Master Financial Education
Daily Commentary 2015
E. F. Moody Jr.


I have asked EF Moody to provide a brief example of what he has actually found on behalf of a client who engaged his services to review the insurance contracts which funded the client's estate plan. You will be amazed. In my 30 years in the business, I have never seen an authoritative, objective, prudent expert speak so clearly on the use of insurance. What Errold can do is unique in the industry.

Steven Winks

Secretary of State John Kerry - In America,  "you have a right to be (as) stupid (as) you want to be."
(But too many Americans are abusing the privilege)

Why did our systems fail and why will they continue to do so?  From Paul Volcker

"our economics are based on “an unjustified faith in rational expectations, market efficiencies and the techniques of modern finance"

You must not believe everything you think

Stephan Thomas Vitas

You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

Kevin Kind

Words  are chosen in order to influence us as manipulable objects, not to inform us as autonomous subjects.

Stephen Colbert

language intentionally designed to influence rather than inform is now ubiquitous in the business of sports and politics and markets
 Why? Because it works.

Ben Hunt

Be careful who you call your friends. I'd rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies.
 Al Capone

Investing is not easy. Anyone thinking that it is, is stupid

Charlie Munger

There is no sense in being precise when you do not know what you are talking about

        John von Neumann

 "If you see fraud and don't shout fraud, you are a fraud"

Nassim Taleb

“What you think is much less important than how you think.”
Philip Tetlock

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.


Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

Albert Einstein


Uniform (Im)Prudent Investor Act- Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay Out of Date

World Clock by

 I now have contracted with one of the major professional (non industry) associations in the U.S. to provide videos on a host of financial issues to their members

11/25: this should make it obvious that buying just a few stock is illogical

Audi has conceded that the engines in a further 85,000 cars from the Volkswagen group contained an illegal defeat device, raising questions of how systematic the cheating was at the German carmaker.


India is not China (Charles Schwab)

India has dethroned China as the fastest growing economy. Although some may assume that India will face the same issues as China, there are key differences between the two.

Perhaps most interestingly, China's biggest risk "comes mainly from outside the country" — since it heavily depends on global demand. But on the flip side, "India’s biggest risk may come from inside the country. India’s economy is much more dependent on consumer spending than on demand for exports. The drop in oil prices has helped narrow India’s consumer-driven trade gap. This means that India’s biggest threat now may be the weather. The World Bank estimates that 47% of jobs in India are in agriculture. India has seen two back-to-back years of drought, further bad weather could mean job and income losses that could weaken consumer spending growth,"

Company/Product Costs Minimum Balance Requirement Comments
AssetBuilder 0.20 to 0.45 percent of assets, depending on balance, plus trading costs $50,000 Uses investments from a company called Dimensional Fund Advisors, which creates funds that are similar to index funds but don’t mimic standard indexes precisely. Includes help from a human during account opening.
Betterment 0.15 to 0.35 percent of assets None, but people with less than $10,000 must deposit $100 each month or pay a $3 monthly fee One feature helps people determine a safe amount of money to withdraw for retirement each month. Betterment also offers tax-loss harvesting in taxable accounts and support for trust accounts.
Charles Schwab (Schwab Intelligent Portfolios)
Free (Schwab does make money when it uses its own funds in the portfolios) $5,000 Schwab says it does not disqualify any funds that don't pay it fees to be considered; it does make money this way in other parts of its business.
Fidelity Go No announcement yet, since it is still in beta None yet In an employee beta as of late 2015, set for invite-only beta in early 2016. Some portfolios may include a few actively managed Fidelity mutual funds.
Financial Guard $15.95 per month or $149.95 annually, plus trading costs None Financial Guard gauges risk, examines all of a customer's investment accounts and suggests funds to buy and sell. Customers can request index or exchange-traded funds, which Financial Guard recommends.
Folio Investing
(Unlimited Plan)
$29 per month or $290 annually None Folio Investing has a number of “Ready to Go” portfolios of exchange-traded funds that customers can buy in a single transaction.
FutureAdvisor 0.5 percent of assets None FutureAdvisor will advise on, watch and rebalance multiple Individual Retirement Accounts and taxable brokerage accounts at Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. Customers don't have to sell investments in taxable accounts and potentially pay capital gains taxes to use the FutureAdvisor service if they already have money at those firms.
(Basic Plan)
None $5,000 Hedgeable also offers a Plus Plan with more active monitoring and charges 0.40 to 0.75 percent of assets.

$250 per year for balances under $100,000, 0.25 percent of assets for balances over $100,000 $5,000 Only in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia so far. Invessence does the trading and rebalancing.
Jemstep Portfolio Manager Free for first $25,000;$17.99 to $69.99 per month after that, depending on balance, plus trading costs None Jemstep also evaluates the holdings in your 401(k) or other workplace retirement account, which other services may not do.
MarketRiders $14.95 per month or $149.95 annually, plus trading costs None MarketRiders tells you which funds to buy and when to rebalance but doesn’t do it for you. The company’s owners started Rebalance IRA for people who want more help.
Motif Investing(Horizon Portfolios) None $250 There is a conservative, moderate and aggressive portfolio of exchange-traded funds that Motif has built. Motif does the rebalancing and is itself a brokerage firm.
Rebalance IRA 0.5 percent of assets, plus $250 start-up feeand trading costs None, but there’s a $500 minimum annual fee As the name suggests, Rebalance IRA specializes in retirement accounts; their service includes human contact with a dedicated adviser.
(Managed Account)
$10 per month $2,000 SigFig manages money in your existing account if it's at Charles Schwab, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. There are no trading costs, and the company trades for you.
Target-Date Mutual Funds 
(Various Companies)
Vanguard’s are inexpensive and made up of index funds with average costs of 0.17 percent Generally very small, if any Sometimes companies stuff target-date funds with their own actively managed mutual funds, which can raise costs. Funds from competing companies with the same target date may have very different ratios of stocks to bonds and other assets.
(Personal Advisor Services)
0.3 percent of assets $100,000 Vanguard is alone among this group in including full-service financial planning in the price. The company is hoping to lower the minimum balance to $50,000.
Wealthfront Free for the first $10,000;0.25 percent after that $500 Wealthfront does tax-loss harvesting for all taxable accounts and helps Twitter and Facebook shareholders sell their stock and diversify in an efficient fashion.
WiseBanyan None None WiseBanyan makes money by charging for various additional financial planning services.

Costs are annual unless otherwise noted. There are also underlying fees for the funds that every one of these services uses, though they tend to be low since they go into index or similar funds. Trading fees, commissions and related charges are included unless otherwise noted; some companies are able to absorb them. Companies that have a range of fees usually charge less as you give them more money to manage.

11/25: Tough to figure out

The central bankers’ constant refrain that their actions are “data dependent” is a euphemistic way of saying that since the financial crisis they have had precious little grasp of how the economy actually works.

The distortions wrought in the markets by the central banks’ own unconventional measures such as quantitative easing also mean that investors and traders, over-trusting the ability of central bankers to fix the economy, are likewise unsighted. This is emphatically not the market of the economic textbooks — or of central banks’ economic models — in which prices are moved by the rational expectations of experts. Rather it is a case of the blind leading the blind.

11/25: Interesting= might finalize what the FED will do to increasing interest rates.

US third quarter growth revised higher


The US economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, with the strong momentum likely to further bolster the Federal Reserve's case for an interest rate hike next month.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.1 per cent annual pace, up from the 1.5 per cent rate reported last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday in its second GDP estimate for the June-September period.

11/25 This is the way that food will be 'grown'. Cloning

A Chinese-Korean joint venture plans to build the world’s largest cloning factory in Tianjin, eventually producing 1m cloned calves a year, as well as dogs and even endangered species. There are only about 3 rhinos of a certain species left- let's try that now.

I wish they would clone some suicidal bass because it appears that it will be the only way I can catch them.


President’s Fmr. Top Intel General: The President is “wrong” on ISIS Strategy

Excellent discussion

11/25: This does not make sense- but then there are lots of things that defy rationality


The year of debt defaults The number of companies defaulting on their obligations this year looks set to reach the 100 mark, driven largely by struggling US shale gas providers. Currently, 99 global companies have defaulted since the year began, a dubious tally only exceeded during the financial crisis in 2009

You WILL encounter this problem at some level

Detection of Alzheimer's
By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

Dementia itself is not a disease, but rather a set of symptoms that accompany specific diseases.  Dementia is a general term for the loss of memory, language and recognition that is severe enough to interfere with everyday life. Researchers believe dementia may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some diseases that cause dementia are irreversible and include Huntington’s disease, Pick’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, multi-infarct dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-70% of the diagnosed cases.

An estimated 4.5 million people in the United States have dementia. On average, patients with AD live from 8 to 10 years after they are diagnosed, although the disease can last up to 20 years. The disease usually begins after age 60 and the risk increases with age. Younger people may get AD; however, it is much less common. Ten percent (10%) of Americans age 65 and older have AD and it affects fifty percent (50%) of Americans age 85 and older. AD is one of the most feared mental disorders because of its progressive and relentless attack on the brain. Despite its prevalence, dementia may go unrecognized or be misdiagnosed in the early stages of the disease. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association and current national studies, there are many reasons to support the early detection of AD.  An early diagnosis is crucial because that is when the most can be done to slow the progression of symptoms. In addition, early treatment can have a considerable effect on maintaining a patient’s current level of functioning. An early and accurate diagnosis can also help to identify reversible conditions that may mimic dementia such as depression, medication side effects, substance abuse, vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, bladder infections or thyroid problems. An initial assessment can avoid the trauma of a diagnosis of dementia where it does not exist. It also prevents unnecessary and possibly harmful treatment resulting from misdiagnosis.  Other reasons include:

  • Identifying the cause of dementia leads to proper care and allows patients a greater chance of benefiting from existing treatments

  • Early diagnosis can help resolve the anxiety that accompanies noticeable, yet unexplainable changes in behavior

  • Educating persons with dementia and their caregivers gives them time to develop advanced care planning

  • The quality of life for both the patient with AD and the family can be maximized.

The earlier the treatment, the better the chance of a favorable response to treatment, the longer the delay of progressive symptoms and the less financial cost overall. The early identification process, currently recommended by the Chronic Care Network for Alzheimer’s Disease, includes two key tools to identify people who may have dementia.

Tool 1: Education and Awareness Materials which recommend the use of triggers that signal possible dementia and include the Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Tool 2: Family Questionnaire which aims to collect data from family members who are often the best historians and are more likely to be aware of the signs and symptoms (of possible dementia) that are not apparent to the medical staff.

The Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Memory Loss

  2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks

  3. Problems with Language

  4. Disorientation to Time and Place

  5. Poor or Decreased Judgment

  6. Problems with Abstract Thinking

  7. Misplacing Things

  8. Changes in Mood or Behavior

  9. Changes in Personality

  10. Loss of Initiative/Motivation

If you recognize any warning signs in yourself or a loved one, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a physician for a complete assessment. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other disorders causing dementia is an important step to getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.

The Family Questionnaire is designed to help identify patients with memory problems that might go unnoticed by clinicians. It consists of five simple questions:

In your opinion, does your loved one have problems with any of the following challenges and how often?

  1. Repeating or asking the same thing over and over?

  2. Remembering appointments, family occasions, holidays?

  3. Writing checks, paying bills, and balancing the checkbook?

  4. Deciding what groceries or clothes to buy?

  5. Taking medications according to instructions?

The information collected from these tools can be shared with the patient’s primary care physician and then a determination of need for further testing or a referral to a specialist can be made at that time.


There is no single diagnostic test to detect whether a person has Alzheimer’s disease.  However, diagnostic tools and criteria have been developed in recent years to make a clinical diagnosis of AD with an accuracy rate of 85-90%. The factors used to complete a diagnosis include:

  • Medical History

  • Mental Status Evaluation

  • Physical Examination

  • Neurological Examination

  • Neuropsychological Evaluation

  • Brain ScansLaboratory Tests

The assessment of AD might begin with a memory screening test in the primary care physician’s office and then the patient may be referred to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, a geriatric psychiatrist or other specialist trained in the diagnosis of AD for further testing.  Caregivers and family members are essential to the process of diagnosing early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. They may be able to supply valuable information and validate or deny the patient’s own reports.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease usually falls into one of three categories:

  1. Probable Alzheimer’s— indicates a physician has ruled out all other disorders that may be causing the dementia.

  2. Possible Alzheimer’s— indicates the presence of another disorder that could be affecting the understood progression of Alzheimer’s. The disease process appears different than what is normally seen; yet Alzheimer’s disease is still considered the primary cause of dementia symptoms.

  3. Definite Alzheimer’s— this diagnosis can only be made at the time of an autopsy because it requires examination of actual brain tissue. An autopsy can confirm the presence of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which are the characteristic lesions of Alzheimer’s, to diagnose the disease with 100% accuracy.

