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When President Obama boasts that nearly every economic statistic is better now than when he entered office, that sounds like a laughable claim to many Americans.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the drug Samsca (tolvaptan) should not be used for longer than 30 days and should not be used in patients with underlying liver disease because it can cause liver injury, potentially requiring liver transplant, or death.
Readers offer suggestions for improving health care and expanding coverage.
Should I Invest in My 401k?For many individuals, the 401k, 403b, and 457 has been the "no-brainer" way to invest for retirement. In this post, I want to discuss 3 creative alternatives for the management of your current 401k, 403b, or 457 balance, even if you are still working for your company.1. The In-Service TransferMany company retirement plan provisions allow employees over the age of 59 and 1/2 to transfer the accumulated funds in their company retirement plan into their own self-directed IRA, even while they are still working for the company. The transaction is not taxable as long as the funds go to or are made out to the new investment custodian.This allows participants the flexibility and options that come from their own self directed IRA instead of the handful of choices that the company retirement plan offers.In addition, it allows participants the option to take the amount of risk that they want to as they get closer to retirement. Company retirement options can be either too volatile (equity investments) or too conservative (stable value allocations). The self-directed IRA allows you to craft your ideal strategy.2. The New Self Directed 401k, 403b, and 457Two in five employers are giving their employees the option to open their own self-directed brokerage account inside their company retirement plan instead of being limited to the core plan choices. Most of these accounts allow plan participants to hire their own third party investment advisor to manage the funds.Why would plan sponsors allow this? In a word, "liability". This trend toward allowing another investment advisor to make plan decisions releases the fiduciary liability imposed by the Department of Labor's 404c stringent requirements. In the end it represents a win/win. The employee has more options and access to professional advice and the employer is released from greater fiduciary liability standards.Unfortunately, this option is not well communicated to employees, or they just don't understand it. Investment companies such as Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, Schwab, Valic, Lincoln, Diversified, Great-West, Hartford, Security Benefit, Nationwide, Transamerica, TD Ameritrade, and ING are some of the company retirement plans who are participating.A sampling of companies that offer the self-directed retirement plan are in the thousands, but include the County and City of Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California Edison, Home Depot, HP, AT&T, John Deere, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, United Health Care, Samsung, 3M, Oracle, and the list goes on and on.Expect to see more and more companies move in this direction. If you are not sure if your plan participates, email me at dhubbard@thestewardshipsolution.com.3. Investment Alternatives Funded by a 401k LoanWe generally think of 401k loans as risky. But you can actually use a 401k loan to reduce the overall risk of your retirement portfolio.Most company retirement plans allow you to borrow up to 50% of the plan balance. These funds can be used to fund alternative, less volatile strategies in your own investment account.This strategy is a little more sophisticated and has a few caveats.If you are currently contributing to your 401k and receiving matching funds, you want to ensure that you can continue to do so if you have an outstanding 401k loan. Some companies allow it and others don't.You also must realize that paying back the 401k loan will be done with after tax dollars. This will reduce the return that you receive from your alternative investment strategies. Depending on your tax bracket and your alternative investment strategies this may or may not be a viable option. (Remember that any investment advisory fees you pay could be tax deductible, through).Finally, you need to structure your cash flow to make up for the decrease in tax home pay from your 401k loan repayment. This can be offset by setting a systematic distribution from your alternative investment strategy to your own bank account for an equivalent amount.The result of the 401k loan investment strategy is that you are able to restructure about 40% of your total balance over the 5 year repayment period (since your alternative strategy account will be slowly depleting if you use it to repay you lost cash flow). If you would like more information about implementing these investment strategies, please email me at dhubbard@thestewardshipsolution.com. Free Download: How Much is Enough to Save for Retirement Free Retirement Resources
Scientists at FDA are studying the next generation of screening and diagnostic devices, some of which borrow from the world of entertainment and videogames. In the future, those 3D images and displays may help doctors find hidden tumors and better diagnose cancers.
