Get the Most Out of Your Social Security Benefits by Following This Simple Rule

Get the Most Out of Your Social Security Benefits by Following This Simple Rule

Social security has been around since 1935 and is meant to provide financial assistance for retirees, as well as those who cannot work. Social security assistance is a great program that can be beneficial to us when we need it. However, depending how and when you apply for it can be either helpful or detrimental to you.

Currently, Americans are throwing away thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars of their income when they file for social security benefits too soon. If you are like most people and plan on filing benefits when you are close to retiring, you need to be thinking about several things because the decision you make will influence your income greatly. If you decide to apply for social security as early as when you’re 62 years old, you’ll be locked into lowered benefits for you as long as you live.

Currently, those who wait to retire until 66 will have full social security benefits. If you wait longer than that to file, your monthly checks will look much more pleasant. If you file as a single person at seventy, your monthly checks can be as much as 76% more than if you are 62. It’s a source of income that will automatically adjust for inflation on its own, and it will be there as so long as you do.

Those who choose to wait even longer than that will have higher benefits. Though there is the possibility that you can pass away before you get to enjoy any of it, research suggests it makes more sense to wait. A study conducted by Sita Slavov and John Shoven, professors at George Mason University discovered that waiting longer for Social Security benefits is better, even for a group more likely to die around their 60s. It’s especially accurate concerning couples where one is the sole income earner. Slavov adds that breadwinners can pass on their Social Security benefits to their spouse if they pass on before they do.

The average American doesn’t wait until retirement to file for Social Security benefits. Another study Slavov conducted with colleagues from the US Treasury Department and Stanford University found that a lot of retirees have the option to take money from their savings account. However, they often decide not to follow through with it. That same study looked into taxes for American residents born in 1940.

They discovered that just over 30% of individuals who file to get their social security benefits early, also had two years worth of assets in individual retirement accounts. Around 25% had enough expenses to satisfy up to four years of social security benefits. These retirees had additional savings, pensions, and investments available to them though the researchers weren’t able to measure it.

Even though most retired people have means, they believe that it’s a better option for them to file for Social Security benefits. When you decide to wait to file for your Social Security benefits, you are all but guaranteed a payoff, and you will be protected from inflation.

On the other hand, investments in IRAs can be extremely unpredictable. Is there a reason where Americans decide to touch their Social Security benefits so soon? There are many that believe it is a better for them to leave their IRA’s alone so they can carry it over to their offspring. You would not be able to do the same with Social Security after you are deceased.

There are also others who believe using their benefits early is justifiable because they are genuinely concerned about their well-being. Slavov’s studies showed that around 80% of people who filed early had a higher possibility of a short life and die around 66 compared to those who file for benefits after the minimum retirement age. According to the study, individuals who file earlier than they should typically feel unhealthy and are doubtful that they will be alive by the time they’re 75.

Slavov admits that even if you do feel great health-wise, you still shouldn’t spend your entire IRA first to and use Social Security afterwards for the rest of your life. She mentioned that doesn’t want to advise people to wait, that it varies from person to person, such as their medical history, current health situation, as well as how much money they have saved for retirement.

Nevertheless, in most cases retirees would still have a nicer Social Security check if they waited a bit longer. The main point is that there are a lot of early filers who underestimate their health and how long they will live, or leave their spouses with inadequate income when they die. It’s vital to be strategic and not simply file for benefits because you stopped working at a job.

Forget Movies, We’re Already in the Age of the Robots

Forget Movies, We’re Already in the Age of the Robots

Do you believe it impossible for a robot to replace you at your job? A recent study by McKinsey Quarterly mentioned that nearly 50% of jobs employees are paid to do may soon become completely automated. Now, as much as 58% of tasks are done by robots.

This number may increase if robots advance quickly, with such technology as speech recognition. Perhaps the most surprising discovery in the study showed that a large percentage of people complete their work in a routine and fixed manner. Only four percent of people who are employed in the US complete tasks that demand a higher level of creativity. The study is different from previous ones that looked at automation by focusing on activities, not by occupation.

