Indexed Universal Life Insurance For Retirement Income

When designed properly, indexed universal life insurance can be a great savings vehicle for investors who have a good ability to save. Indexed universal life or IUL, is a type of permanent life insurance that allows a policy holders to build a cash value. The cash value can be invested in a fixed account that often has a guaranteed minimum interest rate or the owner can derive their returns based on several different equity indexes.

There are several crediting methods that can be used to generate returns on the cash inside the policy. The most common method I see is an annual point to point calculation based on the return of the S&P 500 with a cap rate that protects your principal and limits your upside. When you pay your annual premium, the insurance company deducts some of the premium for state taxes, cost of insurance, and a sales load. After the fees are taken, most of your money goes to the insurance company’s general account and a small portion buys derivatives on whatever index you select.

Let’s say that the insurance actuary believes that they can earn 5.27% on their pool of investments. They would invest $95 of your $100 in their general account expecting that it one year, the $95 would grow to $100. This is how they can guaranty your principal. The $5 in my example would buy derivatives that could make up to a certain return or they could expire worthless if the index you chose has a negative year. The costs of the derivatives help determine the cap rate or the maximum that you can make per year. Most companies have a 10-15% cap rate on the S&P 500 index currently. If your insurance policy has a 12% cap rate on the S&P 500 and the index does 30%, you will have 12% credited to your account for the year. If the index does 5%, you will make 5%. If the index loses 20%, your return will be zero for the year. You do not receive the dividends of the indexes you invest in.

Principal Protection

Some people are very critical of the fact that IUL limits their upside. There is no free lunch. In order to protect your principal, you have to give up some of the upside. These critics point out that because of the cap rate, IULs would have earned between 5-8% per year over the last few decades during a time when the S&P 500 has averaged 9-11%.

I agree that it is possible to make better returns IF you are willing to stomach the risks of owning an all stock portfolio and my experience has taught me that very few people are able stay invested when the financial world is in a panic. The latest study from Dalbar was recently released and it shows that the average equity investor has averaged 3.79% over the last 30 years while the S&P 500 has averaged 11.06%. Even worse, the average fixed income investor made .72% per year, which is only 1/10 of the return of the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.

Because it is so hard to stick with an investment plan that does not appear to be working, I think a percentage of the population would be better off in a product like IUL that limits their gains, but provides principal protection that helps them sleep better at night.

Creditor Protection

Texas law states that the cash value in your life insurance is protected from creditors. This is a very important feature for people in the medical profession and business owners. Money held in your bank account or brokerage account is generally not protected. This may not seem like a benefit to you, but consider the fact that a home owner and tree trimming company were successfully sued for millions of dollars because an oak tree fell on the current Governor of Texas in 1984 rendering him paralyzed. I didn’t know I needed to worry about the trees in my yard bankrupting me until I learned this.

Did you know that when you sell your car, you can be held liable for tickets and criminal and civil liability if the new owner doesn’t change the title of the vehicle to their name? It is important to go to the tax office with them or submit a vehicle transfer notification to the DMV right away. The more experience I have under my belt, the more I realize how risky life can be.

Tax Benefits

The cash value inside indexed universal life insurance grows tax deferred and if designed properly can be pulled out as tax free loans that don’t have to be paid back during the insured’s life (the insurance company uses some of the death benefit to pay off the loan). The only return that really matters is what you keep after taxes and after inflation. If you are in the highest Federal income tax bracket of 39.6% you are now subject to an extra 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment interest under the Affordable Care Act. If you make 6% inside your tax deferred IUL policy, that is a 10.6% tax-equivalent yield for the highest tax bracket.

In addition to tax deferral, you can pay zero capital gains tax by borrowing against your cash value. You can borrow to buy your next vehicle, for a real estate down payment, or to fund your child’s college. You can choose to pay these loans back or potentially never pay them back. Page 27 of the 1990 GAO Report to the Chairman clearly states “If a policyholder borrows the inside buildup from his or her life insurance policy, the amount borrowed is considered a transfer of capital, not a realization of income, and, therefore, is not subject to taxation. This reasoning is in accord with tax policy on other types of loans, such as consumer loans or home mortgages.