Calcification causes and symptomsIf we say the term calcification, it probably brings to mind the build-up around your faucet or shower head. Unfortunately, this isn't the only kind. Calcification can occur inside your body, too.Calcium is an essential mineral that the body …The post Calcification: Causes, Symptoms appeared first on Natural Health Care Products | Nutritional Health Supplements | Belmarra Health.
Are you getting physical therapy after a hip replacement? Speech-language pathology services after a stroke? Anytime you get outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology services, be sure you know the limits for how much Medicare will pay. Medicare helps pay for medically-necessary outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services. There are […]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today published its fifth annual report summarizing the sales and distribution data of antimicrobial drugs approved for use in food-producing animals.
All lots of Giant Eagle brand Japanese Breaded Cod Fillets, prepared and sold individually from the Seafood department inside Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets through March 23, 2015 have been voluntarily recalled by Giant Eagle due to an undeclared soy allergen. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
Should I Buy Long Term Care InsuranceManaging the potential financial risk to your income and assets is an integral part of smart financial planning. With increased life expectancies and the rising cost of health care, many people are asking the question, "should I buy long term care insurance?".What is long term care insurance?The purpose of long-term care insurance is to provide protection from the financial loss that could occur in the event that you are incapacitated and need assistance with daily living. Prolonged incapacity can significantly drain a family's financial resources due to the high costs of long-term care in an assisted living facility or home care environment.Might I need long term care insurance?According to www.longtermcareinsurancetree.com an estimated 10 million people of all ages currently need long term care; and close to 40% of those are under the age of 65.The Wall Street Journal (June, 2000) states, “… a couple turning 65 has a 75% chance that one of them will need Long Term Care.”California (my home state) has created Partnership Policies that encourage the purchase of long term care insurance. They give an additional asset allowance for Medi-Cal planning purposes that is equal to the total amount spent on long term care via the long term care insurance policy.Why many don't purchase long term care insuranceWith this level of likelihood that you may need long term care paired with the far-reaching financial ramification of the cost, why do many balk at the idea of purchasing it?In my professional experience there are several reasons that long term care insurance may be becoming one of the most neglected of the insurances.Although some believe that the aging population is in denial that they may need long term care, I believe the primary reason for its neglect has been the cost of the ongoing long term care insurance premiums, especially considering that the care may never be needed. Premiums for insurance are partially driven by the likelihood of a negative financial event occurring. The less likely the negative event is to occur, the less the premiums generally are. As we've seen, though, long term care is an increasing likelihood, making the annual premiums more expensive than many other types of insurance.Also, many don't examine purchasing the insurance until they have reached the age of 60 and beyond. By this point the annual cost can be substantial.If you feel that you could benefit from long term care insurance, but are unsure about the best way to pay for it, here are two creative payment solutions for your consideration.Paying out of assets instead of cash flowSometimes the roadblock to purchasing the insurance is how the ongoing premiums will affect retirement cash flow. One option is to pay for long term care insurance premiums directly from IRA assets instead of personal cash flow. Many investment custodians allow the issue of checks to third parties, such as an insurance company. In this way, the protection of the assets would out of from the assets themselves, instead of current retirement cash flow.Asset-based long term care insurance or long term care riders In addition to structuring the payment for long term care insurance on an ongoing annual basis, there are other creative financial products that provide long term care insurance solutions as a part of a universal life insurance policy, or as a rider on an annuity.Asset-based long term care insurance, for example, puts a onetime premium into a universal life insurance policy. Each dollar in the policy can be used in one of three ways. If long term care is needed, each dollar put into the policy can be leveraged into multiple dollars of long term care coverage. If premature death occurs instead, a death benefit is provided through the life insurance vehicle.If neither premature death nor long term care needs occur, the money in the policy can be returned to the policy owner. This can also occur at any point in time that the policy owner changes their mind and decided to surrender the policy*. Get professional advice before you make a decisionLong term care insurance is not necessarily for everyone. The ability to afford the premiums and the total assets and income that are needed to protect from long term costs are important factors to consider before moving forward. If you have questions, consult a competent financial professional who understands your unique situation. If you are interested in learning more about acquiring long term care insurance without paying monthly premiums, please email me at dhubbard@thestewardshipsolution.com *Always consult your financial professional to determine if policy surrender fees apply
Eleven million people face a deep cut in benefits next year if Congress fails to replenish Social Security’s disability trust fund, the administration said.
