According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and may have greater leadership potential than those with longer or thinning hair. That may explain why the shaved head look has caught on in the corporate world lately. For example, Marc Andreessen (Netscape Founder), Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) all have shaved or closely cropped heads.

Many executives say the style makes them seem young or at least makes their age less evident and gives them more confidence. Steven Carley (Red Robin Gourmet Burgers CEO) said “shaving his head gave his confidence a boost when working with 20 plus year olds.”

Although I do believe personal grooming (neat appearance, dress, hygiene, etc) are an important part of success in the workplace, I’m not ready to pull out those clippers – at least not yet.

Beer sales! According to the Beer Institute, beer sales are rising for the first time since 2008. After falling three straight years, beer shipments have risen each month during 2012. Much of the rebound is being driven by small-batch “craft” brewers, reflecting shifting tastes among drinkers.

Beer sales have dropped from 2008 to 2011 partly because its key customers, blue-collar men in their 20’s, were hit particularly hard by the recession. Job numbers are still way down but improving. The unemployment rate for men 20 to 24 years old was 15.2% in August. As the unemployment rate improves, beer sales should continue to improve.

Drinkers are branching out from traditional American lager to ales, porters and wheat beers from fast-growing small brewers. The number of breweries in the U.S. topped 2,000 earlier this year for the first times since the late 19th century. Will this trend continue? I think so, but only time will tell.

Is it better to earn a million dollars or save a million dollars? For me, the answer is simple. What good is making a million dollars, if I spend two million dollars? I would still be in debt.

The same holds true for governments. The U.S. government is more than $15 trillion in debt. What good is raising taxes to increase revenue if you don’t also cut spending?  You hear a lot of talk about taxes but the key to deficit reduction lies with reduced and more efficient (less wasteful) spending.

We all know the government is wasteful (and inefficient) with our tax dollars. Below are just a few examples of how your tax dollars were spent wastefully:

  • $592,000 on a study to figure out why chimpanzees throw poop.
  • $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.
  • $475 million worth of oil for the Afghan army that just disappeared and the US can’t account for where it went.

If you want more detailed information, you can read U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. report on Government Waste http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public//index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=b69a6ebd-7ebe-41b7-bb03-c25a5e194365

Instead of Democrats and Republicans arguing over taxes, shouldn’t the discussion be focused on how to cut wasteful and inefficient government spending?

If you are fortunate enough to have amassed wealth and want to keep it in the family, you should die this year and not in 2013.

For 2012, the current law provides a generous $5,120,000 per person federal estate tax exemption. This means that if you die this year, the first $5,120,000 of your estate isn’t subject to taxes. This compares with a $1 million federal estate tax exemption and a 55% effective top tax rate scheduled to take effect in 2013.

Of course I’m making light of the estate tax hike that takes effect January 1st, 2013. But, if you are wealthy and want to provide for posterity without the government taking most of it in the form of the estate tax, you need to see your attorney or CPA right away to make changes before the end of the year. There are many things you can do (gifts to family, charities, POD accounts, joint tenancy deeds of trust, etc) to protect your family.

Do you ever wonder why the laws seem to protect the wealthy?

Charity donations are tax-deductible.

If you give $100, you get a large part of that back when you claim it on your taxes. Your $100 donation only costs you about $65.

Giving now is better than giving in the future.

Due to inflation, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Your $100 now has a larger impact on the charity than if you waited. In 5 years, that $100 is worth only about $85.

You really CAN make a difference.

Your money won’t be wasted. It will go to someone who needs the help.

You’re just going to blow it on something dumb anyway.

Starbucks, iphone, fast food. Need I say more?

You feel good about yourself.

What comes around goes around. I really do believe that the more you give, the more you will receive.

Kids Cancer Fund

Real happiness comes from the heart. When you give from the heart, your experience is deeply rewarding and you feel good about yourself. One charity I believe in and wanted to share with you today is Kids Cancer Fund.

Kids Cancer Fund is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for kids with cancer. Kids Cancer Fund:

  • Provides financial help via grants to families with children diagnosed with cancer.
  • Provides cancer research information and awareness to patients, families and the public.
  • Provides research grants to promising pediatric cancer research programs, hospitals, physicians and scientists. We are especially interested in targeted immunotherapy.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death among children younger than 15 (after accidents). About 1,340 children are expected to die from cancer in 2012.

Please visit the website at www.KidsCancerFund.org

According to research by Harris Interactive, 45% of U.S. adults packed their lunches last fall. A 12-inch turkey-breast-and-ham sub with chips and a drink runs about $8 at Subway. Buy a loaf of bread, lunchmeat, cheese, and fruit or chips for the week and you’ll spend just $3 or so a day. Annual savings (packing four days a week): $1,040.

In today’s economy, packing a lunch is what smart people do. I have been brown bagging my lunch for years. Not only will you save money, but you will eat healthier, tastier food. What works for me is this: I brown bag my lunch daily and then buy lunch on paydays (I get paid every two weeks). This routine lets me save money and splurge a little, too.

I recommend packing fresh fruits and vegetables with deli-style sandwiches. Soups and salads are great as are bagels and cream cheese. So I don’t have to rush, I prepare my lunch the night before and store in the refrigerator.

Do you brown bag for lunch? What’s your favorite meal? What benefits have you found with making your lunch?

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