Friday, October 31, 2014

Banks caught helping tax evaders want bailout

Banks caught helping tax evaders want bailout
Swiss banks seeking to avoid U.S. prosecution by disclosing how they helped Americans evade taxes have asked the Justice Department to back off a dozen demands. 
Working Americans don’t need a Swiss tax shelter:

Do you receive tax credits for your “donations”?
There have been reports that companies donating to the Republican Governors Association were more likely to get incentives from New Jersey, whose governor, Chris Christie chairs the association. Lockheed Martin reportedly donated $50,000 to the association and then applied for $100 million in tax credits over 10 years in return for expanding in Camden. Why is Christie holding 80% of the Sandy recovery money?

Is this a good time to invest?
I get this question all the time. Who knows? NO ONE. If you listen to media commentators who are paid to tell your fortune, you might get greedy or scared. Fear of stock market activity keeps many from investing for retirement. Don’t listen to them. They are paid to talk but no one can foretell the future. If we can’t know the future, consider your wealth-building alternatives—bank CD? If you need $40,000 a year in retirement, how can you get it? Advisors can take up to 63% of your long-term accumulation so don’t bother them. Your low-cost plan at work may provide an easy way to invest automatically. Fidelity found that their 401k accounts reached $1 million (provides $40K a year for life) by investing for 30 years in low-cost mutual funds. Same with low-cost target date funds. We can’t control the market but we can control costs.
There is no “best” time to invest. Making equal contributions to low-cost funds is the only way to be successful, according to Unbiased (already) millionaires:

Do you really need an advisor/broker?
A recent survey found that 36 percent of investors with under $1 million don’t believe an advisor would represent their best interests, and 31 percent said they don’t have enough assets to interest an advisor. Also, 28 percent said they could do a better job than a paid advisor, 27 percent said they could not afford an advisor, 15 percent said they didn’t know who to turn to for an advisor, and 9 percent said they get help from friends and family.
Advisors/brokers are not necessary anymore. Trading is gambling, not investing. Buy 10 low-cost mutual funds for the rest of your life and earn over 10% a year:

Employers sued for charging high fees
It’s getting easier for retirement plan participants to win fee suits, says a senior advisor for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries. They are having more success because their lawyers are arguing more effectively in court by making a point of showing what fiduciaries should have done but didn’t do, said Ilene Ferenczy, ASPPA.
Participants are also faring better because their attorneys more often are demonstrating how trustees are costing them money by allowing excessive fees, Ferenczy added.
"In every single time period and data point tested, low-cost funds beat high-cost funds." 
Check your employer plan for costs at

GOP crazies
Joni Ernst is running in IA and says she will make Congress squeal when she gets there. She also said she will shoot anyone with her 9mm (including the government) who tries to take away her rights. She might be inciting armed rebellion against the US or warning police that she will shoot if they come to arrest her for a crime. Is she against rule of law?
Her advert says she likes to kill pigs.
Will she cut pork (subsidies) from IA farmers as well as their health care?
KOCH Bros have spend $290 million to buy midterms for GOP so far.

GOP crazies
Turns out that most GOP do believe in climate change by man. They just can’t say it in public because they fear the TEAs. In fact, House Republicans passed an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act forbidding the Defense Department from spending money on any climate-related initiatives, including planning programs. However, quietly, GOP-led Pentagon has been training for climate change since 2010 because they NEED to be ready. A new report should be read by every GOP voter just so they know the facts, not the TEA’s version.

DEM crazies
Obama faces new Senate, the TEAs, Ebola, ISIS, Syria, drones, immigration, Ukraine,  etc. Can any other problem be handled?
What is his legacy?

Sam’s Club Launches Health Insurance Exchange for Members
Aetna Marketplace for Sam’s Club is the first mass retail-supported private healthcare exchange designed to meet the needs of both small business owners and their employees, according Wal-Mart. It provides Sam’s Club business members that have two or more employees with exclusive access to personalized plan tools and resources from Aetna.
Pool of small business may save money. But buy only what you need:

Lexus most reliable vehicle, again
Consumer Reports has just released this year's ratings of the most and least reliable new cars and carmakers. Mazda, Honda and Subaru joined Toyota in the top ten. Audi was the highest scoring non-Japanese brand, while Buick was the only domestic brand in the top ten. The recently merged Fiat Chrysler fared worst in the rankings, with its Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat brands in the bottom four spots. The new nine-speed transmission in the Jeep Cherokee was among the company's headaches.

ObamaCare after 1 year—more Americans have health care—Kentucky example
Americans who never had health care now do have health care. They no longer have to go bankrupt if they seek help. Why are GOP against a healthier America?