Few Americans know that the tax they pay to finance Social Security gets split into two unequal parts. The larger part goes to a trust fund that supports pensions for retirees and survivors. The smaller part goes into another trust fund that finances benefits for the disabled. Usually they have no reason to care about such technicalities. That is about to change because the trust fund that supports benefits for the disabled is set to run out of money at the end of 2016. If Congress were to do nothing, benefits for just over 11 million people eligible for disability benefits would have to be cut 20 percent. The fact that those cuts would hit just about when voters go to the polls to elect the next president and a new Congress is of more than passing relevance.Why did this problem arise? What should be done about it? What will be done about it?The problem has arisen largely because disability rolls have grown even faster than anticipated in 1983 when Congress last enacted major Social Security legislation. Some increase was expected as the population aged and as women had enough work experience to qualify for benefits. Some occurred because the Great Recession caused a bulge in applications from would-be workers who couldn't find employment. And some occurred for reasons that are still not well understood. In any event, the payroll tax revenues dedicated to disability benefits have proved inadequate to cover costs and reserves in the disability trust fund will soon be exhausted.Whether out of compassion or an instinct for political survival, Congress is quite unlikely to cut benefits for disabled Americans, a group that contains some of the neediest of our fellow citizens. It is quite likely to do what it has done in the past when a similar challenge arose-move to the disability insurance trust fund some of the payroll tax revenue now allocated to pay for retiree and survivors benefits.Simply reallocating payroll taxes is not acceptable to many members of Congress in both parties. A consensus has arisen that both the design and administration of disability benefits are flawed. Critics of the program have promised to insist on reforms as a condition for agreeing to shift taxes around. Alas, agreement on just what the flaws are and what to do about them is elusive. Even worse, we lack information to undergird well-considered reforms.The root problem is that no one is able to accurately identify who is disabled. The problem starts with the definition of disability. Under U.S. law, disability means being incapable of engaging in ‘substantial gainful activity because of an illness or physical condition expected to last at least a year or to result in death.'Physicians and others can measure impairments-the inability to see, to stand, or to lift heavy weights. They can identify skeletal abnormalities and various physical and even mental conditions. Even here, pinpoint accuracy is impossible. But linking such impairments reliably to incapacity to work is impossible. One might suppose that someone who is both deaf and blind or who is a quadruple amputee is disabled. But some people with such conditions can work, as Helen Keller and former senator Max Cleland proved. On the other hand, a series of what might seem to others to be minor impairments can render some people incapable of dealing with the demands of the workplace.Quite simply, some people with any given set of measurable characteristics can work and some can't. Of course, the incentives people face matter as well. But whatever definition of disability Congress writes into law, there will be some people who meet the standard and work and some who do not meet the standard and don't work. Inevitably critics of the program will be able to point to slackers and malingerers who are awarded benefits and defenders of the program will be able to adduce heart-rending cases that are denied aid. The challenge for society is to choose a definition that best balances its willingness to award benefits to some people who do not ‘deserve' them and to deny benefits to some who do. The challenge is also to design incentives that encourage work but are also compassionate. Yet, whatever the rules and incentives, subjectivity and error in determining eligibility are inescapable. This fact means, in turn, that any measure that awards benefits to some who are judged undeserving of help is almost certain to deny benefits to some who genuinely need it.Dissatisfaction with the current definition of disability is widespread. Some critics want to expand benefits. They would provide limited financial support to those with partial limitations or services that extend the duration of economic activity to those whose conditions are progressive. Such expansions would initially boost expenditures and the number of beneficiaries. Advocates claim that such services might well pay for themselves by keeping workers in the labor force or increasing