Automating tasks, in general, can and is transforming how corporations hire people. Most obviously, companies want to lower expenses. A study conducted by McKinley & Co stated that using automation can also improve quality of and how tasks get performed at “superhuman” speeds. Currently, around 60% of jobs could have a minimum of 30% of their work activities automated regardless of the type. The study added that any activity that uses over 20% of a CEO’s working time has the possibility of being automated.

Even though you can automate things, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. The study stated that there was a massive organization inertia that can use up a lot of up-front investment. Even though it can beneficial to having robots, it’s likely not going to take over because there are just some things a robot cannot do. Nevertheless, there are people, companies alike who would enjoy having things more automated. For example, Bank of America plans to increase the number of robots they use. The company will make hundreds of their employees work on an automated investment prototype. The company states it’ll be used specifically for accounts that are under a quarter of a million dollars. The bank plans on releasing the system sometime in 2016.

Plenty of banks look at “robot advisors (that used algorithms to produce the best investment advice digitally) as a new technology to attract young investors in particular.

How it works is that investors give their age, goals, risk tolerance and income via an app or website. Algorithms suggest investments and frequently rebalance them, such as when they notice losses due to tax efficiency. Without people as advisors, these companies can charge yearly fees as low as 0.5%, which undercuts full-service brokers who charge almost double. A $200,000 investment could save $100,000 over two decades.

Several banking companies plan to provide these for customers. John Shrewsberry Wells Fargo’s chief financial advisor said that their company largely focuses on producing a high-value person-to-person interaction, which is not something that everyone enjoys. Shrewsberry also stated that there will be generations of future investors who will use robot advisors. A representative at the Bank of America added that a robot advisor can complement the guidance and advice a financial planner offers.

Bob Hedges, who is partnered with A.T Kearney, mentioned that the difference in numbers to the consumer is so dramatic, it’s impossible for anyone to ignore. He predicts there will be an increase of $300 billion in assets by the end of 2016. The company believes that implementing the robot advisors would give them another $2.2 billion by 2020.

Morgan Stanley stated that robot advisors are putting common sense into a user-friendly model, and that companies should really look into this technology. Regardless of the many benefits that robot advisors will bring to them, bank executives, just as McKinsey Quarterly, don’t believe that they will take over the jobs that people hold anytime in the future. Wealthy clients require estate plans, tax advice, or complex financial arrangement and one that these systems aren’t likely able to help with. Just like a luxury real estate seller offering a cheaper base model to people, robot advisors can be used as a gateway to the firm’s higher priced offers.

Entrepreneur Gave Himself an $11 Million Raise by Hiking the Price of a Life-Saving Drug

Entrepreneur Gave Himself an $11 Million Raise by Hiking the Price of a Life-Saving Drug

An entrepreneur recently became the new face of corporate level greed because he purposely hiked up the cost of a lifesaving drug. Martin Shkreli is a former hedge manager and obnoxious self-promoter who took to Twitter and stating that he’s a guy everyone should consider as “the world’s most eligible bachelor out there.” He’s an avid Twitter user and frequently streams most of his work live over the internet. He would often invite people to talk with him on chat. He called the people that followed him his “fans.”

He was arrested on securities fraud charges and taken into the custody of the federal court in Brooklyn, New York. Shkreli pleaded not guilty to the charges and was later release on a $5 million bail. If he is charged with the crimes, he could face up to two decades in jail. Upon bail, Shkreli exited the courthouse without providing a single comment to the reporters around him. His attorneys also didn’t provide any comments. The story of how and why he got arrested spread online quickly.

Many Americans agreed that he got what he deserved, and it was a long time in the making. Headlines in New York referred to him as “America’s most hated man,” “biotech’s bad boy” and “rug industry’s villain.” Some the individuals began to crack jokes about the lawyers who will be representing him because they jacked up their hourly rates by 5,000%.