Diversification

Stocks and safe government bonds often have low to negative correlations. There are very few years where the US stock market and US government bond market both lose at the same time. However; many take comfort knowing that in down stock markets, they can pull money from their insurance policy that has principal protection. This can be a very useful tool when one considers the risk of the sequence of returns when distributing money in retirement. Pulling money from stocks in a year like 2008 can seriously hamper one’s ability to maintain their standard of living during the rest of their retirement.

There are also times where the US stock market is a lousy long term investment. The S&P 500 hit 1552 in March of 2000 and was at the exact same level 13 years later because of the tech wreck in 2000-2002 and the Great Recession in 2008-2009. This was an ideal environment for indexed universal life insurance because your principal was protected during the crashes and the crashes made stocks cheap where they had a good chance of going up and hitting the cap rates on the IUL policies. During long term bull markets (like 1982 to 2000) you would expect a capped IUL policy to do worse than the return of the US stock market.

Arbitrage

When you withdrawal money from your brokerage account or 401(k) and spend it, the money is no longer invested and working for you. This is not the case with indexed universal life insurance. When you borrow from your policy for retirement income, the insurer is lending you money and using the cash value in your policy as collateral for the loan. This means that you could have a $200,000 loan at 5.5% interest against the cash value in your IUL policy. If over the course of your loan, your policy averages a 6.5% rate of return, you are making a 1% rate of return on all the money you spent to live on.

The chance of being able to make a small spread on what you have borrowed and the downside protection of the product could potentially allow you to withdraw a higher percentage of your cash value per year than you could from volatile investments that don’t have principal protection. I ran an IUL illustration on a 37 year old male who had an average return of 6% per year until age 65 and found he could borrow 4.8% of the cash value in the first year of retirement and continue to increase that initial amount by 3% each year until age 100. In simpler terms, the arbitrage and principal protection may allow you to pull $48,000 indexed for inflation from $1 million dollars of cash value in an IUL.

4.8% is a lot higher than most financial planners would be comfortable pulling from a traditional portfolio. One of the most common amounts planners consider safe to pull from your investments is 4%. This has even come to be known as the 4% rule. Retirement Researcher, Wade Pfau, recently estimated that retirees should consider pulling only 2.85% to 3% initially from their investments. That would mean you should only pull $30,000 indexed for inflation from a million dollar portfolio. If Pfau is correct, having a maximum funded IUL for retirement could be a nice addition to your retirement.

Death Benefit

The last benefit of saving into index universal life policies is to remember that you are buying a life insurance policy. If you pay one month or year’s premium and die prematurely, your heirs could literally have a 1,000% return on the money you invested. If this unlikely and unfortunate event happens, life insurance is the best thing that you could possibly have invested in. And the best thing about life insurance is it is tax free to your heirs.

I also like how many IUL policies have a free accelerated death benefit rider that allows you to take a portion of your death benefit while you are alive if you are terminally ill. You could use part of your death benefit while you are alive to take your family on one last vacation or to pay for a long term care facility.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage to IUL policies is that they usually have 10 to 15 years of surrender charges or fees to get your money out. You need to fully understand the product and be committed to it. The products also front load their costs and most illustrations that I run at 6% don’t break even until year 7 to 10. Therefore, it is usually a bad idea to apply for a policy and cancel it early on.

The second disadvantage to IUL is that the cap rates can and will change throughout your ownership of the policy. Many policies only guarantee a minimum cap rate of 3% or 4%. As mentioned previously the cap rate is a function of the cost of buying derivatives. Volatility was very high in 2008 which made derivatives more expensive. I did not see any companies dramatically drop their cap rates at that time and don’t see this as a huge risk. If for some reason your IUL dropped cap rates near the minimums, you could change to a different index crediting method or you could invest your cash value into the fixed account for a period of time.

