Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 10, 1998 · Page 3
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 3

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, June 10, 1998
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Commerce Lois O'Rourke, commerce page editor, 468-3522 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 1998 MONEY MATTERS By BARBARA REID A quick guide Ihe following provides an overview of when it may be appropriate to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth Conversion IRA (taking into account the most important component tax rates before and after retirement). . 'Assumptions ." *A11 money is distributed at age 65. •No additional Roth IRA annual contributions are made. ^Traditional IRA is converted to a Roth Conversion IRA on January 1, 1998. . 'Taxes are paid on Dec. 31, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 from non-IRA funds. ' ^Minimum annual return is 3 percent. , • VAN assets in the traditional IRA were deductible contributions. 1. Assuming 9 percent annual rate of return, you should only consider choosing the Roth IRA if you are age 44 or younger. Assuming an 8 percent annual rate of return you would need to be age 41 or younger. ; 2. Assuming a 9 percent annual rate of return, you should only consider choosing the Roth IRA if you are age 42 or younger. Assuming an 8 percent rate of return, you would need to be age 39 or younger. 3. You should consider converting to a Roth IRA in all cases except for those people age 60 and older who anticipate earning 3 percent or less on an annual basis. As part of your decision, you may also want to consider some other factors which could play an important role in the process. The following are some typical scenarios which may be helpful when choosing whether to convert your current IRA balance. SCENARIO ONE: An investor as accumulated a large sum of money in an IRA from a rollover form an employer-sponsored plan or from long-term annual contributions. His primary goal is to leave as much as possible in the IRA for his beneficiaries. The investor has the option of either maintaining the current tax- deferred traditional IRA or converting to a Roth Conversion IRA in 1998 which requires the investor to pay taxes on the entire converted amount over four years. OUTCOME ONE: With a Roth conversion, subsequent Roth IRA earnings can grow tax-free while providing greater flexibility in maintaining the entire plan balance past age 70 1/2 with no minimum required distributions during the account owner's lifetime. The entire balance can grow tax-free and be passed directly to; the investor's beneficiaries with potential future tax-free withdrawals. This "pay now strategy" could also reduce the size of the estate and ultimately lower estate taxes. SCENARIO TWO: An IRA holder is weighing the benefits of converting but cannot come up with the necessary assets to pay for her tax liability upon distribution with assets outside her IRA. Her options are to either maintain the current tax-deferred traditional IRA or convert a partial balance to a Roth Conversion IRA with the remaining balance ofihe traditional IRA used to taxes at the time of conversion. OUTCOME TWO: •Jt is generally not considered worthwhile to convert when tax^s must be paid directly out of the traditional IRA balance. ;••' See MONEY, Page A-9 A new computer language Barbara Vnsconctllos/The Daily Journal Carl Sassenrath has developed a new computer language called "REBOL" that he hopes will simplify computing. Sassenrath hopes his company REBOL Technologies will eventully employ 40 to 50 people in the Ukiah Valley. Resident develops 'simple computing' By LOIS O'ROURKE The Daily Journal S imple computing may be an oxymoron now, but it won't be in the near future if Carl Sassenrath has his way. Sassenrath has developed a new computer language he contends will simplify the exchange of information between computer systems and applications. •.The language, known as the Relative Expression-Based Object Language or REBOL, is scheduled to be marketed in the fall. It will be distributed via the Internet as freeware and shareware. There will also be a professional version for sale. Sassenrath, the designer of the Amiga operating system, plans to develop the language by starting a new company in Ukiah known as REBOL Technologies. He hopes it will eventually employ more than 50 people, offering competitive Silicon Valley salaries. "Our goal is to build a product we believe in - to make computers more productive," Sassenrath said of his new company. Computing has become so complex, he said, that it is confusing even to computer experts. He hopes REBOL will change all that. The language will allow computers to intercommunicate, he said, by translating applications into REBOL. The language is so simple, Sassenrath explained, it will minimize the programming necessary for e-mail processing, Web page management, Internet searching, file transfer, newsgroup processing and more. For example, one computer user's Rolodex entries can be translated into REBOL and inserted into another user's Rolodex program without the need to copy and paste from one application to another. "The information exchanged can be anything," Sassenrath said. When REBOL Technologies initially releases its software on the Internet, anyone can download it, but he hopes to attract business users. "Most of our users will be people who use the free version," Sassenrath said. "We only need a few professional users to have a successful company." In addition, Sassenrath hopes to hire at least 20 talented, programmers and engi- . neers as well as 10 more people involved in testing and marketing. "By the end of the century, I hope to employ 60 to 70 people," he said. Sassenrath, once a member of the elite team at Apple Computer and involved in the development of several operating systems and languages, relocated to the Ukiah Valley 10 years ago to get out of the Silicon Valley rat race and raise his family. Two years ago, Sassenrath tired of chasing other people's dreams. "I worked with business people. The problem with business people is they lacked the insight necessary," he said, adding that many businessmen don't understand the technology of today's world. "You have to have the intuitive nature for the technology; that's why Bill Gates is so successful," Sassenrath said. Sassenrath developed the REBOL language in 1997 and by mid-year, had the prototype running. In November 1997, Sassenrath went to the public and asked for volunteers to test the software. More than 600 people replied - many more than Sassenrath needed - so he asked the potential volunteers to write essays. More than 300 people wrote back and from those, Sassenrath selected 60, who included people from Intel, a chip maker, and Ericcson, a cellular phone manufac- turer. The response was overwhelming. "I'm awestruck that nobody created something like it sooner," commented Ted Wallingford, production director for Pantheon Systems. "I believe that REBOL could be marketed not only for its ease of use, but also on its sheer power." On Jan. 1, Sassenrath decided "to take off my engineering hat and put on my entrepreneur hat" and find start-up financing. He contacted Gateway 2000, whose officials recommended a small investment firm called Avalon Investments. Avalon was headed by the former president of Gateway 2000, Rick Snyder. "We spent many months in negotiations. They decided to go ahead and finance the company," Sassenrath said. Although he has already hired a few people, Sassenrath has been unable to find a building to house the business. "The start-up company doesn't have the financing to build a building," he said. A native of Eureka, Sassenrath has Ukiah roots. His father, Charles Sassenrath, was raised here, and his great grandfather, Charles Barrick, was a Ukiah building contractor and sign painter at the turn of the century. He plans to continue the family tradition in Mendocino County. "I'd like us to stay here in Ukiah and become a member of the community," he said. He hopes someday to do something similar to Retech. "I really like what they did. They came to this country setting in a picturesque place, built a building and did what they were good at," Sassenrath said. "I'd like to do that here in Ukiah." REBOL Technologies' Web site can be viewed at www.rebol.com ANALYSIS Are some investors 'irrationally inert? 9 THE COMMERCE FILE J By JOHN CUNNIFF AP Business Analyst NEW YORK - Since December 1996, when he described stock market investors as perhaps irrationally exuberant, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has been rationally subdued in his criticism of securities valuations. Perhaps, the wags might contend, this is because Greenspan, the most powerful monetary figure in the United States, fears even greater irrationality, since the Dow Jones industrial average is now roughly 40 percent higher than the day he made his observation. Well, he did comment during last October's sharp selloff that it left prices "less out of line," and he even said the downturn might be "salutary." But in general he has refrained from directly assessing the -valuations investors place on securities. So too have other government figures been subdued in their comments, perhaps taking a cue from President Clinton, who said last October it was neither prudent nor appropriate for him to express himself on short-term price movements. Events, meanwhile, suggest a very different portrayal of investors than that described by Greenspan. It is equally unflattering but at the opposite extreme to irrational exuberance: Are today's newer, less experienced investors "irrationally inert?" The question arises over investors' blase attitude toward what market analysts describe as worrisome news involving the collapse of Asian economies, the slowing of profit gains and the high level of market multiples. Can't anything jolt these investors? Maybe not even the warning of observers not inclined to be alarmist. Such