Monthly Archives: December 2014

Recall Alert: 2014 Ford Escape and 2015 Lincoln MKC

15MKC

Vehicles Affected: Ford is recalling about 9,000 model-year 2014 Ford Escape and model-year 2015 Lincoln MKC compact crossovers. In a separate recall, Ford is also recalling approximately 11,000 model-year 2015 Lincoln MKC crossovers.

The Problem: For the first recall, Ford says an issue with the nickel plating on the fuel pump could cause the pump to seize. If this happens, the car may not start or may stall while driving, which could increase the risk of a crash. In the second recall, the MKC is being recalled to move the push-button start’s location. Because the button is close to other controls, drivers have inadvertently shut off the engine while driving, which turned off the restraint system. This could increase the risk of injury in a crash.

The Fix: Ford and Lincoln dealers will replace the fuel delivery module for the first recall. For the second MKC recall, dealers will replace the gearshift module with one that has the push-button in a different location and reprogram the power train control module.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

KickingTires

December Airport Rates Continue Downward Trend

With the help of Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group and Michael Meyer of Rate-Highway, Inc., we are conducting rate surveys on a weekly basis and providing analysis and comments where appropriate. We publish this monthly recap in our electronic edition and more comprehensive looks in the print editions.

After four months of relatively minor year-to-year changes and the July “recall” spike, December rate quotes continued November’s downturn. The Northeast was dramatically down, but it was still about a dollar higher than the Northwest — the next highest rate for the five regions.

Over the Dec. 19-Dec. 21 weekend, Hertz Global Holdings announced that it increased U.S. retail prices for all Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty car rentals reserved for pick-up on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

Our Dec. 26 survey included these announced increases, so we have examined rate quotes by brand and by week for November and December to see the effect on industry rate quotes. Keep in mind that one week is a small sample, and we will have to wait at least another month to draw any final conclusions.

With that caveat in mind, it appears that Hertz’s announcement had the effect of raising industry rates. After nine consecutive weeks (including the last two weeks of October) of year-over-year decreases, the Dec. 26 weighted average was up $ 2.29 over the same week in 2013.

The Hertz brand itself was down significantly from what appears to be an abnormally high Dec. 27, 2013 average quote, but six of the seven others were up, including Dollar and Thrifty — Hertz Global Holdings’ other brands.

However, for the first time since July 11, 2014, and only the seventh time in the last 52 weeks, the Hertz brand was the highest of the three top tier brands. In all other weeks, Avis or National or both have topped Hertz.

Rate data provided by Rate-Highway, a leading provider of revenue management services for the auto rental industry. Rates are an average of aggregator/OTA rates for all vendors present in the markets listed on the date of the survey. These tables and graph show the average of all base rate quotes per day for an ICAR at the six or 50 airports shown, for arrivals 15 to 21 days ahead of the date of the survey, for two- and seven-day rentals.

Rate data provided by Rate-Highway, a leading provider of revenue management services for the auto rental industry. Rates are an average of aggregator/OTA rates for all vendors present in the markets listed on the date of the survey. These tables and graph show the average of all base rate quotes per day for an ICAR at the six or 50 airports shown, for arrivals 15 to 21 days ahead of the date of the survey, for two- and seven-day rentals.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Auto Rental News

2014 Variable Annuity Innovations

Variable annuity sales have been lukewarm this year with some flat months and some small decreases.  There are many reasons for this, including some key variable annuity players exiting the market and fixed indexed annuity business taking away from variable annuity products.  But despite the fact that sales aren’t anything to write home about, life insurance companies are still introducing new products and innovating existing ones.  In Darla Mercado’s Investment News article, “Life insurers launching new variable annuities despite tepid sales,” she lets us know what is going on the variable annuity market at this time.

Between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of this year, variable annuity sales went down 1% to $ 35.5 billion.  The year to date sales from 2013 to 2014 decreased 3% to $ 105.9 billion.  History has seen variable annuity sales mirror what is happening in the stock markets, but that is not the case currently.  The S & P 500 is up 11% this year but variable annuity sales are flat.  A senior business analyst from LIMRA’s Secure Retirement Institute says that this can be attributed to some major changes that have occurred in the VA industry over the past four years.  After some significant losses, companies are really focused on risk management and how much variable annuity business they are taking on.

