Financial success is easy to understand, though perhaps not so easy to achieve: spend LESS than you earn. Here are some ways to a help.Stop shopping – If you shop for groceries every other day you are spending too much money. Studies show that each time you stop at the grocery store to pick up a ‘few things’ most people ending up spending way more money than they planned. One blog I checked for this report said they do ‘big’ grocery shopping once every 6 weeks and then stop at the store once or twice a week for the milk or sale items on their list ONLY. And for our kids, the same ‘stop shopping’ mantra. Books like “Born to Shop’ study the time children spend shopping compared to reading or going to church and the trends are alarming. Time spent shopping is far exceeding children’s reading, religious education and other activities. Maybe dropping the kids off at the mall for their all-day hobby isn’t such a great activity. Don’t be a brand snob- use discount outlets like Maine’s own Marden’s and resale shops for many items like clothes. But what about food? Can you trade down in brand at the grocery store and get quality? Certain items of food, or clothing, may be important to you to have as a certain brand. But on less critical items I bet you have some wiggle room for non-brand merchandise. You may save a lot of dough. Look around- In grocery stores eye level is where higher priced items are kept. One blog reminded us to ‘look high and low’ for value. Have you also noticed that beans or cheese are sold in several sections of the store? Find the place where the particular item you want is featured at the best price. With clothing, the sales racks are less difficult to spot, it’s usually in the back of the store.Citations:Shop less
I am an investment advisor I help people make decisions. I have a degree in finance so I understand complex investment information but if I can’t help investors make their own decisions about this information I’m not really doing my job. So, I read books about how people make decisions. When you are making complex decisions may I suggest that based on what I’ve learned so far, you try these steps?Less choice is better – Don’t think the very best way is to examine all 165 options of a thing. In tests of customers at supermarkets when 16 choices were offered in various jams barely 3% of customers purchased anything. But when only offered 5 samples 30% of customers made a decision and bought a jam. When overwhelmed with options people, according to psychologists, ‘decide NOT to decide.’ So if your goal is to MAKE a choice, to decide on something, don’t trip yourself up, don’t make that impossible, by feeling you need to investigate every possible option. Remember your goal.Go with your gut -researchers have found is that you kind of already know what you want to do. If you are a reasonable person learning more information, so long as it’s not too overwhelming, backs up what your gut tells you. Many of the time, maybe most of the time, that initial ‘gut feeling’ is good. Don’t dismiss your instincts. Keep putting wise ideas into your mind so those instincts can be relied on.Be content to not be 100% certain- You will not know the future. So the decisions that you’re making affecting something and your future, is going to be missing 100% certainty because an element of the equation is missing, and that is knowing what will happen exactly in the future. Since you can’t know all, you will need to be content.Don’t second (or third) – guess yourself- Well, you don’t NEED to be content. But if you second, third, fifteenth – guess yourself and your decisions you will never have peace. According to research the happiest people are the ones who choose to believe their decision, once made, was a good one, and then they let the worry and anxiety go. In extreme examples, second- guessers spend years hobbled by doubt about decisions that are many years behind them. I don’t want to be that person, though sometimes I find myself wonderingâ€¦If you follow these steps it may help you feel better and be better able to make good decisions.Citations:Jam choices- The Paradox of Choice, pg. 20Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Does Your Surgeonâ€™s Lack of Sleep Affect Your Surgical Risk?By- Dr. Joan Marie PellegriniSince we are all just a bit sleep deprived because of the time change, I thought it would be appropriate to cover the topic of sleep deprivation for this segment. I have covered this topic before but not as it concern the surgeon and the patient. It is