Posts tagged with "News And Experts"

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Covid-19 Finance Tips

Financial Tips For When You’re Newly Unemployed Or Business Is Slow

Over 3 million people in the U.S. have recently filed unemployment claims as a result of the severe economic impact of the coronavirus.

Some of those suddenly jobless have limited financial resources besides unemployment benefits. Others are fortunate to have emergency savings or investment vehicles they can draw from such as a 401(k). Then there are those who are still working, but feeling the effects of business slowing down.

“Overall, the pandemic has put many people in a weakened financial condition that they didn’t expect,” says Steve Kruman, a financial planner and investment advisor at Bryce Wealth Management. “And there are some lessons in there that could better protect them and their loved ones going forward.”

Kruman has tips to help people weather the financial storm and learn how to plan differently for the future:

Be careful with the 401(k). “When sources of funds are limited, people should withdraw only the amount they need from their 401(k),” Kruman says. “You want to look for other sources that would be accessible without taking on the major tax hit of raiding the 401(k). Home equity loans are great, and they are at rates much lower than the tax rates of the 401(k). Also, cash value life insurance policies are good sources to borrow from as well. For those who lost their job but have adequate reserves, it’s advisable to roll their 401(k) money over to an IRA at the earliest possible opportunity. Employer-sponsored plans have several drawbacks, including limited investment options. By rolling to an IRA, you can select from a much wider investment universe.”

Don’t panic in the stock market. ”Don’t sell now,” Kruman says. “People who are being induced into panic are selling, and somebody else is buying those shares for when prices recover. The stock market always has fluctuations. It comes down to risk tolerance. You have to be prepared for volatility and be diversified.”

Don’t rely on group life insurance anymore. Many people have the majority of their life insurance through their job. But when you lose the job, you lose the life insurance. “You have to replace it with new life insurance at an older age, which means a higher premium, and with possibly negative health changes, again upping the premium,” Kruman says. “It’s vital to have a well worked-out plan of personal life insurance, which means not tied to a job.”

Find an independent financial advisor. “An independent advisor doesn’t have a company telling them what to invest clients’ money in,” says Kruman. “A client’s best interest should always be the number one priority for an advisor, and it’s easier to maintain that focus by being independent of any parent company’s fee goals or investment selection limitations.”

Consider making a Roth conversion now. When you move money from a tax-deferred retirement account into a Roth account, the money is taxed at that time. “But by making that conversion, you are putting yourself in a position to get tax-free income for life if you comply with two requirements,” Kruman says. Those requirements: be at least age 59 ½ and don’t take any gains out of the Roth for five years. Most financial professionals expect taxes to go up sometime in the future. One reason is that the recent economic stimulus will need to be paid for at some point. Another reason is that the tax cuts passed in 2017 will expire at the end of 2025 for personal rates. “So paying the taxes now at a lower rate when you make the Roth conversion is the better bet for the long run,” he says.

“Now is a tough time for many,” Kruman says, “but it is time that can be used wisely to consider the things you can differently to protect yourself and your family financially from the next period of economic uncertainty.”

About Steve Kruman
Steve Kruman is a financial planner, investment advisor and insurance agent at Bryce Wealth Management. He’s also a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, focusing on estate planning. Kruman is a Life & Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the only industry organization for people who are ethical top performers.

How eating habits have an impact on our oral health

Will An Apple A Day – Along With Checkups – Help Keep Tooth Decay Away?

Eating may be a necessity, but when it comes to your teeth and gums, all that munching also can lead to quite a battle raging in your mouth.

Some of those foods – especially the sugary and starchy ones – act like invading forces, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, even as the saliva in your mouth fights back as best it can, trying to ward off the detrimental effects of the acids and enzymes.

“Tooth decay can be a problem for people of all ages – children, teenagers and adults  –  and yet it’s completely avoidable,” says Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com), an orthodontist and co-author with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask.

Newman and Giannoutsos say that there are plenty of ways that what’s in your diet affects not just your weight, but also your teeth and gums.

“Most people know that sugar and processed snacks can lead to tooth decay, even if they don’t always avoid those foods,” Giannoutsos says. “But there are other foods that also can be troublesome, and many people may not realize that.”

He and Newman provide a few tips for making sure your diet isn’t harmful to your oral health:

Watch out for bread – and chips. Chomp down on a candy bar and you might think to yourself that you better brush soon, lest the sugar go to work on your teeth before you can head it off. But the same thought might not occur to you when you’re eating breadsticks. Yet, foods that are high in carbohydrates and starches – such as bread, chips, pasta and crackers – contribute to the plaque acid that attacks tooth enamel.

Braces come with extra concerns. Beyond the usual dental care, there are additional dietary worries to consider when you have braces. People wearing braces should avoid foods that are too hard, sticky or chewy, Newman says, such as gum, nuts, corn chips, hard taco shells, hard candy and popcorn, just to name a few.

Develop good food-choice habits. When you’re grocery shopping, always check the nutrition labels. “Selecting snacks that are low in sugar can help combat tooth decay,” Giannoutsos says. “If poor nutrition continues, your oral health will decline, potentially resulting in gum disease and tooth loss.” Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber are a good choice for improving your oral health. Examples are apples, carrots and celery. In addition, milk, cheese and other dairy products are excellent options because of the calcium, phosphate and vitamin D they contain. Finally, drink fluoridated water as much as possible. If your tap water doesn’t include fluoride, check with your dentist for a fluoride supplement.

Ultimately, more is at stake than your teeth and gums. Left untreated, Giannoutsos and Newman say, oral-health problems can have a detrimental effect on your overall health, contributing to such conditions as heart disease and diabetes. That’s an additional reason why regular checkups – along with brushing and flossing – are so critical.

“It’s hard to resist your inner sweet tooth, so I wouldn’t say that you should never indulge in treats,” Newman says. “But when you do, brushing your teeth as quickly as possible afterwards will help decrease the risk of decay.”

About Seth Newman, DDS

Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com) is an orthodontist and co-author, with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos, of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. He owns orthodontic practices in the New York City area. Dr. Newman completed his dental training at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, where he was a member of the National Dental Honor Society. He was a clinical instructor of the Invisalign system at the NYU School of Dentistry.

About  Dr. Efstathios “Steve” Giannoutsos 
Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos, or “Dr. G.” as he is commonly called, was born in Astoria, Queens, just outside of New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, with high honors and a BS in Biology.  He is also the co-author with  Dr. Seth Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Ask(www.asktheorthos.com)He completed his dental training at NYU, where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. He was also accepted into NYU’s highly competitive orthodontic residency program. During that time, he also discovered a passion for treating children and adults with facial deformities. Coinciding his passion, his research thesis to attain specialty certification involved children with cleft deformities.

Don’t Let Your Body Be A Bummer This Summer: 5 Tips To Detoxify

As summer winds down, some people who ditched their New Year’s weight-loss resolutions may re-dedicate themselves to looking good.

Even more important, though, is what we put in our bodies. What we eat and drink not only impacts how we look, but how we feel.

And to properly set the tone for the inner body and good overall health, it’s vital to get the bad stuff – toxins – out, and keep them out, says Dr. Suhyun An (www.drsuhyunan.com), an expert on regenerative medicine and co-author of Demystifying Stem Cells: A Real-Life Approach To Regenerative Medicine.

“People may want to look good, but being truly healthy on the inside is a year-round commitment,” Dr. An says. “And you need to start by detoxifying the body.

“Toxins can severely affect every part of the body. They’re in tons of every-day products.  Being aware of them and avoiding them are essential to good health.”

Dr. An provides five tips for cleaning out the toxins in your body:

Reduce the toxins you’re taking in. The first step to cleaning out toxins in your body is to cut back – or completely eliminate – things you put into your body that contain them. “When something is hard for the body to digest, it can slow down your metabolism and cause toxins to accumulate in your body,” Dr. An says. “Avoid these groups: red meat, gluten, refined sugar, processed food, alcohol, and caffeine.”

Be careful with household products. Household cleaners, soaps, and beauty products all can contain harmful toxins that are absorbed through the skin. “Choose these products carefully,” Dr. An says, “and always make sure you know what’s in them. There are many great natural cleaners and products that can help reduce the toxins your skin and body are exposed to.”

Drink plenty of water. “Water has a multitude of benefits for your body, skin, and organs,” she says. “Drinking enough water is extremely important in getting rid of toxins in the body. It helps boost metabolism and can literally flush out the harmful materials that have built up in your body.”

