close this bookVolume 10: No. 19
View the document1) Industry news
View the document2) Entrepreneurship
View the document3) Career topics
View the document4) Lifestyles
View the document5) Personal finance
View the document6) Investment

The US House of Representatives has been considering tax incentives for stock option plans, extending the tech success model to other domains. (Under current rules, employees must pay taxes in the year that they exercise options. This makes participation unattractive. Incentive stock option plans defer taxes until the stock is sold, unless alternative minimum tax is triggered.) Stock ownership may help employees take more interest in their companies. Democrats are pushing for 90% eligibility, rather than the 50% originally proposed. Labor unions are wary, though, and don't want stock options to replace conventional retirement plans or to hurt salaries or employment levels. [Marcy Gordon, AP. SJM, 24May00, 4C.]

Incidentally, the House voted last week to repeal all inheritance tax in the US. This -- with bipartisan support -- beat out a Democratic plan to raise the inheritance exclusion from $1M to $4M. Clinton has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches him, though the House vote had just enough support to override a veto. Eliminating inheritance tax could cost the government $50B in revenue. (... to be spent by heirs or loaned out by financial institutions, creating jobs and boosting income taxes. It's not as if the inheritors were going to bake the money into pies, as Dave Barry might say.) Either way, there is support for tax relief that would help businesses remain intact when passed to heirs. Estate planning will also be simplified, for all but the very wealthy.

The US government is also urging people to cash in the $7B in matured savings bonds. "We want them to put their money back to work for them." [AP. SJM, 24May00.] (Apparently the Bureau of Public Debt now regards circulating capital more useful than interest-free loans to the government.)

If you have art, antiques, or collectibles that need appraisal, try Eppraisals.com. You may learn that your Himalayan yak-milk canteen is worth $1,250. [BW e.biz, 05Jun00, EB 10.]

Women interested in being business angels should check out angel2angel.com (about $1M per member), breakthroughco.com ($250K minimum), cweboston.org (Renaissance Ventures in Boston), seraphcapital.com (Seattle), and womenangels.net (DC, $75K per member). You typically need $1M net worth or an income of $200K. Be careful. A study of 1,200 angels investing between 1989 and 1999 found that only 30% made money, and then only two to ten times their investment. Funds were often locked up for 5-10 years. However, many angel club members gained board seats or managerial posts in start-ups. [Toddi Gutner, BW, 15May00, p. 190.]

In 1996, all-female investment clubs averaged a 21.3% annual rate of return, according to NAIC. Mixed-gender clubs averaged 18.1%, while male-only clubs averaged only 15%. [Douglas Gerlach, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Investing" (Que, 1999), p. 66.]

NeuroDimension is developing a new stock market modeling tool based on their NeuroSolutions Neural Network product. See to participate in the beta program. [Brian Wolfe , 16May00.]

----- "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." -- Erich Fromm. -----