not news nor is it controversial that all of us function better after a full night of sleep. We know that truck drivers and pilots are not allowed to drive/fly after working a determined number of hours and that there is a mandated amount of sleep time between shifts of work. Most of us are also aware of the work hour limits that have been placed on residents in medical training. However, there are no policies regulating how much sleep your surgeon must have before performing your electively scheduled surgery. This is a truly controversial topic because so many people have such strong feeling about it. Unfortunately, although there are strong feelings, there is little data to demonstrate how prevalent or how dangerous is this problem.There is at least one study (JAMA 2009) that demonstrates an increased complication rate when the general surgeon has had less than six hours of sleep. A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine also raises this issue. This editorial addressed the specific issue of elective general surgery cases and how much should the surgeon disclose to the patient about their sleep habits the previous night. Patients and surgeons have several reasons why they may not want their surgery cancelled. Patients have mentally prepared for undergoing a procedure, arranged for time off work, arranged for childcare, etc. The surgeonâ€™s schedule also may not be very accommodating to rescheduling. And, the hospitalâ€™s OR schedule may not have any vacancies in the near future.In concert with the above scheduling issues is the fact that most of us are excellent at denying that sleep deprivation is so dangerous. Many of us, me included, have driven on the highway sleep deprived because we only had a few more miles to go. We say to ourselves: â€œI can do this. Iâ€™m not really going to fall asleep and crash.â€ When we are a patient, we expect our surgeon to be â€œtoughâ€. We believe that surgeons go through such grueling training in order to be able to handle the schedule. We often have no concern about the ability of our surgeon to function on little sleep.What type of elective surgery you are having also has an impact. If it is a minor procedure or one with little risk, then there are little data showing any compromise in care from a sleep deprived surgeon. This is because much larger studies are required to demonstrate a difference in outcomes when there is low risk of complication. My personal opinion is that patients receive excellent care for low risk procedures even when their surgeon is sleep deprived.If you are undergoing a lengthy or risky procedure then you may consider requesting your elective procedure be scheduled on a date that is not a â€œpost-callâ€ day. The day after a surgeon has been on call the night before is commonly referred to as the â€œpost-callâ€ day. Depending on what kind of practice your surgeon is in, their nights of call and covering the Emergency room may or may not be busy. None the less, if you have a choice, it is probably better to avoid a â€œpost-callâ€ day. Fortunately, it is becoming more common for busy surgeons not to schedule elective procedures on post call days. Second, it is permissible to ask your surgeon before your procedure how many hours of sleep they had the night before. This question should be no more controversial than asking your surgeon at your consultation appointment how many procedures they have performed or what their complication rate is. I will admit that it is a rare patient of mine that asks me any of these questions. Iâ€™m not sure if it because they are afraid to know the answer or they are unaware of the risk of surgeonsâ€™ sleep deprivation.It is my hope in the near future that patients and surgeons will become more aware of this issue. The solution will not be simple. Clearly, we cannot mandate a limit to the hours worked by surgeons. There is already a national shortage of general surgeons. Such a mandate would put patients at significant risk and perhaps would limit access to emergency surgical care. Also, surgeons have fluctuating needs for sleep depending on the influence of other stressors is in their life and what point they are in their career.It is my hope the healthcare industry will work toward awareness and solutions before the government becomes involved with mandates. Educated patients who ask intelligent questions of their doctor help ensure better care for themselves and other patients.References:NEJM 2010: 363:2577-2579.JAMA 2009: 302:1565-1572.General Surgery News February 2011.
