Want to retire early? Start planning now.

The average American retires at about age 63, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you enjoy your work, of course, you may want to go well beyond that age. But what if you don’t want to wait until 63 or so? Can you afford to retire early?
Possibly – if you follow these suggestions:

Season far from over for Alaska’s fishing industry

It surprises many people across the state that fall is one of the busiest times for Alaska’s fishing industry from the Panhandle to the Bering Sea. As salmon season gets tucked away, hundreds of boats of all gear types are still out on the water, or gearing up for even more openers in just a few weeks.
Here’s a sampler:

Use “open enrollment” to help improve your financial outlook

It’s Open Enrollment Season, so if you work for a medium- or large-sized company, you will need to make some choices regarding your employee benefits — and these choices can have a big impact on your financial situation.
Depending on your employer, your benefits package may include various types of insurance, plus access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of these benefits:

Make the most of gifts to grandchildren

Did you know that National Grandparents Day is less than a week away? While this “Day” is not as widely known as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it is nonetheless important, as it recognizes the key role that grandparents play. If you are a grandparent yourself, you might expect some cards or phone calls or emails from your own grandchildren – but you will probably experience even greater enjoyment in the gifts you can give them. If you’re thinking of making a financial gift, consider your options carefully.

Crab counts drop sharply for Bering Sea

Bering Sea crabbers were stunned last week when the outlooks for the upcoming fall and winter fisheries were revealed.
Results of the annual summer surveys by state and federal scientists showed that numbers of mature male and females dropped sharply across the board for the big three: opilio (snow crab), their larger cousins, bairdi Tanners, and red king crab.

Lawmakers seek relief for disastrous pink season

Wheels are already in motion to provide two measures of relief for Alaska’s pink salmon industry, which is reeling from the lowest harvest since the late 1970s.
Representative Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) began the process last week to have the Walker Administration declare the pink salmon season a disaster, which would allow access to federal relief funds.
Pinks are Alaska’s highest volume salmon fishery and hundreds of fishermen depend on the fish to boost their overall catches and paychecks. So far the statewide harvest has reached just 36 million humpies out of a preseason forecast of 90 million. That compares to a catch of 190 million pinks last summer.

Investors can learn much from workers

Next week, we observe Labor Day, a celebration of the American worker. And there’s a lot to celebrate, because our workers have accomplished great things and, in the process, demonstrated a variety of impressive character traits – many of which also can be useful to investors.
For example:

Pink salmon catch down dramatically from 2015

Alaska’s 2016 pink salmon fishery is set to rank as the worst in 20 years by a long shot, and the outlook is bleak for all other salmon catches except sockeyes.
“Boy, sockeye is really going to have to carry the load in terms of the fishery’s value because there’s a lot of misses elsewhere,” said Andy Wink, a fisheries economist with the Juneau-based McDowell Group.
The historical peaks of the various salmon runs have already passed and the pink salmon catch so far has yet to break 35 million on a forecast of 90 million. That compares to a harvest of 190 million pinks last year.

Consider All Aspects of College Savings Options

It’s almost back-to-school time. If you have young children going to public schools, your biggest expenditures may be on pens, pencils and notebooks. But if you want those same kids to go to college someday, you’ll eventually face considerably larger costs – so you may want to start preparing soon.
College is costly. For the 2015-16 school year, the average expense (including tuition, fees room and board) was nearly $20,000 at a public, four-year school, and more than twice that amount at a four-year private school, according to the College Board. Of course, cheaper alternatives are available – your children could go to a local community college for two years at a very reasonable cost, and then transfer to a four-year school.

What can investors learn from roller coaster rides?

If you have an interest in looking up obscure holidays and celebrations, you will find that August 16th is National Roller Coaster Day. As you know, a roller coaster is used as a metaphor for many areas of life – including the financial markets. As an investor, what can you learn from this thrill ride?
Here are a few suggestions:

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