as the Bank Credit Analyst. Or Wright Investors' Service, which recently mentioned the possibility of any slide worsening into a bear market. Or The Economist, which refers to a market bubble. Who knows? The future belongs to events as they unfold rather than to forecasts of those who claim foreknowledge. And, judging from investor observations made over the past couple of years, who cares? No matter what happens, say some investors, they are remaining invested. A survey of mutual fund investors in 1996 showed that even if their investment declined by 20 percent in value, 62 percent of them would hold their shares. Twenty-two percent even said they would buy additional shares, and only 15 percent said they would sell. Results of the survey, for Liberty Financial Services, were borne out by the actions, or inactions, of mutual fund shareholders when the market plunged, taking the Dow down 554 points points on Oct. 27: They did very little, if anything. They stood by and watched. For having done so, the small investors were showered with accolades, even credited with heroically standing their ground as the assaulting hordes of sellers, plunged the market into chaos. The picture was one of courage, conviction, determination, strength. But was the true picture instead that described in Liberty Financial's survey summary of a year earlier - that mutual fund investors are overly optimistic, non-aggressive, non-assertive, a bit naive and maybe poorly informed? It found, for example, that "investors tend not to follow the stock market or even the price movement of funds they are invested in very closely," and that "many investors may not watch the market with more regularity because they are not sure what to watch." By K.C. MEADOWS A ll you small businesses out there - and I know there are a lot of you should know about a free seminar the Daily Journal will host June 18. It features Pete Schenk, vice president of American Consulting Services, who will talk about something known as TOMA - Top Of Mind Awareness. What TOMA measures is your business's name recognition in the community. Sure, lots of people have heard o,f Masonite, or Wal-Mart, but most can't name a local accountant, jeweler or plumber. Very often, small business people - especially in the service businesses think a Yellow Page ad is all they need. But Schenk will be able to tell you why that's not true and how you can increase the name awareness of your business easily. He's already done a local TOMA survey of dozens of categories of businesses in the Ukiah area. At the seminar he'll tell who's got the best name recognition in town in a variety of categories. He'll also tell you which kinds of businesses have no name awareness at all, which means you could have a golden opportunity to get your name out there. But even if you're competing with the big box boys, there are ways to do it successfully. The seminar begins with registration at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 18 at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 200 S. School St. A continental breakfast and refreshments will be served. Reservations are required so call Sarah Sutherland at 468-3528 or Janet Noe at 468-3510 to reserve your place. It looks like Mendocino Bounty is about to be revived. The Mendocino County Winegrowers Alliance will take Mendocino Bounty to San Francisco's Fort Mason on Nov. 20. It coincides with the annual wine event the Alliance hosts in the Bay Area to increase awareness of Mendocino County wines. This year they'll resurrect the Mendocino Bounty concept and invite speciality food producers. They'll also invite local lodging owners to set up booths as well. Speaking of local food products, the California Pear Advisory Board has done a survey of what consumers like about Bartlett pears. Finding the perfect definition of a Bartlett pear, they found, is not easy. Would it be green or yellow? Large or small? Firm and crunchy or softer and juicy? According to the Board's survey, conducted in September, 1997 in supermarkets, in Sacramento, LA and the Northeast, 70 percent of consumers preferred their Bartletts yellow and ripe. Only 13 percent liked them fully green. They also mostly like their pears of a medium size, they want more pear recipes and they don't know how pears ripen. Some 42 percent thought that putting pears in an uncovered bowl at room temperature was the fastest ripening method. (Well, that's what I'd do. Unfortunately, the pear board did not say what the correct ripening method is. Anybody out there know?) Of course the trick for the pear growers is to pick the pears and get them to the stores at exactly the right time. Congratulations to Fetzer's George Rose whose photo exhibit at the Mendocino County Museum has been such a success. A woman who owns a San Francisco art gallery happened to stop by and has asked to bring the whole show to her Atrium Gallery on Market Street next year. See COMMERCE, Page A-9

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