Are you supporting your adult child?
“Research shows that Millennials have weathered the most significant repercussions from the recent economic downturn. While Millennials are the most educated generation in history, nearly 4 in 10 are unemployed and many more are underemployed,” said Deb Dupont, associate managing director, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. “Parents of Millennials, even those over the age of 22, are providing considerable support to their children at a time in their lives when saving from retirement should be a priority.”
The study also found that 57 percent of U.S. households with adult children have at least one adult child living at home. Nearly three quarters of households with adult children ages 18-22 have at least one adult child residing in their home.
Leah learned to live with friends: Makes a great present too.

Is a child or grandchild trust right for you?
If you feel they can’t handle your entire legacy after you are gone, you can have a relative AND trustee firm invest and release the money according to your wish and their joint judgment. Low-cost mutual funds will make your money go farther—release for college, age 25, 30, etc. Most mutual fund firms can provide the trustee services for small annual fees (0.75%). Have an accountant or lawyer write the trust. Make transfers part of your plan:

Small Business Health Options Program launched in five states.
The business health exchanges will open in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio and Missouri in late October. Small employers will be able to use to do such things as establish a profile, assign an agent or broker to their account, complete an employer eligibility application, and browse plans and pricing when they become available. The states that will not offer employee choice in 2015 are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

AZ school system bans contraception info because 1 parent objected
Gilbert Public Schools board, which covers at least 38 schools and 39,000 students mostly in Chandler and Mesa, voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to excise two pages about contraception from "Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections." The text now says that abstinence is the only fail-safe birth control method.
Is it better for the children not to know what happens if they ‘experiment’ with sex?

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.

Fed tells banks to change bonus behavior
Bankers are given a big check when they make deals that are bad—even those that could destroy our way of life. (Bankers can afford to move offshore.) Regulators want banks to paying fat checks over time. Banks need to have the bankers themselves pay for the damage—losses and fines. GREAT IDEA! Gee, I wish I had thought of that!?  
In fact, every broker/advisor/agent should follow same regs.

Court makes suing corps for bad behavior even more difficult
Shareholders used to have the ultimate control over their corp behavior. Violations could be redressed by suing officers. But now the corp home court has quashed that “checks and balances” strategy. Hoping to achieve greater accountability wronged investors have filed many cases against top corporate officials, accusing them of breaching fiduciary duties and of other misdeeds. But even this enforcement mechanism is under attack, thanks to a recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court.

Noah L. Myers, 43, an investment advisor from Lyme, Conn., pleaded guilty in federal district court to securities fraud for operating a cherry-picking scheme that benefited him and hurt his clients. He credited the most advantageous client trades to his own account.

Merrill Lynch was fined for allowing short-sellers to dump stocks without making sure they had first arranged to borrow the shares. 

Who owns your account now?
Southpac Life Insurance to Advantage Insurance Holdings Ltd.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, October 24, 2014

Are these tax avoidance strategies right for you?

Are these tax avoidance strategies right for you?
Check these year-end tricks to see if you can save this year. You may be able to divest a large, low-basis holding. You may be able to cut the AMT. There are several layers to the tax in US, so you need to see your accountant/planner/advisor to get started avoiding taxes. Your Congress person can probably help with a little non-quid-pro-quo giving. They write (with lobbyist’s help) the tax code. The Supremes have made it almost impossible to ‘bribe’ your representative, so go for it. In fact, your profitable corporation can just rent a post office box in the Caymans and lower its taxes to 0% like  Boeing, General Electric, and Verizon, and 24 others.

How can you avoid income tax in retirement?
Stop adding money to your employer retirement plan! You have been converting the low rates that the rich pay on capital gains (15%) into income taxes that hit 25-35%. Switch to a low-cost Roth IRA and pay nothing on that money in retirement. If your retirement income is not subject to income tax then you are more likely to pay $0 on your Social Security benefits. Contrary to popular myth, benefits are taxable if you have other income. You may be able to avoid paying income tax later by converting your taxable IRA to a Roth now in years when you have lower income.
Other tax-avoidance strategies require more work: borrow from your assets without repayment, use your legal entities to borrow cash, offset taxes with tax losses, cash value life insurance, etc.

Is a Roth IRA conversion right for you?
Conversions of deductible 401k or rollover IRA to a Roth IRA have increased 800% recently. Why? Each $1 you already put into those accounts could grow to $46 by retirement and if they were in a Roth, you would have 25-30% MORE because the $46 is all tax-FREE. Yes, you have to pay tax on the $1 plus earnings now, but those with higher incomes see the enormous benefits and are going for it.

What is the best way to transfer your pension when your job is over?
If you are leaving your employer for another or for self-employment, there are important benefits to consider. Your advisor/broker may not know them all or may be receive a bonus for one way. Taxes are involved too. SEC regulators are concerned about advisors’ sales practices. Mistakes can cost you. Look before you leap. Know the best for YOU.

Youth consult family and friends for financial advice
Members of Gen Y, those born between about 1980 and 2000, are more likely to rely on personal connections for their financial advice than older generations, according to a new TIAA-CREF survey. They are more likely to value online tools and calculators (74 percent versus 57 present of the general population), seminars (68 percent versus 53 percent) or webinars (67 percent versus 54 percent) as channels for advice. They are more likely than the general population to involve their parents (47 percent versus 19 percent), extended family (22 percent versus 14 percent) and other trusted adults (31 percent versus 21 percent) in their search for advice. 

Social Security benefits up by 1.7%
Make sure your account benefit calculation is correct by checking online. If you don’t have an account yet, create a personalized Social Security accounts online at You can see your benefit information at any time. Make sure you will have enough income when SS benefits are reduced in 2033. Create your own tax-FREE income security:

I just saved $840 on my car insurance—made $840 an hour
When I got my auto renewal policy bill today, they had raised my cost about $400. Last year they raised it by about $300. I decided to shop for a new deal. It took me 1 hour to save $840 after entering my info at two competitor’s online sites. One wanted $2,949 for a year. WOW. Another insurer told me to wait 5 minutes for a phone rep. I hung up. My vehicles are old—’98 and ’05, but I still carry collision and comprehensive. I don’t carry their PIP medical since I have a good health policy and it pays first anyway. I declined rental and towing and life insurance and disability just like before. I charged it on my card and downloaded my policy and proof of insurance. The new carrier is A++ and 2nd largest in US. In one hour I added $840 to my Wealth Reserve.

Do you really need an advisor or broker to help with your financials?
As a former manager of advisors and brokers at banks and security firms, I see a change in the way you can obtain help. First, determine how your salesperson gets paid. This helps you understand how they can help you. All licensed staff work for firms that only offer products that provide them with revenue. You are offered what the firm sells NOT what you might need. Vanguard and TIAA-CREF operate differently. Their products don’t pay commissions, so most firms don’t sell their products, but you can.  
In the last 30 years, products like low-cost mutual funds, discount brokerage and useable information have become available to everyone. Personal service can be obtained just for the asking. For instance, Vanguard provides free or low-cost advice, brokerage and trustee services even for small account customers.
Advisors that charge you by the hour may have lower-priced products. Your employer’s pension plan is more likely to offer lower cost products too. Costs are spread over your group so you pay less.
Also, you can now learn enough on your own to succeed by paying less:

How much would a US election cost you?
If you could buy an election (thanks to Supreme Court), how much would it cost you? In the previous midterms, in 2010, the top 0.26% of donors gave 68% of all individual political contributions, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Much of that went to GOP candidates. Tom Steyer, hedge fund croupier, spent $20 millions so far. Bloomberg spent $11 mil and Uline owner, $5 mil.
These billionaires are NOT counting on alleged “voters with fake IDs” either.

GOP crazies backed by Supremes agree to suppress vote
If you can’t win with centrist policies, keep 600,000 Dems from voting. Supremes 5 old guys sided with voter suppression in TX. The law sets out seven forms of approved ID — a list that includes concealed handgun licenses ($150 credit card only) but not college picture ID, which are accepted in other states with similar measures. Dissenters called this decision "unconstitutional burden on the right to vote" and the equivalent of a poll tax in finding that the Republican-led Texas Legislature purposely discriminated against minority voters in Texas. TX has never found case of voter fraud.
Stephen F. Austin, Founder of Texas, would not been allowed to vote in TX under this law. Voter fraud to change outcome does NOT happen in US study finds.

DEM crazies
Cut budget by 7.6 Billion a year—jobs from greater demand—lower income inequality
Raise the minimum wage to the same level as in Reagan’s time—$10.10 per hour and take people off food stamps. That is the proposal DEMs are making now and confirmed by the CBO—nonpartisan Congress analyst. Can Congress vote on anything?
At Costco, hourly workers make an average of more than $20 an hour — well above the national average of $11.39 for a retail sales worker — according to a 2013 Businessweek story. For employees who put in 40 hours per week, that works out to about $43,000 a year. In addition, Businessweek reports that 88% of Costco's 185,000 employees have company-sponsored health care.
Why doesn’t GOP see the facts—good pay equals more money to buy equals more profit

Our hard-earned wages going to waste
Congress spent $25 billions of our taxes on stupid projects while running up the deficit. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone. Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in ammunition that it deems no longer useful at of cost of $1 billion just to destroy the ammo. Both Dems and GOP guilty of this despicable behavior. You won’t believe the things they wasted our money on. Wastebook 2014
But they won’t fix our bridges and roads because Obama proposed it.

Pope tries to move older churchmen
Francis warned bishops against what he called "hostile rigidity" in their thinking on these topicshis remarks earning a five-minute standing ovation. Catholic bishops rejected a landmark change Saturday in the rigid stance on gays and divorcees, revealing enormous gaps within the church at the end of a two-week meeting. The synod's final statement failed to include remarkably conciliatory language revealed a week ago that would have welcomed the "gifts and qualities" of gay Catholics and called on pastors to "avoid any language or behavior" that could discriminate against divorced Catholics.
Change is coming, Mr Scalia.