Delay of Diagnosis:

Amazingly enough, there is a significant percentage of caregivers who are told, upon bringing their spouse or relative to the physician, that their decline is due to ‘normal aging.’ We now know that dementia is not a normal part of the aging process.

It is strongly recommended that persons experiencing any dementia-type symptoms should undergo diagnostic testing as soon as possible. A delay in diagnosis allows for a missed opportunity for treating the patient and also increases the chances for other problems and demands to multiply for the caregiver. For example, since AD affects memory, patients are at risk of not complying with the treatments that are necessary for problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, mental health disorders and infections.  A health crisis can then develop, compound the effects of dementia and lead to emergency care or hospitalization. 

Caregivers may initially hesitate to bring a loved one with dementia to the physician.  Researchers at the University of Portland found that it takes an average of 30 months from the time family members notice the first changes and symptoms of dementia for the person to be diagnosed with AD. Reasons cited by caregivers were: lack of knowledge about AD, they did not imagine that the changing behavior was part of an illness, they were unsure what type of doctor to see or how to describe symptoms, they felt overwhelmed with the burden of caregiving or they feared that the illness was truly AD. Many caregivers have reported that prior to the diagnosis, they were nearly overcome with anxiety as they watched their loved one deteriorate. Once the diagnosis was made, they felt a great sense of relief and were finally able to name the disease and move forward toward a plan of care.

There are several other reasons that contribute to a delayed diagnosis of AD. Early symptoms are often disregarded, mistakenly attributed to aging or even misdiagnosed.  Sometimes people with dementia are unwilling to have their mental abilities evaluated, are defensive, or in denial of the changes that are occurring in their lives.  Physicians may not feel comfortable dealing with memory loss issues, may not be trained to administer cognitive tests or are reluctant to place a patient in an uncomfortable testing situation. Patients with high intelligence may be able to score above average on screening tests (despite cognitive decline) and compensate for or even mask their symptoms during the office examination, thus leaving the physician without sufficient evidence to provide a diagnosis. This is the point where caregivers play an important role and can provide the most valuable data to support the possible diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatments and Medication Benefits:

Although there is no cure for AD, new and improved treatments are on the horizon and offer hope. Most health professionals feel that the best plan of treatment includes a combination of medication, changes in lifestyle and support, along with a goal of managing symptoms that affect memory, thinking and behavior. The regional director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota-North Dakota points out that there is a growing interest in the use of non-medical interventions that may be effective on their own or used in combination with medications.  These interventions may include memory and communication aids, speech therapy, behavioral therapies, memory stimulation therapy, exercise, adequate sleep and  education. The environment also strongly influences the health and capabilities of persons with AD; thus, it is important for caregivers to pay attention to safety factors, reduce stimuli and adjust the surroundings to accommodate the disease.   

AD changes the brain in many ways, which results in a decrease of acetylcholine levels. It is believed that acetylcholine is a chemical messenger that is important for memory, thought and judgment. The US Food and Drug Administration currently approves five prescription drugs, yet only three are actively marketed for the treatment of mild to moderate AD. According to Mayo Clinic, these medications are referred to as cholinesterase (ko-lin-ES-tur-ase) inhibitors and seem to improve the effectiveness of acetylcholine either by increasing the amount in the brain or strengthening the way nerve cells respond to it. The top three cholinesterase inhibitors are Aricept, Razadyne and Exelon. They have all been effective treatment options in clinical trials. The other two medications are: Cognex, which has been on the market since 1993 but is rarely prescribed, and Namenda, which is the first drug approved by the FDA to treat moderate to severe dementia and may be co-prescribed with cholinesterase inhibitors. Treatment with medications has revealed delays in nursing home placements and improvements in cognition and functional abilities in many patients with AD.

Doctors usually start patients on a low dosage of medication and then gradually increase the dosage based on the tolerance level of the patient.  According to a journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the above named medications have a low incidence of serious reactions but they do have common side effects that can occur such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or weight loss.  Tolerance to these medications often develops over time. Cholinesterase inhibitors must be taken regularly and in a sufficient dosage to benefit the patient. Interruptions of the drug treatment over time will result in sustained or irreversible cognitive decline. If a patient is unlikely to follow a drug regimen or has an illness that could interrupt the drug regimen, benefits will decrease and patients may face greater side effects.  The healthcare provider should consult with the patient and the family to decide together on the best plan of treatment. Pharmacists are also a valuable resource for medication information.

It is important to understand that medication alone cannot stop the disease and medications do not work for everyone. For those who are helped, the effects may be only modest or temporary. Treatment with medication may help prevent symptoms such as depression, sleeplessness or wandering from becoming worse for a period of time and can help keep behavioral symptoms under control. Periodic monitoring and testing of a patient’s functional and cognitive abilities is also recommended.  These results may offer encouragement to the patient’s family and can serve as a guide for doctors, patients and families in planning for the future.

Clinical Trials:

The best evidence of progress in AD research lies in the growth of clinical testing of treatments, prevention of the disease and diagnosis. This alone gives patients and families a reason to hope. Advances in our knowledge and understanding of AD have also led to the development of many new drugs, diagnostic tests and treatment plans. Scientists now recognize the need for earlier detection of AD and are devising new brain imaging techniques and lab tests that could improve diagnosis. One landmark trial that began in 2005 is the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. The goal of this trial is to determine whether standardized brain images combined with laboratory and psychological tests may offer a better way to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s, track disease progression and monitor treatment effects.

Clinical trials are the final testing ground for new treatments that are currently under investigation. Each trial represents the results of years of scientific thought, observation, and data analysis and is only possible through the participation of patients and their family members. Clinical trials are the principal way that researchers can discover whether a treatment is safe and effective for patients, especially for those in the early stages of the disease. Trials take place at private research facilities, specialized AD research centers, teaching hospitals and even at physicians’ offices. Taking part in a clinical trial can be a big step for both the patient and the family so it’s necessary to discuss the expectations and pros and cons of participation with the clinical trials staff.

There are two kinds of drug trials available:

  • Treatment trials with existing drugs that assess whether an already approved drug may be useful for other purposes. For example, an arthritis treatment may help in the prevention of AD.

  • Treatment trials with experimental drugs or approaches to discover whether a new drug or treatment approach may help improve memory function, decrease symptoms, slow the progression of AD or prevent it altogether. Each one of these clinical trials includes up to three phases. Once these phases are complete and investigators are satisfied that the treatment is safe and effective, the research team can submit its results to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review.

When a person signs up for a clinical trial, they are asked to sign an informed consent form to ensure that they are protected and well cared for during the study. If a participant is unable to provide informed consent because of memory loss, it is still possible for an authorized representative (usually a member of the family) to give permission. Next, patients go through a process of screening to see if they qualify and can safely participate before they proceed with the study. Although clinical trials may not produce miraculous results, many participants believe that even if the benefit to them is small, they are making a valuable contribution toward future research.  Family members have also found that the best benefit of participating in a clinical trial is the regular contact with the research team.  The team can be a link to education, provide advice on the emotional and physical aspects of AD, and offer supportive and helpful information.

The amount and variety of clinical trials underway are a sign of the intensity of research to seek solutions for a disease that robs the mind and takes away the essence of a person’s life. Current clinical trials are available on the Internet under or by contacting the Alzheimer’s Association or the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR) at 1-800-438-4380 (a service of the National Institute on Aging).

Caring for a person with AD can be likened to driving on an unfamiliar road, riding a roller coaster or even walking on a tightrope. It can be an incredibly stressful ride, yet rewards can also be visible. The key is to balance your own needs against those of the person you are caring for day to day. Many caregivers find that they are stronger than they ever thought possible and that they feel rewarded knowing they have stayed committed to helping a loved one during the difficult years.

Caregiving can produce a great deal of stress that can lead to physical decline and emotional exhaustion. The health of caregivers is at risk, yet they often become the ‘hidden patients’ while focusing all of their attention on the person with AD. Caregivers need to keep their own health in check and visit their doctor on a regular basis. Support systems must also be alert to signs of caregiver burnout or depression and plans must be made to provide respite to the caregiver. No one can do it all alone. It is heartbreaking to watch a loved one go through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease and caring for them requires an abundance of courage and strength.  Asking for help and taking care of yourself cannot be overemphasized. 

The Alzheimer’s Association assistance is available nationwide and offers a wide variety of programs, educational materials and support services to persons with AD and their caregivers. Many communities have a local or regional chapter and offer regular education and support group meetings. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides:

  • A 24-hour, tollfree (multilingual) Information Helpline (800) 272-3900 that links callers to information about AD, treatments, caregiving strategies and local programs.

  • The nation’s largest Alzheimer’s library including books, journals, cassettes, videos and CDs that can be obtained through interlibrary loans at your local library.

  • Internet support at, including online chat rooms, research updates, brain health tips, the new CareFinder program that assists caregivers in planning care and finding support and the Safe Return program, which helps families locate a loved one who has wandered off or gotten lost.  This Internet site is set up to help families and caregivers make informed decisions.

  • Care Consultation— one of the core services of the Alzheimer’s Association (available in most states) that assists the person with AD or related dementias and their family in planning for, and dealing with, all aspects of the illness experience.

In addition to contacting the Alzheimer’s Association, consider care options such as in-home respite care, adult day programs, home care services, delivered meals programs, or chore services. Keep a personal journal of your journey or a medical journal to record helpful information for yourself and the physician. Continue with activities that are enjoyed. Maintain a network of support and communicate your needs to family members, friends, volunteers, and organizations to avoid isolation. Join a caregiver support group to find hope, gain valuable information from people who understand your position and learn new ways to cope with the challenges you face.

Alzheimer’s disease impacts the whole family. Like a pebble thrown into the water, the ripples of the disease touch the lives of everyone. The signs and symptoms of AD can’t be ignored! Early detection and current treatments can help maintain or even improve memory, thinking and behavior problems plus support the quality of life for persons with AD and their caregivers.



Gas-guzzling models are back in vogue in the US, so why should poorer nations cut emissions?

More than all its non-binding pledges, the global warming summit is meant to begin an era of new habits. If Americans won’t change theirs, will others follow?

And more-

As the world tries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and combat climate change, policymakers have pinned hopes on electric cars, whose range and convenience are quickly improving. Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.

The global shift to electric cars has a clear climate benefit in regions that get most of their power from clean sources, such as California or Norway. But in areas supplied by dirtier power, like China, India and even the Netherlands, which is on track to miss ambitious emissions targets set for 2020, the electric-car jump has slimmer payoffs. In some cases, it could even worsen the overall climate impact of driving, experts say.

Financial Times article

11/24: Expensing fees in a fee only variable annuity

There are a number of fee-only annuities available today. As mentioned, these annuities typically have very low internal fees and the advisor is paid a fee (i.e., a percentage of the account value) in lieu of a commission. However, in a non-qualified, fee-only annuity, the advisor’s fee deduction creates an income tax liability for the client. Here is an example to explain.

Let’s assume a client has a non-qualified variable annuity, that a 1.0% annual advisory fee is deducted from that annuity on a quarterly basis, that there are no other withdrawals, that the annuity’s market value is $100,000, and the client is age 50.

At tax time, the client will receive a 1099 with the total fee deducted (i.e., $1,000), which the client must claim as income on his tax return (Form 1040). However, because the client is also under age 59 ½, he will also have to pay a 10% premature withdrawal penalty on the $1,000. This only applies to non-qualified annuities where the advisory fee is deducted from the annuity. If the annuity is qualified, the fee deduction does not create a taxable event. However, if the client is under age 59 ½ an early withdrawal penalty will apply.

11/24: Junk bonds are safer AND riskier?? How is that possible??

junk bonds are underperforming assets that are deemed safer and riskier in both up and down markets. 

The last time this happened was early 2000 and late 2007. 

Both of these periods presaged major negative market events. 

Here's Melentyev (emphasis added):

Another interesting and unusual development is taking place on a high-level across asset classes, where US [high-yield] is now underperforming all major related markets, Including loans (-1.2%), [investment grade bonds] (-0.5%), equities (-2.1%), Treasuries (-6%), [European high-yield] (-3.7%) and even external [emerging market] sovereigns (-4.3%). The most intriguing detail here, in our view, is that [high-yield] is underperforming both [investment grade bonds] and equities at the same time. Think about how unusual this is for a moment. If [high-yield] is an asset class that sits somewhere in the middle on a risk scale between high quality bonds and equities, then normally we would expect it to be underperforming one and not the other, as they would normally move in opposite directions. Figure 2 confirms this intuition  plotted here are the trailing 12mo differentials between [high-yield] and [investment grade bonds] (blue line) and [high-yield] and equities (red line), and most of the time these two lines are on the opposite sides of the x-axis. In fact, the only two times we had both of them being negative were, again, early 2000 and late 2007. Even 2011 did not create an exception here.

11/24: OPEC will keep prices down to maintain its dominant position in oil supply- even though the prices have plummeted.  The impact on the U.S. is obvious by the chart. .