Lastly, life insurance illustrations always show guaranteed values and non-guaranteed values. It is very likely that we continue to operate under the non-guaranteed assumptions, but if Ebola killed massive amounts of people or AIDS became airborne, all insurance companies can raise their charges for insurance and administrative costs after receiving approval from your state. In this rare event, life insurance contracts would be considerably less attractive than policy owners were expecting.

Conclusion

IUL is not right for everyone. If you design a policy that buys the least amount of insurance to get the maximum amount invested, you can add diversification to your portfolio, have tax flexibility in retirement, and make attractive after-tax returns. If you would like to see what it would look like to save into an IUL, please give me a call. We can determine the amount that you want to commit towards saving into a policy and then find the right one for you based on your health history. Because I am independent and not beholden to one company, I can shop all IUL carriers to find the best option that meets your needs.

Swimming With Maya – A Story of Resilience and Love

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Swimming with Maya appeared on my TBR (to be read) pile toward the end of my pregnancy. The memoir was said to be “heartbreaking and heart-healing,” but I was pretty sure I would never be able to handle the heartbreaking part under the circumstances. I picked up Swimming with Maya and put it down after a few pages. I loved the story but was fearful of how I might deal with the loss and heartache Eleanor had to endure. Vincent’s writing and her triumphant spirit kept pulling me back in. I was so drawn in by the heart-healing part of the story that I found myself enjoying the memoir so much I couldn’t put it down.

No parent wants to think of the unthinkable death of a child; and yet each of us does. We don’t want anything to happen to our children, and yet as we carry them we fear miscarriage, after they are born we worry about sudden infant death syndrome, then there are school shootings, traffic accidents, etc… since death is a fact of life, we encounter thoughts and fears of loss each and every day. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent and in my opinion this makes the mother-daughter bond even stronger.

It’s impossible to imagine what Eleanor Vincent was feeling when her 19 year old daughter, Maya falls from a horse and is left in a coma which eventually took her life. Eleanor’s made the courageous decision to donate Maya’s organs. Eleanor uses her difficult situation and Maya’s death to tell an inspirational and motivational story and Eleanor is even stronger (as is the reader) at the end of the story.

Swimming with Maya was more about triumph than I had imagined. I was thankful to have read through the difficult times to see the memorable and motivational message. I admire Eleanor Vincent for being able to put her story down on paper for all to read. I cannot imagine the tears that were shed as she relived those moments that would forever change her life. Thank you to Eleanor, Maya, and Dream of Things Publishing for sharing this triumphant story with readers everywhere. My personal thanks to Eleanor for writing in such a way the healing is more pronounced than the hurt – it was this reason alone I was able to read and finish Swimming with Maya.

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Different Types of Card Games

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There are limitless types of card games to be played. People think because two games use the same deck of 52-cards that they are similar games, but nothing could be more different than Barbu and Speed, or Pai Gow and Pinochle.

Here’s a list of twenty different kinds of card games, and some facts about them.

1.Bridge

Bridge is a popular contract bidding game. Bridge has a culture — there are websites, newspaper columns, and even radio shows devoted to bridge strategy. There is a world-wide obsession with bridge, even though it has been called the hardest card game in the world. With a complicated strategy and steep learning curve, to many bridge is not just a game, it is a lifestyle. I wish I were exaggerating.

2. Whist

Whist could be called “Bridge, Jr” — and though it is not as big a game as it once was, and is dwarfed in popularity by big-brother Bridge, Whist has never really died out. Card gamers love trick-taking games — beating out your opponent in such a visual way is one of the more exciting part of any card game. Whist has some of the complexity of Bridge without any bidding.

3. Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is something of a legend — a poker variation with a story as rich as a Spaghetti western. This version of poker, a drawing and betting game, was invented and then made popular by old time poker sharks in Texas, hence the name. This is easily the most popular poker variant right now, and is bringing more new people to card gaming than any other game.

4. Hearts

It is said that most of the professional poker tour players are hardcore Hearts players and that they bet big money on cutthroat games of Hearts in dark mysterious rooms during tournaments. Romantic as that may sound, it would make sense for these card sharks to love the game of Hearts – an otherwise childlike game of matching cards (and no bidding) usually turns into a competitive nightmare. Because of the game play, there are lots of ways to screw your opponents in Hearts. Trick-winning and passing card are big elements of Hearts.

