In this issue:
Product Highlight |
Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Miscellany | Thought for the Day
1. Product Highlight
We know there's something fishy going on in
Washington, but that doesn't help when you're out on a boat in the
hot sun nowhere near any fish. What to do, what to do?
You won't get a federal bailout, so don't ask for
one. We have a better solution: a fishfinder. These devices are not
only effective, they are fun to use.
Click the link to find out more about these, if
you have any interest in freshwater or oceanwater fish finding or
2. Brainpower tip
Start off 2009 with this brain-enabling habit: Get enough
sleep. Estimates vary as to the precise effects of sleep deprivation, but
here's substantial evidence that even a little will lower your IQ by several
points. This metric, however, only scratches the surface of the cost in
Chronic sleep deprivation is
prevalent. Estimates vary as to what percentage of the population is
afflicted, but there's substantial evidence putting the number above 90%.
So, it's statistically likely you are chronically sleep-deprived and
therefore not as sharp as you could be.
How do you get enough sleep? Begin by being very
disciplined about your bed time. Culturally, "we" don't take this
basic step in eliminating sleep deprivation--those of us who exercise plain
sense in this regard are ridiculed and pressured to stay up. Don't give in
to this "join us in our stupidity" pressure. You are under no obligation to
reduce your brainpower, just because other people choose to do such a
thing to themselves.
Now, I understand we are just past the New Year celebrations and most
people stay up late to "ring in the New Year." If you desire things to go
well for you in the coming year, then starting out in a mentally-impaired
state defies logic.
Why not choose to start each year on a high note, ready to meet it with
your full faculties? I made a decision some years ago to start each year
well-rested, rather than sleep-deprived. Consequently, I go to bed early
on New Year's Eve rather than staying up past midnight.
If you stayed up late (thereby mentally crippling yourself just as the
year starts), you can probably still feel the effects even now several days
later. If you stayed up late and can't feel those effects, that is a really
bad sign--you are too sleep-deprived to be aware of your sleep deprivation.
Make a small investment in Mindconnection's
Sleeplessness causes and cures course if you want to beat the
3. Finance tip
In this issue, we look at the subject
of beating bank draft fees.|
Now with regular
citizens picking up the tab for the mess created by bigwigs who took
their multimillion dollar bonuses and gave us the finger, we have one
more thing to worry about in regard to banks. Bank draft fees today are on
a hair trigger and are growing larger.
Since I typically take opportunities to blame
CONgress for things, I would be remiss not to blame them for this, also.
We have an $11 trillion (that's 11 million million dollars) federal debt
right now. That's $11 million million that is "suspended" in the
economy, rather than being available as capital to fuel the private
sector. While common sense says the way to stimulate the economy is to
reduce that debt so the fuel goes back into the system, CONgress and the
White House maintain that spending even more somehow makes sense. This
gross stupidity is another reason banks are getting edgy with their
Bank draft fees, thanks to an out of control
government and corporate boards that don't do what they are paid to do,
are on the rise.
The average fee charged by the 10 largest US banks
for overdrawing on an account is now just under 35 bucks. This doesn't
sound like much, but it's per withdrawal. So if the bank plays
timing games with your funds, you could be stuck with several hundred
dollars in charges even though you had sufficient funds all along.
The debits and credits just came in the wrong order.
It gets worse when you see that, thanks to now
having $650 worth of fees on an account that actually wasn't underfunded,
the account is now underfunded. Every other claim made to that account
will trigger another $35 fee.
Not all banks sit back and laugh maniacally as the
overdraft fees roll in. Bank of America allows up to five overdraft fees
per day, which could total $175 each day. So, they do put a cap on this.
Some banks don't.
I'd be leery about having any accounts at a bank
that doesn't have daily overdraft caps. What happens is you don't even
know you racked up, say, $800 in charges yesterday. So now each day
until you get your statement, you trigger another overdraft charge
because your account is depleted due to the overdraft charges you
already incurred. But your checking register doesn't show there's a
problem, because it doesn't see the $800 fees. With BoA's system, you
could have a cushion equal to two days worth of overdrafts and sleep
With no cap, you could wind up being cleaned out.
And it all began with an overdraft of one penny (triggering that first
$35 fee), because the check you deposited on Monday wasn't credited
On top of all else, some banks add additional fees
for each day you have an overdraft.
To prevent this situation:
1. If you work on a W-2 basis, have your pay on
direct deposit. This clears immediately, instead of creating a wait of
up to 10 business days. If you work on a 1099 basis, consider having
your largest regular clients set up to transfer funds electronically.
You can try setting that up bank to bank, for example. Or they can pay
you via PayPal. This saves them the hassle of dealing with paper checks,
and it gives you faster processing. The one downside is you won't be
able to deduct mileage for driving to the bank to deposit the paper
checks you are no longer receiving.
2. Get overdraft protection on your account. Even
if there's a fee for it, do it. Not to advertise for Bank of America,
but they provide this at no charge to qualified accounts. You can get
overdraft protection via any "qualified account." Not to plug BoA yet
again (you can tell we don't exactly have a love-hate relationship), but
they consider a BoA credit card to be a qualified account.
3. Use online banking. You can have the system
e-mail you on various triggers. For example, X number of transactions in
a day, balance is below X amount, balance is overdrawn, etc. Also,
checking your bank acct and updating your financial software (e.g.,
Quicken) with the data each day (or weekly, if you don't have much
activity) will allow you to keep things under control.
4. Track your spending. Record everything in your
accounting software as soon as possible. Don't let information age more
than a day or two before updating you software. If you use a paper-based
system instead of software, wake up and smell the coffee.
4. Security tip
If you know about some of the scams running today, you can think about
protection strategies. For those subscribers outside the USA, you'll
have to adapt this information for your own country. I write in a
USA-centric manner here, because I have only USA information.|
some of the major scams running today (in the USA):
SS scam #1. antiSocial inSecurity is a scam in its own right,
and the system should be abolished (with those now dependent upon it
still getting the payments they were promised). The SSN fund is 100%
depleted. CONgress stole the money to meet current spending and left an
IOU there. They don't have the money to pay back the IOU. It's now Pay
as You Go, and it can't go far.
Protection. Currently, there is no protection against this
scam. Contact your CONgressman about this theft of the funds that could
otherwise go toward your retirement. Since your CONgressman is a paid
employee of lobbyists, this is a vain effort because you are asking for
CONgressman to do something other than steal from you to give to someone
else. But it's better to at least say something to the criminals than to
be robbed in silence, because silence conveys consent. It also helps if
you refuse to vote Demopublican, as that sends a message of "I don't
like being robbed" and if enough people send this message then perhaps
the lobbyists won't be the only people represented on Capitol Hill.
SS scam #2. There are actually con artists not currently
employed by lobbyists as US Senators or CONgressmen! These second-tier
criminals have another way to separate you from your money. They will
phone (or e-mail) to allegedly verify this or verify that or to correct
an error in your file. Then they use your SSN on various identity
documents to commit fraud. You get left holding the bag. They can clean
out your bank account(s) and do all kinds of other damage, then go on a
spending spree with credit cards they got pretending to be you.
Variations of the theme for getting information are immense.
Protection. No matter what the claim is, don't pay attention
to it. The SS Administration does not phone people about their benefits,
address, inheritance, missing checks, underpayments, overpayments,
direct deposits, etc. Do not give any information. Hang up. Then, call
the SS Administration at 800-772-1213 and explain what just happened.
Ask if there are any problems associated with your SSN and what you
should do next.
Refund scam. Variations exist. Someone contacts you claiming
to be able to get money back on your federal income taxes, SS taxes, or
Protection. Understand that the govt doesn't give this money
back. Don't give these people any information. Don't even confirm your
name. Hang up on them.
