Tuesday morning! Here's your weekly
The only reliable source for un-common
sense advice, insights and
cover-your-hiney strategies you simply can't find
your best shot...try to put me out of a
Forward this week's newsletter to everyone in
your Address Book
with any luck, make 'em a little
smarter this year.
a big shot: Spread the word and share the wealth of
February 18, 2003:
remember my teachers telling us to "take cover" and
we'd dive under our school desks and cover our faces.
Oh yeah...that's gonna save us from a nuke...you betcha!
How ridiculous is hiding under a desk during a nuclear attack?
About as silly as using plastic sheeting and duct tape to
protect us from a biological attack by one of those whacko
terrorist groups. Let's assume you even did do it
correctly: How much extra time are you gonna buy yourself (or
your family), assuming your family's all together in one
location when and if something happens?
Meryl Streep when we need her?)
What if you're sealed in your supposed "safe
room" and one of your kids arrives late; are
you going to open up and let 'em in? What if
they're contaminated? What if, by breaking the
"seal" to your Home Depot-supplied safe haven,
you risk contaminating the room and everyone else in it? Are
you willing to sacrifice one of your own family members
and not let them in for the common good?
you end up like John
Travolta's "Bubble Boy" TV movie-of-the-week
think about the following statistics:
37 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than on a
commercial airlines flight.
Twice as many Americans die from strokes
than by accidents.
Four times as many Americans die from
diabetes than by homicide.
How many people died from Anthrax exposure?
Less than a dozen? Yet over 20,000 people die every year from
the flu! And throw in another 30,000 people dying from
suicidal, homicidal and accidental gun deaths.
The odds of dying in an automobile accident
each year are about 1 in 7,000, yet we continue to drive. The
odds of dying from heart disease in any given year are 1 in
400, and of dying from cancer are 1 in 600, yet many of us
fail to exercise or maintain a healthy diet.
need to be prepared for a disaster, but the same level of
preparedness for an earthquake applies to what you need to
have at the ready in case one of these whacko groups from the
Middle East does get lucky here in Southern California: You
need to get your house in order, and then get your
"personal house" in order. Update
your wills and medical directives.
Have some cash and batteries on hand...along with the
requisite food stuffs like Spam and bottled water. Get your
duffle bag and gameplan together, and then relax. If we let
these rat bastards on the other side of the planet paralyze us
with their threats of action, they win. I've got my
emergency kit ready to go...complete
with limes and mixers, folks.
bunch of Southern California investors have been ripped off to
the tune of $77 million...and it's their own damned fault!
gotta read about it to believe it.
Ben's Bottom Line?
- While I have sympathy for stupidity, when
you add blind gullibility and greed is when you lose me. Tough
luck...these pigeons should have known better.
- "If it sounds too good to
be true..." as the promises promoting 2-4%
per month returns would qualify in this case, it's a scam. I
don't want to hear any nonsense about "secret
trading floors" or "prime bank instruments
investments to which only a "privileged few"
have access. They're scams and they don't
exist...but suckers that bite on these types of deals are
plentiful and easy targets.
- Don't ever rely on the investment returns
paid to a friend or a family member. These "early
returns" are purposely inflated and paid to set up
the sucker-or their friends or family-up for a bigger kill
down the road.
- Just because you receive a monthly
(or quarterly) statement in the mail showing you the big
gains/big profits you've supposedly earned doesn't mean that
it's really there. It's not that difficult to cook up a
fake statement with huge balances. Only trust properly
registered investments brokers and insured/registered
funds with your cash...or you'll be sorry.
reading your horoscope every morning; Ben does a better job
of calling trends: Okay, so it's a little
self-promoting...but I'm right on point and have been for
the last 12 years on this one, kids: According to Stuart
Feldstein, president of bankruptcy research giant SMR
"More than 20% of the people who file for
bankruptcy complain that medical debt is a problem. The
number of people without medical insurance is a big risk
pool out there for bankruptcies." You don't
say? Throw in the reckless lending habits of greedy
credit card issuing banks and add the thousands of
people getting pink-slipped every week because of a lousy
economy and you've got the perfect mix for debt collector
Christine Dugas' article about the rise of bankruptcies
in America from USA Today's Monday, February 17, 2003
edition right here.
there's good news for consumers getting their brains beaten
out by the weight of rising debt loads:
Maybe you've been suckered in
by the spin-doctoring media machine of the
"non-profit" credit counseling industry
instead: Just because they're
"non-profit" doesn't mean they're a charity; don't let
the fact that they're paid by your creditors [smells like a
conflict of interest to me] slip by you, either. You
really need to learn more about this industry;
this is information no other journalist in the country
will give you--but I do, right
Finish 'em off, pull the pin
and be done with it! Maybe you've been
"robbing from Peter to pay Paul" long enough.
