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Some Financial Planning?

 

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This is a picture of a first class cabin aboard the RMS Titanic. They built that ship with true luxury in mind. But when I look at this picture, I think, “did it really matter?“.

I decided to just briefly revisit the topic of Social Security. I promise to be brief! You might think that filing for social security is way out there, or it does not matter because it will not be there when you retire anyway. Or, you have already filed and it does not matter now.

Many probably think… social security  “does it really matter?“. And that reaction makes sense because of the reasons above. So, let me just mention the math.

First things first. If you want to set up your social security account to watch your personal “fundage“, you can go to this social security site  (HERE) and input your information and follow-up to watch your personal account build up. As a disclaimer, I have not done it yet, because I just do not feel like following the directions right now.

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This article (here) from Schwab.com is as good a summary on social security benefits, as I have found. It weighs opting for Social Security early, versus waiting until full retirement age. And it gives a table to consider, if you wait until age 70. (If you wait until 70, you receive 132% of your retirement per month payment)

This article also discusses why you might want to opt for an early social security retirement. Factors to consider include: 1.Your cash needs. 2. Your life expectancy and break-even age. 3. Your spouse’s benefits. (which also discusses when you might be entitled to those benefits) 4. Whether you are still working.

Are you curious about the maximum social security amount that you could receive. Could you live on that in retirement? That’s why I posted this on a Friday. Something to think about!!!!

Have a great weekend and I hope it is a special Mothers Day. I am so looking forward to seeing my mom!

And for pic o’ day…this is just craziness:

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It Is Hard To Title Random!

I have had a few requests not to post cat pictures anymore. Does this really count?

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Hahahahahahaha (I can’t help it)

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Yes, I am sure there is still some “cat picture anger”!

Which leads me to the Winston Churchill story. I always enjoy some “history” in Our Blog. Apparently at a party, Churchill was accused by either Lady Astor or Bessie Braddock of being ‘disgustingly drunk’. He simply replied, “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

This pic o reminded me of that Churchill story. Part of his success was not being afraid!

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If you are now making plans for summer travel, here are some websites to consider:

Kayak.com tracks the fares that you search and advises you on whether to buy now versus the likelihood of price fluctuation.

Skyscanner.com lists searches by “cheapest”, “fastest” and “best”.

Hipmunk.com searches your fares and suggests dates that would give better pricing.

Momondo.com and the more well known Booking.com are travel fare search engines for comparison shopping.

I thought this article (here) from CNBC was good information on why walking and thinking helps your creativity…and why Steve Jobs did it all the time.

You can see the randomness today. I enjoy just rambling on Our Wednesday Blog!

And finally, for our pic o’ day… I hope this brightens your day!

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No Monkey Business!!

Selfies are the theme!

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Today’s legal question: Why is a corporation considered to be a person by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United Case (See Washington Examiner article) even though a monkey is not allowed to copyright his selfie? I guess I could get crazy and also ask why the PaMunkey Indian Tribe can own a casino! (Richmond.com)

Did you see this story about Naruto? (Yahoo Story) Yes, I know…crazy that we even know his name!

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Who would have thought that a monkey would be involved in a copyright lawsuit? It’s obvious that he doesn’t have good lobbyists working for him.

It all started when a judge ruled that a monkey does not have the right to own a selfie. Then on appeal, three judges unanimously upheld a lower court ruling and dismissed the original lawsuit that had been brought by PETA. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The picture was taken by using a  UK-based photographer’s camera. Apparently, the monkey walked up… and pressed the button. 

Then in 2015, PETA filed suit on behalf of the monkey against wildlife photographer David Slater, seeking financial control of the now-famous selfie of the grinning monkey in the picture above.

The Appellate Court seems irritated with having to decide this case. Here’s what the opinion said,  “We must determine whether a monkey may sue humans, corporations, and companies for damages and injunctive relief arising from claims of copyright infringement”.  Judge Carlos Bea continued, “We conclude that this monkey — and all animals, since they are not human — lacks statutory standing under the Copyright Act.”

Then, they sent the case back to the lower court… to determine what attorney fees that PETA owes the photographer’s attorney. I wonder if they will ask the monkey to help bear that burden. This whole story makes me “paws” (see what I did there?) and wonder… what would cause an organization to think that monkeys should have financial rights? Come on!

 

And finally for pic o’ day, this has nothing to do with the blog but it truly makes me laugh!

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Small Print, Listening, Teamwork, Mine

Dennis (who has been with the firm over 80 years…ok, maybe that is a little bit of exaggeration) does not like when I just post pictures for the blog. He wants long historical blogs. But to everyone else who might appreciate just some pictures on a Thursday… I dedicate this to you. Uncle D… don’t be angry! Have some cake.

Plus, this is all office-themed. That has to be worth something, right?

Have you ever wondered where they come up with the small print on all those inserts? The answer:

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We are currently interviewing paralegals and attorneys, and this reminded me of the interviewing process. I always wanted to do this:

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And isn’t teamwork important in the workplace?

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And finally, I understand this feeling when we move offices. It just made me laugh.

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Tomorrow is Friday! I cannot explain why this picture makes me laugh… but it just does. To all our happiness including Uncle D!

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Politics…Or Just Ticks?

Yes…. it’s Monday, so let’s start casual

feelin cool

Instead of stressed!

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Does it feel crazy out there? Of course it does. Lots of grab for power. And right now federally, the Republicans are doing everything they can to hold on to the House and Senate with the upcoming mid-term elections.

Conversely, the Democrats feel that they will win the House and Senate majority. Probably part of Speaker Ryan’s reason for not seeking re-election. Probably a better chance in the House according to political analyst. But if they win the Senate, you will probably see them try to start impeachment proceedings for the President.

Meanwhile, we suffer while no one works together. The desire for power!

But, uncertainty is the only certainty in politics. There is a long way to go before November. With that background, I thought that a look-back in this day in history would serve as a contrast to the seeking of power of today.

On this day in 1789, George Washington left his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia, to travel to New York to be sworn in as President. According to the George Washington Papers, many had previously written him and visited him, hoping to get him to agree to be the first president.

In one letter that he wrote to Alexander Hamilton, he let Hamilton know his thoughts, “it is my great and sole desire to live and die, in peace and retirement on my own farm“.  In another letter to Hamilton, he wrote, “I call Heaven to witness, that this very act would be the greatest sacrifice of my personal feelings & wishes that ever I have been called upon to make”.

On April 6, 1788, the senators and representatives met in New York to count the electoral college votes. Washington received all 69 votes for president. Washington was not there. He was reached at Mount Vernon and told of the election results.

And now April 16, 1789, before leaving for New York to be sworn in as president, he spoke to a group of citizens in Alexandria to express his emotions about leaving. “At my age what possible advantages [could I gain] from public life?”

And for our pic o’ day

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What Is Your Passion?

What does your eye doctor think of your eye sight, if they send you this kind of appointment reminder?

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Just sayin’!

Several years back, I was attending a seminar on law and legal marketing. One of the first speakers started his speech by saying that he was going to tell us his secrets for Internet marketing, but was not worried about utilizing them and taking away business. He reasoned that  the majority of us would either be too lazy, or too consumed with our work to follow through on what had made him successful.

Honestly, his speech ticked me off a little. I guess he got my competitive nature riled up. As I thought about what he was saying, it made me realize there was a better way of doing things… but like this fellow in this picture, no matter how hard I worked,  I had lots to learn. There was a better way to do things!

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At the time, that lawyer was one of major Internet marketers in the country. He had his website everywhere. Recently, someone mentioned him to me. That made me realize that I had not seen any of his marketing for a while; that his website was not reaching me. What had happened to him? He is still out there, but it made me think.

A book that I am listening to on Audible, in my car, is written by and also read by Gary Vaynerchuk titled Crushing It!  The book  just came at the end of January At the beginning of the audio book, the author acknowledges that he was going to be adding to it, as he read the audio portion. He noted that technology and marketing had already changed so rapidly, since he had written the book.

I think that’s why the earlier mentioned lawyer was not in my stream of consciousness anymore. He probably has not managed to keep up. It really was not about a competitor catching up to him.

At the Firm, we constantly challenge ourselves to be better. Not just be processors. (I think this coffee server might have just been processing. Right?)

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As Gary Vanderchuk says, “there are entrepreneurs and there are ‘wantreprenuers‘”. Follow your thrill and passion and you will find the “fulfill”. The financial reward will follow the passion. If someone simply wants money, they will not be successful. At some point their “Want To” will run out.

Our motivation and passion can be helping people, beating insurance companies, constantly learning, and seeing something different every day. If someone comes to work to simply get on Facebook or ask everyone how their weekend was, then they probably are not following a passion. It’s just a job to them. Ultimately, their “Want To” is going to run out and make them search for something else.

Coach Vince Lombardi knew how to challenge people. Here is one of his quotes that fires me up! “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you are willing to pay the price”.

I am challenged by Martha Washington’s (1732-1802) mantra for life, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances“.

It’s Our Monday! It’s going to be a great day! I dare an insurance company to deny today!

And finally, for our pic o’ day, I guess this is an example of someone who may enjoy making cakes… but still be processing what someone says to put on their cakes? The definition of literally:

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Just Some Advertising Thoughts

I cannot help it.

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Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

This blog is about some of my rambling thoughts about advertising. I think this all started when I repeatedly kept seeing the same advertisement for pillows. It was driving me crazy.

It’s the ad where this couple…in their bathroom… notices the “My Pillow Guy”. I mean, come on. Why would it be acceptable to start an ad from the restroom. With a guy with “out of this world” hair coloring, staring at you from the mirror in your bathroom. Am I the only one who thinks this is a tremendously crazy idea. Seriously? I cannot stop typing about this! I do not want the “My Pillow Guy” in my bathroom. Get out!

Advertising is a funny thing. It gets into our mind. For instance, what comes to mind when I say it’s “finger lickin’ good”? You know!

In fact, here is a list of the most memorable slogans from the survey firm Survata . Can you finish them? I started us with the first most recognizable. I was going to put the answers at the bottom, but my copy and pasting skills…made it easier just to attach:

1. “Finger lickin’ good”, KFC 87.9%
2. “Every kiss begins with ___ “, Kay Jewelers 87.4%
3. “15 minutes could save you 15% or more”, Geico  82.3%
4. “Just do it”, Nike 82.3%
5. “Snap, Crackle, Pop”, Rice Krispies 79.5%
6. “You’re in good hands”, Allstate 78.2%
7. “Taste the rainbow”, Skittles 75.1%
8. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, M&Ms 73.2%
9. “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s ____ “, Maybelline 69.3%
10. “I’m lovin’ it”, McDonalds 68.9%
11. “____ is on your side”, Nationwide 68.8%
12. “They’re G-r-r-reat!”, Frosted Flakes 68.3%
13. “We have the meats”, Arby’s 67.8%
14. “The king of beers”, Budweiser 66.1%
15. “M’m! M’m! Good!”, Campbell’s 62.1%
16. “It gives you wings”, Red Bull 59.3%
17. “The happiest place on Earth”, Disney 58.7%
18. “The breakfast of champions”, Wheaties 57.1%
19. “Can you hear me now?”, Verizon 54.9%
20. “Taste so good, cats ask for it by name”, Meow Mix 53.9%
21. “Eat fresh”, Subway 52.4%
22. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” FedEx 52.4%
23. “At the corner of happy and healthy”, Walgreens 51.5%
24. “Betcha can’t eat just one”, Lays 50.7%
25. “The snack that smiles back”, Goldfish 49.0%

These are slogans that are currently in use. There are a few on there that I do not ever remember hearing. The Goldfish slogan? Really? Is it wrong that I cannot stop myself when I start eating Goldfish. Are 5,000 goldfish too many in one seating?

I might have thrown in “When it rains it pours” but I suspect that has come and gone. I guess the slogan “Don’t marry King Henry VIII” is more advice than slogan?

I like the “advertising” Facebook post of my friend, Ken Price. He posted, “I want to be buried in a transparent casket. Good idea? Remains to be seen“. Hahahahahaha (I think that is hilarious)

We are always in search of new ideas for our advertisements. Ultimately, I always find us back to “We will come to you”. I guess that qualifies as our slogan! At least one of them.

And finally, this post makes me laugh. A roommate playing a prank. I guess this is “bad marketing”.

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Are They listening? Should I Be Concerned?

Sometimes when I start typing Our Monday Blog, I suspect that you wonder if I am getting paid by the word. I start one place and find myself easily headed down another rabbit hole. (Couldn’t help but throw in an Easter metaphor… right?)

It feels like every week brings us news of another store or company who have suffered a data breach. And a lot of people have their personal information exposed. So that leads me to ask the question, “Are we inviting hackers into our homes because of our purchased equipment. Which now leads me to write about Facebook and Amazon… and what patents they are seeking. A question of privacy.

But honestly, I feel a little like this in discussing some of this technology:

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When it comes to technology in the future, I just like to keep it simple. Much like this watch!

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Practically speaking, at the start of their season, Michigan and Villanova had a plan to win it all. But there is no way that they could have been certain that they were headed for the NCAA Championship game tonight. To give them a chance.

But technology companies think a little differently. Nothing about just a chance.

For instance, Facebook would have us believe that their future plans are here for Us. Here is their privacy statement:

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Something tells me that “my control” would be better described as “what they control of me”. As to Facebook’s new products, here’s what we know. Facebook already has new home products in their arsenal to introduce, that would compete with Alexa and Echo.

But, they have delayed introducing these products and hardware because they are concerned that it would play into the public’s perception of Facebook invading our privacy and using it against us; or having some third party or country use it against us. This delay occurred after it was reported that 50 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by that creepy company Cambridge Analytica.

Which also leads me to the discussion of their filed patent applications. A view to the future of products.

A recent Gallop Poll reports that 22% of Americans use devices in their homes like Echo or Google Home. (A NY Times article that also discusses the eerie laugh that Echo was strangely making) Which is why we are concerned about companies eavesdropping on us, even though they all insist otherwise.