5. Spades

People don’t realize it, but spades is a variation of bridge that simplifies the game even more than Whist and changes the outcome of the game as well. Spades is really popular in large groups, on college campuses, and in tournaments around the world. There may be as many variations of Spades as there are groups playing it — thanks to “jailhouse rules” which penalize tactics like point sandbagging and the existence of multiple versions of “house rules”. A strategic game you can play without paying much attention if you want.

6. Go-fish

This is the simple children’s card matching game we all remember from our childhood. You can play Go-fish with as many players as you have cards. Some people claim Go-Fish is a variation of Rummy but the simplicity of the game and the children’s game gimmick make it likely just some toy company’s creation. Strangely enough, Go-fish is known as Literature in some parts of the world. Write in if you understand that one.

7. War

Another children’s game (or time-killing game) War is a straight luck based game. Depending on the flop of the card, you either win or lose a war. Most people under the age of 30 learned War before they learned any other card game. You’ll see War played a lot in lines at airports.

8. Oh Hell!

Substitute your own dirty word for “Hell!” and you know this party game. Most of the fun is the fact that you get to cuss a lot and people laugh at you. What keeps this game popular is that it is a strict betting game. The object of Oh Hell! is to bid the precise number of tricks you will win. You have to take only the number that you bid, no more and no less. Play is precise, and because of the structure of the game, one player always blows it big time. There. That’s what’s fun. Screwing your opponent.

9. Blackjack

A skill game that in some casinos is the best bet you can make, if you can play a perfect hand. This is one of the most popular casino card game, and has a place in popular culture as THE “Vegas” game. The point is to build a hand that adds up to a total of 21 points without going over, and ending up with a higher number than the dealer. Players compete against the House directly, adding to the fun. Little known fact — there exists somewhere in this world a blackjack player’s hall of fame. Safe to say that this game’s got a cult following

10. Baccarat

James Bond’s favorite game (don’t believe the hype — it wasn’t poker or blackjack — read the books) Baccarat is a basic betting game. Players bet on who will win a given hand – the player, the banker, or if there will be a tie. Sure it looks easy, but Baccarat is a skill game. A small sidenote about Baccarat — the name comes from the name of the worst possible hand. This would be like calling your video poker machine “High Card Poker”. Just doesn’t have the same ring as “Royal Flush”.

11. Solitaire

The most varied card game in the world. In England, they call this game Patience, and for good reason. Solitaire requires little set up beyond putting cards in specific places, and is usually played by yourself. Solitaire is another popular airport line waiting game.

12. Rummy and variations

There are lots of different kinds of Rummy, more than are probably written down on any list. I’ve written for a website that had me list 500 variations or other names for Rummy, so I’ll spare you the reading and just say there’s lots of kinds of Rummy. The more popular versions are called Gin Rummy, Liverpool Rummy, and Contract Rummy. The feature that makes a game a Rummy is a player matching identical cards into pairs and other groups. Some experts believe the Chinese game of Mahjong is part of the Rummy family, though I’d bet the Chinese are just fine with Mahjong as it is.

13. Pai Gow

This is an old Chinese domino game that has been passed down through the years as a poker variation. You’ll see Pai Gow at casinos in both as a poker and a domino game — it is probably the casino game that the least number of people understand. This is a game of fast bets, player versus dealer. Pai Gow strategy is just as rich as any other poker betting game, and the culture of Pai Gow is similar to the Blackjack culture — super-fast bets and edgy behavior at the margins.

14. Spoons

A silly card game probably invented to keep kids out of trouble, Spoons is a bluffing game (with some elements of matching) that uses simple kitchen utensils as an added play element. The first player in the group to draw a poker style four of a kind reaches to a pile of spoons in the middle of the table, signalling the other players to grab for one. Since there’s one less spoon than players, one player will be left out every time. So its a social interaction game, and not a game chock full of card strategy. its still fun. Great date night game.

