Sunday, June 1, 2008
Understanding the IRA,
April 2008 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business
As corporate America begins to focus on renewable-energy and energy-efficient industries, an increasing number of people are leaving their current jobs for “green-collar jobs”— jobs where their environmental convictions can be put to good use. In fact, the American Solar Energy Society reports that the current 8.5 million U.S. green-collar jobs could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030. Those making the move into these types of jobs are coming from all fields, such as construction, finance, and marketing.
Marie Kerpan, founder of Green Careers, recognized that many people wanted to make this career change but were not sure which cause is a fit with their existing skills. In response to this trend, she became the first environmental consultant (as Kerpan claims) and has helped thousands of people make the transition into a green-collar job. In one instance, she helped a human resources manager at General Electric obtain the same position at an organic foods company. In Kerpan’s experience, most of her middle-management and higher clients want a job where you are “doing something you already know how to do and putting it in the context of the green agenda,” she says.
This is not to say that everyone is looking for a green translation of their current skillset. According to Kerpan, “This is a new frontier, and there’s also a lot more latitude to make a more radical change.” One such example is Jeff Horowitz. Horowitz left a successful architectural career to launch Avoided Deforestation Partners, an environmental think tank. And, while for some people the move to a green-collar job means a larger paycheck, Horowitz has found that his salary is nowhere near what he made as an architect. But this is okay by him and thousands of others who have traded in the larger paycheck for the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to make a positive change for Mother Earth.
Understanding the IRA
Only 55% of full-time working Americans in 2006 had a 401k. Some companies are unable to offer one, or, if the company does, they might not match a portion of your contribution. The least likely to have 401ks are those who work part-time, freelance, and/or independent contractors. For those workers without a 401k, it is vital to understand an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and begin saving.
Like a 401k, an IRA offers an annual limit on contributions, a tax benefit, and a penalty for early withdrawal. Basically, an IRA is like a 401k, except it is done without the assistance of an employing company or a Human Resources Department. An IRA can be opened through a brokerage firm.
There are two major types of IRAs, the Traditional and Roth IRA. Here are some major points of comparison:
• Offers tax-deferred growth (you don’t pay taxes on the earnings until you withdraw them)
• You can contribute until age 70 ½
• Can be tax deductible according to guidelines
• Contributions are made on an after-tax basis (earnings grow tax-free and withdrawals can be made without Federal taxes if you are 59 and ½)
• There is no age limit for contributions, however, there is a limit on the amount you can earn in order to participate. In 2008, the limit is $116,000 if filing single and $169,000 if filing jointly.
• Not tax deductible
With both the Traditional and Roth IRAs, up to $6000 can be contributed annually. If married, up to $12,000 can be contributed in 2008.
Both options offer opportunities for secure retirement. Talk with your financial advisor or contact any brokerage firm for more information. It is never too early to plan for your retirement
April 2008 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business
The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is published monthly by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). ISM is largely considered the most respected supply management organization in the world. The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is a national index based on surveying purchasing and supply executives at over 300 industrial organizations. The Report’s market importance is extremely high. It is the most valuable of all manufacturing indices.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in April, while the overall economy grew for the 78th consecutive month, the nation’s supply executives reported in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) fell below 50% for the third consecutive month to 48.6%.
The New Orders Index remained the same as March at 46.5%. The Production Index registered 49.1%, up slightly from March’s 48.7%. And, the Employment Index registered 45.4%, 3.8 percentage points lower than March’s 49.2%.
The performance of Supplier Deliveries continued to slow in April. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered at 54%, up slightly from the previous month.
Manufacturer’s Inventories registered at 48.1% in April, 3.2% higher than March. April was the 24th consecutive month of inventory liquidation. The Customer’s Inventories Index registered at 45% in April, down 6% from March, indicating that inventories are less sufficiently available.
The ISM Prices Index in April was 84.5%, suggesting manufacturers are paying higher prices compared to March.
The Backlog of Orders Index was 51.5% in April, four percentage points higher than the previous month. ISM’s New Export Orders Index registered at 57.5% in April. This was the 65th consecutive month of growth in export orders.
The industries reporting growth in April were: Computer & Electronic Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Machinery; Furniture & Related Products; and Chemical Products.
The industries reporting contraction in April were: Wood Products; Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Plastics & Rubber Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.