How much can you invest in your pension?
IRS announced (IR-2014-99) that you can now sock away $18,000 in 2015, up from 17,500 in your 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans. Employees over age 50 can add another $6,000. IRA limits remain at $5,500. The deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $183,000 and $193,000. The income limit for the saver’s tax credit ($1-2,000) is $61,000 for married couples filing jointly. Tax credit means you could reduce your taxes by $2,000 dollar for dollar.

What does it cost to file a homeowner’s claim?
Insurers do not want to pay claims. If you file a small claim, not only do you have to pay the deductible first, you may get a big new premium bill next year. According to one study, your state may allow an increase of 30% or no increase at all. Premiums in 37 states increased by an average of 10 percent after filing a single claim. "There's a significant statistical correlation between making a claim and the likelihood of making an additional claim in the future,” insurers say. They need to offset the increased risk. Texas prohibits insurers from increasing premiums for first-time claims. But according to Amy Bach, executive director of the California-based nonprofit consumer advocacy group United Policyholders, this rationale doesn't hold water. "(There's a general feeling that) it's completely unfair that an insurance company is free to raise your rates because you had the gall to actually use your insurance," Bach says.

Is keyless entry (phone) to your home right for you?
Does it make sense to you that people would want an electronic gadget guarding their home? Yet you can try it for $250 and the price of the phone. One device tested did not work. The testers did not ask the local burglar to give it a try so you don’t know if hackers could take your home like they do your ID, bank or computer.
Please give me a break from the gadgets.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.

What business marketing has done to the language—“anonymous” doesn’t mean anonymous now!
The Guardian revealed that Whisper, an app that promises to “anonymously share your thoughts and secrets”, is tracking its users including some who have asked not to be followed and storing their posts indefinitely while it trawls their messages to identify interesting stories to promote itself in the media.
“That’s exactly the kind of deceptive practice that the FTC should crack down on,” said Marc Rotenberg “It’s very important but there has to be more transparency and accountability. Companies that offer anonymity services should deliver them,” he said.

Check that debt collection scam before you pay their bill
Scammers use your public info to make a claim for past bills. Don’t trust what they say or write. Get proof. If they are legit, they must provide it by law. Scammers work by intimidation and harassment.

UBS is sticking with its recommendations that some clients buy risky Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds, despite hundreds of arbitration claims by investors, says an internal document. A UBS AG unit will pay $5.2 million in a settlement with Puerto Rico's financial institutions regulator over the firm's practices involving sales of Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds whose values later plunged.
Fines are not enough to keep clients safe.

Charlie Baker running for MA Gov gives donation to Christie who has NJ teacher pension head give money to Baker’s management fund.
Isn’t that quid pro quo bribe?

Corporations spending BIG on TV to win elections/propositions
In many states, TV ads are defining the winners and losers at election time. Voters may not have the true facts but now have their point of view thanks to big money.

Is your business easy prey for these common scams?
Based on a study of claims experience, insurers identified the following four common crime schemes in business:
1.   Billing and Vendor Schemes - Employees set up false vendor accounts and bill a company for non-existent parts or services.
2.   Check Tampering Schemes - Employees use company checks to pay themselves or reissue the company’s old outstanding checks and alter the payee to themselves.
3.   Payroll Schemes - Employees manipulate the amount on their check, or create duplicates of their check to cash more than once.
4.   Expense Reimbursement Schemes - Employees submit additional expenses that never occurred or were not of a business nature and are then reimbursed for those bogus expenses.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042


Friday, October 17, 2014

Avoid taxes in retirement

Avoid taxes in retirement: Give yourself the tax-FREE income you want
Advisors are wrong—we don’t need 80% of salary in retirement. A recent survey indicates that today's retirees are bringing in far less than that -- about 66% of their pre-retirement income on average. The average retired couple in this survey, before taxes, brought in $58,000 per year. Most of that money is coming from Social Security 43%, then traditional pensions 19%.
“Let’s Do the Numbers” to Create the tax-FREE income we want:

Workers will work long past age 65
A new report says that nearly three quarter of individuals delaying retirement plan to stay on the job an additional three years. And nearly one-third plan to retire at age 70 or later.
This leaves less opportunity for young people. Make every dollar count.

Is your bank’s fixed annuity right for you?
Your bank personnel are after you to buy a fixed annuity. They tempt you with rates over 5% compared to their CDs at just over 2%. You receive a set amount for life it is true but if interest rates go up in the future, you will be stuck. With inflation at 3%, you will be getting HALF the amount of value in 20 years. If you have an emergency, you pay up to 8% to get your money back. Consider all the (non-bank) alternatives first:

Do you have a problem car?
The National High Traffic Safety Administration registers complaints drivers have with their cars and the folks at The Center for Auto Safety created an index of these complaints relative to the number of that model sold. The top cars on the list are:
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Infiniti QX60
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Ford Focus
  • Cadillac ATS

Is your broker or advisor right for you?
How do you know that the product or advice is the BEST for you? What do you consider when buying? How much does the seller get paid to sell this product versus another? Is the advice free or do you pay an hourly fee? Is your advisor considering your future plans or needs? Are your plans flexible for future possibilities? Some products cost too much and can’t be cancelled. Do you have other sources of help like the Toffels? Did you pick the best of at least 3 solutions?

What are the alternatives to PIMCO’s Total Return fund?
Where do you invest now that Bill Gross’s run as bond guru is over? Wellesley Income fund has provided 10% return since 1970 with 60% bonds. Low cost (0.18%) is the key to long-term success. Gross charged 0.85% to 1.60% and so he had a hard time in this low interest rate world. Gross provided only 12% total return since 2000 where Wellesley gave you 22% vs DOW 56%. Wellesley Income is one of the Vanguard Top 10:

GOP crazies
In one of the weirdest and most Floridian moments in debate history, Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate was delayed because Republican governor Rick Scott refused to take the stage with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist and his small electric fan. Crist is running as Dem after swearing off GOP after the right criticized his leadership.

Should you take the life-long pension or the lump sum from work?
This is the question many have to face as they retire. If you can’t afford to hire a planner to do the numbers for you, consider that a pension usually pays you a fixed amount until you die. If longevity is in your family, this is a plus, just like good health and your fear of the market if you self-invested. If you have other sources of income and hate to budget and like steady income, take it. If you like to control your future and create a greater retirement income, read Ian Sender’s new book:

Employers “Guaranteed” benefits are B.S.—don’t count on them!
Some cities and counties are taking away benefits that they had long promised workers. This has angered many retirees, and an advocacy group,, has supported a bill introduced this year in Congress that would prevent companies—public and private—from taking away earned health-care benefits. The bill would also require companies that filed for bankruptcy to pay retiree pensions for at least three years.
“Post-retirement health benefits are not entitlements, they are earned benefits that were paid for by workers and guaranteed by employers,” one advocate said.
Shifting retirees onto the exchanges means more sick people—higher costs.
“Guaranteed” benefits are no longer guaranteed. Wealth is the only guaranteed system:

What is a “robo-advisor” and do you need one?
Wall Street’s quest for more revenue takes a twist—in order to keep profits high, they are going electronic. Your broker/advisor can now offer to do what you could do all along—use low-cost index funds at a low-cost trading website. Of course, you will still pay through the nose for this “professional” service but now it’s done by staff. Your advisor will have more time to “gather more assets” instead of processing your paperwork. The “Robo-advisor” will manage “low-cost portfolios of ETFs, “smart” rebalancing, automated tax-loss harvesting, automatic money transfers and automated dividend re-investment.” Here is the reason you are being handed off: “the platform allows advisors to scale their business, automate workflows, develop new client relationships and provide clients with a modern digital and mobile experience. An advisor dashboard allows advisors to view all relevant data at the firm level (assets under management, clients, business metrics) and at the client level (balances, allocations, performance and so on).”
Robos are also provide “paperless forms and client agreements; Web and mobile apps; bank-level security; billing software and fee collection; the generation of statements and reports; and technical support seven days a week. All client-facing materials -- including the Web site, mobile apps, client statements and e-mails -- are branded with your advisor logo.” Great for advisor—no need to call just use app!
Since your broker/advisor is going robo, you might want to go really low-cost:

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.

Shame the Iraq army?
A Kurdish woman fighter is leading the battle against Islamic State jihadists in the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, a monitoring group and activists said Sunday. "Those who know her say she is cultivated, intelligent and phlegmatic," said Mustefa Ebdi, a Kurdish activist from Kobane. "She cares for the mental state of the fighters and takes interest in their problems," he said.
Kick some Axx, girl!

Dutch biker gang grabs rifles, joins Kurds in fight against ISIS
Dutch govt says OK, just don’t fight against us.
Will Hell’s Angels join next?

Army lied to soldiers about chemical weapons exposure
American troops were exposed to chemical weapons multiple times in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while the Pentagon kept their discoveries of the expired or degraded weapons secret from investigators, fellow soldiers, and military doctors, according to a published report. On at least six occasions, soldiers were wounded by those weapons. In all, the NY Times reported that 17 U.S. soldiers and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to chemical agents during the war. The U.S. government said its number was slightly higher, but did not release a specific figure. 
The Army, further, reportedly admitted to The Times that it had not followed its guidelines for treating soldiers exposed to chemical weapons in the years following the invasion.
In one case, a wounded soldier who suffered burns and blisters due to mustard gas was presented with a Purple Heart by former Secretary of the Army Peter Geren. Weeks later, he was told that he had been denied the medal because the Army had determined that his wounds had not been suffered in enemy action. 