Prosecutors handling the case stated that between the year 2009 and 2014, Shkreli lost a portion of his hedge fund because he was careless. It appears that to make up for his loss, he stole from Retrophin, a well-known pharmaceutical company. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he was a CEO with the business because he took around $11 million. He planned to use the money to pay back whatever loss to his clients.

Robert Capers, an attorney in the US, mentioned that Shkreli was charged with conspiracy and securities fraud. Shkreli was completely vilified after Turing Pharmaceuticals, a drug company spent about $55 million for the United States to sell rights on a medicine called Daraprim. It also promptly raised the prices from $13.50 to about $720 per bill. The drug is well over sixty years old and is currently the only drug of its kind to get approved for the treatment of Toxoplasmosis, which is an extremely rare parasitic disease that primarily attacks women who are pregnant, have AISS, or are cancer patients.

The move started a wave of utter outrage that has to do with the upcoming presidential campaign trail. It also helped prompt a Capitol Hill hearing on the prices of drugs. Donald Trump called Shkreli nothing more than a spoiled brat. Hilary Clinton thought was he did was price-gouging and stated the company’s behavior was completely outrageous. After learning about the story, Bernie Sanders took back his donation he originally bestowed Shkreli. Several judges mentioned that the investigation led to his arrest dated back from the previous year before there was a drug price increase.

Shkreli defended the increase and stated that insurance, as well as a few other programs, would allow patients to have access to the drugs, and profits would be used to help fund research fornew treatments. He also talked unapologetically during a “business is business” debate for the huge price jump.

Shkreli even added that if given the chance, he likely would have raised it more. In the past month, Shkreli accepted an interview at the Forbes Healthcare Center. He stated that “although no one wants to say it, although there is not a soul here proud of it, it is a capitalist system with capitalist rules.”

He added that his investors expected for him to maximize profits. During all this, Shkreli said that Turing planned to reduce the cost of Daraprim. Now the company is planning on lowering prices hospitals pay for Seraphim by as much as half. Insurance companies will get trapped in the bulk of the cluster of the tab, possibly driving up on insurance costs and treatments.

Are Drones Taking Your Jobs and Privacy Away?

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We all love our technology such as our phones and computers. There are a lot of people still looking forward to the time we can live life like the Jetsons. However there is a price to pay. Think about it: if you have a machine that can do things more efficiently, then you would not require someone’s help?

Drones are flying devices with cameras that can navigate, send, and receive products. There is already talk that Wal-Wart applied for permission to test the new drones that will help that will make monitoring inventory and sending packages that much easier.

It’s not just Wal-Mart that will be making use of the drones, they will be in competition with Amazon to create and send out orders made by customers. Wal-Mart is the largest global retailer store that’s continually looking for ways to make their pockets bigger and better.

The company has been testing the aircraft systems used to regulate the drones for months now, and they are ready to take their drones on a test drive. They’re itching to use the drones for the first time outdoors to see how smoothly things go. They will be using the drones manufactured by China’s SZ DJI Technology Company.

Wal-Mart wants to use drones to make their distribution inventory warehouses more efficient. In fact, they’re asking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to research ways to get drones to delivering to customers as soon as possible. These companies, including Amazon, are making their move as fast as they can because FAA will soon set rules for the use of the drone in the coming year after regulations get finalized.

Although it’s currently illegal for drones to be used for use, commercial companies are exempt. It might mean that these gadgets will eventually replace people who work at delivery companies. Those who work in packaging companies, like USPS and FedEx, might want to start looking for another job soon. It’s most likely that the media might use drones to film their content.

The petition that Wal-Mart made to use drones now might be likely to be passed sooner than later.. Les Dorr, an agency spokesman, mentioned that the review requires regulators to make a thorough risk analysis of the drone system. The FFA typically replies to petitions within four months, so hopefully Wal-Mart will be hearing a reply soon.