It's time to end this madness. The bankruptcy reform
revisions have stalled out in Washington again...so why not
take control of your life and wipe the slate clean once and
for all? Life's too short, kids. It's time to
get on with yours. Wanna
read more about it?
of the most reliable devices on your computer might be headed
for cyber-extinction soon: It's another
sign of the times...and it's about to become a fact of life
according Dell Computers. Read
all about it.....
is it my imagination, or has the wastoid-sounding "Dude,
you're gettin' a Dell!" pitchman mysteriously
vanished from the Dell.com website? It
appears that the Texas-based Dell braintrust wasn't
so tickled about their unexpected bit of free publicity since
the "Dell Dude"got popped for pot posession
last week. However, our confidential sources have agreed
to give us a sneak-peak at a soon-to-be-unveiled media
campaign designed to leverage this "higher" Dell
Dude profile; check
it for yourself right here!
of whacked pitchmen, you're gonna love who's selling bongs on
the radio! Okay, maybe it's a little digital editing
magic at work...but it's still one of the funniest bits I've
ever heard: Paul Harvey like you've never
heard him; take
a listen for yourself.....
might as well bookmark one of my favorite Internet parody
portals while you're at it: The web address
says it all: www.youcanbiteme.com
the wealth! Tell
any friends you have left, family members still talking to
you, or co-workers who haven't ratted you out to Management
about the most reliable source of insight and ideas available!
Get 'em to
sign up for the [free] weekly Dose
of Dover newsletter right
here on our award-winning website!
hear about the company in Philadelphia that has launched a
campaign promoting the fact that they'd rather do business
with a bunch of Al Quaeda terrorists than Americans?
I don't know if this is just another one of those "urban
legend" type e-mails making the rounds on the Internet,
but even if it is bogus, this illustration of
"thinking out of the box" is an important lesson.
Check it out: A sign at a business
establishment in Philadelphia, PA: "WE WOULD
RATHER DO BUSINESS WITH 1000 AL QAEDA TERRORISTS THAN WITH A
SINGLE AMERICAN" This sign was prominently
displayed in the window of a business in Philadelphia. You are
probably outraged at the thought of such an inflammatory
statement. One would think that anti-hate groups from all
across the country would be marching on this business... and
that the National Guard might have to be called to keep the
angry crowds back. But, perhaps in these stressful times
one might be tempted to let the proprietors simply make their
statement; we're a society who holds Freedom of Speech as
perhaps our greatest liberty...and after all, it's just a
sign. Of course you may ask what kind of business would dare
post such a sign? The answer? A
world's most powerful debt collection agency is becoming
increasingly aggressive in their pursuit of tax revenues.
With 58 days to go until April 15th, here are the 5
Things You Need To Do To Stay Off The IRS' Radar: The economy's
in the tank. Tax revenues are down. And the IRS is pursuing
our tax dollars with renewed enthusiasm, scrutinizing returns
more closely than ever before. Get a little too carried
away in the following five areas and you'll not
only increase the chances of putting your returns under the
IRS microscope, but subject yourself to more anxiety than
you would by sending your child to Neverland for a
weekend sleep-over with Michael
Claiming 100% business usage for an automobile:
You're entitled to take a deduction for the business use of
your car, but you'll send up the signal flares if you claim a
100% deduction for business use of your car. (Especially
if you only own one car!) I don't wanna hear a
bunch of whining from those of you who do have a
vehicle used solely for business; delivery trucks and other
vehicles may well be used exclusively for business, but in
any case, you'd better keep a good logbook tracking
the business use of your auto. It'll come in handy if
(when) your deductions are ever questioned.
an unusually large home office: There's
nothing wrong with having a home
there's something suspicious if your home office is
so large it doesn't seem like there's any space left in your
home for you to live. Get real and not
greedy...and stay off the IRS' radar screens.
any cars to charity lately? Donated cars
are on the IRS watch list. They see the same billboards
and hear the same radio commercials: "Donate your car and get
a tax deduction," so you'd better check the
car's value using a credible guide like Kelley
(Don't forget to get a written appraisal for cars
valued at more than $5,000!)
excessive capital losses: Triggers IRS attention because
most taxpayers do it incorrectly. You've gotta sell
the stock in order to realize a loss, you
dopes! Don't get too carried away if you did take some
big hits in the market: You're limited to offsetting
capital gains or $3,000 of ordinary income.
not get a case of income amnesia! The IRS
receives copies of all your W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, etc. and
matches these with the ones you send in with your tax
return. If they don't match, expect a
love note from Uncle Sam. (By the way: It's those
pesky 1099-INT forms, used to report interest income from bank
or investment accounts, that frequently trip taxpayers up and
into the arms of an agent.)
you receive one of those come-to-Jesus/IRS notices
that you're being audited, it's not the end of the world:
But good advice is always a must; more information
about IRS representation choices is posted right
looking for ways off of the bank's checking account
blacklists? I keep getting pounded with
requests for this popular topic, which I first covered in the
Summer of 2002:
about everything we purchase new these days has some sort of
warranty...but if you can't find your paperwork, you're outta
luck: Unless you use something called a Warranty
Manager. You probably already have access to one
and don't even know it! Carry a "premium
level" Visa card? Read
all about it.....
the way...you may already have a warranty organizer on your
home computer but don't even realize it: Owners
of the PC versions of Quicken
Deluxe and Premier can find the feature in the Property &
next call you make to your credit card company could end up
costing you a lot more than you think! Ohmygosh...the
customer service reps taking your calls are being incentivized
to sell you something when you call in to discuss your bill,
some as much as 25% of their compensation is dependant on
commissions derived from your weakness via phone. Read
all about it.....