4th of July traveling - who's going where, what they're paying & why a stay-cation is looking good:


Bottom Line:  Independence Day is always a busy travel time in the US.  Many families plan their summer vacations around the 4th of July.  This year there is even more natural demand with the 4th falling on a Friday creating a natural long weekend.  So naturally travel demand is higher but you’ll likely have to pay up for it.  Here are some numbers to consider. 


  • Traffic to online travel sites is up 30% over last year but…
  • Booked travel is up 5%

So we know that more people will be on the go this year but clearly most who have an idea to travel have decided not to.  Why would that be the case?  Most likely price…


  • Average prices for airfare are 10% more expensive than 2013
  • Gas prices are 4.5% higher than this week last year
  • It also appears as though the prices for hotel rooms are around 3-4% higher as well

All told a significant number of Americans will be on the move this week:


  • 41% of Americans will go somewhere this weekend
  • The top five destinations are:  New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C.  (in that order)

But it’s clear that the increased price have led many to reign in their plans a bit.  Doing the same thing as last year will cost the average family hundreds more this year based on the info above.  So perhaps a staycation isn’t such a bad idea.  Especially since we live in a vacation destination…


Audio Report:



ACA's new angle - to auto re-enroll:


Bottom Line:  There is a line of thinking in a crisis that I adopted based on my own experience and share with others when asked.  The way to better you situation when you’re at a low point is first to observe the poor decisions and outcomes that have led to you being at a low point.  Ensure that you’ve learned from each of those poor decisions and begin to make better decisions.  Taking it one day and one good decision at a time almost anyone can better their situation and importantly set themselves up for success.  Then there is the Federal Government… 


While we still don’t know how many in-force exchange based policies there are for 2014 based on the 2013-14 cycle for enrollment…  While it’s estimated that potentially more than 50% of those who received subsidies for policies fraudulently under-reported income to get extra money for the Government…  The administrators of HealthCar.Gov have already put a novel idea into practice.  To auto-reenroll those with subsidies in like policies this fall.  Anyone see everything wrong with that idea?


Sure Health and Human Services can say that it will make the process smoother.  It also will expedite the fraud that’s already been committed into another year of subsidies for those who have created the system and haven’t been found out or dealt with at the time of renewals. 


It’s estimated that 95% of those will subsidies will be auto-re enrolled this fall.  That’s one really awful decision after a series of really awful decisions.  All at our taxpayer expense. 


Why wouldn’t there be a single database between Health and Human Services and the IRS with data auto-input to prevent false income data being reported? 


Audio Report:



Are you drinking yourself to death while working?:


Bottom Line:  To date the only time that alcohol has been linked to death among those who are in the workforce has been to personal health outcomes (i.e. liver failure).  That makes the rate of death related to alcohol among those working look very low.  The CDC took a different approach and produced significant and somewhat alarming results.


The CDC went back to 2006 and studied deaths from those at work and or going to and from work who died with alcohol intoxication be cited as a cause in the death.  Here’s what they found:


  • 88,000 annual deaths are attributed to alcohol among those working
  • That equates to 10% of all work-related deaths

So here’s the newer reporting detail:


  • 25% of deaths are due to dui auto accidents (going to or from work)
  • 16% are homicides/suicides while under the influence
  • 15% are falls resulting in death while under the influence

This is a clearly a significant concern.  Commonly people will drink while at lunch or on a break.  88,000 per year equates to 241 alcohol related deaths per day!


Audio Report:



Over 40 (age) career considerations:


Bottom Line:  Being 40+ in the workforce often meant that you were on the second half of your career and planning for the next phase of life.  With many younger people not even starting their careers until 30 or later – being 40 or 50 something in the workforce may mean that you’re just entering the prime in your career.  Here’s the good news…  A good number of 40+ career oriented people are more than just satisfied.  According to USA Today and Life Reimagined:


  • 41% of all career oriented people report working in their “dream job”

That’s seemingly a pretty strong number.  What constitutes a dream job?  Here are the common factors among those surveyed.  Good compensation, balance, manageable stress, some flexibility and the ability to give back to the community.


That’s pretty cool.  Sure we’d like a majority to live in that reality but 40%+ is a meaningful number. 


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Economic growth by state for the past three months - it tells and interesting story & how Florida is doing:


Bottom Line:  It’s extremely frustrating for many who follow economic conditions to wait for the revised economic information.  We just received the final GDP info for the 1st quarter as we wrap up the second quarter.  The other issue that cropped up once we received that information is just how significantly negative the 1st quarter was with negative 2.1% economic growth.  So what has been happening recently?  The Federal Reserve Governors are track growth by states in their region.  Here is the most recent information by state for the most recent three months including May:


States with 1%+ growth:  11

States with up to 1% growth:  34 (including Florida)

States with stagnant growth:  2

States with negative growth:  3


Based on this information it’s quite clear that 3%+ growth for the 2nd quarter is a no go.  We’re likely to see low to mid 2% economic growth for the second quarter when it’s all said and done.  That would mean that the 1st half of the year would be a washout.  I still have my eye on housing.  As it goes, so goes the economy in my view.  


Audio Report: