AXP AND WFC
As of last night they’re are up 60% since I mentioned them a month ago. Mindful of the remaining risks – and chastened by not having suggested selling half your FMD after it had doubled (agh!!!!) – you’re on your own from here. Sell half?
THE ESTATE TAX IS NOT DOUBLE TAXATION
Stephen Gilbert: “I think the vote to lower the estate tax was enabled by the failure of the media to report on the issue in an informed way. Like any issue involving money, they don’t seem to understand it. When the tax opponents say that estates have been taxed already, and that an estate tax is ‘double taxation,’ they ignore the significant, if not overwhelming, proportion of large estates that is made up of appreciated assets, appreciation which has never been taxed and never will be. Appreciated assets are passed on to their heirs with a tax basis of their value at time of death. (IRC § 1014(a).) They can then be sold immediately with no income tax owed. Why is it that ‘death tax’ opponents never mention this? Are they unaware of this, or do they just not care? I guess the best bet is that they don’t know what they’re talking about. ‘Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.*’”
Hal Brunette: “I read with interest your anecdote about the RealAge website, especially your comment about using a generally ignored email address. I used to use that method, until I discovered spamgourmet.com. It’s a really slick service that shines in exactly this scenario. I’ve been using it since 2005 with great results. Here’s how it works.”
Peter Kronenberg: “Coincidentally, right after I read [yesterday’s] column, I got an email from Barnes and Noble offering The RealAge® Workout for $4.98.”
☞ To wit: “With his bestselling books, Dr. Michael F. Roizen has helped people reverse their chronological aging by ten, fifteen, and up to twenty-nine years. Now, with The RealAge® Workout, he explains the importance of gradually phasing exercise into your everyday routine, because even the smallest changes in behavior can make you feel, look, and be younger. . . ”
Of course, it’s not enough to buy the book, or even to read it. You actually have to work out.
LIVING TO 100
Jonathan D. Pond: “You and your readers might find this site helpful in determining life expectancy and, more importantly, getting guidance on doing stuff to extend it. Alternatively, if you worry that you might outlive your money, you can choose some “fun” activities to shorten it, like engaging in promiscuous sex and/or drinking a quart of scotch a day: livingto100.com. This was developed by my friend Tom Perls, world renowned gerontologist. It is based on his work as lead researcher on the New England Centenarian Study. Your email address is not required.”
☞ This one has me living a LONG time.
OPTIMISM AND HEALTH
Dr. Richard Feinberg: “Thought it might be useful to provide some info about the relationship between optimism and health. This is an area in which I specialize. So far we have only proved that there is a correlation between having a positive outlook and improved health. In other words, it has not yet been shown that being optimistic in and of itself leads to better health outcomes. Current thinking tends to discount the idea that optimism somehow produces a miracle happy juice. The proposed hypothesis is that the hidden key to optimists’ better health is their propensity to engage with the world in ways that leads to better health behaviors. That would include a whole variety of possibilities including following your doctor’s orders because you believe that doing so will help, or showing persistence, particularly in the face of adversity. For instance, some folks will just accept a first evaluation from their doctor, no matter what, while others may seek out second or third opinions when justified. Believing you can bounce back when facing adversity will help, but only if you engage in the healthy behaviors that will support recovery.”
☞ That’s all very nice, but based on my zero credentials and complete lack of firsthand scientific evidence, I’m telling you: thinking positively is good for your health. (See? This is a faith-based column after all.)
WILLIAM BLACK ON BILL MOYERS
This scathing TV interview is disturbing, to say the least, but is a point of view at least worthy of consideration. (One expert I know who thinks Black is largely on target notes that he lumps “banks” into one category, when in fact some are sound and stuck with prudent lending practices.)