Newer Age Spirituality

Posted by Jim Newman on February 2nd, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in religion

JPSearzes-700x450The New Age is over. So Stone Age. JP Spears and Jator Pierre show us how to be Newer Age. Join this cutting age movement; abandon the dogma.

“Not being spiritual at all is the most spiritual thing you can do.”

“Instead of teaching people how to think positively, we’re teaching people how to think.”

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

The Phil Ferguson Show – 107

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 29th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Uncategorized

Guests – Muhammad and Mya members of Ex-Muslims of North America (more below)

US Market Segment Analysis Ending 2014 (More Detail on post at Polaris Financial Planning)

12-Month Return 3-Year Average 5-Year Average 10-Year Average
Total Stock Market Return 12.56 20.49 15.70 8.10

You can also use this as a guide to check the performance of your portfolio. If the US stock segment of your investments have returned 7% per year for the last 5 years – you may have a problem.

The Swiss Franc

The Swiss central bank introduced the peg in September 2011 in response to investors buying up massive amounts of the Swiss franc as a safer foreign exchange alternative to the euro or the dollar.

In a statement Thursday, the SNB said the franc was now out of the period of “exceptional overvaluation” during which the minimum exchange rate had been introduced.

“The euro has depreciated considerably against the US dollar and this, in turn, has caused the Swiss franc to weaken against the U.S. dollar. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro is no longer justified,” the statement said.

 

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Top 5 Reasons to move that old 401(k) – NOW!

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 29th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Investing Skeptically

 

On of the questions I get asked most is, “What should I do with my old 401(k) or old 403(b)?”

Quick Answer – Move the money into an IRA – NOW! (read more below, if you want details)

A quick definition of 401(k) from Invetopedia….

A qualified plan established by employers to which eligible employees may make salary deferral (salary reduction) contributions on a post-tax and/or pretax basis. Employers offering a 401(k) plan may make matching or non-elective contributions to the plan on behalf of eligible employees and may also add a profit-sharing feature to the plan. Earnings accrue on a tax-deferred basis.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics say that the average person will have 11 different jobs between the age of 18 to 44. That is a new job every 2.4 years. When you move from one job to another you may leave behind an old 401(k). I have had people come to me with many old 401(k)s and they don’t know their options.

There are several things you can do with that old 401(K)

1. leave the money in your former employer’s plan;

2. roll over the money to your new employer’s plan, if the plan accepts transfers;

3. roll over the money into an IRA;or

4. take the cash value of your account.

If you take out the cash you will likely be subject to a 10% penalty and taxes on the amount you withdraw. If you take $100,000 of that old 401(k) you will pay the $10,000 penalty plus federal income tax at your marginal rate which could be as high as 39.6% AND state income tax. If you live in a high tax state you could lose more than half of the money.

You don’t want to leave the money behind in your old 401(k) and you don’t want to move it to your new job. 401(k)s are a nice idea but they also have some serious problems. While, you almost always want to collect the free match (if provided) from your employer you may not want to put in any extra money. ( I will do a post on this soon).

There are problems with 401(k)s:

1. Limited options

2. High and expenses are higher

3. No or poor advice

4. Poor performance

5. Loss of control (your company can change the plan without your consent)

You want to move the money out of that old 401(k) as soon as possible! You have all of the problems listed above but you may have some additional problems with an old 401(k) if you wait.

You may move and lose contact with the old 401(k).

The company goes out of business and you have to find the old 401 (k).

This can add extra work and stress to get the money moved and it gets worse with time. If you have an old 401(k) move it!

 

Listen to The Phil Ferguson show here….

iTunes link….

RSS feed to add to your favorite podcast player

http://www.spreaker.com/show/1334552/episodes/feed

Please like The Phil Ferguson Show Facebook page…

For more information visit Polaris Financial Planning or

send me an email: [email protected]

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing education series. This information is for educational purposes only. This information does not constitute investment advice. Please consult with your financial advisor before taking any action.

The Phil Ferguson Show – 106

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 27th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Uncategorized

Guests – Jason Torpy, Mario Mouton & Joey Kirkman (more below)

The price of oil. Is it just supply vs. demand?

Story on oil from Forbes.

Initial Jobless Claims….

A measure of the number of jobless claims filed by individuals seeking to receive state jobless benefits. This number is watched closely by financial analysts because it provides insight into the direction of the economy. Higher initial claims correlate with a weakening economy.

Unemployment rate is now 5.6%

Stock Market Returns (link for all of the numbers discussed in the show)

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund was up 12.43% (2014)

Investing for just 5 years, the worst case is a loss of 2.35% and you have a 90% chance of doing better than -0.47% in total returns. When you look at the 10 year results the worst is -1.38% and there is a 90% chance that you will do better than +5.86%.

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The Phil Ferguson Show – 105

Posted by Phil Ferguson on January 26th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Uncategorized

Guests – Lauren Lane & Steve Hill

Investing Skeptically – Women And Investing

- Women make less

- Women live longer

- Women have lower financial literacy

See the two examples of a man and a woman that try to save enough for retirement.

I recommend you read this book….

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Firebrand Atheism

Posted by Jim Newman on January 26th, 2015 – Be the first to comment – Posted in Uncategorized

firebrand_atheismAtheism has to deal with a lot of growing up pains. Big names like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Michael Shermer have faced an onslaught of criticism for being too conservative, didactically judgmental, or just plain obliviously sexist, racist, or disablest, with even accusation of misdeeds. It’s no longer an old white tent without contestation.

There have also been accusations that there is a “Big Atheism” and it’s too confrontational. We could see the start of it a few years ago when Religious News Network hired crossover atheists like Chris Steadman, who calls himself an interfaith activist or a Faithiest, where atheists should treat the religious respectfully.

Then there is the periodic concern that Atheist bulletin boards are too aggressive. As Massimo Pigliucci put forth.

“Few will listen to you if you start out the conversation by telling them that they are idiots.“. The counter argument to that is “The billboards are instead aimed at closeted atheists, trying to encourage them to come out and be counted“.

Again it’s really not new as Alternet and others said back in 2009.

The New Atheist movement is being led by several egomaniac intolerant fundamentalists. It’s relevant to ask about who they are, not just what they say or write, because the New Atheism isn’t just about non-belief in God. The leaders of this movement make loud, repeated, and bold claims about atheism being better and more moral, more ethical, and a vastly improved alternative to religion. They also name names when blasting religious leaders.

Now it’s being called Firebrand Atheism.

The president of American Atheists, David Silverman, defines firebrand atheism as simply telling the truth about religion, with the emphasis on the telling. He says we should make clear that it’s religious beliefs we’re attacking, not the person. He says, “I’m not attacking humans; I’m attacking those humans’ silly beliefs.”

Aaah for the old days when rebels would just create new organizations and do admin changes. Anyone remember Ellen Johnson, in 2008, who was run out because she said there should be a movement to not vote, to show strength?

“I didn’t vote because I’m tired of being ignored by the politicians… because I’m an atheist. All of the candidates court the religious voters and ignore me.”

She then urges the 11% of non-religious voters to “stay home” during the 2008 general elections.

Of course telling people to promote not voting is like rubbing salt in the wound of activism, and she had also said to vote shortly before. My, my. What she was looking for was attention of a big block not voting and they would ask why. Because there were and are no choices. No minority is represented less than atheists that I know of.

Silverman has brought in some statistics noting that until New Atheism there wasn’t much comment or recognition, with contrary comment back from his friend Massimo.

Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci concluded in a recent essay that Silverman’s kind of analysis “ought to be done by professional statisticians and social scientists in order to be convincing,” and that “the evidence adduced by [Silverman] to justify his firebrand atheism is shaky and inconclusive to say the least.” Pigliucci points out that one of Silverman’s own sources, sociologist Ryan Cragun, questions the validity of Silverman’s conclusions. Pigliucci quotes Cragun as saying, “causality cannot be statistically determined between whether searches for ‘American Atheists’ cause searches for ‘atheists’ or vice versa.”

Of course it’s impossible to really know since there haven’t been double-blind tests. Nor do we   know how atheism would had progressed without the New Atheist movement. It seems hard to believe that atheism would have gone as far as it has without raising controversy with such pejoratives as poisoning, no god, and delusion.

There is a current push to have a lovable fool, which feeds into popular anti-intellectualism..

As the authors wrote in the study: “Because they are liked by a disproportionate number of people, lovable fools can bridge gaps between diverse groups that might not otherwise interact.” That likeability factor is exactly what is needed in order to improve atheism’s image—and shift the Overton Window. The authors also say that since people are more likely to listen to likeable colleagues, we should “have widely liked individuals serve as evangelists for important change initiatives.”

Yet, the fear of hell has promoted more people to Christianity and Islam than the promise of heaven. These most successful religions won by conquest and domination. If softness were the most powerful influence, pagan and pacifist religions would have dominated. That’s why the all powerful equalizing single god made such a big tent effective.

In US history religious influence was formed by fervent preachers insisting that there be religious statements such as in god we trust and under god as well as national prayers and so forth. If you read their appeals there is no softness. Lincoln may  to have liked them but their appeals was the strongest voice around. The moderates swayed to the heavy voices. The trope is the squeaky wheel gets greased.

Indeed history is written by those who aggressively set forth in the world. It’s not a pleasant observation as most of us prefer peace but over and over again people have chosen authority and strength to form successful cultural and social change.

Clearly the Firebrand atheists don’t intend terrorism and physical harm but it is clear that Islamist terrorism has a disturbing effect of quelling opposition rather than raising it. Instead of objection to Islamist ideology, liberals and moderates point to imperialism and colonialism as the cause of problems rather then the direct ideology. Even when the extremists insist it is their ideology and not history or material issues moderates apologize for behavior they would find intolerable in their own. Liberals sided with free speech in Charlie Hebdo but refused to publish their cartoons under the guise of security, and apologetic tolerance of the terrorism.

The reaction to Charlie Hebdo was at first sympathetic and then rapidly twisted to justification for the terrorism, slipping into classic victim blaming. I fear that unless at least some atheists are firebrands the movement will stagnate. People like Dennett predicted the world would have gone secular by now and atheists aren;t even represented in government. Change against such requires strength. Even Gandhi knew nonviolence can only come after there is power.

I would risk violence a thousand times rather than risk the emasculation of a whole race. I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature….But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com