Budget for taxes, savings and life

Let's get straight to it, some sobering news for you...when you add up the taxes you pay to the feds, payroll tax, Georgia state, etc., you’re probably paying more than 30 percent of your income to some form of government. And this doesn't even include property, sales, gas, and ad valorem taxes. I don’t advocate moving to Canada or Europe -- unless you want to pay even more taxes. What you can do is educate yourself and adopt what I call a TSL-driven budget. That's a budget containing the three buckets where most of our dollars go: Taxes, Savings and Life.

Your day to day budget and your retirement planning will be a whole lot easier with my TSL guidelines:

Taxes: 40 to 50 percent

Pro golfer Phil Mickelson recently got in hot water when he complained 62 percent of what he earns goes toward taxes. Few of us feel sorry for a guy who makes close to $50 million a year. But his complaints weren’t that far off the mark, even though CNBC reported his estimate was a little high.

Consider the new federal tax bracket that’s nearly 40 percent on families with annual income north of $450,000, add California’s 13 percent  income tax, and you almost start to feel sorry for Lefty.Almost.

Taxes take a huge bite out of all our paychecks. So budget 40 percent of your income for taxes (closer to 50 percent for really high income households), and you’ll have a good sense of what’s left for your Savings and Life buckets.

Savings: 20 percent

For many years Vanguard recommended saving between 8 and 12 percent of your gross income to guarantee a happy retirement. Recently, they upped that guideline to 12 to15 percent, thanks to lower return expectations in the future. I advise clients to try to save 20 percent of their gross income.

Twenty percent is a significant number, but take into consideration the many tax-advantaged ways to save -- such as a 401(k), 403(b) or a SEP IRA -- and you can get there a lot faster than you might think. And you may be able to retire a lot sooner than you think.

If 20 percent seems unrealistic right now, just start somewhere and work up to it.

Life: 30 to 40 percent

Now, we’re at the truly discretionary spending. The remaining 30 percent (40 percent if your tax bite is lower) of your income goes here. Spending just 30 to 40 percent of your income during your working years on living (food, shelter, transportation, insurance, kid-related costs, entertainment and the like) will allow you to maintain your lifestyle once you retire.

For Mickelson, that’s means limiting his Life spending to about $15 million a year.

My TSL formula may seem harsh at first, but who ever said getting to Easy Street (and a happy retirement) was going to be easy?

How Are You Budgeting For "Fun" This Spring

It’s that time of year again. Spring break is approaching  for most families. It’s starting to get warm again, and the yellow pollen is back. Now it’s time for a little spring cleaning, and it’s a great time to clean up your finances as well. Below are five easy steps to cleaning your financial house this spring:

Step One: Discuss your main financial goals with your spouse/significant other – and write them down

Whether saving up for a down payment on a house, paying off outstanding debt, or creating a rainy day fund, everyone has a financial goal or two for the year. Writing down your goals helps you to think through the details and motivates you to achieve them. It’s also helpful in making sure that you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to your collective financial goals.

Step Two: Track your money’s in-flows and out-flows

Sit down by yourself or with your significant other, and write down on the left-hand side of a piece of paper all your sources of income. Look at your tax forms, W2 or 1040, to get an accurate amount of your income. Then, on the right-hand side of the same piece of paper, write out all your financial obligations. Your paystub should quickly tell you how much you’re paying for healthcare, putting towards your 401K, and how much you are setting aside for taxes. Don’t forget to include your insurance, mortgage, car payments and any other financial obligations that you are accountable for throughout the year.

Step Three: T.S.L. Plan for taxes, savings and life

Looking at your gross income (if you are working), remember that approximately 30 percent will come right off the top for taxes (both Federal and State), 20 percent should go towards savings (emergency fund and retirement assets) and 50 percent to “life”. This formula is key to a healthy financial plan. You can read my previous blog post to learn how this formula will keep your finances in check.

So, do your in-flows exceed your out-flow? I hope so. If not, it’s time to right the ship, and this financial spring cleaning is a great time to reevaluate your budget, savings, and spending habits.

