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Tuesday morning! Here's your first
Dose of Dover
for 2003...and [still] your only
reliable source for
sense advice, insights and
that you won't
be able to find anywhere
else in the year that lies ahead.
Take your best shot: Try to put
me out of a job!
Forward this e-mail to everyone in your Address Book...
with any luck we'll
make 'em just a little
smarter in 2003...
[and maybe free up my weekends
while we're at it].
Spread the word and share the
wealth of information
January 7, 2003:
can you protect yourself from supposedly legitimate and credible
companies that you voluntarily turn over your most precious and
personal information to? Ben's
The H&R Block debacle proves that nothing's safe and nobody's
you think your privacy has been compromised, immediately
contact all three credit reporting bureaus and obtain copies of your
credit reports to see what's going on and more
importantly, who's been looking at your credit reports. The
"Inquiries" section of your credit report can be the most
revealing of all, since it documents every time your report's been
accessed over the last 2 years.
you think your identity has been ripped off through no fault of your
own, but a result of the dirty dealings of employees-as in the H&R
Block mess-hire an attorney at once, get 'em into court and make 'em
bleed! The only way companies are going to improve internal security
and tighten up their checks and balances access is by slapping them
with enormous financial penalties.
a bunch of you want to live with your kids or eat nothing but
Macaroni and Cheese when you retire because you won't get off
your butt and take control of your retirement investment
portfolio. Want two reasons why you need to
wake up before it's too late? Do Enron or WorldComm ring any
to a recent story by Christine Dugas in USA Today:
"Workers continue to cling to company stock in
retirement plans even though many companies made it easier to
sell in the past year. Negative publicity and congressional
hearings into wiped-out retirement plans at Enron, WorldCom
and elsewhere did little to sour workers. On average, 27.9% of
401(k) plan assets are invested in employer stock, according
to a new study. That's virtually unchanged from a similar
survey in August."
But here's some information
and numbers that are even more worrisome: "Overloading
a retirement plan with employer stock puts workers in double
jeopardy because it links both their job security and
retirement security to the fortunes of one company. Currently,
13 plans have 75% or more of their assets invested in company
stock, including Sherwin-Williams, Abbott Laboratories and
to the IOMA study. And 54 companies have 50% or
more of their plan assets invested in company stock. Financial
experts say it's risky to have more than 5% or 10% of a
portfolio invested in one stock."
you don't take control of your retirement portfolio, you're
asking for trouble. You snooze, you lose.
You've been warned! (Again.)
matter which airline you're flying, when you travel by air
you need to be prepared. Here are some air travel tips that
will help reduce the amount of brain-damage the next time
you attempt to fly:
You should always have in your carry-on luggage the bare
essentials of survival if your flight is delayed:
If you end up sitting on the runway for hours because of
weather or other complications, you should have:
- Something to snack on...especially if you suffer from
hypoglycemia or other conditions that will
cause you to space out [more than usual] if you don't eat on
a semi-regular schedule.
- Any key medications that you need to take on a daily
basis: As a matter of fact, this is another
reminder that you should never pack medications in your
checked luggage, especially since you're not supposed to
lock your luggage anymore.
Bottled water is always a good idea to have, just in case.
(What are you gonna take your medications with, anyway? If
you're stuck on the ground, the flight attendants will give
you the hairy eyeball if you start asking for something to
drink, so beat 'em to the punch.)
2. Something I learned a long time ago from my many travels
to London? Throw an extra set of underwear in
your carry-on bag. If your luggage is lost
or delayed, at least you'll have a clean change of underwear
when you finally reach your destination.
One of the biggest credit
card companies on the planet got slapped for some tactics that I'll bet
you've been victimized by over the last few years. (I was!)
Bank One/First USA got popped for the sales tactics of telemarketing
firms they hired to harass you into buying a bunch of stuff you don't
more about it.....
Are you among
the 50 million + consumers carrying a First USA, Bank
One or "private labeled" credit card? Wanna
be put on their "don't bug me with
telemarketing-delivered offers" list?
According to Bank One spokesman
Thomas Kelly: "If you prefer that we not share
personal information about you with companies and
organizations outside the Bank One family (except
information described below under "Other Information
Sharing"), you may opt out, that is, you may direct us
not to share this information, by calling us toll-free at
Bottom Line for dealing with telemarketers? Don't!!!
I don't care who is calling you on the phone....whether it's
your phone company, your insurance company, your credit card
company...it doesn't matter. Do not
engage these clowns on the phone. Do not buy anything from
some strange voice that's decided to disrupt your peace and
invade your privacy! They wanna sell you something? Tell 'em
to send you information in the mail. Period. [Or
make your life easier and cut 'em off at the tele-knees with
torture them and have fun at their expense...]
The cost of reaching out and
touching someone is going up! Wanna know where the biggest phone
companies in the nation are hiding their increases?
Find out all about, as well as what you can do to minimize the
damage to your pocketbook. Read
Ben's guarantee for
2003? Bet on your health insurance company driving you crazy and
refusing to pay claims or allow procedures they rightly owe:
And in many cases it's your own fault, because you're either keeping
lousy (or non-existent) records, or are allowing them to get
away with it! Wanna turn the tables?
Washington DC-based attorney Rhonda Orin shared secrets of the health
insurance industry on the air. The author of "Making Them
Pay: How To Get The Most From Health Insurance and Managed Care"
is a thorn in the side of the insurance industry for good reason.
She's pulling back the curtain on a business that knows the vast
majority of you are gonna roll over and not challenge them when they
turn you down.
One of the key points made in "Making Them Pay" is the
realization that one of the most effective tools insurance companies
use is simple enough: Deny, deny, deny! If you challenge them,
the odds are heavily in your favor that you'll win.
The true cost of a health insurance plan is many times a lot more than
just what you pay in terms of premiums: Don't just sign up with
Company A because their premium is $300 a month vs. Company B's $400 a
month. If Company B pays 80% and Company A pays only 70%, the monthly
"obvious" cost might not mean much if you're facing a bunch
of claims in the year ahead. You've gotta understand and define what's
covered and what isn't...and figure out the bigger picture financial
One of my familiar and oft-repeated rules is to "always paper
your trail." The difference between winning and losing in the
battles of the "claim game" boils down to documentation,
Every state has mandatory benefits laws: It doesn't matter what a
policy says isn't covered. If your state has mandatory benefits
requirements, these supercede whatever the insurance company is trying
to shove down your throat.
around...knowledge really is power: Get smart
about the game before you're under pressure! Making
Them Pay: How To Get The Most From Health Insurance and Managed Care
by Rhonda Orin is available at virtually every bookstore [they can
order if they don't have it in stock] or on-line.