It’s important for Wal-Mart to find and ensure smooth and timely deliveries. The success of the drones are highly important, especially because the company predicts they’ll experience a drop in profits the coming year as they work to boost sales made on the website.

The application that Wal-Mart sent to the FFA stated they also wanted to be able to test the drones for taking stocks of trailers and various items left in the parking lot area of a warehouse via electronic tagging and other methods. Any Wal-Mart distribution location could potentially have hundreds to thousands of trailers stagnant in the yard as it waits. The drone will give them leverage and may be used to account for what every truck is holding.

Wal-Mart mentions that they would like to test the drones out for their grocery pickup service. Lately, it has spread to over twenty markets, and the number is projected to double to following year. The can help the company see whether or not a drone could send packages to various pick-up locations within the company’s parking lot. Wal-Mart stated that they will initially test home deliveries in tiny packages first to those to live in a residential area.

Amazon, on the other hand, have already finalized their testing and is prepared to start sending packages to buyers using the drones once federal laws permit it. Dan Toporek, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, stated that the company will be quick to send the drones out themselves after the petition is approved. He added that implementing the drones will be a largely successful milestone, and they have the capability to connect the company’s vast networks of stores, fulfillment and distribution centers, and transportation fleet. He also stated that there is a Wal-Mart within five miles of 70% of America’s population, and the drone will add interesting and unique possibilities for the customers they serve.


4 Things You Can Actually Negotiate On

4 Things You Can Actually Negotiate On

Although many of us are aware that things don’t happen unless we make it happen, we can forget to do the same when we are shopping. The furthest we may go is finding which location or that company has what we want at a better price, and the journey stops at that. A Consumer Reports study conducted in 2013 found that only 48% of Americans bargain for products and services. Nearly 90% of those people mentioned that they did manage to get a discount at least once.

Why is it that the other approximate half are hesitant to do to same and ask for it? Eldonna Lewis Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” says many don’t know how to negotiate. Fernandez believes that most are scared to ask for better deals because they don’t think it’s possible. She states it’s better to have a “negotiation mindset” and challenge certain things if you believe something is not reasonably priced. The likelihood of a negotiation working to your benefit increases when you know what is freely available to negotiate. Here are a few products and services can negotiate the price on.


Interest Rates

It can be a student loan, auto loan, mortgage rates or credit cards. Many of us are happy enough just getting approval because they believe these rates is fixed. The average person is not sure if there is even any room to negotiate for a lower interest rates. Of course, the option wouldn’t open to everyone because the primary factor is your credit score and history. Priyanka Prakash finance specialist for FitBiz Loans, says that negotiation is specifically open to those that have a high credit score. Also the type of loan is important. The more regulated a certain loan or line of credit is, the lower the chance you can negotiate.

However, it’s the opposite for credit cards compared rates set by the federal government such as a student loan. It is because the rates are set by the federal government. Prakash says that car, business, and mortgage loans fall in the middle. She also states that you will have more of an upper hand if you shop around and prove just how serious you are in wanting a lower rate. Inform the company you are dealing with what you know, such as a quote you received to see if they will match it. It may also be advantageous for you to tell them the reason you are looking for something lower, such as losing a job or massive medical bills. If there is a financial crisis, you don’t want just to mention it to them, show them proof. If that still doesn’t work, try getting loan fees reduced because there is more leeway with lender fees.


Medical Fees

An accident is called an accident for a reason because we never know when it is going to happen. If you or a loved one had a trip to the hospital, you may feel better until you take a look at the bill. Many people feel it’s they have to pay the bill because they received medical treatment

However, expenses for various types of medical procedures and services are not set in stone. Take a good look at your medical bill and see if you were accidentally billed for the same procedure twice and if they were coded properly. If there aren’t any errors, do not be shy to ask the hospital or doctor for a discount.

There are a large number of hospital bills that wind up going unpaid, so healthcare providers would rather receive something over nothing. They may be willing to lower it anywhere from 10%-80%. The billing department can also be your ally so long as you are respectful when you ask because they often may deal with rude customers.