15. Speed

Speed (sometimes called Spit) is a matching game that is unique because both players play simultaneously and as fast as they can. In Speed, a player tries to ‘get rid’ of his or her cards by matching them to cards placed face-up on the table. This is a face to face game, though there’s actually little interaction between the two opponents. The last few moments of any game of Speed reminds me of solitaire on fast-forward, with hands and cards flying around and rows forming and draining like water pipes. Strange game, Speed.

16. Crazy 8s

This is another children’s matching game, you could say it is cousin to the popular game Uno. The 8s in the deck of standard cards are considered “crazy” not because they need to be medicated but to indicate they are wild cards. In some variations of Crazy 8s, not just Wild Cards but other “rule cards” exist, making the game more complex for older players.

17. Slapjack

If you want to teach more complex card games to younger kids, Slapjack is the perfect vehicle. The object of Slapjack is to acquire the whole deck of cards by matching and slapping pairs. Kids like to slap stuff, and the game can be played over and over again.

18. Old Maid

You don’t need an “Old Maid” deck to play this kid’s card game — any standard 52 card deck will do. Just remove one of the Queens. Old Maid is a matching game where players find pairs You trade cards with your opponent until that player is left with the unmatched Queen. Matching games are popular, and the novelty “Old Maid” packs are fun for kids.

19. Cribbage

This is a hybrid board and card game with complicated rules that generally intimidates people, even hardcore card gamers. You play cribbage by forming groups of cards that are worth different point values, and moving a peg on a board that represents your progress accordingly. Requiring a specific board (or a quick hand with a pen and paper) cribbage isn’t the best travel game, but as fans of cribbage will tell you, no two games are alike. There are solitaire versions of cribbage, and other varieties of cribbage game play to choose from if you’re bored with the standard version.

20. Pinochle

Pinochle is popular because it is a trick-taking game that you play with a 48 card deck. In Pinochle, you try to make melds or tricks, much like in Gin, but there’s a really complex scoring system making the game fun to learn and to master. To be good at pinochle, you have to play for a number of years, and lose plenty of hands. Though it is less popular year after year, Pinochle is one of those “heritage games”.

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Solar PV – The Smartest Investment For 2011? And You Get Free Electricity!

A 10% tax free, index linked income for 25 years, guaranteed by the Government that’s environmentally friendly and provides free electricity.

When you install a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system at your property you can now earn around 10% per annum tax free guaranteed by the Government for the next 25 years. Solar PV is the amazing investment and environmentally friendly opportunity that was introduced by the UK Government in April 2010. This is when the ‘Feed in Tariff’ (FiT) was introduced to increase the rate you get paid for the microgeneration of electricity at your premises.

The FiT is index-linked for the next 25 years making it inflation proof. In the context of the Spending Review in October it is one of the few areas where there is real certainty to invest your money safely and wisely for the future with exceptional, tax free returns.

In setting out to stimulate consumer demand for microgeneration (the production of clean energy on a domestic scale), the Government have set the FiT very high for a limited period. This means that only households and commercial enterprises that complete their installation before March 2012 will qualify for the highest rate tariff.

As soon as you are installed you are locked into the index linked scheme and its benefits for the next 25 years. This includes the annual cash benefits of the FiT, free electricity and knowing that you are reducing your CO2 footprint.

So what are the catches? There aren’t any. Your installation needs to be carried out by an MCS qualified installer in order to claim your 10% tax free, indexed linked, 25 year income that’s guaranteed by the Government.

The roof needs to be southerly facing and shadow free for most of the day. The panels are mounted onto the roof using a hidden lightweight aluminium framework. The DC electricity produced by the panels during daylight hours is converted to AC by an inverter. This will usually be in the loft space or near your electricity supply.

Finally, a meter measures the amount of electricity that your system generates (in the same way that your current meter measures what you use and are charged for today). A typical installation will involve two installers and a qualified electrician working at your house over a couple of days. It is a straightforward job with most of the work taking place outside.

The highest rate FiT is 41.3p per kWh and applies to systems up to 4kW in size. This is typically four times the price paid for electricity from the grid and is paid regardless of how the electricity is used and even if you don’t use any of it.

On top of the FiT, you add the value of electricity that you have saved by using some of what you’ve generated. Finally there is an income called the Export tariff which is calculated as 50% of the electricity that you generate being fed back into the grid.

If any of this sounds complicated, it really isn’t; once your installation is completed, the Solar PV system is connected seamlessly to your present electricity supply and your new meter is ready to calculate how much electricity you have generated and what your annual revenue is.

And there are a range of investment options depending on what return you are looking for. From wholly owned systems through shared ownership and even free systems, where you rent your roof for free electricity, the options are many and varied.

Uses and Advantages of Product Placement

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Product placement marketing is becoming extremely popular today because it offers many advantages to all parties involved. Branded entertainment promotions have helped many companies to significantly improve their bottom line, especially when linked to movies with a high success rate. The information below will highlight some of the uses and advantages of product placement.

First, let take a look at exactly what is branded entertainment.

Branded entertainment, sometimes referred to as product placement marketing, is a strategy that is used to infuse branded products into various forms of entertainment. Basically, brands would offer monetary consideration to or pay for producers of films, television shows, web videos, video games and other forms of entertainment to include their products in entertainment presentations.

The emergence of movie product placement strategy has coincided with the diminishing interests in the traditional advertising mediums. Many companies discovered that consumers were not paying attention to traditional advertising media, so product placement was incorporated in their marketing strategy to reach a wider audience. Marketers reinvented their strategies and started to place advertisements in popular movies and television shows to capture consumer’s attention.

Uses and Advantages of Product Placement

When marketers started to use branded entertainment strategies, increasingly more companies were seen promoting their products in popular movies and television shows. These advertisements can be seen in popular films such as James Bond featuring Omega watches; Mission Impossible featuring Apple Macs; Men In Black promoting Ray Ban glasses and many popular television shows such as The Apprentice, Top Chef, Project Runaway and American Idol.

As of such, the branded entertainment strategy became a magic potion for marketers. Due to the major success of advertising in movies and TV shows, the marketers move on to the next level and started to use web videos, video games, music videos and other entertainment mediums.

Product placement marketing offers several advantages to manufacturers, producers and movie stars. From the perspective of the marketers, it provided companies with an opportunity to be associated with famous actors and to use movie footage and stills to conveniently advertise other products. As it pertains to the producers and actors, they earned substantial amount in fees as well as the chance to endorse brands in various film festivals.

Musicians also benefit from branded entertainment in their music videos and lyrics. Most artists use the earnings from these deals to offset the overall cost of producing their music videos.

The marketers are also using the Internet to incorporate product placements in songs that music fans would get from YouTube. In this case, the main advantage is that brands would develop higher retention rates in people’s minds whenever the artists perform at shows and concerts.

Overall, product placement and branded entertainment strategies have proven to be extremely effective as more consumers are linking certain products to the names of famous actors and singers. For this strategy to work, the brands must be featured prominently whilst making subtly appearance in movies, television shows, web videos or video games.

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Book Review – Bad Land, An American Romance

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Johnathan Raban’s Bad Land: An American Romance brilliantly and descriptively describes the attempts by would-be farmers and ranchers, those of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century, to make a living on highly questionable land. This land, most of it in eastern Montana and the western Dakotas could have been described as marginal land, but Raban’s fact-finding mission has made it abundantly clear that these lands were less than marginal.

The federal government and railroad companies would benefit by having settlers in this region. Their benefits: There would be more products to ship to and fro and travel to this region would be greatly increased. However, as Raban documents and, I have seen first-hand, this marginal land had shallow topsoil, heavy wind patterns, low precipitation, and extremely frigid winters; and, the efforts to cultivate the arid land were seldom rewarded.

