TIL DIVORCE DO US PART: AMERICANS BORROW RECORD $3.5 BILLION FOR WEDDINGS IN 2017

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Alright the stats are in, and they’re mind-boggling. American adults never cease to amaze me in this kind of stuff. Here, more than one million borrowed money last year to pull off their dream wedding. The average amount borrowed to cover the costs was $3,082. To put this into greater perspective, out of 126 million American adults, last year more than one million (1.13 million to be exact) got married. And they borrowed a lot of debt to do it.

U.S. couples borrowed $3.48 billion for weddings in 2017. Most of the couples turned to credit cards or personal loans to finance their nuptials, an article on Finder.com says. Additionally, one in five (21.4%) U.S. adults borrowed cash from family and friends over the past year in order to see their wedding dreams fulfilled.

DON’T BORROW MONEY TO GET DIVORCED

Why bother? is what I ask. Family and friends are cash strapped as well. You don’t need to create the personal stress on a good relationship. Odds are you’re going to end up coming to see us for a divorce sooner or later anyway, so save your friends, your family, and your money for a rainy day. Invest in gold coins. Don’t go into debt over something unless there’s a greater return and a positive cash flow.

I’ve been telling clients for years that all marriages end up in either divorce or death, so what was your rush in this down-turning economy? “Fifty percent of those who get married end up in divorce,” I would say.

Well, I was told I was wrong on that one. I did the research, and okay, maybe I was a off by a few percentage points. It appears the divorce rate may actually be on the decline, but there could be many factors attributable to that like maybe the fact that the marriage rate is declining as well. However, considering all factors, I believe what Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., author, and expert on single people, says regarding the chances that a marriage will end in divorce. According to DePaulo, the divorce expectation rate for those of us who are presently married is probably somewhere between 42 and 45 percent.

In PsychologyToday.com DePaulo cites a 2014 New York Times article reviewing the national divorce rate. “It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce,” Claire Cain Miller wrote in that article. “It has not been for some time.”

BUT AGAIN, WHY BORROW AT A 55% TO 58% CHANCE OF SUCCESS?

Might as well just flip a coin then. Will we stay married … or won’t we? Heads you win, tails I lose. Do the math. Is it worth getting yourself in deeper debt to contractually bind you to a legal relationship that will end at some point anyway? Death or divorce, choose your weapon.

Right now the financial experts are telling us that the financial system is reaching crisis proportion. We’re being told to save as best as we can and to invest in real assets. We’re being told that the U.S. dollar as a paper currency is going to disappear; that we’re turning into a digital currency society. Experts predict, and financial trends indicate, we’re going to experience a severe credit freeze with banks. On top of all that, some of us are thinking of borrowing money to get married? Are we crazy? Are we American?

Good luck.

For those who must do it now, before it’s too late, there are sympathetic ears and advice. Blair Donovan writes for brides.com, giving some ideas about borrowing money for your wedding.

“First, assess the average loan period you are capable of in order to repay your debt on time,” Donovan writes. “Next, evaluate what the most reasonable interest rate might be. A higher interest rate may seem less daunting if your payoff period is short, as in the case of payday loans. However, if you need several months or years to pay back what you owe then a lesser interest rate may be the most sensible option to cover your wedding day expenses.” Or….

You can get married without borrowing. Have the wedding in a national forest with three witnesses, a minister, and a portable hot tub. Much less expensive without the bar tab and no room for in-laws in the tub. Or …

Forget about getting married, save the money, invest it wisely in undervalued assets, and just be friends. Dutch Treat worked great in the 90s, and it’d work just fine for the two of you heading into the Roaring 20s.

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DYING WITH DIGNITY; WHO FAILED THE ELDERLY WOMAN? THREE GIRLS? THE ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY THAT HIRED THEM? OR WAS IT US?

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It really doesn’t make any sense, but that’s just a sign of our times, right. Make jokes, flip the bird, smoke a vape pen. Feed a habit. Ignore responsibilities. Disrespect life. Who cares?

They’re just kids, though, right, so they can be easily forgiven. In this case they were responsible for a 76-year-old-woman who’d just suffered a stroke and lay dying in a Georgia hospice. Nothing to worry about, right? Third page news.