Step Four: Insure what’s important

Cleaning up your finances is a good time to make sure that you have all your important financial assets covered with insurance, which includes your house, car and health. Do you have life insurance, or need more coverage? For most families, the most cost effective option for life insurance is level-term (10 to 30 years). If your life insurance needs have increased (ie: more children or a change in lifestyle) it may be time to revisit your coverage amounts. If you don’t have an agent you are working with, it’s fine to shop for term life insurance online – for quotes visit matrixdirectaccuquote or quickquote.com.

Step Five: Budget for fun

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While cleaning up your finances, be sure to include a budget for fun, whether it’s a trip to the Fox Theatre or a vacation to Florida. Research for my upcoming book, you can retire sooner than you think, shows that happy retirees take nearly twice the number of vacations each year compared to unhappy retirees. One of the smartest and most respected consumer advocates in the US, our Atlanta neighbor Clark Howard, has some great suggestions for traveling on a budget if you’re looking for fun, money conscious ideas.

Have you done your financial spring cleaning yet?

 

Avoid Atlanta Traffic with Instacart

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One evening last week I got home from work later than usual only to realize I had that I forgotten to pick up milk and dinner for my family. My wife didn’t love the idea of me turning right around and re-entering Atlanta traffic gridlock and not staying to help her get our three boys to bed. Rather than digging myself further in to the doghouse I turned to one of my favorite things, technology.

I used an app that a friend had told me about earlier in the week called Instacart. Instacart is a company that is based online, and has teams of “Personal Shoppers” that will go to local grocery stores (Atlantans have access to Whole Foods, Costco and Kroger so far) to purchase your groceries and bring them to your house. You pay for your order online with credit card, but they are also currently working to integrate Apple Pay which you know from last week I find exciting. They charge a small delivery fee, which for delivery in two hours is $3.99 and they have reduced markups in many of their stores . That seems like a reasonable price to pay to have groceries delivered to your door.

Another aspect that I love about this company is what I learned from my very personable and punctual Personal Shopper who delivered to our house that night. This guy had been unemployed two years ago looking for work. Now, not only is he a Personal Shopper for Instacart, he is also an Uber driver. This new technology has actually empowered this man to hold two jobs. He can drive for uber during peak “ride times” and do shifts for Instacart earlier in the day – and he loves it. This is a wonderful example of the Uber Economy working in the favor of both the users and the workers.

The good news for all my northern OTP readers is that Instacart has expanded to your neck of the woods. As of last week they have opened up operations to cover the Atlanta suburbs and many locations north of I-20. Now they are in need of drivers as well, so if you are looking for something to do and have a car this could be a great fit for you. The Atlanta area is the 15th city that Instacart has moved into. They were born out of San Fransisco like many great startups.

What’s also interesting to me is that they have been funded by the very same venture capital investment group, Sequoia Capital, that invested in one of the most high profile tech busts – Webvan. Webvan launched in the late 1990s and had a similar concept. Unlike Webvan, though, they are clearly being careful to not put the cart before the horse. Webvan made the mistake of trying to build a very capital intensive system including purchasing vans and warehouses for groceries. Instacart is instead utilizing what is already available like local grocery stores and drivers with free time. While Webvan was a major flop, I foresee Instacart being an insta-success.

Bottom line

This is an especially handy tool for my family because as I’ve said before, with three growing boys, we’re constantly adding extra grocery shopping trips throughout the week. The ability to cut out having to pack up the family, head to the grocery store, march up and down the aisles and then check out gives us an enormous amount of freedom. Instead, now when we need to pick up a few extra things, we just log on to Instacart, “throw” what we need in the cart, and hit order and it’s brought straight to our door. No muss or fuss. On top of that, I love that this new technology is actually adding a whole new category of jobs and creating an entirely new workforce. You just might like having someone else sit in Atlanta traffic for you, and for $3.99 it’s well worth a try.

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

Retirement Doesn't Have To Be Scary

America, it's time to get your act together. We are in big trouble when it comes to financial freedom, and ever being in a position to retire. The numbers and statistics for people nearing or in retirement are scary.

75 percent of retirement age Americans have less than $30,000 in savings.

1 in 6 older Americans live on less than $22,500. These are people you know.

Today we have five people working per one retiree, but by 2050, there will be less than three people working per retiree. That means less and less people supporting our social security system.

Americans 55 and older account for 20% of all bankruptcies typically because of medical and funeral expenses.

