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Independent Investor

Will pot stocks go up in smoke?

Today, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, while recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states, plus the District of Columbia. Although there has been progress, little of the recent enthusiasm and hype over pot stocks will come to anything unless the federal government does a major about-face and legalizes the substance. What are the chances of that?

The IRS certainly has its hands full this year

The government’s partial shutdown has everyone on edge this year. Despite assurances from the powers that be, many taxpayers are concerned that their tax returns won’t be processed on time. Should you be worried?

One misconception many have is that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was closed. Not true, the IRS remained open, despite having no budget from Dec. 22, 2018, until the government reopened on Jan. 25.  The agency was running under a contingency plan, which meant operating with only 12 percent of its staff. 

The pay gap for women is growing

If Citigroup, one of the world’s largest banks, is any indication, women earn 29 percent less than their male counterparts. It also revealed that only 37 percent of its managerial jobs were held by females.

Wall Street has long been known as “the last bastion” for white males. But to Citigroup’s credit, it just made public its internal assessment of the existing pay gap between the genders. One reason it did so was the new disclosure standards that are now required in the United Kingdom since last April. 

Dogs and their humans: Pets and cars in America

Pet ownership in America is well over 50 percent. Nine out of 10 of these owners view their pet as part of the family. As such, dollars spent on traditional pet ownership areas such as food, veterinary needs and boarding have expanded to include things like exercise and travel. For more and more Americans, that trend has grown to include what cars we purchase.

The ‘Fortnite’ addiction

Chances are, if you are over 50, you have probably never heard of “Fortnite,” a video game that boasts over 40 million players worldwide. Those with children, however, may not only know it, but are playing it themselves.

Free trade versus fair trade

In today’s world, talk of tariffs is part of daily news headlines. Politicians use terms like “free” and “fair” almost interchangeably in discussing trade to justify their position for or against tariffs. Maybe it’s time to review the difference between the two concepts.

Should you roll your 401(k) into an IRA?

Some retiring workers roll their 401(k) tax-deferred savings account into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). There are good reasons to do so. But for those who are not retiring, the decision is not so clear cut. Here are some pros and cons to ponder.

The price tag of disaster

Over the past four weeks, just two hurricanes have cost the country upwards of $300 billion. This has easily surpassed the 2005 hurricane season cost of $200 billion, which included Katrina, Wilma and Rita combined. The cumulative cost of weather continues to escalate and with good reason.

Before you leap to the conclusion that global warming is the culprit, let me lay out some facts. Coastal storms are no more (or less) frequent an event now than they have been throughout our history. So what gives?

America, the battered

Extreme weather and other climate disasters appear to be occurring far more frequently than we would like. The loss of life and economic damage also seem to be increasing. But does the data support those opinions, and if it does, what price do we pay for all of these perfect storms?

The Korean question: the importance of finding answers

So far, the political tension between the United States and North Korea has been confined to a war of words and not much else. Recent verbal threats and counter-threats, however, reached a new level. Here I will stray from strictly financial analysis to the political, military and diplomatic.