5 Keys to a Thankful Thanksgiving By: Jim Rohn

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5 Keys to a Thankful Thanksgiving

By: Jim Rohn


If your home is like most, your Thanksgiving Day will be very busy, either traveling to the dinner destination or preparing your home for guests to spend the day. Neither option lends itself to preparing your heart to be reflective and thankful.

Here are a few keys—that are simple and practical to apply—you can use in your quest for becoming more thankful this holiday season:

1. Time. Regularly set aside time to be quiet, to reflect. We live in the fastest paced time ever. From the moment we awake to the moment we collapse into bed, we have the opportunity to go at full speed and never slow down. If we schedule time every day to reflect, we will free up our hearts and minds from the tyranny of the urgent and rushed.


2. Thought. Give thought to the many blessings that you have. Living in a consumer culture, most of us are fully aware of what we do not have and how we absolutely must have "it"—whatever it is. But how often do we reflect upon that which we already have? Take some time each day to think of one or two things you have that you typically take for granted and then take a moment and give thanks for those gifts.

3. Generosity. Be generous toward those with less and not envious of those with more. We tend to look at others who may be wealthier than ourselves and think, “I sure wish I had what he has.” That kind of thinking breeds envy and jealousy rather than contentment. What can we do to break that cycle? I would suggest being generous to those who are less fortunate than yourself. Go work at a food bank. And not just during the holidays—everybody works there then—but on a regular basis during the year. That will remind you of how good you really have it.


4. Ask. The next time you are at lunch with a friend, ask them what they are most thankful for. You will be amazed at the answers you receive, and you will create a meaningful bond with your friends as you focus on this powerful question.

5. Acknowledge. Tell those you love how thankful you are for having them in your life. So many times we neglect to take time to craft words for expressing what our close ones and their presence in our lives really mean to us. Take Thanksgiving Day as an opportunity to write them a note or, sometime during the day, put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes and tell them. Let them know what they mean to you, and in return you'll begin to create the possibility of deeper, richer, more fulfilling relationships with those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!





Cheap Gas Is Starting To Have An Impact On The Oil Boom

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Falling oil prices is forcing some drilling companies to cut back on exploration work in Texas. Baker Hughes Inc. recently reported shutting down four of its rigs targeting crude oil in the Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico. Oil rig counts have also dropped in North Dakota's Williston Basin, home to the Bakken shale formation.


Oil prices have fallen 29 percent from the year's peak causing a slowdown in drilling activity that had reached its highest level in three decades. Retail gasoline prices have fallen below $3 a gallon for the first time since 2010 and crude futures are now trading under $80 a barrel. "Prices in the lower $70s over a period of six months would slow" U.S. oil production, said Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian and vice chairman of Englewood, Colo.-based consulting company IHS Inc., at a conference in New York. "People have leased rigs. They have rented them for the year and so forth. But you'd start to see an impact."


U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery settled at $76.51 a barrel recently on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Treasury Nets $35 Million in Securities Auction as Part of TARP Wind Down

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As part of a continuing effort to wind down the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out banks devastated by the financial crisis of six years ago, the U.S. Department of Treasury recently auctioned off preferred stocks for three institutions, gaining $35.6 million in aggregate gross proceeds.


The auction was part of Treasury's effort to recover remaining investments in the Capital Purchase Program (CPP). Treasury had outstanding investments in 39 CPP institutions heading into last week's auction.


As part of the auction, Treasury sold shares for the following institutions:

1.               First United Corporation of Oakland, Maryland – 30,000 shares of fixed rate cumulative perpetual preferred stock (series A) at $1,002.01 per share for, for a total of slightly more than $30 million in aggregate gross proceeds;

2.               Lone Star Bank of Houston, Texas – 3,072 shares of fixed rate non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock (series A) at $621.25 per share and 154 shares of fixed rate non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock (series B) at $600.01 per share for total aggregate gross proceeds of slightly more than $2 million; and

3.               Porter Bancorp of Louisville, Kentucky – 35,000 shares of fixed rate cumulative perpetual preferred stock (series A) at $100.00 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of $3.5 million.


Shares of Liberty Shares, Inc., located in Hinesville, Georgia, were up for sale, but they did not sell because none of the bids were above the minimum price set for the securities according to the auction procedures, according to Treasury.

