Friday, December 28, 2012

Avoid taxes on your earnings

Avoid income taxes on your investment earnings
In 2013, you can contribute up to $5,500 to an investment plan that grows tax-FREE and commission-FREE. 10 diversified mutual funds provide earning which have compounded at over 10% per year since 1970. Using a special account, you avoid taxes FOREVER. Using low-cost mutual funds, you avoid Wall Street fees of 2-3%. This double benefit account can add 40% to your eventual nest egg over time. NO TAX, NO FEES, compound at over 10%—perfect together: Your Retirement Mutual Funds

Retirement Mutual Funds earn over 10% without broker fees
Your Retirement Mutual Funds: 10 mutual funds to make sure your retirement income last as long as you!
Your investment plan assures you of income AND growth.
Your spending plan assures you of income for life.
Your Wealth ReserveTM provides TAX-FREE income for life.
Your tax-advantaged mutual funds grow at 10-12% per year.
Start today! Every year you delay costs you $100,000 later
Ten diversified mutual funds assure us of retirement income AND inflation-busting growth we can't outlive.

"My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest." Warren Buffett, $80 billion investor

Teacher pensions sell off gun maker stocks … finally
From California to New York, teacher and public-worker retirement funds are reconsidering their investments in gun makers and confronting an uncomfortable fact: Their pensions have supported the manufacture of deadly weapons, in some cases the same type of gun used in the Connecticut school shooting. For years, the gun industry has been a reliable investment, attracting tens of millions of dollars from some of the nation's largest retirement funds. Now they are taking another look.

How could we improve the economy if players took personal responsibility?
As we make our way out of the financial recession, three suggestions might help: make executives pay for corporate misdeeds out of their own pockets, make regulators pay with their jobs when they screw up, allow lawsuits against those that provide positive ratings to bad products, and ask overly paid CEOs to compete by leadership not greed. 

Health care changes for the good of patients!
Health-care innovations aren't limited to drugs and devices. Experts increasingly are adopting new ways to treat patients that studies show are better at healing the sick, preventing disease, improving patients' quality of life and lowering costs. Here are 10 innovations that took root in 2012 and are changing the care patients will get in 2013.

Million AL drivers still have no liability insurance
The owners of the 900,000 Alabama vehicles without liability insurance stand a better chance of getting caught starting Jan. 1. That's when the state will start enforcing a law designed to crack down on motorists who don't abide by Alabama's mandatory insurance law.

Do you really need a disability income policy?
..Save $12,000 by self-insuring.
..Create a Wealth ReserveTM. Cash is a better plan.
..Accumulate $100,000 in 15 years to protect your future.
You only need a separate policy if you are self-employed or own a small business, and you do NOT have a “self-insurance” plan yet. Build your own wealth, not that of your insurer—self insure! Our chance of becoming totally disabled for a long period is very small. Disability Insurance by Dan Keppel 

Nursing Homes with Most Serious Deficiencies
Homes with Most Fines
Use this tool to compare nursing homes in a state based on the deficiencies cited by regulators and the penalties imposed in the past three years. You can also search more than 58,000 nursing home inspection reports to look for trends or patterns.

Women lose their health care at increasing rate
About 115,000 women lose their private health insurance every year in the wake of divorce, according to a University of Michigan study. And this loss is not temporary: women's overall rates of health insurance coverage remain depressed for more than two years after divorce. "Given that approximately one million divorces occur each year in the U.S., and that many women get health coverage through their husbands, the impact is quite substantial," said Bridget Lavelle, a U-M doctoral candidate in public policy and sociology, and lead author of the study, which appears in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP leader Dick Cheney

Do you know where our bottled water comes from?
In a lawsuit against Nestlé Waters we learn those bottles contain filtered municipal tap water. The case echoes allegations in a previous case against Nestlé Waters, which sells Ice Mountain and other popular U.S.bottled water brands, including Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka, Calistoga, Zephyrhills and Nestlé Pure Life. Nestlé Waters tops the surging U.S. bottled water market, with a 32% share.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola also have drawn legal challenges on their popular bottled water brands. A 2007 case filed in New York federal court charged that Pepsi's advertising, marketing and labeling on the company's Aquafina brand "failed to inform consumers that the source of the water was public tap water, not water from an inherently cleaner source, such as a mountain."

Pruco caught overcharging customers
The regulators ordered Pruco Securities to pay more than $10.7 million in restitution, plus interest, to customers who placed mutual fund orders with the company between 2003 and 2011. Finra also fined Pruco $550,000 for its pricing errors and for failing to have an adequate supervisory system and written procedures in this area.