1/3rd of all Americans have absolutely zero confidence that they will be comfortable in retirement.

It's easy to be nervous about the financial picture that is playing out in America. But you don't have to be! You can reach a happy retirement with the correct information, planning and preparation, and maybe even earlier than you think! There are a certain set of financial milestones that you should reach to be an early and happy retiree. The best part, is that they are more obtainable than you might realize.

If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, it's time for you to get on the road towards a happy retirement. Yes, now. Not when you are 10 years out from retirement. You just need the right information to focus and set goals that will put you on the path to a happy retirement.

To get you started, below are a mix of traits and steps that I uncovered through my 2013 National Money and Happiness Survey - that unhappy retirees do that you should avoid.

Most unhappy retirees don’t plan to pay off their mortgage until well after the age of 65. Happy retirees typically have their mortgage paid off well before age 65. Make a plan to pay off your mortgage as quickly and realistically as possible. Happy retirees also don’t necessarily own McMansions, so don’t feel like you need a mortgage that has you spending 33 percent of your income a month. Instead, opt for a more reasonably priced home that requires less than 20 percent of your monthly income.

Start saving early. Many unhappy retirees delay saving any money until they hit 55, while some never start. This action (or inaction) puts them at a serious disadvantage. Read my previous blog on why it pays to start saving today.

Unhappy retirees have a higher propensity to be divorced. Divorce isn’t just a separation of you and your partner, but also of both of your savings and income. On top of that, happy retires tend to have more social hobbies (think volunteering and traveling with a spouse), and divorcees don’t have a built in partner in crime.

How many children do you have? Unhappy retirees tend to have fewer kids than happy retirees. If you have just one child, sorry, but you do not fall into my happy retiree category. Yes, kids might be expensive, but they’ll keep you active and engaged. So hop to it, and start making those babies!

Do you drive a BMW? That brand was the top driven luxury car of my unhappy retirees! Check out what “Fubu” commented about BMWs at the bottom of Clark Howard’s blog about cars and credit.

Bottom Line

It’s easy to fall into the unhappy retiree camp, or even worse, not have retirement as an option. Learn to avoid the pitfalls that will inevitably take you there, and start saving today. All this information is in my book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think , and there’s a reason it’s an Amazon best seller. Don’t just take my word for it, though - check out the book reviews on Amazon. You can also take my Money and Happiness Quiz at WesMoss.com to quickly learn if you are on track to be a happy or unhappy retiree.

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

Does A Quiet Market Spell Trouble?

The VIX, a trademarked ticker symbol for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index, is a measure of implied volatility in the market over the next 30 days. Also known as the fear gauge, it represents how people perceive the current markets' risk. On June 6, the VIX actually went to a recent low of under 11, which is the lowest the VIX has been since February 2007, and close to the lowest level in its history. We all remember what happened in 2007 with the housing market bubble burst and ensuing stock market plummet, when the VIX reached 85 during the peak of the crisis. So what does it mean now that the VIX looks as low now as it did then?

There’s currently a camp that is very nervous about this. They’re saying that this low VIX is a clear signal of investor “complacency” with the stock market, which means we could be in for a world of trouble.

However, just because the perceived volatility is low does not mean that the market has to crash. Back in October and November of 2013 the VIX was under 14 (again a very low number) for 32 consecutive days. Then the S&P gained almost 2.5 percent through the end of the year.

Markets don’t crash because of a low VIX. They crash for reasons that make the VIX high, and reasons that create volatility -- like fear.

Fear of war (think today’s turmoil in Iraq and Ukraine), terrorism, market bubbles popping, great recessions and the like, can all cause the VIX to rise.

I believe that today’s “complacency” isn’t a forgetful one. Investors I talk to aren’t saying, “Let’s own stocks because they are guaranteed to go up. We have no risk of losing money.” Most investors have been around long enough now to have experienced or at least know about several bear markets, and understand that the stock market cannot always promise you a positive return in the near term.

I think that investors are less complacent and more confounded.

Currently the stock market looks fairly valued, not cheap, but also not overpriced. Bonds currently have some merit due to their protective nature coupled with their ability to provide consistent cash flow. Furthermore, the US economy looks slightly better than lukewarm – but still shy of being overheated.

