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The Independent Investor: Small-Business Owners Run Into Red Tape
By Bill Schmick,
05:07PM / Thursday, April 09, 2020
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has two programs that can help America's business owners to weather the COVID-19 storm.    The $349 billion, first-come, first-served loan programs have seen an overwhelming response from troubled small-business owners nationwide. The job is to get the money into their hands quickly.   The challenge will be to remove or amend a mountain of regulatory requirements that the Small Business Administration and the financial sector have had in place for decades. Adding to the confusion are the owners themselves, who are either not aware that there are actually two loan programs or

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@theMarket: Don't Trade This Market
By Bill Schmick,
10:41AM / Saturday, April 04, 2020
Markets that go up or down several percentage points a day is the new norm. As COVID-19 begins to infect the U.S. heartland, more and more of the country is shutting down. Deaths and cases have still not peaked, so why should we expect the stock market to have bottomed out?    The financial media, I believe, is providing investors a great disservice. Every day, some analyst, money manager, or company executive is either trying to pick a bottom, or telling you the bottom is already in, or arguing that it may be weeks or months away. Ignore them.   My column is not about giving you false hope, or doom-and-gloom warnings. It is about the fact that the stock

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The Independent Investor: How the CARE Act Changes Tax-Deferred Account Rules
By Bill Schmick,
04:35PM / Friday, April 03, 2020
Listen up, big changes have just occurred because of the newly passed CARE Act. Aside from the "free money" that 90 percent of Americans are expecting, important changes to your retirement accounts have been passed. These changes can save you a bundle in taxes while providing instant cash relief, if you need it.   Normally, if you need money from a retirement account, and you are under 59 1/2 years old, you are required to pay a 10 percent penalty, plus the income tax owed on your withdrawal. There are some exceptions to the rule and the CARE Act just added a big one. The federal government just eliminated that 10 percent penalty for any distributions from IRAs,

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The Independent Investor: An Economic Game Plan
By Bill Schmick,
10:34AM / Friday, March 27, 2020
Now that Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have fired the first salvo of relief spending, investors are wondering how long the trillions of dollars in aid will take to actually do something to alleviate some of the losses to the economy.   Administration officials believe that the cash payments to Americans should start arriving within the next three weeks. That said, most economists expect the country will fall into recession in the second quarter. That begins next week. No one knows how deep of a decline we will ultimately suffer, but suffice it to say, it will be a shock to most of us.   We can also expect a large, possibly a historical, jump in the

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The Independent Investor: An Old Dog Learns New Tricks
04:00PM / Thursday, March 19, 2020

Bill trying to work from home.  COVID-19 has upended my life. Like so many other elderly workers, I am at risk, according to the government, the media and the medical community. As a result, if I want to avoid getting sick or dying, working from home is my only option.   When I made that decision last Friday, I didn't think it would be a big deal. After all, I have worked at home before (when I was sick or recovering from one of my many surgeries).   But as I am in day four of this self-imposed isolation, I am learning that, at least for me, my work habits are going to need an overhaul.   As a self-confessed workaholic,

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