11/24: I knew the situation was bad but not this bad

The United States has plummeted to 28th place on an annual ranking of the world's most equal countries for men and women, falling behind Rwanda, an East African country ravaged by genocide in 1994.

Rwandan women beat American women in both labor force participation and government representation, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap ReportEighty-eight percent of women in Rwanda have jobs, compared to 66 percent of women in the U.S. A whopping 64 percent of the African nation’s politicians are women, compared to our 19 percent.

This is just ONE picture
11/22  Financial Literacy

EFM- Now think about this- the questions are similar to most literacy test I have seen. The kicker is that they are so sophomoric as to be useless in real life.  When one goes into an ETF- how does getting a 65 on the quiz help at all? Where is the question about what is a conservative fund? An indexed annuity? Get real.  What we really have is an entire world that is so limited on basic math, it will be mostly luck if they have enough money for retirement, 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Before you claim Social Security, explore our new Planning for Retirement tool


ERISA, Fiduciary Duty and the Art of Skinnydipping
"The law imposes a duty on plan sponsors to conduct a thorough, objective and independent investigation of potential plan investment options. The problem is that, to put it bluntly, most plan sponsors have absolutely no understanding as to how to properly conduct such an investigation and therefore, the evidence suggests that, in many cases,
they do not do so, hoping that they will not get caught."



Confidence and Reality Often at Odds When Planning for Retirement
"[J]ust over half of pre-retirees (age 50 to 75 with at least $100,000 in household investable assets) are confident in their retirement security based on their self-assessed ability to manage finances (62 percent) and the expectation of living modestly in retirement (59 percent).... [O]nly 20 percent actually have a formal retirement plan and less than 40 percent have done basic planning activities, such as calculating what their assets, income, and expenses will be in retirement."


Beta Calculator


Standard Deviation Calculator


Efficient Frontier Calculator

11/19: Information only

11/19: Income protection

11/18: I really thought China would be in there.

11/19: Hard to believe- maybe not

Cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increased significantly in 2014, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new report shows that cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have gone up for the first time since 2006. For chlamydia, one of the more common STDs, the CDC reports that 1.4 million cases were reported in 2014, a 2.8% increase in cases from 2013, which represents “the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC.” Each year, more than 70 infectious disease conditions including measles and tuberculosis, are reported to the CDC.

Gonorrhea and syphilis cases also spiked. Syphilis has three stages, and for the first two stages of the infection, the CDC recorded a 15.1% increase in cases from 2013. For gonorrhea, cases have gone up 5.1%.

Less than 20 years and a whole lot of money

11/18: Disability insurance

 the Buy/Sell Plusdisability insurance program, an innovation now available in the market only through Petersen International Underwriters.  This standalone product marries key person disability benefits with a traditional disability buy/sell policy.  You now have a source that can provide your corporate clients with the perfect balance of short and long term benefits, properly protecting their businesses.

The Buy/Sell Plus plan provides “own-occupation” permanent total disability benefits that are flexible, designed to fund the specific requirements of the varying terms of executive buy/sell agreements.  Like other disability buy/sell products, after elimination periods of 12, 18 or 24 months, the Buy/Sell Plus pays benefits along a lump-sum or monthly-payout chassis.  What sets the Buy/Sell Plus apart is the key person portion of the program which takes place on the front end of the policy.

If one of your business clients were to become victim to a long-term disablement, their company would ultimately find itself under scrutiny, subject to vast economic and structural change without the daily leadership and guidance of the owner and figurehead.  The most effective strategy to hedge early corporate losses while awaiting the eventual buy-out of the company is the employment of key person disability insurance.

Petersen International’s Buy/Sell Plus program provides an important key person disability benefit on the front end of the buy/sell.  The key person portion offers short elimination period options to allow much needed capital to flood a business in transition with monthly benefits that mirror the elimination period of the buy/sell portion.  In reality, the Buy/Sell Plus offers a comprehensive benefits platform with two crucial plans at one low price.

With the Buy/Sell Plus, your clients will be purchasing two disability products requiring only a single underwriting term.  Two policies, two benefits – one application, one exam, one price.  The Buy/Sell Plus will save your clients both time and money while protecting the financial future of the businesses they have grown and hold dear


Definitions Of Financial Terms

11/16: Another very important issue:

5 Things to Know about Medicaid-Sponsored Home Care

Just a few years ago, a senior’s only option was to move into a nursing home. Now, many more seniors are able to remain in the comfort of home while still receiving a number of vitally-needed services that ensure their health and well-being.

Senior Planning Services, a New Jersey-based Medicaid planning company that assists seniors and their families with Medicaid-sponsored senior care, would like to address several frequently asked questions in regards to home care.

1. Will Medicaid Pay for Home Care?

For many seniors, home care is the only thing standing between them and a nursing home. These individuals are no longer able to fully care for themselves, typically because of deteriorating health or mental state. Seniors who would otherwise need nursing home care can, thankfully, receive benefits from Medicaid to help pay for home care.

2. What Are Home and Community Based Services?

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are designed to allow individuals to receive necessary services in their own homes or as part of their existing community. Many seniors are reluctant to move into nursing homes, particularly if they’re currently residents in a senior living community or if they have health problems that are expected to improve over time. For these individuals, home care — including both necessary medical care and help with day-to-day tasks— is a crucial part of the aging process.

3. What Services Are Offered through Medicaid?

For individuals who are eligible for home care, there are a wide variety of services available. It’s not just medical care, though in-home physical therapy, medication administration, and other medical services are often important aspects of home care. Seniors can receive services that will help with simple cooking, cleaning, and laundry tasks; personal care support for bathing, dressing, and shaving; and meal delivery. Other services include the delivery of medical equipment, assistive devices like wheelchairs and canes, and simple home modifications like safety rails that will make staying at home easier.

4. Who Qualifies for Home Care through Medicaid?

The first part of qualifying for home care through Medicaid is medical: in order to qualify, a senior must be in need of in-home services. Typically, these services must be necessary in order to keep that individual out of a nursing home. The second part is financial: individuals who qualify for home care through Medicaid must have low income and few assets remaining. These limits, however, are often higher than they would be to receive normal Medicaid services. In New York, for example, the asset limit for an individual living alone is $14,850 and the income limit is $825 per month. Both of these numbers are significantly higher than the eligibility standards for other Medicaid services.

5. Can a Family Caregiver Be Paid by Medicaid?

Typically, when Medicaid provides home care, it does it through a home care agency. The agency is paid by Medicaid to provide all of the services necessary for an individual to continue to thrive in their own home. Unfortunately, for many seniors, this is a less than ideal solution. In addition to the fact that the caregiver in these cases is a stranger, many home care agencies are overstretched, with more clients than they can easily provide for.

In these cases, home care by a family member can be provided. The accessibility of payment for a family member to provide home care varies by state, but some states do have programs in place that will cover payment of a family member instead of paying a home care agency to provide these services. For many seniors, home care is the preferred way to age gracefully, receiving the help that they need while remaining in their own homes for as long as possible.

My family. not too bright but colorful

The Narratives

Long article that finally addresses the implication for investing (and much more). A necessary read

economic storytelling isn’t just the art of charlatans and false prophets. It is endemic to the discipline. The standard theory of market fluctuations attributes them to ‘exogenous’ causes, meaning that they are induced in a potentially stable market by external political events. This makes it permissible to tell a story about what ‘caused’ the market to behave a certain way. The truth, however, is that the real consequences of such disturbances are generally unpredictable because the internal dynamics of the economic system are inscrutable: everything depends on feedbacks that might or might not amplify a particular modest disturbance into a major disruption. History typically works that way too, as does traffic flow, crowd behaviour and many other human social systems. The corollary is that narratives do more to mask true understanding with a superficial veneer of authority than they do to offer a useful explanatory framework.

In such cases, it’s not necessarily that we have the wrong narrative. Rather, we might need to rethink what a narrative can and should involve. Economic markets are a classic example of what scientists call a complex system, meaning one in which many agents interact with one another simultaneously, creating the possibility for knock-on effects and feedbacks that might amplify tiny causes into big effects. In such a situation, causation doesn’t have a simple meaning: do we ‘blame’ the random fluctuation or the incipient instability of the whole system? When traffic is such that any tiny, chance disturbance will trigger a jam, does it really matter what that disturbance was? Seismologists can tell if a big earthquake might occur in a particular location – but they know better than to talk as if that local rupture will ‘cause’ the quake.

In other words, it might be quite wrong to tell such a story in terms ofthis small-scale action leading to that large-scale effect. And in fact the aptness (or otherwise) of such a narrative can now be quantified. In 2013, the psychiatrist Giulio Tononi and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison described a very general abstract model of a complex system in which the ‘micro’ behaviour underpinning the ‘macro’ properties could be completely specified, and yet causation didn’t flow from the small to the large. Think again of the traffic analogy: even if we know the detailed trajectory of each car, it’s meaningless to blame a jam on this or that vehicle.

The virtue of the model devised by Tononi and colleagues is that they could put numbers to the causative influences. They defined a quantity called the ‘effective information’ for each size scale (for individual cars, let’s say, groups of five, 50, 500…). This measured the degree to which the system’s states at that scale could be considered to ‘cause’ the behaviour at the largest scale (in the traffic analogy, a massive jam of the whole highway). They found that in certain cases this effective information was greater at the larger scales than at the smaller: the big picture was, in a formal sense, where the true ‘cause’ was located. Tononi and colleagues suggested that the brain might be such a complex system, too – in which case the apparent belief, evinced in some current international projects, that we will understand it by mapping and computer-modelling it down to the last neuron and synapse is misconceived.

These considerations surely apply in several other areas of science and technology, where they should commend caution about the kinds of narrative we spin. Some of the recent debate about the role of genes in biological behaviour probably stems from this ambiguity. Because of the complex networks of gene interactions, it can be hard to assign high-level properties (personality traits or intelligence, say) to the activity of specific genes, even if the inheritability of the trait suggests a strong genetic influence. We like to tell the story in terms of a gene ‘for’ the trait, but work such as Tononi’s might imply that this is wrong – not simply because it’s hard to trace the trait back to the genes ‘responsible’ but because that’s simply the wrong way to look at causality in this case.

We don’t know which story to tell – but we know that we need a story of some kind

What is leading us astray? I would argue that it is our instinct for story, albeit in a very abstract form. The putative ‘gay gene’ or ‘criminality gene’ or whatever becomes a character whose motive is to make the organism gay or criminal – even though, when such candidate genes are examined, they might turn out to encode digestive enzymes or something. This storifying crops up in Richard Dawkins’ notion of genes as autonomous replicators struggling (just like us!) for reproductive success: it’s a narrative we understand, even though no gene is (or probably ever has been) a replicator in that sense at all.

It seems likely, says the literary scholar Richard Walsh of the University of York, that complexity in general ‘resists the tendentiousness of narrative representation’ – and that in such cases ‘there is an important gap between our narrative talk of what a system does and how the system actually does it’. Here stories surely help us make sense of a complicated universe, but sometimes they are just that: comforting tales, not genuine accounts of why things are the way they are.

But how else, if not with narrative, are you going to make scientific ideas comprehensible? This is not an argument about how to explain science at a popular level, but about how to do science at all. Quantum physics has made that particularly apparent. The primary literature is full of narrative devices to frame the phenomena. Which slit did the photon go through? Was the electron behaving as a wave or a particle? Did the act of viewing the experiment disturb it? How did this particle communicate instantaneously with that one? Did this event happen differently in a parallel universe? All these questions refer to stories placed on top of the maths: it’s not the equations that demand them, but us. We don’t know which story to tell – but we know that we need a story of some kind. These narratives of which particle did what to which raise more questions than they answer, but without them the science somehow seems incomplete.

And that’s the real point. We need narrative not because it is a valid epistemological description of the world but because of its cognitive role. It’s how we make sense of things. An inability to render life experiences into a coherent narrative is characteristic of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Text that fails to deliver narrative coherence, for example in terms of relating cause to effect and honouring the expectations of readers, is harder to understand.

So identifying narratives in abstract activities such as music and sport seems inevitable: if they lacked the properties that make this possible, they wouldn’t catch on, because they would seem pointless and unintelligible. Looked at this way, we might wonder if the ultimate intelligibility of the universe will be determined not so much by the capacity of our minds to formulate the appropriate concepts and equations, but by whether we can find a meaningful story to tell about it.

11/16: This happens a lot with dementia

Knowing the cause of aggression, how to react in the moment and ways to reduce incidents of aggression can help you cope.

What is Causing the Aggression? Exploring Common Triggers of Dementia Outbursts

Aggression in seniors with dementia is common and finding the trigger is not always easy.

Keep in mind that someone with moderate to severe stages of dementia may be unable to recognize or communicate their needs to their caregivers. Also, someone with dementia may have difficulty understanding what behaviour is socially acceptable.

These are some issues which can lead to incidents of aggression. Often the trigger of the aggressive behavior falls into one of three categories:

Biological Triggers

  • Pain or Illness: The senior may be in pain or unwell
  • Difficulty Hearing or Seeing: Can cause the senior to feel frustrated or misunderstood
  • Hallucinations or Delusions: Can cause seniors to act aggressively because they are confused or feel scared
  • Physical Discomfort: Feeling hungry, thirsty, cold or hot can also lead to aggression
  • Medication: Aggression could be a side effect of medication

Talk to your senior’s physician about the aggressive behavior. Your doctor will help rule out some of these biological triggers. If the senior is on medication, perhaps it needs to be adjusted or changed. Or, maybe a new medication can help. Talk to your doctor about a treatment and care plan for your loved one. Remember to act as their care advocate and ensure that any medication they are on is safe, if not over prescribed and is effective.

Social Triggers

  • Confusing or unfamiliar settings
  • People who remind the senior of someone from their past
  • Someone or something that causes fear
  • Large, unfamiliar crowds
  • Boredom
  • Feelings of loneliness, mistrust, anxiety and paranoia

A number of social triggers can confuse, upset or cause fear for a senior who may react aggressively. Although not all of these scenarios can be controlled or reduced, when you understand the trigger you can address the aggressive behaviour in a more understanding and knowledgeable way. Knowing the trigger may help you to avoid or at least diffuse the situation more effectively.

Psychological Triggers

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Loss of touch with reality
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Anxiety

Psychological problems resulting from dementia can lead to misunderstandings, misperceptions and difficulty communicating. These psychological symptoms often cause frustration and aggressive outbursts. Again, you may not be able to avoid or reduce these triggers but knowing the cause may help you take command of the situation before it escalates into a serious aggressive outburst.

What You Should Do When a Senior with Dementia Acts Aggressively

What should you do when a senior with dementia acts aggressively? In the moment, you should:

  1. Take a deep breath and try not to get frustrated or take the aggression personally (yes, this is hard but don’t give up).
  2. Adapt to the perspective and needs of your senior.
  3. Remain calm, even if it means stepping out of the room.
  4. Don’t show anger, fear, alarm or anxiety, even if you feel it. Showing these emotions could increase the senior’s aggression or agitation and escalate the situation.
  5. Speak using a calm, reassuring voice.
  6. Acknowledge the senior’s feelings and listen to what they are saying. This will help you try to understand and determine the trigger while also showing that you want to help.
  7. Maintain eye contact while you communicate.
  8. Try to understand what is causing the behaviour.
  9. If you can’t resolve or eliminate the trigger, try to distract the senior from the problem.
  10. Give them the space they need in the moment.

Afterwards, you should:

  • Focus on the person, not the behaviour
  • Don’t punish the senior for their behaviour or try to revisit the incident with them (they may not remember it and revisiting it could upset them again)
  • Remember that the senior may still feel upset, so try to be reassuring while carrying on as normal
  • Make sure you have someone you can talk to about the incident
  • Take care of your own emotional needs and seek the help of your doctor, family members, community support groups, counsellor or dementia support worker

How to Reduce the Instances of Aggression

If you and your doctor have ruled out biological causes of the aggression and you have been unable to identify or resolve the trigger, try one or more of these therapeutic approaches:

  • Regular physical activities: Exercise is a great option for you and your senior because it can help you both relieve stress, combat boredom and encourage good health. Even a short, daily walk can make a huge difference to the emotional state of someone with dementia. Make sure you get your doctor’s approval before implementing a new exercise regime.
  • Social interaction: Spending time one-on-one with individuals can help combat loneliness. If you don’t have family or friends to help there are many local programs through which you can connect with volunteers who can give you a break while spending quality time with your senior.
  • Stay busy: Watering plants, folding laundry or even just reorganizing an area of the home are good ways to keep your senior occupied, feeling useful and may help improve their overall mood.
  • Music therapy: Calming music is a great way to get someone to relax and many music therapy programshave proved to help combat the effects of dementia. Try adding music to your daily routine, especially at times where you are faced with unavoidable triggers (like bath time).
  • Art therapy: Art therapy is calming and may help your senior find new ways to communicate or express their emotions, thoughts and feelings.
  • Pet therapy: Many cats and dogs are trained to be companions to seniors with dementia. Studies show that the simple touch and love of these animals can help decrease aggressive behaviour in seniors with dementia.
  • Doll therapy: Doll therapy is a new form of therapy in which a patient with dementia cares for a doll as if it were their child. A study found that doll therapy is an effective approach when trying to increase positive behaviours and decrease negative behaviours in Alzheimer’s patients

11/15: Going nowhere

 Economic growth in the eurozone slowed unexpectedly in the third quarter, as weaker foreign trade held back Germany and France, the region’s two biggest economies, while much of the rest of the bloc underperformed.

The economy of the 19-member eurozone grew 0.3 percent in the third quarter, slowing a touch from 0.4 percent in the prior quarter, according to Eurostat, trade bloc’s statistics office. The figures reinforced expectations that the European Central Bank would expand its monetary stimulus next month.

EFM- So we raise rates while the EU drops rates. The dollar goes up. So do stocks??? I doubt it- the fabricated economies in the world are all screwed up and finally most investors may want out. Guarantee of recession? No. Guarantee os much slower growwoth? Yes 

11/15: Frankly I think we are already too late

But there are clear warnings that the ice sheets have entered a phase of dangerous and unknown instability. To assess what this means for tomorrow requires looking back to long ago. The current research on sea-­level rises during ancient eras — findings that are rarely discussed outside scientific circles — suggests that to regard the prospect of a future glacial collapse with only modest concern is to disregard what has happened in earth’s past, and what might happen again. ‘‘We know the ice can change fast,’’ Eric Rignot, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Irvine, told me in May, as we talked at a campus picnic table on a sunny afternoon. ‘‘We’ve never seen it. No human has ever seen it.’’ Rignot is fairly confident, however, that we are seeing it now — a conclusion borne out by the ice-­sheet data he scrutinizes every week. A few decades from now, he said, we may look back with regret, wondering why more of us didn’t acknowledge the signs all around us, why we didn’t see ‘‘that the collapse had already started.’’

EFM- also note that New Orleans land is sinking. We will lose N.O. by around 2050

‘‘On these longer time scales,’’ says Anders Levermann, a sea-­level expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, ‘‘the magnitude of the sea-­level rise could get so big that we have to evacuate New York, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hamburg and most of the Netherlands.’’

Brick path laying machine
11/15: Trans Pacific Partnership

Just an overview to see how everybody did and what the benefits are

  • Overview: The TPP is a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries that aims to significantly reduce their existing trade barriers. The 12 countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. These nations jointly produce 40% of global GDP and represent about 800 million consumers. An article in theEconomist highlighted many of the key issues at stake in the TPP negotiations.
  • History: Originally the TPP was envisioned by a handful of small countries 13 years ago. The initial concept was quite different from what we see today. If you are interested in the TPP’s history and evolution, read this short and sweet summary on the New Zealand government website.
  • Benefits: The TPP objectives of lowering tariffs to zero and significantly removing other trade barriers is meant to boost the participating economies. When we asked readers of the CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief for their views, the majority agreed that the TPP would be a net positive. A week later, Edelman published similar results. Another benefit, although more controversial, is that the TPP incorporated some of the more idealistic (US) standards for international trade that are not included in World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, such as stricter rules regarding intellectual property, government subsidies, and labor rights.
  • Geopolitics: Critics have argued that the TPP is more driven by global political considerations than its purported economic benefits. President Obama lent such views credence by making a statement to that effect.
  • Winners and Losers: Commentators tend to discuss which countries are winners and losers in the TPP deal. Although the negotiations were conducted among countries, there is more here than meets the eye. The BBC looked at the situation from an industry and interest group perspective. The results were a bit more revealing. In short, the winners are groups with “comparative advantages” in the traditional Ricardian sense, i.e., skilled but lower-salaried workers in Vietnam and Malaysia, and the top dogs in each industry globally, such as US farmers and Silicon Valley.

11/15: Fat-

 the obesity rate has climbed to nearly 38 percent of adults, up from 32 percent about a decade earlier.

Obesity rates for white men and white women remain very close. But for blacks, the female obesity rate has soared to 57 percent, far above the male rate of 38 percent. The gender gap is widening among Hispanics, too — 46 percent for women, 39 percent for men.

The report also looked at obesity in children but did not see much change. For young people ages 2 to 19, the rate has been holding at about 17 percent over the past decade or so.

11/15:Wealthy Retirees Worry They May Outlive Their Savings

I read the article but without the underlying facts (budget, anticipated inflation and returns an d a lot more) it is tough to respond. If they or their advisor have not done a formal review of retirement,
of what they should have done and what the need, then there fears are warranted since they have little idea of what to do.

Though I will state that long term care can derail a lot of planning.


Diabetic Foot Care Tips

By Dr. Tamara D. Fishman
  1. Never soak your feet.

  2. Never apply heat of any kind to your feet.

  3. Never cut your own toenails, refer to a podiatrist or medical doctor.

  4. Never go barefoot.

  5. Never assume that the circulation or sensation in your feet is normal.

  6. Never use strong medications on your feet (be careful of over-the- counter preparations).

  7. Never allow corns or calluses to go untreated.

  8. Never perform bathroom surgery on your feet.

  9. Never wear shoes that do not fit properly.

  10. Always wear white socks, as colored socks contain dyes.

  11. Wear acrylic fiber socks, which are actually more absorbent than cotton as it "wicks" moisture way from the skin.

  12. Never keep your feet too moist or dry.

  13. Seek medical attention immediately if you have any questions about or problems with your feet.

Be prepared- your parents may be doing this now. Yes, I know this is long but you ave to read it. Even if you deal with only young people less than age 65, dementia and early onset Alzheimers happen.   

On The Move

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer


For a caregiver, one of the most anxiety-causing side effects of dementia is wandering. With this diagnosis, caregivers come to expect severe memory loss and confusion as to time and place, but usually they are not prepared for the constant “watch” they must have on their loved one.

Nearly 60 percent of all people with dementia wander, especially in the middle stages. There are many facets to this unpredictable behavior, and the causes are as numerous as the tactics people have used to curtail them. In the end, knowing an individual’s personality, prior lifestyle and triggers which may send them “on the move” will make all the difference.

Knowledge is Key

If a previous homemaker was accustomed to retrieving her children from the bus every day at 3:30 p.m., and as a senior with dementia, she wanders at that time habitually, it’s time to connect the dots. Her wandering pattern is the reason people wake up at the same time each morning without an alarm clock. Those set schedules become a part of the person. The triggers which initiate wandering are different for individuals. No two individuals have identical life experiences and past daily routines; not even driving or walking habits.

When a man lives in New York City his entire life, and then is moved to small-town Wisconsin so his daughter can care for him, it’s understandable he craves some sense of his former life. Plagued with dementia, however, he doesn’t understand that his neighbor from Queens is no longer a short stroll down the sidewalk. Thus, taking a walk becomes a dangerous wandering risk when he can’t find his friend’s home.

A loved one’s former work schedule also can be a clue to wandering patterns. What time did they start? What time did they arrive back home? Some people believe they are at work all day and try to leave when the sun sets, searching for a way home. They may look for a bus stop, train station, even parking garage. Anxiety might creep in when they feel unable to leave and care for their families. Many times a person with dementia says, “Why are you making me stay here?” For a caregiver, knowing these seemingly insignificant “life” facts can make a day less stressful and more predictable.

The Source of Wandering

As the professionals at Mayo Clinic emphasize, many wanderers are either searching for or escaping from something.

Often, wandering occurs for no other reason than mere confusion. When a person with dementia becomes lost and disoriented after leaving a restroom at a public setting and cannot place themselves, it is a sign they may need additional supervision. 

The challenge for them is an inability to communicate where they are, who they are with, and where to go next. Many times a person with dementia may not know their friends and family by name, but only by sight or even smell. Living with a degenerative memory disease is scary. At the onset, the person knows something is different and “off.” Imagine the fear of being in a room of people who seem familiar, but you just can’t pinpoint why. It makes the person with dementia uncomfortable, so they seek a way out of the situation. Factor in loud music or congestion of people and these triggers guarantee a paranoid, very fearful person. This explains why a person who wanders is not always in search of an intentional destination, but may be expressing a sign of distress and the need to escape.

A caregiver on the hunt must consider the physical, social and geographical factors of the place from where their loved one left. If it’s from the inside of a quiet home with which they are familiar, it’s a different story. They may be bored, looking for their job or going for the mail.

As a caregiver, it’s also necessary to ensure your loved one is getting enough exercise. Just as children and adults need physical stimulation to keep their bodies healthy, so do people suffering from dementia. Exercise lessens their anxiety and sense of boredom. Socialization is also an essential component to controlling nervousness, and in turn, wandering. No one likes to be alone.

The desire to fulfill basic living needs such as eating, drinking and using a restroom are all reasons a person may wander. Photos on doors can help with direction and a successful outcome. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to ensure these needs are met; otherwise, the person under their care may take off in pursuit of a bathroom and soon become lost.