Perhaps we have all been on edge so long about the stock market crashing again that we don’t know how to be comfortable with a low volatility market.

Don’t just take my word for it. HSBC strategist Garry Evans was quoted in Barron’s saying, “In fact, low volatility is typically a characteristic of the “stable phase” of bull markets. At the very least, we can say that never in the 25-year history of the VIX did a bear market appear when volatility was low.”

Bottom line

This low VIX isn’t a necessarily a bad thing. All of this gives me the impression that investors feel comfortable enough not to sell; but not comfortable enough to bid up the price (buy more) of their existing holdings.

In my new book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think, I offer a solution for investors who are “confounded” as to what to do with their 401k and retirement savings. I also discuss how to come to terms with stock market and economy’s perpetual gyrations. Chapter 8 is dedicated to a strategy known as income investing – as well as a diversification approach I’ve coined the “bucket system”.

Would you like more tips on retiring sooner? Take my free money and happiness quiz on the right hand side of wesmoss.com.

 

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

Would You Pass this Money and Happiness Quiz?

  I’ve recently released a new book called, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” and in it, I analyze the financial bare minimums needed for retirement, along with the different traits and habits between happy retirees and unhappy retirees.

My book analyses the financial differences between the happy and unhappy retirees, and with the backing of Georgia Tech's Mathematics department, I can actually say that I've answered the question, "Can money buy happiness?"

Yes, money can buy happiness; however, it is for less than you might think. In my book I lay out the financial bare minimums of the happy retirees so you can set your financial goals appropriately.

One of the interesting findings in my research was that more money and more income does increase happiness, but only to a point when it begins to level off. Effectively creating a plateau effect between money and happiness. After you have reached a certain amount of money, it only makes you marginally happier. I believe this goes back to my last blog post about having balance with your progress in life.

In conjunction with my research on financial levels of what makes a happy versus unhappy retiree, I was also able to learn about the various traits and habits of these groups. Several of these truly stood out to me as important markers in what can make or break a happy retirement.

Can you answer the below questions?

1) Do you feel like you have a well defined understanding of your purpose in life? 2) How many activities and interests do you love to pursue? 3) What is the value of your home? 4) How long until you pay off your mortgage? 5) How many sources of income do you have in retirement? (Ex. social security, pension, income from investments, rental properties, part-time work, government benefits) 6) How much time do you or did you spend planning for retirement each year? 7) How much do you have saved in your retirement account? 8) How much are you planning to spend each year in retirement? (Note: this does not include taxes) 9) What kind of car do you drive? 10) Where do you shop? 11) How many vacations do you take each year?

In my book, I explore the above questions and more, and compare the results between the happy and unhappy groups. If you aren’t ready to buy the book, head over to www.WesMoss.com and take my free quiz to learn which group you fall into along with several suggestions that might help you tune up your money happiness quotient.

It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement, so pick up my book today so you can retire early and happy.

 

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for the AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

How Do You Define Happiness?

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I’ve recently written a book about money and happiness called You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think (McGraw Hill Education, $18) which gives you a step by step guide to finding the right balance between money and happiness, so that you can retire early and happy.

My book ultimately answers the question, “Does money buy happiness?” The answer is yes, but for a lot less than you might think. You should read it to learn about the financial bare minimums you need to achieve in order to be happy in America, along with the most important traits and behaviors that define happy retirees.  For example, how many vacations do happy retirees take each year, what kind of cars do they drive, and how much money do they have saved?

The steps, habits and traits that I outline in the book will help you retire sooner than you think. However, in reflection, what I truly learned from this project is tha happiness is always a work in progress, and something we continue to strive for in our lives. I believe that happiness ultimately is about progress in all areas of your life.

Happiness Comes With Progress

Your business or job, income, net worth, social life, your health, travel/experiences, sports, music . . . a radio show . . . are all only fun when you are getting better and progressing.

In the business world we typically define progress as growth in the business.  “We need to grow our business!” In reality, a business doesn’t necessarily need to grow to be successful; really the business just needs to consistently improve and progress in its original mission.

