Master Financial Education

E. F. Moody Jr.


I have asked Errold 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”

  Albert Einstein




Average performance in financial literacy

Click to edit
Mean score
Range of ranks
Shanghai-China 603 1-1
Flemish Community
541 2-2
Estonia 529 3-4
Australia 526 3-5
New Zealand 520 4-6
Czech Republic 513 5-7
Poland 510 6-7
Latvia 501 8-9
United States 492 8-12
Russian Federation 486 9-14
France 486 9-14
Slovenia 485 9-14
Spain 484 10-15
Croatia 480 11-16
Israel 476 11-17
Slovak Republic 470 15-17
Italy 466 16-17
Colombia 379 18-18
OECD average-FL 500
Source: Figure VI.2.3 | OECD

7/10: Out of whack

Structured Variable annuities

A SNVA embeds a structured note inside a VA. With the Allianz Index Advantage VA, for instance, investors can choose from two profiles. The Index Protection Strategy is the more conservative option. It uses the S&P 500® as the benchmark index and for June 2014 it had a “Declared Protection Strategy Credit” of 4 percent. If the index return is flat or positive for the year, investors’ accounts receive that credit. This strategy also provides a full buffer. That means when the index's return is negative, no gain or loss is credited to the account.

Those investing in the Index Performance Strategy can select the S&P 500 (13 percent cap as of June 2014), the Russell 2000® index (15 percent cap) or the Nasdaq-100® index (12.25 percent cap). This strategy provides a 10 percent buffer. In other words, if the index return is negative but less than 10 percent, the account is protected against that loss. If the loss exceeds 10 percent, the account receives a negative performance credit of the negative index return minus the 10 percent buffer.

Annual fees and contract maintenance can still result in a loss of principal in either strategy, however.

The three insurers’ products offer a range of contract features so you’ll have to compare them to determine which, if any, meets your clients’ needs. The Allianz product uses one-year periods to determine index performance, . AXA Equitable offers one-, three- and five-year terms (referred to as “segments”), and MetLife has one-, three- and six-year options. Downside buffers also vary among the insurers.




12 annuity suitability factors you need to know

7/8: Interest rate Pooling

Current interest rate crediting methods

There are four basic methods of crediting current interest to conventional nonindex fixed annuities.

1. Portfolio method. For an annuity that uses this method, all contracts will be credited each period with the same current, non-guaranteed interest rate, regardless of when annuity contributions (premiums) were received, except for contracts that are still within an initial interest rate guarantee period.

2. New money or pocket of money method. For an annuity using this method, the rate of interest credited to all contracts will depend upon when the premiums were received. For flexible premium annuities, this can mean that a particular annuity contract might receive, on any given interest crediting date, several different rates, each applied to the pocket of money received during the time period specified for that pocket.

Example: Mr. Jones’ flexible premium annuity was issued June 30, 2009. Interest is credited each year, at a rate determined annually. On June 30, 2012, the contract is credited with the following:

a. 4.00% for all premiums received in the period 1/1/2009 – 12/31/2009

b. 3.89% for all premiums received in the period 1/1/2010 – 12/31/2010

c. 3.80% for all premiums received in the period 1/1/2011 – 12/31/2011

d. 3.56% for all premiums received in the period 1/1/2012 – 12/31/2012

3. Tiered interest rate method: Type one

In this method, the interest rate credited to a contract depends upon the cash value of the annuity.

Example: Ms. Smith’s annuity credits interest according to the following current schedule:

a. 4.00% for the first $50,000 of cash value

b. 4.25% for the next $50,000 of cash value

c. 4.5% for cash value in excess of $100,000

4. Tiered interest rate method: Type two

In this method, interest is credited at one rate if the owner annuitizes the contract and at a lower rate if the contract is surrendered. In these contracts, the value is generally reported as two separate items: (a) the annuity value and (b) the cash value or contract value. The cash value will be reduced, on surrender of the contract, by any surrender charge applicable. The amount payable at the owner’s or annuitant’s death may be either the cash value or annuity value, depending upon contract terms, and a surrender charge may or may not apply.

Interest rate guarantee period

Sometimes the current interest rate of a newly issued fixed deferred annuity may be guaranteed for a specific period. If so, then at the expiration of this period, renewal interest is credited according to the crediting method used for that particular contract — subject, of course, to the guaranteed minimum rate.

Interest rate renewal history

One item that every advisor who is considering recommending a fixed deferred annuity must consider is the history of the issuing insurance company with regard to renewal interest rates. Renewal rates, except for contracts in the interest rate guarantee period, are entirely at the discretion of the issuing insurer and subject, of course, to the minimum rate guaranteed in the contract. Some insurers have a distinguished history of declaring renewal interest at competitive levels. Others, unfortunately, do not. In the 1980s and 1990s, a few insurers offered fixed deferred annuities at initial rates well above the level offered by most competitors and, as soon as the interest rate guarantee period elapsed, renewed these contracts at, or barely above, the guaranteed rate. Fortunately for consumers, most insurance companies did not play this game. Nevertheless, the risk with this sort of “bait and switching” is one that the prudent advisor must take into consideration. The authors strongly advise taking a close look at the published history of the renewal crediting rate of any insurance company whose products you are considering.

A final observation on the subject of interest rate crediting is in order. It may appear to the advisor inexperienced in fixed deferred annuities that renewal interest rates, while they may drop from the initial level to as low as the guaranteed rate, may also rise at that point — even beyond that initial level — if interest rates are increasing at that time. That may appear logical, but it is not likely to happen. In the authors’ experience, insurance companies rarely declare renewal interest rates at a level higher than the initial rate. This may, of course, be due to the fact that, for the past thirty years and more, interest rates have, in general, been trending downward. Nevertheless, there have been short periods, during those decades, during which rates increased. In those periods, the initial rate offered by insurance companies, on their fixed deferred annuities, did increase — but the renewal rates for existing contracts did not.


We don't know what's going to happen with anything, ever. And so it's inevitable that a certain percentage of our decisions will be wrong. There's just no way we can always make the right decision. That doesn't mean you're an idiot. But it does mean you must focus on how serious the consequences could be if you turn out to be wrong: Suppose this doesn't do what I expect it to do. What's gonna be the impact on me? If it goes wrong, how wrong could it go and how much will it matter?

Pascal's Wager doesn't mean that you have to be convinced beyond doubt that you are right. But you have to think about the consequences of what you're doing and establish that you can survive them if you're wrong. Consequences are more important than probabilities.


These Are The States That Allow Married Tax Returns For Same-Sex Couples




Hyperthermia: Too Hot For Your Health
Source: The National Institute on Aging (NIA)

During the summer, it is important for everyone, especially older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, to be aware of the dangers of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.

Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

The risk for hyperthermia may increase from:

  • Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands

  • Alcohol use

  • Being substantially overweight or underweight

  • Dehydration

  • Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever

  • High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a physician.

  • Reduced perspiration, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs

  • Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and is unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shows symptoms of the following: strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, mental status changes (like combativeness or confusion), staggering, faintness or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge the person to lie down.

  • If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.

  • Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.

  • Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.

  • If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency or go to

FAT baby boomers age 65 and older are either overweight or obese—72 percent of men and 67 percent of women

7/3: Variable with caps and buffers

IRI offered the following examples of the choices that structured products offer clients.

The buffers allow clients to elect what percentage of market loss that their account value is protected from, with commonly available amounts including 10%, 20%, 30% and 100%.

One example would be a client investing $100,000 and electing a three-year term with a 20% buffer. In this example, assume the cap is 10%.

In an “up” market, if the index grows less than 10% over the three years, the account value will be credited with the full growth of the index. If the index grows 5%, the account value would be $105,000.

However, if the index grows more than 10%, the account value would be $110,000, as the growth is capped at 10%.

In a “down market,” if the index is down 20% or less, the account value will be $100,000 after three years, whereas if the index is down more than 20%, the account value will decrease based on the difference of the buffer (20% in this example) and the index.

If the index is down 25%, the account value will be decreased to $95,000 (25% less 20%).

IRI noted in its white paper that one company has recently launched a product covering the “tail” risk of a down market. For example, if a 10% “buffer” is elected, the account value will not decrease more than 10%.

As for caps, IRI notes that they are set by the company and differ based on the duration and index elected.


Life insurance is a complex amalgamation of legal, tax and economic elements. Basically, it is a unique wealth creation tool that assures the accumulation of a desired amount of liquid capital at death. Depending on the plan of insurance, it may also create more or less capital for lifetime needs.

Through its unique capital creation feature and tax advantages, life insurance can help people solve a host of personal and business problems. However, insurers offer a wide variety of life insurance policies that are suited to a broad host of financial planning problems. Once an advisor identifies a client's problems, the advisor must match the appropriate life insurance products to the problems. To do so, the planner must first fully understand the legal, tax and economic elements of life insurance and the particular features of each type of policy.

This primer provides an overview of the products available, and is designed to help you gain perspective and balance in your practice. 


The advantages offered by life insurance vary with the type of policy and the problem to which the policy is applied. However, all types of life insurance policies provide certain favorable features, which are listed below.

  1. Life insurance provides a guarantee of large amounts of cash payable immediately at the death of the insured. The amount of the death benefit payable is usually significantly greater than the premiums paid for the policy.
  2. Life insurance proceeds are not part of the probate estate. The only way life insurance benefits become part of probate is when they are paid to or for the benefit of the estate of the insured. Therefore, the insurance company can pay death proceeds to the beneficiary without the delay caused by administration of the estate.
  3. There will be no public record of the death benefit amount or to whom it is payable.
  4. Life insurance policies generally have some protection against creditors of both the policyowner and of the beneficiary. The amount of protection varies from state to state.
  5. Life insurance cash values provide instant availability to cash through policy loans. The interest rate (or interest-rate formula) for policy loans is known in advance and is usually lower than the rate applicable to loans from other sources.
  6. The death benefit proceeds from a life insurance policy generally are not subject to federal income taxes.
  7. The increases in the cash value of a life insurance policy enjoy federal income tax deferral. Interest earned on policy cash values generally is not taxable unless or until the policyowner surrenders the policy for cash.
  8. Life insurance proceeds often are exempt from state inheritance taxes.
  9. Despite some highly publicized life insurance company insolvencies, the life insurance industry remains unparalleled in safety among the financial intermediaries such as the savings and loan, banking, and mutual fund industries. It is commonly noted that not a single dollar of death claim has been lost or denied because of a life insurance company insolvency or failure.


  1. Life insurance is not available to persons in extremely poor health (although almost all individuals in poor health can obtain insurance).
  2. Life insurance is an extremely complex product that is hard to evaluate and compare. The time required to gather policy information, decipher it, and compare it with other policies discourages purchasers from engaging in comparison shopping.
  3. The cost of coverage reduces the amount of funds available for current consumption or investment.

1. Annual renewable term life insurance

Characteristics: “Pure” life insurance with no cash value element; initially, the highest death benefit for the lowest premium.

Market: Short to intermediate term need; need maximum death benefit for minimum initial premium. 
Death benefit: Fixed, level
Cash value (CV): No cash value
CV and/or dividends use current interest? N/A
Partial surrenders permitted? N/A
Policy elements: Bundled. 
Direct borrowing recognition: N/A
Advantages to buyer: Low outlay for large face amounts; develop outside investment program.
Disadvantages to buyer: Increasing outlay; buyer may not invest difference or may realize lower return.
Risks to buyer: Increasing premium. Failure to earn more after tax on investments than insurer.

2. Participating ordinary life insurance

Characteristics: Most common and easily understood form of lifetime coverage; known maximum cost and minimum death benefit levels; dividends may reduce premiums, pay-up policy, buy paid-up additions, accum. at interest, be paid in cash.

This LifeHealthPro story is excerpted from:

Market: Anybody who needs lifetime coverage.

Death benefit: Fixed, level.
Premium: Fixed, level.
Cash value: Fixed, with minimum guaranteed interest rate; excess through dividends
CV and/or dividends use current interest? Yes.
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes, but through paid up additions only.
Policy elemenets: Bundled.
Direct borrowing recognition: Yes, with many policies.
Advantages to buyer: Familiar product; predictable; helps buyer discipline; share in favorable interest, mortality and expense experience.
Disadvantages to buyer: Costly if lapsed early.
Risks to buyer: Failure to meet premium commitment

3. Current assumption whole life insurance

Characteristics: Mixes characteristics of universal life and traditional ordinary life; future premiums, face amount, and/or cash value based on interest, expense, mortality experience.

Market: Upper and middle income prospects.

Death benefit: Fixed, level.
Premium: May change based on insurer's experience; maximum guaranteed but insurer may charge less.
Cash value (CV): May change based on insurer's experience; guaranteed minimum; Minimum guaranteed interest; excess lowers premium or increases CV.
CV and/or dividends use current interest? Yes. 
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes.
Policy elements: Unbundled.
Direct borrowing recognition: Yes. 
Advantages to buyer: Take advantage of high current interest rates and improved mortality.
Disadvantages to buyer: Premiums can be higher or cash value lower than projected; policy can lose paid-up status.
Risks to buyer: If assumptions change adversely, premiums can be higher or cash value can be lower than with traditional products.

4. Variable life insurance

Characteristics: Whole life contract with assets supporting policy held in separate account; choice of investment assets; death benefits depend on investment results.

Market: Upper and middle income prospects with investment acumen.
Death benefit: Guaranteed minimum; can increase based on investment performance.
Premium: Fixed, level.
Cash value (CV): Based on investment performance; not guaranteed.
CV and/or dividends use current interest: N/A.
Partial surrenders permitted: No. 
Policy elements: Bundled, but to some degree shown in prospectus.
Direct borrowing recognition: No.
Advantages to buyer: Take advantage of growth in economy.
Disadvantages to buyer: Must decide on underlying investments and monitor them for change; few guarantees.
Risks to buyer: Investment risk is great. Typically higher expenses than traditional products.

5. Adjustable life insurance

Characteristics: May select death benefit and, within limits, choose premiums; face amount and premiums are fixed between adjustment periods; usual features of whole life. 

Market: Young families starting insurance program; need for flexibility with guarantees.
Death benefit: Adjustable. 
Premium: Adjustable at option of policyowner.
Cash value (CV): Varies depending on premium/death benefit mix; fixed with minimum guaranteed interest; excess through dividends.
CV and/or dividends use current interest? Yes.
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes. 
Policy elements: Bundled.
Direct borrowing recognition: Yes. 
Advantages to buyer: Flexibility to adjust to changing needs; only one policy needed.
Disadvantages to buyer: If needs are known and not likely to change, other products may be less costly per unit of protection.
Risks to buyer: Changes made by buyer to satisfy short-term needs may have an impact on the satisfaction of long-term goals.
See also: What type of life insurance do life insurance agents own?


6. Universal life insurance

Characteristics: Flexible premium current-assumption adjustable death benefit policy; policy elements unbundled; two death benefit options.

Market: Middle and upper income looking for ultimate in flexibility.
Death benefit: Adjustable; Option A like Ord. Life; Option B like Ord. Life plus term rider equal to cash value.
Premium: Flexible at option of policyowner.
Cash value (CV): Varies depending on face amount and premium; min. guaranteed interest excess interest increases cash value.
CV and/or dividends use current interest? Yes.
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes.
Policy elements: Unbundled.
Direct borrowing recognition: Yes.
Advantages to buyer: Greater transparency and more flexibility than Adj. Life.
Disadvantages to buyer: Flexibility places greater responsibility on buyer; buyer assumes greater investment and mortality risks.
Risks to buyer: Combined risks of universal and variable life products.

7. Universal variable life insurance

Characteristics: Combines features of universal and variable life.

Market: Middle and upper income with investment acumen looking for ultimate in flexibility.

Death benefit: Adjustable.
Premium: Flexible at option of policyowner.
Cash value (CV): Varies depending on face amount, premium, and investment performance; not guaranteed.
CV and/or dividends use current interest? N/A
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes. 
Policy elements: Unbundled. 
Direct borrowing recognition: No.
Advantages to buyer: Epitome of flexibility in all respects.
Disadvantages to buyer: Equity performance unpredictable; relatively high expenses; few guarantees.
Risks to buyer: Combined risks of universal and variable life products.

8. Annuities

Characteristics: Combine tax advantages, investment choice, flexibility and guarantees with various lifetime payout options that cannot be outlived.

Market: Middle and upper income; qualified (IRA) and non-qualified retirement arrangements.
Death benefit: Accumulation period: maximum of premiums or cash value; payout period: depends on option.
Premium: Fixed or flexible.
Cash value (CV): Varies depending on investment performance; minimum guaranteed interest rate unless variable annuity.
CV and/or dividends use current interest? Yes.
Partial surrenders permitted? Yes.
Policy elements: Partially unbundled. 
Direct borrowing recognition: Yes, if permitted.
Advantages to buyer: Cannot outlive benefits if life option elected.
Disadvantages to buyer: Expenses can be higher than alternative investments.
Risks to buyer: Under life options, payouts cease at death: if death occurs early, total benefits less than with alternative investments

7/2: Alzheimers-

  • 7 in 10 people with Alzheimer's and other dementias live at home.*
  • $216 billion/year in non-paid care is provided by family members.*
  • 1 in 3 caregivers of people with Alzheimer's provide care for 5 years or more.*

7/1: Wow:

. It's estimated by the Social Security Administration that over 25% of today's 20-year-olds will be disabled before retirement.


The Bank for International Settlements has warned that “euphoric” financial markets have become detached from the reality of a lingering post-crisis malaise, as it called for governments to ditch policies that risk stoking unsustainable asset booms.

While the global economy is struggling to escape the shadow of the crisis of 2007-09, capital markets are “extraordinarily buoyant”, the Basel-based bank said, in part because of the ultra-low monetary policy being pursued around the world.

Leading central banks should not fall into the trap of raising rates “too slowly and too late”, the BIS said, calling for policy makers to halt the steady rise in debt burdens around the world and embark on reforms to boost productivity.

6/29: Manufacturing jobs gone forever

"A loss of manufacturing has contributed to the decline of the middle class. "People who are displaced from high-paying manufacturing jobs spend a long time unemployed, and when they take other jobs, those jobs generally pay substantially less."

Globalization, automation and recession destroyed nearly 6 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2009. "The days of the factory job that just required a strong back are gone."

6/29: LTC- Sales of traditional long-term care policies fell 23% to 233,000 in 2012 from 303,000 in 2007, according to insurance trade group LIMRA, while hybrid sales have risen sharply, to 86,000 from 15,000 over the same time period.

6/29: 73% of American households are worth less than $100,000, but only 15% of advisers focus on such investors."

Of the 315,000 advisers working in the United States, only 5 percent are younger than 30,

Drink up

One in 10 deaths among working-age adults between 2006 and 2010 were attributable to excessive drinking,

excessive alcohol use — which includes binge drinking, heavy weekly alcohol consumption and drinking while underage or pregnant — was responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths between 2006 and 2010. The lives of those who died were shortened by about 30 years.

About 70% of those deaths were working-age adults between the ages of 20 to 64,

 About 1.7 million people died from short-term causes such as crashes or accidents, compared to approximately 800,000 who died from long-term health causes like cancer or strokes,

Keeping Safe at Home with Chemotherapy

by Cheryl Coppola RN, MSN, OCN


As more and more chemotherapy is given in outpatient clinics and at home, it is extremely important that caregivers and patients understand the risks and hazards that household members may be exposed to. Chemotherapy can be given via a portable infusion pump or in pill form. In both cases it is possible for cancer drugs to unintentionally come in contact with caregivers. When chemotherapy is given in any form, the body must then get rid of it after it’s done its job. This means that the drugs leave the body in a patient’s stool and urine. It can also be present in emesis. Traces of chemotherapy drug may be found in and on toilets, in disposable diapers or any clothing or laundry that a person has soiled after having a treatment. Cleaning the bathroom or handling body wastes or soiled laundry can expose you to these chemotherapy drugs. If you are handling infusion pumps or equipment, flushing intravenous lines or handling chemotherapy drugs in any form, traces of the drug can be present and can be absorbed through the skin.

Cancer nurses have long known that exposing themselves to chemotherapy can be harmful to their health. That’s why they follow strict standards published by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). These guidelines include safeguarding against drugs that are found in the urine, vomit and stool of chemotherapy patients. When you care for someone who’s receiving treatment in the home or outpatient clinic, you need to be careful about coming in contact with chemotherapy and the patient’s body fluids.

So what types of risks should caregivers be aware of when a patient gets chemotherapy at home or comes home immediately after a treatment at the cancer clinic? When a patient is given a treatment, the drug is present in body fluids for 48 to 72 hours after the infusion or treatment ends. With a home infusion pump, the drug can be spilled if the tubing is accidentally disconnected. When chemotherapy is spilled, it can be absorbed through the skin or the vapors can be inhaled. Acute exposure to body fluids or the chemotherapy drug itself can cause rash, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, headache, nasal sores and allergic reactions. Exposure over a longer period of time is associated with birth defects, reproductive losses and cancer later in life.

If you or a family member is currently receiving chemotherapy, whether in the clinic or at home, it is strongly recommended that precautions be followed in order to keep household members safe:

  • Patients may use the toilet as usual, but close the lid and flush twice. Be sure to wash hands with soap and water.
  • If a bedpan, commode or urinal is used, the caregiver should wear gloves when emptying it. (Two pairs of latex or nitrile gloves are recommended.) Rinse it well with water and wash with soap and water at least once per day. The same applies to basins used for vomiting.
  • Wash clothing and linen as usual unless it’s soiled with chemotherapy or body fluids. Use gloves and immediately put the soiled laundry in the washer separate from other laundry. If you don’t have a washer, put laundry in a sealed plastic bag until it can be washed. •If chemotherapy is spilled on skin, irritation or rash may occur. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. If redness lasts more than an hour, call a doctor. You can avoid contact with skin by wearing gloves when handling chemotherapy, equipment or wastes.
  • For spills on the floor or in the home environment (not on your skin), your home health agency will supply you with a chemotherapy spill kit. Follow the instructions on the box exactly.
  • All cartridges, bags, bottles or tubing that contains chemotherapy must be disposed of in the supplied needle box.
  • Use gloves when handling all oral chemotherapy doses.
  • Keep all chemotherapy drugs, equipment, wastes, needle boxes, etc. out of reach of children.

Receiving chemotherapy as an outpatient is much more common than in the past and it’s much more convenient than getting treatment in a hospital. However, simple precautions need to be taken to make sure everyone at home stays safe.

6/29: some countries could face “additional costs of up to 50% of GDP” by 2050 if there is an upward revision to longevity assumptions by just one year,

“People aged 65 [and over] will outnumber children under 5 for the first time in human history in 2047,

Got that right

the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth. Until the Great Depression, most economists clung to a vision of capitalism as a perfect or nearly perfect system. That vision wasn’t sustainable in the face of mass unemployment, but as memories of the Depression faded, economists fell back in love with the old, idealized vision of an economy in which rational individuals interact in perfect markets, this time gussied up with fancy equations. The renewed romance with the idealized market was, to be sure, partly a response to shifting political winds, partly a response to financial incentives. But while sabbaticals at the Hoover Institution and job opportunities on Wall Street are nothing to sneeze at, the central cause of the profession’s failure was the desire for an all-encompassing, intellectually elegant approach that also gave economists a chance to show off their mathematical prowess.

Unfortunately, this romanticized and sanitized vision of the economy led most economists to ignore all the things that can go wrong. They turned a blind eye to the limitations of human rationality that often lead to bubbles and busts; to the problems of institutions that run amok; to the imperfections of markets — especially financial markets — that can cause the economy’s operating system to undergo sudden, unpredictable crashes; and to the dangers created when regulators don’t believe in regulation.

It’s much harder to say where the economics profession goes from here. But what’s almost certain is that economists will have to learn to live with messiness. That is, they will have to acknowledge the importance of irrational and often unpredictable behavior, face up to the often idiosyncratic imperfections of markets and accept that an elegant economic “theory of everything” is a long way off. In practical terms, this will translate into more cautious policy advice — and a reduced willingness to dismantle economic safeguards in the faith that markets will solve all problems.

"It is important to understand that a big part of the activities in the stock market are not derived from rational thinking and the flow of information, but rather from emotional human behavior," . "This is contrary to the accepted point of view that governs economic theories. Using physical terms, are very noisy. We show that most of the 'noise' is due to human emotional factors and has to be analyzed as such."

6/26: Down and out

The median household in 2013 had a net worth of just $56,335 -- 43% lower than the median wealth level right before the recession began in 2007, and 36% lower than a decade ago. “There are very few signs of significant recovery from the losses in wealth suffered by American families during the Great Recession,”


6/24: MARRIAGE AND MONEY - Studies have shown that money is the number one reason married couples argue, and often the main reason couples head to divorce court. Clear communication is key to having the correct expectations when it comes to money and marriage. Here are the tasks couples should work on to make sure they are on the same page when it comes to their lifetime financial goals.
1.    Write It Down
2.    Manage Your Collective Debt
3.    Agree on How to Spend
4.    Allocate Funds
5.    Get Professional Guidance


6/24: the average American spends only
19 minutes a day reading; young people read less than ever, apparently, with people ages 25 to 34 reading eight minutes a day on weekends and holidays, while those 20 to 24 average around 10. This, of course, is a decline: a report from Common Sense Media found that 45% of 17-year-olds admit only reading for pleasure a few times a year — up from 19% in 1984.

INHERITED IRAs NOT PROTECTED - In an important decision, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the funds in an inherited IRA are NOT protected in bankruptcy.  The decision does not affect bankruptcy protection for our own retirement accounts, including IRAs, which continue to be protected during bankruptcy.  Non-spousal IRA beneficiaries have little recourse.  Spousal IRA beneficiaries, however, have the option to roll inherited IRA assets into their own IRA, where the assets would receive creditor protection.  Without the rollover, the assets will be considered an inherited IRA without creditor protection. 

BROKEN FINANCIAL AID SYSTEM - One need only see the tally for America's student debt load - $1.2 trillion at last count, with an average $29,400 per college graduate - to realize something is badly broken in our financial aid system. Most (read all) 17- and 18-year-olds aren't typically savvy enough to understand the implications of taking on thousands of dollars in loans. Since 1978, tuition has soared by more than 1,120% while the average family's wages barely budged. 




1. Assisted Living Communities Have Limited Availability

As of 2013, assisted living communities across the nation had an 89% occupancy rate according the National Investment Center. This means that there is a good chance that your preferred community is full. Westermann estimates that 35–45% of senior living communities are fully occupied or nearly full.

2. Wait Lists Require Deposits

Most senior communities require payment to be added to a wait list. Fortunately, most community wait list deposits are fully refundable at any time. The cost of the deposit can vary significantly between communities. Westermann says he has “seen wait list deposits range from $250–$2,000 for independent living, assisted living and memory care.”

3. Not All Wait List Policies Are the Same

Westermann stresses that families should understand the deposit process when they are shopping for assisted living or memory care due to immediate need. Some communities will hold a specific apartment 15–30 days for a family that has made a refundable deposit. Other communities may offer “first right of refusal.”

A first right of refusal occurs when a second family becomes interested in an apartment the first family has already deposited on. The community normally gives the first family at least 24 hours to elect if they want to take an apartment. If the family elects to not take the apartment they can change their first right of refusal to a different apartment or keep their position on the wait list for the next available apartment.

Make sure to speak with a staff member at your preferred community if you have questions about their wait list policy.

4. You Can Reserve Your Favorite Apartment Suite

Wait lists allow consumers to reserve their first choice apartment suite without making a commitment. Families can use these policies to acquire the most desirable suite or room while giving themselves ample time to learn more about the community and research other options. Westermann explains, “Check to see if a wait list deposit is fully refundable at your chosen community. If it is, use this option to your advantage. Place a deposit on the exact apartment size, style, floor and view that you desire. When it becomes available you will get a call, and if you aren’t ready, you can hold that same position on the wait list. If something happens and you don’t plan on moving, the community will mail the check back to you in 30 days or so.”

5. Some Communities Have Internal Wait Lists for Special Care

Many assisted living communities also offer memory care for residents who have moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Memory care is typically provided in a special, dedicated area at the community. This allows residents with dementia to graduate from assisted living to higher levels of care without having to move to a completely new community.

Westermann told us, “A family or a community nurse can initiate the conversation that an assisted living or independent living resident should consider moving to memory care. If memory care is full, communities will usually place an internal resident at the top of the wait list for a higher level of care.”

1. Assisted Living Communities Have Limited Availability

As of 2013, assisted living communities across the nation had an 89% occupancy rate according the National Investment Center. This means that there is a good chance that your preferred community is full. Westermann estimates that 35–45% of senior living communities are fully occupied or nearly full.

2. Wait Lists Require Deposits

Most senior communities require payment to be added to a wait list. Fortunately, most community wait list deposits are fully refundable at any time. The cost of the deposit can vary significantly between communities. Westermann says he has “seen wait list deposits range from $250–$2,000 for independent living, assisted living and memory care.”

3. Not All Wait List Policies Are the Same

Westermann stresses that families should understand the deposit process when they are shopping for assisted living or memory care due to immediate need. Some communities will hold a specific apartment 15–30 days for a family that has made a refundable deposit. Other communities may offer “first right of refusal.”

A first right of refusal occurs when a second family becomes interested in an apartment the first family has already deposited on. The community normally gives the first family at least 24 hours to elect if they want to take an apartment. If the family elects to not take the apartment they can change their first right of refusal to a different apartment or keep their position on the wait list for the next available apartment.

Make sure to speak with a staff member at your preferred community if you have questions about their wait list policy.

4. You Can Reserve Your Favorite Apartment Suite

Wait lists allow consumers to reserve their first choice apartment suite without making a commitment. Families can use these policies to acquire the most desirable suite or room while giving themselves ample time to learn more about the community and research other options. Westermann explains, “Check to see if a wait list deposit is fully refundable at your chosen community. If it is, use this option to your advantage. Place a deposit on the exact apartment size, style, floor and view that you desire. When it becomes available you will get a call, and if you aren’t ready, you can hold that same position on the wait list. If something happens and you don’t plan on moving, the community will mail the check back to you in 30 days or so.”

5. Some Communities Have Internal Wait Lists for Special Care

Many assisted living communities also offer memory care for residents who have moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Memory care is typically provided in a special, dedicated area at the community. This allows residents with dementia to graduate from assisted living to higher levels of care without having to move to a completely new community.

Westermann told us, “A family or a community nurse can initiate the conversation that an assisted living or independent living resident should consider moving to memory care. If memory care is full, communities will usually place an internal resident at the top of the wait list for a higher level of care.”

6/19: fat, fat, fat

6/19; And fast fat

6/19: : What we should.....


6/19: Oil movement


6/18: Numbers
CFP badge holders increased 17.5% between 2008 and 2013, to almost 70,000, according to the CFP Board. That is even as the overall ranks of advisers shrank 11% to an estimated 302,270

The Dangers of Ignoring Cataract Symptoms


Delaying Treatment of Advanced Forms of the Common Eye Disease Can Increase Risk of Permanent Blindness and Injury.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges seniors and their caregivers to be aware of the dangers of ignoring the symptoms of cataracts, a leading cause of visual impairment that will affect more than half of all Americans by the time they are 80 years old[1]. Delaying diagnosis and treatment of age-related cataracts can increase seniors' risk of permanent blindness and can lead to both physical and psychological damage.

Cataracts are caused by the clouding of the lens of the eye and are most common among older adults as the condition develops as the eye ages. Many seniors cope with cataracts — accepting vision loss as an inevitable part of the aging process rather than seeking medical treatment. Due to the incapacitation caused by blurred vision, leaving cataracts undiagnosed and untreated can lead to physical danger such as injuries from falls or running into unseen objects, as well as psychological harm like depression and social isolation. In addition, the longer advanced forms of cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully repair the damage caused to the eye.

Adults age 65 and older should have regular eye exams to monitor for the development of cataracts, in addition to other common eye conditions and diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. People with diabetes, a family history of cataracts, and those who smoke tobacco are at an increased risk of developing cataracts. Common symptoms such as dull, blurry vision, colors appearing less vibrant, and halos around lights may begin to be noticeable as cataracts develop. This cataract simulator demonstrates how vision is affected by cataracts.

Cataracts are nearly always treatable with surgery, but it may not be necessary until performing daily activities becomes difficult. If daily life isn't disturbed, a change in a person's eyeglass prescription may be all that is necessary until visual impairment becomes more severe. If completing everyday tasks is challenging, cataract surgery should be discussed with an ophthalmologist — a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions.

"Seniors who find themselves giving up normal tasks like reading, exercising or driving due to cataract symptoms should know that they do no not need to suffer in silence," said Rebecca Taylor, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Cataract surgery can help these individuals regain their sight and their independence. It is one of the most common and safest procedures performed in medicine, so seniors should not resist seeking help. Getting treatment can vastly improve your quality of life."

For people without regular access to eye care or for whom cost is a concern, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, offers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors age 65 and older through its corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. To learn more about EyeCare America or to find out if you or a loved one qualifies for the program, visit EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Genentech.

6/17: Exit wounds

Federal Reserve officials have discussed whether regulators should impose exit fees on bond funds to avert a potential run by investors, underlining concern about the vulnerability of the $10tn corporate bond market.

Officials are concerned that bond funds are becoming “shadow banks”, because investors can withdraw their money on demand, even though the assets held by the funds can be hard to sell in a crisis.

US retail investors have pumped more than $1tn into bond funds since early 2009. This has created a boom environment for fixed income money managers, but raises the prospect of a massive disorganised flight of money out of the industry should interest rates rise sharply in the coming years.

Exit fees would seek to discourage retail investors from withdrawing funds, thereby making their claims less liquid and making a fire sale of the assets more unlikely.


1. For U.S. businesses, the expense of overweight conditions has now outstripped any other employee health-related cost.

2. More than half of the U.S. population will be obese by 2030. Right now two thirds of the population is either overweight or obese.

3. Obesity leads to at least 60 related chronic diseases. Over 75 percent of hypertension is linked to obesity. Approximately two thirds of U.S. adults with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

Have Assisted Living Facilities Forgotten About Dads?
With more men moving to assisted living communities, this gender gap can make things more challenging for adult children to find a community that caters to men’s interest and will make dad happy.


The National Funeral Home Alliance has workshops and support for home funerals. (whose motto is “The Early Bird Gets the Worm, Remember, It’s Your Funeral, Enjoy It While You’re Still Alive”) lets you plan your own service with music, photos and readings. The National Funeral Directors Association website has suggestions based on a person’s profession or hobbies. Some employers have begun offering funeral planning services with “funeral concierges.”



How Many Fathers?

70.1 million

Estimated number of fathers across the nation in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.
Source: Wave 2 Fertility Topical Module from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation

24.7 million

Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2013.

  • 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
  • 3 percent were a subfamily living in someone else's home.

Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements
<> Tables FG1 and FG3

2.0 million

Number of single fathers in 2013; 17 percent of single parents were men

  • 9 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 44 percent were divorced, 33 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated, and 4.2 percent were widowed.
  • 39 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

Source: America's Families and Living Arrangements
<> Table FG6

So pure

the Pew Research Center finds Americans are divided by ideology and partisanship not only when they cast ballots, but also in choosing where to live, where to get their news and with whom to associate.

And peaceful coexistence is increasingly difficult.

According to the poll, the share of Americans who hold across-the-board conservative or liberal views has doubled in the last decade, from 10 percent in 2004 to 21 percent today. Only 39 percent of Americans have an even mix of liberal and conservative positions, down from 49 percent 10 years ago.

The numbers of ideological purists are larger among the politically engaged than the general public, suggesting the ideological stalemates that have become more common in Washington and statehouses around the country are likely to continue. A third of those who say they regularly vote in primaries have all-or-nothing ideological views, as do 41 percent who say they have donated money to a campaign.

And among partisans, ideological purity is now the standard. Majorities in both parties hold either uniformly liberal (on the Democratic side) or conservative (among the GOP) views.


Fighting Caregiver Fatigue

By Kristine Dwyer, Staff Writer

Calvin’s day begins before 5 A.M. He knows another exhausting day lies ahead. He allows himself only enough time to have a cup of coffee and read the paper before lying back down by his wife’s side until 6 A.M. when the daily routine begins again; toileting, showering, dressing, wheelchair transfers, laundry, meal preparation, housekeeping, correspondence, paperwork, yard work, personal care. Soon its time for a doctor appointment; more wheelchair transfers, a trip to the pharmacy, grocery shopping, and then, finally, a return home to continue the care routine. No time to rest during the day. Bedtime planning takes an hour so he begins by 9 P.M. Calvin is physically and emotionally exhausted by 10 P.M. and falls asleep quickly. But he is awakened and out of bed at least three times during the night, tending to his wife’s needs, taking her to the toilet, or changing wet sheets. He attempts to return to bed and finds he cannot fall asleep. His mind is active, he feels anxious and has relentless thoughts that swirl in his mind. Daybreak seems to come too quickly and the schedule begins once again. Caregiving consumes 24 hours of the day and sleep deprivation and fatigue are the common denominators.

Caregiver fatigue cannot be understated. According to Webster’s dictionary, fatigue means “physical or mental exhaustion; weariness.”  Spouses, adult children and family members alike are susceptible to caregiver fatigue whether they are providing care twenty-four hours a day or caregiving from a distance. The sandwich generation faces particular challenges as they attempt to provide care to elderly parents while juggling the demands of young families and fulltime careers. Whether caregivers are losing actual sleep or simply wearing down from the constant worry and obligations, help is needed before feelings of resentment and guilt set in or the caregivers’ health is compromised.

Sleep is absolutely necessary to live; however, it is often a low priority in the whole caregiver scenario. As an adult, our bodies need six to nine hours of sleep and after age 65, we need six to eight hours per night. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) likens the need for caregivers to take care of themselves to performing regular maintenance on a car. Without regular attention, even the finest cars and caregivers will soon deteriorate. Rest must be a priority. The brain’s frontal lobe especially relies on sleep to effectively function. Without adequate rest, the brain’s ability to access memory, control speech and resolve problems, is greatly hampered.

Family caregivers truly are at risk of physical and emotional problems of their own while they are providing care to a loved one.  Fatigue contributes to an increased vulnerability to illness and it is prevalent in nearly all caregivers, yet unseen by most. The results of fatigue creep in over time, robbing the energy and focus of a caregiver. They often become so immersed in their role that they are unable to see their own health decline ‘right before their eyes’. According to one home care director, by the time many care providers realize they have become caregivers, they are already suffering from the symptoms of caregiver fatigue and are headed for burnout!

Lack of sleep can affect emotional as well as physical health. It can produce anxiety, anger, irritability, affect concentration and task performance, impair judgment to the point of danger (driving, using machinery and administering medications), and impact job performance. Sleep deprivation can lead to mental distress, memory loss, and depression. One male caregiver reported that the emotional fatigue was greater for him than the physical exhaustion. He explained that his wife’s behaviors (for example, false accusations, memory loss, hallucinations, and repetitive statements) often lead to daily arguments and disrupted routines that drained his emotions. He finally learned, over time, that he had to train himself to ‘pick his battles’ in order to avoid arguing as well as ignore some of his wife’s peculiar responses and redirect their daily conversations.

The physical consequences of sleep deprivation can include changes in appetite (weight gain or loss), frequent infections, addictions to alcohol or prescription drugs, problems with focusing, droopy eyelids and increased sensitivity to pain. In addition, lack of sleep can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate insulin production and the metabolism of sugar, putting caregivers at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

There are several ways that caregivers can take steps to fight fatigue and improve their physical and mental health.

1. Recognize that fatigue is present and that it is negatively affecting daily life.
2. Seek solutions to alleviate fatigue and sleep loss.
3. Carry out these solutions with the help of family, friends or hired services.

One caregiver in a support group shared that she actually used respite care in her home to get a much-needed nap three times a week. Another woman asked family members to stay overnight once or twice a week to allow her a full night of rest. An important consideration is for caregivers to step back, set personal limits and encourage the care receiver to perform some of their own self-care activities. As time goes on, it can be easy to over-help and invite greater dependence by the care receiver. Others found, when they finally accepted outside help, they experienced a strong sense of relief. Most caregivers wished they had taken the help much sooner. In some cases, when 24-hour care is no longer achievable, moving a loved one to an assisted living facility or to a nursing home is the best solution.

Caregivers, as well as care receivers, need a well-balanced diet and adequate hydration during the day to stave off fatigue and vulnerability to illness. Try to avoid large meals, high fat foods and the drinking of fluids before bedtime. Taking vitamins, eating proteins, grains and fresh produce and decreasing sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can also promote wellness. Caffeine is a mild stimulant and consuming it before bedtime can affect sleep. It is also a diuretic and will result in an increased need to urinate during the night. Alcohol is a depressant by classification; however, it does cause a person to sleep lighter and awaken more frequently.

Fortunately, there are many things that can help to decrease weariness and promote a good night’s sleep:

  • Regular exercise can have a positive effect on improving sleeping habits as well as decreasing stress, depression and anxiety.
  • Try to maintain a daily routine for naps and sleep so that the body can adjust to a rhythmic pattern.
  • Listen to positive sounds to promote relaxation before sleep. Music or nature sounds, such as waves, can be soothing to the soul. Avoid watching stimulating television shows right before bed as this may bring alarming news that unsettles our mood and disrupts our ability to rest
  • Meditation, prayer, and deep breathing exercises are also options to use for calming our minds and bodies so that we can sleep. These can also be done if one awakens during the night.
  • Try drinking warm milk, taking a relaxing bath, reading something pleasant and perhaps journal some thoughts prior to bedtime.
  • If insomnia is prevalent, discuss medication options with a physician.

Caregivers must take time for themselves and focus on their own needs (both physical and emotional) to avoid depleting their strength and energy. Keeping a daily log of sleeping habits can be a “wake up call” to caregivers and a helpful tool for the doctor to determine recommended solutions. Record the quality of sleep as well as the frequency. Record also the foods eaten and the use of medication, caffeine and alcohol. Note the activities engaged in during the day as well as the emotions. After several weeks, trends may appear that offer great insight into the toll of caregiving and the decisions that need to be made to decrease fatigue and increase energy.

After years of sleep deprivation, fatigue can become a chronic state. The body’s biological clocks are disrupted and symptoms of aging seem to accelerate.  One adult daughter, who cared for her mother daily for three years, felt she herself had aged ten years and gained over 50 pounds. Three months after her mother was able to move to an assisted living facility, the daughter appeared physically transformed and actually looked younger than before she became a caregiver. She attributed it to finally being able to sleep normally and to focus on her own daily care needs now that her mother’s needs were being met by a caring staff.

It can clearly be seen that fatigue and sleep deprivation strongly impact the caregiver’s ability to provide the best possible care to their loved one. Family caregivers are at risk and must open their eyes to their own needs and solutions that may be available to them. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness! When someone else takes over the caregiving responsibilities, even for a short time, caregivers can step back, focus on themselves, rest and get recharged.


Max the Most of Your Tax Bracket

It’s no secret that the more income you have, the higher your taxes will be. What’s often overlooked though is that in our system, everyone pays the same tax as their income moves through the tax brackets. For example, in 2014 you, me and Warren Buffet will all pay the same 15% on our 30,000th dollar of taxable income. Granted, Warren may blow right through the tax brackets to the point he’s paying 39.6% on most of his income, but that doesn’t change the fact that the 30,000th dollar will still be taxed at 15%. What’s my point? You may or may not have room within the 15% tax bracket and that could affect how and when you withdraw money from your retirement accounts.


In 2014, the 15% tax bracket applies to taxable income between $18,151 and $73,800 for joint filers (the range is $9,076-$36,900 for single filers). Taxable income is your income after deductions and exemptions. So, after you subtract $20,300, the standard deduction and exemptions for a couple, they could have adjusted gross income of up to $94,100 and still remain in the 15% bracket. And there lies the potential opportunity.


You may assess the tax landscape and your personal plan and decide that withdrawing money from your IRA or old 401(k) and paying 15% is a relatively good deal. If that’s the case, the old rule of thumb to delay touching your tax-deferred assets may not hold true … at least for the portion you could withdraw and still remain in the 15% bracket. For example, if you are on track to finish the year with $53,800 of taxable income, you could voluntarily withdraw up to $20,000 from a traditional IRA or retirement plan and still only pay 15% tax on the withdrawal. 


On the other hand, you might review your finances and find that you’re on target to finish the year with $72,000 of taxable income — you’re creeping towards the top of the 15% bracket — but still have a vacation, car or some other major expense that you’ll need to withdraw funds to cover. In that situation, you might choose to use non-retirement or Roth money to avoid climbing into the 25% tax bracket.


On a cautionary note, if you’re currently below the maximum Social Security taxation limits, adding additional income could cause a larger portion of your benefit to be taxable.


In any case, the key is to understand where you’re at in the tax bracket structure and recognize how it might influence your decision with respect to tapping your retirement funds.  This is something you or you and your team of advisors should be aware of and take into consideration as you map out your plan for how you’ll use your money

6/12: Just for fun?

1.It's possible for your body to survive without a surprisingly
large fraction of its internal organs. Even if you lose your
stomach, your spleen, 75% of your liver, 80% of your intestines,
one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from your
pelvic and groin area, you wouldn't be very healthy, but you would live.
2. During your lifetime you will produce enough saliva to fill
two swimming pools. Actually, saliva is more important than
you realize. If your saliva cannot dissolve something,
you cannot taste it.
3. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and
the smallest is the male sperm. The egg is actually the only
cell in the body that is visible by the naked eye.
4. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue
and the hardest bone is the jawbone.
5. Human feet have 52 bones, accounting for one quarter of
all the human body's bones.
6. Feet have 500,000 sweat glands and can produce more
than a pint of sweat a day.
7. The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve
razor blades. The reason it doesn't eat away at your
stomach is that the cells of your stomach wall renew
themselves so frequently that you get a new stomach
lining every three to four days.
8. The human lungs contain approximately 2,400 kilometers
(1,500 mi) of airways and 300 to 500 million hollow cavities,
having a total surface area of about 70 square meters,
roughly the same area as one side of a tennis court.
Furthermore, if all of the capillaries that surround the
lung cavities were unwound and laid end to end, they
would extend for about 992 kilometers. Also, your left
lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for
your heart.
9. Sneezes regularly exceed 100 mph, while coughs clock
in at about 60 mph.
10. Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to
bring half a gallon of water to a boil.
11. Your body has enough iron in it to make a
nail 3 inches long.
12. Earwax production is necessary for good ear health.
It protects the delicate inner ear from bacteria, fungus,
dirt and even insects. It also cleans and lubricates the
ear canal.
13. Everyone has a unique smell except for identical twins
who smell the same.
14. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born.
This is why one out of every 2,000 newborn infants has a
tooth when they are born
15. A baby's head is one-quarter of its total length, but by
the age of 25 will only be one-eighth of its total length.
This is because people's heads grow at a much slower rate
than the rest of their bodies.
16. Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood the
number is reduced to 206. Some of the bones, like skull
bones, get fused into each other bringing down the
total number.
17. It's not possible to tickle yourself. This is because when
you attempt to tickle yourself you are totally aware of
the exact time and manner in which the tickling will occur,
unlike when someone else tickles you.
18. Less than one third of the human race has 20-20 vision.
This means that two out of three people cannot see perfectly.
19. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents.
But if you are a woman, you are a better smeller than
men and will remain a better smeller throughout your
20. The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles
of blood vessels.
21. The three things pregnant women dream most of
during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted
plants. Scientists have no idea why this is so, but attribute
it to the growing imbalance of hormones in the body
during pregnancy.
22. The life span of a human hair is 3 to 7 years on average.
Every day the average person loses 60-100 strands of hair.
But don't worry, you must lose over 50% of your scalp hairs
before it is apparent to anyone.
23. The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much
information as an encyclopedia. Your brain uses 20% of
the oxygen that enters your bloodstream and is itself
made up of 80% water. Though it interprets pain signals
from the rest of the body, the brain itself cannot feel pain.
24. The tooth is the only part of the human body that
can't repair itself.
25. Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your
nose and ears never stop growing.
26. By 60 years of age 60% of men and 40% of women will
27. We are about 1 cm taller in the morning than in the evening,
because during normal activities during the day the
cartilage in our knees and other areas slowly compress.
28. The brain operates on the same amount of power as
10-watt light bulb, even while you are sleeping.
In fact, the brain is much more active at night than during
the day.
29. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as
170 miles per hour. Neurons continue to grow throughout
human life. Information travels at different speeds within
different types of neurons.
30. It is a fact that people who dream more often and more
vividly on an average have a higher intelligence quotient.
31. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger.
32. Facial hair grows faster than any other hair on the body.
This is true for men as well as women.
33. There are as many hairs per square inch on your body as
a chimpanzee.
34. A human fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of
three months.
35. By the age of 60 most people will have lost about half
their taste buds.
36. About 32 million bacteria call every inch of your skin home.
But don't worry, a majority of these are harmless or even
helpful bacteria.
37. The colder the room you sleep in, the higher the chances
are that you'll have a bad dream.
38. Human lips have a reddish color because of the great
concentration of tiny capillaries just below the skin.
39. Three hundred million cells die in the human body every
40. Like fingerprints, every individual has a unique tongue
print that can be used for identification.
41. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20
seconds after it has been decapitated.
42. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown.
43. Humans can make do longer without food than sleep.
Provided there is water, the average human could survive
a month to two months without food depending on their
body fat and other factors. Sleep deprived people,
however, start experiencing radical personality and psychological
changes after only a few sleepless days. The longest recorded
time anyone has ever gone without sleep is 11 days, at the
end of which the experimenter was awake, but stumbled over
words, hallucinated and frequently forgot what he was doing.
44. The most common blood type in the world is Type O.
The rarest blood type, A-H or Bombay blood, due to the
location of its discovery, has been found in less than
hundred people since it was discovered.
45. Every human spent about half an hour after being conceived,
as a single cell. Shortly afterward the cells begin rapidly
dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.
46. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer
than left-handed people do.
47. Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than
when you aren't.
48. Koalas and primates are the only animals with unique
49. Humans are the only animals to produce emotional tears.
50. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt
blood 30 feet in the air.

6/12:  Up and down after 1994

Cycles of bubble and crash have always existed, but in the 20 years after 1994, they became more severe and longer lasting than in the previous 20 years. For example, the bear markets following the Nifty Fifty crash in the mid-70s and Black Monday of 1987 had an average loss of about 40 percent and lasted 240 days; while the dot-com and credit crises lost on average about 52 percent and lasted over 430 days. Moreover, if you rank the largest one-day percentage moves in the market over this 40-year period, 76 percent of the largest gains and losses occurred after 1994.



There are about 1.5 million fewer construction jobs now than at the end of 2007, and 1.6 million fewer manufacturing jobs. Those two sectors account for nearly half the 7.3 million jobs lost in four of the five age categories. The rest of the lost jobs are spread across sectors such as retail, information, finance and government.

Men are still down about 1 million jobs from 2007 levels, while women are ahead by about 540,000. That’s probably because more women work in stable fields such as healthcare and education, whereas men tend to work in more-cyclical businesses. Women have also been earning more bachelor's and graduate degrees, giving them better qualifications

6/9: Online courses

MOOCs, and all online courses, are a really poor delivery system of education and especially critical thinking. Critical thinking doesn’t happen in a vacuum with some lone soul sitting at the computer and then answering a few questions afterward. Retention rate? Not great. Isolation factor? Huge. Deep understanding of the material? It could be measured in inches, never yards.

6/9: Death

Flight 370 disappeared Saturday with 239 people aboard. Using annual averages and March 14, 10,500 people have likely died from malaria since then. Four thousand have died from traumatic injuries, and 16,500 from tuberculosis. In America alone, 9,900 people have died of heart disease since Saturday. Just under 600 died in car accidents. Two hundred and fifty were likely murdered.


SAGE - A Test to Measure Thinking Abilities

6/8: 401k fees

average total plan fees for large 401(k) plans with more than $1 billion in total assets are about 0.34% of assets annually, or $340 a year for an account with a $100,000 balance. However, at smaller plans with $1 million to $100 million in assets, the average is 1.16%, or $1,160 a year. Total plan fees include various administrative costs as well as the expenses built into the underlying investment choices.

the average expense ratio for an index mutual fund is 0.75%, or $7.50 in annual fees for every $1,000 invested, compared with 1.25% for actively managed mutual funds. ETFs are even cheaper, with an average expense ratio of 0.59%.

The difference in the average expense ratio of actively managed mutual funds and ETFs translates into an extra $8,711 in fees and forgone earnings over 30 years, assuming an initial investment of $10,000 and a 6% annual rate of return,

Almost half of 401(k) plans now have an automatic-enrollment feature, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America. Some employers automatically escalate workers' contributions each year. As of 2012, nearly 40% of employer plans with an automatic enrollment feature included an auto-escalation feature, said the council, while about 18% of plans included an option for employees to opt in for auto-escalation. 6/8: Annuities with LTC riders

"Your client purchases an annuity product with a LTC rider that will begin to make (tax-free) payouts once your client requires care. Once the annuity funds run out, assuming the client still requires LTC services, the LTC rider activates and begins making tax-free payments. If the client never requires long-term care, the product simply provides annuity payouts according to the terms of the annuity portion of the contract, which are taxed under the usual rules governing annuity taxation."



Company and Product

Maximum Distribution

Cash Value
at Age 65

Death Benefit
at Age 65


Penn Mutual: Accumulation Builder Choice IUL





Minnesota Life: Eclipse IUL





Pacific Life: Pacific Indexed Performer LT





National Life: NL FlexLife





North American: Builder IUL





ING: ING IUL-Global Choice





Lincoln Financial: LifeReserve IUL Accumulator





Nationwide: YourLife Indexed UL





Pacific Life: Pacific Prime IUL





ING: ING IUL Protector





American General: Elite Index II





John Hancock: Accumulation IUL 14





Prudential: Index Advantage UL





American General: Elite Global Plus II





Transamerica: Freedom Indexed UL III





Aviva: Lifetime Builder III





AXA: BrightLife Grow





Allianz: Life Pro+




Male, 35, Best Tobacco, Pay to Age 65, Minimum Non-Modified Endowment Contract Death Benefit; Increasing death benefit switching to level at age 65; fixed annual premium of $15,000 to age 65; 20 year annual distributions starting at age 65; fixed loans (after basis) targeting $10,000 cash surrender value at age 100; Maximum illustrated rate - Annual S&P 500 ® Point-to-Point Index Account option (where available)¹




there were rolling periods of time in which not rebalancing produced better results (highlighted in yellow). The most distinct time periods in which we saw an advantage for not rebalancing were the three-year rolling periods from 2003-05, 2004-06 and 2005-07, as well as the five-year rolling periods from 2002-06 and 2003-07. As shown below in Table 3, these rolling time periods can be characterized as periods in which nearly all of the 12 asset classes had positive returns each year (shown below in yellow highlighting for the years 2003-07).

Rebalancing did not add value when asset classes were generating positive returns year-after-year.  Let winners run – don’t rebalance. The obvious challenge is knowing ahead of time that winners will stay winners. Moreover, if we let runners “run,” the portfolio becomes disproportionately allocated in those winning asset classes – and when they get clobbered it’s painful. Choosing whether or not to rebalance essentially becomes a market-timing decision.

Rebalancing worked best when the time period was characterized by losses and gains among the ingredients in the portfolio. That is why we saw a steady rebalancing “premium” over longer time periods (as shown in Table 2). It is unusual for asset classes (particularly equities and diversifiers) to generate consistent positive year-to-year returns for long periods of time.

Table 3. Annual performance of 12 asset classes (using ETFs)


US Large Cap

US Midcap

US Small Cap

Dev Non-US Equity

Emerging Equity

Real Estate

Natural Resources


US Bonds


Non-US Bonds



















































































































































































































Not very good at all

In the 2001 issue of the International Journal of Forecasting, an economist from the International Monetary Fund, Prakash Loungani, published a survey of the accuracy of economic forecasts throughout the 1990s. He reached two conclusions. The first was that forecasts are all much the same. There was little to choose between those produced by the IMF and the World Bank, and those from private sector forecasters. The second conclusion was that the predictive record of economists was terrible. Loungani wrote: “The record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished.”

What about the great recession? The record of failure remains impressive. There were 77 countries under consideration, and 49 of them were in recession in 2009. Economists – as reflected in the averages published in a report called Consensus Forecasts – had not called a single one of these recessions by April 2008.

Why are forecasts so poor? The chief explanation is that the economy is complicated and we don’t understand it well enough to make forecasts. We don’t even fully understand recent economic history.

A second explanation for forecasting’s fallibility is that there is little incentive to do better. The kind of institutional chief economist whose pronouncement makes it into Consensus Forecasts will stick to the middle of the road. Most countries, most of the time, are not in recession, so a safe strategy is never to forecast one.

Intruder Alert!!!!

6/1: IPOs



Keep this list and send a copy to your senior friends and relatives.


YOU must ASK for your discount!


Applebee's:             15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)

Arby's:                      10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerry's:         10% off (60+)

Bennigan's:             Discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy:        Discount varies by location (60+)

Boston Market:       10% off (65+)

Burger King:            10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A:              10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili's:                       10% off (55+)

CiCi's Pizza:            10% off (60+)
Denny's:                   10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55 +)
Dunkin' Donuts:       10% off or free coffee (55+)
Einstein's Bagels:   10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker's:          10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gatti's Pizza:           10% off (60+)

Golden Corral:        10% off (60+)
Hardee's:                 $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)

Jack in the Box:       Up to 20% off (55+)
KFC:                            Free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme:          10% off (50+)
Long John Silver:   Various discounts at locations (55+)
McDonald's:              Discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields:                10% off at participating locations (60+)

Shoney's:                 10% off
Sonic:                        10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake:       10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)

Subway:                   10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes:   10% off (62+)
Taco Bell :                  5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY:                        10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe:       10% off (50+)
Village Inn:                 10% off (60+)
Waffle House:            10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's:                     10% off (55 +)
Whataburger:             10% off (62+)
White Castle :            10% off (62+)


Banana Republic:    30% off (50+)
Bealls:                   20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk's:                   15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots:                30% off
Bon-Ton Dept        15 % off on senior discount days (55 +)
C.J. Banks:           10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks :                 10% off (62+)

Dress Barn:           20% off (55+)
Goodwill:              10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark:              10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart:                  40% off (Wednesdays only) (50+)
Kohl's:                  15% off (60+)

Modell's Sporting Goods:  30% off

Rite Aid:               10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores:        10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores:  Up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart:           20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55 +)

Albertson's:                       10% off first Wednesday of each month (55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket:  10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets:      5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion:                          60% off every Monday (60+)
Fry's Supermarket:            Free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55 +)

Great Valu Food Store:      5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket:     10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter:                    5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee:                            5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger:                            10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket:   5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed:               10% off every Tuesday (50 +)
Publix:                             15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers  Markelace:          5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace:  15% off (62+)

Alaska Airlines:               50% off (65+)
American Airlines:           Various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods (Tuesdays - Thursdays) (62+) and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines:        No initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines:          Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines:                 Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways:                    Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

  Amtrak:                  15% off (62+)
Bus:  Greyhound:           15% off (62+)  Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental:           Up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis:                               Up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars:       40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car:         10% off (50+)

Enterprise Rent-A-Car:  5% off for AARP members

Hertz:                            Up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car:      Up to 30% off for AARP members


Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn:                     20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western:                40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites:            20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria - NYC: $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels:              20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn:                   20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites:             20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge:               40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels:                  25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group:  Various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites:          10% off with Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels:             25% off (62+)
Motel 6:                         Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort:   30% off (55 +)
Quality Inn:                    40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn:                20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn:                      40% off (60+)


AMC Theaters:                          Up to 30% off (55 +)
Bally Total Fitness:                    $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa , FL :     $13 off one-day tickets (50 +)
Carmike Cinemas:                    35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters:    Up to 35% off
Massage Envy - NYC:               20% off all "Happy Endings" (62 +)
U.S. National Parks:                  $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas:                         50% off Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL :          $3 off one-day tickets (50 +)


AT&T:                          Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug:                     $10/month cell phone service (50 +)
Verizon Wireless:       Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Great Clips:      $8 off hair cuts (60+)
Supercuts:        $8 off haircuts (60+)



Study Finds Inconsistent Broker-Dealer Disclosure Practices
"A survey by an association of North American state and provincial securities regulators that found numerous inconsistencies in how broker-dealers disclose fees to customers adds weight to calls from federal regulators for service providers to furnish fee guides to employer retirement plan sponsors.... The survey identified: disclosures hidden in small print, embedded in lengthy account-opening documents or using varied terminology that does not define the service provided; differences in timing, placement, format, length and location of fee disclosures; and questionable practices regarding broker-dealer fee charges and markups."

6/1: Planning= 

Among Americans 40 to 54 years old, only 9 percent have done “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of planning, compared with 19 percent of people over 65.

The World's Largest Hedge Funds Control 90% Of Industry Assets (Reuters)

The largest hedge fund managers in the world, each with over $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) control 90% of industry assets. These 505 hedge fund managers manage $2.39 trillion in assets. "The increase in hedge fund assets is being driven by allocations from the largest investors in hedge funds, those which currently allocate more than $1 billion to the asset class.

6/1: Home care

People ages 41 to 64 with severe brain injuries were only about half as likely to enter a nursing home if they had quick access to home health care benefits.

Quick access to home health care cut the risk that people ages 55 to 64 with physical disabilities would enter a nursing home about 75 percent.

Medicaid spent more on home health care for the people who got quick access to home health care benefits, but reductions in spending on nursing home care offset the increase in home health care spending, and total Medicaid spending for the quick-access group was comparable to the spending for the people who faced long delays

A Third of the World Is Now Obese or Overweight

A new report by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds that some 2.1 billion people are obese or overweight, but it's not an evenly distributed health problem: adult men are more overweight in the developed world, but it's women who are more overweight in developing countries
Almost 30 percent of the earth’s population is obese or overweight, estimating that this affects about 2.1 billion people

The prevalence of overweight and obese children and adolescents worldwide has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1980, the study says, and no country on Earth has successfully reduced obesity rates in the last 33 years.

Childhood obesity rates are notably higher in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly among girls

April was the first time the monthly average of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million, a threshold that the U.N. says has "symbolic and scientific significance"

  • One-third of elderly Medicaid enrollees used long-term care services, but they accounted for 86 percent of all Medicaid spending on the elderly.
  • Fifteen percent of beneficiaries classified as disabled used long-term care services, but they accounted for 58 percent of all Medicaid spending on the disabled

In general, an individual can keep only up to $2,000 to $3,000 worth of assets, while a spouse’s protected assets are one-half of the couple’s countable assets up to the maximum, which is indexed annually. In many states the 2013 maximum was $115,920.

In addition, a monthly income allowance is permitted for people who apply for Medicaid and the amount of income varies by state. Spouses are generally allowed to keep their income, and if it falls below a specific amount, which varies by state and is indexed annually, income from the disabled spouse (i.e., Medicaid participant) can be directed to the community spouse (i.e., income from the spouse on Medicaid can be directed towards the spouse not on Medicaid.).

The Medicaid program was intended for poor people, not people who are poor on paper. Many long-term care Medicaid beneficiaries are in the middle- to upper-income classes and, without assistance to obtain eligibility, they would never be in the program. This slippery means of qualifying is not illegal, but one can see from the numbers that it has caused overuse of the program with the relatively few people accessing it for long-term care aid responsible for spending a disproportionate share of public monies for their long-term care expenses. 

The federal government has tried in the past to tighten up some of the vague language through which people can easily qualify. Each federal move has been countered by an analysis of the law and the identification of a new loophole, launching another round of what is referred to as “Medicaid planning.” The government then responds with more regulation, and so on. It’s like a chess match without a timer.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 was the boldest move by the federal government to date in this ongoing battle to preserve Medicaid for the truly needy. In addition to reauthorizing the Long-Term Care Partnership Program, the Deficit Reduction Act made several changes to Medicaid eligibility:

  • The look-back period on a Medicaid application is now five years for everything. It used to be five years only for transfers involving trusts, and three years for all other transfers; now, Medicaid will be checking your client’s finances a full five years from the date of application.
  • The penalty period assessed for individuals deemed ineligible for Medicaid benefits because of a transfer within the look-back period now begins with the date of Medicaid application. Previously, the ineligibility period started on the date of transfer. That’s a significant difference. Now every financial transaction made in the previous five years is scrutinized and any penalties are assessed according to the date of application. This change dealt a substantial blow to some Medicaid planning strategies for those trying to qualify as “poor on paper.”
  • A cap was placed on the amount of home equity allowed when determining Medicaid eligibility. The cap is currently $536,000, although states can opt for $802,000, providing they apply for permission from the Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of states have used the $500,000 limit (as indexed for inflation) as they do battle with their own Medicaid budgets. Some states (Idaho and Nebraska, to name two) have chosen the $750,000 limit (as indexed for inflation), probably in recognition of the number of farms in those states whose equity value can be calculated on the high side. This rule was enacted to counteract the Medicaid planning technique of putting the majority of assets into a protected asset — the home — from which money could be easily accessed via a home equity line of credit. This was a less risky move than transferring assets out of one’s name.
  • Any annuity that has a deferred or balloon payment is counted as an asset. Or, if it has gone into an irrevocable payment mode, the annuity will be considered an asset transferred at less than fair market value and will be subject to a qualifying penalty period. Further, a Medicaid applicant must name the state as remainder beneficiary on all annuities or as second remainder beneficiary behind a spouse, disabled child, or minor child under the age of 21.

Following is a listing of what one can keep today and still qualify for Medicaid: 
  • An individual’s principal residence if home equity is below the threshold of $536,000 in 2013 (or $802,000 in some states); it can be above these limits if a spouse or child (under age 21 or blind and disabled) lives in it. The home equity limit is indexed for inflation.
  • An automobile
  • Personal property up to reasonable limits
  • Jewelry (such as an engagement or wedding ring)
  • A small amount of life insurance cash value
  • Burial plots
  • If married, the healthy spouse can keep (in 2013) 50 percent of total assets up to $115,920
  • Long-term care partnership policy proceeds

The obviously vulnerable assets here are the liquid ones: cash, checking and savings accounts, investments, stocks, individual retirement accounts, pensions, etc. These assets would have to be transferred out five years ahead of filing for Medicaid assistance.

First, the asset transfer must be irrevocable: in short, you cannot access that money. You can, however, transfer it to a child and have your bills directed to them to pay. But be careful. One agent told me that he knew a couple who transferred all their liquid money away to their son, only to see him divorced a couple of years later and half of their assets going to their former daughter-in-law.

Second, a Medicaid recipient may not be able to go to the facility that they want for long-term care. Medicaid works only with providers who accept Medicaid reimbursement (the lowest of any third-party payers), which could limit one’s choice. Third, a Medicaid recipient will likely have roommates. People whom you might never have associated with in your former life are now your companions for the rest of it.

Recent changes to the Medicaid program have made it more attractive for those trying to qualify for Medicaid assistance. In the past, one of the biggest drawbacks to qualifying for the Medicaid program for long-term care assistance is that Medicaid would traditionally reimburse only for nursing home care, the least desirable (to consumers) of all long-term care services. But in the last decade, Medicaid has been mandated to cover the more desirable benefit of home care. This has gained the interest of more consumers who in the past would have dismissed Medicaid as a financing option.

The home care movement in Medicaid stems from the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Olmstead v. L.C., which held that the unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is a form of discrimination. Thus began a steady shift of Medicaid beneficiaries from nursing homes to their own homes. Advocates say it saves Medicaid money because home care is less expensive. Opponents of this trend state that it merely extends the length of a Medicaid claim because you are giving people something they want — home care — vs. a nursing home, and thus are inviting earlier application. States simply see larger Medicaid expenditures every year.

Medicaid accounts for 40 percent of all long-term care spending. And because this serves only a small number of beneficiaries overall, look for states to consider making eligibility for reimbursement of these expenses much harder for potential applicants

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled unmarried domestic partners have a right to some retirement benefits via a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).

How many days old are you?

5/29: Interesting
  • Term Insurance With A Disability Rider!!!
  • Issue Ages 18-50
  • Amounts from $25,000 to $999,999
  • 15-30 year Term
5/28: Fascinating

click on a city, country. etc and go on an unguided tour........


Masai-Mar Kenya   •   Plosky Tolbachik Volcano , Russia   •   Mont Saint-Michel Abbay, France   •   Acropolis, Athens, Greece   •   Ay-Petri, Ukraine   •   Angel falls, Venezuela   •   Angkor Wat, Cambodia   •   South Georgia Island, British overseas territory   •   Buenos Aires, Argentina   •   Athens, Greece   •   Bagan, Myanmar   •   Bangkok, Thailand   •   Barcelona, Spain   •   Moscow Kremlin, Russia   •   Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil   •   Bryce Canyon, USA   •   Cancun, Mexico   •   Cape Good Hope, South Africa   •   Chicago, Illinois, USA   •   Corcovado, Brazil   •   Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, Russia   •   Venezuela, Surroundings of Angel Falls, Venezuela   •   Manhattan, New York, USA   •   The Caribbean, Dominican Republic   •   Paris, France   •   EuroMaidan, Ukraine   •   Everest, Nepal   •   Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland   •   Lake Bogoria, Kenya   •   Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Russia   •   Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia   •   Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic   •   Flooding, Germany   •   Florence, Italy   •   Forest falls, Brazil   •   Fussen Town, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles, Germany   •   Moscow Region, Russia   •   Golden Gate Bridge, USA   •   Grand Canyon, USA   •   Manhattan, New York, USA   •   Moscow, Russia   •   Egyptian Pyramids, Egypt   •   The Great Wall of China, China   •   Cape-Town, South Africa   •   Halong Bay, Vietnam   •   Oahu, Hawaii, USA   •   Manhattan, New York, USA   •   Langisjor and Veidivotn, Iceland   •   Hollywood, California, USA   •   Hong Kong, China   •   Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon, Iceland   •   Iguasu Falls, Argentina   •   Iceland, Iceland   •  Kalyan Minaret, Bukhara, Uzbekistan   •   Kazan, Russia   •   Kiev, Ukraine   •   Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia   •   Lake Powell, USA   •   Las Vegas, USA   •   Pisa, Tuscany, Italy   •   Los Angeles, California, USA   •   Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   •   Machu Picchu, Peru   •   Matterhorn-Cervino, Switzerland   •   Tikal, Guatemala   •   Mexico, Mexico   •   Miami, USA   •   Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USA   •   MKAD, Moscow, Russia   •   Easter-Island, Chile   •   Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand   •   Mono Lake, California, USA   •   Kotor Bay, Montenegro   •   Moscow, Kremlin, Russia   •   Moscow City, Russia   •   Moscow City, Russia   •   Moscow, Russia   •   Moscow Kremlin, Russia   •   Moscow, MSU, Russia   •   Moscow, Russia   •   Moscow, Russia   •   Krokus Expo Center, Moscow, Russia   •   City of Capitals, Russia   •   Istanbul, Turkey   •   Nazca Lines, Peru   •   Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany   •   Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USA   •  Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USA   •   Manhattan, New York, USA   •   Fiordland, New Zealand   •   New Jerusalem Monastery, Russia   •   Niagara Falls, USA   •   Norwegian Fjords, Norway   •   Novodevichy Convent. Moscow, Russia   •   Grimsvotn, Iceland   •   Orda Cave, Russia   •   Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE   •   Paris, France   •   Petra, Jordan   •   Prague, Czech Republic   •   Reykjavik, Iceland   •   Romw, Italy   •   Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA   •   San Juan and Colorado rivers, USA   •   Goosenecks, Utah, USA   •   Oia, Greece   •  Shanghai, China   •   Moscow, Russia   •   Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar   •   Kremlin, Moscow, Russia   •   Saint-Petersburg, Russia   •   Saint Petersburg, Russia   •   Sankt-Moritz, Switzerland   •   Statue of Liberty, New York, USA   •   Manhattan, New York, USA   •   Swaminarayan Akshardham, India   •   Sydney, Australia   •   Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia   •   Taj Mahal, India   •   The Drakensberg, South Africa   •   White Sea, Russia   •   Palpa, Peru   •   Great Barrier Reef, Australia   •   The Iguazu Falls, Brazil   •   Matterhorn, Switzerland   •   Everest, Nepal   •   Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, Australia   •   Blue Lagoon, Iceland   •   Trinity Lavra of Sait Sergius, Russia   •   North Pole, North Pole   •   Cramp fish, Maldives   •   Maldives, Maldives   •   Nepal, Nepal   •   Uzon caldera, Kamchatka, Russia, Russia   •   Italy, Vatican   •   Venice, Italy   •   Victoria Falls, Zambia   •   Ramenki,Moscow, Russia   •   Cape Town, RSA   •   Dubai, UAE   •   Toronto, Canada   •   Dubai, Islands, UAE   •   Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany   •   Amsterdam, Holland   •   Kamchatka, Volcano Plosky Tolbachik, Russia   •   Waterfalls, Iceland   • 

Mentally Ill

Across the country, an estimated 356,268 people with mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are in prisons and jails, compared with just 35,000 in state hospitals.

A study released in March by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriff's Association, whose members have become the nation's reluctant warders of the mentally ill, indicated that the number of state mental hospital beds in proportion to the national population has fallen to what it was in 1850. It's as if we're regressing back to medieval tenets for dealing with the mentally ill. Back to the dark ages when it was acceptable to torment and torture and kill those befuddled souls deemed to be lunatics.

5/27: bubble

RBS and Lloyds retreat from London mortgages


Britain’s two state-backed banks have retreated from lending to the London property market since the financial crisis, in a sign of caution amid fears of an inflating housing bubble


5/27: Glass of employment (mauldin) 

the quality of the jobs that have been created since the end of the last recession does not match the quality of the jobs that were lost during that recession:

  • Lower-wage industries constituted 22 percent of recession losses, but 44 percent of recovery growth.
  • Mid-wage industries constituted 37 percent of recession losses, but only 26 percent of recovery growth.
  • Higher-wage industries constituted 41 percent of recession losses, and 30 percent of recovery growth.

Yes, unemployment is down, but so is labor participation, and the simple fact is that outside of the petroleum sector new jobs are not being created to anyone’s satisfaction. In my presentation at the conference I showed a chart that illustrates the fact that we are losing businesses faster than we are creating new ones – an unprecedented statistic. This is a glass not only half-empty but leaking:

unfilled job openings are at a five-year high. The U.S. government is granting fewer visas, college students are graduating without marketable skills, and the skills of many workers who have been laid off for long periods have become outdated

The Psychology of Human Misjudgement - Charlie Munger

10 Sobering discoveries about Americans and finance

If there was any doubt about the sad reality of America’s financial literacy, consider these 10 sobering findings:

  1. In describing what getting ahead means for them, nearly two-in-three Americans mention financial indicators, like financial stability, savings, retirement, covering bills, providing for a family, and other monetary items. — All State-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, 2012
  2. Forty-one percent of U.S. adults, or more than 92 million people living in America, gave themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance. — National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, 2014
  3. Less than half of the participants in a survey of 5,000 people could correctly answer eight basic financial literacy questions. — National Association for Retirement Plan Participants Study, 2014.
  4. Less than one in five U.S. adults consider themselves a Highly Disciplined financial planner – i.e., they know their exact goals, have developed specific plans to meet them, and rarely deviate from those plans. — Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study, 2014
  5. In a survey of 25,500 participants in 28 countries, the U.S. ranked dead last when it came to the question: “To what extent would you say teenagers and young adults in (Country) are adequately prepared to manage their own money?” And 70.5 percent of respondents said American teens don’t understand money management basics. – Visa’s International Financial Literacy Barometer, 2012
  6. For every dollar spent on financial education, is spent on financial marketing. — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2013.
  7. A survey of 25,000 Americans adults found that 61 percent do not compare offers or collect information from more than one company when shopping for credit cards. — FINRA’s National Financial Capability Study, 2012 
  8. Investors have a weak grasp of elementary financial concepts and lack critical knowledge of ways to avoid investment fraud. — Securities and Exchange Commission’s Study Regarding Financial Literacy Among Investors, 2012
  9. A survey of 1,000 individuals over 25 found that more than half of workers report they and/or their spouse have less than ,000 in total savings and investments. — Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey, 2013
  10. A survey of 9,523 individuals found that 28 percent of respondents had taken on credit card debt to keep up with student loan payments. — Young Invincibles’ Borrower in Distress: Survey on the Impact of Private Student Loan Debt, 2013

5/27: John Nicola

For a large part of the twentieth century the developed world experienced real growth of 3%+ per year. Many countries now have flat or declining populations, and all of them are aging. Looking forward, the developed world would be doing well if it were to realize real growth of 2% annually. Global growth will be driven by developing nations.

5/27: Yamarone-

Since GDP began to be reported in 1947, he points out, the U.S. economy has slid into recession every time GDP growth has fallen to 2%, a level below which it currently stands.


Senior Care Payment Solutions


LTC- According to the American Long Term Care Insurance Association, more than 8 million Americans have long-term care (LTC) insurance policies. But, according to Matt Murphy, many of these policyholders aren’t aware of what their policy covers, and aren’t able to take advantage of their LTC insurance benefits. In fact, women get an average of 50% of their LTC insurance premiums back in the form of care, and men successfully claim just 33% of their premiums, or payments into the policy.

Read more here:


Mental disorders in Elderly

“When assessing mental disorders in the elderly it is important to clarify if, in fact, the illness had its onset in the senior years or whether what is being seen is a recurrence of a disorder that had its onset earlier in life. When bipolar disorders are seen in seniors they are most often due to the recurrence of bipolar episodes which began earlier in life. That being said there are relatively uncommon geriatric onset bipolar disorders or disorders which have symptoms similar to bipolar illness (such as an episode of psychotic mania) which later turns out to be a manifestation of a more global illness, such as dementia. It is also noted that, not uncommonly, individuals with dementia will have significant psychiatric symptoms, such as agitation, combativeness, delusions or hallucinations, particularly as their disease progresses.”

 A complete neuropsychiatric consultation should include the following:

  • Cognitive tests
  • Mental status examinations
  • Neuroimaging such as MRI or CAT scan
  • Thorough social, developmental and physical history
  • Complete medication and supplement review
  • Laboratory assessments


U.S. rental guide

Price per square foot. Pretty ingenious

 Number of Alzheimer’s deaths found to be underreported

Official mortality figures may have substantially underreported deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 show two recent studies supported in part by NIA. Underreporting of Alzheimer’s as a cause of death on death certificates is a well-known phenomenon. Some people with the disease never receive a diagnosis. Many others have dementia-related conditions, such as aspiration pneumonia, listed as the primary cause of death while the underlying cause, Alzheimer’s, is never reported.


One way to protect yourself is to limit your selection of a planner to professionals who hold the CFP®  designation. At least you know you are selecting a real financial planner. The role of the planner is to help you develop a financial roadmap that is based on your goals, circumstances, concerns, budget, savings rate, proposed retirement date and other financial criteria. There are different types of plans based on your age, work status, family, and objectives: Financial Plans, Retirement Plans, Estate Plans, College Plans, Charitable Plans, and Tax Plans.

EFM- The CFP is ONE semester on money. To cover all the items above with any level of sophistication would take years longer.

A true planner does not get involved in the implementation of the plan (?), which may include investment and insurance advice. This type of professional focuses on the plan and refers you to professionals who provide other types of advice (investment, insurance, tax). However, this is increasingly rare because most planning-only professionals tell us it is hard to make a good living providing planning services. They have to get involved in the implementation of the plan to make significant money. Implementation includes specialized knowledge, for example investment, insurance, and tax expertise.


It Is Officially Dangerously Quiet In Markets [The Economist]

The Vix has dropped to its lowest since 2007. Bond volatility is creeping closer to the historic lows it reached a year ago. And foreign exchange volatility is back to the lows of 2007. This is all probably bad, says the Economist. "One reason folks on Wall Street are deeply skeptical, if not downright hostile, to the Fed's policies is that they believe volatility is the natural order of things and artificially suppressing it via monetary policy is morally equivalent to price fixing, and more practically, bound to end in tears when the system's natural instability returns. I don't have much sympathy with the moral arguments; all monetary regimes fix the price of something in terms of money: bonds, short-term treasury bills, foreign exchange, gold. But I do worry that by squeezing out short-term volatility, we may be storing up long-term volatility. Hyman Minsky had spent most of the post-war years developing his thesis that stability begets instability, and died, in 1996, before he saw it vindicated with the 'Minsky moment' of 2008." 


Summer Stock Doldrums Set In Early [BESPOKE]

While there remains plenty of volatility in small cap and momentum stocks, the broader market has set into its usual summer complacency early, Bespoke says. "Over the last three months the spread between the S&P 500’s intraday high and low has been less than 5% (chart below).  To find a three month range where the S&P 500 traded in a narrower range over a three month period, you have to go eight years back all the way to October 2006."

The Graying of Japan: Tough Choices on the Population Dilemma

Excellent article on the decline of a once great country. 


Well, that is reassuring
Only 86 percent of new recruits at the height of the Iraq War had completed high school. Many with felony convictions were allowed in.
Today, 99 percent of recruits have graduated from high school

a 2009 study by an organization of educators and retired military leaders estimated that 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24 were ineligible to enlist.

Obesity alone disqualified 27 percent. Many others were ruled out by problems ranging from juvenile crime to unfinished schooling to massive credit card debt.

5/22: Credit bubble (Roubini)

“All the risky things that were happening back in ’06 and ’07 are back again to the same level, if not more,”  “So we are in the beginning of a credit bubble, but just the beginning. A year or two from now, with the policy rate still barely above zero, the risk is that it becomes a full-fledged bubble.”
Roubini warned that if the Fed ends its easing initiatives then a bond market crash could occur and eventually destroy the economy: “If you exit too late, you create a financial bubble. That’s the biggest challenge for the Fed in the next three to four years.”

5/22: And from JP Morgan

Where do we go from here? To this analyst, still very subdued economic growth, both at the US and global level, implies continued easy monetary policy. The risk is that bond yields rise no faster than the forwards. Financial overheating (asset inflation) proceeds much faster than economic overheating (CPI inflation). Before CPI inflation has a chance to emerge, and before monetary policy is truly above neutral, a financial bubble will have popped up somewhere and will have corrected, pushing the economy down. That is what has happened in the past 25 years. The behavior of central banks gives us no confidence that this time will be different: Central banks talk about financial instability, but appear to define this mostly in term of bank leverage. Each successive boom and bust is always in another place. A bubble can emerge without leverage. It is not possible to project exactly where this boom and bust cycle will take place as knowing where it will be would induce evasive actions that should prevent it from occurring. One possible ending, among many, is that ultra-easy rates having induced credit markets to grow much faster than equity markets, combines with reduced market making by banks (many of whom have become like brokers) to create a liquidity crisis when the Fed starts the first set of rate hikes. This could then be bad enough to close primary markets, and thus push us into a credit crisis.


On Average, Women Are Still Way Behind Men When It Comes to Retirement Savings
"Men had an average of $139,467 in their individual retirement accounts as of 2012, compared with the average of $81,700 that women had stashed in their IRAs ... [T]he most likely factor ... is probably not that surprising: Women still make less, on average, when compared with men. Women earned roughly 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2012, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. That was unchanged from the year before and not much higher than the 61 cents women made for every dollar earned by men in 1960."


Brilliant commentary on behavior and economics 


Nearly 10 million U.S. households remain stuck in homes worth less than their mortgage and a similar number have so little equity they can't meet the expenses of selling a home, trends that help explain recent sluggishness in the housing recovery.

At the end of the first quarter, some 18.8% of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage—9.7 million households—were "underwater" on their mortgage

In addition to the homeowners who are underwater, roughly 10 million households have 20% or less equity in their homes

the least expensive homes—those in the lower third of the price spectrum, which first-time home buyers are most likely to be shopping for—are much more likely to be underwater than higher-priced homes. Nationwide, about 30% of homes in the bottom third of the price range were underwater in the first quarter, compared to 18% of homes in the middle third and 11% of homes in the top third.


5/20: Houses:
17 percent of residential properties were secured by loans that total at least 25 percent more than the home is worth. Another 16 percent are somewhere between 10 percent negative equity and 10 percent positive equity.

5/20: Typical Life



70% of those polled said that growing their assets is increasingly more important than protecting their principal investment, nearly 60% also said they were unwilling to take on more than minimal risk.

This disconnect stems partly from investors not understanding the nature of their investments. Three-quarters claimed to only invest in products that they understood well. But only one-quarter said that their overall investment knowledge is very strong.

“This demonstrates a great opportunity for financial advisors and the industry to help educate investors on realistic expectations and strategies to reach their goals,”

EFM- the opportunity is there but not the true knowledge.

5/19: This is a big deal

American Rail Traffic Booms To A 3-Year High

The latest rail traffic data showed record gains in intermodal and the highest 12 week moving average since 2011 at 8.5%.  This certainly seems to validate the idea that weather substantially impacted Q1 and we’re starting to see a resurgence in Q2 data.  Current Q2 GDP estimates also appear to validate this view with the consensus at 3.5% as of now.

Somebody say I was fat??????

5/19: Woof
Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2013


Caregiver Toolkit for Your Senior Care Search

5/18: All wages flat or down


5/18 :SMART PEOPLE - Most Americans think they're smarter than everyone else in the country. Fifty-five percent of Americans think that they are smarter than the average American, according to a new survey by YouGov. In other words, the average American thinks that he or she is smarter than the average American.

5/18: Old

5/18: Manufacturing employees

39% said they faced a severe shortage of qualified applicants and 60% said it was difficult to hire the skilled people they needed

5/18: Funerals

The cost of an average funeral doesn’t include cemetery expenses such as burial space, a burial vault, the opening and closing of a grave, or a headstone. When accounting for those expenses, the average cost for a traditional funeral rises dramatically, usually to somewhere between $9,000 and $12,000.

Just 12% save

Only 42 percent of low-income older people are employed at any given time, making it difficult for a broad swath of this population to save consistently. When they are employed, they cluster in workplaces that have no retirement savings plan. Only 44 percent work for employers offering such plans..

The bottom line is that just 12 percent end up participating in a savings plan.

  1. Are Corporate Bond Market Returns Predictable?




Yongmiao Hong
Hai Lin
Chunchi Wu


This paper examines the predictability of corporate bond returns using the transaction-based index data for the period from October 1, 2002 to December 31, 2010. We find evidence of significant serial and cross-serial dependence in daily investment-grade and high-yield bond returns. The serial dependence exhibits a complex nonlinear structure. Both investment-grade and high-yield bond returns can be predicted by past stock market returns in-sample and out-of-sample, and the predictive relation is much stronger between stocks and high-yield bonds. By contrast, there is little evidence that stock returns can be predicted by past bond returns. These findings are robust to various model specifications and test methods, and provide important implications for modeling the term structure of defaultable bonds.


Six Questions You Should Ask
Before Choosing a Nursing Home

“Use your nose.”
That used to be standard advice given to people searching for prospective nursing homes for themselves or their loved ones.

The sentiment behind the advice was to prompt people to use their olfactory sense to determine whether a facility was clean, practiced proper hygiene, etc., explained James Ellor, Ph.D., professor in Baylor University’s School of Social Work and gerontology expert.

But now – during a time when nursing facilities and hospitals pay extra for specially designed, odor-neutralizing waxes and paint – people need to be aware of more subtle clues to help them find the best facility.

During this year’s National Nursing Home Week (May 11-17), Ellor offers six questions people should ask while investigating – and before choosing – a nursing home.

1. What is the turnover rate for nurse’s aides?
“Nurse’s aides are the backbone of care,” Ellor said. “In some cases, we’ve seen an average turnover of three months. That’s not good.”

2. Does the patient’s doctor serve the facility?
“When you’re under the care of your physician, you’re going to get better treatment,” Ellor said. “Also, you need to assess the reputation of the medical director.”

3. What is the status of the facility’s recreation and social services?
In general, Ellor said, nonprofit facilities will have more chaplains, social workers and recreation therapists on staff than their for-profit counterparts. He advises potential clients and their families to check whether the recreation therapist is certified.

“Some facilities will hire someone who can operate an arts-and-crafts system, but he or she is not a certified therapist,” Ellor said. “The ideal situation is for a certified recreation therapist to be supervised by an occupational therapist on staff.”

He also advises to look for recreation and therapy equipment, including stairs, therapy balls and other rehabilitation tools. The presence of ample equipment can be evidence of a thriving rehabilitation and recreation program, he said.

4. What is the reputation of the nursing staff?
Ellor advises potential residents to do due diligence by checking the facility’s record with the state’s board of public health and by questioning a nursing home ombudsman.

“A nursing home ombudsman can often tell you whether a facility has had a number of problems,” he said. “The board of public health can tell you if the place has received any citations.”

5. Is the facility accredited?
Ellor said accreditation is not always a deal breaker, but accreditation shows that the facility has taken extra steps to comply with The Joint Commission, formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCOAH).

“A handful of nursing homes are accredited,” he said. “This is strictly voluntary on the part of the facility, but it shows that they’ve taken extra steps.”

6. How is the environment?
This question addresses everything from “Are there plants in the rooms and hallways?” to “Is the facility operated based on the needs of the staff or the needs of the patient?”

Of the latter example, Ellor said, “Are the patients awakened by the night shift in the wee hours of the morning to accommodate staffing schedules, or are they allowed to wake up on their own time?”

Ellor said organizations such as Pioneer Project and Eden Experiment monitor these types of things and can provide reliable resources for investigation purposes.

When you overfeed your hamster



5/14: China bust

Property investment has grown to account for about 13 per cent of gross domestic product, roughly double the US share at the height of the bubble in 2007. Add related sectors, such as steel, cement and other construction materials, and the figure is closer to 16 per cent. The broadly defined property sector accounts for about a third of fixed-asset investment, which Beijing is supposed to be subordinating to the target of economic rebalancing in favour of household consumption. It accounts for about a fifth of commercial bank loans but is used as collateral in at least two-fifths of total lending. The booming property market, moreover, has produced bounteous revenues from land sales, which fuel much local and provincial government infrastructure spending.

The reason things look different today is the realisation of chronic oversupply. As the property slowdown has kicked in, housing starts, completions and sales have turned markedly lower, especially outside the principal cities. Inventories of unsold homes in Beijing are reported to have risen from seven to 12 months’ supply in the year to April. But when it comes to homes under construction and total sales, the bulk is in “tier two” cities, where the overhang of unsold homes has risen to about 15 months; and in tier three and four cities, where it is about 24 months.


Sharpe used a similar line of reasoning to explain why a static 60/40 asset allocation cannot work for all investors. If a particular strategy is good for some investors, then it can only work in the long run if markets can “clear,” he said. That means that the strategy must continue to offer its benefits regardless of how many investors pursue it.

Consider an average investor or institution who wants to take as much risk as possible and get the same expected return as the overall market. If the capitalizations of the stock and bond markets are in a 60/40 proportion, then all investors can have this allocation.

Imagine, Sharpe said, what would happen if stock prices rose relative to bonds, and the market was weighted 70/30. Now, to have a market portfolio, you should be 70/30.

But virtually all investment policy statements are written with static allocations, such as 60/40. In that case, to rebalance, investors must sell winners (stocks) and buy losers (bonds).

Here’s the problem: Not everyone can do that, at least at then-current market prices. Markets would not allow all investors to revert to a 60/40 portfolio.


the percentage of nine-year-old children reading for pleasure once or more per week had dropped from 81 percent in 1984 to 76 percent in 2013, based on government studies. There were even larger decreases among older children.

A large portion rarely read for pleasure. About a third of 13-year-olds and almost half of 17-year-olds reported in one study that they read for pleasure less than twice a year.

Only about one-third of fourth grade students are “proficient” in reading and another one-third scored below “basic” reading skills.

About 46 percent of white children are considered “proficient” in reading, compared with 18 percent of black children and 20 percent of Hispanic kids

EFM- well, you can kiss off much of the future.

Drink up:

Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organization said Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise.

Including drunk driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year.

"This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds," .

Binge drinking is especially damaging to health, the WHO pointed out, estimating that 16 percent of the world's drinkers abuse alcohol to excess

On average, every person above the age of 15 worldwide drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol in a year, according to the report.

Counting only those who drink though, that rises to 17 litres of pure alcohol each year.

Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 percent of global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women).

In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 percent, tuberculosis causes 1.7 percent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 percent

5/13: Earnings down

5/13: Glut of houses 

U.S. homeownership rate was at a 19-year low, and some experts think it'll never come back.

  1. Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars: But Do the Financial Markets Know It?




Amélie Charles (Audencia Recherche - Audencia)
Etienne Redor (Audencia Recherche - Audencia)


Although existing research has documented in very wide and detailed terms the impact of the presence of female directors on the financial performance of firms, very little is known about the link between board composition and corporate risk-taking. Drawing from the academic literature demonstrating that women are more risk averse than men, herein, we analyze the relationship between gender diversity and firm risk. In particular, we study whether the appointment of female directors affects firm risk level. We use three different measures of risk (total risk, systematic risk, and unsystematic risk) and compare firm risk level before the addition of new members (both male and female) to the corporate board to the risk level after such additions. Our results indicate that there is no significant gender difference in the risk level before and after the appointment of a director, when the whole sample is considered. However, so me differences appear when the analysis is conducted by industry. Similarly, we show that the appointment of a female director has a greater impact on firm risk in female-director-friendly firm.

5/12: Statistics

And always quite useful

5:11: 401ks

There’s evidence that as the number of home equity loans has dropped, there is more pressure on workers to tap their 401(k) plans for emergencies and extra cash. The volume of home equity loans has dropped 38% since 2007. And last year, the government collected 37% more from early withdrawals than it did in 2003.

The problem is especially acute for younger workers, who tend to cash out when changing jobs, especially when their account balances are small. The cash-out rate for workers 20-39 years old is 40%; a 30-year-old who cashes out a $16,000 account will be losing an estimated $471 a month at age 67

Pretty much sucks
There are roughly 800 different types of financial-literacy curricula currently published in the U.S. Institutions from the Federal Reserve to the Council for Economic Education to financial services companies offer guides on the best ways to teach young people about money, financial markets, and good saving habits.

The federal government alone spent $68 million on 15 financial-literacy programs in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office. And the Jump$tart Coalition, a D.C.-based nonprofit that promotes financial education, has found that roughly 25 states now require some type of financial-literacy classes or similar exposure to graduate from high school.

The only problem with this myriad of options? They tend to teach financial literacy in a pretty didactic way by testing students on multiple-choice questions instead of asking them to really think through their financial values.

EFM= One of my pet peeves is the Stock Market Game. Shows kids how to gamble.

