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Gross Margin Ratio, What It Is and Why It Matters

When I evaluate a company, one of the measures I consider is its gross margin ratio. I like to see a gross margin that is consistent over time. I also reflect on the story this ratio is telling.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m a numbers person. Gross margin is definitely a numbers thing. But this ratio may also reveal clues about executive priorities, business stability, and competitive advantages.

Let’s cover the basics and then consider what the gross margin ratio may be telling me.

Dinner Ideas to Help You Spend Less, Invest More

A major expense for most households is food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that families of four (with young children) might spend as little as $568.40 or as much as $1,112.70 monthly on food at home, depending on whether they are thrifty or liberal in their spending. Those who are short on dinner ideas may eat out more and spend more on food.

A friend recently told me that she spends about $1,200 monthly to feed two grown adults and five teens and young twentysomethings at home. I also spend a lot when my sons are home visiting.

I’ve found that it takes creative, sustained effort to spend less (time and money) on meals. As my life changes, with kids entering and leaving the house, I’m constantly experimenting with ways to eat better and spend less. Here are dinner ideas that have worked for me:

Investing Lessons from the Shark Tank Cast

Over the weekend, I read an article in AARP The Magazine highlighting investment tips from the Shark Tank cast. This magazine is geared toward the 50 and over crowd but the investing lessons seem applicable to investors of all ages, skill levels, and financial means.

Shark Tank, a half-hour business reality show, centers on the pitches of budding entrepreneurs to the sharks (wealthy, business-savvy investors) and the ensuing dialogue. It’s entertaining, educational, and nerve wracking. What’s fascinating is the decision-making processes of the investors, who may commit money to a venture along with their time, credibility, and business acumen.

Generally, I watch the show from the perspective of the entrepreneur. But, as an investor, it’s helpful to consider opportunities from the sharks’ points of view. Watching the show from the shark/investor perspective (and reading the magazine article) helped me glean investing wisdom from the Shark Tank cast. Here’s what I learned:

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