Our personal info sold without our OK or our commission
The FTC wants to know what the brokers do with the information they collect from consumers. It also wants to know if the data brokers let consumers review and correct their personal information or opt out from having their personal information sold to a third party. Data brokers are not required by law to disclose to consumers the information they collect on people's finances, race and ethnicity, shopping habits, social media updates, health concerns and more. By some estimates, these brokers stockpile several thousand details on the majority of adults in the U.S. In June, Pasadena company Spokeo agreed to pay $800,000 to settle charges it illegally sold personal information for employment screening. Congress has yet to pass a law to let us see our data before brokers sell it. Dem Rockefeller said, "American consumers deserve to know who is collecting information about them."

Steve Jobs left his $138 million yacht in hock in Holland. Can’t he use it now??

New York Stock Exchange was purchased by ICE, an Enron-type outfit. ICE trades energy derivatives and has done well and so will pay $8B to own the markets.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tax-FREE is better: Where you put your money does matter

Tax-FREE is better: Where you put your money does matter
If you are not using a tax-FREE account for your investments, you could be losing 12%.
A popular fund, PIMCO's Fundamental IndexPLUS Total Return fund, shows what taxes can do. The fund's 19.9% annualized return over the past three years is reduced to just 7.24% annualized after adjusting for taxes. That's 12 percentage points of return lost to Uncle Sam each year. Big money you could be using in a tax-FREE Wealth Reserve.

Vanguard took in over $130 billion in 2012—set record with low-cost funds.
Investors are moving to Vanguard’s low cost funds; giving up on Wall Street fast talkers. "Investors have flocked to low-cost index funds when investing in equities and we can see Vanguard provided both," said Tom Roseen, head of research services at Lipper. 
Some avoid both taxes and commissions:
Tax-Advantaged Wealth: 10 Mutual Funds for a Tax-FREE Life,
+Grow your wealth with NO taxes or commissions.
+Use 10 mutual funds that have earned over 10%.
+Use a special tax haven for your earnings and gains.

Are you paying auto rates based on miles driven?
A survey of North American property and casualty insurers indicate that 75% of insurers believe usage-based insurance (UBI) will fundamentally alter the auto insurance industry between now and 2020.

Men charged more for auto insurance than women
Survey showed that if a man and a woman with the exact same driver profile (except for their sex) got quotes for the exact same coverage, the man's quote would be higher 62 percent of the time. Young men included in the analysis ended up seeing the biggest sex-based price discrepancies. For drivers under 25, the average sex-based price gap was $676 a year. "It's important that consumers understand the things that determine how much they pay for insurance, and gender is one of the least understood of those factors," says OAI manager Cesar Diaz.
Men need to shop around for the insurer that gives all the discounts:

Sandy destruction may mean new insurance policy for shoppers
New Jersey's already pricey auto insurance premiums may edge up as insurers take into account Sandy's tremendous costs.

Family car beats the luxury in tree crash test
Of 18 moderately priced midsize cars tested from the 2013 model year, 13 were rated good or acceptable in a new kind of crash test engineered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Only three of 11 midsize 2012 luxury cars tested earlier got those ratings.
The "narrow offset" test involves crashing a car so that its front corner — 20% of its front end — strikes a vertical, thin object such as a pole or a tree at 40 miles an hour. It is a more severe frontal test than those in the battery of government crash tests. Safer cars used more high-strength steel, which also reduced the car's weight.  Surprisingly Toyota's Camry and Prius V hybrid were rated "poor". Lexus ES and IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 rated "poor."

SCAMS           “Deficits don’t matter” GOP banner

Vice President Dick Cheney told former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that "deficits don't matter" when the latter voiced concerns about the size of the federal bill. Cheney later fired O'Neill, presumably for thinking deficits actually mattered.
Still, Cheney was true to his word, as the White House of George W. Bush raised the federal deficit every year it was in office.
During the Bush Administration, the national debt went from roughly $5 trillion in 2000, to $14 trillion in 2008. Bush grew government spending by 8%. Total US government spending in 2000 was $1.5 trillion. Total USgovernment spending in 2008 was $2.9 trillion. Government spending doubled under the Bush Administration.

What ever happened to lottery winners?
Instant wealth touched two families last week. Will they end up like many others—wishing they had never won? This winner lost everything dear to him:

Too big to jail?
Critics question why big banks, execs don't face money laundering jail time
When the Justice Department announced its record $1.9 billion settlement against British bank HSBC last week, prosecutors called it a powerful blow to a dysfunctional institution accused of laundering money forIranLibya and Mexico's murderous drug cartels.
But to some former federal prosecutors, it was only the latest case of the government stopping short of bringing criminal money laundering charges against a big bank or its executives, at least in part on the rationale that such prosecutions could be devastating enough to cause such banks to fail. Bank execs have green light for more profits!
If it were you or I, we would be on death row

Perry doesn’t rule out another presidential run and warns against ‘knee-jerk’ reactions to Newtown.
Perry reiterated his support for carrying weapons on public property in Texas.
"You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state," Perry said to wide applause. TX wishes to succeed. 

UBS’s $1.5 billion fine for rigging global interest rates expands the scandal to include bribery and highlights the influence of a trader in Tokyo who colluded with other banks. This broker paid $25,000 to rig rates from 2006-2009. NO one has been arrested. At least 45 bank employees, including some managers, knew of the “pervasive” practice and a further 70 people were included in open chats and messages where attempts to manipulate the Libor and Euribor loan rates.
UBS stock rose 1.3 percent to 15.44 francs Swiss market. Sharesholders benefit?

Madoff gets 10 years!
Crime does pay. The largest ponzi crime in history and all he gets is 10 years. He could have given up his brother 20 years ago and would have been a hero. What happened to morals?

Who owns your account now?
Sun Life Financial annuity and life insurance to Delaware Life (Guggenheim Partners)
MetLife Bank to GE Capital Retail Bank

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, December 14, 2012

Avoid the tax increases

You can join the tax-advantaged investors
A recent IRS study found that one in every 189 taxpayers earning $200,000 or more in adjusted gross income paid no income tax in 2009, the most recent year for which complete data is available. That's more than 10,000 wealthy households paying no taxes anywhere in the world, and more than 35,000 paying no U.S. income tax. Now anyone earning less than $125,000 single and $183,000 can also pay no income tax on their investment income using a FREE legal trust account: Tax-Advantaged Wealth

 Tax-Advantaged Wealth: 10 Mutual Funds for a Tax-FREE Life,
+Grow your wealth with NO taxes or commissions.
+Use 10 mutual funds that have earned over 10%.
+Use a special tax haven for your earnings and gains.
by Law Steeple, MBA, $12.95

Bankers told to stop holding up victim's money for Sandy repair/expenses
Eleven major banks have agreed to speed up their endorsements of borrowers' initial insurance checks, typically worth $5,000 to $20,000. The lenders will also remove some new hurdles created for Sandy victims intended to protect the lenders' collateral in heavily damaged properties. Some banks had been requiring their customers to provide contractors' estimates and other receipts and records to show the advance insurance checks would go to repairing the assets covered by the mortgage, which are the borrowers' collateral for the mortgages, superintendent Lawsky said. Those requirements will end under the deal as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's effort to speed private and public sector recovery by cutting bureaucracy.
Lawsky said the lenders will also immediately release insurance checks intended to make a home habitable and to pay expenses for living elsewhere.
Bankers were holding funds since November 1, the initial insurance checks used for immediate living expenses! Banks have no SHAME, even after we bailed them out!

Our taxes pay millionaires for being unemployment—why should we pay for this nonsense?
Congressional Research Service reported that 2,362 households with an annual income of $1 million or more received unemployment assistance in 2009, causing some lawmakers to erupt in outrage. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wrote to Bloomberg: "Sending millionaires unemployment checks is a case study in out-of-control spending. Providing welfare to the wealthy undermines the program for those who need it most while burdening future generations with senseless debt."
And Washington wants to cut our Social Security and Medicare! What the …

Global corps like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks shift taxes to us
Google avoided about $2 billion in income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show. By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 2011.
Our "representatives" gave them these gimmicks and now Washington wants to cut our Social Security and Medicare! What the …

Hostess steals pension money as it goes bankrupt
Hostess said it used wages that were supposed to help fund employee pensions for the company's operations as it sank toward bankruptcy. After the company said in August 2011 that it would stop making pension contributions, the foregone wages weren't put toward the pension. Nor were they restored. It filed for bankruptcy protection in January and shut down last month following a strike by one of the unions representing Hostess workers. Make your own tax-FREE pension they can’t steal:

Mad Money prologue makes sense
Entrepreneurs don’t start business or hire people because tax rates are high or higher. They start when they think they can make money. Where was the GOP when Bush cut taxes twice and carried on two illegal wars? Aren’t there weapon programs that can be cut …  foreign aid that can be cut? There should be no Congress vacation without an agreement.

