Category Archives: Personal Finance

It is Junuary in the Land of Giants

6/1/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

It is Junuary. For readers who have not had the pleasure of living in the Land of Giants, Junuary is the time of year when one looks at their calendar to find it clearly indicates the month of June, yet a look outside at the rain and colder temperatures seems to confirm one’s instinct that it is indeed January.

Fortunately, one way or another, Junuary yields to July, and the summer inevitably arrives in full force in the Pacific Northwest.

The US economy appears to be enjoying a Junuary of its own. In terms of monetary policy, it is January. On one hand, as GDP clocked in at a negative 1% for the first quarter of 2014, which in hindsight is quite natural when an economy that runs on a credit based currency created by fiat absorbs a loss of $40 Billion of anticipated new money flows with more reductions to come.

Yet at the same time, it is June.  Our key indicators here at The Mint reflect a situation in which the effects of monetary policy are quite the same as they have been for some time now, from the standpoint of the real economy, Q1 was business as usual in this recovery.  {Editor’s Note:  Bitcoin, for all its detractors, has weathered the Mt. Gox bankruptcy just fine, and now sits at an astonishing $646 USD per coin.  Yet for all its price resilience, economists continue to call for regulation.  The point of Bitcoin is that it cannot be regulated, and the position that it can be regulated stems from a wrong understanding of the role of money in general and Bitcoin’s role in the monetary strata on the part of the regulators.}

Further, the FED’s favorite indicators such as Unemployment, which now sits at 6.3%, average hourly earnings, up 1.9% year over year, and headline CPI is up 1.6% with core CPI up 1.4%. Similarly, housing prices continue their meteoric rise and consumer confidence continues to improve.

Consumer Confidence Chart

So what is it? January or June? If you are a financial commentator, it looks like January, with financial disaster just around the corner despite the improved data.

However, if you look beyond the numbers to what is actually occurring, it is June, with a substantial risk of a financial forest fire. The tinder on the ground has been there for nearly 5 years now; the Federal Reserve’s relentless money creation has left fuel in every corner of the forest. The only reason the landscape has not gone up in flames as a result is that consumer have not dared start a fire of their own.

Now, consumers are beginning to start their fires, and the trifecta of lower unemployment, wage inflation, and CPI is about to catch the FED completely off guard. Their monetary medicine has a serious side effect, it creates what we refer to as a scorched earth economy, and the dose required to keep the failed system afloat during this last round may take the forest down altogether.

Junuary is here, and July is just around the corner. Inflation is about to become an important part of the economic landscape for the foreseeable future. At first, we may enjoy the pleasant kind, where housing prices and stock rise abnormally with pay bump. However, it will be followed by the unpleasant kind, where coffee and groceries take an outsized bite out of one’s paycheck. The summer will be very interesting indeed.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for June 1, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.14
Oil Price per Barrel:  $102.71

Corn Price per Bushel:  $4.65
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.48%
Bitcoin price in US: $646.01
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,251

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  6.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  16,717
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,740,100,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,218,600,000,000

Basel III Liquidity Ratios

4/18/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Up until the financial crisis of 2008 and beyond, most Americans who were not alive during the early 1930’s had grown up in a world where choosing a bank was largely a matter of preference.  Once the FDIC insurance program was instituted on January 1, 1934, depositors had little to worry about.

The financial crisis that the world just experienced was a wake up call on many levels.  The first alarm rang for many Americans, members of congress included, when the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was sent on a freight train through the House and Senate under the threat of an imminent global financial meltdown.  Meanwhile, in Europe, the European Central Bank and European Union take a series of measures to shore up both their banking system as well as the finances of their member nations.

Giving away trillions of dollars to businesses who made bad decisions, while ultimately the chief function of government, is, paradoxically, politically unpopular.  As such, the governments of the world, who found themselves on the hook for losses in the financial system of a nature that many of them could not hope to understand in terms of nature and scope, began to devise a series of rules that would ensure that this sort of thing would never happen again.

So it was that, sometime in 2009, the word Basel, which until that time was a typo on a recipe card, became prevalent in the world of banking.

Basel is a city in Switzerland where the world’s banking regulators chose to meet to put their minds together as to what types of rules were needed so that the financial crisis would never happen again.  Today, five years later, the rules that they took so much time to tailor are indeed perfect for a world that existed five years ago.  As it stands today, the rules could very well be the cause of the next financial crisis.

The Basel accords and, more specifically, the Basel III Liquidity ratio, which is our focus today, are generally aimed at ensuring that large banks (those with $50 billion USD or more in assets, “too big to fail”, if you will) will always have enough liquid assets to meet the demands made on it each day.

The Basel III liquidity ratio is a simple ratio which places a banks Liquid Assets, meaning cash, Treasuries, and Agencies) over its Stressed Cash Outflows (meaning maximum foreseen withdrawals during a liquidity crisis).  The banks must report this ratio at a set time every business day.  If the ratio is over 100%, all is well.  If not, not, meaning the bank could be forced by regulators to initiate a strategy to unwind its operations.

Serious stuff.

While the numerator of the liquidity ratio is extremely simple to calculate, it is driven by the denominator, which is infinitely more complex.  This is where you and I, fellow taxpayer, come in.

Banks will be required to stratify their deposit customers well beyond the simple consumer and business account denominations that have sufficed to some degree until now.  They are now required to carefully monitor customers to better understand their daily inflows and outflows from their accounts in order to arrive at a maximum Stressed Cash Outflow number for each category of account.

As a practical matter, the bank will assign each category of customer and account a “run-off” factor, which is expressed as a % of the account’s balance on any given day that may “run” out of the bank.  Again, this number is critical for the bank, as it ultimately determines its reinvestment strategy and, by extension, how profitable a deposit customer is.

The good news is that consumer and small business accounts which are FDIC insured are, as of the most recent comment period, assigned a 3% run-off factor.  Meaning that for every $100 on deposit, the bank must buy $3 worth of Treasuries as an offset, and it is free to invest the remaining 97% in loans or other more profitable investments.

This means that competition for deposits from consumers and small businesses just got more intense, which should generally be good news for customers.  They should expect to see increased savings rates and incentives to hold both more cash and conduct more business at a specific bank, as it will be in the bank’s best interests to retain them and understand their spending habits.

The bad news begins outside of the realm of FDIC insured accounts.  For all balances over the FDIC limits for the same customers, the run-off factor, which, all things being equal, has an inverse relationship with a bank’s profitability, jumps to 10%.

For larger Corporate customers, who tend to have operating (daily transaction) and non-operating (reserve) accounts, the run-off factor jumps to 25% on operating accounts and 40% on non-operating accounts.  This makes large corporate customers somewhat less attractive.

The people that no one will want to bank with, from a run-off factor standpoint, are financial companies (think Insurance companies, small banks, etc.) who are presumed to have a run-off factor of 100%, meaning these companies, under Basel III liquidity rules, must be seen as ready to walk into the bank on any given day and withdraw all of their accounts.

In a way, the 100% run-off factor on financials makes sense, as it requires all large banks to hold Treasuries to backstop the accounts of financial companies.  It is a “regulatory” guarantee that these companies will always be liquid.

The way around the 100% run-off factor for financials and other large institutions are accounts with covenants to provide the bank with at least 30 days notice before withdrawal.  This type of notice requirement, in theory, gives the bank time to arrange its investments to be able to meet the cash outflow without impacting overall stressed cash outflows.

As one can imagine, Basel III will lead to a number of new banking products in terms of accounts and credit lines.  Briefly, this is what consumers and companies can expect to see as January 1, 2015 approaches:

1.  A dogfight for small, FDIC insured deposits.

2.  Decreased access to business lines of credit, as the Treasuries will be the default reinvestment vehicle for banks as they attempt to sort out their daily Liquidity ratio.

3.  Point 2 above means that low-interest rates on Treasuries are likely to be embedded for quite some time.

4.  Deposit products which cannot be withdrawn with less than 30 days notice without steep penalties.  One idea we have heard is a “perpetual 31 day time deposit,” meaning that the 30 day withdrawal notice requirement is embedded in the covenant, it is like an operating account that the customer has to give 30 days notice, like they would a landlord, to the bank before withdrawing.

As the Affordable Care Act has fundamentally changed the healthcare industry, Basel III will fundamentally change the banking industry.  While its aim is to forever stabilize financial markets, its implementation may be the biggest threat that financial markets have seen since late 2008.  Beyond that, it places the bedrock of finance firmly on the shoulders of sovereign bonds, which, despite being seen as completely liquid, hold a myriad of unknown risks.

Basel III, coming January 1, 2015.  The time to prepare is running out, and the time for action is upon us.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for April 18, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.03
Oil Price per Barrel:  $104.30

Corn Price per Bushel:  $4.94
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.72%
Bitcoin price in US:  $475.00
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,294

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  6.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  16,409
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,704,700,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,330,600,000,000

The Secret of Robert Parker’s Nose

10/14/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As the political fiasco en Washington continues, it is becoming clear that nearly any asset class that is not the US Dollar stands to benefit were the unthinkable to happen.  Here at The Mint, we have been investigating one of the more tasteful alternative investments:  Fine Wine.

Today, we continue by presenting to you a man whose nose literally moves the Market, Robert Parker.  Enjoy!

Tempranillo Photo credit: Mick StephensonROBERT PARKER “THE WARREN BUFFETT OF WINE”

Robert McDowell Parker Jr. is the world’s most influential wine critic. Born in Baltimore, Maryland (USA) on July 23rd, 1947, he continues to guide the fine wine industry with the tip of his nose, still going strong at the age of 66.

The Robert Parker Wine Rating System

The Robert Parker wine rating system (Parker Points) is a commonly used scoring system to rate fine wines. Although there are various, universally adopted rating methodologies, usually based on 20-point scales, Robert Parker’s 50-100 point scoring method has been very popular in the fine wine industry.

Robert M. Parker Jr. is undoubtedly the world’s most renowned wine critic. Since the late 70’s Robert Parker has been a prominent figure in the world of fine wine; his publication ‘The Wine Advocate’, an independent wine consumer guide, first published in 1979 draws a following of at least 50,000 subscribers to date.

Ever since the relatively new market of fine wine investment has taken off, wine connoisseurs, financial experts and investment brokers have been paying close attention to Robert Parker’s ‘million dollar nose’.

Robert Parker Jr. – the Million Dollar Nose due to the fact that Parker’s ratings have been known to significantly affect the value of wines and cause severe price fluctuations in the market, any investor in the fine wine industry should be well aware of Robert Parker’s opinions.

Robert Parker introduced his own wine rating system because he felt that critics often undervalued or overestimated a fine wine, mainly due to conflict of interest, for example the critic having a financial interest in the wine they are rating. Additionally, Parker felt that the commonly used 20-point system did not offer enough flexibility, and often resulted in unjustified, misaligned ratings. Therefore, Robert Parker’s 50-100 point quality scale (referred to as ‘Parker Points’) offers a widely accepted industry standard by which to gauge fine wine quality.

Robert Parker Wine Rating System

• 96 – 100

An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this calibre are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.

• 90 – 95

An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.

• 80 – 89

A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavour as well as character with no noticeable flaws.

• 70 – 79

An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.

• 60 – 69

A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavour, or possibly dirty aromas or flavours.

• 50 – 59

A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

Strange as it sounds, Mr. Parker’s nose can make or break a vintage in terms of market value.  He has risen to this status by breaking the mold in terms of rating Fine Wines.  What will be your great contribution to the world?  We encourage you to find and pursue it, for every calling, be in sniffing fine wines to pursuing monetary theory down uncharted paths, is a great contribution to the mosaic of life in which we move and breath.  Stay tuned for more information on Fine Wine Investing.  If you are interested in learning more about this asset class, please email us at the address below.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus!

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for October 14, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.27
Oil Price per Barrel:  $102.21
Corn Price per Bushel:  $4.37
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.69%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US:  $146.24
FED Target Rate:  0.09%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,274
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.3%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  15,301
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,689,400,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,790,700,000,000

 

Fine Wine Investing – Everything You Need to Know about Bordeaux

10/1/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints….

Appellations, Banks, Gravel, and Clay all work together in the Southwestern region of France which has become legendary for its wine production:  Bordeaux

While the word Bordeaux may ring a bell, many of us would be hard pressed to hone in on specifics when it comes to selecting a fine wine investment from this or any other region for that matter.

Until now.

The following is a synopsis of the Bordeaux region and the fine wines that it produces.  Think of it as the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy of fine wines which fall under this prestigious umbrella.

THE BORDEAUX EFFECT AND THE VINTAGES SHE PRODUCES

Red Bordeaux (or “Claret” as the British have always known it) can be the epitome of fine wine. The best wines exhibit a wonderful complexity of aromas and flavours, great elegance and refinement and an ability to age gracefully – some for a hundred years.

