Friday, March 26, 2010
Shortly before the new Healthcare Reform Bill was signed into law by President Obama, a study was done to determine how much money retirees might need for health care expenses while in retirement. The answer: $250,000! That assumes an average couple in average health who live to be 82 for the male and 85 for the female.
Read the article here: Retired couples may need $250K for health care
That is just for medical expenses alone, you know, doctor visits, prescription drugs, lab expenses, etc. So what would this couple need for the rest of their expenses? Food, shelter, utilities, transportation, entertainment and so on. If might take somewhere between $1 million and $2 million depending on your lifestyle needs and wants. Consider this: if the couple above ate dinner at home 6 days a week at an average cost of just $7 per meal and went out for dinner one day a week at an average cost of $40, over 20 years that would cost them more than $187,000! That's just for food and that doesn't even take into account inflation. So take a look at your 401k balance and you might want to think about calling HR to increase your contributions!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Once President Obama signs the new Health Care Reform bill today, new rules governing health insurance will become law. As an insurance agent who sells health insurance, it will be interesting to me to see how the insurance companies will react to some of the mandated changes that will go into effect. Some go into effect right away, while others do not happen until 2014. Children with pre-existing health conditions are to be covered right away (or at least within 30 days). This would seem to me to have an effect on premiums. While it will be good for the children who do not have health insurance now, will their parents be able to afford the premiums? Erasing the lifetime maximums on health insurance benefits will also drive premiums higher in the long run. The only thing that would seem to help spread the risk is the fact that now (beginning in 2014) everyone will be required to have health insurance. This means that healthy people who choose not to carry health insurance (either because they feel they don't need it or because they can't afford it) will have to sign up for coverage or pay a penalty. Sure some families will get government subsidies to help pay for the cost of their health insurance, but with so many people without jobs or with low paying jobs, will they still be able to afford it? I think some will choose to pay the penalty instead. As President Obama said yesterday, "this is what change looks like".
Thursday, March 18, 2010
So today is the beginning of the NCAA tournament. Millions of people have completed their brackets to pick who they think (or hope) will make it to the Final Four. Millions of dollars will be bet on the outcome of these games. Millions of dollars will be distributed to the participating colleges. Millions of dollars will be spent on advertising. Millions of dollars will be spent on tickets, airfare, hotels, restaurants, and merchandise. Millions of dollars will be going into the local economies of the lucky cities that are hosting these games, especially the ones that get to host the regional finals, and the Final Four! College football officials should take a took at what happens every year during what everyone knows is March Madness. This is college sports at it's finest. No other college sport generates this kind of excitement, this kind of following, this kind of revenue. So bring it on CBS. I'm ready! I'm ready to win my $1 million that Yahoo Sports is giving away to the person that correctly picks all the winners. Heck, I'll just take the $10 grand for having the best bracket in the USA. OK, where's my remote?
Friday, March 12, 2010
I've often thought it was a little odd that most schools take off for a "spring" break well before it is actually spring. As of today, March 11th, my kids will be enjoying the next 10 days off. Of course spring does not actually begin until March 21st. The same could be said for baseball's "spring" training which actually began in February! Why don't they call it winter training or late winter break? At any rate, it's nice to be able to take some time off and "spring" training does get people in the mood for spring and even better, warmer temperatures. So if you're lucky enough to take some time off and head to Florida or Arizona for some sun and fun...enjoy! As is true for many other things in life, some things, like "spring" break, can't be explained but have none the less become a fixture in the lives of many Americans.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Now that the temperatures are finally starting to warm up after a frightfully long and cold winter, I took my motorcycle out for a couple rides this past weekend. It was good to be back on the open road, taking in the fresh air, cool breezes and navigating the turns on some of my favorite roads in the area. But do you know what I liked the best? Waving to the other motorcyclists as they past by me. Unless you have a motorcycle yourself, you probably haven't experienced this custom. After all, when was the last time someone waved at you in your car? Unless it was someone you know personally, it was probably never. Well, sometimes other car drivers will wave the middle finger at you! But with motorcycles, everyone is a friend. Everyone is a fellow brother or sister on two wheels. If you pass another biker on the road, you wave, and they don't even have to be on the same kind of bike. Sports bikers wave to cruisers, Harley riders wave to Honda riders, touring bikers wave to choppers, and so on. It's kind of a nice feeling when you are riding and having someone wave to you. It brings back memories of life back in "the old days" when people had a little more courtesy and life wasn't so rushed. So if you're driving behind a motorcycle and you see another one approaching from the opposite direction, look for "the wave". It's pretty cool!
Friday, March 5, 2010
Well it's Friday and you know what that means? No, not TGIF, that's so yesterday. Yep, it's Follow Me Friday! So get out your iPhone, Android, netbook, or your plain old laptop and head over to Twitter. You can follow me @scottjwheeler or if you're a Twitter virgin, go to:
What will the stock markets do today? Unemployment numbers for February came in better than expected. The Futures market expects the stock markets to rally on the news, but as you know, anything can happen. But don't throw in the towel, with CD rates hovering around 1%, it's not hard to beat those kind of returns!
Monday, March 1, 2010
Well the calendar flipped over into March today! With only 3 more days until the first spring training baseball games begin and the winter Olympics finally completed, all eyes are fixed on spring and warmer weather! I took my motorcycle out for a spring training ride yesterday as the sun was out and temps hit into the high 40's. Now that is a little on the cool side, but it was good to get out on the roads again after a very long winter hiatus. This week will see temps hit into the 50's with more sunshine ahead! So bring on the spring fever, the NCAA basketball and the return of our nation's favorite past time!