Transcript: How to Communicate Like Warren Buffett

As a follow-up to our recent webinar, “How to Communicate Like Warren Buffett,” here is the written transcript of the presentation by communications expert Morey Stettner.

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s presentation. Today we’re very pleased to invite Morey Stettner to our webinar. Morey is a management and communication expert. He’s the author of five business books, including The Art of Winning Conversation and Skills for New Managers. He’s written more than 2000 articles for Investor’s Business Daily and he has led training seminars on sales, customer service, employee motivation, and communications and listening skills. Morey, take it away. Continue reading “Transcript: How to Communicate Like Warren Buffett”

Budget More to Keep Warm This Winter

This past August, I checked in on supply levels for the three main heating fuels: Natural gas, heating oil and propane. The key takeaway: While shortages are unlikely, there’s less of all three fuels in storage this year than last year, which creates the potential for higher prices.

Now that the calendar says October and there’s a chill in the air across much of the country, what should energy users be expecting when it comes to prices and heating costs this winter?

Much will depend on the weather, but it seems clear that most households and businesses will pay at least a bit more to stay warm this season than they did last year. Partly that’s because last winter was abnormally warm across much of the U.S., and history probably won’t repeat itself. But the main reason to expect higher bills is simple: Fuel prices are starting the season noticeably higher than they did in 2016.

How much higher? Residential propane users are paying 24 cents more per gallon now than they did this time a year ago. Heating oil users (most of whom reside in New England and the Northeast) are paying 28 cents more. Residential prices for natural gas are harder to track down, but of the states for which the Department of Energy publishes residential prices, all but Florida have been paying higher prices this year than one year ago. Odds are, fuel prices will rise at least gradually over the course of the autumn and winter, as stockpiles are drawn down to keep up with consumption.

Folks who rely on electric heat should also expect higher prices. Through the first seven months of 2017, residential electric rates are up about 3% and will probably continue on that trend into winter. For the Southeast and other regions that primarily rely on heat pumps and other electric-powered heat sources, that will have a widespread impact on monthly bills. (In some parts of the Southeast, residential electric rates are climbing even faster than the 3% national average.)

Temperature Outlook

So, energy prices are up. But how cold is it likely to be this winter? Higher prices don’t dent your wallet too badly if temperatures are mild and your furnace, boiler or heat pump isn’t running very often.

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, recently shared his agency’s winter outlook with reporters. Keep in mind that such long-range forecasts are based on probabilities rather than predictions of specific weather events, and that long-range forecasting is still a very inexact science.

Overall, government forecasters are calling for a warmer-than-normal winter. Halpert attributes that to the climate phenomenon known as La Niña, in which cooler-than-normal water in the tropical Pacific Ocean influences weather patterns in the United States. (La Niña conditions haven’t officially formed yet, but the Pacific is trending in that direction.) La Niña winters tend to be warmer and drier than average. This year, NOAA expects above-average temperatures across the southern two-thirds of the country, with odds favoring colder-than-normal weather across the northern third. And while NOAA expects a warmer-than-average winter overall, Halpert thinks it’s unlikely to be as warm as the previous two winters, which ranked warmest and sixth-warmest, respectively, on record.

Of course, even during a warm winter, there can be periods of severe cold, and those can cause heating prices to jump. I asked Halpert if the current climate pattern might be conducive to the sort of “polar vortex” cold snaps that swept much of the U.S. in early 2014 and caused price spikes in heating oil and propane. Some areas actually experienced temporary fuel shortages because of heavy demand. He said a replay of that scenario is “not favored” by the current pattern, though it can’t be ruled out entirely.

If NOAA’s forecast pans out, most folks can probably look forward to fairly modest heating bills, albeit higher than last year, when temperatures were mild and fuel prices were low. The biggest exception might be households in the northern tier of the Midwest and northern New England. Those regions have the best chance of seeing below-average temperatures. And they rely most heavily on the two fuels – heating oil and propane – that have already seen the biggest price increases since last year.

Trump’s Travel Ban: Third Time Not a Charm

It’s deja vu all over again for President Trump’s travel ban. This week, a federal court in Hawaii blocked the latest version of the president’s controversial executive order from going into effect, only seven months after the same court put a similar hold on Trump’s second travel ban.

Much has happened in those seven months. After multiple unfavorable lower level rulings, the second ban finally reached the Supreme Court this summer. But the justices ultimately declined to hear the case during the court’s fall session, arguing that the issue was moot since the order had already expired.

Continue reading “Trump’s Travel Ban: Third Time Not a Charm”

Employers’ Strategies for Opioid Abuse

The nation’s opioid epidemic is not only making it very difficult for employers to fill job vacancies in a tight labor market, but it’s also costing them billions in health care costs and lost productivity. Unfortunately, there’s still much confusion among employers about these painkillers, how they affect worker safety and recovery and what to do about them.

In some parts of the country, up to one-third of job applicants are failing pre-employment drug screening. Industries that addiction hits hardest include construction, food service, entertainment, hospitality and transportation. Opioid misuse is linked to a 20% decline in workforce participation, despite the booming economy.

Continue reading “Employers’ Strategies for Opioid Abuse”

Apple Brings Facial Recognition to the Masses

Apple’s new facial recognition technology will bring facial biometrics into the mainstream. The tech giant’s new $1,000 iPhone X will let users scan their face for added security when paying at the grocery store or signing into a bank account. The high-end phone is one of three new iPhone models, and the only version with facial recognition. But the top-tier iPhone X could end up netting one-third of all sales of the new iPhone fleet. That would put the new tech in the hands of 70 million or more users around the world within 12 months, barring severe shipping delays or supply shortages. Continue reading “Apple Brings Facial Recognition to the Masses”

Another Blow to Obamacare by Trump

President Trump’s latest move to stop certain Obamacare subsidies to insurers will add more instability to an already fragile marketplace. The president’s decision to cut off the cost-sharing subsidies is the latest in a series of actions aimed at undermining the law. Payments are expected to stop as of November. Estimates put the loss for insurers at about $1.2 billion this year and $7 billion in 2018. The move comes just as insurers are regaining profitability after years of losses. Continue reading “Another Blow to Obamacare by Trump”

Trump To Poke Holes In Iran Deal, Not Rip It Up

On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump frequently vowed to “rip up” the Iran nuclear deal—a near-impossible promise to keep considering that the agreement is roughly the size of a large phonebook, making it physically the biggest multilateral treaty negotiated since World War II.

The hardline rhetoric remains, but Trump is unlikely to keep his word. The president still refers to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the document signed by the U.S., Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia that placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program for the next 10-15 years in exchange for sanctions relief, as “an embarrassment to the United States.” Continue reading “Trump To Poke Holes In Iran Deal, Not Rip It Up”

Learn to Communicate Like Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is most famous for being one of the greatest investors of all time. What is less appreciated about the Oracle of Omaha is that he is also an extremely effective communicator, both as a speaker and as a writer.

In this hour-long webinar, communications consultant and author Morey Stettner breaks down Buffett’s style, analyzing what makes him so effective at getting his point across and convincing his audiences. Kiplinger Alerts members can access this special presentation at no cost by clicking on the link below. Continue reading “Learn to Communicate Like Warren Buffett”