With Job Creation Strong, Should You Start Looking?

With Job Creation Strong, Should You Start Looking?

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 157,000 jobs in July, a bit lower than the expected 190,000. But with the upward revision of 59,000 to the two previous months, this year’s average monthly job creation is 215,000 -- that’s ahead of last year’s 184,000 per month and better than the 2016 - 2017 pace of about 185,000.

#287: Social Media Etiquette


"Use the Internet to get off the Internet," says our guest Laura Virili, a social media goddess. I love the idea of using social to create a connection and then going offline to deepen that connection. In our conversation, Laura discusses how to leverage LinkedIn and other platforms for professionals, challenges us to figure out what makes us different from others on those platforms and warns against pushing out meaningless content when we should be listening.

  • Download the podcast on iTunes
  • Download the podcast on feedburner
  • Download this week's show (MP3)

Thanks to everyone who participated this week, especially Mark, the Best Producer/Music Curator in the World. Here's how to contact us:

  • Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE 

#260 How to Change Careers


Career Expert Caroline Ceniza-Levine, author of the new book "Jump Ship: 10 Steps to Starting a New Career" and co-founder of Six Figure Start, joins us to discuss how to contemplate a big change in your work life. Caroline, a former classical pianist is no stranger to extreme career changes, but cautions that there are specific steps to take before giving your notice.

  • Download the podcast on iTunes
  • Download the podcast on feedburner
  • Download this week's show (MP3)

Caroline also outlined how best to use LinkedIn, why each of us needs to think about branding and how networking can be your friend.

Thanks to everyone who participated this week, especially Mark, the Best Producer in the World and the worst LinkedIn User. Here's how to contact us:

  • Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE 

One-on-One with Mohamed El-Erian


It’s not every day that you are fortunate enough to interview a world-renowned economist, but that’s just what happened to me last week. I sat down with Mohamed El-Erian, the soon-to-be former CEO of PIMCO at LinkedIn’s FinanceConnect 2014. Over the course of nearly an hour, El-Erian outlined his thoughts on the global economy, Federal Reserve policy (and new chairwoman Janet Yellen) and what ordinary investors should be doing right now. The good news is that El-Erian believes that for Main Street, 2014 will be a better year than 2013. The bad news is that while the recovery continues, the economy faces three major issues: a debt overhang from the boom and bust, a labor force that requires re-tooling and an outsized reliance on households to drive growth. The combination has pushed the US towards what he calls a “T-Junction”: As the economy approaches the intersection, it can veer in one direction, where the system will continue to heal; or in the other direction, where growth remains low and consumers and the government remain under pressure due to heavy debt loads. El-Erian put the odds of either outcome at a sobering 50-50.

When I asked about the nation’s debt problem, he responded with four potential solutions: (1) Grow our way out (the best case) (2) Default (see: Detroit) (3) Austerity (see: Europe) and (4) Rely on “artificial stimulus” from the Federal Reserve (see: US from August 2010-present). El-Erian acknowledged that while the first solution would be the best, it requires participation from lawmakers. Without Congress, the Fed’s monetary policy has become the next, best solution, at least in the short-term.

The problem with the Fed’s current policies, according to El-Erian, is that as we move further from crisis mode, the cost and risk of highly accommodative policy outweigh the benefits. In other words, it’s one thing to rely on zero percent interest rates and bond buying to normalize markets amid a financial upheaval, but five+ years later, the risk of asset bubbles exploding becomes more threatening than the potential that the wealth effect will further boost economic growth.

On the positive side, El-Erian believes that Janet Yellen is up to the task of unwinding the policy she helped create. He said that she was not only a “qualified economist” with “a passion for policy,” she was also “caring, gracious and inclusive.” That said, the removal of liquidity from the system is bound to create more volatility for investors and he warned anyone with money at risk in the markets to “Come up with a plan for the worst-case scenario,” and determine which mistake you can avoid making, because “Volatility plus human nature means you are going to do the wrong thing at the wrong time.”

MARKETS: Investors chalked up weak data to the severe weather and drove stock indexes to their best week of the year. Emerging markets, where much of the winter turmoil began, are up 6.9 percent since the Feb. 3 lows.

  • DJIA: 16,154, up 2.3% on week, down 2.5% YTD
  • S&P 500: 1838, up 2.3% on week, down 0.5% YTD (+5.6% since Feb 3 lows)
  • NASDAQ: 4244, up 2.9% on week, up 1.6% YTD (Highest close since 7/17/00)
  • 10-Year Treasury yield: 2.75% (from 2.68% a week ago)
  • Feb Crude Oil: $100.30, up .4% on week
  • April Gold: 1318.60, up 4.4% on week
  • AAA Nat'l average price for gallon of regular Gas: $3.39 (from $3.64 a year ago)

THE WEEK AHEAD: After the day off, a fresh round of data from the nation’s real estate market is due. The pace of activity is expected to slow, with sales likely dropping by over 5 percent from year-ago levels. Part of the fall-off is likely attributable to the current goat - bad weather, though housing experts note that the slowdown should be expected, because last year’s rapid pace is simply not sustainable.

Economists are trying to determine the effect of the severe weather on the economy. While most statistics are adjusted to strip out normal seasonal patterns, a challenge arises when winter weather is much worse than normal, like the recent spate that the nation has experienced. Economists believe that Q1 growth is likely to drop by an annualized 0.3 percent to 2.2 percent. The good news is that after the weather returns to normal, consumers might unleash pent-up demand, helping to spur a marked improvement in overall economic activity.


Tues 2/18:

Coca-Cola, Herbalife

8:30 Empire State Manufacturing Index

10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index

Weds 2/19:


8:30 Housing Starts

8:30 PPI

2:00 FOMC Minutes

Thurs 2/20:

Groupon, Hewlett-Packard, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart

8:30 Weekly Jobless Claims

8:30 CPI

10:00 Philadelphia Fed Survey

Fri 2/21:

10:00 Existing Home Sales

Sat 2/22

G-20 finance ministers meet in Sydney, Australia

Enhance your LinkedIn profile: If I can do it, you can too!


The definition of shame is being the keynote speaker at the LinkedIn FinanceConnect: 13 conference and telling the 350 attendees that my own LinkedIn profile was horrible. Of course I knew that it was rotten and they say admitting you have a problem is the first step. Thankfully, one of the conference attendees was branding expert Jason Seiden of Ajax Workforce Marketing and he vowed to give me a LinkedIn makeover. He started with three basic questions that every LinkeIn user should answer:

(1) What do you do?

(2) Who do you serve?

(3) What do you want to communicate to the people you want to attract?

Answering those questions is not easy, and for many, the answers can be difficult. The great news is that the process will force you to think through various aspects of your job and synthesize the information in smart way. This is the elevator speech you have been trying to create!

Jason notes that the beauty of LinkedIn is that it helps frame who you are as a whole person. “Think of LinkedIn as the answer to the frustration caused by résumés. Résumés are very standard, very limiting. LinkedIn is set of open fields where you can tell your professional story.”

Jason offers these additional tips to refresh your profile:

  • Complete past experience: Focus on the things you did then that make you great at what you do now, then—this is important—ignore the rest.
  • Highlight Projects/Organizations/Test scores: Use these sections to add color to your job history.
  • Add a Photo: Pick one that professional colleagues and clients can relate to, but avoid off-color (read: shots of you by the keg!) or any photo with your favorite pet.
  • Engage daily: Read status updates and send at least one note per day (can even be by email) in response. Saying "Congrats on the new job," or anything simple that let's people see that you're paying attention.

It’s tough staying on top of this stuff, but doing so may be the difference between landing that next job or keeping the one you have!

Radio Show #115: Stock index highs (ho-hum, again?)


This may seem like heresy from a former investment advisor, but let’s be clear: Not everyone needs a financial advisor. If you have the interest, the discipline, the time and the intelligence to manage your own financial life, then you should do it!

  • Download the podcast on iTunes
  • Download the podcast on feedburner
  • Download this week's show (MP3)

That’s what I told Mayer from CA, who wanted to know whether he should fork over $2,500 for a "deep-dive" with a financial advisor and David from Delaware, who is happy managing his money with dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs).

I’m not so sure about Faith, who probably needs a second opinion for her current advisor and Rita, who is trying to figure out whether to get back into the stock market after selling out last fall. I’m guessing that 34 year-old Alex, who has $500K in cash because he is scared of the stock market, might also benefit from working with an advisor. (It’s not that I am anti-cash – after all, I told 77 year-old Paddy to stay put with his money market account, because he self-identified as someone who has a low tolerance for risk.)

We fielded real estate/mortgage pay down questions from Brad in Arkansas, Vanessa in Colorado and Victor in Washington.

Katie asked a slew of questions about her financial life, including what is the appropriate amount and type of life insurance and what are the rules around opening a non-retirement account?

Margie and Kendall weighed in with questions about revocable trusts; and Sandra and Irvin provided me with ample opportunity to rant against variable annuities.

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

  • Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE 

Aunt Jill on the 404: Google, LinkedIn, Sony


It was Aunt Jill and  Jeff Bakalar on CNET's 404, because Justin Yu was off saving the world. This allowed us plenty of time to discuss the NHL playoffs (you must see the video to fully enjoy my wardrobe choice!) While we were airing this episode, the Google I/O conference was making all sorts of headlines, boosting the stock to record levels.  Jeff explained to me why Sony has hit the skids and I announced my new love affair with LinkedIn.

As always, questions from the fabulous 404 fans kept me on my toes, asking about student loans, saving for retirement, life insurance and assuming a mortgage in order to invest.

Radio Show #114: Mother’s Day, LinkedIn tips, stock records


Want to know how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile? Guest and branding expert Jason Seiden of Ajax Workforce Marketing has come to the rescue!

  • Download the podcast on iTunes
  • Download the podcast on feedburner
  • Download this week's show (MP3)

I met Jason at  LinkedIn's FinanceConnect:13 in New York, where I had to admit in front of a room of 350 people, that my LinkedIn profile was terrible! Enter Jason, who laid out three basic questions that every LinkeIn user should ask:

  1. What do you do?
  2. Who do you serve?
  3. What do you want to communicate to the people you want to attract?

Note to self: Add "Update LinkedIn profile" to the to-do list!

I bet Mark from CA and Matthew from MI have no problem with social media, but the 20-somethings needed help with their new retirement plans. We talked about contribution levels and allocation.

The bombshell of the show was that I am "the other woman" in Lyle’s life, who found us on WBAL in Baltimore, MD. Lyle has been catching up on the show by downloading older podcasts (you can do that here). Meanwhile, he and his wife are selling rental property and would like to invest the proceeds for income.

Do Roxanne and her husband need their current life insurance policies? They are in their mid-50’s and the need for coverage is diminishing with every year of saving, while Cary from MD asks about lump sum investing vs. dollar cost averaging (DCA).

According to research from Vanguard, two-thirds of the time, investing a lump sum yields better returns than putting smaller, fixed dollars to work at regular intervals. Then again, one-third of the time DCA is better, so choose carefully.

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

  • Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE