Tag Archives: current-events

The Cost of Health Care in Retirement

19 Feb

Many folks assume once they hit 65 years old, health care will be free. Or at least cheap.

Does $220,000 sound free or cheap to you? This is the figure that Fidelity’s research estimates a 65-year old couple will need to cover out-of-pocket health care costs!

This can vary wildly.  The above figure is an estimate for when a husband dies at 82 and the wife at 85.  What if you live longer?

This is why people need a plan in retirement. A plan for income, investments and health care, including long term care insurance.

If you or someone you know is interested in talking more about this, please give us a call!


How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?

18 Feb

Was budgeting one of the resolutions? Did you swear that in 2015, you’d begin to get a handle on spending?  Folks, rich people and poor all struggle with this aspect.  It is difficult for so many Americans, regardless of their relative wealth.

If this sounds like you, Check out these easy ways to save money on household expenses, broken down by room: http://aol.it/1qaW9Qs

If you’d like more one on one help, we’re here for you. Just give us a call!

How Is there $128 Billion in Penalties but No One Person has Been Found Guilty of Anything?

22 Aug

Since 2009, the US Justice Department has been building cases against major financial institutions for the improprieties committed to cause the 2008 financial crisis. Just the institutions, not their wayward executives.  Even though our Supreme Court says corporations are people, logos don’t serve jail time. Only people do. We all know someone made the idiotic decisions that nearly collapsed the entire free word economy.

Thursday, Bank of America settled with the Government for $16,500,000,000 . That is $16.5 billion.  I wanted you to see all the zeros.

We’ve grown accustomed to these big numbers. He is one way to find the scope of what 1 billion is versus 1 million.  Supposing you had the time, it takes a person 12 days to count to 1 million, one second at a time.  It takes just under 32 years to get to 1 billion.

$16.5 BILLION! That is A LOT of WRONG?! Right?

Obviously, BofA agreed to pay this enormous sum for some reason. Yet, they don’t admit to any wrong doing.  Here is what their CEO, Brian Moynihan, said –

“We believe this settlement, which resolves significant remaining mortgage-related exposures, is in the best interests of our shareholders, and allows us to continue to focus on the future.”

No culpability, no admission of guilt. This is just a business decision so the bank can ‘focus on the future.’  Must be nice to be immune from personal responsibility.

In fact, not a single top-level executive has been tried for malfeasance since 2009. Why not? The Enron guys went to jail. Many bankers went to jail in the 1930’s following the Great Depression. I find this puzzling why so many banks would pay so much money yet the government can’t find a single guy who did anything illegal?

Where do the fines go? JP Morgan paid $13 billion last November. Another $16 bill is coming from BofA. Over $128 billion has now been squeezed out in “we didn’t do anything wrong but here is a ton of dough” fines and settlements.

Little of it gets back to the folks on Main Street who got killed in the 2008 crisis.  It mostly goes to various governmental agencies.  This seems nuts to me.  Shouldn’t this money come back to us? Taxpayers?  We know if it goes to bureaucracies, it will be spent. Not always so wisely.

I won’t hold my breath counting to a billion hoping I get a tax break…

Why Do We Treat Women This Way?

18 Aug

It takes practice to convey a genuine bit of flattery without coming off as rude, fake or worse.  Do you notice how men are often rude, insincere and worse when it comes to treating women with respect. Why?  Women typically aren’t this way with men.

I enjoyed this very honest take on the subject of harassment.  And I do plan to be more vocal toward those who refuse to act with dignity and respect toward others.

President Obama- Good or Bad for Business?

15 Aug

Most of you know me as a moderate politically. I laugh with my friends of either the left or the right.  It is hysterical to me that if I oppose a conservative point of view, I’m a lefty commie.  If I challenge a liberal assertion, I’m Dick Cheney.

Truth be told, I find both parties woefully out of touch with the majority of Americans.  Both have their speech patterns so rehearsed that having an enlightened conversations with partisans of either party isn’t easy these days.

One thing is sure, the right has as much distaste for President Obama as the left did for his predecessor, George W. Bush. You’ll hear him blamed for everything bad in this country, from our wars, our immigration failures, our tax code and poor economy.  Funny thing is, he has little, if anything, to do with any of that stuff.

But he can set mood, he can set policy and he can do better at being a leader.  Recently, the Economist had an interview with President Obama and the topic of ‘business’ came up.

I found their take on his business record refreshing.  It was Fox News blaming him for the fact the planet spins.  It wasn’t MSNBC lamely kissing up.  It was a conservative magazine asking real questions and giving a moderate opinion.  How about that?

A Better Way

13 Aug

In the past, I’ve posted many times about our association with B Corporation.  As a certified B Corp since July 2009, we’re very proud of this ideal and the growing movement. Today, over 1,000 companies world-wide, large and small, live and work by the triple bottom line ideal.

But aside from the outliers like Patagonia or King Arthur Flour, the early adopters were much smaller companies like ours. Admittedly, our impact on the global economy is negligible at best. I often wondered if it would really ever take off and truly begin to change the way companies do business. Or would this idea fail to attract enough attention to truly make a difference.

I no longer wonder.  Today, article after article in business press (Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Entrepreneur) , or in main stream media like the New Yorker or New York Times continue to see this ideal as a better way forward for global companies.

You can blame President Obama, Congress, evil corporations, Wall Street, whomever and whichever you like for the massive imbalances between rich and poor, for the poor state of the environment or the shaky ground of the economy.  But the quickest way to fix all of these things is intentional consumer purchasing.  Yep, we’re to blame.  Not them.

Stop buying from WalMart.  Start buying from a company like Costco which treats their employees remarkably better. Quite simply, it is that easy.  Being more careful about which companies get your dollar is all this really is. We spend blindly, as Americans.  Once we begin to open our eyes to who gets our hard-earned money, the world of business will be forced to react.  In fact, as you can read by all these links, it already is reacting.

Don’t believe me?  Have a look at how Unilever’s new CEO is running that massive, multi-national company these days.  Businesses are starting to see that raping the Earth, screwing their employees and simply enriching their shareholders is not exactly the best recipe for success.

An Expert’s Opinion on the Markets

7 Aug

Yesterday, I mentioned how I went to Boston last week.  But I didn’t have time to share with you that one of the sessions I sat in for was about the current state of affairs in global markets.

Brad McMillan is the chief investment officer at Commonwealth.  His insight is one I truly value and when he speaks, I listen.  Brad got into a talk about where markets and the economy stand today.

His talk was a tale of two worlds. Wall Street vs. Main Street.   What Brad was saying is, in his opinion, Main Street is doing pretty well and we might want to be cautious about Wall Street right now. Check out his blog, it is well worth the time.

For more on his insight, check out the link above.  If you have any questions, please call me. I’d be happy to talk over the points in the article as well as anything else on your mind regarding the financial world.

Is it Any Wonder Cultures Clash?

19 May

Click here to read a  fascinating look at the way cultures of the world approach negotiations.

To quote the article “By focusing on the cultural roots of national behavior, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate with a surprising degree of accuracy how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us.”

Well, that could be pretty handy, no? It has me recall a time when I worked in the Sheraton Hotel at the Brussels Airport. I was an intern and working in control of the food and beverages. The hotel had four restaurants plus room service, not to mention it fed its own employees. There was a lot of food and drinks being consumed.

All I had to do was measure yesterday’s levels against today’s levels and cross-reference that to the orders being submitted by the various restaurant chefs. Pretty easy I thought. Until cultures started clashing.

In other words, If there were four bottles of a particular wine yesterday and there were only 2 today, I should see that two bottles were ordered at some point in one of the restaurants that day.

I had noticed that the cheeses of one particular restaurant were at lower totals than their corresponding orders. “How should I reconcile this?” I asked my boss, a very uninterested and rather dumb fellow.

“I’d ask the Chef!” he said.

“I have already done that. He believes my math is wrong. It isn’t. Someone is stealing cheese. What is my next step?” I said.

“I’d ask the Chef if he is stealing cheese.” m boss said sarcastically. I could see he wasn’t going to offer me guidance.

I did go talk to the Chef and it turned into a raging argument with both of us accusing the other of lying. I ended the conversation with “Look, I’m just an intern, I could care less if you’re stealing cheese. Don’t call me a liar. I’ve got a report to turn in, I’m going to turn it in with my numbers. I’ll be in America by the time the GM reads it. Your call, Frenchie.”

Had I only had this chart, I’d have known his yelling was simply step three in French negotiations and I would have been so much better off! See how us Americans lay the cards all out? “Where is the missing cheese, Monsieur?” I spelled it out, I confronted and provoked him, we had a fight…but we did not ever reach clarity.

Had I understood their culture better, I could have simply restated the logic and we’d be good. This sort of chart could be so useful for folks in international business. I just found it very interesting.

What is Next for Warren Buffet?  

2 May

With the annual shareholder meeting taking place tomorrow, I thought it was a good time to talk Warren.

Ever since the days of the dot com era, I’ve been a fan of Warren Buffet. Many of my clients are, too.  His company’s stock, Berkshire Hathaway, has performed well over the years.*

But he isn’t getting any younger.  The Oracle of Omaha has reach his mid-80-‘s now.  It is truly amazing, when you think of it, what this man is still up to at this age.

However, the question begs, what happens to Berkshire when he ultimately retires or dies?


This past week, the Economist digs into this question.   Found it informative to read both links as they give you some very in depth discussion on the topic.

Personally, I predicted the slump of Apple’s stock price upon Steve Jobs’ demise. That prediction hasn’t worked out very well for me.

What happens to Berkshire when Warren dies?


* This is an opinion piece and not advice or solicitation to buy or sell any stock or investment. Before buying any stock, please be sure to read any material information available and be certain the risk inherent in any investment is appropriate for you.

Can You More Easily Overdose on Water than on Pot?

30 Apr

That is a catchy headline, isn’t it?  I thought so too, which is why I clicked on this article from Forbes.

I find it interesting how much misinformation and mythology exists on drug use. Whether it is performance enhancing drugs or athletes or marijuana for stoners, true scientific data is sparse.  Which means bogus stories can grow to become legitimate.

It is pretty clear that marijuana and PEDs and the overuse of anything, even water apparently, can have adverse effects on people.  What isn’t as clear is if any of the PEDs or if pot can be used safely.

Even if not safe, are there moderate levels that the user can know about? We know that smoking and drinking alcohol are inherently bad in large doses. But we Americans allow these products sold by and large.  But if a multi-million dollar ballplayer wants to heal more quickly from injury, he is banned from such an idea.

We know that our system of weapon regulations is flawed.  Yet a elder who just wants to keep a meal down after a recent chemotherapy session is still forced to buy marijuana in a somewhat clandestine manner.

Isn’t all that a bit hypocritical?

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