Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Even Truck Drivers Can Reverse Diabetes

Beating Diabetes
Good news fellow road warriors Diabetes type 2 can be beat!
Just a little bit of history here. I began driving big rigs in 1993, I had driven 10 wheelers delivering glass and lumber locally for approximately seven years before that. In 1993 I was laid off from the local lumber company I was working for and went to work for a sea container company that was headquartered just across the street. I quickly learned that they needed a flat bed driver and that it paid more so I started my career off driving "flats" regionally on the west coast.
For the next 13 years I hauled all kinds of flats, low boys, step decks, curtain vans even a fifty three foot flat bed. Then I fell out of the cab of a Peterbuilt cab-over and pretty much destroyed my right knee. The knee was repaired and healed well but my career as a flatbed driver was over, some how perspective employers found out about the injury even if I didn't tell them.
Not being able to find flat bed work I decided to try dry vans, and since I hadn't worked for over six months no one was willing to take a risk on me except JB Hunt, if you don't already know, it's not a good idea to work for them, enough said. Next came refrigerated vans, what crummy work but I did like the company I worked for so I stuck it out with them for 3 years until a change of policy regarding home time caused me to not want to work for them anymore.
Finally, I landed where I have been for the past two years hauling food grade smooth boar tanks.
In 2001, during a routine D.O.T physical, the lab doing my blood work reported I had a blood sugar level of 600 dl/ml ( 70 to 110 is considered normal). I should have been admitted to the hospital right then.
The company Doctor that had evaluated me was as helpful as mud and I had to find another Doctor who educated me and got me started on drugs, and then through a high protein/low carbohydrate diet we were able to get the blood sugar under control without drugs. That was good for about three years, then the progressiveness of this disease caught up with me and I was put back on pills which did work for a time, however my weight kept going up and sometime after I crossed the 300 pound mark I lost all control of my blood sugar and ended up at the door step of an endocrinologist who recommended I go on insulin right away.
I am a chicken when it comes to pain so the idea of neuropathy which I was already beginning to have in my left hand, or amputation or heart attack just didn't appeal to me nor did finding a different line of work, so between a rock and a hard place, I took the hard place and went on insulin.
For those who are not professional drivers using insulin is a death blow to a drivers career, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not allow drivers to drive and use insulin as a wrong dose can cause a driver to suddenly pass out, not a good idea when your piloting 70 to 80 thousand pounds at 65 miles an hour. However, in recent years the F.M.C.S.A. has provided a waiver program whereby if a driver can demonstrate that he can properly administer the use of insulin (about a six month process) he can go back to driving. I did get a waiver and returned to driving but it took 10 months and I was unemployed the whole time.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Importance of Gold & Financial Education

With all the turmoil and uncertainty in the markets these days, its more important than ever to be increasing your financial education for creating wealth, and specifically with regards to Gold and Silver.
As you are no doubt aware, the prices of gold and silver are continuing to climb higher and higher regardless of the rhetoric coming from Congress, the White House or the press. As I type this, gold is at an all-time high of $1293.5 and silver as well at $21.20.
The biggest reason driving these asset prices higher is the weakness in the US dollar. We can't continue to create trillions and trillions of dollars with an already staggering $9 trillion deficit. Treasury bills are producing no returns, the stock market is full of uncertainty including the housing market so what is someone to do with their hard earned income?
Gold could be just the place! With one of the greatest bull markets in history - a 10 year orderly sustained upward climb - gold investing continues to out perform virtually all other asset classes and has continually done so for the last 10 years.
Does that mean the gold and silver markets have reached their tops? No one knows for sure, but when you realize that most people are still unaware of this current market trend and its strong fundamentals, the fast that hysteria hasn't hit yet, you be the judge. Yes, you are starting to see the commercials and ads go up but the media makes almost no mention of it (could that be due to the fact that they don't receive a commission for recommending you buy gold or silver like they do stocks or mutual funds? Hmmm...)
One of the more well-known financial news networks CNBC has only recently begun to address or even acknowledge gold's undeniable performance over the last decade. Alan Greenspan too has commented that gold is the canary in the gold mine, signaling a warning that the dollar or economy is in trouble and people need to be paying close attention! (Side note: Greenspan was the original gold bug until all the power of being the Fed chairman went to his head - maybe all those bubbles were created to get the price of gold to rise?...)
So why gold investing? Gold is the ultimate insurance. With the big inflation/deflation debate going on, regardless of the outcome - or even if we enter stagflation or especially if we enter a hyper-inflationary environment - gold will allow you to preserve your wealth where you might otherwise lose it (or most of it).
With the price of gold and silver rising over the past decade, some people have gotten involved to make money trading the precious metal. The important thing is to treat gold like savings. Park your money in gold and forget about it - keeping an eye on the overall market of course because it's real money - not like the US dollar which is simply currency, backed only by the faith of the world in the US government's ability to manage it's own affairs... that's a topic for another time!
In addition, you can't hit a button and just print gold like you can dollars or any other currency not backed by a real tangible asset (like gold and silver). Gold has and always retain its value because it's a rare commodity and there is a true cost and work involved to bring it to market (among many other reasons). Just as concerning, our foreign trading partners are all abandoning the dollar; even Bangladesh of all places just bought 10 million ounces of gold from the international monetary fund (to increase their holdings to 13 million - quite a large increase!). That's really saying something when even a country like Bangladesh doesn't trust the US dollar!
Another reason for gold investing or silver investing (American Eagles, Krugerrands or bullion): tax advantages. The maximum rate for income tax on gold profits is 28%; compare that to 35% for regular earned income (always consult a qualified tax professional for your particular situation).
So how or what can people do with their IRA money to take advantage of all this? They can put it into gold by setting up a gold IRA (with an IRS-approved custodian) who will store your gold in a depository. (Note: do not try to be your own custodian through an LLC or otherwise; doing so will blow your IRA completely and will add lots of penalties and fees on top of that if you try to touch or handle your own gold and silver yourself. It is a specifically prohibited transaction; you need an outside custodian. The IRS is really going after LLC's that are managed by the beneficiaries of the LLC so just follow the rules and you'll get lots of tax benefits; you must understand the rules!)
There are two kinds of IRAs:
1. (Traditional) IRA: where you get a deduction when you put money into the IRA; you are taxed at ordinary income rates when money is pulled out (tax deferred)
2. ROTH IRA: where you don't get a deduction when you put money in but your money (assets) grows tax free forever (different countries have similar programs)
- For example: if the price of the metal goes way up, you get to realize that entire per ounce profit when you sell with no tax liability.
Also, with regards to American Eagles for example (outside of an IRA), if you use them as actual coins like money (as opposed to selling them on the market).
For example, if buying $1200 worth of goods with that coin (or whatever coin is worth at that time), you actually have no tax liability when using that coin even if you purchased the coin for several hundred dollars less than you're now essentially cashing it in for (only works with American Eagles).
One more benefit: some states also have no sales tax on precious metals (currently AZ for example).
So here's what you need to do: Talk to experts - gold and silver coin/bullion dealers who have been in business during both the bull and bear markets (so at least 10 years in the business) because virtually anyone can get into business selling precious metals (just need a business license) - so do your homework!
Next, check out the local markups/premiums around your area. Premiums will vary per dealer above the spot price (price quoted in financial publications and on exchanges). The best way to buy to get the best value is to buy directly from the futures market (in bulk basically) but of course you need to be buying quite a bit at a time; the best way to begin is probably at your local coin shop; if nothing else begin your education there (that information while free is priceless!).
So when is it time to sell? Here's how to tell: watch for the idiots. Idiots always come in to the market late - that's the time to get out! When your grocery-bagger starts telling you about gold investing or silver investing, you know it's time to get out! Learn what the masses are doing and do the opposite!
To preserve your wealth, you need to save gold and silver - not money (or more specifically not currency, ie, US Dollars). Inflation and other measures coming may drastically drain or wipe out any accumulated wealth or assets you may have if held in US dollars. Precious metals run on a 20 year cycle typically (this cycle started around 2000) and runs against the equities cycle (historically opposite).
In 1980 the DOW was at 800 and gold was at 800 (1:1 relationship); since then the DOW has risen to 14,700; now the DOW is around 10,500 and gold near 1300 (8:1 relationship); when or at what level will it come back in line to that 1:1 relationship? At 3500? 5000? Richard Russell predicts $3500 Gold & a 3500 DOW. (He's been in the business for 50 years and promotes the Dow theory letter)