Archive for July, 2013:

Does College Pay Off?

Written on July 30th, 2013 by Jamesno shouts

That was the title of an interesting article in this month’s Money magazine.  The writer interviews the president of Arizona State University and asks some very good questions about the cost vs. benefit of higher education today.  The debate rages on as we constantly hear about the “student loan bubble” and all of the college grads that get out of school with loads of debt and can’t find a job to pay for it.  At the same time we hear from State labor officials that there is a shortage of skilled trades:  Pipefitters, welders, electricians, etc.  Are we so focused on a traditional 4 year college degree that we are overlooking some very well paying jobs produced by technical colleges?  Is the prestige of a 4 year degree worth more than a $75,000 per year job in a skilled trade that is in such demand that states are competing with each other to bring in those workers?

It seems more students need to be shown the options and then make their decisions based on real metrics…..

Maybe for traditional college bound students we should begin to evaluate colleges and majors based on ROI.  Treat it like an investment and look at what kind of return you get (salary/job) vs. the cost of the education.  One such website does just that, has compiled a ranking of schools based on ROI:

Technology is always disruptive and eventually colleges will adapt to society needs or be forced out with new internet learning options.  The easy money from student loans that have enabled universities to get big, bloated and expensive will eventually end and the student loan bubble will burst… is just a matter of time.


Stop paying annual car (ad valorem) taxes

Written on July 26th, 2013 by Jamesno shouts

Did you buy a car in the period of January 2012 to Feb 28, 2013?  If you bought from a dealer and paid Georgia sales tax it can be applied toward the new one time Title Ad Valorem Tax (TVAT) that went into effect this year and you can eliminate ever having to pay the annual ad valorem tax on that car again.  The one catch is that you have to “opt in”.

You will need the VIN number on your car and the sales contract that shows how much sales tax you paid on the purchase.  Once you have this info go to the GA Dept of Revenue website and figure out if you come out ahead by switching to the TVAT.  It may cost you a small up front fee, but if it eliminates $300+ dollars in annual Ad Valorem taxes going forward seems like a win.

Once you see the numbers to determine if it makes sense, then you will have to go to your county tag office to officially opt in.



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market cycles

Written on July 10th, 2013 by Jamesno shouts

back in May I mentioned that you might want to begin watching oil and commodity prices.  The reason is that in a typical market cycle energy & commodities (including oil) begin to turn up about the same time as interest rates do, which falls in the late stages of a bull market.

Since that time Oil prices have broken out of a long price congestion area and are trending noticeably higher.  In fact the headline in the news today is that Oil has hit a 15 month high.  Can’t know for sure, but pay attention to gas prices at the pump, a sharp rise through the remainder of the year could send signals of a bull market nearing its peak.

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