Saturday, May 23, 2015

Congress may raid Medicare to pay for TPP

The Los Angeles Times writes that Medicare will be “raided” to pay for something completely unrelated, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which, by the way, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has heavily criticized as harmful to free speech because of piracy provisions anyway.  Michael Hltzik has the detailed story here. The cut would largely come from an extension of the sequester previously connected to extending the debt ceiling.
However, existing workers displaced by technology overseas may sometimes gain from the TPP.


Saturday, May 09, 2015

AARP Magazine covers Vietnam War period, urges respect for senior citizen veterans of that war now

AARP, The Magazine, should be commended for a couple of important items in the April/May 2015 issue.
There is the cover story about the medical odyssey of TV anchor Robin Roberts, but what caught my eye was “Vietnam: The War that Changed Everything”.
Soldiers drafted into that war are now in their late 60s to early 70s, approaching full retirement.
Young adults today don’t get the existential challenges that we faced  But Korean War veterans will be in their 80s, and WWII veterans (“The Greatest Generation”) in their 90s.
There is an insert saying that the federal government was protecting democracy in Mississippi (that isn’t entirely true, as federal civil rights interventions increased as Civil Rights laws passed), but we were drafting young men to go 10000 to protect “democracy”. The 1969 insert says “they were just using these young men up.  They were disposable.” Was it “courageous” to go to Canada, and wait for pardons decades later?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Do estate executors really need financial planners? What about the hidden fees?

Retirees may be paying exorbitant management fees in some cases, like up to 2% of assets and 20% of gains, with some arrangements, if they are not wary, according to a Sunday Business article in the New York Times today by Gretchen Morgenon, link here
And persons who inherit estates may discover hidden fees in accounts that don’t maintain minimum balances, as I recently found out Suntrust was charging $15 a month if the balance fell below $25000 on a money market, to get a certain yield.  It is often difficult for executors to learn all the traps hidden in assets.
Do professional financial planners help?  Many of them will charge a percent  the portfolio or something like about $1000 a year or so, and yet they don’t necessarily get better results than simply a conservative self-managed philosophy, unless very diligent (like day traders).  I was approached about doing this about ten years ago and declined.