When I first read the story on Newsweek.com, it seemed so obvious where the blame for it all should fall, and of course it did with the arrests of the three young women / girls who made the video. I call them girls because that’s what they are, two 21-year-olds and a nineteen year old; lacking in development of working conscience, little if any consideration of consequences for their actions, a lack of maturity and a stunted development of sense and responsibility. Many teens suffer from these same symptoms. Adults too. It’s contagious in today’s society. It’s the way our kids are wired; breathing computer games, iPhones and chemtrails instead of life’s realities and healthy nutrition which swirls past them undetected.

So I call these three clueless young women kids because they did what kids do. Only different. Only indifferent – indifference being the operative word here, by all parties involved. Indifference manifests in many forms and in this case as childish, careless inattention that happens when kids are given too much responsibility by someone who shouldn’t be giving it to them at all. With responsibility comes a price that many senior healthcare facilities seem unwilling to pay.

SO WHAT DID THE KIDS DO?

The kids did the despicable on June 13 inside Bentley Senior Living in Northminster, Georgia. Too much responsibility for two 21-year-olds and a nineteen-year-old teen who would later be charged with exploiting an elderly and disabled person and for their dereliction of duty. The elderly woman would soon die. She had a stroke and the senior facility was waiting on a hospice nurse. It was going to be an extensive time before the hospice nurse would arrive, so it was the job of these three girls to closely monitor their patient until the hospice nurse arrived.

The dying elderly woman was said to have had difficulties swallowing and moving around, and there was a threat that she could choke or fall from her bed. That’s why the girls were there, to make sure that didn’t happen.

But the girls weren’t really concerned about responsibilities or their patient, because, well, after all, they are millenials. And sometimes millenials get bored or their ADD symptoms kick in and they just don’t have the time or attention span in their little heads to care for dying, bedridden seniors. Face it, healthcare in a senior home does not resonate at the same excitement level as iPhones, videos and Snapchat.

One of the girls decided to bring them all to life at once, and suddenly there was no more boredom. Now one of the girls was making a video and someone else was smoking a vape pen, and there were profanities and one of the girls was making obscene hand gestures into the camera. And it never occurred to their three millenial minds to do anything about the septuagenarian woman laying motionless from a stroke in the bed in the background.

When the girls were finished with their production they would post it on Snapchat labeled “The End.”

SO WHOSE FAULT IS IT ANYWAY?

It wasn’t just the girls involved in this who were culpable. Sure the girls were callous and indifferent with their duties, and they were rightfully arrested and charged with elder abuse. But my question is where were all the adults in the room when this was taking place? Who was these girls’ supervisor at the time this infamous video was being made? As the associated news articles might suggest, this is not necessarily an isolated type of incident, one where fate had these three girls gather in this room to commit this heinous deed on a one time basis only.

WHY IS THERE NO DIGNITY IN DYING?

The question here is whether there is such a thing as dignity in care giving at senior nursing homes anywhere? I want to know where the concept of dignity with dying is in relation to where America’s priorities are. Sure an employee of Bentley Senior Living discovered the video a couple days after the incident and the police were notified, but what if that employee hadn’t seen the video on Snapchat? There was going to be no dignity in dying for this 76-year-old woman either way. Could this have been avoided?

Did anyone really do the research to see who these girls were before they were hired to care for dying, bedridden senior citizens? Did these girls have any experience in caring for the elderly? Did any of them produce passports when they applied for their jobs?

COULD ONE OF THEM HAVE BEEN AN ILLEGAL?

One of the girls might have been in the country illegally. This creates a whole new series of issues when it comes to home and healthcare for the elderly. How can we hire people we can trust to care for our elderly when we don’t even know where they come from?

An article on onlineathens.com reports that the two twenty-one-year-olds were released on bond after their arrests and the teenager was reportedly still being held for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Why would Immigration and Customs hold a perfectly legal woman? Was the nineteen-year-old in this country illegally? If not, then why the immigration hold?

BENTLEY SENIOR LIVING SAYS THEY ONLY HIRE LEGALS

There have been no claims that the three girls or Bentley Senior Living had anything to do with the cause of the elderly woman’s death. According to NBC affiliate 11alive.com, Bentley Senior Living at Northminster delivered a statement claiming that no resident’s condition was compromised as a result of this “unfortunate event.”