Medication errors impact over 1 million patients
A new study, published online today by the peer-reviewed journal American Health & Drug Benefits, reveals the significant national burden that harmful medication errors, also called preventable adverse drug events (ADEs), associated with injectable medications have on hospitals, patients, and our healthcare system. Results show that preventable ADEs associated with injectable medications cost an average of $600,000 per hospital annually and impact more than 1 million patient hospitalizations each year.
We have to ask the technician before any injection on our families!

Almost Half of investors not happy with their advisor--charging 2-3% for what?
Only 57 percent of investors surveyed say their financial advisors proved their worth by navigating recent market conditions, according to Fidelity Investments’ study Proving Your Worth: Uncovering the Traits of the Valued Advisor”. Investors who said they valued their advisors cited three key criteria: focus on long-term, use comprehensive plans, use technology to stay informed.
You don’t have to be a genius to do it yourself:

GOP against insuring bank accounts—Where to put our money?
The federal program providing insurance to noninterest-bearing bank accounts might be eliminated after Republicans opposed a measure to extend it for another two years.

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Insurer caught overcharging again--$1.6 million to North Carolina homeowners
$1.6 million will be refunded to North Carolina consumers as part of the corrective action plan against American Modern Home Insurance and its affiliate American Family Home Insurance. Regulators found overcharging and misleading operations.

Aetna caught underpaying claims
Health insurer Aetna will pay up to $120 million to settle physician and consumer lawsuits charging that it underpaid for out-of-network services for years using a biased pricing database owned by another major insurer.    

Hartford caught shorting auto claims
Hartford Financial has agreed to pay more than $81,000 in restitution to Vermont customers whose auto insurance claims were improperly evaluated. Hartford had inaccurately calculated the value of ‘total’ vehicles losses.

Brokers sell real estate trusts illegally—ignore client protections
Massachusetts charged LPL brokerage with dishonest business practices in its selling of a popular nonlisted REIT. “LPL’s supervision employees had only a cursory understanding of specific state requirements, including Massachusetts concentration requirements,” according to the complaint. Many nontraded REIT prospectuses contain a 10% concentration limitation, designed to cap an individual investor’s purchase to 10% of his or her liquid net worth, the complaint stated.

We just can’t afford the $800 Billion a year pentagon system—A $Billion waste!
For the United States Air Force, installing a new software system has certainly proved to be a wicked problem. Last month, it canceled a six-year-old modernization effort that had eaten up more than $1 billion. When the Air Force realized that it would cost another $1 billion just to achieve one-quarter of the capabilities originally planned — and that even then the system would not be fully ready before 2020 — it decided to decamp.
No one is arrested or sent to jail for this fraud!

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gift of Lifetime for grandchild

A Gift of a Lifetime: Give your Grandchild a gift that provides tax-FREE income
Your grandchild could have a Wealth ReserveTM  providing tax-FREE income. 
Your monthly gift could provide your grandchild with real "social security:" their own tax-FREE money. You take advantage of the miracle of compounding. Your gift of $100 a month for 10 years becomes a tax-FREE $1,000,000 Wealth ReserveTM  over time. You could reduce your taxable estate for each grandchild too. 
Your grandchild will NEVER have to pay taxes on the money either. Social Security will exhaust its funds in about 2033, so start today with $100 a month.

Cuban revolution is over! Taxes begin 
Most Cubans have not paid taxes for half a century, but that will change under a new code starting January 1. The landmark regulations will change the relations of Cubans with their government and are a signal that market-oriented reforms, launched since President Raul Castro succeeded his brother, Fidel Castro, in 2008, are here to stay. The recently published code constitutes the first comprehensive taxation in Cuba since the 1959 revolution abolished just about all taxes. We have an alternative--create a retirement that is income tax-FREE:

Study shows that financial analysts know less than you do about financial future
Value investor and author James Montier found that:
In the US, the average 24-month forecast error for individual stocks is 93%, and the average 12-month forecast error is 47% over the period 2001-2006. The data for Europe are no less disconcerting. The average 24-month forecast error is 95%, and the average 12-month forecast error is 43%. To put it mildly, analysts don’t have a clue about future earnings. You are better off using low-cost index funds than paying advisors that know less than you do about value—and you save 40% long term:

Is it time to take charge of your future?
Your Retirement Mutual Funds: 10 mutual funds to make sure your retirement income last as long as you!
Your investment plan assures you of income AND growth.
Your spending plan assures you of income for life.
Your Wealth ReserveTM  provides TAX-FREE income for life.
Your tax-advantaged mutual funds grow at 10-12% per year.
Start today! Every year you delay costs you $100,000 later
Ten diversified mutual funds assure us of retirement income AND inflation-busting growth we can't outlive.

Insurers caught overcharging … again!
Massachusetts motorcycle owners will receive more than $2.8 million in insurance refunds as a result of settlements with two insurance companies that allegedly overcharged thousands of policyholders. Shopping for new coverage is the only way to tell you are overcharged $400-$500:

Are you liable if your holiday party guest has accident?
According to some experts, you could be sued for having alcohol at your holiday party. Even if it is not your alcohol that causes an accident, as host, you may be liable for making it available, offering it in your home anytime before the guests leave, or even when others bring it and consume it without your knowledge. Options: no alcohol, serving ends 1 hour before anyone leaves, arrange for alternative transport, move party to restaurant or someone else’s home. The same can be true of food poisoning. Consider lawsuit insurance:

NJ Christie vetoes health care exchanges
N.J. Gov. Christie Vetoes State-Run Health Exchange Bill. He blames Obama for not being more specific.

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Our tax subsidy to college football?
College football programs require you to make a donation in order to buy some tickets. Then ticket purchasers can write off 80 percent of the value of the mandatory donations against their taxes, which costs the federal treasury $100 million a year.

Is this the Afgan freedom we are helping restore?
A 14-year-old Afghan girl was beheaded by two men, one of whom apparently asked her to marry him. She turned him down. 

How insurers rig the property claim process against you!
Read this report so you understand how insurance companies try to cheat you:

Who owns your account now?
Zecco Securities to TradeKing
Woodbury Financial Services to American International Group

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Social Security and Medicare are NOT "entitlements" to be cut

My Social Security and Medicare are NOT “entitlements” to be cut
Washington politicians are debating whether to cut my “entitlements” as if these payments I made were unearned “welfare,” like oil subsidies or corporate jet deductions.
I paid for my Social Security and Medicare with cold hard cash for years from my hard-earned wages. I paid in good faith that the money would be invested in trust for my old age. Now, these millionaires in Washington that don’t need their Social Security and Medicare security in old age are trying to cut what I worked hard for because they spent  money unwisely—phony wars and tax cuts to friends.
NO. I am not going along with that. Let’s cut the corporate subsidies and war overspending first. They spend $673 Billion to fund war every year—more than the total of the next 15 countries combined. Our 'representatives' give $1.2 Trillion in tax breaks to the rich every year.
The retirement income and medical care I prepaid during my 50 years of work is mine—not an “entitlement” to be cut by millionaires who wasted $3.2-4 Trillion on their phony wars and tax cuts.

Tax avoiders are the Romney “moochers”—hiding in the Caymans!
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, said the ability of some of the highest earners to avoid federal taxes shows why laws should be changed so the wealthy pay more. “They were the moochers, and they paid zero,” Buffett told MSNBC. “The way they get at them is a minimum tax and it's very simple to do.”

Wealthy should pay minimum tax—30% and 35% for ultrarich!
Warren Buffett, master investor, says raising rates does NOT stop investing
“Let's forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if -- gasp -- capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased,” Buffett wrote. “Only in Grover Norquist's imagination does such a response exist.” We need to get rid of arrangements like 'carried interest' that enable income from labor to be magically converted into capital gains,” Buffett wrote. “And it's sickening that a Cayman Islands mail drop can be central to tax maneuvering by wealthy individuals and corporations.”

Does your mutual fund firm add or subtract to your retirement?
Despite Wall Street hype, most of the people who will have a great retirement owe most of the gains to compound interest NOT fast trading. Compound interest is one of the reasons Buffett says he became the second richest billionaire.

Don’t let fees keep your investments from compounding at 10-12% per year.

Annuity owners beware!
Private-equity firms' are plowing money into indexed-annuity businesses that are becoming agreater burden for insurers as low interest rates continue. Apollo already backs Athene Annuity and Life Assurance Co. Guggenheim owns Security Benefit Life Insurance Co. and EquiTrust Life Insurance Co., and is reinsuring annuities from Standard Life Co. of Indiana. Harbinger Group Inc. also jumped into indexed annuities last year with the purchase of Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Co.
Annuity owners may see fees increase to pay off these speculators. If insurer can’t make money at their own business, how can takeover specialists? Members consider alternatives:

Are you working for a state with the strongest pension plan?

Is it time to shop for homeowners?
Insurers OK To Raise N.C. Dwelling Rates 13 Percent. North Carolina insurance regulators are clearing the largest rate increase in nine years for dwelling policies that cover residential rentals and other properties that are not owner occupied.

Socialism for the rich?
In 1992, the tax paid by the 400 highest incomes in the United States averaged 26.4 percent of adjusted gross income. In 2009, the most recent year reported, the rate was 19.9 percent. It’s nice to have friends in high places but deficits can’t last. Party over!