Navy proposes new $10 million war ship because ‘cheaper’?
It is right out of James Bond movie.
New boy toys are always exciting!

Susan Walker, Ameriprise Financial adviser pleaded guilty to defrauding 24 clients of almost $1 million, according the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota.
She is accused of making unsuitable investment recommendations, including advising an 89-year-old client to invest over $75,000 into annuities, prior to her employment with Ameriprise. She later withdrew funds from those accounts for personal use, according to the order.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tax evasion costs us $3.09 TRILLION

Tax Evasion over Last Decade Cost US $3.09 Trillion 
GAO report cites many offshore tax evasion programs for individuals to try to collect taxes from Americans hiding funds in other countries. Multinational firms can artificially shift profits from high-tax to low-tax jurisdictions using a variety of techniques, such as shifting debt to high-tax jurisdictions. Since tax on the income of foreign subsidiaries is deferred until repatriated, this income can avoid current U.S. taxes and perhaps do so indefinitely. Corporations used to pay 40% of government revenue, now 10%. The payroll tax (on working people) has gone from 5% to 35%.  Stop paying the corporate share. Use your FREE tax haven:

American democracy headed back to Robber Baron days
Forbes released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. They’re worth a combined $2.29 trillion (up $270 billion from last year) – a 13 percent increase. These 400 billionaires now own more wealth than the bottom half of America – over 150 million people. Meanwhile, while the very rich become richer, most Americans have become poorer. Median family income has declined by almost $5,000 since 1999 and over half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings.

Do you live in one of the lowest pay cities in US?
The working poor class is growing in Orlando, which has the lowest median pay among the 50 most-populous American metropolitan areas. Three of the city’s largest employers, including Walt Disney, increased starting pay this year. Even after Disney raised its minimum wage to $10 per hour, many employees live below the federal poverty line. Leisure and hospitality jobs make up about 20 percent of the labor force but are low pay. Many workers can’t feed families on $25,000 a year. Orlando is now the most-visited U.S. tourist destination, yet 40 percent of jobs in Orlando pay less than $25,000 per year. A local economy dominated by low-wage jobs has caused fiscal troubles for cities as well as among wage earners. Orlando lifted property taxes by 17.7 percent last month to close a $17 million budget hole next year. It joins low-wage cities like Atlantic City, New Jersey and Memphis, Tennessee, struggling to cover rising costs. Tourists like cheap labor but hate crumbling infrastructure.

How can this trend be reversed?
With the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the wealthy can now buy elections like they did in the early 1900s, before campaign contribution regulation. Wealthy activists are supporting GOP states like OH, NC, AL, TX, KS, TN, WV, GA, ME, WI, FL where voter suppression has been institutionalized. The state governments are passing new laws to require 3 IDS, limit voting times and days, destroy voter registrations and absentee ballots, require passport picture IDs, etc, just like in Russia.
Could a foreign country using a dummy corporation buy an election?
Yes, it is possible now since contributions NO LONGER have to be disclosed to anyone.

ObamaCare enrollment starts Nov 15.
Your may want to check the insurance company ratings from Consumer Report.
Each state list with score ranking of each plan, as well as patient satisfaction ratings, and performance evaluations. Shop online or phone

Can you find a new car for under $20K?
Edmunds did the research for you. Even though new cars can lose 40% of their value in 3 years, you might find one of these with zero financing now. Or take last years’ models for spin and save $10K. Some have great reliability and gas mileage. Lower insurance too.
Buy only what you need—skip the double coverage you already have:

Are stock market forecasters right for you?
When your advisor/broker gives you their ideas/recommendations they are really forecasting the future. Consider what recently happened to one of the best fortune-tellers. Investment giant Pimco’s CEO Bill Gross, considered the bond guru of the age, just walked out of his job of 43 year. In 2011, he became a deficit hawk, declaring that low interest rates were “robbing” investors. He pulled many of his investors out of U.S. debt instruments. He predicted a spike in interest rates when the Fed ended a program of debt purchases in June 2011. He was completely wrong, and neither he nor Pimco ever recovered.
Did Wall Street learn from this bad fortune-telling? NO. People who were predicting soaring inflation and interest rates five years ago are still predicting soaring inflation and interest rates today, vigorously rejecting any suggestion that they should reconsider their views in light of experience. Listen to Warren Buffett who actually runs businesses: "The only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good."

GOP crazies
Rep. Michele Bachmann and Hunter predicted that ISIS members are planning imminent attacks inside the U.S. and will make American cities experience levels of violence seen in Iraqi cities like Baghdad. After arguing that ISIS members are entering the country as they illegally cross the southern border and “march through our United States airports,” Bachmann made the false claim that “President Obama released Baghdadi,” referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. In fact, he was released during the Bush administration. “I don’t want to see the car bombings and all of the havoc and chaos coming to the United States that we see in Baghdad,” she said. “Since we have the Islamic State come into the United States, we’ll see a wave of car bombings and bombings that occur here in the United States that would begin the process of destabilization to bring them to the point of defeating us here in the United States.”
Ms Bachmann is on the House Intelligence Committee and may run for President.