Opt out scam. Variations exist. Someone contacts you claiming
they can free you from this or that govt-mandated obligation. It doesn't
happen. The number one scam is "never pay taxes again." This is
impossible, as most of the taxes you pay are embedded in the products
and services you buy. The federal income tax is what they are referring
to, but the tax you pay directly in this regard is a minor part of your
overall tax bill. You can't get out of it, so don't entertain any
delusions that you can.
Protection. Hang up on these people. The only people who can
help you even remotely in this regard are legitimate organizations that
are trying to change the laws. There are no individual exceptions that
anyone can get, no matter what they claim. Exception to hanging up: You
may decide to engage these people, for the purposes of reporting them.
See the final item in this article about how to do that.
If you have a problem with your SSN, contact the SS Administration.
If you have a problem with the federal income tax, contact
www.fairtax.org. If you have
problems with your taxes personally (or with the IRS, which often
engages in collection activities even if the taxpayer has duly paid and
filed--to them, facts don't matter but inflicting pain on others is some
kind of Nirvana), contact a competent tax attorney.
Banking scam. Someone calls and claims to be from your bank.
Gosh, how did they know that? Could have been a lucky guess. Could have
been the result of finding a tiny scrap of paper in your trash. Could
have been from any of dozens of ways. They ask you for information that
your bank already has, such as your account number. Why would they need
to call and ask you that? Duh, let me guess....
Protection. No matter what this is about, don't give any
information. Instead, ask that person for his/her name, location, and
phone number. Then, either call your bank or go online and use your
bank's help or chat feature to see if there is something the bank needs
General response to scams. Except for the legally mandated
scams, such as the SS tax and the federal income tax, our federal govt
amazingly enough does investigate and close down scams all the time.
They can't do that very well without the help of victims. Here is how
you can help:
- When contacted by a scammer, engage that person (so you can do
the next step). Give fake info, if need be. Don't confirm your name
or anything else. If they ask for you by name, say, "He's in a
meeting right now. Perhaps I can assist you?"
- Get as much information as you can from them, and write it all
- If the scammer gets pushy, pretend to have a bad connection and
then hang up. You can hang up in the middle of a sentence, or you
can say, "Hello?" repeatedly. Don't give any clue that you are on to
- File a police report (with your local police department). Don't
just call it in, file a report. Your local police will then enter
the report into the FBI's national database. The FBI is one of
the few federal agencies that actually serves a purpose other than
taking money from you or destroying American jobs by.
One reason to file a police report is to protect yourself
legally. So, contact your local PD immediately after being contacted by
the scammer. If the IRS shows up at your door with a posse of armed
goons based on a (now legal) wire tap of your phone, your attorney can
use that police report in your defense.
The FBI won't show up at your door with a posse of armed goons based
on a phone call. But, the IRS is noted for doing crazy things with
complete disregard for the facts. It's probably in your best interests
to promptly hang up on any tax scammers rather than try to do your
citizenly duty to help nab them.
5. Health tip/Fitness tips
Here's a good article for those wishing to control
their body fat rather than letting it dictate to them a series of health
problems and appearance issues:
That's me off to the right, at age 48. I don't
come from "fitness genes," and in fact have a genetic tendency toward
easy fat gain. The key to having a lean, strong physique is to know the
principles involved and have the discipline to stick to them.
You'll find accurate information at
www.supplecity.com. Most of the
fitness advice that floats around is wrong. The information on
supplecity is edited by me personally, and it's all good.
Supplecity also provides supplement
recommendations. Most of the supplements on the market don't work. But
somework really well. Supplecity tells you what they are. Or, click my
photo to see them.
I have an immune system deficiency that is severe
enough to send doctors into a panic when they review my blood tests.
Yet, I have not been sick since 1971. Do you think perhaps I have
information that can help you stay well and be fit? Check it out at
- The Pistol Shrimp “shoots” water and sound from
its pincher to stun its prey. CONgress simply passes yet another tax to
stun its already stunned prey.
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7. Thought for the Day
Developing a workable plan and working at it yields
results that no amount of wishful thinking can ever produce.|
Wishing you the best,
The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.
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