Like all of France, quality wine production in Bordeaux is governed by a set of regulations known as “Appellation Contrôlée”, often abbreviated to “AC”. An AC covers a certain geographical district and governs production of wine within the district. The whole of the Bordeaux region is covered by a couple of catch-all, generic ACs: AC Bordeaux and AC Bordeaux Supérieur (the latter is higher in alcohol, but not necessarily better). An enormous quantity of inexpensive, “everyday” wine is made under these ACs. Though this is not the “great” Claret that all the fuss is about, it can provide very attractive, reliable drinking.

There are also many smaller, named areas, each entitled to its own AC: AC Fronsac, or AC Pomerol for example. These more specific ACs are usually superior to generic Bordeaux and have stricter regulations.

To the west of the river Gironde, the vineyards of the Médoc and Graves are based on gravelly soil and are planted mainly with Cabernet Sauvignon vines. To the east lie Pomerol and St-Emilion, two smaller areas of predominantly clay soil, planted with a higher proportion of Merlot. Hence we have “left bank” and “right bank” wines.

The wines from each area can have quite a different character because of the different soils and predominant grape variety. This also means that one is usually more successful than the other in any given year.

Bordeaux Grapes no matter where they are from, almost all red Bordeaux is blended wine: made from two or more grapes. Red wine grape varieties allowed in Bordeaux, in order of importance, are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Malbec
  • Petit Verdot

Bordeaux also produces considerable quantities of white wine. Grape varieties permitted are:

  • Sémillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Muscadelle.
Bordeaux Wine Regions
Map of Bordeaux Wine Regions created by Domenico-de-ga

Classic Bordeaux Regions – 

The Médoc

The Médoc is home to most of the great, classic Clarets. You will find wines labelled AC Médoc that are usually one step above basic Bordeaux, but the very best wines of the Médoc come from even more tightly defined ACs within the Médoc. The best of these individual ACs include:

  • AC Margaux,
  • AC St-Julien,
  • AC Pauillac
  • AC St-Estèphe.

This region is dominated by large wine-making estates, known as châteaux. Whilst many of these do indeed have a château as their HQ, others have nothing more than the vineyards and a collection of ordinary working buildings. Unlike many producers from other parts of the world, each château tends to produce only one “grand vin” which carries its name. Some of them also make a white wine, and many make a second wine, from vats not considered good enough for the “grand vin”.

Each of the top ACs of the Médoc has its own character:

  • Margaux is home to the most perfumed, elegant and “feminine” wines
  • Pauillac three 1ers Crus. Classic, powerful yet elegant wines
  • St-Julien the epitome of Claret: savoury, well-balanced and refined
  • St-Estèphe wines are structured, tannic, long-lasting, “masculine” wines.

In 1855 Médoc wines were classified. From the many thousands of wines produced in the area, just sixty were thought worthy of classification. These sixty were sorted into five ranks or, in French, “Crus” (meaning “growths”), i.e. “Premier Cru” (first growth), “Deuxième Cru” (second growth) and so on.

There are only five top ranking, Premier Cru wines:

  • Château Lafite-Rothschild
  • Château Latour
  • Château Margaux
  • Château Haut-Brion (actually in Graves)
  • Château Mouton-Rothschild.

All classed growth wines command very high prices, many of these, particularly the Premiers Crus, are bought by investors all across the world. To this day the classification remains more-or-less unchanged and many of the original classified châteaux are still producing some of the world’s greatest wines. Of course strong arguments could be made for promotions and relegations within the classification. A group of wines known as the “super seconds” are generally acknowledged to be Premiers Crus in all but name, and a few of the original châteaux have either gone or have lost their reputation. However, apart from some obvious anomalies, it is remarkable how the bulk of the classification holds up, even after 150 years.

The Médoc Crus Bourgeois

Just below these classed growth superstars of Bordeaux are a host of wines known as the “Crus Bourgeois”. Many fine wines can be found within this classification – some are worthy of classed growth status, yet are available at a fraction of the price. I have found properties such as Chasse-Spleen, Meyney, Coufran and d’Angludet to be consistently good. However, in 2006 a court case found that the classification of the Crus Bourgeois was illegal, and pending a restructuring which means wines will have to be independently assessed for inclusion each vintage, the whole classification was temporarily suspended.

