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Michael Lewis
Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive and entrepreneur. During his 40+ year career, Lewis created and sold ten different companies ranging from oil exploration to healthcare software. He has also been a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC, a Principal of one of the larger management consulting firms in the country, and a Senior Vice President of the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the United States. Mike's articles on personal investments, business management, and the economy are available on several online publications. He's a father and grandfather, who also writes non-fiction and biographical pieces about growing up in the plains of West Texas - including The Storm.

5 Timeless & Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Parents

By Michael Lewis

parent and adult childHarlen Miller, artist and author of “Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty,” said, “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” The Christmas Season, as well as birthdays and anniversaries, are occasions of great joy, as well as frustration, especially when it comes to selecting gifts for the elderly.

While there is a plethora of gift ideas for young children, what-to-buy for parents is especially difficult for a few reasons.

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How to Choose the Best Stock Investment Strategies

By Michael Lewis

investment strategiesAccording to a recent Pew Research report, more than one-half of people aged 30 or older have investments in the stock market and 80% of those making $75,000 per year or more have equity investments. These investments include individual stocks and bonds, as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

While many suffered from the sharp decline in the market in 2008 – it lost 38% of its value – the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 on November 22, 2013, more than doubling its low of 721 on March 11, 2009. As investor confidence returns, many analysts predict that the market is going to continue its bullish behavior well into 2014 and beyond. Whether you select individual stocks or bonds or rely upon an investment manager to do it for you, it is important that you choose an investment approach fitting to your attitudes and goals.

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What Is Compound Interest – Definition, Formulas & Obstacles

By Michael Lewis

compounding interestHumanity’s first experience with compounding – the accumulation of vast numbers through the systematic addition of small sums over a period of time – came from nature, not mathematics.

Thousands of years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, ancient humans abandoned their nomadic ways, formed the world’s first communities, and began to till the ground, raising wheat, barley, and other grains. Growing seasons concluded with reaping and storing grain, which was used during months when agriculture was not possible and other food sources were scarce.

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10 Tips to Save Money & Stay Safe Shopping for Holiday Gifts

By Michael Lewis

shoppingThe holiday season is also the biggest shopping season of the year. The time period from Black Friday through December 24th can mean the difference between an annual profit or a loss for some retailers. As a consequence, retailers advertise sales, extend store hours , and open online Internet storefronts to fulfill the demand for Christmas gifts. Almost two-thirds of shoppers will “showroom” their purchases by checking and comparing products online before venturing into a brick-and-mortar store, and according to The Christian Science Monitor, online retailer Amazon has aggressively matched or beat prices of retail giants such as Best Buy and Walmart.

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How to Tell Your Kids About Santa Claus and Whether He’s Real

By Michael Lewis

santa clausParents are often conflicted during the holidays when Santa Claus is ever-present in the media and community. Should the belief in an imaginary, mythical figure be encouraged? How will your child feel when he or she discovers the jolly figure in the red suit carrying a big bag of Christmas presents is not real?

While there are no definitive answers, the following information may help you make the right decision for you and your child.

The Development of Imagination

Between the ages of two and three, children begin developing imagination and engage in some form of play-acting or pretend. Most parents have experienced being served an imaginary meal, and few question whether the child actually believes the food is real.

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The Failure of America’s Political System – Understanding Hyper-Partisanship

By Michael Lewis

partisanshipIf you are frustrated, disgusted, and fed up with the failure of Congress and the President to address the primary issues facing the country, you’re not alone. According to a Pew Research Poll, more than 80% of citizens don’t trust the government to do what is right most of the time. The fiasco over raising the federal debt to maintain America’s unrivaled credit standing was just the latest example of a Federal Government so polarized that basic legislation and critical appointments are almost impossible.

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Men vs. Women: Differences in Shopping Habits & Buying Decisions

By Michael Lewis

man and woman shoppingJohn Gray’s 1992 book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” confirmed what men and women have always known: The two sexes differ in their perspectives, motives, rationales, and actions. Even though the reason for the differences (nature or nurture) continues to be debated, study after study reflects similar results, and sophisticated companies have adapted their customer outreach programs to account for these differences. Everything from advertising style, message, and media, to product design, store layout, sales training, and customer service policies are designed to appeal specifically to both sexes.