This book was written in a casual, personable manner as the author walked this region and perused some of the failed homesteads. It is drama indeed as Raban explored the remnants of these numerous failed homesteads. He even found a book that described the best method to prosper on these arid farms. The book was entitled Campbell’s Scientific Dry Farming Techniques and it was subtitled The Camel for the Sahara Desert and the Campbell Method for the American Desert. According to meteorological figures any area with an average annual rainfall of less than three inches per year would be classified as a desert region. This eastern Montana region is certainly considered desert as most of it averages less than the three inches of rain per year.

Like Raban, I too, have walked this land, but I walked it for a different reason. I was in search of sharp-tailed grouse and the elusive sage grouse. I was amazed, those many years ago, to have seen so many remnants – remnants of rotted and fallen wind mills, broken and gray boards of outbuildings, barns, and house, as well as, vacated rock foundations, long-rusted barbed wire fencing, fence posts that were rotted and lying flat on the ground, and space – wide open space… endless space. Raban’s book told a story of the many courageous human attempts to produce on this infinitely poor homesteading land, bad land. The government pamphlets and railroad brochures were, no doubt, at least spurious, if not downright lies.

Raban had an inspirational idea to write this story, and he followed through – brilliant inspiration, first-hand research, and highly descriptive writing!

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Glycemic Index Vegetables

Vegetables are known for their ability to maintain good health. Low glycemic index vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is recommended that you eat least 2 -3 servings of low glycemic vegetables per day. Vegetables should be eaten in moderate amount.

Low glycemic index vegetables can cause a moderate rise, in sugar levels, the blood system. There are two main types of vegetables, including low and high GI vegetables. High glycemic index vegetables can increase the glucose level in the blood beyond the optimal level. Vegetables with high index scores include legumes, and starchy vegetables. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams and etc. When you know the index rating of each vegetable, you will be able to control the sugar level in the blood efficiently. In addition, your body will be resistant against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Eating lots of vegetables will enable you to maintain a healthy weight.

Low glycemic index vegetables are also rich in fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. However, the stomach cannot digest fiber and because the stomach cannot digest fiber, it cannot increase the glucose level in the blood system. After you eat a food, the stomach will break down the carbohydrate into glucose. Glucose can increase the level of insulin in the body. Insulin can increase the energy of the body and makes you active. After you have used up the energy, the excess insulin will be stored in other organs such as muscles and the liver. When there are no more places to store the glucose in the organs, the body will then store the excess glucose as fat in other parts of the body.

By eating vegetables, you can maintain an optimal weight because they have a low amount of carbohydrate. It is important to have low glycemic meals every day. A single low GI meal cannot lower the glucose level in the body efficiently. Eating vegetables can burn off the excess fat in your body. Vegetables can eliminate the high lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood, again helping you to have a healthy body.

If you want to find out the exact glycemic value of each vegetable, you must reference the GI food chart. You can find free information on low glycemic index vegetables on the internet. Many websites offer index rankings for different ranges of vegetables. Some websites provide more comprehensive GI information than others – look around. Therefore, you should visit a variety of websites so that you can compile the most comprehensive vegetable GI list.

An Analysis of Scalp Med Complaints

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There are a fair number of Scalp Med complaints and related stories resulting from unsuccessful user experiences with the product on the Internet. But to be fair, there are also a significant number of positive testimonials out there as well.

Contrary to the complaints, the company’s website details how they have helped thousands of people suffering from hair loss and it also provides numerous case studies and written testimonial success stories of people it has helped to regrow hair.

Without a doubt, almost any company doing business with the general public will have some customer grievances. So; to get a better feel for the seriousness of the Scalp Med complaints, I reviewed the company’s current status with the Better Business Bureau.

I determined that the company was started on January 9th, 2000 with the stated business objective of providing hair growth products to the general public.

Additionally; they were recently purchased by the infomercial powerhouse Guthy Renker, which adds both credibility and financial strength to the brand.

Overview of the Scalp Med complaints currently lodged with the Better Business Bureau:

The company currently maintains a Triple A rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB also reports that proper consideration has been given to all complaints as presented to the company to date.

Specifically, there were 118 Scalp Med complaints lodged, closed and reported on by the BBB for the last 36 months.

