Bob interviews Dr. Elaina George and talks about her book Big Medicine. It is a sobering look at what is really going on with healthcare.
These are just not good signs for Obamacare. First, it was Blue Cross Blue Shield that announced they were pulling their PPO networks for individual plans and just offering a HMO. Thus, if you wanted BCBS, you were stuck with a HMO where you lose your ability to choose your doctor versus the more desired PPO plan where you have the power to choose.
That was a soft blow to Obamacare considering that Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t completely pull out. Now, issuing a hard blow the biggest US health insurer is considering pulling out all together in 2017. United Healthcare announced that they could not continue to sustain hundreds of millions of dollars while participating in Obamacare. This story was originally reported by Bloomberg.
I had a listener of the show send me a story about how he saved money on his electricity. I thought I would share this with you. Remember that electricity is a competitive business and there are many providers that want your business. You can check the rates out at www.powertochoose.org.
“I found out that the TXU call center does indeed work on a commission-like pay system. Their plans change every 6 months so you have to keep calling back to get the sweetest deal. I lucked out at getting to talk to a very helpful lady. She accidentally hung up and I called back and talked to a different guy. He wasn’t willing to even remotely give me the same deal that the previous representative was willing to give. Thankfully, she called back and I quickly exited the call with the guy who wasn’t willing to be helpful. He was not to happy
In the end, the lady told me that since we’ve been with TXU for over 25 years, we should always demand the ultimate low rate. But…they don’t give it automatically. In the end she matched Energy Ogre’s $1500 a year savings. Bonus…they waived the Early Termination Fee of $150 from my current TXU plan.”
Bottom Line – The electricity business is a competitive business. Always negotiate to get the best deal! It also seems that the business is turning into a shorter contract business going from the standard 12 month to 6 month contract.
Also be sure to read this post about the sneaky tricks electricity providers pull.
Posted on November 18, 2015
When it comes to investing, investors are forced to trust someone early on in the process. After all, investing is complicated and you have to rely on the recommendations of an advisor. The key to being successful with that process is avoiding getting ripped off with your investments.
The worst case scenario is getting involved with a Fraudster. This is someone whose main mission is to literally steal your money. The most famous scam involved the massive case of fraud with Bernie Madoff. He stole billions of dollars from trusting investors over a very long-time. These investors had no clue what was happening. How would you know?
There are three red flags. First, you want to know who is involved with your money. An advisor has a broker dealer, a clearing house, and then the company the advisor is associated with. All of these entities play a different role. The broker dealer makes sure that the process stays within compliance. The clearing house handles the money. The firm is there to oversee the process and advise the client. There are degrees of separation that exist to protect your money.
With Bernie Madoff, there were no degrees of separation because he owned all three. Thus writing a check to his broker dealer was like putting a check in Bernie’s bank account that he had full control over to do with as he pleased. He was also regulating himself. That was an unusual case. However, it is important to be aware of this level of protection.
Second, never write a check directly to an advisor’s firm. That is how the majority of these scams occur. You give the advisor full control over the money.
Third, beware of the too good to be true investment. The CD that is paying 5% while other ones are paying 1%. The investment that never loses money. The “can’t miss” investment with no risk. You get the idea.
The Commission Focused Salesperson
This rip-off might be just as bad as the fraudster. They are there to sell investment product. As a result of that focus, they are putting their interest in front of you. That rarely ends well. The truth is that financial companies have two different types of products – the product that is benefit rich for the advisor and the product that is benefit rich for the client. This creates a huge conflict of interest. Regulators are in the process of changing the standards in which advisors operate for that very reason.
If you get in the room with an overly aggressive salesperson, run for the door and don’t look back. They are very easy to spot. Aggressive sales tactics are not necessary if the advisor is putting the client first.
In a world focused on making money using any means necessary, it is important to be aware, you’re your eyes wide open, and don’t trust to early.
Posted on November 13, 2015
I am getting this question a lot as of late. If we are in a bear market, how would we know?
This is an important question because it would be an important change of season for investors.
If you lived in the Midwest where they have distinctive seasons, you are on guard from when it changes from fall to winter. The winters are brutal in the Midwest. During the winter you do things differently. You dress differently. You drive differently. Your activities are different. You change your strategy for life once the bitter cold moves in.
The same approach applies to your investments. If a bitter bear market is upon us, you change your approach with your investments. The bear doesn’t hibernate forever! That is your Plan B. When Plan A ceases to work (the market going up) then plan B is your game plan. (for more information on Plan B investing see below) Most investors will wear shorts in the winter. Said another way, most investors will stay Plan A invested in a plan B environment.
So back to the question – how do you know? Read More
Posted on November 9, 2015
Is government at the state level really concerned about your retirement or are we about to see a robbing of Peter to pay Paul incident. What is the real reason states want to get involved in your retirement?
There is no question a retirement crisis is coming. 1/3rd of Americans have nothing put back for retirement. 60% of American workers have less than $25,000 in savings including cash and retirement assets. There are so many dynamics working against Americans when it comes to retirement. So, the Federal Government and State governments get involved. Read More
I was hosting a show on Obamacare and I made the remark that I didn’t expect premiums to go this high this soon. Boy was I wrong. The reality is that Obamacare is going to cost us all big time!
Depending upon which part of the country you are in, the increase could be dramatic. Reports are that some premiums in Minnesota are up as high as 49%. Around the DFW area, you could expect 10 to 20% increases.
That is not all. Read More