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What role is left for religion?

Having left the most creative and inventive century in all of human history and now being a full decade into what has the potential of being a more creative and more inventive century, what role is left for religion in such a “brilliant and Borowsself-sufficient” humanity? Now into my seventh decade on this planet earth, I cannot remember a time when religious beliefs and Biblical ethics and morality have been under such frontal attack from so many venues. What then is the role of religion in this Orwellian Period of human history?
We know there is a role, for even the most casual observer can see what the movement away from religious belief and Biblical ethics and morality has done to this world and nation in which we live. Though many people still try to live by their religious beliefs and the ethics and morality that comes with our beliefs, there is enough attack on all things Biblical that we have been left with an open chasm of fear and rootlessness. In many of life’s arenas, humanity is like a house without a foundation.

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Public opinion is wrong as often as it’s right

One of my favorite magazines recently carried a fable about a man and his son who traveled to the marketplace with a donkey.Dr. Kurt Borows
As they started out, the boy rode the donkey and the man walked alongside. Some passersby shook their heads in dismay.
“The children of today have no respect for their elders,” they said. “Look at that poor man walking while his spoiled son rides.”
The man and his son shifted places. Soon other people passed by and shook their heads in dismay. “Look at that big strong man riding on the donkey while his little boy has to hurry alongside,” they said. “Some parents just don’t care about their children at all. Why do they have them?”
Soon both the father and his son were riding together. Along came another group of people who protested, “How can people mistreat their animals so badly. Imagine, two of them riding the poor donkey.”

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‘It is finished’

Recently I visited some extremely happy friends who had just moved into a new home. They had purchased a lot, selected the style of home they wanted, and then Borowswatched the progress of the various craftsmen who transformed the dream of a house into the reality of a home. Periodically, they would drive to the site of their future home, look at the progress and take a few pictures for their scrapbook. When I saw them recently they had just moved into their new home and they were extremely happy because they could now look at the house and say “It is finished.” A real sense of accomplishment!
Early one morning, I began the writing of this column. There were visits and appointments and a variety of tasks that captured my attention during various parts of the day. Late in the afternoon I was finally able to look at the typed manuscript and say “It is finished.” A sense of accomplishment!
Two thousand years ago, God’s Own Son, Jesus The Christ, hung upon a cross suffering and dying for us and, in the last few moments of His agony, Jesus was heard to say, “It is finished.”

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Talk to your children (and parents) about shared financial future

It’s Thanksgiving week. And if you’re fortunate, you can look around your Thanksgiving table and see several generations of your family. Of course, as you know, many types of cohesiveness are involved in knitting a family together. But one connection that Gary Coonfrequently gets ignored, at least in terms of family dialogue, is the financial linkage between parents and their children on one hand, and these same parents and their parents on the other. So if you find yourself in this “sandwich” group, it may be worth considering your financial position.
If your children are very young, you might want to start by emphasizing the importance of three separate concepts: saving, spending and sharing. If you give them an allowance, or if you pay them to do some minor tasks around the household, you can encourage them to put the money in three separate containers. The “spending” jar is for them to use as they choose, the “saving” jar is to be put in some type of savings or investment account and the “sharing” jar is to be used for contributions to charitable causes. You can extend the spending, saving and sharing themes by encouraging your kids to spend wisely, watch how their savings grow and feel pride in the work done by the charitable groups their dollars support.

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Improve your financial picture during ‘open enrollment’

Late fall marks the beginning of the holiday season, which probably means that you’ll have a lot going on over the next couple of months. However, busy as you are, you’ll want to take the time to review your Gary Coonemployee benefits package, since November also is a popular month for employers to offer open enrollment. And the decisions you make now could have a big impact on your financial outlook for years to come.

So, if you are in an open enrollment period, here are some steps you may want to take:
Boost your 401(k) contributions. It’s almost always a good idea to put in as much as you can, up to the contribution limit, in your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. After all, you typically contribute pre-tax dollars, so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income. Also, your money can grow on a tax-deferred basis, which means it has the potential to grow faster than an investment for which you paid taxes every year. At the very least, contribute enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered. For example, if you work for an organization that will match 50 percent of everything you put in up to, say, 6 percent of your salary, then you should contribute 6 percent of your salary — which is like getting a three percent raise.