Amazon and Google assure us that their devices only react to certain trigger words and then shut off. They assure us that unless the green light is on, there is nothing happening. Never mind what happened last fall when Google distributed its Home Minis to journalist… and the equipment never stopped recording. (AndroidPolice.com)

And yet… all these advancements are for our benefit.  But we all agree that voice data from this technology is evolving and here’s where these companies apparently see the future.

For one patent application, Amazon describes a “voice sniffer algorithm”  for home and mobile devices, to analyze audio almost in real time and to react when it hears words like “love,” bought” or “dislike. ”Here’s what they are working on as indicated in a NY Times article titled,  Hey, Alexa, What Can You Hear? And What Will You Do With It?

And here is how they can use such triggers under the patent, “for our benefit”. You could be talking on the phone to a friend… and then get an offer for travel or a sale on pants. The patent describes a diagram where “to your benefit” might mean that you then see an ad for a Wine of the Month Club membership.(Here is the rest of the story)

Google’s patent applications would “benefit you” through their home by providing smart product advertisements that are generated from your audio and visual signals.

So should we be concerned about the applications and just consider them as advancements in technology? No so fast! So says Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog, which is a California non-profit organization that recently published a study of some of these futuristic applications for patents in an article titled, Home Assistant Adopter Beware: Google, Amazon Digital Assistant Patents Reveal Plans for Mass Snooping (Here)

As I started writing this blog, I got myself crazy researching. If you are still with me this far… maybe you are shaking your head too!

One final thought on this. Google has said that it will generally not provide audio recordings of users to third parties, but may send transcriptions of your voice and your information. It’s listed (Here under their privacy category of “Does Google Home share my information with anyone)

And…. no surprise, Amazon may give app developers this same information as well. (Here) Hmmm!

And for pic o’ day let’s go far away from technology. I guess this is what they call airline humor and it makes me laugh!

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Completely Distracted Blogging!

It’s Thursday and it’s one of those weeks! I feel like I should be able to solve the question of who turned donut holes into profit? Isn’t that turning a negative into a positive?

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How did that get there?

Something happened on my way to blogging.

Ok, I admit it. I started to blog and then I got sidetracked by trying to find pic o’ day… and this happened!

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And I understand this math!

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and this one seems like intellectual humor. I’m just saying!

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And that’s Our Thursday Blog!

 

 

STOP CALLING?

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Are you tired of getting phone calls from strange numbers. Or worse yet, now the calls are coming from phone numbers that look familiar. Telemarketers have taken their schemes to a whole new level of “fake” caller i.d. numbers. Sometimes I answer and sometimes I don’t. Each time it irritates me. I know the same thing is happening to you.

I find myself hollering at a prerecorded voice, “I don’t need a new deal on my cable TV“. Do people still have cable? And what happened to all those lonely cable boxes? I seem to remember that someone suggested that you make cat beds out of them. That is a horrible idea!

I don’t need to hear about insurance or their concern about my car maintenance plan. And now I strangely receive calls… and no one is there. I have found myself repeatedly saying “Hello...Hello“.  What in the world? What is going on?

I remember hearing a warning not to answer phone callers who immediately ask, “Can you hear me?”. Supposedly, when the person would say “Yes“, their voice could be used for fraudulent credit card approvals. Come on!

So what can we do besides throwing our phones out and hollering real loudly. Or, hooking up the two Campbell Soup cans to string, to talk to each other. (Do you remember that?)

Let me attach two articles from USA Today that can better describe the problems as well as identify possible actions that you can take to protect yourself.

The first is titled The robocall battle continues at the FCC and the FTC. (Here)

The article reports that the Federal Communication Commission gets about 200,000 complaints about robocalls each year. In 2017, The Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million complaints about unwanted calls. Now according to the agency, they get about 400,000 daily. Fraud from unwanted calls is reportedly costing about $9.5 billion annually.

The article goes on to discuss the actions being taken and the regulations that are being proposed, to track these callers and to stop them. The government also calls on consumers to notify the FTC and FCC about robocall complaints at ftc.gov/calls and fcc.gov/robocalls.

The FTC representative quoted in the article notes that “The FTC is publishing complaint data daily, which is helping in the fight. Companies are sharing information with each other to trace back illegal robocalls.” Also, both agencies have a Stop Illegal Robocalls Tech Expo scheduled for April 23 in Washington.

The second article:  How to stop those annoying endless robocalls to your smartphone (Here) gives ideas on what we can do personally.

Ideas include googling your phone number to see if it is being fraudulently used; add your number to the National Do Not Call list; use your phone settings to block numbers; and purchasing apps that assist in blocking and eliminating these calls.

The article is thought-provoking. (I find that so descriptive. Plus, apparently I am fascinated with random thoughts in quotes.)  The cost and applications are discussed.  I also have to show respect to the marketing idea of naming an app NoMoRobo!

And finally for Our Pic O’ Day:

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