Register now for Leading Edge Conference- January 2014
The annual Leading Edge Conference is scheduled for January 14-16 at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel. This year’s conference has an all-new lineup of speakers and topics! You don’t want to miss it! Nationally recognized speakers include experts on professional standards, communications and leadership development.
Register today and join your fellow leaders in Baton Rouge in January!
Tuesday, January 14
10:00 – 12:00 Executive Committee Meeting
12:00 – 4:00 AE Meeting
1:00 – 2:00 Finance Committee Meeting
1:00 – 5:00 Mediation Training with Bruce Aydt
2:00 –3:30 LARPAC Trustee Meeting & Orientation
5:30 – 7:00 Louisiana Chapter CRS Reception
Wednesday, January 15
8:00 – 12:00 Professional Standards Training with Bruce Aydt
12:15 – 4:00 Volunteer Leadership Lunch & Training with Bill Pawlucy
4:15 – 5:15 State Legislative/Risk Mgmt. Meeting
5:15 – 5:45 Town Hall
5:45 – 6:15 Regional Caucus Meetings
Thursday, January 16
8:30 – 9:30 Local Board Leadership Breakfast
9:45 – 10:15 Board Member Orientation
10:30 – 12:30 Board of Directors Meeting
1:00 – 4:00 Spokesperson Training with Brad Lambert
Click here for more information or to register today.
4 Reasons Last Week’s Economic Forecast Isn’t Pushing Rates Up
Under normal circumstances, good economic news pushes up interest rates, but today’s economy does not resemble normal, and so rates are unchanged.
This payroll data is especially helpful because we’ve been waiting to see the negative effects of the “shutdown.” Someday there may be a government shutdown with significant economic impact. However, the shrieking all through September and October about damage and threats of default was political-media bloviation, nothing more.
As pleasant as the payroll news, beware happy-talk. There is no acceleration in these numbers, except in one spot: The jobs gained were better quality than in many prior reports, less retail/hospitality, more with better prospects for stability and higher pay.
However, better pay is still in prospect, not in wallet: November wages rose 0.16 percent, no change in trend in the 2 percent overall gain in the last year. Aggregate personal income in November fell 0.1 percent while spending rose 0.3 percent, an uneasy pair.
This jobs report is at the edge of justification for the Fed to begin to taper its $85 billion-per-month purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. If the Fed will soon begin its terrible taper, maybe at its meeting 10 days hence (a good bet that Bernanke will draw first blood for Yellen), why no reaction from the bond market?
First, the market has already reacted — explosively. The 10-year T-note run, from 1.7 percent to 2.9 percent May-June, was serious sprinting.
Second, inflation is dead-low. Year-over-year, the consumer price index has risen only 1 percent, and that’s overall CPI, not “core,” ex-food and energy. And energy prices may be about to fall, oil finally giving way to the fracking boon. Take the nominal bond yield now close to 3 percent, subtract inflation, get a 2 percent real return. Not great, not shabby, and more than one point higher than it was in May.
Third, the Fed will promise to keep the overnight cost of money near zero for an even longer period, maybe out to 2017. Which is effectively open-ended. The limits on that promise: rising incomes (the whole purpose of the exercise), and/or an unwelcome rise in inflation (in excess of 2.5 percent). The unemployment rate fell from 7.3 percent to 7 percent, but the Fed has already suspended its 6.5 percent threshold for tightening, on proper grounds that the unemployment rate is a poor measure of actual labor conditions.
Fourth: the slippery one. Trying to get inside the head of the bond market will make you crazy. Stick with this thought before trying any other thinking: Long-term investors think long-term. Then proceed to step two: The bond world is upside-down, good news is bad, bad news is good. But we got good news today, and nothing bad happened …? Step three: Aggressive stimulus by the Fed is bad for bonds, and its absence or withdrawal is good. Initially, the taper is bad for bonds, a huge buyer stepping out. But, if the Fed is stepping out, less help for a deeply uncertain economy.
