Thursday, July 28, 2016

Seniors shortchanged; ex-POTUS gets raise …

Trustees reported that they expect Social Security's cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase to be 0.2% next year.
That minuscule amount — which equals a whopping $2 more for someone getting a $1,000 monthly check — would come after retirees got no increase in Social Security benefits in 2016 for the third time in four decades. 
But a next-to-nothing COLA for retirees isn’t stopping President Obama from giving himself and other past presidents a pay boost …  
The White House budget for fiscal 2017 seeks $3.87 million in benefits for former presidents and their spouses. That would mark an 18% increase from the prior year.

Something to keep in mind as Election Day draws close. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Demand for self-storage poised to rise

On March 14, 2010, I wrote about an unglamorous sector in the real estate industry: self-storage facilities.

And I gave a profile of Public Storage (PSA), a real estate investment trust (REIT) that is one of the largest landlords in the world.

Since then, PSA has gone from $88 to $273 on April 1, 2016. Today, it’s floating in the $250 range. That’s a 17%+ annual rate of return. Meanwhile shareholders were also rewarded with a 3% dividend.  

To see why demand for these garage-size spaces should continue to grow, click here

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Your fix to long TSA lines

Traveling by plane this summer? Better get to the airport at least three hours before your flight takes off. At least that’s what officials at O’Hare, Denver International, and many other airports recommend.

Who is to blame?

You can fault the TSA, the airlines, and the passengers who refuse to pay to check their luggage so they drag it through the security points with them. Solutions have been proposed, such as adding more TSA agents and eliminating baggage fees. But with terrorism on the rise … nothing is going to help much with this summer’s vacation.

Regardless of where you aim your misery while snaking along the roped pathway to get through security, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Yet there is a way turn this lemon into lemonade and make that long wait more bearable.

Let’s talk two airlines that I recently flew on a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica … 

Spirit Airlines (SAVE)

This south Florida based airline operates throughout North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Its ultra-low-cost business model offers low, unbundled fares that let you pay only for options you choose, such as bags, advance seat assignments, snacks, and drinks.

Over the past five years, annual EPS has grown 10% and revenue increased 22%.

First quarter 2016 results were solid: Revenue was $538 million, an increase of 9.5% from a year earlier. EPS was $1.01, up from $0.96 in 2015. 

"Our greatest competitive strength is our relative cost advantage.  We are focused on getting better all the time and doing so while maintaining, or improving upon, our relative cost advantage," said Ted Christie, Spirit's Chief Financial Officer.

Chart source: TD Ameritrade

Although Spirit leads the pack when it comes to customer gripes, the outlook for this super-discounter looks bright.

Its new CEO says he’s been focused on reliability since his first day on the job six months ago. On-time showing improved to 73.8% in April.

SAVE was recently upgraded to outperform from neutral at Credit Suisse. And Spirit was chosen by the DOT as one of the eight carriers that will be able to fly Cuba once the details are finalized. 

JetBlue (JBLU)

JetBlue Airways provides air transportation services for 93 destinations in 28 states in the U.S., DC, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 19 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Over the past five years, annual EPS has grown 44% and revenue increased 11%.

Revenue for the first quarter was $1.6 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2015. Earnings were $0.59, up from $0.40 the prior year. 

Chart source: TD Ameritrade

“Our disciplined growth strategy continues to yield strong performance. We posted record first quarter results with higher margins than most of our competitors. These results would not have been possible without the amazing efforts of our 18,000 crewmembers. They truly are our biggest competitive advantage,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President and CEO.

JetBlue was also selected to service the U.S. to Cuba route.   

---

Air traffic is up 12% since 2011, fuel prices remain low, and consumers have more money to spend. With a record 231 million Americans taking to the skies this summer, airline stocks are poised to surge. So now could be a good time to pick up a few shares.

And knowing that you have the opportunity to profit from each passenger in those long airport security lines might make your wait a bit more bearable.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Long-term care top concern among Americans

A survey that Matthew Greenwald & Associates conducted for the Society of Actuaries found that 69% of pre-retirees — workers age 45 and older — are worried about long-term care and inflation, followed by paying for health care (67%).

For retirees, 58% are worried about long-term care, 52% about inflation, and 47% about health care.

If you are among them, you should read A Boomer’s Guide to Long-term Care.

Inside, I show you:

* How long-term care expenses could leave you broke
* Why you must assume control
* Why a woman is at greater risk
* What the government will pay, and more important—won’t pay
* How to avoid getting shipped off to a nursing home
* If long-term care insurance is right for you
* What to look for in a long-term care insurance policy
* How to cut premium costs 

A Boomer’s Guide to Long-term Care is available in paperback and Kindle format.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

U.S. Senators toast brewers …

To prove that they actually can get something done and boost their pathetic approval ratings, the Senate passed a resolution expressing appreciation of the goals of American Craft Beer Week and commending the small and independent craft brewers of the United States.

Please thank your Senators for their hard work and bipartisan support of S.Res. 473. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Landlord discovers pot operation

In What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord, I wrote that you should keep an eye out for tell-tale signs that your rental is being used as a cannabis farm. A home used as a cannabis farm can cause devastating damage to a property and can lead to a voided insurance policy. 

On top of financial costs, you could face legal action if it can be proven that you were aware of criminal activities or received money, including rent, as a result of illegal drug activity.

Here’s a landlord who followed that advice ...  

Monday, May 16, 2016

I’d rather give up s_ _!

Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Bono are just a few celebrities who died without a will.

Prince is the latest. Now it’s up to the court to sort things out.

According to The Virtual Attorney, 32% of Americans said they’d rather give up sex for a month, do their taxes, or get a root canal than create or update their will.

How about you?