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Work toward your own financial Independence Day

On July 4, we shoot fireworks, attend picnics, watch parades and otherwise celebrate our nation’s independence and the many freedoms we enjoy. But as you go through life, you’ll find out how important it is to work towards another type of freedom — financial freedom. That’s why you need to put strategies in place to help you work towards your own Financial Independence Day.Gary Coon
And there’s no way to “sugar-coat” this task, because it will be challenging. In recent years, a combination of factors — including depressed housing prices, rising health care costs, frozen or eliminated pension plans and the financial market plunge of 2008 and early 2009 — has made it more difficult for many of us to accumulate the resources we’ll need to enjoy the retirement lifestyle we’ve envisioned. In fact, the average American family faces a 37 percent shortfall in the income they will need in retirement, according to a recent report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

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Explore options when purchasing bonds

As an investor, you may find that bonds can be a valuable part of your holdings. But there’s more than one way to own bonds, so you’ll want to be familiar with the various investment vehicles available — because the Gary Coonmore you know, the better the choices you’ll be able to make.
So, let’s look at three popular ways of owning bonds:
Individual bonds —When you buy an individual bond, you will receive predictable interest payments. And when your bond matures, you’ll get the original principal back, unless the issuer defaults, which is not common in cases of “investment grade” bonds. However, the value of your bond — the price you could get for it if you sold it on the open market before it matured — will fluctuate over time, primarily in response to interest rates. (When market rates go up, the value of your bond drops, and vice versa.) In general, you’ll pay at least $5,000 for an individual bond, though that amount may vary. Consequently, while this approach gives you more control, it can be more time consuming and require a larger investment in order to build a diverse fixed-income portfolio.

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Investing beyond short-term CDs

Many people depend on certificates of deposit (CDs) to provide extra income. Yet CD rates have been fairly low for a while. In recent months, in fact, one-year CDs were paying about 0.5%, two-year CDs topped out at around 1%, and five-year CDs paid in the 2% Gary Coonto 2. 3% range. Those rates are scanty enough, but they can seem even lower in an economic environment marked by rising food and gas prices.
Before you consider alternatives, keep in mind that CDs still offer a key advantage: safety of principal. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) typically insures CDs up to $250,000. And since CDs are relatively short-term in nature, you don’t have to worry about locking away that money for long periods of time. So there can be a place for CDs in the fixed-income portion of your portfolio.

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Call ahead to give soldiers a ‘bright and loud’ welcome home

We ran a Sound Off letter from Kent Johnson a couple of weeks back, and I would like to make mention of it again. It’s a fantastic new program established by Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman and Fire Chief Kent Johnson. They want to establish a program to honor local soldiers and sailors returning from deployment overseas.
“In many circles, there seems to be a better understanding of the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces,” said Johnson in his letter. “Service men and women still receive applause walking through airports, even though 9/11 was 10 years ago. Chief Hickman and I have been trying to obtain a list of individual service members from the City of Port Clinton currently serving our country.”
It hasn’t been easy. The two chiefs want to give these brave men and women a proper welcome. All they need is 24-hour notice and they will provide a “Bright and Loud” escort from the city limits to the home or meeting place of the returning soldier, sailor, Marine or airman. So, if you have a son, daughter, brother, sister, aunt or uncle who is returning from service overseas, contact Kent at 419-734-3430 and they would be “honored” to announce the return of another American Hero.
One example might be Ben Michael Ihnat of Port Clinton who is seen here receiving his Combat Infantry Badge for being present in a forward area under enemy fire actively engaged in ground combat.

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Mitten tree is up and ready for donations

Our Mitten Tree is now up and ready to accept decorations. Every year for the past 25 years (at least), we have collected gloves, mittens, scarves, hats and anything else we can fit on our tree to help keep needy heads, hands and hearts warm this winter. The Holiday Bureau will pick them up in early December for distribution. So, please bring in your contributions to our Mitten Tree to our office in the Beacon Place Business Center on Ohio 53 near the Goodwill Store.

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