, letting you know that you’ve got mail. Facebook announces itself with a “thwock,” and another noise works as a calendar notification. On one hand, it’s nice to be needed. On the other hand, you’d like to throw everything into a nearby river and walk away.

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Women struggle to balance student debt, life goals

After the grueling pace of graduate school, obtaining that advanced degree and finding a great professional career path, many women can finally turn their attention to other life choices. One choice they’ll be faced with is what to do with the substantial student loan debt. More importantly, how do they balance enjoyment of life while paying off those looming loans, as well as all the other pressures women face? Women hold nearly two-thirds of the current student loan debt in the United States, and “women working full-time with college degrees make 26 percent less than their male colleagues” according to a study by the American Association of University Women. That means that as a busy professional woman, you are not alone in feeling the challenge of trying to balance career, life and your loans.

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An advertising revolution is brewing

“The End of Advertising” by Andrew Essex, 2017, Spiegel & Grau, $27, 240 pages. Say goodbye to your money. You need that new gadget, so adios. New bling is too irresistible, so ta-ta. Upgrade that device; see ya later, salary.

When to diversify, and when to consolidate

You have probably heard that diversification is a key to investment success. So, you might think that if diversifying your investments is a good idea, it might also be wise to diversify your investment providers. After all, aren’t two (or more) heads better than one? Before we look at that issue, let’s consider the first half of the “diversification” question — namely, how does diversifying your investment portfolio help you? Consider the two broadest categories of investments: stocks and bonds.

Is nonmonetary compensation the same as wages?

For most injured employees, the calculation of the workers’ compensation wage replacement benefits is straightforward: They will receive two-thirds of the average of their earnings over the 26 weeks prior to injury. If you are an employer who provides some form of nonmonetary compensation as part of a remuneration package, however, the calculation can become much more complicated. Vehicles, ski passes, cellphone service, cows, and food and lodging, to name a few, can all factor into the calculation of what your carrier pays out in weekly wage replacement benefits. Most recently, the commissioner of the Department of Labor ruled in Haller v. Champlain College that tuition-free college credits Champlain College offers to all full-time employees should also be included in the calculation as a form of nonmonetary compensation. Champlain appealed that decision to the Vermont Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in February.

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Big motivation hides behind ‘Small Data’

“Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends” by Martin Lindstrom, 2016, Picador, $16, 244 pages. It’s always the little things. A chocolate on the pillow or slippers beneath a turned-down bed. Stickers for a customer’s kids. A lagniappe in the box to make a baker’s dozen: all things to ensure a speedy return of buyer or client.

Visitors tour the wastewater treatment facility in Waterbury.
JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR / STAFF FILE PHOTO

Treatment plants are robust sites for energy efficiency upgrades

 
Vermont’s communities are trying hard to use less energy for their buildings, facilities and services — reducing both municipal energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. When thinking about how we use energy we tend to focus on the most obvious consumers of electricity and fuel. Lights, furnaces, water heaters and appliances are the first that come to mind. It’s easy to forget about the many processes taking place behind the scenes. One such process that may fly under the radar is wastewater treatment.

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‘Rich20Something’ inspiring, but worthy of caution

“Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start an Epic Business, and Score the Life You Want” by Daniel DiPiazza, 2017, TarcherPerigee, $24, 281 pages. Your paycheck was a lot smaller than you thought it would be. How irritating: After taxes and other deductions, you’re making a pittance for your work. How unfair. This isn’t the way it was when your parents started out!

Don’t let your investments take a ‘vacation’

It’s summer again. Time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same — in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year long? Here are a few suggestions:
— Avoid owning too many “low growth” investments.

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Think you’re enjoying your weekends? Guess again

“The Weekend Effect” by Katrina Onstad, 2017, HarperOne, $25.99, 304 pages
Zzzzzzzzzip. That was the sound of your last weekend as it passed by. But it probably doesn’t matter, anyhow: It was packed with work, to-do’s, obligations, kids sports and more work. Sometimes, you wonder why you even bother. You might as well just go to the office.