Add plenty of dietary fiber and antioxidants to your diet. Eating foods with plenty of fiber, such as organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains, will help your body move the toxins out. “Antioxidants help to fight free radicals and help to further remove harmful materials,” Dr. An says.

Sweat it out. Sweating is a very effective way for the body to get rid of toxins. “Achieving this through exercise also keeps your organs and systems working properly, which plays a key role in releasing toxins,” Dr. An says. “Aside from exercising, hopping into a sauna or hot bath can help, too.”

“Removing toxins is key to living a healthy life,” Dr. An says. “Just like many of us do in our homes by procrastinating and getting sloppy, our body stores junk. Get rid of it once and for all.”

About Dr. Suhyun An, DC, MSN, NP-C

Dr. Suhyun An (www.drsuhyunan.com) is the clinic director at Campbell Medical Group in Houston and an expert on regenerative medicine. She is co-author of Demystifying Stem Cells: A Real-Life Approach To Regenerative Medicine and travels the nation speaking on those topics. Dr. An received a BS in Biochemistry and Biophysical Science from the University of Houston, graduated cum laude from Parker College of Chiropractic, and got her master’s in nursing science from Samford University.

Lacking Self-Discipline?

5 Ways To Develop It And Reach Your Goals

Americans are known to overeat, abuse credit cards, marinate for hours in social media, and break New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. Self-discipline doesn’t seem to be a national strength.

And achieving self-discipline – and the success that can come with it – may never have been harder than it is in this instant-gratification age, says Dr. Rob Carter III.

“Self-discipline is an undervalued trait in a modern society that wants everything now,” says Carter, co-author with his wife, Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter, of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life (www.themorningmind.com). “Self-discipline is the ability to motivate and coordinate our efforts to improve our quality of life, but unfortunately most people are not taught it.

“It is, however, a skill that everyone can learn. Self-discipline is the skill that will allow you to reach any goal you set.”

Carter offers five ways to develop self-discipline:

Be aware of your resistance. Resistance, Carter says, is the biggest obstacle to developing self-discipline, and it often comes in the form of discouraging internal self-talk such as, “I can’t do it” or “Why should I have to change?” “The next time you embark on a new project that causes resistance,” Carter says, “fight it by asserting or writing down your intended goal and the benefits it will bring.”

Plan for every outcome. Plans go awry when people let excuses get in the way. “An example is having a goal of running in the morning for 30 minutes, but you have bailouts such as it’s raining, cold, or you don’t feel like it,” Carter says. “Developing self-discipline is recognizing and planning for these self-created obstacles and actively choosing to work through them. So when you set a goal to achieve, have chart in place listing “Even ifs.” List the potential obstacles to achieving your goal and counter each one with a promise to yourself that you’ll achieve your goal even if these challenges arise.”

Prepare to give something up in order to gain. Carter suggests compiling a list of the pros and cons of sacrificing for a certain goal. “To reach your goal, Carter says, “you will more than likely have to impose certain limitations on yourself in order to gain something. These limitations could be less free time, socializing, money or television. The upside is that seeing the rewards of the sacrifice on the pros list will keep you motivated and disciplined.”

Reward yourself with self-compensation. “Rewards are an incredibly powerful tool for motivating yourself to reach your goals,” Carter says. “Consider them the carrot on the stick. Have a reward in place for when you achieve a goal or part of a goal, and make sure it’s appropriate.”

Break your goal down into manageable steps. “If you break your goal down into bite-sized steps,” Carter says, “you’re much more likely to stay disciplined enough to complete every sub-goal. Each step accomplished gives you an encouraging boost. Consider using SMART goals — specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, timed. This makes the goal more definitive and puts the steps in tangible action.”

“Self-discipline includes structured planning, organization, delayed gratification, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone,” Carter says. “These things can appear scary, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. And once you take the first step, you have ventured onto a beautiful path that offers many rewards.”

About Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter

Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter are co-authors of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life(www.themorningmind.com). Rob Carter is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, an expert in human performance and physiology, and has academic appointments in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in public health and health sciences at Los Angeles Pacific University, and in nutrition at the University of Maryland, University College. He holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and medical physiology and an MPH in chronic disease epidemiology.

Kirti Carter was born in Pune, India, and received her medical education in India, where she practiced as an intensive-care physician before moving to Texas to complete postgraduate training in public health. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress (FAIS), has more than 18 years of experience in meditation and breathing techniques, and has been facilitating wellness seminars for the past decade.

