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Problems, Solutions… And More Problems

Retail Health Care
Retail health care is on the rise. If you’re not familiar with this term, it may be coming to a Wal-Mart near you. In fact, Wal-Mart shoppers in Florence and Sumter, South Carolina, can now get a checkup at an in-store health clinic after they check out with a cashier.

Does Wal-Mart care about the health of its customers and employees? Sure. But at the forefront of this business plan is an effort to grasp some of the billions of health care dollars spent by its massive constituency every year. Wal-Mart’s plan is to increase store traffic as a result of customers who come in to fill prescriptions and get a flu diagnosis, then decide to shop for a few household items while they’re there.

What does the Wal-Mart approach mean for the health care industry as a whole? Perhaps the same as what it meant for the grocery, hardware and electronics sectors: more competitive pricing. But with low prices comes an intrinsic stratification of quality — is Wal-Mart the appropriate medical facility for mainstream America to have its most prevalent chronic diseases managed?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “In Ambitious Bid, Walmart Seeks Foothold in Primary Care Services,” from The New York Times, Aug. 7, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Beyond the Clinics: What the Retail Movement Really Means,” from The Advisory Board Company, July 29, 2014.]

Corporate Inversion
Twelve U.S. companies have reincorporated in low-tax countries since 2012, with eight more on deck to do so in the coming year. Why? Because the U.S. corporate income tax rate, currently at 35 percent, is the highest in the developed world, and we’re one of only a few countries that levies taxes on profits generated by a U.S. subsidiary in a foreign country.

We could lower taxes, but the federal government is in a bit of a budget deficit bind these days, and tax reform is one of those issues that’s “too big to debate” during an election year. For now, the debate ensues as to whether American companies or the American government should be at a tax disadvantage.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Tax Inversion: How U.S. Companies Buy Tax Breaks” from Bloomberg, July 18, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Inverting the Debate Over Corporate Inversions,” from The New York Times, Aug. 6, 2014.]

Robot Workers
Apparently, we are now faced with a conflict over whether technology-based robots will threaten employment levels. This brings to mind past debates as to whether reproductive cloning would be used to engineer a new race of people with superior traits. Alas, for every solution, there is a problem.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Experts Have no Idea if Robots Will Steal Your Job,” from The Harvard Business Review, Aug. 8, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is Your Job at Risk From Robot Labor? Check This Handy Interactive,” from Quartz, April 29, 2014.]

For every step forward, there are often tradeoffs and drawbacks. For example, should you spend money to retrofit your home with environmentally friendly features in order to save on utility bills in the future? And if you do, will your future repair and replacement bills be higher? Each financial decision we make behooves us to consider the return on investment both in individual households and throughout our national economy.

For every concern, perhaps there is a solution; but often our solutions create other concerns. When it comes to your financial confidence, these are the debates we can help you with through information and industry insights. Turn to us to help you find the solutions that can work to elevate the confidence you have in your individual situation.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products.

These articles are being provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any financial decisions. While we believe this information to be correct, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included. All clients are encouraged to consult qualified tax and legal professionals before making any decisions about your personal situation.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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