Bentley Senior Living says that all employees must produce the required documentation that proves they are either U.S. citizens or legally permitted to work in the United States – which the three girls did. “We do not hire illegal immigrants,” the Bentley Senior Living statement reads. “An ICE detention does not mean an individual was working illegally.”

Then what does it mean? The two girls without ICE detentions are out on bail. Either way this is only one instance of abuse that happened to get caught on camera. There was no disputing the evidence in this case, and there may have been other types of incidents. The 11alive.com article quotes Jefferson Police Detective Jay Parker as saying police have been called to the facility prior to this instance, but never for anything as serious.

OUR SENIOR CITIZENS DESERVE BETTER

The bottom line is our senior citizens deserve much better than what they’re getting, and their lives depend on it. Dying with dignity is an important act with spiritual significance. We all deserve respect from those who care for us. This case of the three girls is evidence of abuse against a fragile segment of our society. The sad part is we know these kinds of events run undisclosed in the many corners of the elderly healthcare world. We have a greatly aging population merging into a society that has no true infrastructure in place to adequately care for them or the financial resources to hire the qualified people to run it.

Seniors in the private sector and senior military veterans are aging at a time when America does not put her resources toward their benefit or improvement of the quality of their last days alive. The entire healthcare system, including basically all of Western medicine, the governments that oversee healthcare, and the pharmaceutical complex, are all involved and intermingled and they won’t change their model of practice until we change them.

The aspect the article of the three girls brings up at its core is about the money being spent to hire competent caretakers at for-profit elderly care facilities to care for aging senior citizens in a dignified and appropriate manner. These issues will ultimately have to be addressed by those who represent the elderly and our military veterans. It takes money to hire better and more highly qualified people to care for our elderly. Hopefully this article will help bring needed attention to these serious issues.

Our legacy as a generation and as a nation will be measured by how much humanity we express toward the vulnerable segments of our population. Resourceful healthcare for our elderly and veterans must be a number one priority in all our communities.

Senior citizens are amongst our wisest and most valuable resources. There is so much wisdom and insight we can gain from them if only we take the time to listen. Their voices are soft. Listen closely. Give peace a chance. Make putting profits in shareholders’ pockets by sedating our elderly a secondary factor to providing better quality of life to our growing, aging population. This will only come through major changes to our healthcare paradigm and how much we pay whom to take care of our elderly. The old axiom that you get what you pay for has never been clearer. Just ask the three girls we put in charge.

 

LET’S MAKE THIS PERFECTLY CLEAR, SACHA BARON COHEN, MOCKING HANDICAPPED U.S. VETERANS IS A NO-GO

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Let’s make this perfectly clear. Don’t disrespect America, especially if you live or work here. And if you do live or work here, never disrespect an American Veteran of Foreign Wars, handicapped or otherwise. It’s uncool, it’s uncalled for. And it might be illegal. Instead maybe we could spend more of our energies on rebuilding America, not destroying what we truly stand for.

I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in life. There’s no question I’ve worked hard to get this far, to survive – just one look at the wear and tear of soul etched into the lines of my face will tell you that – but I do recognize how fortunate I am to live in the greatest country on this planet, ever, right now.

History proves me correct on this bold assertion. America – and we have had our share of crooked elements in state-sponsored corruption, malfeasance, terrorism, and outright evil – stands for greatness because Americans are good at heart and we try to get it right. We try to make a positive difference. We are spiritual by nature and inspired by God. But we get misguided sometimes. The programming elements of a dying empire can misguide you.

Although I’ve never approved of the Banker’s Wars which have basically been nonstop across the world during my lifetime, I have always appreciated the men and women who have sacrificed so much of themselves and their families while working for our military overseas. Some argue that Veterans of Foreign Wars may have been guided into a false sense of truth behind what they were fighting for, but each one of them fought for what they believed was our freedom. Our freedom as a people, as sovereign individuals, was and still is at the heart of what young men and women commit to when they join the service. And I feel free thanks to that value displayed by American Veterans.

Many American Veterans, and Veterans from every other country that has fought in the endless series of bloody Bankers’ Wars, have suffered tremendously. They are rejected by the society from where they come. They are abused and neglected by the healthcare systems that care for the people they fight to protect.

