YOU HAD A TRAIN?

Along the lines of Monday‘s ‘count your blessings’ column, I had lunch a day or two ago with my friend Meyer Berman, an investor of considerable renown and generosity – and earthiness – who tends to get sentimental about his good fortune and his great country. He told me the story of how he found himself chatting with Henry Kissinger (‘he’s a very funny man!’) at a White House party a few years ago.

Meyer mused to Kissinger, ‘How did we get here? I grew up in a little town in Lithuania, no electricity, no running water, no cars or faxes . . . outhouses . . . every two weeks a train would go thru and toot its horn.’

To which Kissinger replied, in mock wonder: ‘You had a train?’

YOU CAN SAY DIE, BUT NEVER SAY ‘SELL’

If you missed the PBS’s Frontline ‘Dot-Con’ documentary, Pieter Lessing suggests you click here for the transcript of an illuminating interview with one of Wall Street’s high-priced analysts. I hate to encourage cynicism, but it’s important to understand that – despite their reassuring advertising – financial firms are not always completely on your side. The analysis that full-service brokerage firms provide their clients might sometimes instead be called dis-service.

WHEN SHUFFLEBOARD IS NO LONGER AN OPTION

Vine Crandall: ‘How about your thoughts on long-term care insurance?’

☞ I haven’t bought it myself, because I’d rather save up a big bundle in my retirement plan and use that, if need be. If you can’t save a big bundle, and want the peace of mind, you may have to consider this – although, clearly (unless you know something the insurance company doesn’t), the odds are not in your favor. I.e., you’re paying enough to cover all the insurer’s considerable marketing and administrative expenses, plus – if they’ve done the math better than you – a decent profit to boot. Nothing wrong with that; it’s just a better way for insurance-company shareholders than for insurance-company customers to prosper. As to the specifics of what to watch out for in choosing a company and a long-term care policy, I’m no expert. But here is a site you may find quite informative. It even lets you compare offerings.

CHECK IT OUT

Ethan Pien: ‘Here’s a cool site worth a look: consumersearch.com.’

 

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