A Different Direction

There are many factors a caregiver cannot control, as hard as they may try. With this illness, brain function is changing and lessening. A caregiver can have some influence, however, by guiding their loved one in a different mental direction. 
Understanding why persons with dementia wander is the key to keeping them safe. A caregiver can pinpoint the triggers by keeping a journal of the incidents. Also, the caregiver should look for a pattern, whether it is a time of day or the location the wanderer is seeking. Once the “why” is determined, there are several methods available to slow down someone with dementia.

For the homemaker, meeting her kids at the bus, folding towels, stirring a pot, or engaging in something else that reminds her of her past daily routine can keep her busy. A caregiver can tell her that the children will be home shortly, and change the discussion topic. Distraction and redirection are vital in keeping a loved one calm and feeling in control. How a caregiver redirects is just as important as the task itself.  It must be done in a way that is supportive of the person with dementia.

The Journal of Family Practice says this: “Redirection is the most commonly misused behavioral management technique. When patients enter restricted areas, attempt to elope, or engage in problematic interpersonal exchanges, caregivers may tell them ‘You can’t do that’ and attempt to physically lead them away. Handled this way, redirection is often an antecedent to agitated or aggressive behavior.”

The journal offers this three-step approach, developed at Mayo Clinic, to successful redirection.

First, validate the person’s apparent emotional state. (“You look worried.”) This helps establish rapport.

Secondly, join their behavior. A caregiver might say, “You’re looking for your children? Well, I’m trying to find something, too. Let’s look together.”

And finally, establish a common goal. Those with dementia are easier to distract after being treated as if they are needed, and part of a team. (“Let’s look over there where those people are having coffee.”)

Looking for the Lost

Even though redirection is a crucial part in providing care for a loved one with dementia, there are times the person simply goes missing.

In the “Caregivers Fact Sheet—Wandering in Dementia” by Meredeth Rowe, RN, PhD, it states that typically wanderers are found within five miles of their home. Her research also concludes that 90 percent walk away, five percent drive and very few use public transportation. 

This seasoned nurse says the first step is to contact law enforcement as 50 percent of the time this sector is the first to find a lost loved one with dementia. Then, conduct a search immediately. The person will NOT return by themselves. Have a search plan. A friends-and-family network is an essential tool to have in place, so when the caregiver is out searching, the police and other people will have someone by a phone who can inform the others out looking when news comes in.

“Rapid action is crucial in preventing injuries and death after you cannot locate your relative,” says Rowe. “Enlist your family and neighbors to rapidly search the immediate neighborhood including yards, sheds and cars, etc. for about 30 minutes.  If you haven’t found the person, call 911 – don’t wait more than 30 minutes at the most.” 

Also, it will not work to predict where they may wander. As caregivers, knowing why they wander is one thing, but predicting where they will go is another. At this point, the person is lost and has no clue where to head next.

“Most persons with dementia will remain in populated areas walking in neighborhoods, around or in businesses, or along roads,” Rowe adds.  “These people are easier to find, although it might take awhile.  A small percentage decide to seclude themselves in woods, natural areas, or abandoned buildings and are very difficult to find.  They hide themselves and don’t respond to searchers.  So even though a searcher is near them, they remain hidden.”

As a caregiver, first get help searching; and then, get moving!

Technology Tracking

A caregiver must make sure their loved one has identification on them at all times. Often, police or community residents find a wanderer and can easily help by first establishing identity.

However, people with dementia misplace things very easily, including license and ID cards, so today’s technology is aiding caregivers with an extra layer of security for their loved one. The options are growing fast.

One of these options, GPS tracking, is a top competitor for wander solutions. Many companies have developed their version of “person” tracking devices. Some are bracelets, wristbands, and necklace pendants a loved one can wear with assurance they will never be completely out of sight.

According to a GPS Tracking blog (, GPS tracking works by sending a signal from the transmitter a loved one is wearing to a home computer or receiving device. A caregiver can log on at any time to check on the whereabouts of their loved one, and even view a report of their activities throughout the day.

Some devices are also equipped with an alert button so that if the person with dementia becomes disoriented, they can press a button which sends a message to their caregiver via phone or email. Other devices allow caregivers to establish physical perimeters, alerting them if their loved one ventures beyond.  The U.S. federal government has even stepped up to offer assistance for dementia-based location initiatives. The program works with local law enforcement, establishing response teams who are notified once a person with dementia has gone missing. These teams are trained specifically to help guide the person home, using state-of-the-art technology and also special communication skills, knowing how to approach them and earn their trust.

Other technology solutions involve in-home camera monitoring and just released, cell phone tracking devices which are linked to 911 emergency response systems. Resources are available to caregivers; it is just a matter of determining which technology is best suited for their loved one’s lifestyle.

Be Prepared

Safety is always a caregiver’s number one priority and freedom is their loved one’s goal. It may take a village to raise a child, and many caregivers would agree it takes the same to keep a loved one with dementia safe.

From doctors prescribing medications to neighbors being on the look-out, resources are available.  Rowe says a caregiver should not be embarrassed to ask for help, and that “persons with dementia wander even when the caregiver has done everything humanly possible to provide excellent care and prevent this from occurring. It is not possible to provide 24-hour supervision. ”

 The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and professionals at Mayo Clinic offer these practical tips to keep a wanderer safe:

  •  First, reduce hazards. Throw rugs and extension cords are both tripping risks. Gates at stairwells and nightlights offer fall prevention.
  • Having a “safe” zone for walking and exploration offer a loved one a place for exercise and also instills a sense of freedom they may have lost. A fenced backyard or three-season patio are good options.
  • Reduce environmental stimuli like loud music or overcrowding, which might initiate wandering behaviors.
  • Set a daily routine that includes recreational activities.
  • Hide essential items such as coats, keys, wallets, and shoes that may spark a desire to leave home.
  • Another consideration to increase safety is camouflage. A coat of paint, curtains, or some wallpaper can cover a door and blend it in with the surrounding wall. A mirror also works to deter a dementia patient from entering rooms that are off limits or not safe.

 It’s difficult for a caregiver to not feel as if they are “locking down” their loved one, but the repercussions can be a lost person, or worse. Wandering is a serious side effect of dementia, though it may be minimized with a bit of knowledge and practical safety precautions.

 Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter  SUBSCRIBE if you are old, expect to get old, know somebody who is old..............

11/15: Financial Times

11/15: Did you ever believe you would be seeing gas prices this low?????

Oil glut to last until 2020 The oil market will remain oversupplied until the end of the decade as an unstoppable push for cleaner fuels and greater efficiency offsets the effect of lower prices, the world’s leading energy forecaster said. Oil demand will rise by less than 1 per cent a year between now and 2020, a slower pace than necessary to quickly mop up an oil glut that has driven prices to multi-year lows

11/15: I had no idea of the failure rates


11/11: Information only



Living Longer with Palliative Care
By Helen McNeal

November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month. It is estimated that 1.5 to 1.6 million patients in the United States received hospice or palliative care services in 2012. Anecdotal accounts indicate that many more who would benefit by this care did not have access to it or had to wait so long that services were provided only during their final few days of life.

Considering that 90 percent of American adults live with a chronic illness before they die, this is an important issue. While some manage well on their own with minimal assistance from healthcare professionals and/or friends and family, others may need more hands-on care and supervision, particularly as their disease burden becomes heavier. We cannot forget that as the population ages, more people with multiple illnesses or conditions will require more supportive care.

Doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and allied health professionals play a vital role in educating the public about palliative care and the fact that it is much more than just hospice. Sharing the same philosophy and patient and family-centric approach, palliative care is the broader umbrella of care for those with a serious or chronic illness and goes hand-in-hand with curative treatment. Palliative Care is care that may be given while someone is receiving treatment that they hope will either cure them of their illness or prolong their life. Hospice on the other hand is the intensive end-of-life care offered to patients who are projected to have less than six months to live and who have elected to discontinue curative treatment.

The other role that health professionals, in particular physicians and nurses, play is in referring patients to palliative care. When we explore the reasons why health professionals are not referring their patients to palliative care, many surface. Some of these reasons include the fact that services are not available in their area or that they are afraid of “losing” their patient. The first reason is valid; the second is not, as most palliative care is consultative. But the reason that is hardest to understand is when providers do not refer because they believe that a palliative care referral means giving up on life. In fact, the opposite is true.

As noted above, palliative care goes hand-in-hand with curative treatment. Most importantly, as an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in August 2010 highlighted, researchers have found what many had suspected for some time—that receiving palliative care actually helps patients to live longer.

The researchers evaluated the utility of early palliative care for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. Newly diagnosed patients were randomly assigned to either early palliative care in addition to standard cancer care or cancer care alone. The results showed that not only did the patients who received palliative care have a better quality of life; they also lived longer, with a median survival of 11.6 months compared with 8.9 months in the group that did not receive palliative care. Since this article was published, other smaller scale studies have duplicated these findings.

There are many benefits to the health care system of palliative care … it reduces readmissions, results in few admissions for futile care, and in general, reduces costs associated with serious illness and end of life care. But, as important as reducing costs is, it pales besides the human imperative to enhance the quality of life of those we care about. And, no one would disagree that enabling those we love and care for to live as long as possible with the highest quality of life possible is a higher order goal.

Palliative care is an approach that requires close teamwork from everyone involved in the healthcare team including nurses, physicians, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians, chaplains, counselors and family caregivers all working together to ensure the best outcome for the patient. Thanks to this teamwork, the needs of the patient and family can be assessed, understood and addressed. And, thanks to this teamwork, palliative care professionals are helping patients with serious and chronic illnesses live longer and enjoy their lives more.

During National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, isn’t it time that all of us who are health care professionals set aside our preconceptions and control issues, make the necessary referrals, act as teams and focus on the best for patients and their families?

Helen McNeal is the Executive Director of the California State University Institute for Palliative Careat California State University San Marcos. Prior to joining CSUSM, Helen served as Vice President of San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM) where she was responsible for all of the operations of The Institute for Palliative Medicine (IPM).

11/11: MyRA

Retirement savers with no plan at work can now save three ways through myRA

 “has no fees, no risk of losing money and no minimum balance or contribution requirements. To make saving easier than ever, you can now put savings into my myRA RA directly from your bank account.”11/11: I don't think we can reverse course in time to avoid catastrophic changes in the world.

a two-degree jump would submerge land currently occupied by 280 million people.

At the same time, the World Meteorological Organization reported that the level of climate-altering gases in the air punched through the psychological barrier of 400 parts per million.

"Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are now reaching levels not seen on Earth for more than 800,000, maybe even one million years,"


When to Ignore a Promise to ‘Never Put Me in a Home’

Read this- worthwhile

In short order, I will have DNR tatooed on my chest. Should stop a lot of guessing. 

 gains are not evenly spread among stocks.

"The composition of an index is that it's usually capitalization weighted. So one stock that goes up vertically could theoretically drive up an index and 99 percent of the shares don't make new highs," Faber said. "We had a strong day on Wall Street, but on the New York Stock Exchange, out of more than 3,000 shares that are being traded, only less than a hundred made a 12-month new high. The advance is very narrow."

11/11: Down we go

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has cut its growth forecasts, predicting the world economy will expand by 2.9 per cent this year and by 3.3 per cent in 2016. This compares with earlier projections of 3 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.


10 Tips to Protect a Wandering Loved One 

By John Paul Marosy


  • Advise Local Responders First – Fill out a 911 disability indicator form and submit it to your local law enforcement agency.  The information on the form alerts law enforcement that a person residing at that address may require special assistance during an emergency.  Also, fill out a more detailed handout with this information that you can provide to first responders and search and rescue personnel in the event of a wandering incident.
  •  Inform Your Neighbors – Give your neighbors a similar handout with a picture of the person you are caring for, physical characteristics and emergency contact information.  You may want to describe the person's fears, habits and explain how to best communicate with and calm them.  Ask them to contact you immediately if they see this person wandering outside their home.
  •  Tag Personal Items – List emergency contact information on tags in shoes and on clothing in case your loved one does wander.


  •  Hide Triggers that Might Encourage Departure – Remove items such as hats, coats, boots, scarves, keys and suitcases that may  prompt your loved one to go outside.
  •  Hang a "Do Not Enter" Sign on the Door – This sign may help redirect and discourage the wanderer from opening the door.
  •  Install a Fence Around Your Property – Set latches on the outside of gates and ensure they are in an area where the person you are caring for can't reach them.
  •  Use Simple Monitors, Remote Alerts and Locks – Attach monitors to the door that detects when it opens; use a caregiver chime alert unit, which sounds when the door is open; combine these with locks on all doors including front, garage and basement.