American Veterans have taken a particularly severe beating under Obama, and other previous administrations, and only now is the American Veterans Administration beginning to look at itself in a deeper more transparent way; to reflect how badly it has failed and literally tortured America’s military heroes — and what needs to be done to change it. To drug our aging Veterans into compliance until death do us part is no way to treat with dignity anyone – especially those who serve our country in our name.

I see our Veterans every day, some as clients, others as the tortured faces of the homeless on our streets, bus benches, and even our jails. This is because our government has failed to provide American Veterans with the adequate housing and healthcare they require to deal with the plethora of serious physical and mental issues they have come home with. And now I gotta read this crap?

Sure, we’re talking Sarah Palin here, and she’s never been one of America’s trusted daughters, having previously aligned herself in a run for the White House with none other than former Hanoi Hilton songbird and dying GOP Arizona Senator John McCain. But Palin now represents herself as having been a pawn to the reprehensible and disrespectful actions toward handicapped American Veterans by CBS / Showtime and one not so funny British comedian who calls himself Sacha Baron Cohen.

SARAH PALIN VERSUS SHOWTIME VERSUS HANDICAPPED U.S. VETERANS

In a post on her Facebook page that has garnered national media attention, Sarah Palin writes of a recent experience where she was contacted by a speaker’s bureau regarding what she believed would be an opportunity to honor American Vets and contribute to a “legit Showtime historical documentary”.

Palin apparently bit hard as she and her daughter were asked to fly across country for an interview regarding what Palin believed would be a “thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform.” Instead, the former Alaskan governor found herself sitting through what she describes as a long “interview” full of “Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm”.

Palin writes, “The disrespect of our US military and middleclass Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.” Palin removed her mic and walked out disgustedly before the interview was complete.

MATT DRUDGE DOESN’T LIKE COHEN’S ACT EITHER

American political commentator Matt Drudge doesn’t appreciate Cohen’s act either. In an article in thehill.com Drudge warns “Sacha Baron Cohen at it again.” On July 9th Drudge Tweeted: “This time for CBS / SHOWTIME. Lots of tricks played.”

The creator and editor of the Drudge Report rightfully maligns Cohen for his insensitive actions, but why does it have to come down to this? Why does “Borat” and Showtime have to continue to dishonor American Vets in a humorless, classless guise, hidden under a handicapped Veteran’s blanket and the American flag? Isn’t Cohen British anyway? He doesn’t even belong here. If anything maybe Sarah Palin’s admission to having been duped by a boorish British performer who has a history of denigrating Americans in his works, could be used to shine a light on what is really a very serious matter, and that is the respectful taking care of our handicapped American Vets with dignity.

Sgt. Joey Jones, a double amputee American Veteran doesn’t play that game either. Sgt. Jones offered a solution to FOX Business Network on Wednesday July, 11th. Jones believes what Sacha Baron Cohen has done might be illegal and the actor may have opened himself up for prosecution.

On YouTube Sgt. Jones says: “We have a Stolen Valor Act of 2013 that says you can’t take medals, honors and basically the stories of the heroes of this country and use them to benefit yourself in a tangible way. So at this point if this interview is used on Showtime I think there is an argument that any dollar made off of advertisement violates the Stolen Valor Act.”

I would like to imagine Sgt. Jones to be correct on all counts. I would like to see Showtime display the classless Sacha Baron Cohen as a disabled Vet and the show make tons of advertising dollars for its left-leaning defeatist commentators. And then I want to see some organization representing American Veterans sue the sh*t out of Cohen and Showtime under the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, beat them in court, win punitive damages, and have all proceeds go to housing and healthcare for our senior Veterans.

 

LAWMAKERS DEMAND DAMAGING SECRET VA NURSING HOME DATA BE RELEASED TO PUBLIC

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Darkness is coming to the surface for senior healthcare. In this instance it’s the Veteran’s Administration, where VA internal quality data documents that were obtained in a USA TODAY/The Boston Globe investigation reveal for the first time that VA nursing homes performed worse on average than private nursing homes on a majority of key measures, including:

  • Reported pain in the last five days
  • Received anti-psychotic medicine, which the FDA has associated with an increased risk of death in elderly dementia patients
  • Experienced marked decrease in abilities to perform daily activities like bathing, eating, and using the bathroom
  • Had a catheter left in their bladder, which can lead to urinary or blood infections and other complications
  • High-risk residents with serious bed sores, which may be prevented by repositioning/cushioning

As a result, several members of Congress have demanded that the Department of Veterans Affairs release a full complement of nursing home data that the agency has kept hidden from public scrutiny for many years.