Another example of happiness being a byproduct of progress shows up in the game of golf. Do you golf every week to get better or worse? When you walk away from the green with a higher score from the week before, golf isn’t nearly as fun. You enjoy golf when you shoot one stroke better, get one more birdie, or in my case, one less bogie.

Here’s where the balance comes in, though. Progress is wonderful, but when progress in one area of your life causes you to ignore other areas, then your happiness begins to fail.

. . . A Balance Of Progress 

Growing your income typically involves working more, which can translate to less family time or less time with your significant other. That is as surely a recipe for disaster as going in the opposite direction and spending all your time with your family and ignoring your job. Going to an extreme in either direction will leave you and your loved ones unhappy, so it’s best to find a moderate balance.

Another example of being unhappy when unbalanced, would be travel. An old friend of mine came into a big chunk of money early in his life and decided to spend it travelling – for years. Now he’s in his mid 40s, he’s traveled all over the world, but he’s never held a job, never owned a home, has never married, and he typically crashes on friend’s couch. While it sounds like an exciting lifestyle, being a professional backpacker loses its luster after about age 21.

A healthy lifestyle is something that we are all striving toward, but we still need to maintain a balance here as well.  Dedicating three to four hours a day to anything is sure to cut into your life, and if you’re spending all that time running by yourself or at the gym, you’re missing spending time with your friends, family, even your job. Frankly, if you work out that much, you should really be getting paid for it.

Bottom line

Expand your horizons and make progress in all aspects of your life day by day.  Including hobbies, sports, adventure, your finances, relationships, and even that trip you’ve been thinking about taking to Argentina or the Greek Isles. The happiest retirees find the right balance in all of these areas.

For more information here a video link about my new book.

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for the AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

Selling life insurance policies for cash

I’ll tell you right out of the gate – this might be the creepiest financial topic I’ve ever researched. But, just like any financial option that you have available to you, I feel like it’s my job to shed some light on the subject. Life Settlements, formally known as Viatical Settlements, elicit a great deal of emotion. “Selling your life insurance policy so that someone else can collect on it when you die?” – The thought of it is just uncomfortable.

Here’s how Life Settlements work: This is a financial product where a group or company will buy a seller’s life insurance policy while that person is still alive for less than the value of the full death benefit. Then, once the original owner of the policy passes away, the company that purchased the policy is able to collect the full amount of the death benefit (as opposed to the original owner’s beneficiaries).

It’s a little creepy, right? But I wanted to figure out if there was any upside to these “life settlements” for me and you. The life settlement industry actually began about 20 years ago as a way for crucially ill patients who needed to pay for medical attention to receive a lump sum of cash in return for someone else to ultimately collect on what was originally their death benefit. Now it’s an option for not only those facing health issues, but also people having financial difficulties in retirement that would prefer (or need) cash today rather than leaving behind a life insurance death benefit.

Generally speaking, big institutional investors engage in life settlements via large pools of policies as a means of generating excess returns. Think of life settlements as a way for pension funds, endowments and hedge funds to diversify their investment portfolios. By and large, though, these investments are not suitable for individuals… so don’t get excited about buying them.

However, your life insurance policy could be up for sale as a means of last resort.

The first step to knowing if a Life Settlement is a good idea for you is to look at your own financial fingerprint. Run your current finances while also thinking about the ultimate unknown – your own longevity. AARP is now saying that the number of people living until the age of 100 will increase 900 percent by 2050.

So, is it a good deal for you to sell your policy?

Growing long-term care costs and increasing longevity are the two main drivers for the life settlement industry. Extended life expectancy means that life insurance premiums may eventually reach a point where they become too high to maintain. So if you have paid a great deal into a life insurance policy and are in need of liquidity, a life settlement may provide an outlet for you. Also, if you need that money for healthcare or any other reason, and you no longer have a need for the death benefit upon your passing, a life settlement may be an option for you.

Let’s look at an example for what this might look like. In trying to find some approximate numbers on what a policy might sell for, I talked with Stephen Terrell a Senior VP at Lifeline Capital Management – an Atlanta based company that specializes in life settlements. Here are a few thoughts and examples directly from the company:

“Life settlements depend on many factors including the size of premiums after conversion (from term insurance to universal insurance) and the health status of the client.”

A 79-year-old woman of above average health with a $2 million policy may receive $125,000 for her policy.

