Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home Vacancies at a Record -- The Opportunity of a Lifetime

The time to buy the biggest house you can get your hands on is right now. Even if you own a house and it is underwater -- you should bite the bullet and sell it. Get a bigger home.

Sound nutty? I lived in Texas in the 1980s. I watched people scarp up houses in Houston for $400,000 -- houses that the previous owners paid $1.25 million to own.

But today the opportunity is even better. In the late 80s mortgage interest rates were around 10 percent. Now? 4.5 percent.

Imagine 20 years from now, living in your nice big beautiful house, and you locked in your monthly payment way down here. On an inflation adjusted basis you will paying peanuts.

The time to borrow money is when interest rates are low. Most of you are probably too young to remember when mortgage interest rates were 15 percent. You probably are thinking it will never happen again.

What were you thinking and doing when the Internet stock bubble burst? What were you doing in 2006? Thinking about how you had to get a nice big fat, overpriced house?

Can't quite afford the down payment? Beg, borrow, steal -- do it.

A record 19.1 million homes stood unoccupied in the first quarter and the U.S. homeownership rate fell as the recession sapped demand for real estate.

The number of vacant homes, including foreclosures, properties for sale and vacation properties, jumped from 18.6 million a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report today. Households that own their own residence declined for the third straight quarter to 67.3 percent.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

80 Percent of Medical Bills Contain Errors -- Fighting Mistakes

Problems with medical billing errors drive me crazy. Not our bills, but the medical bills of relatives and friends. They complain to me all the time. I start by telling them--you are complaining to the wrong person. Then I explain to them what to do about it--pick up the phone and call whoever is billing you.

I learned a long time ago, you can negotiate down the price of any medical bill. To be honest, its the game they play. A medical bill is no different that negotiating with a painter on the price to paint your home. This is the way the system works, like it or not. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and say--I refuse to pay that amount. Experience tells me that you can get a 20 percent reduction just by opening your mouth--by being proactive. By the way, being proactive does not mean being mean. Start by remembering this, the person on the other end of the phone is just like you or me--they are doing a job. So treat them with respect. You can get more with sugar then you can with vinegar.

If you run into a brick wall, try the above then use my favorite word--Supervisor. You have to get to the person that "can" make the decision. This might mean saying supervisor six or more times before you get to the right person. My experience tells me that that person is usually nice---and can accommodate you.

I ran across a video that discusses hiring a medical advocate. It is well worth watching. Please remember this--you never shell out one read cent upfront when you hire an advocate--scam. If you pay, pay after you get results. Or, split a percent of the savings with them.

The video is on the ABC website and its a good one. For some reason ABC has not learned about "embed". So follow this link to watch the video.

I suggest you consider sharing this with your friends. Sooner or later they will need the education and information.

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Bob DeMarco is a citizen journalist, blogger, and Caregiver. In addition to being an experienced writer he taught at the University of Georgia , was an Associate Director and Limited Partner at Bear Stearns, the CEO of IP Group, and a mentor. Bob currently resides in Delray Beach, FL where he cares for his mother, Dorothy, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. He has written more than 500 articles with more than 11,000 links to his work on the Internet. His content has been syndicated on Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Pluck, Blog Critics, and a growing list of newspaper websites. Bob is actively seeking syndication and writing assignments.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Women collect dolls to benefit Alzheimer's patients

Wonderful people.

...the daughter felt sad and "shook up" when leaving St. Elizabeth's after a visit. "After we gave her the baby doll, I never felt sad again when I left," she said. "So it was very liberating for me."
Two Catonsville mothers, Wendy Geist and Amy Nelson, have initiated a volunteer project of collecting used dolls to ease the suffering and bring joy to seniors experiencing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The women say, " beneficial effects can be amazing."
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Ben Bernanke's Big Inflation Gamble

It should be clear by now that deflation has everyone, world wide, scared to death. You can look at the charts on this site that show the massive increase in money supply, the Federal Reserve Balance sheet, and just about everything government.
I am old enough to remember the monster inflation of the late 70s and early 80s. Younger people might find it hard to believe that short term interest rates rose above 20 percent, and a the 30 year Treasury yielded more than 15 percent. 
Imagine being able to buy a million dollars worth of treasuries for less than $15,000. You could have bought a zero coupon treasury for that low price and had your million in the bank. 
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

S & P 500 Up 24.53 Percent in 20 Days (Chart)

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

30 Year Conventional Mortgage Rate (Chart)

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The Economic Breakdown Gets Bloody

Somewhere between 14 people were killed in Binghamton, New York on Friday April 3rd. The shooter, a Vietnamese immigrant, ended his own life. But people close to the situation say this man was depressed over losing his job and not being able to speak English. And the people he killed were Vietnamese immigrants taking a class on how to become citizens. If he were alive perhaps we would know why shoot people from his own country?

Read article here.

Then less than 24 hours later on Saturday April 4th at least 3 police officers were killed and at least 3 others wounded in the same kind of hostage shooting spree in Pittsburgh, PA except this one involved the shooting of only cops. And the shooter was caught. People close to him say he was depressed because he lost his job recently and feared Obama would ban guns.

Read article here.

And the Associated Press reported on Saturday, April 4, 2009 “At least 44 people have died in mass shootings nationwide in the past month. The Binghamton shooting was the nation's deadliest since April 2007, when 32 people and a gunman died at Virginia Tech.”

They didn’t get to the Pittsburgh shootings as of this writing but I don’t think police officers count in that tally. Sadly, they have their own.

Is it me or does this feel an awful lot like a report out of Baghdad a year ago…

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