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Are your tax records safe? Employees fall for old trick!
SC state tax records including your SS # were stolen. Hackers broke into the agency’s computer system by sending state employees spam e-mail that contained an embedded link. If employees clicked on the link, software was activated on their computers that stole their user names and passwords.

‘Ransomeware’ is rampant is US
The Reveton Trojan instantly locks the infected computer. Then it displays a message on the screen that looks like it's from the FBI. The bogus message says the user violated federal law by downloading illegally using or distributing copyrighted music or video. To unlock the machine, the user is told to pay a “fine” via a prepaid money card, online payment service or wire transfer. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS FRAUD.
Copy all your files now to a thumb drive or cloud like Amazon Cloud Drive. Use non-Explorer browser like Chrome. Your virus protection may not prevent this.
To fix it, try restarting your computer in safe mode and resetting its defaults to a previous date using the Restore process. You can also try to fix it with a patch from an Internet download from any of several sources.

Got Waste?  Was your hospital operation necessary?
Four people have been convicted of crimes relating to a $154 million medical fraud scheme in which hundreds of healthy patients underwent unnecessary surgeries to fraudulently bill insurance companies.

We pay $527 billion for the flood insurance program
Taxpayers are on the hook for at least $527 billion of vulnerable assets in the nation’s coastal flood plains. Those homes and businesses are insured by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. The program’s overall liability is $1.25 trillion. The program is $18 billion in debt, a sum the government acknowledges probably will never be paid back by premiums, and it is likely to need a new multibillion-dollar infusion to pay claims from Hurricane Sandy. It is long past time for the government to stop subsidizing home and business owners who live and build in dangerous flood zones
Global warming will only make it worse. People who want to live dangerously must pay for the fun of it. We can’t afford to subsidize their pleasure.

Regulators charge Polish brokerage with stealing family/friends money
Roman Sledziejowski, a Polish-born investment manager and owner of TWS Financial LLC, catered to the Polish investment community in Brooklyn, and all of his victims were natives ofPoland. Despite the advice to “ask your family/friends for recommendations for a professional,” they may not know if they are honest. Madoff made his millions this way—word of mouth is not safe way.

Who owns your account now?
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to turn its bank into a not-for-profit credit union, an uncommon change that creates one of the largest faith-based credit unions in the country.

Amerigroup Corp  to WellPoint approved by Feds.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Do you own funds with low ratings?

You can avoid mutual funds with the lowest ratings
Morningstar's 10 lowest-rated large fund firms include all the well-known brands and some have the highest fees.
Low fee funds beat high fee funds in every period, according to Morningstar.
Which mutual fund family is best for you?
We help you pick the funds to use for the long haul:

Taxing the rich can raise $824 billion
Letting tax rates rise to Clinton era levels for those families making over $250,000 a year would 'only' raise $824 billion over ten years. Many GOP believe the Administration's insistence on these tax increases has nothing to do with fiscal issues. "...the true reason for raising taxes is to increase "class warfare" and to punish "evil colonialist and oppressive capitalism." Where does GOP find this stuff? Clinton era tax levels produced high employment and surplus. $824 billion is a lot of money!!

SC state workers no longer offered LTCi
The state's long-term care insurance is a voluntary program, meaning employees paid 100 percent of the premiums and taxpayers paid zero. But the insurance is expensive, and state workers got a group discount. That discount will stop after June, 2013. About 11,000 individuals had signed up for the coverage out of about 450,000 people under the state health plan. South Carolina has offered the insurance since 1988 -- but they are not required to offer it. Prudential, the insurer, left the market.

Have you planned to pay for your parents’ medical care bills?
29 states have laws that give the government access to your financial means, even in retirement. Check your state: Some states may have laws but they are not enforced since Medicaid picks up the tab. Some states will not go after your retirement money. An elder lawyer can help you plan. Our Long-term Care Insurance Guide has alternatives:

ME TX WI Govs say not help citizens with health care
Maine will let the federal government take the reins on setting up a mandated online health insurance market, according to Gov. LePage. "I'm not lifting a finger," he said in an interview.
Gov. Rick Perry, in a follow-up letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reiterated Texas' decision not to implement a state insurance exchange as part of Obamacare.
Scott Walker says Wisconsin will not set up a health insurance exchange under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The Supreme court has ruled ObamaCare is valid.

