Expert Advisor’s Quick Guide to Lifestyle, Health, and Personal Finance

Advice from DFA experts Bob Plunkett and Amy Eller.

The Sooner the Better

By Bob Plunkett
When it comes to retirement, nothing beats the phrase – “the sooner the better.”

And yet, most Americans hold off on saving for retirement. Even though they know it’s against their best interests.

So Prudential Financial decided to find out why. And what they found if that most can’t picture themselves as being old. 56% of adults in the survey say they were too busy planning for the near-term challenges like taking care of parents, children, and even their pets. And never give a thought as to taking care of themselves in 20 to 30 years.

As result a third of adults have no money saved for retirement, and about 25% have less $10,000 saved.

The problem is worse when it comes to millennials. 42% don’t see it as a priority – thinking instead about paying off student debt and planning for a family and a house.

But that’s still short-sighted. Money saved early is more valuable than money saved later. Young people need to realize the money they put away now in their 20s can grow to a huge amount when compared to, say, and waiting until they’re 30.

Those five to seven years with interest helps tremendously in the future.


Sore Throats on Broadway

By Amy Eller

As an avid theater goer I marvel at the strength of the voices I hear on and off Broadway. How do Kristen Chenoweth and Laura Benanti do it? Colds, sore throats, and flus can wreak havoc with all our voices but a singer’s voice requires extra TLC. It’s important for all of us to take care of ourselves. The best course is to stay healthy with a strong immune system that easily destroys unwanted germs & viruses. Eating whole unprocessed foods, taking a daily multi strain probiotic and exercising boost your immune system as well as practicing mediation and positive thinking… However,  if all fails and you find yourself crawling under the covers, here are some time tested remedies that soothe scratchy throats, calm inflamed vocal chords and relieve dry hoarse voices to get you back out on stage or work or school!

Singing with inflamed or swollen vocal cords is very dangerous. The vocal cords are extremely sensitive. Singing while the cords are under duress can cause immediate damage that could lead to more serious vocal issues down the road.

The first course of action is see an ENT (Otolaryngologist) or physician as soon as possible. If the doctor gives the okay to continue making sound, then he or she can go forward.

OSCILLICCOCCINUM by Boiron – For flu symptoms (fever or aching muscles with sudden sore throat). Keep Oscillicoccinum by Boiron in your purse, household first aid kit and your travel bag. Oscillio is the first line of defense against misery. If taken at the first moment when you feel a little bit of a scratch it can help you to knock out the bug or shorten the duration. The three tubes come in a vacuum sealed packet. I usually tell people to wait half an hour after eating and take the first tube, empty the contents under your tongue and let them dissolve it’s a pleasant sweet taste. Wait 15 minutes and take the second tube and in another half hour take the third tube. Zap that nasty bug before it takes over your life. Then take as directed until your symptoms dissipate.


Between The Sheets 

By Amy Eller

I love sheets. So the idea of doing a sheet comparison was right up my alley. We had 3 reviewers do a blind comparison, meaning labels and prices were removed. The team consisted of a millennial couple, a Boomer couple and a 50 and wiser sometimes single. They tested and compared The Towel factory Eucalyptus Sheet set with the Bamboo Tranquility Supreme Quality Bamboo Sheet Set 100% Viscose Rayon – Hypoallergenic Bed Sheets

Both queen sets include a flat and fitted sheet and two standard pillow cases.

The Towel Factory insists their Eucalyptus sheets, manufactured in Guatemala are better for us, and the environment than bamboo. Why, because the eucalyptus is locally sourced, the sheets themselves are manufactured in Guatemala. This eucalyptus sheet set is sewn with a sateen weave. And Eucalyptus claims to absorb 50% more moisture than cotton.

Straight out of the package the group noticed a “factory scent” and followed instructions for washing and drying. They agreed the sheets still felt stiff and opted for two more cycles. The sheets emerged somewhat wrinkled but fit the bed easily and all agreed the grey piping on the top sheet of the Eucalyptus was a nice touch.

The gang liked the fact The Bamboo Tranquility sheets come in grey and white. They chose the Grey in contrast to the white of the Towel Factory Eucalyptus. They noted how silky they felt out of the package and, following instructions, no heat, put them through the wash cycle and tumble dry cycle. They noted how quickly the sheets dried even with no heat.

The Bamboo Tranquility sheets went through 4 wash and dry cycles and retained a smooth silky feel. All the reviewers enjoyed their experience and liked the idea they could mix and match the grey and white colors.  Bamboo Tranquility maintains their sheets repel allergens, are great for sensitive skin and are made from sustainably sourced bamboo that requires no herbicides, pesticides or irrigation to grow. Everyone loved the satisfaction guarantee, if not satisfied they can be returned for a full refund.

The Eucalyptus sheet set remained somewhat stiff even after 6 washings, following the care instructions. When the prices were revealed, The Towel Factory Queen Size Eucalyptus Sheet Set retails at $150.00 and The Bamboo Tranquility 4 Piece Queen set retails at $149.00, The group found them to be pricey and for the money, even though they liked the look of the piping on the Towel Factory Eucalyptus, they preferred the sleep experience on the Bamboo Tranquility sheets.


Better Seats on The Plane…Not!

By Bob Plunkett

If you fly a lot, you might have noticed it is getting harder and harder – actually almost impossible – to upgrade to better seats using your frequent flier miles.  Airlines have finally realized they have to make money off these seats in order to stay afloat. That’s big change at least domestically, since the airlines were giving away 60% to 80% of first and business class on certain routes,

Now you pay for those seats and pay for upgrades from coach – in cold hard cash rather than miles. For first- and business-class tickets. Instead, airlines are getting creative with pay-to-upgrade options.

There is a positive side to all this however. In their efforts to sell all these up-front seats, airlines have drastically lowered the first- and business-class fares to make them more attractive.

While it used to be that you’d pay four times as much for first class versus coach. Now, prices are much more compressed. Maybe a 50% premium, – maybe less.

Not only are the fares themselves cheaper, but the cost to upgrade has come down, – especially as a flight’s departure date gets closer and the front of the cabin still isn’t sold out. What might have cost you $250 extra to book first class could drop to $50 a day or two before takeoff or even at the gate.


Watch The Bank stocks

By Bob Plunkett


If you are waiting for the stock market to turn up again – keep your eye on financials. Big bank stocks. Financials set the tone for stocks because they have their finger the pulse of economic activity and their guidance tells us what to expect in the near future.

How the banking stocks are performing is a forerunner of overall market performance. Especially whether the market will be able to reverse five quarters of declining revenue which has kept the equity market flat.

If the financial sector can post better than expected results for the third quarter and grow revenue it can be taken as a sign that the economy it set to reaccelerate – despite all the uneven economic data. It also can mean consumers have taken on more debt. That would be a result of improving employment trends and consumer confidence.

And the banking stocks will be the first sign.




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