  •  Register Your Loved One's Information – With information registered in a secure database, such as the National Silver Alert Program, emergency responders are provided with critical information necessary in the event of a wandering incident or a medical emergency.  
  •  Consider an Identification Bracelet – An ID bracelet, like the one offered through the Alzheimer's Association's MedicAlert + Safe Return program, helps the police or a Good Samaritan get a missing person back home safely or medical attention.
  •  Consider a Program that Offers a Personal Tracking Device – Programs that feature personal tracking devices, such as LoJack SafetyNet, are a good way to help protect and locate someone in the event they do wander and give peace of mind to a caregiver.  A Radio Frequency device is ideal for people at risk of wandering because, unlike GPS devices, it has strong signals that can penetrate water, dense foliage, concrete buildings and steel structures.

11/11: Famous People Painting

See how you do. I did not do well..

11/10: Ah, nothing like integrity. And that is what the survey showed

Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity.

Alaska received the top grade, earning a C. Only two others — California and Connecticut — earned better than a D+; 11 states received failing grades, with Michigan coming in last.

11/10: Interesting

Elizabeth Warren wants Social Security recipients to receive a special one-time payment (Investment News)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. introduced a bill that would pay Social Security recipients a one-time stipend designed to offset the absence of a cost of living adjustment in 2016. Investment News reports, Warren's plan calls for the elimination of a tax break that allows companies to write off CEO bonuses, freeing up the money to pay those on Social Security. The payment, which would equate to $581 per Social Security recipient, is the equivalent of the average 3.9% raise received by the top 350 CEOs, the press release states. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont is among the 16 senators (15 Democrats and 1 independent) co-sponsoring the bill, Investment News says.

There's a new king of independent robo advisors (Wealth Management)

Betterment is now the largest independent robo advisor, housing more than $3 billion in assets under management. According to Wealth Management, Wealthfront CEO Jon Stein attributes the AUM growth to a 140% jump in new users over the past year (120,000) and recently released features such as RetireGuide and SmartDeposit, which entice clients to contribute more money to their accounts. Interestingly, the average client's age has climbed to 36 years old and about 30% of all client assets are now come from those 50 or older. Despite becoming the largest independent robo advisor, Betterment still trails robo assets from traditional wirehouses like Charles Schwab ($4.1 billion) and Vanguard ($17 billion), Wealth Management says.

EFM- any better? Don't know since both use software that is impossible to take apart. But I know neither addresses risk properly and will lead investors to sit and take a large hit like the last two hiccups.  If you want to lose another 50% in equities, knock yourself out

11/10: That's only 15 years away!!!

“Climate change hits the poorest the hardest"     World Bank report.

Climate change could drive more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030 largely due to difficulties producing crops 

Around the world, climate change could lead to a 5% decline in crop yields by 2030 and 30% by 2080.

EFM- considering the drought in California, the lowering of the ground water  in the Sacramento area, etc., I think it will be more than 5%.

“Ending poverty will not be possible unless we take strong action to reduce the threat of climate change on poor people and dramatically reduce harmful emissions,”

5 Things to Know about Medicaid-Sponsored Home Care

Just a few years ago, a senior’s only option was to move into a nursing home. Now, many more seniors are able to remain in the comfort of home while still receiving a number of vitally-needed services that ensure their health and well-being.

Senior Planning Services, a New Jersey-based Medicaid planning company that assists seniors and their families with Medicaid-sponsored senior care, would like to address several frequently asked questions in regards to home care.

1. Will Medicaid Pay for Home Care?

For many seniors, home care is the only thing standing between them and a nursing home. These individuals are no longer able to fully care for themselves, typically because of deteriorating health or mental state. Seniors who would otherwise need nursing home care can, thankfully, receive benefits from Medicaid to help pay for home care.

2. What Are Home and Community Based Services?

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are designed to allow individuals to receive necessary services in their own homes or as part of their existing community. Many seniors are reluctant to move into nursing homes, particularly if they’re currently residents in a senior living community or if they have health problems that are expected to improve over time. For these individuals, home care — including both necessary medical care and help with day-to-day tasks— is a crucial part of the aging process.

3. What Services Are Offered through Medicaid?

For individuals who are eligible for home care, there are a wide variety of services available. It’s not just medical care, though in-home physical therapy, medication administration, and other medical services are often important aspects of home care. Seniors can receive services that will help with simple cooking, cleaning, and laundry tasks; personal care support for bathing, dressing, and shaving; and meal delivery. Other services include the delivery of medical equipment, assistive devices like wheelchairs and canes, and simple home modifications like safety rails that will make staying at home easier.

4. Who Qualifies for Home Care through Medicaid?

The first part of qualifying for home care through Medicaid is medical: in order to qualify, a senior must be in need of in-home services. Typically, these services must be necessary in order to keep that individual out of a nursing home. The second part is financial: individuals who qualify for home care through Medicaid must have low income and few assets remaining. These limits, however, are often higher than they would be to receive normal Medicaid services. In New York, for example, the asset limit for an individual living alone is $14,850 and the income limit is $825 per month. Both of these numbers are significantly higher than the eligibility standards for other Medicaid services.

5. Can a Family Caregiver Be Paid by Medicaid?

Typically, when Medicaid provides home care, it does it through a home care agency. The agency is paid by Medicaid to provide all of the services necessary for an individual to continue to thrive in their own home. Unfortunately, for many seniors, this is a less than ideal solution. In addition to the fact that the caregiver in these cases is a stranger, many home care agencies are overstretched, with more clients than they can easily provide for.

In these cases, home care by a family member can be provided. The accessibility of payment for a family member to provide home care varies by state, but some states do have programs in place that will cover payment of a family member instead of paying a home care agency to provide these services. For many seniors, home care is the preferred way to age gracefully, receiving the help that they need while remaining in their own homes for as long as possible.

EFM- and a few more difficult topics ..............................

How much should Mom pay my sister for care?
I am the youngest of four sisters. We live in four different states and the one who lives in the same state as our mother, is two hours away. Our mother has serious dementia and can no longer handle ANY of her normal living matters. On this, we all...Read More>>

Can I declare someone financially incompetent?
I just found out that dad hasn't paid any of his bills for 6 months & they are threatening to shut off his utilities. He does...Read More>>

Does Medicaid ever pay for assisted living?
I know Medicaid will pay for skilled nursing care or home care, why...Read More>>

How can I help my out of state parents?
I am an only child and I live out of state, how can I...Read More>>

I am a single senior with no kids and need financial advice.
I'm a single 70yr old female without family who currently lives alone. To my knowledge I have no...Read More>>

Coming Full Circle to Help Her Elders

From a quote at least 20 years ago- many of us lead lives of quiet desperation


11/8: Roubini

Fiscal policy instruments are not used to their full potential. There is a huge need for structural reforms worldwide, however, both in democracies and in “less democratic countries” implementation of structural reforms is hard because of the election cycles and the inability of politicians to act in the long-term.

11/8: Bears repeating

11/8: With strong job creations, the FED will raise interest rates

The US economy created 271,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said on Friday, well ahead of the 185,000 that economists had forecast.

The unemployment rate was 5 per cent, slightly lower than the 5.1 per cent in September and in line with market expectations

The latest job gains follow increases of 142,000 in September and 136,000 in August.

11/8: How much does it cost to guarantee a pension? LOTS!!!'

Olivia Mitchell- good article.

11/8: Now that is true volatility

Both the Shanghai Composite and the CSI 300, an index comprising the top stocks in Shenzhen as well as Shanghai, have gained 20 per cent from their mid-September trough.

11/8: Absolutely must read  on elderly care. Very interesting

For Shinzo Abe, prime minister, gambling-themed daycare may become a pillar of Japan’s economic revival plans by occupying some of the 10m Japanese now aged over 80 and so freeing up workers who might otherwise have left Japan’s shrinking labour force to look after frail relatives — the fate of about 100,000 workers each year.

Mr Abe has vowed to cut that number to zero by 2020, and stands a better chance, say the owners of Las Vegas Tsuzuki, if daycare is a genuinely attractive option.

But Kaoru Mori, owner of this and nine similar facilities, is playing his cards carefully. Casino gambling is illegal in Japan, so the currency is faux and can only be “earned” through exercise — a “Vegas stretch” warm-up routine performed to the music of Lady Gaga but tailored to the creaking-limbed or wheelchair-bound high-roller.

The incentive is not cash but the honour of the daily champion’s cup. Before a single chip is bet, everyone has their blood pressure and temperature checked.

“The honest situation is that in Japan we have a rising number of elderly people and there is often not a lot for them to do. If they stay at home alone, they get worse and the burden for the country is ultimately bigger,”

11/8: Absolutely if you know someone old, anyone going to be old,  or................

Early Diagnosis

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer


Forgetfulness is normal. Everyone has bouts of it; and even more with age. Whether a name, address or appointment, these facts slip through a person’s mind easily. For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, they don’t return; that’s the difference. The most common early symptom is a short-term memory loss.

The Alzheimer’s Association agrees that early detection is crucial to long-term management and symptom maintenance. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.” Researchers today have hope, however, that catching it early can prevent most of the worst damage to a loved one.

When an early diagnosis is made, a caregiver becomes more of a task manager. A loved one will need help remembering appointments, names, medications, managing money and other simple planning efforts. A caregiver is the best encourager a loved one has. You must be a friend and a shoulder to lean on, as well as an observer. You are the person to go to events with, and help your loved one communicate when they can’t find the words. At some point, family and friends will need to be told. Life’s average days that included what used to be menial tasks will no longer be taken for granted. Recognizing the symptoms earlier rather than later can make the difference in the number of good days and number of bad days in the first stage of the disease.

The Diagnosis Process

If you suspect your loved one may be dealing with more than simple memory loss, the most important thing is not to ignore it. Hoping it may get better, or thinking it’s just a phase, could only lead to late diagnosis if in fact the situation proves to be more serious. Remember, too, that there can be many treatable causes for memory loss not related to Alzheimer’s and the sooner your loved one sees the doctor, the better the outcome for everyone.

With a physical examination, doctors may test a loved one for reflexes, muscle tone and strength, rising and walking, sight and hearing, coordination and balance. Lab tests rule out any other possibilities for the memory loss and confusion, such as thyroid disorders or vitamin deficiencies. While basic mental status testing can take just 10 minutes, a doctor may want more extensive neuropsychological tests done. These can take several hours to complete, but are helpful if the medical professional does suspect early onset Alzheimer’s as a diagnosis. These tests show the functionality of a loved one compared to that of the average person their age.

Brain imaging also is a popular diagnosis option in use today. From CT scans to MRIs and PET scans, brain imaging allows medical professionals to pinpoint abnormalities and also specific changes known to relate to Alzheimer’s disease. These are very important if the diagnosis is in fact Alzheimer’s. Brain imaging gives insight to the stage of the disease, the rate of progression and shape, position and volume of brain tissue. The brain of a person with Alzheimer’s is different than that of someone without the disease.

New Tests on the Horizon

As scientific understanding about the nature of Alzheimer’s disease has progressed, so has the urgency to find definitive tests to diagnose and manage the disease. Certain genes have been identified as being associated with Alzheimer’s disease; but while genetic tests give insight to the possibility of Alzheimer’s, they don’t confirm it. Also the only genes isolated so far have been linked to so called early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is only associated with about five percent of the cases occuring in people under age 65. The other 95 percent are diagnosed with the more common late-onset form. The risk of developing the late-onset form is still not yet understood, but believed to be caused by a variety of factors including environment, genetics and lifestyle factors.

Researchers are also pursuing the development of a blood test to screen for an individual with Alzheimer’s by looking for certain proteins in the blood called biomarkers. The goal of a successful biomarker test would enable doctors to detect Alzheimer’s before the symptoms appear. Another example of an Alzheimer’s screener is an eye test that would act as a diagnostic tool.

Early Treatment Counts

For someone with Alzheimer’s, changes have occurred in their brain possibly even 20 years prior to diagnosis. With an early diagnosis, or even pre-diagnosis, as researchers are hoping to have in the next decade, treatment options can be tailored to a more preventive focus.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a loved one may experience increased irritability, depression or anxiety. These typically are the result of increased confusion and memory loss, but yet the ability to know they can’t focus as well. For behavioral-type symptoms, there are medications available to assist. They can be targeted to a specific symptom of the disease. However, looking for reasons behind the behavior and addressing those may be just as successful for a caregiver.

Many times, the person is overwhelmed, by a setting or even a conversation they just can’t participate in at the level they used to. A loved one will benefit greatly by managing these “trigger” situations. Find out what makes a loved one “tick” so to speak, and avoid those at all costs. Between fear, and then mental and physical fatigue, the wrong setting can set a person into another door of frustration. A calm, friendly environment is usually the best medicine for someone with Alzheimer’s, even in the early days.

For the physical symptoms of memory loss, confusion and problems with thinking/reasoning, medication is the current mainstay. Two types are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, etc.) and memantine (Namenda). Current medications can’t stop the progression of the disease, but can lessen or stabilize the symptoms for a period of time in some people.  Many caregivers report frustration with the current medications, feeling that they are doing little or nothing to help their loved ones, especially over a period of time when the disease continues to progress despite the medication.

