The 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.
Parents 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
If 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.
John 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:
According 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.
When 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.
In 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.
Warren 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.
The 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.
The 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.