How do they treat investors like me?- In the last six months, how have comparable clients been treated? How often is communication? What type of communication? Is that satisfactory to you?How do they help you choose investments? – I use a 12 question questionnaire to try to ascertain an investor’s risk tolerance. Then I use an independent third-party rating to rate the risk of an investment. Time horizon and other factors then are complied to narrow the options to what might work best for you. What procedure does this advisor use? Is there an annual review?- This is the time to talk, whether in person or by phone, about changes in your risk or tax situation and make possible alterations to your investments as you life changes. Many of my clients have had advisors who are really nice folks but they never have a review or hear from that person. Work has to happen with friendship separate.Thinking beyond investments?- Is your advisor making sure you have legal documents, or at least nagging – as I do- for you to get yourself to an attorney? Are they asking you to considering other estate planning needs such as land transfers or continuity planning for your family business? They probably not accountants and/ or attorneys but they could be helping you consider life insurance and asset transfers.No citations Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
On tap for this Take This Job and Love It: Chelsey Anderson is brewingbeer.It was brewed locally, and just in time for St. Patty’s Day. In the last couple years The Sea Dog in Bangor has reopened its brewery. It’s a busy job for Sea Dog’s only brewer Brooks Mathews, so he kept Chelsey hoping for hops.——Brooks Mathews, Master Brewer, Sea Dogs Brewery: “This is our grain bill.”Brooks Mathews: “So we’re just going to weigh out the loose ends which is going to add up to about 120 pounds of grain.”Brooks Mathews: “You want to put some scoops in there until we hit 60 pounds.” Chelsey:”Let’s see if I have your kind of precision, right?” Brooks: “Yeah.”Chelsey: “Oh.” Brooks: “Perfect. Look at that. You’re hired!I’m telling you right now!” We finished measuring the grains and moved on to the glacier hops.Chelsey: “It looks like rabbit food.” Brooks: “It does. Doesn’t smell like it though.” Chelsey: “No.” Brooks: “And it definitely doesn’t taste like it I would imagine.” Brooks Mathews: “Now we’re on to willamette hops.”Brooks Mathews: “That’s the big bag.” Chelsey: “Wow! Those are very fragrant!” Brooks: “Yep.” Chelsey: “We need smell-o-vision!” Brooks Mathews: “These are tettnang.” Brooks Mathews:) “You can break them open and you see all the yellow dust down there. Those are called lupulin glands and that’s where you get your hops flavoring and aromas from.”Brooks Mathews: “Perfect! Now that is the shovel of a brewer right there.”Brooks loaded the grains on a cart to take to the mill.Brooks Mathews: “Ugh! These things do not ever get lighter!” I crawled onto the mill staging and did my best to dump 4 bags of malt in.Chelsey: “Wow, they’re heavy!” Brooks: “Yep. 55 pounds.” Chelsey: “55 pounds! Okay. Ugh!”And Brooks and I dumped in the grains we’d measured out.Brooks Mathews: “You want to kind of mix that up just a little bit too.” Chelsey: “This is fun!” Brooks: “Yep. I like to believe that that’s really good for my skin.”Brewing is a long process- we’re talking hours and days- so Brooks hadsome steps already going for us.Brooks Mathews: “It goes through the mill, up the auger and then down into the mash ton here where it rests with treated water.”Chelsey: “So right now it doesn’t smell like beer. It kind of smells like a field.” Brooks: “Like oatmeal maybe?” Chelsey: “Yeah.” Now the mash had to be transferred to the kettle and I had to pull asample out.The sample looked good: tasting of sweet water with an oatmeal finish. Sowe continued on by loading our hops for the sweet water to pass through.From there the liquid goes through a maze of tubes into a vat where itwill ferment, with the help of yeast, making it all bubbly. Then it moves to a tank where the sediment is filtered out as it moves to another tank as a flat beer, and yet again it moves to a different tank where it carbonates.Brooks Mathews: “Now comes the fun part, hauling kegs.”Brooks Mathews: “If you want to grab one of those and just start lining them up in front of that tank there.”Brooks Mathews: “One batch is 14 kegs.”The kegs are pressurized with steam to keep them sterile. So I remove theair before filling. Brooks Mathews: “And now we are ready to start kegging.”We set up 2 kegs for Windjammer beer. One fills while the other catchesthe foam.Brooks Mathews: “Okay, those are locked down. Now you can reach down there and open that valve up.”And we’re filling kegs.Brooks said a major part of his job was clean up. Well, I agree. To removethe sediment everything got a scrub down and rinse off, even if I had toclimb inside.Brooks Mathews: “It’s not cute but you just get right in there.”Brooks Mathews: “All done?” Chelsey: “I think so.” Brooks: “Nice.”So would I be hired as a beer brewer?Brooks Mathews: “Absolutely. Top notch scrubber, and a great keg filler.” ——Chelsey would like to thank Brooks and all at The Sea Dog Brewing Company for letting her lend a hand in the brew process. Just so you know, if you had a Windjammer from tap on the last Monday in February, that was her beer. If you have an idea for our next Take This Job and Love it, email Chelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org