The other treatment measure for early Alzheimer’s comes in the form of sleep management. A loved one with this condition will most likely have a change in sleep patterns and difficulty with sleep. While scientists still do not understand why, they do know the “what.” People tend to wake up more and stay awake longer during the night. Brain wave studies show a decrease in dreaming and non-dreaming sleep stages.

The Role of Clinical Trials

There is a great need for people to participate in clinical trials, notes the Alzheimer’s Association. The group says this is the only way to further advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. There are a few types of clinical research, including: treatment trials, diagnostic studies, prevention trials, screening studies and quality of life studies.

The biggest challenge for all trials and studies today is finding people willing to participate. The funding is available, and a cure will not be without more research and treatment development.

While researchers continue to piece together how and when brain damage begins, the five million people in this country diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will continue to hope for the cure. Their caregivers wish for the same. Noticing symptoms early on is still the first line of defense in Alzheimer’s management. When it seems like normal forgetfulness has escalated, it’s time to take that next step, for your loved one and yourself, and seek a diagnosis as soon as possible.


  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life

  • Challenges in planning or solving problems

  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks

  • Confusion with time or place

  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

  • New problems with words in speaking or writing

  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

  • Decreased or poor judgment

  • Withdrawal from work or social activities

  • Changes in mood or personality

Alzheimer’s Association 10 Warning Signs

11/8: And another"

Separating Long Term Care Insurance
Myths From Realities
By Kenneth Schulman, CLTC

Parents and their adult children can never begin too early to think about their families’ potential needs for care in their “golden” years, and there’s no better time than November to begin that discussion. Why November? November is National Alzheimer’s Month, National Family Caregivers Month, National Hospice Month, and National Home Health Care Month. All of these awareness-building efforts   underscore the growing number of Americans who need or will need long-term care:

  • National Alzheimer’s Month recognizes the progress being made against Alzheimer’s disease and demonstrates understanding and support for the individuals with the disease, as well as their families and friends. The Alzheimer’s Association says 4.5 million Americans have the disease, and up to 16 million are expected to be diagnosed with it by 2050. As Alzheimer’s becomes more prevalent, more people, including spouses and family members, will become caregivers. (Archives of Neurology August 2003).

  • National Hospice Month and National Home Health Care Month  recognize the dedicated professionals and volunteers who provide hospice and home health care, emphasizing the importance of respecting and honoring life in all of its seasons. 

  • National Family Caregivers Month recognizes that approximately 47 million baby boomers in North America are or will be facing the role of caregiver to a parent, relative or elderly friend over the next decade. At the same time, countless thousands of seniors will face the dilemma of caring for a chronically ill spouse. 

As a certified long-term care specialist, husband, father, and member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s South Florida chapter, I’ve experienced the impact the need for long-term care can have on families and caregivers. Each day that I meet with people to help them protect their future, I am reminded of how my wife’s grandparents and extended family were affected by Alzheimer’s. That’s why I’ve decided to focus my career on educating people about their long-term care needs and protecting their future.

During the past 19 years, I’ve found that the majority of people quickly understand the value of retirement planning and are able to calculate their life insurance needs. Yet, the concept of long-term care insurance protection is more challenging, since people can’t predict when the need for long-term care will arise, how long it will be needed, and what the most suitable care will be. By breaking the review process into manageable parts, I’ve found it easier to gain a better understanding of the emotional and objective aspects of the decision process and overcome some of the myths.

It’s An Emotional Decision

Several emotions drive the decision to investigate long-term care planning. Understanding these underlying emotional forces help when it’s time to guide decision-making thought processes. When meeting with clients, the first conversation point is a reality check: a discussion of family members or close friends who have required long-term care. I’ve found that everybody knows somebody close to them or has a close personal friend who has senile dementia, Alzheimer’s or another debilitating ailment. As we all get older and live longer, this occurrence is more commonplace than ever before.

I try to help people realize that long-term care planning and insurance protection is a way for a family to stay focused on the emotional needs of the family member who needs care instead of worrying about a financial burden.

Plans Made Today Will Have a Broad Impact on the Future, Family and Workplace. According to the US Census Bureau (2002), by 2020, the 65 years and older segment is projected to exceed 53 million. This trend indicates an ever-increasing reality that more people will need care than the health care system will be able accommodate.

Well-intentioned families are taking the brunt of the care demands upon themselves – or at least delegating it to one member. In fact, a 2004 “Caregiving in the U.S.” study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, reported that an estimated 44.4 million American caregivers age 18 and older provide unpaid care to an adult age 18 or older. Almost six in 10 (59 percent) of these caregivers either work or have worked while providing care. And 62 percent have had to make some adjustments to their work life, from reporting late to work to giving up work entirely.

The impact of long-term illnesses and the stresses they place on families is difficult to measure in the workplace, but studies in recent years have also shown that U.S. employers lose significant dollars in productivity each year in tardiness, absenteeism and “presenteeism,” when employees show up for work but are too distracted by the responsibilities and issues of caring for a sick family member to perform well.

Overcoming the Myths

A large part of my role when meeting with families is to help them understand the important role families and long-term care insurance can play in a parent or loved one’s future. For every truth associated with long-term care insurance, there are 10 myths. Here are some of the top myths that should be addressed in long-term care planning:

Most people can pay for their own care
Many people think they can liquidate taxable or tax-deferred assets, including retirement plans or annuities, to pay for long-term care costs. The buzz surrounding reverse mortgages has also given momentum to the concept of paying for care instead of having a policy. As with all financial decisions, you should first consult a trusted financial professional and a tax advisor to determine the tax implications and the recommended sequence for liquidation before doing so.

Long-term care insurance is only for nursing home care  
When most people think of long-term care, they think of nursing homes. However, over 80 percent of persons receiving long-term care are in home- and community-based settings, not in nursing homes, according to “Long-Term Care: An Overview.” (Testimony before Senate Committee on Finance, March 27, 2001, statement of Carol O’Shaughnessy, Specialist in Social Legislation, Congressional Research Service.)

All long-term care insurance is the same
Actually, many policies offer various options, and all policies are not created equally.  When making a direct comparison from one policy to another, keep in mind that five key elements of any policy contribute to price and quality: the financial strength of the company underwriting the policy, the daily benefit, benefit period, deductible, and inflation protection:

  • Financial Strength Ratings:  Be sure to weigh the reputation and financial strength of a company in the decision-making process, so families have a sense of confidence, as high ratings are an indication that the insurance company will be able to pay any future claims against the obligations they have outstanding. 

  • Daily Benefit: Understanding the current cost of care in the area is very important in helping to make a decision as to what daily benefit amount is needed for care, and which policies can help meet that need.

  • Benefit Period: The length of time payments will be received from the insurance company, once care is needed, is difficult to predetermine, so many opt for policies with lifetime or unlimited benefits. Many policies often come with shorter benefit period options as well, which is a good upfront cost-saving measure from an annual premium perspective.

  • Elimination Period or Deductible: The number of days that policy holders will be responsible for paying for their care before the policy coverage kicks in is an another important factor.  The amount of time one can afford to pay for care or to make other arrangements is critical in helping determine the policy elimination period.

  • Inflation Protection: In a May 2003 report, the American Health Care Association estimated the average cost of a nursing home stay at $50,000 per year, or about $137 a day. In Florida, the exact percentage of inflation cannot be calculated due to the unpredictability of how market factors will impact the cost in future years. By adding inflation protection, people can help ensure they have adequate benefits in the future.

The government is there for people who need long-term care
Don’t count on it entirely.  Many think they can rely on Medicare or Medicaid, but don’t realize that Medicare covers only a limited amount of long-term care services, while Medicaid covers some long-term care services – primarily care in a nursing home – for people who have limited income and assets. 

Thinking long-term as caregivers and caregiver supporters, and doing our part to raise awareness, are strong initial steps in eliminating the myths about long-term care. Preparing well in advance to meet our own needs and those of our loved ones should undoubtedly be our first step.


11/8: It's not my fault

It’s a no-brainer to understand why we lie to others when we’ve been caught making a mistake or doing something wrong: to avoid losing a job, a spouse, a reputation; to avoid a fight, a fine, a prison term; to pass responsibility to someone else. But self-justification occurs when people lie to themselves to avoid the realization they did anything wrong in the first place. It’s the reason that many people justify sticking with a mistaken belief or a disastrous course of action even when evidence shows they are dead wrong.

EFM- also called moral egoism or situational ethics

................ “confirmation bias,” which sees to it that we notice and remember information that confirms what we believe, and ignore, forget, or minimize information that disconfirms it

Dissonance is most painful when information crashes into our view of ourselves as being competent, kind, smart, and ethical—when we have to face the evidence that we have made a bad mistake. We have a choice: either admit the mistake and learn from it (“Yes, that was a foolish/ incompetent/ unethical thing to do” or “boy, was I ever wrong”) or justify the mistake and keep doing it (“Everyone cheats a little. Besides, that study was flawed. Besides, it was their fault”). Guess which course of action is most popular? Dissonance reduction is a largely unconscious mechanism that allows us to lie to ourselves so that we can preserve self-esteem and our positive self-images.

The more time, effort, money and reputation we have put into maintaining a belief or practice, the harder it will be to admit to ourselves that we were wrong, and the harder we will work to justify our mistakes.

It’s good to hold an informed opinion and not change it with every fad or study that comes along; but it is also essential to be able to let go of an opinion or an accepted practice when the weight of the evidence dictates. Dissonance reduction may be built into our mental wiring, but how we think about our mistakes is not. We can learn to become more open-minded and less self-righteous. It’s not easy, but that is no justification for not trying.

11/4: Due to globally fabricated economies and rates at zero, the inverted yield curve (long term rates lower than short term) deifies any logical meaning. This is an article that addresses some of the current problems and identifies other was to judge "recession".

11/4: Liquid alternatives.
Article covers some salient points but remember that these are almost universally untested.

according to Morningstar, the “liquid alts” universe now has some $300bn under management in the US, in more than 600 different funds. Proportionally to their size, they are attracting money at a far greater rate than orthodox hedge funds, and far outpacing “long-only” active equity funds, which are suffering net outflows. In Europe, Ucits funds using hedge fund strategies have also grown fast. In both cases, the great majority of funds have been set up since the crisis.

11/4: Philips curve unwinding?????

Not an easy read

11/3: Death rate going up for whites

Death rates for other developed nations examined by the two researchers, as well as rates for U.S. blacks and Hispanics, continued the steady decline of recent decades. Whites in other age groups between 30 and 64, and more educated whites also had lower death rates. But the other age groups also experienced substantially higher death rates from drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

An increase in the mortality rate for any large demographic group in an advanced nation is virtually unheard of in recent decades, with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Cotard’s syndrome, in which patients think they are dead or somehow nonexistent. Any attempts to point out evidence to the contrary — they are talking, walking around, using the bathroom — are explained away.

Small potatoes

 45 percent of respondents think they need at least $50,000 in savings to merit working with an advisor. Of those who have never received professional financial advice, 63 percent say, “I don’t have enough money to invest” as a reason.

However, the research also finds that respondents who have met with an advisor are significantly more confident in their retirement savings plan than those who have not (78 percent versus 43 percent).

About one-third of respondents who have received professional financial advice report they:

  • subsequently changed their asset allocation in their retirement plan (37 percent)

  • increased the amount set aside in savings (36 percent)

  • decreased spending (29 percent)

  • monitored their savings more frequently (32 percent) and established a plan for paying off loans or managing debt (28 percent).

Survey respondents who have discussed retirement with an advisor are more likely to “run the numbers” and calculate how much income they will need in retirement: 79 percent versus only 32 percent who have not met with an advisor.

Nearly all of those who have met with an advisor have talked about turning their savings into monthly income upon retirement. And 58 percent have put a plan to do so into action.

“Most experts recommend that individuals target 70 percent to 100 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain their standard of living in retirement, but 55 percent of respondents think they will need 75 percent or less of their current income in retirement,” the report states. “This could put these individuals at risk to outlive their savings.”

Though 49 percent of all respondents report that they have received financial advice, significantly more men (56 percent) than women (43 percent) have taken this step. Women who have not received professional financial advice also are more likely (41 percent) to say the primary reason that they haven’t worked with a financial advisor is that they don’t have enough money to invest, while only 30 percent of men report the same.

Just 31 percent of women say they have calculated the amount of money they will need to live comfortably in retirement, while 50 percent of men have done so.

Gen Y respondents are the least likely to have received professional financial advice (42 percent) among all generations. But they also are the most interested in receiving advice in the future (83 percent),

11/3: Dementia

Cognitive testing are tests to assess problems with attention, memory, learning, decision making and problem solving. Intellectual decline is prevalent at older ages, but is not normal, nor is it part of the normal aging process. There is increased mortality risk, when there definitely is cognitive impairment. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is often an indication of preclinical dementia, and is not age associated memory impairment. MCI progresses to dementia at a rate of about 12-15%/year—from studies provided by Prudential—testing can detect MCI, before it is clinically apparent.