Opinion: Will tariffs really raise consumer prices?

 
President Trump recently raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports and threatened to impose import duties on all Chinese goods coming into the United States.  Will American prices rise substantially as a result? This is a loaded question, because contrary to popular belief, tariffs don’t always raise prices.
 
One alarming study from The Trade Partnership, a think tank, estimates that an average American family of four may have to pay an extra $767. And if all Chinese exports are taxed, the cost could rise to more than $2,000.
 
However, the effects of tariffs on prices are not as straightforward as they may appear at first glance. Indeed, until the pioneering contribution by the late Lloyd Metzler, a University of Chicago professor, the question was not even explored. It was taken for granted that tariffs automatically raise the prices of imported goods. But Metzler’s article, known in the literature on international economics as the Metzler Paradox, changed this view once and for all. Let us analyze the problem without hysteria.
 
Tariffs have two effects on prices: one tending to raise them, the other tending to lower them. The overall impact depends on which effect is stronger.
 
It all comes down to supply and demand for goods in China. The United States is a large importer of Chinese products, so tariffs will cause a huge decline in American demand for Chinese goods because of the initial rise in prices. But as demand falls substantially, the prices of exportable goods inside China will also decline substantially. 
       
Assuming that transportation costs are minimal, as they are nowadays, the American price of a Chinese product is determined as follows: American Price = Chinese Price(1 + t), where “t” is the rate of tariff. From this formula, it is clear that there are two countervailing effects on the U.S. price of Chinese goods. A rise in the tariff rate initially tends to raise it, whereas the resultant fall in the Chinese price tends to lower it. The final effect depends on whether the Chinese price declines more or less than the rate of tariff.
 
As a simple example, suppose Walmart imports a shirt from China for $20, and then faces a 25 percent tariff on that import. If China’s price is constant, then the same shirt will now cost $24. But the Chinese price cannot stay constant. Since the United States imports a vast number of Chinese shirts, the demand for Chinese shirts will fall sharply, and that will lower the Chinese price. Say this price declines to $18, then a 25 percent tariff will raise its U.S. cost by one fourth to $22.50, which is still higher than its free-trade cost of $20.
 
At a Chinese price of $16, the tariff-inclusive price will be the same as the free-trade price. But if the Chinese price were to fall below $16, the cost to Walmart will be less than $20. Thus, it all depends on the forces of supply and demand inside China. 
 
The extent of the Chinese price decrease depends on the cost of producing a shirt. If this cost is low, then the price decrease can be large in the wake of declining demand, because a producer can still make some profit. Since Chinese wages are much lower than American wages, the Chinese cost of producing a shirt is likely to be very low, in which case the Chinese shirt price can fall substantially. If that happens, American prices of goods imported from China could actually decline.
 
Indeed, this may explain why thus far the U.S. tariffs that were imposed on Chinese exports in September 2018 have not been inflationary. In fact, even the Federal Reserve has been surprised by the recent cooling of core inflation and, as a result, pledged not to raise interest rates any further.
 
So the American consumer has nothing to worry about, especially when the consumer can easily switch to imports from other countries.
 
Large trade deficits with China have decimated American manufacturing and wages. U.S. industries need a revival, and tariffs are indispensable toward this purpose. In 1800, at the start of the American republic, barely 5 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in manufacturing; today, according to the Economic Report of the President, 2019, the share is about 8 percent — vastly below the 30 percent figure that prevailed in the 1960s. 
We are very close to where we were in 1800, and clearly, the manufacturing sector still needs a lot of support.
 
Note that under Abraham Lincoln tariffs were as high as 60 percent. As a result, following the Civil War, American manufacturing became the envy of the world. By 1900 the United States was among the nations with the highest living standard. Even though tariffs were high, prices fell or remained stable for several years. 
 
Such price behavior helped raise the overall standard of living. When a 60 percent tariff rate could not harm the American consumer, how can a mere 25 percent? Free trade has been the holy grail of international economics for decades, but historically, the fastest growth in the American living standard has occurred under the umbrella of tariffs.
 
Ravi Batra is a professor of international economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He is the author of The Myth of Free Trade. His latest book is End Unemployment Now: How to Eliminate Joblessness, Debt, and Poverty Despite Congress.