The aggregate gross proceeds for the three institutions total about $35.6 million. Closings for the auctions are expected to occur on or about December 4.


Signed into law by the Bush administration, TARP was created in 2008 at the height of the nation's financial crisis in order to implement programs to stabilize the financial system during the financial crisis of 2008. Treasury initially invested $245 billion in TARP's bank programs, and to date Treasury has recovered $275 billion through repayments, dividends, interest, and other income. The $30 billion overage has resulted in a significant profit for taxpayers. The Small Business Lending Fund (SLBF) has resulted in the repayment of about $2.2 billion in TARP funds by CPP institutions that refinanced their repayments under the SLBF. Congress created the SBLF as a way for CPP institutions to repay TARP funds.


Every dollar raised from this point forward, including the $35.6 million raised by the recent auction, is profit for taxpayers. Treasury originally outlined a strategy for winding down its remaining TARP bank investments in May 2012 "in a way that protects taxpayer interests and preserves the strength of our nation's community banks." The strategy to recover Treasury's investments includes using a combination of repayments, restructurings, and sales.

Staples to Close 170 Stores

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Staples Inc. is accelerating its store closings this year and making progress toward its "reinvention," but the office supply chain expects fewer holiday sales compared to last year.


The Framingham Company also said it is unable to "reasonably estimate" the losses or expenses associated with a breach of its retail point-of-sale and computer systems disclosed last month, or the nature or scope of the incident. "The company has taken steps to address the intrusion and believe that we have identified and eradicated the malware used in the intrusion," it said in a regulatory filing yesterday.


Staples' third-quarter net income fell to $217 million from $220 million in the prior-year period, while revenue sank 2.5 percent to $5.96 billion, but both topped Wall Street expectations. Staples now has plans to close a total of 170 stores by year's end, up from its previous goal of 140 in 2014. The company, which is struggling to compete against online rivals, in March announced a two-year plan for shuttering 225 stores and $500 million in annual cost savings.


Staples shares rose 9.09 percent to close at $13.92. "Staples is making progress turning around its business via key initiatives that include accelerated store closings, aggressive costs cuts, restructuring of international markets and investments in Omni-channel (retailing), while ... expanding products beyond core office supplies," analyst David Strasser of Janney Capital Markets said in a research note yesterday. "These changes are offset by structural industry headwinds."


Staples expects earnings per share of 27 cents to 32 cents in the fourth quarter that includes the important holiday season, down from last year's 33 cents.


Repeat Foreclosure Percentage Increases to Tie All-Time High

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The percentage of September's foreclosure starts that were repeat foreclosures rose by two percentage points month-over-month to account for 53 percent of foreclosure starts, tying the highest percentage for a single month, according to Black Knight Financial Services' September 2014 Mortgage Monitor.


In all, there were 91,000 foreclosure starts nationwide during September, an increase of 11.5 percent from August but a decrease of 16.5 percent from September 2013, when 109,000 foreclosure starts were reported, according to Black Knight. For September 2014, Black Knight reported that 48,200 of the 91,000 foreclosure starts were repeat foreclosures – a total of 53 percent, which tied July 2014 for the highest percentage in a single month since Black Knight began tracking the data in January 2008.


September 2014's percentage of repeat foreclosures represented an increase of 2 percentage points from August (41,500 out of 81,600, for 51 percent) and 4 percentage points from September 2013 (53,400 out of 109,000, a total of 49 percent). September 2014 was the eighth consecutive month in which the percentage of repeat foreclosures accounted for 50 percent or more of foreclosure starts and the 28th consecutive month in which the percentage totaled 40 percent or more. The percentage has not been below 40 percent since May 2012, when 80,800 out of 218,900 foreclosure starts were repeat foreclosures for a total of 37 percent, according to Black Knight.


The lowest percentage of repeat foreclosures was reported in February 2008, just prior to the housing bust, when 29,100 out of 205,000 foreclosure starts were repeats (14 percent). The percentage has been 20 percent or more every month since March 2009; the last month where repeat foreclosures made up less than 20 percent of foreclosure starts was February 2009 (48,200 out of 265,300, 18 percent), according to Black Knight.


The highest overall number of repeat foreclosures for any one month was reported in March 2011, when 109,500 repeat foreclosures were reported out of 263,900, for a total of 41 percent. The only other month in which the total number  of repeat foreclosures exceeded 100,000 for a month was in March 2012 (103,800).


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