A November 2013 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed that the financial industry spends about $17 billion annually to market its products, whereas the federal government, nonprofits, schools, and corporations combined spend about $670 million on financial education. That comes out to about $54 per person per year spent on financial marketing versus a little more than $2 per person spent on financial education



Understanding Hallucinations and Delusions in Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease causes memory deficits and makes it hard for people afflicted with it to stay in the current moment. But, as caregivers and family members know very well, providing effective care to someone in the middle of a suspicious hallucination or delusion may require every ounce of energy you have. Here’s a closer look at what we know about the hallucinations and delusions Alzheimer’s patients experience.

Because there’s an important distinction between a hallucination and a delusion, let’s start by defining our terms.


A hallucination can be understood as a sensory experience that is imagined. In other words, it’s something a person sees, smells, hears, tastes, or feels (or any combination of those). When someone with Alzheimer’s has a hallucination, they see, hear, smell, taste or even feel something that isn’t really there.

While a hallucination may be frightening in nature – for instance, a person may feel and see bugs crawling up their legs – it can also involve visions of the past and the sense of reliving old experiences. In our interview with Dr. Stephen Hoag, author of A Son’s Handbook: Bringing Up Mom with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, he describes how when he took his mother, a former vaudeville performer, to the big grocery store in town, “Mom would see all these people as an audience and say, ‘You’re on next!’ So I’d take it away, singing and dancing with her and entertaining everyone.” This is an endearing example of the hallucinations that accompany Alzheimer’s – and indeed, that specific one happened often enough that the locals still tell Dr. Hoag how they miss he and his mother’s spontaneous supermarket performances. “And if on another day Mom thought I was her boyfriend from high school,” he says, “that’s who I became. There’s no way to deal with it rationally or directly. You don’t reason it out.”


Meanwhile, as explains, a delusion is not the same thing as a hallucination. The primary distinction is that, unlike a hallucination, a delusion involves a set of false beliefs. An Alzheimer’s patient suffering a delusion may be overwhelmingly suspicious of the people around them, believing that family members or caretakers are trying to trick them and steal their possessions, or that the government or police are following them, or any number of highly paranoid scenarios.

One challenge for caregivers and family members is to keep in mind that the disease is causing these delusional behaviors. Just as with hallucinations, delusions are not rational; you can’t reason with a dementia patient who’s experiencing a delusion, because reason doesn’t enter into it. For caregivers, the only good way forward is, as Dr. Hoag puts it, to “Lead with your love.”

What Causes Hallucinations and Delusions? 

These false perceptions are caused by changes within the brain that result from Alzheimer’s, usually in the middle to later stages of the disease. Memory loss and other cognitive problems that cause confusion—such as the inability to remember certain objects or recognize faces—can contribute to these untrue beliefs. It’s important to bear in mind that people with Alzheimer’s continually struggle to make sense of the world in the face of their declining cognitive function, and it’s a profoundly lonely and isolating experience.

Do They Get Worse as the Disease Progresses?

It’s also important to note that medication side effects can masquerade as dementia. Indeed, many seniors are prescribed medications by different specialists, with no one doctor responsible for tracking how all the drugs interact together. Even on their own, certain anti-anxiety medications (like Xanax and Valium) have the potential to create side effects that strongly resemble dementia, including short-term memory loss and hallucinations.

The Role of Memory Care

For a person with middle-to late-stage Alzheimer’s who suffers from hallucinations and dementia, the best caregiving solutions may be what’s called memory care. A memory care community is an assisted living environment that has the staff and setup to prevent wandering and give individuals the daily assistance they need. They may also include therapies–such as art therapy, music therapy, group reminiscence therapy, and even pet therapy–that are designed to reduce anxiety and improve mood. If you’re looking for memory care, Senior Living Advisors at A Place for Mom can guide you in your search.


State by State Guide to Assisted Living Records

the first thorough evaluation of the openness and accessibility of assisted living records across the U.S. Our guide examines how to find assisted living records in each state. It also reports on and evaluates the amount of relevant information about assisted living communities published online, and the ease of access to it.


5/11: Look at this carefully and tell me what you see

The agent  offers a regular SPL policy and makes a nice commission. But if he offered the client the better policy with the bonus, the commission is cut by a large amount. Wonder which one is sold the most?



Look at student loans


5/11: What do we get back from Canada? Ice????


An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States

5/11:  old

·         Just 5% of 65-year-old females and 3% of 65-year-old males will make it to age 100.

·         But a much larger percentage--29% of 65-year-old males and 39% of 65-year-old females--are expected to live to age 90.




5/8; Does your insurance policy cover for exploding corpses???

A woman whose apartment was badly damaged after her upstairs neighbor’s decomposing corpse exploded has to pay up for the damages, says the
New York Daily News. Judy Rodrigo’s nearly six-year battle for full insurance coverage to repair her putrid apartment ended this week after a Palm Beach County court ruled that the type of bodily explosion that destroyed her walls wasn’t the kind her policy covered.

EFM: There should be a rider for this. What about bad hiccups?? MASS.IVE INDIGESTION?? Terminal Flatulence

Reverse Mortgage Calculator



Answers to Your Most Frequent Questions about Social Security Benefits


During Financial Literacy Month we asked our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ friends what questions they had related to Social Security benefits and retirement.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we received and the answers that our partner at the Social Security Administration provided.

What is the minimum age to collect Social Security benefits?

As early as 62 years of age. Calculate your benefits by year of birth and learn about the pros and cons of early retirement or delaying retirement.

How can I collect benefits if I have a child with a disability?

If you are the parent of a child who has a physical or mental impairment that causes severe functional limitations, you could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Visit: to learn more and complete a disability report. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with the SSA.

Is my spouse eligible for benefits?

A spouse could receive an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount the beneficiary receives at full retirement age, if the spouse is of full retirement age as well. If this spouse receives a pension from an employer not covered under Social Security, benefits will be reduced. You can find more information on the Government Pension Offset (PDF).

Survivor benefits, how does this work?

If you are a widow or the child of a deceased worker, you may be eligible for a Lump-Sum Death Payment.

There are no statute of limitations on receiving survivor death benefits if you are a child, parent or surviving spouse of a deceased worker.  Detailed information can also be found here information here: How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies (PDF).

What are the benefit implications of delaying retirement?

If retirement is delayed, the worker will be eligible for Delayed Retirement Credits. Delayed Retirement Credits from Social Security are an eight percent increase in the benefits for every year retirement is delayed. [Ted Leber suggests you consider a delayed benefit of a +8% a year for life like “longevity” insurance.]

If a beneficiary currently receives Social Security benefits, and he or she is not of full retirement age, up to $15,480.00 in 2014 will be paid. Social Security will deduct $1 from the benefits for each $2 earned above that limit.

If you reach full retirement age this year, the beneficiary can earn $41,400 in the months before the month full retirement age is attained. If he or she earns above the limit, Social Security will deduct $1 from these benefits for every $3 earned above the limit.

How do I apply for Medicare?

Once a worker hits retirement age, there is a 24 month waiting period to be eligible for Medicare. There is no application required. Three months before coverage begins, the beneficiary will receive a Medicare card with instructions and details regarding coverage and premiums. More information is available at

Medicare does not pay for all the costs of medical expenses.

Some beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare supplemental insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers more information about Medigap policies (supplemental insurance).

What if I collect other benefits from the federal government?

A pension should not be affected by a spouse’s own Social Security benefits unless a spouse receives a pension from The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). More information on the Government Pension Offset is available on the Social Security Administration’s website.

My benefits seem too low, how can I have my benefits reviewed?

It is possible to be eligible for additional benefits if the beneficiary does not have any other income and has limited resources. Social Security has a toll free number 1-800-772-1213 where a representative can be requested to review a record.

I currently live outside of the United States, can I still collect benefits?

If a beneficiary has worked in the United States but now lives abroad it may be possible to collect benefits. More information on payments while overseas is on the Social Security Administration’s website. A beneficiary can also contact the U.S. embassy in the country where they reside.


Myopic Loss Aversion under Ignorance. Does it Make a Di¤erence?
Experimental evidence suggests that the frequency with which individuals get
feedback information on their investments has an e¤ect on risk-taking behavior. In
particular, when individuals are given information with high frequency they take
less risks compared to a situation in which they are given less frequent information.
Here we check whether this result still holds when individuals take decisions under
ignorance. We …nd that individuals take more risks in the low frequency treatment,
independently of whether they know the probability of winning a lottery. We also
…nd that men take more risks than women, but the di¤erence is not signi…cant. Fi-
nally, we …nd that the change in behavior with respect to frequency is driven mostly
by men, since women seem to be hardly una¤ected by the frequency dimension.

5/7: This simply has to stop. And it will with a bubble pop

We All Need Someone We Can Lean On

By  Alexander Cathcart 


Try a little experiment. Tie your hands to your sides and have someone feed you your dinner. Then, after they inevitably miss your gaping gob, check out what happens when they try, with the best of intentions, to wipe your mouth. There’s just no way it can be done without missing something or smearing some drool across the cheek. Now try all that without being able to speak. These are among the least intimate of my dependencies.

The lucky people who help me with these tasks come in two categories: family/friends, and the people who are paid for it. Each category has its inherent problems.

Family and friends help out of the goodness of their hearts. This always leads to bruised feelings and even anger. They don’t seem to have much patience for the helpful suggestions I constantly offer regarding how not to plaster my chin with pie or dump mashed potatoes in my lap. I guess, since they’re kind enough to help me, I should clam up and let them do it in whatever way they are comfortable…yeah right.

The ones who get paid usually fall between two sub-categories: those who think they know what you need better than you do, and the ones who are so bereft of competence and/or confidence that they have to be told exactly what to do practically every time they try to do anything. Hmmm…which one is more annoying? 

To call an ailment that renders one unable to move (in my case, ALS) frustrating is the understatement of the millennium. But I didn’t learn true frustration until the first time I tried to explain to a “certified” Home Health Aide that when I ask, for instance, to have my arm moved, that you can’t just grab it and yank without triggering reflexes that will cause my arm to pull back and probably make you think I don’t want it moved after all. I will sometimes spend as many as fifteen hours a day in my wheelchair. If I’m not put in the right position I stand (yuk yuk) to be uncomfortable for a long time. For me, as I’m sure for many other patients, even simple things have to be done in a particular way.

One day when my regular day-time aide had to take off, my sister came to help show the substitute how to deal with the burden that is me. A few days later, my family and I were having one of our semi-regular conversations regarding the same burden. My sister suggested that I might try to be more compromising. I can totally understand what she means from her perspective. What she doesn’t realize is that in the half-hour it took to transfer me from the bed to the wheelchair, I made more compromises than I care to count. From my perspective, compromise has become the basis of my life.

I’ve been what I call a total dependant for about four years. I’ll never allow myself to get used to it. I am, however, getting used to the way people react to it. For instance, there was a time when a family member could make me feel miserable just by saying a silly little thing like “I want you to know that you really ruined my day,” after finding out at the last minute that he had to fill in for my aide. I’ve reached the point where that kind of thing has almost no effect on me. Besides, it’s not like he was planning to take three nympho super-models out on his yacht. People say all kinds of wacky things in the heat of frustration, and I’m not about to start apologizing for having ALS.

It’s a special person who chooses a career in the service of others. And it’s indeed commendable for family members to fill in for these people when necessary. But when the shift is over, the aide goes home. And if for some reason – emotional, obligatory, or recreational – a family member doesn’t want to help, he or she can always say no. The patient (the aforementioned burden) does not have the luxury of a respite from his/her (my) ailment.   

Everybody needs people. It’s no secret that we depend on each other for everything from a mother wiping her child’s runny nose, to a father depending on his son to carry on his bloodline. I find myself faced with the unique challenge of trying to make some kind of positive impact on the world and maintaining some modicum of dignity, while being almost totally dependent on everyone around me for almost everything. It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt like anyone depended on me for anything.

Of all the frustrations I face, there’s none so demeaning as having to be so damned dependent on people. And, there’s nothing so heartwarming as having them to depend on.

5/7: Food

From this week's Value Line Investment Survey:

To serve this expected boon in demand, the world will have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as it has in the past 10,000. 

EFM- you know what can do it??? Eating insects. Just watch as it happens. Will be used as a substitute for nuts, wheat.....   Invest now.

5/7: In the last 10 years, the number of industrial robots is up 72%, while the number of US manufacturing jobs is down 16%.

Disability insurance

while 82% of employers report they are offering long-term disability insurance in 2013, up from 74% in 2012, 33% of employees are reporting they are without disability insurance of any kind whether it be short-term, long-term, individual or group coverage.

 I didn't know

More than just denial, anosognosia is a lack of awareness of impairment – a person does not even know they are ill – and it affects up to 81% of those with Alzheimer’s disease. A Place for Mom had the opportunity to speak with the Treatment Advocacy Center to learn more about  anosognosia.

RECESSION NOT OVER? - It's no secret that the bulk of new jobs created since the Great Recession ended pay low wages, but the extent of the gap between low and high-paying jobs may surprise you. As a result of this imbalance, the take home pay for households has fallen, averaging $51,000 in 2012, or 8% less than the average $55,000 in 2007, adjusted for inflation. Polls show a majority of Americans still believe the economy is in recession...even if the official arbiter says the recovery began in July 2009 and metrics such as total GDP and total employment have returned to and exceeded pre-crisis levels.




Of the approximately 3.3 million teachers working in 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 82% were white, 8% were Hispanic, 7% were black and 2% were Asian.

Meanwhile, 48% of public-school students are nonwhite, according to the Center for American Progress: 23% Hispanic, 16% black and 5% Asian. The number of minority students has grown steadily. In 1993, they made up 31% of public-school students. In 2003, that figure was 41%. The number is expected to continue to grow.


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