Moving Companies

Jacob Beckstead, marketing manager at Bailey’s Moving and Storage, says moving costs can get expensive. He adds many are not aware just how much negotiating power is in their hands. These businesses use a variety of ways to come up with a quote for you. Beckstead says you can negotiate the prices that can better fit your budget, especially if it is a big move. He also says that any moving company wouldn’t want to lose a potential sale. Packing, loading, box and hourly rates are the most negotiable.



You could already be a master at getting bargain prices for your grocery with coupons. Nevertheless, it’s still nice if you can save more. The best areas to negotiate are in the meat and deli department. Kyle James, founder of coupon and bargaining site, says you should keep an eye out for roasts and hams under a pound and ask for a discount. This can work because they are often too little to cut and sell. You will want to begin by asking for half off. You should also negotiate on the meats they are close to the sell-by date. A store will be more willing to work with you because they will lose money when it expires. It’ll work more in your favor if you stock up on a few. You can freeze these immediately if you don’t use them right away.

Things will look even better for you if you have a local farmers’ market. John Vespasian, the author of “The Ten Principles of Rational Living,” says farmers’ markets are ripe for huge discounts of you buy near the end of the day. Sellers would rather be rid fruits and vegetables by selling them at a low price over having to haul them back.

Did FitBit Really Think That They Had A Chance Over Apple?


Whether you want it or not, competition with long-time businesses are going to happen when you are the new company on the block.  Sometimes it can be friendly, and other times the company can get wiped out the dust, such as when Fitbit attempted to go against Apple. The company experienced an 18% drop this week following the launch of their product, Blaze, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) based in Las Vegas.

The company first introduced their new product after nearly a year in hopes to battle against the Apple Watch in the fashionable segment. Fitbit did not get the reaction they were looking for in the stock market as it surprised everyone because they were doing a great job in the basic fitness tracking segment, even winning the top awards at the Android Headline last year. They even preformed well in the last quarter, earning a $409 million, which beat estimated projections. That same quarter they also successfully doubled their earnings at nearly $60 million.

With all that success, they decided what better time than now to square up with Apple’s watch that was posing a huge threat to them. There was also a bit of competition they had with another company, Xioami. Once Apple hopped on the fitness tracking market bandwagon, they achieved 18.6% of the market share, taking the throne. On the other hand, Fitbit’s share went from 32.8% to 22.2% in the last quarter. Nevertheless, investors were still feeling positive because the drop was lower than expected.

A possible big reason for Apple’s success is due to the Apple Watch’s style. On the flipside, Fitbit feels like generations behind in regards to style. They went on to introduce the Blaze while claiming it is the “most stylish, smartest, and highly motivating fitness tracker out there today. However, investors were less than impressed with the new device the company was praising.

One selling point that the company mentioned was that the Blaze had long battery life. It could last for five days with just one charge.  It was also the company’s first product they released that has full-screen color. They were marketing it at $199 where it would be expected to hit stores in March.

Lauren Goode from the Verge thinks having a “stylish” watch that has no GPS technology nor is waterproof is going to appeal to any hardcore fitness consumers. She says that going on a chase with Apple is a pretty terrible move. Fitbit’s Blaze even has limited features if you were to compare it side by side with the Apple watch or even the Samsung Gear S2.

Fitbit’s CEO, James Park, explained to Fortune Magazine that the device was purposely made to have limited features so it would not be overcomplicated. Park says that the smart watches today have a very confusing functionality to them which is the reason the new watches carry useful and important features. Edward Sal, Chief business Officer of the company, took some time out to mention the differences between the Blaze against other smartwatches like Apple. Sal was saying that it’s not all about the extras it could have or putting everything you possibly can from your phone to your wrist too. He also said that if you want to maximize your workouts then what you need to have with you is a tool and not some toy.  About half a year ago Fitbit had a really strong IPO with a market value of about $4 billion. The stock reached its pack of $52 during the summer.