Donovan Slack of USA TODAY and Andrea Estes of The Boston Globe write at bostonglobe.com that the VA pushed back by downplaying the contrary findings and calling the story “fake news”.

Yet to be released data includes the VA’s underlying quality data, such as rates of infection and injury. Several lawmakers have called for the release of the information immediately.

In a June 18, 2018 article at usatoday.com Slack and Estes describe one of the worst ranked VA nursing homes in the U.S., a place where American veterans are sent by family members in belief they would receive more specialized care, only to find they’ve been turned into “zombies” through the administration of too many anti-psychotic drugs accompanied by too little personal care.

The agency has tracked detailed quality statistics on its nursing homes for years but has kept them from public view, depriving veterans of potentially crucial health care information, the article says.

VA officials argued that the VA nursing home system, overall, “compares closely” with private nursing homes despite caring for typically sicker residents.

The VA’s hospitals have drawn intense criticism for repeated scandals involving health care in recent years, including preventable deaths, but the agency largely has operated its nursing homes with scant public scrutiny.

Internally the agency has long monitored care at its nursing facilities through quality indicators and unannounced inspections and, since 2016, through star rankings based on the indicators. Until now, the USA TODAY article says, it has kept all of these quality measures from the public eye.

Under federal regulations, private nursing homes are required to disclose voluminous data on the care they provide. The federal government uses the data to calculate quality measures and posts them on a federal website, along with inspection results and staffing information. The regulations do not apply to the VA. This information is not available to the public who are in the market looking for veteran’s homes.

But darkness is turning to light. The USA TODAY/The Boston Globe article quotes VA press secretary Curt Cashour as blaming the Obama administration for resisting making quality data public. “But under President Trump’s leadership,” the articles quotes Cashour from a June 12, 2018 statement,” transparency and accountability have become hallmarks of VA.”

Both the Republican-led House and Senate VA committees requested briefings from VA officials following the damning report. Transparency and accountability is what’s coming to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, then the “fake news” won’t matter.

VICTORY FOR THE RIGHTEOUS IS JUDGMENT FOR THE WICKED

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According to a prophet, author, and former fireman, we’ve got a great future ahead of us here in America, and we’ve got to recognize it and work hard to make it happen for everyone. For twenty years Mark Taylor was a first responder in Orlando, Florida, where he witnessed up close and personal all the horrors a fireman could ever imagine. Then his world took a giant leap into the unfathomable when he authored the popular book, “The Trump Prophecies”, where he told us Donald Trump would win the White House along with the first GOP primary. Trump became President and Mark Taylor instantly became part myth and a part of our modern historical narrative.

In an interview with Greg Hunter at USAwatchdog.com, the former firefighter said that he gets all his information and prophecies from God the Father. This allows Taylor to champion causes like for firefighters everywhere, of whom he says PTSD, anxiety, and depression run deep. He says their suicide rate rivals that of military and law enforcement personnel.

And if you’ve been reading the news lately, you know that many top Obama government officials were involved in framing Donald Trump in an effort to remove him from office, while exonerating Hillary Clinton of serious crimes. Taylor predicts Obama is going to end up in prison for treason as a result thereof. There are many in this country who might agree. Taylor also says Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch, among many others, are going to jail.

Taylor warns us that these people are not going to go quietly, however, and civil unrest is going to ensue. We’ve already seen examples of this taking place in one form or another practically everyday in our depressing mainstream media. We need to be praying against and prepare for the civil unrest, Mark Taylor says. We need to protect our loved ones and our communities.

TRUMP PROPHECIES TURNED INTO A MOVIE

The Trump Prophecies has been turned into a movie. It will be released for two dates only, October 2nd and 4th. The former firefighter turned author calls this a positive movie with a positive outcome. The positive outcome is Trump becoming president. When asked, Taylor says Brad Pitt will not be playing him in the movie.

The former first responder is humbled that God chose him to be the one to deliver awesome messages like these. He is just a “vessel” or a “tool” through which God speaks, he says, and he takes no credit for any of it.

Mark Taylor hopes the movie, the book, and their prophetic words will open up the eyes and ears of people. He wants to bring people hope. “We live in a society that robs people of hope” the prophetic Taylor says, “and when you rob people of hope you rob them of the will to fight. But if you have hope, there is something to fight for.” We definitely have plenty to fight for.

FEAR NOT

In the past Mark Taylor has also predicted that the U.S. dollar would get stronger and the economy would improve, and by all indications he appears to be correct on both accounts. There’s still much work ahead for us but America seemingly is once again on the right economic track. We’ve had major tax cuts, there are regulation cuts, and people are pouring money back into America. The U.S. dollar is being repatriated. Trump is battling the international trade deficits and unconscionable foreign tariffs that have plagued our economy for years.

“We are living in some of the most dynamic times in the history of mankind right now,” Taylor says. “The Luciferian Reign is coming to an end. All the corruption is being exposed.”

The modern day prophet believes America is about to have her harvest. America has never had her harvest.

“America is going to receive its harvest, now,” says Mark Taylor. “Because there’s sowing time, there’s reaping time … America has got to have her harvest because America is going to be the hub from which the End Time spiritual assault will be launched. Like England was the hub from which the D Day assault was launched, America will be the hub by which the spiritual assault will be launched.”

And things are only going to get better for all of us, in time. “We’re going to have money, we’re going to have manpower,” Taylor says. “We’re going to have clothing, food … it’s going to be a time of prosperity for America. We’re going to reap 7-fold what has been stolen from America for decades from all these other countries.”

We are going to get what’s coming to us? We are going to see very prosperous times? Here in America? Pinch me when this dream is over. Prosperity in America for all of us would be something I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

There’s no reason to feel guilty about any of it either. Taylor says we as Americans are not being judged, it’s the system we live in. “The wicked are under judgment,” the author says. “Victory for the righteous is judgment on the wicked.”

Happy 4th of July America!!!

WHO WILL HOLD YOUR ASSETS WHEN YOU DIE?

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Are the central banks of the world all failing at the same time? Will I live long enough to care? If I die before I care, who will hold my assets?

Today’s everything bubble is global in scale and affects every financial market and banking institution. On a global level, outstanding personal, business, and government debt has approached a whopping $240 trillion. That’s more than 300% of global GDP. That’s a bubble that central banks are going to be unable to borrow their way out of.

There are no knights in shining armor on the horizon who are coming to the rescue, and central banks are basically helpless to do anything about it. Everyone’s out for themselves. They don’t really have time to think about us. With interest rates near zero in real terms and loaded up balance sheets, central banks essentially have no ammunition to fight with.

There is little room on a fiscal front either. According to Peter Diekmeyer at sprottmoney.com, U.S. public sector spending already exceeds 60%. Any further spending increases would come from wealth extraction from the productive areas of the economy. This in turn would crimp productivity even further.

Diekmeyer writes that China, which bailed out the world by borrowing tens of trillions of dollars following the 2008 financial crisis to stimulate demand, is also tapped out. If you’re an American, and you love misery, move over, because there’s plenty of company. Japan and Europe appear to be even worse off than we are.

DO AMERICAN BANKS HAVE BLACK HOLES TO FILL?

One of my clients who works in financial services and is of European descent recently told me that most of the banks in Europe have gone insolvent. She said she was trying to help take care of a friend’s deceased mother’s estate when she learned that legally it appears European banks have the right to borrow a client’s funds for as long as they like for the purpose of filling “Black Holes” in the banks coffers. My first question was why would the European banks have “Black holes” that need to be filled? Isn’t that when it’s time for the institution to dissolve due to insolvency? Where’s the suspect government when we need them?

“Barclays has a 30-billion Sterling ‘Black Hole,'” my client said. RBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland, has a “4-billion ‘Black Hole'”. Deutsche Bank is “awash with over-valued derivatives,” I was told. And the list of failing interconnected European banks goes on and on, and it doesn’t end there.

Santander and BBVA are said to be disposing of their South American and Central American holdings, while National Westminster is now only interested in mortgages, car loans, student loans, and the like. Many of the banks are under the control of the European Central Banks (ECB), and they cannot do anything without ECB permission. I was told the European banking system is in a “bloody mess” and only getting worse. It’s like a “fever”, with the position of European banks being “terminal illness.” My client could have been talking about the American banking system as well.

Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge agrees with my client. Global banks are tumbling. Durden recently reported that the stock process of 16 of the most “Systemically Important Financial Institutions” (SIFIs) in the world are now in bear market territory (down by 20% or more from their recent highs in dollar terms).

The 16 SIFIs considered to be in “bear market territory” are listed as: Deutsche Bank, ICBC, Prudential Financial, Credit Suisse, Bank of China, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Nordea, UniCredit Agricole, ING, Santander, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, UBS, Agricultural Bank of China, and AXA.

DO JAPANESE BANKS HAVE BLACK HOLES TO FILL?

The infection appears to be systemic in global banking. Maybe “Black holes” are contagious. The Japanese banking business model is experiencing changes that reflect the same financial issues facing their “Western” global financial brethren. In this instance we’ll be nice and say the problem with Japanese banks is that they’re having liquidity problems. That’s because the little liquidity they do have, outside of their debt, is flowing dither and yonder. That’s why they’re working hard to keep a hold of the more than $460 billion in wealth that is left by their customers each year when they die.

In an article entitled, Japan’s Banks Want to Keep Hold of Dead Customers’ Savings, authors Yuki Hagiwara, Gareth Allan, and Takako Taniguchi write that more people are dying annually in Japan which results in smaller banks struggling to keep their capital fluid. Not only are the banks losing their customers they are losing their customers’ savings – which hurts even more – as heirs migrate to larger cities where the biggest lenders hold banking interests.

It is estimated that regional banks lose 60% of the funds that are subject to inheritance. Coupled with the fact that one quarter of the Japanese population is over 65 years of age, local Japanese banks are turning to trusts to secure the next generation of clients and their deposits. The banks are selling what are called “testamentary substitute trusts”, an inheritance device that helps to quickly unlock funds when an estate holder dies. This business model also sets up the banks to develop relationships with the heirs of the trusts they create.

The problem with some of the bigger Japanese central banks is that many of the dying elderly live near or around bigger cities like Tokyo, and when the customers die, their children take their inheritances with them – away from the major financial centers. The Bloomberg article cites a Capgemini Financial Services Analysis from 2017 which says that the assets of wealthy Japanese have grown to $7 trillion. The Japanese central banks do not want to lose this money. There are “Black holes” to be filled, bank operations to be covered.

These testamentary trusts began about ten years ago and they have grown in popularity. The trusts are set up to offer heirs immediate expenses to cover funeral costs, and estate holders can choose to leave lump sums in the trust or have their funds distributed gradually over time. We decided to take ours all in one lump sum, right now, please, thank you.

IS HOLDING DEAD CUSTOMERS’ SAVINGS THE SOLUTION?

Retaining inheritance assets helps banks reduce their dependence on income that’s eroding as Japan’s rock-bottom interest rates squeeze margins, the Bloomberg article says. Banks have been urged to find other ways to build a sustainable business model, and holding on to dead customers’ savings appears to be a part of that new model.

Succession is good business for regional banks in Japan and elsewhere in a financially stagnant world. The Japanese financial industry says demand for testamentary trusts increases when a population ages, and banks can earn fees by selling them. This kind of financial pattern and worse acts as fate for much of our aging population. The big guys are squeezing what little margin the little guys have left. And the big guys are going after other big guys’ margins as well. There’s little margin left to be squeezed, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and the aging population is caught in between.

The amount of financial assets passed on to successors is expected to grow because the number of citizens that are expected to die will increase over the next two decades. Many of those estates are large. Japan has many millionaires who are getting old. So does the United States. One can only wonder if banks in the U.S. have begun targeting the aging population to see who has what funds, and how best to retain them once their clients pass? And what happens if we as heirs to our aging parents do form a trust with a regional bank, and then the bank goes belly-up? Where we deposit our paychecks on Friday and no one at the bank shows up Monday for work, when we need some of our cash back? What happens to our testamentary trusts then? Who will be protecting my financial interests when I’m gone?

AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS HELP MILITARY VETERANS WITH HEALTH AND HOMECARE COSTS

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Major issues are taking place around the world directly impacting our finances, which seem to be at the center of all things. Finances, aging, and health care. At our age what else is there?