Those same insane principles governed the bond market response to QE ever since 2008. Rates rose at each announcement, on the presumption that Fed emergency measures would work. When in each case the economy responded little, rates then fell, the market getting the benefit of the Fed’s buys and renewed recession fear. (Note: The apparent absence of positive impact from QE emboldens rockheads to claim that QE did nothing or was counterproductive. Gather ye rocks as ye may.)
Besides watching incomes, watch housing. Mortgages just north of 4.5 percent are hardly “high,” but are priced higher than last year and no lower than three years ago, the stimulus effect of super-low worn off.
The bond market has no fear of any other stimulus from government. President Obama this week spoke on economic inequality, “the defining challenge of our time.”
Droning through six pages of text, not a word on how to help our people compete in a tough world. The Republicans have nothing to offer, either. Yet, as today’s job data show, the American economy moves on, endlessly adaptable, without leadership if necessary.
Source: Inman News
Technology Tipping Point
Consider the mixed messages in a report by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. Three-quarters of Americans polled say technology helps them get more done in less time. Good for your personal life, right? Not so fast: Three out of 10 people say technology has made it harder for them to separate work from their personal lives; 25 percent say they’re stressed out by the feeling of being “on call” 24/7; and 20 percent believe mobile technology, in particular, has made their lives more stressful.
Especially interesting is the millennial employees’ take on tech. The stereotype is that millennials love working from wherever they are. But this age group is actually more bothered than any other by the way technology blurs the line between work and personal time. Nineteen percent of millennials say their personal lives have suffered due to work technology, compared to 15 percent of non-millennials; 25 percent of millennials say being accessible to their jobs via a mobile device makes their lives more stressful, compared to 20 percent of non-millennials.
A Harris poll found even more dire results. Just 34 percent of respondents credit technology with making them more productive at work, while 70 percent say it's too distracting. As in the Annenberg study, millennials were more likely than other generations to say technology negatively affects their personal and work productivity, their relationships with friends and family, and even their happiness.
Finding A Happy Medium
How do you decide when technology has reached the “tipping point” where it’s hurting more than it’s helping, and how can you restore the balance for yourself, your loved ones and your employees?
- Do you grab your smartphone to “quickly check email” after dinner and not come up for air until hours later?
- Do you ever enter a vicious circle of checking email, voice mail, social media and then, when you’re finished, start the cycle all over again … and again … and again?
- Do you regularly send employees emails, text them or call them on weekends, on their vacations or even just long after the workday has ended?
- Any complaints from family or friends about ignoring them because you’re immersed in your technology?
- Do you increasingly find that when you have family time, everyone is in their own world, staring or tapping away at their mobile devices?
- Do you attend family events, such as children’s school plays or sporting events, but spend the whole time on your phone or tablet?
If you realize that you have fallen prey to technology, take these four steps to break free:
1. Establish regular times when you check email, social media and voice mail. Let employees and key customers know how they can reach you in an emergency (and what constitutes an emergency). You’ll find that most understand what you’re doing and are happy to help you maintain these limits.
2. Set up email filters, alerts, ringtones and the other features on your mobile devices so you don’t miss truly urgent communications from key people. This way, you can relax knowing you don’t have to constantly check in.
3. Create rules for employees' technology use. These could include limiting work emails, texts and calls to certain hours; limiting device use during meetings; and limiting email Reply Alls or CCs.
4. Establish family technology rules. These could include limiting screen time for kids, creating a “no phone zone” at the dinner table or setting certain hours when no one's allowed to check their tech. Remember, kids will “do as you do, not as you say,” so don’t set a rule you yourself can’t live by.
Source: American Express Open Forum
Erroneous Transfer Tax Emails
In 2011 REALTORS® stopped the transfer tax bill on the November ballot. Unfortunately there is an unrecognized and unqualified automated service that is blasting erroneous e-mails regarding this now resolved issue.
Please disregard any incoming information you may receive regarding the Transfer Tax, as we were successful in passing this amendment nationally 2 years ago. We apologize for any confusion regarding the matter.
If you have any questions about this please contact Norman Morris or call at 1-800-266-8538