Friday, November 9, 2012

Why we will NEVER be rich

Why we will NEVER be rich! 
Ten things we can do NOW to invest successfully
Why we don't accumulate $1,000,000 from monthly contributions.
Why we reduce our wealth by paying "specialists" to increase it.
Why we don't use the simple time-tested strategy of compounding.
Why we don't use a tax-FREE account and give up $300,000.

Are you prepared for retirement of at least 20 years?
A new LIMRA study reveals that two-thirds of middle-income ($40,000-$99,999) American workers are saving less than five percent of their annual income for retirement – with nearly a quarter saving nothing at all. “These results, while not surprising, are very troubling,” said Matthew Drinkwater, associate managing director, LIMRA's retirement research. “Less than 30 percent of American workers have a traditional defined benefit retirement plan….” One in four workers ages 18-34 reported not saving at all for retirement. You can make a plan in 1 hour:

CA health insurers line up to compete in new exchanges
CA officials, and those in other states, are eager to flex their purchasing power under the federal healthcare law by selecting only certain individual and small-business health plans for 19 different regions across California. Buy only what you need:

Fewer investors using paid advisors—they trust family/friends???
According to a new survey, just 21 percent of investors say they use a financial professional as their primary provider of investment advice, down from 25 percent in 2011. Usage dropped sharply among households with $100,000 to $500,000 and $2 million plus in investable assets. Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) investors rely on family and 47 percent turning to friends. Emerging investors put the most trust in friends and family, coming in at 64 percent for friends and 82 percent for family. Most firms experienced a decline from 2011 to 2012 with only Vanguard and T. Rowe Price making sizeable gains.“Investors just aren’t sensing enough value for their dollar,” Brown adds. “They lack an understanding of financial services' costs of goods sold, which are impossible to estimate without a tangible product to evaluate. Therefore, they often assume they're being ‘ripped off’ by firms [that] offer professional advice.” Not a bad assumption. But using family/friends may not be wise. That's how Madoff clients got in trouble Trust yourself not salesmen:

Landmark Medicare Settlement Could Change Lives
Under the settlement of the lawsuit, Jimmo v. Sebelius, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to relax Medicare's requirements for coverage of skilled nursing and therapy services in institutional or home care settings. The key criterion for coverage will be a demonstrated need for skilled care - regardless of whether there is a recovery prognosis. That means patients already enrolled in Medicare Part A (hospitalization) who need care to maintain their current condition but aren't likely to improve will qualify for Medicare's standard benefits.

Insurers begin charging for texting while driving violations
The analysis found that, at one insurer, a texting ticket would cost a New York driver $58.50 more per year. At the second insurer, the presence of a texting offense meant having to pay an extra $74 annually. It depends on your state but insurers are looking for more premium. 

States must decide on our health care future NOW
Wisconsin faces a Nov. 16 deadline to inform the Obama administration whether the state will implement an online health care marketplace, or exchange, or let the federal government do it. Each state's exchange must be operational in 2014 under the health care law. Walker told reporters Wednesday in Milwaukee that he will be meeting with state officials this week to discuss the next steps. 
About 55 percent of Americans are covered through an employer; 31 percent have a public insurance plan such as Medicare or Medicaid, and 10 percent buy their own health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 23 million people who don’t have health insurance now will get it on one of the exchanges. More than 18 million of them will qualify for a federal subsidy averaging $6,000 a year per person. People earning up to four times the federal poverty level can get a subsidy: that’s an income of $92,000 a year for a family of four.

IN stops enforcing law requiring auto insurance for drivers with no car
Regulators agree to a stay in a lawsuit filed by a woman whose license was suspended for not having insurance even though she didn’t own a car. State law requires the DMV to check at random to ensure that drivers suspended for lack of insurance have since obtained coverage.

Do you have storm damage?
Damage value that is less than your deductible will not be paid. Filing a claim for small amounts may result in a rate increase. Tax deduction may help. Only itemizers can take a tax write-off for damage to nonbusiness property, such as a principal residence or vehicle. And there are a couple of offsets that apply to personal losses. First, you must reduce the amount of the loss by $100. Then, you can deduct the balance only to the extent that it exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income. For example, if you have $20,000 in unreimbursed casualty losses from Hurricane Sandy and your AGI is $100,000, you would first subtract $100. Then, you would subtract $10,000 (10% of your AGI) from the $19,900 balance. The remaining $9,900 is the amount you can deduct on Schedule A of your tax return. Use IRS Form 4684 to report your casualty losses, and then carry the amount over to Schedule A.
IRS agrees to wait for your tax payments if emergency
The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting in late October. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 1, 2013 to file these returns and pay any taxes due. This includes the fourth quarter individual estimated tax payment, normally due Jan. 15, 2013. It also includes payroll and excise tax returns and accompanying payments for the third and fourth quarters, normally due on Oct. 31, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013 respectively. It also applies to tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 series returns with an original or extended deadline falling during this period.

Ford hits bumps in CR Reliability study—only Jaguar is worse
Ford has gone from being in the Top Ten of most reliable cars, a record they’ve enjoyed for quite some time to now being the second to last out of all cars. It’s thought that all the new bugs getting worked out of the MyFord Touch system and issues with their stable of new products is what has contributed to the extreme drop in the Ford lineup. Jaguar came in last place. “Ford’s bumpy road can be seen in the numbers. Sixty percent of Ford-branded models and half of Lincolns were below average in predicted reliability, and none placed above average,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Auto insurance rates down—compare your rates
A drop in vehicle theft along with factors such as insurers ability to assess risk; safety and anti-theft devices; and new products such as pay-as-you-drive policies, are all having a positive impact on auto insurance rates, leading to the lowest cost when adjusted for inflation in 20 years, said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group sponsored by the property/casualty industry. Worters said auto insurance costs fell in the five years prior to 2009, the last year for which data is available. She said III is forecasting average annual cost of U.S. auto insurance coverage in 2012 will total $839, less than what the typical U.S. driver spent on coverage in 2004. But when adjusted for inflation, costs are expected to be 19% lower in 2012 than 2003. Time to shop:

Is your auto insurer doing a good job?
Claimant satisfaction with their auto claims experience has increased from last year, driven primarily by an improvement in their perceptions of the fairness of settlement terms, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM. The study measures claimant satisfaction with the claims experience for auto physical damage loss. Depending on the complexity of the claim, a claimant may experience some or all of the following factors measured in the study: first notice of loss; service interaction; appraisal; repair process; rental experience; and settlement. Amica and Erie head list as before. Esurance and Commerce are last.

Investor’s view of politics
Bill Gross is one of the most intelligent investors around today. This is his take:

Progressive’s view of Obama To Do List

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

Will any of the criminals go to jail?
Countrywide is being sued for selling $12.5 billion worth of risky mortgages to Fannie Mae. Finally, someone is being sued for the mess they created in 2005.

What were they thinking?
Former oil exec becomes Archbishop of Canterbury 

Who owns your account now?
MetLife mortgage servicing business to JPMorgan Chase
ING Direct will become Capital One 360
Metropolitan Health Networks Inc  to Humana  
Sun Life (Canada) is seeking a buyer for its U.S. annuities business
Hartford Financial is offering to pay some clients to give up their variable annuities.

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