Country Wisdom & Investing

country barnCountry wisdom is the collection of practical experiences gained by generations of pioneers, farmers, and ranchers as America transformed from a vast frontier to the world’s greatest economy. That experience – the result of constant trial and error – was passed from parent to child in plain language that left no room for misinterpretation. Living on a farm or ranch miles from the nearest neighbor meant solving problems on your own, making do with the materials around you, and accepting whatever happened and moving on.
Country people know that worry is like riding a rocking horse – it’s something to do, but gets you nowhere. Excuses and explanations count for little if the seed is not in the ground by the spring rains to make a crop. You don’t blame the cow when the milk gets sour, but change the pasture where she eats.
Country Sayings to Invest By
The wisdom gained over years of self-reliance in a lonely, often hostile environment remains just as applicable today in our modern, urban setting as at the turn of the century. The lessons of a country life – expressed in simple, understandable language – are especially pertinent for a beginning or inexperienced investor seeking to negotiate a confusing, constantly changing terrain of potential investments and prices. The following country proverbs are tested and true bits of wisdom you can apply equally to your investments and your life.

1. “The Quickest Way to Double Your Money Is to Fold It Over and Put It In Your Pocket”

Everyone expects to make money in the stock market, but few have realistic expectations of probable returns. Inexperienced investors frequently buy stocks on the advice of acquaintances or friends who brag about their experiences, implying that investment success is easy.
Everyone expects to buy the next Apple or Microsoft, allowing them to retire at age 30 or 35. However, doubling your money in a single year is highly unlikely, and becoming wealthy overnight a pipe dream for most people.
Here are two keys to stock market success and long-term financial independence:

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Do Intelligent Design & Creationism Belong in Public School Science Classes?

classroom high schoolThe tension between science and religion has existed for centuries, the former dealing with the natural world and the latter with the supernatural or spiritual world. Many people may be familiar with the story of Galileo and his trial by the Inquisition in 1633. He was forced to recant his belief that the Sun, not Earth, was the center of the universe – that Earth moved around the Sun, and not vice versa, as the Church taught. More people may be familiar with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which has been attacked by religious fundamentalists for more than 150 years.
The conflict between religious beliefs and science is intensified in the crucible of public policy when proponents of either side conclude that the government has lost its impartiality to the detriment of the other. As a consequence, the country has a long history of state and federal court cases dealing with the intersection of religion and governance.

Separation of Church and State

The first phrase of the Third Article of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Since its passage, the separation of church and state has been the subject of numerous government actions and Supreme Court cases including the following:

* In 1864, at an order by Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” were inscribed on all new United States coinage, but did not appear on paper currency until 1957.

* In 1878, the Supreme Court concluded that making religious law superior to civil law would make each person “law unto himself.” Such a belief would render the government ineffectual and irrelevant in the case Reynolds v. U.S. The case was about the practice of bigamy in Utah.

* In 1947, the Supreme Court ruled in Everson v. Board of Education that the First Amendment applied to state governments, as well as to the Federal Government. The Court opinion included that neither the Federal Government nor the states can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.

* In 1971, a Supreme Court case – Lemon v. Kurtzman – established what is commonly called the “Lemon Test” to determine whether a law had the effect of establishing a religion. In order to be constitutional and acceptable, a law must conform to the following:
* It must have a secular legislative purpose

* Its principal or primary effect must be one that either advances or inhibits religion

* The state must not foster “an excessive government entanglement with religion”
This test is currently in use whenever a question of church versus state arises.
A particular hot-button issue today that tests the separation of church and state is the addition of intelligent design to the curriculum of public school science classes.

The Battle Over Teaching Evolution

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Picking and Dickering: America’s New Hobby

antiquesOwning a piece of the past has universal appeal. According to philosopher and antique dealer Leon Rosenstein, it’s the value, uniqueness, and beauty of older items that attracts us, along with their historical and cultural associations. For some, buying and selling tangible pieces of history is a business – for others, it is a calling. Mike Wolfe, one of the stars of the television show “American Pickers,” says that discovering and restoring old relics from the past to their former glory is akin to saving America’s history, one piece at a time.
While lots of people are familiar with antique collecting, many are unaware of the growing market for other collectibles, from cars, to toys, to comic books, to folk art. According to the U.S. Economic Census of 2012, the industry accounts for more than $13 billion in revenues for almost 20,000 businesses, from one-man shops to giant online auction firms such as eBay and Heritage Auctions.
Everyone, it seems, has a touch of nostalgia from time to time, a sentimental yearning to return to days of past happiness. Antiques and collectibles are tangible evidence of history, monuments of a slower, simpler age when the future was bright and obstacles seemed easy to overcome.
Unlike most retail experiences, acquiring pieces of the past requires diligent searching followed by old-time price negotiation – “dickering” – between buyer and seller. Value is in the minds of the two parties, rather than any objective analysis, since many items are one-of-a kind. As a consequence, a successful acquisition requires a discerning eye and disciplined negotiations. For many, the opportunity to joust over price, pitting one’s wits against another’s, is as rewarding as acquiring the items themselves.

The Appeal of Picking

Finding old treasures can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. While the majority of pickers buy older pieces for their artistic or nostalgic appeal, many have found searching flea markets, garage sales, and old barns and houses to be exceptionally profitable. For example:
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How to Create & Host a Webinar

webinar1As the Internet becomes more and more ubiquitous in the workplace, webinars – or what some refer to as “online seminars” – have become increasingly popular. Educators and marketers have embraced webinars as a forum for spreading their message; sponsors find their effectiveness and long shelf-life appealing; and attendees are learning to take advantage of their low cost and convenience.
If you haven’t introduced webinars into your marketing, customer service, or employee training efforts – whether you’re running a Fortune 500 company or a one-person operation – you may be missing out on a significant opportunity.

Understanding Webinars

Simply stated, a webinar is a multicast, interactive audio-video seminar over the web that offers the opportunity to give, receive, and discuss information. According to an ON24 survey, the average webinar in 2013 attracted 433 registrants. Almost one-half of sponsors participating (49%) in a 2013 poll by MarketingSherpa ranked webinars and webcasts as the most effective marketing tool they used, well above mobile apps (35%), blogs (27%), press releases (21%), and social media marketing (18%).
Webinars first appeared around 1994 and have become increasingly popular as costs of production have dropped and technology for communication with broad audiences has improved. More than 80% of the webinars in the ON24 study had in excess of 200 attendees, while 15.2% had more than 1,000 attendees.

It’s important to understand the distinction between webinars and other Internet-based forums, such as online meetings and podcasts:

Online Meetings

Also called web meetings, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and virtual conferencing. In online meetings, a range of 2 to 30 participants are simultaneously involved in the discussion, which can be a corporate board meeting or project team discussion. Companies typically use online meetings for brainstorming, where participants familiar with a subject can provide input and discussion on the topic at hand.


Sometimes called webcasts, these are usually broadcast without interactivity. The word “podcast” is a combination of “broadcast” and Apple’s then-revolutionary “iPod,” which could play digital video and audio files. The availability of low-cost, high-quality cameras, as well as video and audio recording software, enables businesses of all sizes to advertise their products and services cost-effectively via this platform.

Benefits of a Webinar to Sponsor and Participants

Webinars allow sponsors to communicate a message to hundreds of participants in real-time. As a consequence, they are equally popular with educators and students, marketing professionals and potential customers, and business trainers and employees.
Their advantages include the following:
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