The goal of every retailer is to:

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How to Get the Job You Want – 3 Keys to Success

By Michael Lewis

choosing a dream jobAccording to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, one in five workers was dissatisfied with their current job in 2012. A Jobviate survey also taken in 2012 found that three out of every four workers are actively seeking new positions, suggesting that even those who may be satisfied in their current employment will move to a “better” job, given the opportunity. If you are currently looking for the next position in your career, you have a lot of competition.

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How Much Life Insurance Do I Need? – Typical Coverage Amounts

By Michael Lewis

life insurance policyWhen I was a young husband and father, I visited an old family friend who had been in the insurance business for ages. Being concerned about the future, I asked, “How much life insurance do I need?” The old pro looked at me and replied, “How long are you planning on being dead?”

I subsequently discovered that there are popular rules of thumb used to calculate the amount of life insurance you need (8 to 10 times your annual income is typical). I also learned that each person’s situation is different, and needs to change over time. As a consequence, you should assess your situation and your life insurance need each time a major event in your life occurs, such as a marriage, birth, home purchase, new business, death, or retirement.

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How to Prevent Identity Theft and Protect Your Personal Information

By Michael Lewis

identity theftIn 2013, Americans were shocked to learn that the National Security Agency conducted mass surveillance of its citizens by intercepting and monitoring Internet and phone traffic within and outside of the country’s borders. When challenged, government officials justified the collection on the basis of national security and ongoing threats of foreign terrorism within the U.S., believing these threats to be aided by both American citizens and foreign nationals within the country.

The disclosure ignited a debate between those advocating the need for the government to access such information and those who deem such acts a violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and an implied right to privacy. Whether the program is going be modified in the future remains uncertain.

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Income Inequality in America – Definition, Causes & Statistics

By Michael Lewis

income disparityWarren Buffett, number two on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America, said, “There’s class warfare, all right – but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Certainly, the disparity between the wealthy minority and the rest of Americans has widened considerably over the past 40 years. In 1973, the top 1% of earners collected 7.7% of all U.S. income; by 2013, their share had grown by two and a half times to 19.3%. Even more astounding, the top 10% of earners collected almost half of the nation’s total income (48.2%), the greatest disparity between the rich and the rest of the American population since the Roaring Twenties.

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Raising the US National Debt Ceiling – Crisis Definition & History

By Michael Lewis

fiscal cliffThe circus is coming back to town, seemingly an annual occurrence following the 2010 Congressional elections. Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives with the most House seats since 1938 (242 Republicans, 193 Democrats), while Democrats retained control of the Senate with 53 seats. And even though Democratic President Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, Congress remains divided between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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How to Use Social Media Marketing Strategy to Increase Sales

By Michael Lewis

engaging on social mediaThe business marketplace now is more fecund than at any point in history. Yet it is harshly discriminating, rewarding only those who are able to master its complexity and rise above the cacophony of simultaneous competitive messages. Traditional marketing avenues – print, radio, and television – have lost their dominance in the last decade as the use of the Internet and new social media has exploded. The time spent by Americans on the Internet has risen more than 25% year-over-year (320,689 million minutes, 2011; 401,699 million minutes, 2012) according to the Nielsen 2012 Social Media Report – and if you want to sell anything in today’s market, you must be visible online.

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What Are E-Cigarettes – Risks, Regulations & How They Work

By Michael Lewis

e-cigaretteElectronic cigarettes – colloquially known as “e-cigarettes,” and initially introduced into the United States in 2007 – target smokers who are increasingly forbidden to indulge their habit in public places. Sales reached $500 million in 2012 and are expected to double to $1 billion in 2013, and double again in 2014.

Despite the growth year-to-year, total sales for e-cigarettes are just a fraction of the total tobacco product sales in the U.S., projected to reach more than $106 billion in 2015 with a total global market of almost $890 billion.

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Should I Take Online College Classes? – Pros & Cons, Various Programs

By Michael Lewis

online learningAccording to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 school year was $8,655 for state residents attending public colleges, $21,706 for out-of-state residents attending public universities, and $29,056 for students attending private colleges. These expenses don’t include the cost of housing, meals, books, school supplies, clothing and personal needs, or transportation expenses, which can equal or exceed the cost of tuition.

Accordingly, many students and parents are considering the use of online long distance learning (LDL) courses as a method to reduce the expense of college education. The question is, can LDL courses realistically replace the benefits of an on-campus degree?

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