Is Medicare Advantage right for you?
Thinking about enrolling in, or making changes to a Medicare plan? Open enrollment is October 15 – December 7.AARP's Medicare Q&A Tool can help answer any questions you may have. provides help online and phone.

Is mortgage refi right for you?
Rates are still low—3-4%--and you may be able to switch from a 30-year to a 15-year without much more money. Problem is that banks use computerized apps now and you may be declined even if you have good credit and great income prospects. Last month, the former chair of the Federal Reserve got his “we are sorry” letter. This is the man who set the bank rates for the country during the 2nd worst financial crisis, and he can’t get a refi on a sub-$million home in DC. Wow. Ben Bernanke makes over a $100 grand PER speech and will take down $250K plus as a lobbyist somewhere, and he can’t get a loan. The computer says he has no “regular” job, so he gets the decline letter. Pendulum swings in credit are horrific so you need to

Brokers may not pay up even if you win your dispute--BEWARE
If your broker misleads you and you win a judgment in arbitration (suits are banned), you may never collect because brokerage firms do not have to carry insurance according to their regulator FINRA. A group of investors won a $3.9 million judgment against brokerage firm Resource Horizons Group, after the firm failed to supervise a broker who was running a fraud scheme on the side. The judgment is larger than the brokerage's net capital, which was $558,628, so investors are out of luck. In 2012, brokerage firms failed to pay $50 million in awards to customers.

25% of young people ages 25 to 34 say they trust “no one” on money matters
Nearly 1 in 4 say they trust "no one" for money advice, according to a new study from Fidelity Investments. About a third said they trust their parents most for information on money, but many reported a real lack of communication with their parents about their finances. Almost half reported never receiving financial advice from their parents. Nearly half of them are already socking money away for retirement. Some have found the easy way to invest—Use their tax refund:

Who owns your account now?
SBLI USA Life NY to Prosperity Life (Black Diamond & Capital Partners and Reservoir Capital Group, CEO Hans Carstensen, previously CEO Aviva Life).
Anbang Insurance, Beijing buys the Waldorf Astoria.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.
We need to learn guerrilla war tactics for 21st century "wars." 

Former AIG owner says he wants more of bailout from US
When the NY Fed, Geithner and US Treasurer, Paulson panicked over the bank gambling debts in 2007, the Fed asked Warren Buffett if AIG was good for the loan. Buffett Says He Gave Geithner Assurance Before 2008 AIG Bailout for $85 billion. The bailout grew to $182.3 billion, with the U.S. Treasury Department also providing assistance. This debate has turned into a lawsuit. AIG has paid back the loan but the former owner wants more.

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Montclair, NJ 07042

Friday, October 3, 2014

IRS stops chasing tax evaders

IRS stops chasing tax evaders
Fed report on IRS says they don’t use every means to collect $ BILLIONS. Most uncollected taxes are owed by small business. Liens are placed on property but little is recovered. IRS wrote off $6.7 billions from 483,000 tax returns — because it couldn't find the taxpayers. IRS says: "It may be difficult for the IRS to collect on these outstanding liabilities considering that these taxpayers have already proven to be difficult to contact or locate." The big tax evaders—Apple, Google, Top Ten actually got REFUNDS. That’s right, your taxes went to GE, Boeing, Verizon, etc with $Bs profits.  In fact, 18,857 US companies keep a post office box in the Cayman Islands. 80 percent of the largest US corporations use offshore tax havens. Little wonder 57 percent of these companies paid no federal income taxes for at least one year from 1998 to 2005.

Is your advisor/broker trying to time the market? And wasting your money?
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves." Peter Lynch
Charles Schwab conducted a study using S&P data that showed that between 1994-2013, "missing the top ten up days by trying to time the market would have resulted in a reduction of 9.2% annualized return to 5.5%."
Investors lose more money trying to time the market ups and downs than if they had stayed invested. Your salesperson CANNOT foretell the future. Use the Best Predictor of Success method:

Corp execs make a killing with INVERSIONS
Medronic and other ‘deserters’ are using tricks to avoid their fair share of our taxes by claiming to move. This firm is giving its execs an extra $63 million from stockholders (our pensions) to ‘invert.’ Of course, Wall Street makes fees on the ‘inversion’ trick. Hedge funds get insider information and then make a bundle. Meanwhile, we pay their taxes to keep the system running and they continue to use it tax-FREE. They never moved!! You can go tax-FREE too:

Is a Worry-Free car right for you?
Cars that you don’t have to fix are in demand. CR and JDPower ratings combined to give you a list to consider. Even 3 year old models may be the best value—quality at the right price. Trucks and cars that make 200,000 miles are listed here

Congress votes in its own interest—“representative democracy" focuses on millionaires
For the first time in history, more than half the members of the House and Senate are now millionaires, according to a new analysis of financial disclosure reports filed last year. The median net worth for lawmakers in the House and Senate was $1,008,767 — up 4.4 percent, according to the analysis, conducted by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which examines the influence of money on politics in Washington. None were laid off, unemployed, need food stamps, lack health care coverage, lack retirement plan, need a home, have college loans outstanding, or have trouble getting mortgages.
The world looks different to them. They get paid even if they do nothing. Perfect job!!