Many insurance companies have been offering more conservative benefits over the past four years or so.  Variable annuity living benefits were proven to be too generous for insurers to carry the liability.  Companies continue to scale back or even stop offering some living benefits, death benefits and sub-pays.  Just because some companies are cutting back, that doesn’t mean that the variable annuity industry is stagnant.  Many insurers are introducing new products and updating existing variable annuities.

After taking a step back from the variable annuity market, MetLife introduced its new Investment Portfolio Architect.  This variable annuity is investment-focused and offers an optional return of premium death benefit.  There are 80 different funds to choose from and the costs range from .56% to 2.74%.  MetLife’s executive vice president is optimistic about the future of the variable annuity industry.  She believes that companies have stabilized their offerings and liabilities and become more disciplined in what they offer.  There will likely be growth in variable annuity sales over the next year as everyone gets back on track.

Securian Financial Group updated the living benefit with their MyPath Ascend 2.0.  This replaces the previous living benefit that they offered.  The new benefit offers a 200% benefit base guarantee after age 67 or the 12th year of the annuity contract.  People are eligible for this benefit if they have not taken any withdrawals from the contract before that time.  The single life income percentage is 5.1% and the joint life is 4.75%.

Raymond James Insurance Group has seen a significant decline in variable annuity sales this year.  They expect fourth quarter sales to be down as well because Jackson National will not be selling one of their most popular variable annuity features through January 12 of next year.  A senior vice president at Raymond James said that variable annuities aren’t as attractive of a product as they used to be.  As the industry adjusts to the new variable annuity reality, it will take some time for sales to increase again.  Many people believe that the industry is already headed in this direction.  Insurance companies are figuring out the balance between the benefits they can offer while still maintaining their own finances as well.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Annuity FYI Blog

Five things to know about Ebola in the Sacramento region

ebola

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest in history. Fear spread across the U.S. after the deadly virus was diagnosed in a man who had traveled to Dallas from Liberia. Two cases from travelers — including one death — and two locally acquired cases in health-care workers were reported as of mid-December. Precautions and monitoring continue.

Senior Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest in history. Fear spread across the U.S. after the deadly virus was diagnosed in a man who had traveled to Dallas from Liberia. Two cases from travelers — including one death — and two locally acquired cases in health-care workers were reported as of mid-December. Precautions and monitoring continue.

1. Risk is very low

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in California. Monitoring of people returning from affected countries in West Africa continues.

2. One local scare in 2014

Out of an abundance of caution, one patient at Kaiser Permanente’s South Sacramento Medical Center was tested for Ebola in August. Results were negative.

3. Testing takes 24 to 48 hours

That may change. Sacramento County has applied for Ebola testing certification that would cut wait times to four to six hours.

4. Two local treatment centers

Kaiser Permanente’s South Sacramento Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Center are the only local hospitals on a national list of 44 centers certified to treat Ebola patients.

5. Four in Northern California

The only other hospitals in Northern California certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Ebola treatment are Kaiser’s Oakland Medical Center and UC San Francisco. The latest list was released Dec. 18.

Kathy Robertson covers health care, law and lobbying, labor, workplace issues and immigration for the Sacramento Business Journal.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Health Insurance News – Health Insurance News Headlines | Bizjournals.com

UK to south Spain next week

UK to south Spain next week


Escape the UK Winter.

UK to south Spain next week.

The rough Plan is to go down west coast of France (avoid the weather !), no rush. The idea is to Enjoy ~ not endure

Find a Campsite or Apartmento around Murcia / Almeria ~ or maybe a Horizons Member with Room.

Anyone who would like to do the whole or part Voyage, or just meet up someplace.

Would prefer a Lady travel companion ~ either on own Bike or Pillion.

I’m 60 Scots & Non Smoker ~ Yam FJR 1300.

Reply With Quote

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Horizons Unlimited – The HUBB

HuffPo: Reverse Mortgage Borrowers Should Consider Wealth Goals

Wanting to maximize wealth, rather than consumption, is an important distinction among reverse mortgage prospective borrowers. Jack Guttentag, also known as The Mortgage Professor, outlines the difference via his blog, published this week by the Huffington Post.

Responding to a reader letter inquiring about whether a reverse mortgage would lead to the reader being “better off” in 10 years, Guttentag details the two approaches. [The reader has a 3% interest rate on a $ 380,000 forward mortgage balance on a home worth $ 626,000.]

For wealth maximizers, or those who wish to have more wealth in the long term—often those who wish to sell their homes eventually or leave large estates to their heirs—the reverse mortgage may not be the right option, Guttentag writes.

“The transition to a reverse mortgage would reduce his wealth primarily because HECM reverse mortgages require mortgage insurance,” he says, also noting costs such as settlement fees, and losses incurred if the borrower itemizes his tax deductions.

But for consumption maximizers, the same borrower in the same situation will benefit from the reverse mortgage. That is because consumption maximizers wish to increase their accessible funds now, rather than in the future. The borrower who takes a reverse mortgage under the reader’s scenario will receive proceeds of more than $ 2,000 per month.

“Consumption maximizers don’t anticipate selling their home, and the size of their estate is not important,” Guttentag writes. “The potential for increased consumption outweighs the decline in wealth resulting from growth of the reverse mortgage balance.”

View the column at the Huffington Post.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Reverse Mortgage Daily

Iggy Azalea Buys Nick Young a Chevy Impala For Christmas

Iggy Azalea surprised her boyfriend, Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young of the Los Angeles Lakers with a pretty sweet Christmas gift this year. Since Young was on the road for the holiday, Azalea gave him the 1962 Chevy Impala a few days before with a big red bow on top.

Nick Young Iggy Azalea Impala

Nick Young Chevy Impala

Just a few days ago, Young shared a photo of himself posing with his new ride after a game.

Nick Young Impala
Photos (@swaggyp1)

Shout out to Patrick for the tip!

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Celebrity Cars Blog

Transferring Universities HELP!

I am a first year student at Trent University (Oshawa Campus) studying Business Administration. Trent was my last choice when applying to university but I ended up here because I was wait listed for Ryerson’s Retail Management program and I didn’t get accepted into any other program with a 72% average. I have just finished first semester. My marks aren’t really good (60% average), but I am really considering switching to Ryerson for Retail or Business Management. I have looked and have the prerequisites but not a competitive average from high school. I don’t know whether both my program and the programs at Ryerson are comparable or will land me a similar job after graduating but if they are, I’d much rather go to Ryerson because of its reputation. I have no idea what procedures I have to do inorder to transfer universities and I’m also contemplating on whether I should transfer considering I will lose credits, money and time.

Here are my reasons as to why I want to switch: 2 hr commute (there and back), lack of courses available (say if I failed a course, it is not offered until the following year so it will set me back because of prerequisites), reputation of the school and program (Trent is a low-tier university and is not known for its business program), lack of available summer course options (planning to complete my degree asap because I did victory lap in high school), only 8 specializations (I am not interested in any to be honest), small school (does not feel like a university).

Reasons I want to stay: small class sizes, not as competitive and hard to earn marks really, easy to register for courses (no specified time frame like I know Ryerson does (it’s like fighting to enroll in a course)), I will not lose credits or money, tuition is slightly cheaper I believe but am billed per credit, already use to the school system.

Should I just not think about it and focus my time on finishing my degree asap at Trent or will I have a brighter future graduating from Ryerson? Ultimately, I wish to be either a real estate salesperson, manager at a major retailer, or work at a financial institution in investment banking.

If anyone has transferred universities, can you please provide me guidance as to what I have to consider and do, and how successful were you in terms of acceptance goes? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

RedFlagDeals.com Forums

Best of 2014: The 51 longest highways in the USA

Corrections & Clarifications: An image of Glacier National Park for Highway 94 was replaced with one of Billings, Mont.

There’s nothing like a road trip to see this enormous country of ours. There’s something about just getting in the car and driving until the road ends. We just decided to take that to its natural conclusion here, with the 51 longest highways in the USA. Between US highways and interstates, the list above should get you where you want to go (assuming there’s no ocean in between). And if you’re in Brownsville, Texas, and want to go to Canada, well there are two options for you. You’re welcome.

Why 51? One of these roads no longer officially exists. You’ll see which one we mean if you make it through until the end.

