- Product Highlights
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tip
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
1. Product Highlights
Buy a Used Car without Getting a Lemon|
This is course on how to buy a used car, and it's newly revised.
The course shows you how to get a good deal, and how to not end up with a lemon.
What to look for, how to work with dealers. This course pays for itself several
times over the first time you use what you've learned.
121 pages, 8.5 x11 format. Includes quizzes and inspection checklist.
If you're not in the market for a car or buy new cars only, this course makes a
great gift for students now completing Driver's Education or for someone you
know who is in the market for a used car.
2. Brainpower tip
This story illustrates an important brainpower tip. It
addresses what is arguably the most powerful brain-defeating problem in
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our
small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting
newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was
quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young
mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors:
Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the
stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on
end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he
always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even
seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major
league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry.
The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing
each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen
for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger
never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed
in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime
visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and
made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger
encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool,
cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!)
about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced
strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my
parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our
family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was
at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would
still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to
him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?
We just call him, "TV."
3. Time Tip
4. Finance tip
Long-term Care Policies, Part Nine (almost done with
Even if you aren't in the market for LTC, it's worthwhile to look at
coverages some time in the next year or so. That way, if the LTC
question does arise, you have a framework for researching and shopping
for what you need.
In the world of insurance, nothing is ever simple. LTC insurance,
therefore, presents various permutations that can result in comparing
apples to oranges, blueberries, and bananas.
There are basic policies, which address the needs of most prospective
buyers. Then there are the add-ons. These policies are a bit like
cars--some things are "standard equipment" from one manufacturer, but
not from another. Buy only what you really need.
Don't let a sales person scare you into adding one of these. Add it only
if your situation actually warrants it. You, perhaps with the input of
your physician(s), will need to make that determination. Don't be swayed
by statistics, testimonials, or horror stories.
The add-ons include:
- Alzheimer's Disease coverage
- Bed reservation benefit.
- Care coordination.
- Caregiver training.
- Hospice care.
- Medical equipment coverage.
- Respite care.
- Restoration benefit (when you invoke your benefits then recover,
so you no longer collect payments but want to restore your policy).
- Spousal and "preferred health" premium reductions.
- Survivorship benefit
One reason to buy LTC is so you don't pass medical care debts on to
your survivors. Thus, your decisions on which plan and what add-ons are
best should not be yours alone. Consider the case of Larry, whose father
was obsessed with passing an inheritance on to his children. The father
had bought various insurance policies he didn't need, so as to keep his
children free of risk. To pay for these policies, he became a miserable
super-miser. He didn't even heat his home adequately. Larry finally had
a man-to-man talk with his father, discovered the inheritance was the
issue, and told his father the inheritance wasn't worth one penny to him
if getting it meant his father had to suffer. Larry said he'd "take a
chance" on the various "risks" for which his father was incorrectly
On the other hand, you don't want your kids on the hook for long-term
care, back taxes, and so forth. So, some kind of insurance is prudent.
But what kind and how much coverage--and who will pay the premiums?
You can and your spouse do your own research, but share it with your
children (or other heirs). There are people who specialize in family
estate meetings. If you have a sizeable estate, hiring such a person is
a good idea.
If you have the typical estate--that is not much and what you do have
is going to be taxed to nearly nothing anyhow--then have a couple of
meetings with the family. The first meeting is informational. Provide
the information and answer any questions. Make it clear no decisions
will be made at this meeting. At the second meeting--perhaps a month
later--review the main points and try to come to a consensus. But make
it clear you are not putting the matter up for vote. You simply want to
make sure everyone understands what's going on and is mostly on the same
page with this.
If you have a difference in opinion such that the coverage being
insisted on is more than you are comfortable paying for, the obvious
solution is for the person who wants more coverage to pay for it.
You don't "need to" justify your financial decisions to your
children. But it may help family harmony if you do the math and show why
you set your coverage spending limits where you do. Be sure to look at
your sources of income conservatively and to allow for emergencies.
Don't overlook the fact that you've worked all your life and deserve
some leisure, too. If a child complains that Little Johnny needs money
for piano lessons and Grandma and Grandpa should help out, that child
has crossed the line. Your retirement needs come first. Little Johnny
can apply for a piano scholarship or do something to earn the money for
Don't forget to talk about personal involvement. If you need assisted
living or nursing home care, will you be located near your children?
What if your children live far apart from each other? Get a discussion
going about what each child's obligations are, and what is realistic.
You need to present everyone with a frank assessment of your health.
Most Americans (as in 95%) grossly over-rate their level of health. Look
in your refrigerator and cupboards, or review recent shopping lists.
That will tell you volumes about your health, if you know what you are
looking for. If you are on the typical diet of refined grains, sugar,
hydrogenated oil, and other crap, you are not healthy--you are at high
risk for a long list of diseases. If you eat mostly fresh fruits and
vegetables and your body fat is at a reasonable level (single digits for
men), then you can look at other metrics of health.
Get a comprehensive physical examination, and discuss risk factors
with your doctor. Then, you can talk about your health and your
expectations for medical care requirements. Family history is also
something to look at, but keep in mind that the health habits of your
relatives may not be the same health habits you have.
If things look good, then you can save a great deal of money by
getting a catastrophic policy. This provides cost-savings for healthy
people the same way "major medical only" does. You're betting that your
good health habits will pay off, but you are insuring yourself against
5. Security tip
Rather than address the "scam du juor" (there seems to
be a new one each day), I'm going to provide some general rules for
protecting yourself from scams.|
Before I do
that, I need to point out that there are two broad classifications of
- Those run by "elected" officials and
unelected government employees. As far as I know, you can't do a
thing about these. These are the most pervasive and costly scams.
- Those run by non-government criminals (NGCs).
Against these, you do have some protection.
Protecting yourself against NGC-operated scams
- Remember that these people primarily appeal to greed. If
something seems to smack of "free lunch syndrome," suspect a scam.
- People who phone or e-mail you and ask you to "verify" private
information by asking you for it are thieves. The correct way to
handle such callers is to hang up on them. The right way to handle
them is to speak very softly and mumble something unintelligible,
then scream into the phone at the top of your lungs.
- Don't reply to e-mails allegedly requiring you to correct
information on your account, and don't click any links.
- Anyone who insists on a cash transaction is probably running a
- "Invoices" sent via snail mail may seem real, but don't pay them
just because they do. The invoice may allegedly be for a service or
subscription you actually have, but the payment will be to a third
party. It's better that you set up a schedule of payments that make
any real invoices unnecessary. Check your records if you do receive
such an invoice and make sure the payment addresses match.
- Review credit card and bank statements carefully (preferably
online, rather than waiting for paper statements to arrive). If
there is a charge or transaction you don't recognize--no matter how
small--check it out. This doesn't mean to start calling the bank and
refuting credit card charges or any other such panicked reactions.
It means thinking through that particular transaction, maybe looking
things up online, and trying to determine as much information about
it as you can. If that doesn't give you an "Ah ha!" then contact the
merchant or other party shown in the transaction details.
- Don't jump into something just because a buddy tells you it's
great. That is exactly how massive scams are conducted (and how
crooked politicians are elected).
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
The board game Scrabble was originally called "Criss
Cross Words" by inventor Alfred Butts. Scamsters make butts out of
people every day. Don't be one of them.
See: Special Offers (expired link now removed).
It has some great offers that are worth following
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8. Thought for the Day
If today is a direct result of yesterday's actions, what
will tomorrow look like?|
Wishing you the best,
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