If you’re a senior citizen then you know what I’m talking about. Creaky joints and forgetful episodes are the least of our problems. Health and homecare have become major issues to our population that continues to grow older. Where are we going to live? and who’s going to help us when tying our own shoelaces becomes a thing of the past? become big questions. How will we be able to take care of our physical and mental maladies when we can no longer afford to care for ourselves?

Many of us have to face these and similar health and home related issues head on every day, beginning as soon as we try getting up in the morning. Many aging military veterans dealing with real life home, homeless, and health issues seem to have it even tougher than the average citizen. Veterans return from distant wars having been exposed to many unhealthy toxins only to find inadequate healthcare awaits them. Many physical and mental challenges to deal with, yet our veterans have seemingly few healthy medical or homecare options available at home. If our veterans don’t end up sick and dying, they age. Like we all do. And we’re all aging at the same time in record numbers right now.

Senior veterans need to be aware that there is help available from the government and it’s called Aid and Attendance. Veterans can obtain benefits that can be applied to costs of a senior living community. But most vets and many senior living communities seem to be unaware of this benefit. Pass this information along.

If you’re a wartime veteran, or a surviving spouse of a wartime veteran, and you’re 65 years or older, you may be entitled to a tax-free benefit called Aid and Attendance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The benefit is designed to provide financial aid to help offset the cost of long-term care for those who need assistance with the daily activities of living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring.

PAID IN ADDITION TO A VETERAN’S BASIC PENSION

Aid and Attendance is a benefit paid by Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans, veteran spouses or surviving spouses, and it is paid in addition to a veteran’s basic pension. According to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform the benefit may not be paid without eligibility to a VA basic pension.

A pension is a benefit that the VA pays to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are at least 65 years old or, if under 65, are permanently or completely disabled. There are also “Death Pensions,” according to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which are needs based for a surviving spouse of a deceased wartime veteran who has not remarried.

Aid and Attendance is for applicants who need financial help for in-home care, to pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home. It is a non-service connected disability benefit, meaning the disability does not have to be a result of service. You cannot receive non-service and service-connected compensation at the same time.

Canhr.org also lists the service requirements for Aid and Attendance benefits. A veteran or the veteran’s surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran: Was discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable AND Served 90 days of continuous military service (active duty), with at least one day during the following wartime periods (did not have to serve in combat):   World War I: April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918; World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946; Korean War: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955; Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975; Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be set by Presidential Proclamation or Law.

If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty, with certain exceptions.

MEDICAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS

In listing the medical qualifications for Aid and Attendance benefits, veteranaid.org says a wartime veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking care of the needs of nature, etc. Blind individuals, patients in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity, or residents in an assisted living facility also qualify. Any application will require medical evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket expenses.

Veteranaid.org says financial qualifications must have an average of less than $80,000 in assets, excluding their home and vehicles.

A veteran can receive up to $2,846 monthly with the Aid and Attendance benefit, says americanveteransaid.com. The Website provides a Benefit Table that lists qualifying benefits as such:

Status                                                  Monthly Benefit Amount

  • Surviving Spouse                                       $1,176
  • Single Veteran                                            $1,830
  • Married Veteran                                        $2,169
  • Two Vets Married                                      $2,903

Aid and Attendance benefits are tax free.

MORE VETERAN AID IS ON THE WAY

Steven Monroe says there are other organizations helping seniors and American veterans as well. Monroe, writing for the SeniorCare Investor at senoircare.levinassociates.com, cites Luke’s Wings, which provides air travel for families to visit vets in the hospital, or in the case of seniors, when they are in hospice care.

Militaryoneclick.com – which connects caregivers of U.S. veterans with the essential resources needed to strengthen the family support foundation; American Freedom Foundation – supports veterans helping to empower and enable them to lead confident and productive lives; Fisher House Foundation – provides a “home away from home” for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization; Homes for Heroes Foundation – coordinates financial assistance and housing resources to the Heroes of our nation such as Military personnel, Police/Peace Officers, Firefighters and First Responders who are in need; Hope for The Warriors – helps enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service member, their families, and the families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.

I encourage all military veterans to keep searching for available resources for your home and health needs. There are many people out there who care about what you’re going through. More help is on the way. Positive changes are being made within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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