Graves 

Graves lies to the south of the city of Bordeaux. This region produces both red and dry white wines on the very gravelly soils after which the region is named. The red wines tend to express a soft, earthy quality. Like the Médoc this region was also classified, but not until 1959. Only a couple of dozen châteaux are entitled to the words “Grand Cru” on their label. The best vineyard sites of the Graves are clustered in the North of the region. That is where almost all the Grands Crus are situated. In 1987, this area was given a brand new AC of its very own: Pessac-Léognan. Wines bearing these words on their label should be of higher quality than most Graves. The undoubted super-star of the area is Château Haut-Brion. As noted earlier, this property was actually declared a Premier Cru in the 1855 classification of the Médoc due to its exceptional quality. Uniquely, it is allowed to have both classifications on its label: Médoc Premier Cru and Graves Grand Cru. Its sister property, La Mission Haut-Brion, is also capable of the highest quality.

St-Emilion 

Although the area is quite large, the properties here tend to be much smaller and less grand, and the wines (exclusively red) are very different. The soil is clay and limestone rather than gravel, and the dominant grape variety is not Cabernet Sauvignon, but the softer Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wines tend to be approachable at a younger age and to have a warm-blooded fruitiness. It is an area that requires a little bit of caution because of its classification system. St-Emilion wines are divided into 5 classifications. In ascending order, these are:

  • St-Emilion
  • St-Emilion Grand Cru
  • St-Emilion Grand Cru Classé
  • St-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé “B”
  • St-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé “A”.

Pomerol

Pomerol is by far the smallest of the great regions. It has 2 basic constituents that determine the character of its wines: the soil is thick, heavy clay and one grape variety dominates: Merlot. Pomerol wines are extremely soft, seductive and full of spice and vivid fruit. The production tends to be tiny in the area, so the wines are generally expensive. Indeed, Pomerol is home to some of the world’s most expensive wines such as Châteaux Pétrus and Le Pin, the latter producing little more than 500 cases each year. You will rarely see these wines in shops as they are snapped up years in advance of production. Look for more reasonably priced wines such as Petit-Village, Le Bon Pasteur and Clos René. The wines of Pomerol have never been classified.

Sauternes and Barsac

The Bordeaux area also produces world class white wines, though invariably in tiny quantities. The most famous of these are the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, including the almost legendary Château d’Yquem. These luscious wines (also classified in 1855) are created by a particular and unpredictable fungus, called botrytis. Botrytis rots the grapes, leaving them high in sugar and glycerine which leads to their eventual silky, honeyed sweetness. The best dry white wines come from the Graves area. Though often of tremendous quality, these tend to be scarce and the famous names are very expensive.

The minor regions

From the inexpensive, soft, fruity and delicious wines of the Premières Côtes de Blaye in the north of the Bordeaux region, to the moderately-priced structured, tannic and impressive clarets of Fronsac or Lalande de Pomerol, the “lesser” red wines of Bordeaux are not to be despised. Whilst the finesse and breeding of the top classed growths might be missing, the red wines of the region are generally very reliable and well made.

The dry whites of the region, from areas like Entre-Deux-Mers or simple AC Bordeaux can produce refreshing, zippy, occasionally slightly tart wines for drinking young. Areas around Sauternes, like Sainte-Croix-du-Mont or Loupiac which lie just across the Gironde, also produce sweet, sometimes botrytis affected wines that can be very good and are moderately priced. Rosé is also produced in the Bordeaux region, often from the Cabernet Sauvignon. It can be delicious stuff with bright, supple fruit and refreshing acidity.

Indeed, the Bordeaux Region and its Appellations are the epicenter of Fine Wine investment.  A basic understanding of the region and the wines that are produced there, which we hope you have gained by reading the above information, is absolutely crucial for anyone who wishes to dabble in fine wine for investment purposes.

If you or any of your clients would like more information on fine wine investments, simply email us at: davidminteconomics@gmail.com with the word “WINE” in the subject line.

More to come on the Fine Wine Market.

Stay Fresh!

Obamacare Calculator and Deadline to Avoid Tax Penalties Approaching

As the threat of a Government shutdown looms, another important deadline, one with more individual implications, is looming.

While we do not pretend to understand the workings of the Affordable Care Act, we do understand that it will have a dramatic impact on both the health care industry and individual budgets, an impact that is difficult to calculate.