ObamaCare defines essential health benefits for all
Feds define the “essential health benefits” that must be offered to most Americans and by allowing employers to offer much bigger financial rewards to employees who quit smoking or adopt other healthy behaviors. Under the rules, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people because they are sick or have been ill. They also cannot charge women more than men, as many now do. Most states are defining essential benefits to be those provided by the largest health plan in the state’s small-group insurance market. However, to comply with the law, federal officials said, insurers must provide certain additional benefits, including dental care and vision services for children, treatment of mental health and drug abuse problems, and “habilitative services” for people with conditions like autism or cerebral palsy.

Drivers surfing the Web while driving
State Farm reports there are more drivers using their Smart phones while driving causing near misses and hits on other drivers. If you are in an accident, check whether the other driver has a Smart phone in his hand. This could indicate he was surfing while driving.

Safe drivers save with proof
Seeking discounts on auto insurance, more drivers are agreeing to install monitors in their cars to record their driving habits. Driving data is collected with a device that policyholders must be persuaded to install; it connects to the car’s computer system via a diagnostic port found in all cars since 1996. Such “user-based insurance,” the name for individualized pricing based on data collected from a vehicle, is spreading. Drivewise from Allstate is in 10 states; Drive Safe and Save, from State Farm, is in 16, with 11 more to be added next month; and Snapshot, from Progressive, is in 43. Use all 15 discounts:

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Insurers caught holding life insurance benefits for themselves
Regulators said John Hancock selectively used the Social Security Administration's Death Master File database to end benefits payments, but didn't use it to find deceased policyholders or their beneficiaries. The company also agreed to pay $13.3 million to the six states. AIG, Prudential, MetLife, Nationwide reached have reached similar settlements.

Bank lied to investors on mortgages
Regulators accused Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank, of misleading investors over the quality of residential mortgage-backed securities. The deception resulted in losses to investors of some $11.2 billion, according to the suit.

Education — not government regulation — is the best approach to take to protect seniors, said Mr. Abagnale, who has spent the last 36 years teaching agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation how to detect and combat fraud. He advocated public service announcements to point out common scams and explain how to avoid becoming a victim. The famous 'Catch Me If You Can' con artist warns about scams targeting seniors.

Two men accused of stealing the identities of terminally ill people to reap $30 million from insurance companies and brokerage houses pleaded guilty Monday, several days into their trial, and face prison sentences of up to 10 years each. Estate planning ‘lawyer’ and ‘philanthropist’ Joseph Caramadre, 50, and his former employee Raymour Radhakrishnan, 28, each entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Providence to single counts of wire fraud and conspiracy, ending the trial.

Bankers Life still hadn't revised its procedures to ensure that claims were paid and that claim investigations were completed in a timely manner. Bankers Life also failed to update its underwriting practices to ensure “complete and accurate” applications, and the insurer did not revise its maximum-benefit claim denial letters to include details of a restoration of benefits provision in the contract, according to regulators.

Who owns your account now?
Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio and Citation Insurance Company, to an affiliate of White Mountains Insurance Group

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, November 16, 2012

Understand your 401k statement gibberish?

Did you understand your 401k statement?
Some statements “disclosed” a wide range of fees, as in “your expenses range from 0.25% to 2%,” leaving us wondering where exactly our fees stood. What’s more, the fees came without any guideposts on industry averages. So even if a company was told it paid, say, 1.25%, we would have no idea how those fees stacked up against other plans. This is no accident, critics charge. “They didn’t try to make it plain English and fail,” Employee Fiduciary’s Carpenter says. “They complied with the letter of the law and made it as gibberishy as possible.” Over time, fees can take up to 40% of our nest egg. Some employers are asking for low-fee products. Fewer investment options are offered but they are not better. 25% of assets are invested in actively managed U.S. stock funds and just 9% are in indexed U.S. stock funds. Managers get rich whether we employees make money or not. Small plans usually have to pay more too. It may be better to use an IRA with low-cost funds of 0.02% to maximize retirement funds. Our Guide helps you decide:

Is it time to shop for homeowners?
State Farm Gets 4.7% Homeowners Rate Hike In Illinois. They claim higher claims from weather and home repairs. Buy only what you need and save the increase:

Alert: Agents pushing products to win trips
If your agent talks about a fixed indexed universal life insurance product, FG Life-Gold, ask them about other alternatives. This product is sold to qualify for a 2 night 3 day trip to Las VegasNevada in June 2013. Universal life has a savings account attached to term life coverage. You pay a large commission. Skip it and unbundle coverage. If you need insurance, buy only what you need and save:

FL GOP does not want voters to vote. IS this America?
GOP wants to win no matter what it costs. In one town, the mayor shut down the voting with people in line. After reopening voters could only do absentee ballots. Despite long lines—some waiting over 5 hours—Obama still won in FL.
Lines for hours look like scene from Third World countries.
What is with Florida voters?
Why do they elect people who want to stop the vote?
Are all these people trying to commit fraud?

