• Drakes Bay Oyster Co. granted reprieve - 07/28/2014 08:22 AM PDT
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    Retirement Planner: Long-term care policies and your rights

    LTC policyholders should take the time to write to Dave Jones, the California insurance commissioner, and suggest that he require insurance companies to honor the marketing materials they used to sell policies years ago that clearly implied that "buying policies at a young age LOCKED IN low premiums."  
    A 50/50 mix of stocks and bonds or heavily weighted (perhaps 90 percent) stocks buttressed by a cash side fund to weather periodic crashes. Either approach offers a vast improvement over the mindless annuities and target date retirement funds routinely foisted on retirees by the financial services industry.  
     
    I love what I hear about the new commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He sounds like the kind of person that will go after what a New York Times editorial cited as the $385 billion annual shortfall between what taxpayers owe and what they pay.  
     
    John Bogle of the Vanguard Group points out something that had escaped me. He says that while 30 percent of the entire stock market is owned by people who invest directly in index funds, the remaining 70 percent, in the aggregate, are indexing as well, even though this group is actually made up of millions of investors who are trying to beat the indexes. Bogle would argue that the 70 percent is playing a zero-sum game (for every winner, there's a loser).  
     
    Just when we might be thinking that really wealthy people have great investment opportunities not available to the rest of us, the facts suggest otherwise.  
     
    The so-called Prudent Man Rule defines how someone is supposed to invest when they are charged with managing other people's money. This rule applies to what's known as a "fiduciary," someone who presides over a managed pool of money and who is legally obligated to act in the sole interest of the beneficiaries of that money.  
     
    Looking at history for a moment, the Dow Jones average reached a low of 41 in 1933 and that's the point at which dividends amounted to a 7 percent to 10 percent return. Those dividends, if reinvested, were buying new shares at rock-bottom prices. By 1937, the Dow average reached 194, so not only had the original shares quintupled in value, but a lot more shares had been added to the portfolio by reinvested dividends.  
     
    A two-pronged approach to facing a productive retirement starts with painting a picture of what a stimulating retirement life will entail.  
     
    Determining what the average 55-year-old American approaching retirement has in the way of resources is like trying to place your finger on a blob of mercury. The numbers go spitting out in all directions.  
     
    So, even in a crash, there's a sunny side of the street for those who understand what's happening, who plan ahead, and who don't do something rash at the time.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
    This barren, desert prison is where O.J. Simpson lives

    Some here call it the 'O.J. House,' the only gated community in a vast stretch of desert rich in gold and silver, pioneer trails and proud, isolated towns north of Reno. 
    (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
    Outside Lands' food scene: Where to sip and nosh

    Kanye West? Sure. Arctic Monkeys? Of course. The music part is easy. The bigger question is where to sip and nosh at Outside Lands' gigantic food fest.