GOP crazies
U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann thinks President Barack Obama's strategy to defeat Islamic State extremists is piecemeal and we should hit them hard early. Bachmann says US knew last year. Congress should declare war on ISIS like WWII.

Supremes re-write Constitution—cut voter access in OH
“Thousands of Ohioans rely on early voting,” said Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project. “For many, it is their only chance to cast a ballot during an election. While today’s order is not a final ruling on the merits, it will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.” Supremes assist GOP to end of democracy as we know it. American Constitution never required voters have 3 IDs. Only Russia has that law.  
GOP hopes to win elections by changing American Constitution.

Secret Service looking to future with Koch Bros?
The Secret Service Ignored 8 Assault Rifle Shots Fired Into the White House Residence When Obama Family Was Home. Secret Service supervisor issued a stand down order, saying there were no shots fired without looking. A housekeeper found the bullets for the SS 4 days later. Is the SS incompetent? With the Obama hate that has been stirred by political rhetoric, it would seem the SS would be more likely to be on guard. Yet they let a knife-wielding gate-crasher in daylight roam around the Obama home. Hey, GOP has the money/will. They didn’t like Kennedy either. What else can we think?

Is a small company mutual fund right for you?
Smaller companies grow faster than large companies. For anyone who invested in smaller companies over any given 15 year period, the benefits were outstanding. For each $1,000 invested in the 1950s, $3,000,000 was the total return by the 1990’s. For investors who chose Biogen, Qualcomm, EMC, and Kansas City Southern RR when they were small firms, the rewards have been great. They earned price increases of 6,000% to19,000% because they held the stock for years. Vanguard’s Small Cap Index fund provides you with some of these gains over time at cost. It is one of the Vanguard Top 10:

Are index funds in 401k, IRA, regular accounts good for you?
Index funds, matching market gains (no stock pickers), have managed to garner more assets during this recession/recovery cycle. During the last 5 years, each market segment index—small, large, global, real estate—has outpaced stock pickers. Not only do managers have to beat the markets; they have to overcome fees and transaction costs of 1-3%. Some managers do that but we will never know which ones they are till the year is over—too late to invest. Thus many large institutions and pensions are switching from costly “professional” managers to index funds. Index funds are what Buffett recommends:

Are you losing your future nest egg to fees?
Our 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are being eroded by fees, “leakage” and low participation rates, according to a new analysis of the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. We are better off doing our own low-cost tax-FREE retirement account:

Deadline for tax extension filers is near
More than a quarter of the nearly 13 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month  extension this year have yet to file. Oct. 15 is the last day for most people to file. Members of the military and others serving in Afghanistan or other combat zones have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due. Pay NO tax when you retire:

Employment up—wages down—profits soar as corps pay LESS tax
The bounce in employment provided good news for the workforce in terms of total jobs, but wages remained stagnant. The average hourly wage actually fell one cent to $24.53, while the average work week edged higher to 34.6 hours. Wage growth is at just 2 percent on an annualized basis.

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.

Afghanistan—another JapanGermany and S. Korea?
We thought we were getting out. A U.S. official says U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of the year, in a deal to be signed on Tuesday under the country's newly inaugurated president. Policing never ends.

Why our govt hid the real bank bailout behind AIG bailout
Fed refused to let A.I.G. identify the betting banks that received full payment on their mortgage bets (insured by A.I.G.) After an outcry over the secrecy, the company identified the bailout recipients in March 2009; they included Société Générale (France), Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. Taxpayers were forced by Bush to pay off 100% of their gambling losses. Banks bet on mortgages going higher. The gamblers should have lost their money. Instead they collected 100% and our children will have to pay for the losses for generations. Bush’s bankers to testify at trial.

Agents target elderly with ‘low risk’ securities
Four insurance agents were charged with unlawfully selling securities in what turned out to be a multi-million dollar offering fraud targeting elderly investors. The scheme raised approximately $4.3 million during a nearly 18-month period. Agents in TX, PA, MI, CO sold securities that were supposed to be invested in government-backed agency bonds at a discount.

John Hancock Life agreed to refund senior citizens in Massachusetts more than $550,000 to settle allegations that it failed to supervise one if its representatives, James E. Moniz, permitting him to sell unsuitable variable life insurance policies, variable annuities, and other insurance and financial products.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ 07042