Bitcoin: potential investment or waning fad?

Finance | August 25th, 2016 posted

Jeffery Born

In the following post D’Amore-McKim School of Business Professor Jeffery Born shares thoughts on the state of Bitcoin and what you should know before making an investment.

  1. Bitcoin is still here. While there was a lot of buzz about the more than 20 percent increase in price a couple of months ago, as of Aug. 22, the price is now down to $580. In June, bitcoins had spiked up to almost $723. In May, they were trading at $445, so there was a big spike up (nearly 40 percent), followed by a big drop (just over 20 percent). Quite a roller coaster.
  1. Bitcoins do not ‘grow’ (like trees or corn) nor do they pay interest, so the only way that an investor can profit from a Bitcoin investment is through price appreciation. While bitcoins have risen strongly since May, their price is only about half of the high value it reached in November of 2013. During the same period the S&P 500 has risen by about 24 percent, not including the dividends these firms have paid.Bitcoins should be considered a high-risk investment, meaning the investor is prepared to lose virtually everything invested. High-risk investments should be no more than 5 percent of one’s portfolio and I would recommend that one’s portfolio should be worth at least $250,000 before making a serious investment in high-risk assets.

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The potential benefits of group medical visits

Timothy Hoff

Timothy Hoff

In the following post D’Amore-McKim School of Business Professor Timothy Hoff discusses why primary care providers could see an increase in group medical visits.

Group visits in health care, particularly primary care, are not a new thing. They have been around for quite a while, although the number of physicians using them has been small, largely because of reimbursement issues and the fact that group visits represent a different way of thinking about patient care than the traditional, one-to-one exam room visit.

Why patients would desire group visits that include other patients is open to speculation. Some research shows that in situations that involve patients with the same chronic disease, group visits provide a high level of satisfaction.

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Strategies for our Internet-connected lives


Martin Dias

In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Assistant Professor Martin Dias discusses the ways human-augmented technology can impact our personal and professional productivity and offers solutions to its pitfalls.

Internet-connected devices definitely provide the opportunity to improve personal and professional productivity in terms of reducing search costs, increasing bargaining power, and increasing your ability to collaborate without having to co-locate. That said, it is important to be mindful of potential pitfalls to avoid.

You can think of using Internet-connected devices as a trilemma of double-edged swords:

1) Transition costs: These devices reduce the costs of physically transitioning from one location to another (working virtually) and raise your confidence that, because your device is cloud-connected, you are not losing what you were working on somewhere else. That reduction in transition cost reduces the load on your mind. On the flip side, we are often fooled into thinking we can multi-task (our brains are not really designed for multi-tasking), so by transitioning rapidly from one task to another you risk paying high mental switching costs… producing the twin pains of reducing productivity and reducing work quality.

Example: Toggling between typing an email to your client and texting a response to your friend. You are not multi-tasking; you are toggling, possibly quite rapidly, but toggling just the same. In addition, there is ramp up and ramp down time your brain needs to transition. When you think to yourself, “Okay, wait, what was I saying?” This is part of the switching cost you will pay. If you also mistakenly include something in the email that was meant for the text, then go ahead and polish up that resume for a different type of transition.

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Tips for a tax-deductible vacation

Accounting | July 14th, 2016 posted
Timothy Gagnon

Timothy Gagnon

Personal finance expert Timothy Gagnon shares tips and advice for managing tax-deductible personal time during business travel.

  • The cost of travel to and from a meeting or business trip is deductible, even if you stay longer or do some side trips. For example if you travel to Texas for a conference, the airfare is deductible even if you go see the Alamo for a week, as long as the extra stay does not raise the travel cost. There have been cases where staying over a weekend meant a lower airfare so the extra days’ hotel cost were deductible too. Also, the Tax Code that the IRS enforces does not say you must travel direct, so if you were to take a trip through a couple stops to a conference the cost of the direct flight could be deducted, thereby lowering your over all cost of travel with “vacation” stops along the way.
  • Hotel costs related to business are deductible, but not the extra nights’ hotel bill for the vacation time.  As for extra people in the room, if say the spouse and kids do not raise the cost of lodging, then there is no effect. The Code looks that you have a reasonable room accommodation so a better hotel with amenities is possible. Extra rooms are a problem unless necessary for business, such as holding meetings in multiple rooms during the day and family uses the room overnight.

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