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‘Play Big’ by female coach a good call

“Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL” by Dr. Jen Welter with Stephanie Krikorian, 2017, Seal Press, $26, 266 pages. That was the lousiest call, ever. Obviously, the ref wasn’t paying attention. He was looking the other way, he dropped the flag by accident, he must be wearing a blindfold. The ref was wrong, but in the new book “Play Big” by Dr. Jen Welter (with Stephanie Krikorian), the game is right.

What should you do with your tax refund?

You may not get much of a thrill from filing your taxes, but the process becomes much more enjoyable if you’re expecting a refund. So, if one is headed your way, what should you do with the money? The answer depends somewhat on the size of the refund. For the 2017 tax year, the average refund was about $2,760 — not a fortune, but big enough to make an impact in your life. Suppose, for example, that you invested this amount in a tax-deferred vehicle such as a traditional IRA, and then did not add another penny to it for 30 years.

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‘Ogilvy’ helps you spend ad dollars well

 It’s a brand-new year. So where will your ad dollars go? The tried-and-true has worked for you; is that where you’ll stay? Will you experiment, based on the advice of an ad rep or two? Or will you do your own research, read “Ogilvy on Advertising in the Digital Age,” by Miles Young, and see what clicks into place?

Improve your financial fitness in 2018

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get healthier, you may already be taking the necessary steps, such as improving your diet and increasing your exercise. Physical fitness is, of course, important to your well-being, but don’t forget about your financial fitness. Specifically, what can you do to ensure your investment situation is in good shape? Here are a few “healthy living” suggestions that may also apply to your investment portfolio:
— Build endurance: Just as exercise can help build your endurance for the demands of a long life, a vigorous investment strategy can help you work toward long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. In practical terms, this means you will need to own some investments with the potential to provide long-term growth.

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‘Excuse Me’: Etiquette and advice for a changing workplace

“Excuse Me: The Survival Guide to Modern Business Etiquette,” by Rosanne J. Thomas, 2017, Amacom, $21.95, 269 pages
Please. Thank you. Mom always called them the magic words. One opens doors at the front of a request; the other leaves them open at the end. Please.

Vermont Smoke & Cure, of South Barre.
PHOTO BY BRIAN NEVINS

Need a job? Look to Vermont’s food systems

Vermont’s struggle to grow its workforce weakens our economy, inhibits the ability for Vermont businesses to expand their operations, and threatens the ability for Vermonters and future generations to grow and thrive here in the Green Mountains. An aging workforce, stagnant wages in jobs without career ladders, the cost of housing and child care, the opioid epidemic, and a need for more young adults entering the workforce are all contributors to our workforce dilemma. According to a 2013 Vermont Food System Workforce Needs Assessment report, 40 percent of large employers and 50 percent of small employers surveyed said that hiring challenges are holding their businesses back, meaning they are faced with reduced revenue, less efficient production and delayed plans to expand into new markets or larger production spaces. Four years later, the challenges have only increased. The simple demographic fact is that more people are retiring and fewer people are entering the workforce each year.

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‘Power of Moments’ isolates impressions that drive us

“The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, 2017, Simon & Schuster, $29, 307 pages. It was quite the event. Your staff members really outdid themselves, and you were proud of them. Everybody pitched in, clients were overjoyed, and there wasn’t one attendee who didn’t leave without a smile and a promise to come back next year. In “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath, you’ll see how to make your event even better.

Not feeling the recovery? You’re not alone

NerdWallet
Incomes are up, the stock market is soaring, and home prices have largely recovered from the mortgage meltdown. But Americans still haven’t regained all the wealth they lost and, on the whole, are worse off than in 1998. The Federal Reserve’s just-released Survey of Consumer Finances, done every three years, tells a stubbornly grim tale. Median net worth for all families, measured in 2016 dollars, dropped 8 percent since 1998. (The survey’s definition of families includes single people and childless couples and is equivalent to how other government surveys define households.) In addition:
— The lowest income families — the bottom fifth — saw their net worth fall 22 percent.

Stampeding bull market may slow down — be prepared

We’ve been enjoying a long period of steadily rising stock prices. Of course, this bull market won’t last forever. And when it does start losing steam, you, as an investor, need to be prepared. Before we look at how you can ready yourself for a new phase in the investment environment, let’s consider some facts about the current situation:
— Length: This bull market, which began in 2009, is the second-oldest in the past 100 years, and it’s about twice as long as the average bull market. — Strength: Since the start of this long rally, the stock market has produced an average annualized gain of 15.5 percent per year.

barbie

‘You Don’t Own Me’ presents intriguing questions about ownership

“You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side” by Orly Lobel, 2017, W.W.Norton, $27.95, 304 pages.  As a kid, what was your favorite toy? You can probably remember it instantly: the thing you couldn’t bear to leave at home, the doll you spent hours with, the toy truck that road-tripped your imagination. Just thinking of it gives you a warm feeling and a wistful smile, but in “You Don’t Own Me” by Orly Lobel, you’ll read about two toy companies that weren’t playing around. Years after it happened, Carter Bryant couldn’t tell you what spurred him to think the way he did that sunny afternoon.