A 73-year-old male with a $500,000 policy in excellent health is not likely to receive an offer at all. This is due to life expectancy and the amount of premiums that would be required to keep the policy in force.

Look at a similar situation: A $500,000 policy for 73-year-old male in average health could qualify for a Life Settlement of approximately $50,000. Someone with average health might have diabetes and a manageable heart condition, or other conditions with similar lifespan-affecting consequences.

A 73-year-old male with poorer health would probably receive a larger offer, depending on the severity of the health conditions.

*Please note that there are many other factors of the policy not mentioned here that could affect the offer.

As you can see, today’s offer for cash is far less than the value of what the death benefit would be. There would be no reason to even entertain such an idea (selling your policy) unless you absolutely did not need (or want) the death benefit for your heirs – or you can no longer afford to continue making premium payments to keep the policy in force.

Another reason to keep your current life insurance is because once a life insurance policy is sold in a life settlement, the coverage remains in force and it may affect your future insurability. If your want to replace your coverage – either in the short or long term – then you have to work with insurance companies that are willing to write future policies, knowing the original coverage will still be in force. That can be a tricky proposition.

In full disclosure, I have never in my entire career as an Investment Advisor seen a client use one of these things. However, I thought it would be worth exploring here as you should know about every possible financial planning tool available to you.

Bottom Line: Life Settlements are only an option when you have an insurance policy that you just plain can’t afford anymore or don’t want anymore, and you are positive that you are going to let it lapse – meaning the death benefit coverage is going to go away.

Have you or anyone you know participated in a life settlement? What are your thoughts about them?

 

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for the AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

Apple & Beats| If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em

I have been fascinated these past few weeks wondering why Apple is reportedly buying Beats, a “low tech” company that’s only been around for three years -- for 3.2 Billion! (The deal isn’t “official” just yet) Everyone seems to hate the Apple &Beats deal:

CNN Money – “Apple & Beats is just a bad deal”

Business Insider – “Apple Buying Beats Sounds Like A Bad Deal”

Gizmodo – “Beats by Apple is Making Monster’s Big Mistake Even Bigger”

I’ve had some time to think about this, and I actually think it’s a very smart deal for both of them.

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine win. They may not end up as full scale billionaires, but they’ll be close to it. Dr. Dre should end up with a net worth of around $800 million, so he’ll actually be ahead of Sean Combs (otherwise known as P. Diddy) who has held the title of largest net worth for a rapper for several years at $700 million. The reason Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are not getting more is because they sold a large chunk of their company to a private equity firm, Carlyle, in September 2013. Don’t get me wrong, though, they’re still getting paid as much as most of us hope to win in a high Powerball lotto. So clearly, these guys are walking away ecstatic with this deal.

How does Apple win in this deal? First of all, Beats is only a three year old company, and they made more than $1 billion in revenue last year. On top of this amazing feat, they also have huge profit margins. They are selling headphones and speakers anywhere from $100 to $450, and what’s crazy is that most people could buy headphones for $10. That might even be what Beats is paying to make them . . .

Doesn’t that sounds a lot like Apple? They practically created the market of overpriced, “cool,” edgy tech gadgets. Apple was not the first company to provide portable music - let’s all have a quick flashback to the walkman and diskman. They were however, the first to make a portable mp3 player wildly popular with the iPod. They created something cool out of an already established market, and were able to leverage that to grow an entirely new industry leading to explosive growth for Apple as a company.

Apple today, though, seems to have lost its cool factor. Now everyone has aniPhone, iPad, iPod, etc. I have one, you probably have one, and every dad at my kids’ soccer game has one. Guess what . . . sideline soccer dads just aren’t an edgy group. These products have become ubiquitous in our society, which is good for Apple, but also causes it to lose its initial cool, edgy factor. Last week I asked three dads at the soccer game if they still think Apple is cool. They all pulled out their iPhones, and started talking about their plans and cases and how cool they were. It was then that I realized that Apple has definitely lost its edge.

With Apple having purchased Beats, though, they now do have a new, edgy, cool product again. Cool and unique is what they built their business on. The way I see it, it just may be the boost Apple needs.

So congratulations to Apple and Beats on a deal well done.

 

Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for the AJC.com. You can find his original article here.

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