However, soon after that, the company has been facing a downfall. Erikson and Murphy analysts believed that the stock would hit about $60 per share as of the previous month. Another huge factor in their downfall may have been due to all the lawsuits and patent disputes that they have been dealing with for months. One of these disputes they are going though includes one of the company’s competitor, Jawbone.

Customers from California to Wisconsin started to file a class action lawsuit against Fitbit, accusing the company’s heart rate monitors in both the Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR were not accurately tracking their heart rates. On top of that, the company is also getting sued by Valencell, which is a business that creates biometric sensor technology for many wearables for companies such as Sony and LG. Valencell is stating that Fitbit allegedly infringed their biometric patents. After hearing such news, the stock closed at $24,27 this past Tuesday.

Sadly the company has dropped by 43% since the last months in comparison to S&P 500 Index that dropped by 3%. Still, it should be mentioned that even while the first market reaction to the company’s smartwatch has been harsh, the product itself was well received as a logical evolution of the company’s fitness tracker programs. It was not going to take much longer until other smartwatches came into the territory. Whether or not Fitbit has enough power in the R&D tank to turn the tables to their favor successfully, after all, this is another story.

An Anti-Virus Program Alone Will Not Save Your PC From Hackers

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It is getting harder and harder to believe in such a thing as cyber security because hackers are getting more advanced in their tactics. Hackers are also dangerous to people who want to protect their personal and financial information. For businesses, their reputation for keeping customers information safe is the most important thing if they want to earn customer trust and loyalty. These companies need to protect their system, data, and other intellectual information whether they decided to store them on the PC or cloud based software. So just because you have anti-virus software, that alone will not help you ward off hackers. Instead, here are 4 ways to help save your PC.


Locate, Understand, Then Help Lessen Every Attack


It is crucial that you be wise in cyber attacks. You need to know that they truly do happen, more than you may think, and that your business will be under attack every day. You have a plan in place where someone is present the moment it happens. You also need to have a plan in place to figure out what needs to be done if attacks happen. You will quickly learn that the best person that will help determine whether a hacker can get into your system is you. Learning what programs to avoid, what you cannot download, and learning about safe online activities will be the single most important task.


You Need Properly Train Your Employees


Of course, the right tools and the process of something are important, but these two are not the only things that can help keep your stuff secure. You must properly train your employees if you want to keep hackers at bay. Leadership and Everyone who works with information in your company must know how hacking and viruses happen in the first place so they can learn how to prevent them. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest software if your employees don’t understand the point of it. They may walk right into a deathtrap without even knowing it and the antivirus may not be “smart” enough to understand.  Companies should raise awareness campaigns, provide knowledge on corporate policies, anti-phishing training, and information on security standards. You should also train your employees in the event cyber attacks happen on what the response plan is.


 Create a Comprehensive Plan

Any company that holds sensitive information needs to have a strategy in place. It will be the guide what security measures you will take. Companies may have a chief information security officer (CISO). They are accountable for constructing and maintaining this very plan along with the support of the company. Whatever type of plan you decide to make, you should have one that based on your company’s framework and practice to make certain you have considered every control area. Additionally, you should implement external audits like vulnerability scans and penetration tests and customer audits. You must also have an idea how you plan to take care of public statements whenever a breach is discovered. It’s vital you prepare the best things to say and what you will do to take care of it because your customers will be worried about their data.


Construct a Cyber Security Roadmap

You also need to observe your current status in respects to the cyber-security method. Look at your position in every control area to fund the biggest risks to determine what the most important area needs to be taken care of first. Make a map of actions that you must do to seal any openings in your security. Engage business leadership during the discussion to gain support in security. Observing and prioritizing is something will you have to do again and again. Following the roadmap also requires corporate IT to work alongside with corporate security to start the project and prevent or identify how severe a cyber attack is, determine the virus that was planted, and getting rid of it.