RELATED: The 50 longest airline routes from the U.S. and Canada

Prefer a trip by boat? Take a look at America’s 34 longest rivers:

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

USATODAY – Travel Top Stories

How Women Can Generate Income For Life

How Women Can Generate Income For Life

December 30, 2014 by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY

Many women have a “quiet fear” that they won’t have enough money for retirement, but they can take several steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“The key is to continue earning throughout retirement and to find ways to create income for life,” says Donna Phelan, 62, who has worked with thousands of women nationwide during her 18 years with several large Wall Street investment firms. She has an MBA in finance and is the author of a new book, Women, Money & Prosperity: A Sister’s Perspective on How to Retire Well.

Research shows that women often have far less saved for retirement than men, Phelan says. They frequently earn less than men and often take time out of their careers to rear children. They also spend more time with elder care. Some women don’t start thinking about their retirement savings until late in life, and by then it’s hard to save enough, she says.

So it’s important for them to think outside the box and find alternative income strategies so they thrive during their golden years, Phelan says.

She encourages women to come up with what she has nicknamed SISTERS — Stackable Income Streams to Empower Retirement Security. The most important retirement-planning objective is to accumulate and “stack” as many diverse sources of retirement income as they possibly can, Phelan says. For example, if you have five different sources of income in retirement that each paid you$ 12,000 per year, it would add up to$ 60,000 annual income, she says.

Possible sources of income include pensions,Social Security, investments and savings, retirement plans such as 401(k) plans and IRAs, part-time jobs, inheritance, annuities, home-based or small business, rental property, life insurance and home equity.

She also encourages women to form SISTERS clubs and get together to talk with other women about financial issues and possibly pool their talents, ideas and resources to create small businesses. “My passion is to start a nationwide conversation about women and retirement.”

Phelan says women should:

Research their own retirement.Think about how much you’ll need, what kind of lifestyle you want to have, where you want to live, what you want to do and where the money for this is going to come from.

Delay their retirement start date.Make sure you have enough money to retire before you do. Talk to a financial adviser about the prospects of running out of money in retirement, given today’s longevity predictions. Many women need to understand the necessity of earning an income at age 65 and beyond, she says. “Retirement can be like a camping adventure during an unexpected snowstorm. It can last much longer than you expect, and you must ensure that you have enough supplies.”

Work part time.“It keeps people vital and lively. It gives them a social network and gives them spending money,” Phelan says. “It eases them into retirement because a lot of people don’t prepare psychologically for retirement.”

Pool their assets with like-minded women to create business opportunities.“What do a marketer, artist and accountant have in common? They have the makings of an instant start-up if they were to pool their talents,” she says.

Create a home-based business. “I see so many women doing crafts and making jewelry, and they do it as a hobby or for charity, but they could easily monetize it,” says Phelan, who had her own jewelry-design business with customers such asTiffany & Co. and Cartier.

Use non-traditional living tactics, such as renting out rooms of your home. Phelan says she knows one woman began renting empty bedrooms in her own home to local art students, and she used the income to make other financial investments that produced income.

Get a roommate or downsize your home to a less expensive abode. “A house is often one of the largest expenses in retirement, but it can be a non-producing asset that is more than what women can afford to carry,” she says.

Phelan says she has a roommate, and the arrangement has “allowed both of us to cut our living costs so we can save a little more in our 401(k)s.”

Become financially literate.Some women are intimidated by going to a financial adviser, but these professionals usually give a complimentary session to prospective clients to see if it’s a good fit, she says. You also can learn about finances from books and websites.

Look into optimizing your Social Security benefits. Make sure you’ve learned about all the options for taking Social Security, such as spousal benefits (ssa.gov), before you make a decision about your benefits. Unless you are in ill health or in dire need of money, delay taking Social Security for as long as possible. Every year you wait increases your Social Security benefit by 8% up to age 70, she says.

• Pay off unproductive debt, such as credit card debt, as quickly as possible. If possible, pay your credit card bills in full every month. If you cannot, then always pay more than the minimum.

Rework your budget and spending plan; eliminate non-essential spending.

The sooner women get started doing all of this, the better off they are going to be, Phelan says. “Women need to recognize the role they play in their own retirement-planning process and take responsibility now for their retirement prosperity.”

Copyright: Copyright 2014USAToday
Source: USA Today
Wordcount: 859

Originally Posted at InsuranceNewsNet on December 29, 2014 by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Wink