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Is Cheap Oil Good for America?

Written by Maksim. Posted in Economic

We had a really interesting discussion at the office today regarding the low oil prices and whether it was a good or a bad thing for the United States. When I heard the same conversation hotly debated on CNBC on the drive back from a meeting, I knew it was time to write about it.

So what do you think? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Personally, I believe it is an answer of “It depends.”

In the short term, I believe it is a good thing, a good thing for consumers. Time and time again we have evidence that lower oil prices, and thus lower gas prices, leave more money in the wallets of families to spend. The United States is not a nation of savers, but rather spenders, especially around the holidays. Only in the states will you be gently jostled by your friends and coworkers because you have the iPhone 5 and not the iPhone 6 plus. Lower energy prices will no doubt increase sales and the bottom line of retailers.

Lower oil prices are also good news for airlines, cruise ship operators, industrial producers and other manufacturers. Their input costs will go down, and thus raise the profits for the shareholders. Once again, there are little doubts that this will be a positive catalyst in the short term.

What about the long term?

Are You Using “Smart” Credit Cards?

Written by Maksim. Posted in Financial Planning, Industry

One of the more common questions I am asked by clients during the discussion of debt is “Should we be using credit cards?”

If you have ever watched any of the personal planning shows on TV, you would hear Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman and others typically dismiss all credit cards is bad debt and never to be used.  The reality is, this is yet another example of why blanket advice is not advice.

The reality is, as long as you are financially responsible to yourself, there is no reason to use “smart” credit cards.

What are “smart” credit cards?  Read on.