THIS HOLIDAY, GIVE THEM BRAIN FITNESS

I own a sliver of Posit Science, whose Brain Fitness Program I offer for your consideration from time to time.

So now come the results of a two-year, 524-participant, ‘randomized, controlled, double-blind’ study that reportedly showed that ‘the Posit Science program genuinely improves memory overall’ and that ‘study participants in the experimental group reported significant improvements in their everyday lives [ranging] from remembering a shopping list without having to write it down; to hearing conversations in noisy restaurants more clearly; to being more independent, feeling more self-confident, finding words more easily and having improved self-esteem in general.’

  • Participants who used the Brain Fitness Program increased their auditory processing speed by 131%.
  • On average, people who used the Posit Science program experienced an improvement in memory equivalent to approximately 10 years.
  • Three out of four people who used the Posit Science program self-reported positive changes in their everyday lives.

☞ Skeptical? Well, who wouldn’t be. But the evidence grows that if an older person actually uses the program (buying it alone seems not to be enough; they have to actually use it), they might be one of the three out of four who notice positive changes in their everyday lives.

JIM HIGHGTOWER

From his column Friday:

It’s always impressive to see a politician take an unbending stand on principle, so I salute George W. for going against popular opinion by vetoing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill, which would have extended health coverage to some 6 million uninsured children in our country.

Bush said that what irked him about this children’s health proposal is the principle of providing government-financed coverage, which he derided as “federalized” medicine. George, you see, is a die-hard privatization ideologue, and he insists that people should get their health care from the free market, not the government. The vast majority of his Republican colleagues in Congress agreed, voting to uphold his veto of the children’s bill.

. . . Since Bush and his GOP allies don’t believe in federalized medicine . . . it is our duty to free them of the burden of having their own health coverage paid for by us taxpayers! As a matter of principle, we must take away their government health plans and let them buy their own in the free market.

This idea offers two pluses: 1) Taxpayers will no longer have to pay benefits to politicians who are ideologically opposed to them, and 2) the money saved can be redirected to the millions of American children without health coverage.

If [this] idea appeals to you, call the GOP congressional conference and urge that its members give up their “federalized” health plans: 202/225-5107. And while you’re at it, tell them to forego their socialized government retirement money, too. After all, it’s the principle of the thing.

MINT.COM

Dan Jackson: ‘I’ve tried out Mint.com for the last few months and it’s pretty clean. The reporting is definitely inferior to Quicken/MSMoney but setup is much easier so it doesn’t take much time to give it a shot. I did run into some synchronization issues with certain banks but they were incredibly fast to resolve.’

Nancy Wolcott: ‘Mint.com looks wonderful. But how are they offering it for free? I’m happy not to pay, but it makes me nervous.’

☞ Their game plan is ad revenue and ‘sponsored links.’ My friend who’s one of the founders says: ‘Some of the offers we present are sponsored, meaning we earn a referral fee if you sign up for them. However, Mint will always show you an unsponsored offer ahead of a sponsored one if it will save you more money. We sort offers in order of their value to users, regardless of sponsorship.’

Mark Centuori:The ‘money management’ moniker is premature. Given the plethora of non-bank-related financial assets that dominate personal finance today, Mint currently has very limited functionality by only handling credit card and true bank accounts. The ability for users to include other financial assets can’t be excluded for long and in my opinion should already be part of the package. . . . Adding credit card accounts is a hit-and-miss proposition. I tried typing in both ‘AT&T’ and ‘AT&T Universal Card,’ neither of which was found. So I went to the link I use to pay the account and pasted the URL into the search field. Still not found. Then I searched on only the dot-com portion of the URL, ‘accountonline,’ and received as an option none other than, ‘AT&T Universal Card.’ Ugh. Similarly, entering ‘Chase Bank’ didn’t work (not withstanding that it’s the name on the back of the card) but ‘Chase Credit Card’ did. I was also able to add the account via the ‘Chase Credit Cards (aka Bank One Visa)’ option but the ‘Chase Cards (Formerly FirstUSA)’ option didn’t work despite being part of my account’s pedigree. , , , Where is Mint sourcing merchant names from? They don’t accurately reflect what appears on the actual statements. If Mint has room to display ‘Rickshaw Restaurant Lounge,’ why am I left with only ‘Fred,’ ‘Burger’ and ‘Taco’ for Meyer, King and Bell? I had to log on to Chase to jog my memory for the $25.00 ‘Sea King Bldg’ charge – a flu vaccination at ‘Sea King Cty Dept Health.’ Geographic references don’t appear at all, that I can see. . . . The flimsy password programming discussed in their forum remains laughable. My attempt to change my original password to ‘bob’ failed as it wasn’t the required minimum six characters long, but ‘robert’ worked just fine. Ditto for ‘123456.’ This is entirely unacceptable even in beta mode (although account numbers aren’t disclosed on the Mint site). . . . ‘Get Help’ returns a minimal FAQ page that is not specific to the area a user is in when help is requested – a critical missing element that should have evolved with the site.’

☞ This is how Quicken started, making fun of Managing Your Money for having so many capabilities. And then they started adding them. If only MYM’s publisher had been a little more farsighted, we would have been Quicken. But then I’d probably have died long ago when pirates boarded my yacht, throwing us all overboard – my crew of 20 and me – to be eaten by sharks. So who’s to say it didn’t work out for the best?

Russell Turpin: ‘Before someone puts the usernames and passwords for all their financial accounts into a service like Mint, they should consider the potential exposure if a hacker somehow manages to obtain that information. The convenience of such a service is attractive. The single point of failure it creates for one’s financial life is scary.’

☞ My friend responds: ‘Mint does not store your credentials, we use them once to create a linkage with your account(s). Consider the benefits of being able to see all your account activity in one place – makes it easy to spot any suspicious activity (remember 90% of fraud occurs offline). Mint offers alerts (via email, or text message) to bring unusual spending to your attention.’

 

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