In 83 of the cases the Scalp Med complaints department issued a full refund as the customer requested.

In 5 of the cases the company made a partial refund.

In 29 of the cases, the company agreed to perform according to their contract.

In 1 instance they refused to make an adjustment based on what were deemed to be justifiable reasons.

The most common Scalp Med complaints all have a similar theme related to the lack of success that the quoted users have had with Scalp Med.

Not to minimize the negative experiences that some individuals have had with this hair regrowth product; it is important however to recognize that hair loss is a complex affliction that cannot easily be addressed in the best of circumstances.

Additional factors that may inflate Scalp Med complaints are that any hair regrowth regimen takes both time (at least 3 months) and consistency of use to be successful. So it’s important to follow the products usage directions closely to maximize the chances for success. Any wavering from the recommended usage regimen can result in diminished results.

There can be no doubt that Scalp Med has the potential to regrow hair simply based on the fact that it contains Minoxidil; also known as Rogaine.

Minoxidil has been approved by the FDA as one of the few scientifically proven hair regrowth products on the market today, which means that any product that contains Minoxidil should also then be able to regrow hair due to the hair growth effects of this ingredient at a minimum.

Add to that the additional hair growth ingredients in the Scalp Med formulation and they claim that your chances of regrowing your hair are greatly increased with their product.

In closing; while there does exist a number of valid Scalp Med complaints, the number of complaints is not unreasonable due to the fact that the company sells a product that requires diligent long term application (at least 2 to 3 months) with results that can be somewhat hard to measure in many cases.

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Biography Collection of Great Past Entrepreneurs – A Book Review

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Andrew Carnegie has been noted for saying that if you want to be successful in business then you must do what successful people do. And to do that you must study how they lived, what they did and get some insight into their methods of operation. This is indeed good advice which no one can deny. Perhaps, this is why business students, professors, and future entrepreneurs study all the great business leaders of the past?

Since this is the case, I’d like to recommend a very good book to you about past great entrepreneurs, it is a collection of their biographies, shortened of course, and it is still on my bookshelf after all these years. The book is:

“The Entrepreneurs – Twelve Who Took Risks and Succeeded” by Robert L. Shook; Harper and Row Publishers, New York, NY; 1980. ISBN: 0060140259.

There were numerous standout great quotes, one of them that I liked was by W. Clement Stone; “I don’t care what field you are in, anyone who truly wants to be successful must develop a plan to duplicate their success.”

Another great thing the reader will take away from this book was the authors note that if you want to win in business you must have goals; “Write down your goal, give yourself a deadline, set high standards, aim high.”

This book profiled such great past entrepreneurs as; John W. Galbreath, W. Clement Stone (insurance), Mary Hudson (oil), Dale W. Lang (media), S. Roger Horshow, William J Richards (farming), Mary Kay Ash, Joseph Sugarman, Richard Schultz, William McCowan, and John Delorean. And it explained their similarities, attitudes, methods, big business deals and drive. I know you will love this book as much as I did and hopefully like me you will keep it on your shelf for a reference, please consider this.

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Free Business to Business Directories

Ok so I have written about some of the best B2B directories, they all offer services at a price but can provide great results for your company. I have detailed probably what I would consider to be the ‘big’ 4. There are many more available but weather they are worth looking at is a decision I will leave for you. However not all directories make you pay for your advert, there are a few out there that offer their services for free. One thing you have to remember is that these directories simply can not provide the same coverage as the paid for ones, but considering they are free they do work fairly well. Also remember when advertising you are not limited to one place, spread your advert out across different directories to receive more coverage.

Free Index
This is one of the most popular free directories, not as large as the paid for directories but still boasting around 20,000 companies and 1.2 million visitors a month Free Index works well considering it is free. Their service is free of charge and they promise not to send to any spam. It takes about 2 minutes to set up a free small advert and is a good start to getting your name out there.

Expert Focus
This is another free directory that specializes in the advertising of manufacturers, so if it is a manufacturer you are looking for and want to put a small advert somewhere Expert Focus is worth checking out.