GOP voter suppression actually helps Obama win election
GOP tried changing the rules, changing ID requirements, end early voting periods, changing time and place of vote, sending GOP goons to intimidate voters, registering only Republicans. This activity just makes people mad enough to stand in line for hours. Despite efforts in 33 GOP controlled states to restrict the vote, exit polls reveal that the minority share of the 2012 electorate increased from 26 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2012. 
In NJ, Gov Christy told voters to go to their closed polling places (Sandy) and vote in mobile machines there—the trucks never showed up. Obama still won.

FL AL will not provide health care exchanges to citizens
Rick Scott says he still won't implement parts of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul despite the re-election of the president. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the law, but said that states could decide whether to follow the law. A health report estimates the state could expand its Medicaid coverage to more than 1 million residents without spending additional money by offsetting costs in state-funded hospital programs and other safety nets. Will Scott relent?

VA is not ready to offer health exchanges to citizens
Bob McDonnell has done an about-turn on the establishment of a state health benefits exchange inVirginia. On Wednesday, in a post-election press briefing, McDonnell conceded that Virginia would not meet the Nov. 16 deadline for a blueprint for the state-run exchanges.

KS SC LA will not offer health exchanges to its citizens
Gov. Brownback said his administration won't partner with the federal government to set up a health insurance exchange called for by the federal health insurance overhaul. "Kansans feel Obamacare is an overreach by Washington and have rejected the state's participation..."

AR, NC  will partner with ObamaCare to give uninsured health care
GOP state government decided to rely on Feds to organize exchanges for sales of policies for uninsured, providing subsidy for poor.

NJ WI AZ Gov not decided about helping uninsured
New Jersey has 1.3 million uninsured," said Jeff Brown, health care advocate with New Jersey Citizen Action. "The governor's decision is going to affect hundreds of thousands of people."

MS will offer the uninsured help
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has submitted the state's plan for an insurance exchange to the federal government. The deadline is Nov 16 extended.

Most insurers welcome new customers via health exchanges
Spurred by the individual health insurance mandate and the prospect of adding thousands to their rolls, a majority of health insurance leaders say their organizations are already preparing or implementing plans to participate in health insurance exchanges, according to the results of a poll conducted by KPMG.

Women more likely to understand LTC needs but less to have plan
A new study reveals that 30 percent of U.S. female adults said they're not sure how they plan to address their potential long term care needs. And 57 percent of women reported they're likely to need help meeting financial expenses. Having a plan to deal with financial issues increases the likelihood of dealing with emergencies well. Furthermore, only 37 percent of women said they're saving for their future needs, and are significantly less likely to own long-term care insurance than their male counterparts (9 percent vs. 15 percent). Make a plan and be more confident:

Police sue for free speech too
A law enforcement union filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Wisconsin law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers. The lawsuit comes less than two months after aDane County judge ruled the law unconstitutional as it applies to school district and local government workers. That ruling came in a case brought by Madison teachers and Milwaukee city workers. It did not apply to state workers. Gov Walker is appealing that ruling. Walker exempted from the law, the state police who supported his election. The lawsuit charges violation of equal protection.

Did your advisor tell you they had to raise fees?
For the second-straight year, LPL plans to raise the fees on its brokers. LPL is one of the largest independent brokerage firms. If you advisor did not increase your costs last year, look for it this year. It seems that the larger the brokerage firm revenue, the higher the fees go. You may want to move your portfolio to Vanguard or Schwab, which just lowered fees.

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

Regulators going after annuity sellers!!!
In one case, the seller convinced the customer to mortgage her primary residence to invest $300,000 in a variable annuity. The sale was reversed given that the customer intended to retire in seven years, had limited income, expected an equally limited retirement income and would have an insufficient monthly income to make the mortgage payments. The seller was fined $5,000 and suspended for 10 days. Not a big deal. Variable annuity sales can produce 6-10% commission. So $18,000 - $5,000 fine =$13,000.

In another case, the seller forged documents for a variable annuity replacement contract in a state in which he was not licensed to sell insurance products and included false information in the firm’s electronic books and records. Suspended for 3 months.

MassMutual was fined $1.65 million by regulators for not telling variable annuity buyers that they would lose interest when a cap on their  guaranteed minimum income benefit (GMIB) value was reached.

Who owns your account now?
Homeowners Choice has assumed 59,688 homeowners' policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida's state-operated insurance company.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042