The cognitive testing will often consist of different, specifically designed tests developed to measure their abilities—with things such as a clock draw, where the examiner will ask them to draw a clock face, then show the time of 10 minutes past 11, designed to see how well they can follow directions, brain function and planning and decision making. Another test, and the one that raises the most concern is the Delayed Word Recall—the client is given a list of 10 words, and asked to use each in a sentence, then 5-10 minutes later, they’re asked to repeat as many as they can recall, and typically they need to reply with at least 6 words or more to pass.

11/3: Egads!

The U.S. Tax Code now stands at 74,640 pages


DEMENTIA COST - The Annals of Internal Medicine says care during a dementia patient's final five years costs about $100,000 more than care for people with other conditions, including cancer, and out-of-pocket costs are more than $27,000 higher on average.


11/2" Retiree tax map Go to site- it's interactive

11/1: Roubini

In the 1930s, economic stagnation and depression led to the rise of Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Franco in Spain (among other authoritarians). Today’s brand of illiberal leaders may not yet be as politically virulent as their 1930s predecessors. But their economic corporatism and autocratic style are similar.

The reemergence of nationalist, nativist populism is not surprising: economic stagnation, high unemployment, rising inequality and poverty, lack of opportunity, and fears about migrants and minorities “stealing” jobs and incomes have given such forces a big boost. The backlash against globalization – and the freer movement of goods, services, capital, labor, and technology that comes with it – that has now emerged in many countries is also a boon to illiberal demagogues.

If economic malaise becomes chronic, and employment and wages do not rise soon, populist parties may come closer to power in more European countries. Worse, the eurozone may again be at risk, with a Greek exit eventually causing a domino effect that eventually leads to the eurozone’s breakup. Or a British exit from the EU may trigger European dis-integration, with the additional risks posed by the fact that some countries (the UK, Spain, and Belgium) are at risk of breaking up themselves.-- Roubini in Project Syndicate

Is this mess starting all over again? Not really. It was kicking the can until something like this reappeared. Back to square one with Greece? It may  result in another tirade if Greece can stay or not stay in the EU.

ECB says Greece’s banks need more than Ř14bn in fresh capital


The European Central Bank has said Greece’s troubled banks need more than Ř14bn in fresh capital pumped into them to survive. The results of the ECB’s health check of Greek banks show the top four lenders are short of Ř14.4bn in capital under supervisors’ so-called “adverse scenario”, where lenders must be able to withstand a worsening of economic and financial conditions. Under the standard scenario of what is known officially as the “comprehensive assessment”, the capital shortfall is Ř4.4bn.


11/1: Financial Times/Alternative Investments

If you invest in art or antiques, what the plethora of daytime TV programmes devoted to this sport won’t tell you is that the auction house is far more likely to make money than you are. If you buy at auction and then sell your prized investment later at another auction, the price will have to rise by at least 50 per cent above the amount you bid before you even begin to make a profit.

How so? An auction works like this. You spot a lovely vase in the catalogue. It is estimated at £700 — £1,000. You turn up to bid for it — or go online or leave an absentee bid with the auctioneer. Mr Tongue (first name Silver) takes bids from the room, the internet, and his own book until only the highest bidder remains. In this case, it is you. With a crack, he brings down his ivory gavel for £1,000 and the sale, legally, is made. That is the “hammer price”. But it is not the price the buyer pays, nor what the seller receives.

Here is how auction arithmetic works. The hammer came down at £1,000. You go to the office to pay. Your bill is printed, but it is for £1,300. That is the £1,000 hammer price plus 25 per cent buyer’s premium (the typical rate charged by the auction houses to cover their administration costs) which is £250 and VAT on top of that of another £50. The item itself is usually VAT free.

If you want to pay by credit card expect another 2 or 3 per cent to be added. You avoid that by using your debit card, wrap your vase in bubbly plastic, place it carefully in a stylish Hammer & Tongue carrier bag, and take it home with trepidation. You tell yourself you only really paid £1,000. You didn’t.

At home, your vase takes centre stage on the mantelpiece and you admire it every day (and add it to your household insurance policy). A year later, you read that vases like yours have risen by as much as 50 per cent in price. You are proud of your good judgment — a pretty vase and £500 in profit!

You decide to cash this in and buy another. So back it goes to Messrs Hammer & Tongue. Sure enough, the catalogue shows an estimated price of £1,000 to £1,500 reflecting the 50 per cent growth in the market value of such vases. You are confident it will fetch the upper end or more. It is so pretty.

You keep tabs on the auction on the internet and are pleased when the hammer does indeed fall at £1,500 (though you were tensely hoping for just one or two more bids). You know that you paid a bit more than £1,000 but the auction confirms it has risen in price by 50 per cent.

A month later the stiff Hammer & Tongue envelope arrives with your account and cheque inside. But what’s this? The cheque is for £1,230. Which is less than the £1,300 you actually paid a year ago. The statement itemises the costs. Hammer price £1,500 less £225 commission at 15 per cent and VAT on top, which takes away another £45.

So even though the hammer price had indeed risen by 50 per cent in a year, you have made a loss of £70. Hammer is a price that neither the buyer (you) pays nor the seller (you again) receives. Premiums and commissions turn that simple number

EFM- I previously had no clue to the charges. Makes a big difference now with the use of alternative investments.

11/1: Roubini

 The recent victory of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland confirms a recent trend in Europe: the rise of illiberal state capitalism, led by populist right-wing authoritarians. Call itPutinomics in Russia, Órbanomics in Hungary, Erdoğanomics in Turkey, or a decade ofBerlusconomics from which Italy is still recovering. Soon we will no doubt be seeingKaczyńskinomics in Poland. 

All are variations on the same discordant theme: a nationalist leader comes to power when economic malaise gives way to chronic and secular stagnation. This elected authoritarian then starts to reduce political freedoms through tight-fisted control of the media, especially television. Then, he (so far, it has always been a man, though France’s Marine Le Pen would fit the pattern should she ever come to power) pursues an agenda opposing the European Union (when the country is a member) or other institutions of supra-national governance.

He will also oppose free trade, globalization, immigration, and foreign direct investment, while favoring domestic workers and firms, particularly state-owned enterprises and private business and financial groups with ties to those in power. In some cases, outright nativist, racist parties support such government or provide an even deeper authoritarian and anti-democratic streak.

11/1: It's about time

A breakthrough in electrochemistry at Cambridge university could lead the way to rechargeable super-batteries that pack five times more energy into a given space than today’s best batteries, greatly extending the range of electric vehicles and potentially transforming the economics of electricity storage.


Home flipping is up versus last year (RealtyTrac)

RealtyTrac's Q3 2015 U.S. Home Flipping Report found 43,197 single family homes and condos were flipped, or sold within 12 months of purchase, making for an 18% increase from a year ago. The number represented 5% of all homes sold, which was among the smallest percentages since RealtyTrac began keeping records in 2000. Miami Dade County in Florida saw 30% of sales come from flipped homes, the highest of anywhere in the country, according to RealtyTrac. Additionally, Baltimore City in Maryland saw the largest return on investment of flipped homes, at 136%.


For About and By Caregivers

Alleviating Bed Sores Can Be Done

By  Marie Santangelo, Staff Writer


Pressure sores are also known as decubitus ulcers and occur in patients who have little or no mobility allowing them to change positions and relieve the pressure on the body.  Sores can develop over time and may be diagnosed in “grades” of progression.  Prevention is the best method of dealing with anything that compromises our health, but bedsores can be alleviated efficiently when they are addressed in early stages.

Muscles and fat pad the body, distributing pressure in a more even fashion.  Our natural fidgeting from one side of the body to another helps also.  In folks who have little or no “natural” padding, and who are paralyzed or bedridden, the pressure is more direct and wears away at the skin.  Skin can also become very strained when the bone moves one way and the fleshy portion moves in another.
As we age, skin becomes thinner and prone to breakage.  If there is prolonged pressure on an area, when the individual changes position, the skin may “slip” and a small tear results.

Nerve impairment makes for diminished sensation, and the individual may have difficulty assessing whether a given area is more sensitive than another.  Over time, skin breakdown occurs, unless someone is checking the skin at regular intervals.

Bedsores don’t just develop from the outside route, although that is the main contributor.  External pressure that is consistent will leave anyone with soreness, and even a mark.  But there is activity going on under the skin, too.  Circulation changes when pressure is applied, which hampers the ability of the body’s tissues to “bounce back” both literally and figuratively.
Simple Solutions
If your loved one is less than mobile, or must be in bed full time, you can monitor their skin integrity.  This will help in identifying possible areas of skin breakdown, as well as areas that have already become sensitive. 

Your loved one may have at-home nursing care, but if you are around for bath time, both you and the home health aide should check together.  If your loved one is in a rehab facility or nursing home, they will probably check for bedsores on admission.  This eliminates their liability, and more importantly, allows for aggressive treatment to reverse the progression of the bedsore.

Keeping skin clean and dry is a “common sense” option that may be difficult to do if your loved one has any degree of incontinence.  Sanitary pants that wick away moisture can help, as well as any prescribed medication that will control incontinence that is due to muscle spasms.  The physician has to evaluate the degree of incontinence before prescribing any medication.

Staying mobile can be impossible for someone who is confined to a wheelchair or bed, and that’s where a trip to the medical supply store may be in order.  Caregivers can research for products online that will offer physical support with less pressure exerted on a single area.  Wheelchairs have come a long way since their creation, and the options for seating are numerous.  Your loved one may have a “basic” wheelchair for transportation, but you can still look into possible additions that can be purchased over the counter.

Again, prevention is always easier than correction where health is concerned.  Proper nutrition which may include vitamin supplements is also helpful.  The body’s ability to repair itself requires adequate food and water.  Individuals who don’t receive proper nutrition can have problems with healing.  If your loved one has trouble getting the correct amounts of food into them, look into liquid vitamin supplementation, or ask the doctor for a prescription for supplements.   Enzyme supplements help the body absorb what it takes in, and may be useful also.

Position And Location
Bedsores can occur in a variety of points on the body, most often where bone and muscle create higher pressure “hot spots.”  The hips and spine are the two most mentioned areas, but the back of the head, knees, ankles and heels are other locations that are sensitive. 

Areas of sensitivity vary with the areas of the body that have pressure exerted on them, even when “resting.”  Padding the area can help, whether this is with “homemade” solutions like blankets or pillows, or with professionally made items.
Your loved one may need some guidance in positioning themselves correctly.  We all have habits of sitting and lying down, and they can be hard to break.  As their caregiver, you can utilize some psychology to assist them.  If you are incorporating a new item to help support them, remind them that it is to help them feel more comfortable.  Work with them to find the optimal position that relieves pressure on an area, but still allows them to relax in that position.  Some of us are used to “sitting sloppy,” or lying down with arms and legs akimbo.  Support behind the knees or ankles may take getting used to, but be comfortable in the long run.  The medical supply company, doctor and physical therapist can help in educating you on the ideal positions.

Individuals who are in wheelchairs often go to regular clinic appointments to evaluate the chair and pressure points.  Make sure your loved one attends regularly, if this is prescribed. 

Less “Pressure” For Caregivers
Bedsores can begin as areas of skin that are warmer or more discolored compared to the skin around it.  No panic is necessary when you see these, but action in the form of position changing and addressing any core issues (like incontinence) is required.

It’s true that bedsores can progress quickly and become ulcerated, where the skin is very damaged and may have to be surgically removed.  However, they need not get that way with attention and intervention


CEOs have a lot of money for retirement (Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government)

A report co-published by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government found the retirement savings of the top 100 fortune 500 CEOs match the entire retirement savings of 41% of all American families. According to the data, a top executive will average a monthly check of $277,686 over the course of their retirement. The research points out, "David Novak of Yum Brands had the largest retirement nest egg in the Fortune 500 in 2014, with $234 million, while hundreds of thousands of his Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC employees have no company retirement assets whatsoever." On the other side of the spectrum, looking at ordinary working-aged citizens, 62% 0f African-Americans, 69% of Latinos and 37% of Caucasians have no retirement savings, the report found.


Americans hold too much cash (BlackRock)

BlackRock's third annual "Global Investor Pulse Survey" found that Americans are holding too much cash despite the need for growing their retirement nest eggs. The survey found 37% of Americans see cash as "security" and 61% describe investing as "risky." Additionally, BlackRock says 72% of respondents don't believe investing in financial markets is a way to save towards their long-term financial goals. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed said they had a negative feeling about investing while 23% said they felt that way about saving.

EFM- It does not have to be that risky. One simply has to alter investing after a loss of 10% to 15%. You have to accept some loss but you must temper the exposure after that.


After decades of decline, the average annual death rate in the U.S. has leveled off.

“In 1900, the life expectancy was in the low 40s. “In 1950, it was in the mid-60s. It’s now about 77 years.”10/29:
The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 189 economies and selected cities at the subnational level.

10/29: BP is planning on $60/barrel oil through 2017


How's Life? 2015

Measuring Well-being