their earnings capacity. The record of past interventions is not encouraging on that score.Others claim that reducing disability benefits gradually as earnings increase, rather than abruptly, as is now done, would encourage current beneficiaries to return to work. Once again, the basis for such hopes is slim based on the work experience of those who have applied for and been denied disability benefits, few of whom ever work.Dissatisfaction with the current program extends to how the program is administered. In a word, the determination process takes much too long. Just under 40 percent of the 2.5 million people who applied for benefits in 2008 were awarded benefits after an average wait of about 110 days. But roughly one third of those who are initially denied benefits go through an appeal process that takes an average of 14 months and often much longer. Roughly 750,000 people are queued waiting for their appeals to be heard. Whether one's appeal will succeed seems to depend, in some measure at least, on who hears one's case, as some judges deny most appeals, while other approve most.The delays in determining eligibility wreak havoc. During these waits, people are discouraged from working, as significant earnings prove the earner is ineligible for benefits. Idleness erodes whatever skills they may retain. Meanwhile, those who cannot work are without sustenance, other than whatever savings they may have or the largesse of family or friends. They risk defaulting on mortgages, becoming homeless, or going bankrupt.The reasons for administrative delay are so diverse as to cripple reform efforts. Computer software used to transfer information between states and the federal government is outmoded, hardly a surprise after the travails of Healthcare.Gov. Not all staff have adequate training. Administrative law judges who handle appeals complain about inadequate staff. Administrative and legal procedures are sloppy and delay adjudication. The number of administrative law judges is insufficient to eliminate the backlog. While some allege that administrative funding is adequate but poorly used, it is inarguable that administrative budgets have shrunk even as workloads have swelled.In the end, there can be little doubt that benefit checks will continue to flow to those now on the disability insurance rolls. That means payroll taxes will have to be reallocated. But the debate over whether to attach conditions to such a reallocation and, if so, what conditions should be set will be a chaotic mess, based on a stunning lack of good information about what will work. If ever there were a situation in which it would be prudent to carry out demonstrations and experiments before far-reaching programmatic changes are instituted, this would be it. If ever there were a situation in which the false economy of underfunding administration was apparent, this would be it too.AuthorsHenry J. AaronPublication: Real Clear Markets       
Listing of Fundamental, King-James-Only Baptist Churches
As you look back on what you've accomplished so far this year, do you cringe? I have some encouragement for you.
Federal Register notices issued by the Center for Veterinary Medicine.
FDA officials are concerned over the marketing of fetal keepsake videos and over-the-counter Doppler ultrasound heartbeat monitors.
pseudobulbar - neurological disorderOn the stage of life, our emotions tend to mimic classic theatre masks. Representing the division between comedy and tragedy, the masks are symbols of drama. Simply put, when something is funny, we laugh. When something is sad, we cry. …The post Why uncontrollable laughter and crying is a serious health concern… appeared first on Natural Health Care Products | Nutritional Health Supplements | Belmarra Health.
ConjunctivitisYou wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and head to the bathroom to complete your morning routine. When you look up into the mirror you notice your eye is inflamed and looking pink. What gives?Conjunctivitis, or …The post Conjunctivitis: Know about Pink eye appeared first on Natural Health Care Products | Nutritional Health Supplements | Belmarra Health.
(By – Jordain Carney, The Hill) “I heard a candidate complain the other day that, you know, ‘my positions’ — meaning that candidate’s positions — ‘on comments I made about entitlement reform are being misconstrued by the press.’ Well, it’s…
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Independent Fundamental Baptist Preaching by Dr Jack Hyles and Dr Jeff Owens. MP3 Podcast iTunes, search by title, date, service, preacher and scripture references.
You'll hear a lot of vague talk during the 2016 presidential election about “reforming” Social Security and Medicare. That's because “reform” sounds a lot better than “cut,” “ration,” or “give up on.” Politicians, the conventional wisdom goes, don't get elected by…
 
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