As a public service here at The Mint, we are embedding a calculator created by the Kaiser Family Foundation which will give individuals and families a general idea of how Obamacare will affect their premiums:


In any event, it is important to understand that, barring Congressional action to the contrary, anyone who does not have coverage in place before January 1, 2014, will pay a penalty on their tax return equal to $95 or 1% of their 2013 income, whichever is greater.  If you do not have coverage, this government website can help guide you:

https://www.healthcare.gov/index.html

But you must act fast as, according to Gary North, whom we must thank for providing this information, the above link will no longer be available after midnight tonight as the government run health insurance exchanges will go live.

Again, you must have a health plan in place before January 1, 2014 to avoid paying a penalty on your 2013 taxes.

Stay healthy and fresh!

Finding Financial Freedom by Living Out the Biblical Principle of the Jubilee

The following is a guest post on a timely topic by David Bonner, a financial consultant with a passion for helping people find freedom by becoming good financial stewards.  Enjoy and stay fresh!

There are many biblical principles when it comes to finance. Perhaps the most often cited is Jesus’s instruction to “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Like most of the times that Jesus is quoted in popular culture, this is taken out of context at least as often as not. While I am very much in favor of personal responsibility, good stewardship, and accountability to authority and government, the concept of rendering unto Caesar is not anywhere near so valuable as the biblical principle of Jubilee.

In the book of Leviticus, debts and enslavement are both addressed as coming to an end after fifty years. The Covenant Code, taken from Exodus, includes similar provisions after a period of seven years. This code adds a layer to the idea of rendering unto Caesar in that the debt or the term of slavery – note the biblical application as given to Moses’s audience would have been much more of a household servitude like an indentured servant than our modern interpretation of slavery – should be served out for a reasonable period but not leave people laboring their entire lives under its burden. Unfortunately, apart from bankruptcy, our modern society doesn’t have many allowances for this form of grace. And even bankruptcy does not extend the full protection that many believe it will.

The best time to be responsible with debt management is before taking it on. For this reason, tools like a home loan calculator are invaluable. A mortgage loan calculator or similar tool can help you determine what housing options you can reasonably undertake based on an in-depth understanding of your finances. However, with the soaring costs of education, the massive investment of establishing oneself in almost any career, and the instability of most markets, debt is a reality of modern American life.

The important thing is not to let debt overwhelm you. Part of avoiding this would be to utilize a good debt repayment calculator to determine what money you actually have available to work with. A debt consolidation calculator can help you view all of your debts, credit cards and mortgages, car payments and education loans, together in one focused picture.

This focused picture will enable you to see your finances in terms of available funds rather than seeing your monthly income as being available. A debt elimination calculator will help you select the repayment timeline that works for you, and commit to following through on it. Utilizing debt calculator(s) applications when considering undertaking a big financial step will allow you to make a clear headed and responsible strategy, enabling you to both render unto Caesar and celebrate your own Jubilee before too long.

Dave Bonner runs a small business in the Greater Philadelphia Area, where he lives with his wife and their one-year-old puppy.  His consulting work includes applying sound Biblical principles in making economically sound business strategies, a subject on which he has also been privileged to teach.  Debt consolidation has become something of a hobby, as he works to assist his friends and family in the pursuit of financial stability and good stewardship.

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead has arrived

2/28/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Our latest E-book offering:  Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead, has shipped and will soon arrive on digital shelves across the Internet.

More than a book on personal finance and budgeting, it is a collection of our personal finance tips told through a bakery metaphor.  It is now available and can be enjoyed with a coffee and danish on Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle, and Google Books.

As an added bonus for visiting our page here at The Mint, you can download a sample budget spreadsheet in Excel format to help you to implement some of the tips here:

SAMPLE BUDGET

Dough: An introduction

dough -/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.

Dough.  Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it.  As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow bakers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing.  Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80′s smash, Freewill,

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment.  This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow baker, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loaves, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires.  If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.

The central theme is dough, more precisely, how to manage your dough.  If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material available, and finding good advice that fits your situation, is can be as rare as finding a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker together these days.

With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter.  You may choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.

The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which in this volume we refer to as the bakery, for all of us are cooking up one thing or another.  We recommend that you treat your bakery with the utmost of care.  This volume is designed to give you the tools to do just that.  If properly used in just the right proportions, these tips will help to ensure that everything you cook up will come out just right.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 28, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.53
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.83
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.19
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.89%
FED Target Rate:  0.14%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,580 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,054
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,400,000,000