Is a sixth financial crash on the horizon?

Scott Nations explores the sources of the five largest stock market collapses in U.S. history in his recently published book “A History of the United States in Five Crashes.”

The crashes all were caused by new, complex and poorly understood investment “contraptions,” lax regulations and the lack of market liquidity prompted by too much selling too quickly.

4 ways your pet can help reduce your taxes

In honor of tax reporting season, following are four ways you might be able to use your pet to save money on your income taxes. Thanks to Emily Zulz of for compiling the original list.

1. Hire your pet for your small business. You read that right. If you are a small-business owner, consider using your dog for security or your cat for rodent control. Expenses such as food, veterinary care and training for the animal could qualify for a business deduction. And you wouldn’t even have to pay them a salary! If your pets don’t actually live full time on the business premises, you might still be able to prorate their expenses during the times they are faithfully executing their business duties.

'As is': Reading between legal lines

Let’s take a look at what the phrase “as is” means in the legal world. If you are selling something as an individual, must you tell the other person or write down the phrase “as is”? How about when you sell something in your capacity as a business? These two little words together can mean many things in legalese.

The basic rule is this: “All sales of goods, by a merchant, who regularly sells goods of a like kind, come with the seller’s guaranty (or warranty) that the goods are of a merchantable quality, unless properly disclaimed.”

Is socially responsible investing worth it?

Socially responsible investing seeks to balance both financial return and social good.

The idea of promoting social good through investment selection gained worldwide prominence in the 1970s as part of the effort to end apartheid in South Africa. Although the socially responsible investing effort alone did not bring an end to apartheid, it arguably contributed to its demise.

Forced arbitration strips consumers of rights

Virtually every consumer contract for goods and/or services you enter into these days has an arbitration clause that puts conflict resolution in an alternate universe almost completely outside of the court system.

Sounds attractive. It’s allegedly quicker and cheaper than the courts. The clause is often hidden in the fine print and, if read, its consequences are difficult even for attorneys to understand. You see, the smaller the print in your standardized, prewritten contracts, the larger the issues likely are.

How to avoid the top financial mistakes retirees often make

Any mountain climber will tell you that a greater number of accidents and fatalities occur on the descent rather than the ascent to the summit. Similarly, during our working years, we strive to provide and save for retirement, without giving too much thought to developing a solid plan for making our funds outlast our lifetimes.

People are very focused on the accumulation phase and don’t pay enough attention to the distribution phase, which starts at the moment they stop receiving a regular paycheck.

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