Surgeon's bulletin board

September 28, 2007
Surgical Rounds®, September 2007, Volume 0, Issue 0

Bulletin Board topics cover filing small insurance claims, preferred stocks, email fraud, and more.

• Five great places to retire

For those looking to sell their homes and retire in another state, Bottomline magazine recommends five locations based on their strong medical facilities, great culture, and reasonable home prices. In no particular order, the list includes Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has a median home price of $200,000, sunshine 310 days a year, and features a revitalized downtown, with upscale shopping and cafes. Jacksonville, Florida, also made the list. This community, with its diverse economy, has a median home price of $200,000, and cultural activities and attractions abound. Oxford, Mississippi, a town with a mild climate and old-fashioned Southern charm, is also highly rated. The affordable median home price is $160,000, and the town has strong literary underpinnings. Austin, Texas, is also on the list, and, contrary to what you might expect, the landscape is green?not sunbaked. Austin has a great live music scene, excellent medical facilities, and a low median home price of $175,500. Finally, for those who can brave cold winters, Ithaca, New York, features great natural beauty, a median home price of $216,000, and excellent shops, restaurants, theaters, and medical facilities.

• Filing small claims can have big repercussions

Kiplinger's

Kiplinger's

Filing too many claims with your insurance company, regardless of how small, could result in your insurance carrier dropping you. The negative repercussions of being dropped by an insurance carrier could resonate for as long as 5 years, and you may find yourself unable to secure a new policy. reveals that insurance companies share claims information with one another through the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange database, which tracks your claim history for 5 years. Claims cost insurers a bundle in administrative expenses, which is why even a small one sometimes leads to a cancellation notice. Companies are especially wary of water-related claims, because they could suggest additional damage in the future and indicate poor home maintenance. recommends that if damages total just a few hundred dollars more than your deductible, it may be less expensive and cause less long-term grief to cover your own repair costs. Also, increasing your deductible to at least $1,000 can reduce premiums by as much as 25%, while simultaneously discouraging you from filing small claims.

• Preferred stocks have advantages

BusinessWeek

Preferred stocks are an investment vehicle that may make sense for surgeons who want a relatively stable place to park their money in an uncertain market. Like common stocks, preferred stocks represent partial ownership in a company, but dividends are paid to preferred stockholders before they are paid to common stockholders, and preferred stocks take precedence over common stocks in the event of liquidation. These securities trade like regular stocks and pay income like bonds, but they offer higher yields than bonds of comparable qualities. Purchased mainly by long-term investors, preferred stocks' big benefit is their 15% maximum dividend tax versus the 35% maximum tax on conventional bonds. advises that before buying, you determine whether the stock is cumulative, in which case the company must make good on missed dividends, versus noncumulative, which has no such requirement. For additional information on how to evaluate preferred stocks, visit QuantumOnline.com or Preferreds Online at www.epreferreds.com.

• Did you know...

Time

$16 billion?Cumulative profits of the 10 largest US credit-card issuers in 2005. (, 2006)

Time

18%?Percentage of fewer collisions occurring in Las Vegas during the 8 months following teen-driving restrictions in 2006. (, 2006)

Barron's

51%?Percentage of households expecting to receive a pension. (, 2007)

42%?Percentage of consumers concerned about not having enough money for retirement. (Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index Survey, 2007)

28%?Percentage of consumers who worry about not being able to maintain the standard of living they currently enjoy. (Experian-Gallup Personal Credit Index Survey, 2007)

Brightwork Partners

42%?Percentage of nonretired American adults who expect to lessen the extravagance of their lifestyle in retirement. (, 2007)

40%?Percentage of workers (or their spouses) who have employer-provided defined benefit plans.(AARP, 2007)

$13,000?Average annual cost, including tuition, room, and board, of a four-year public college. (College Board, 2007)

$30,000?Average annual cost, including tuition, room, and board, of a private institution. (College Board, 2007)

Newsweek

$2.459 trillion?Total US consumer credit (revolving and nonrevolving). (, 2007)

BusinessWeek

20 billion?Estimated number of songs illegally downloaded or exchanged in 2005. (, 2006)

• Dating Your Money

Dating Your Money

Dating Your Money

A survey by the National Center for Women and Retirement Research (NCWRR) found that only one in four women respondents considered saving and investing for retirement a top priority. In (ESP Press; 2006), author Jennifer S. Wilkov, CFP? combats this scary statistic by designing a practical system to help women get in touch with their financial situation. Taking a fun approach to money, Wilkov compares financial planning to a romantic relationship, breaking money matters down like a session in couples' therapy. Wilkov outlines eight steps, broken down by chapter, to creating a positive relationship with money: Building a Relationship; Making a Commitment to Manage Your Cash; Keeping a Commitment; Communicating and Connecting with Your Money; Organizing Your Money, Dating Your Money; Take a Money Time-out; and Embracing Change. The book includes practical tips, exercises, and a Money Mood Meter to keep in your wallet or checkbook. The Money Mood Meter is a tool for determining whether that impulse purchase is really needed or if it's an emotional response to an outside influence, eg, you're angry at your husband. asks readers to examine their history with money, offers ideas on changing their approach to money, and guides them in keeping their relationship with money healthy and prosperous. Additional information on the book can be found at www.DatingYourMoney.com.

• E-mail fraud still perking along

If you use e-mail, it is likely you have received an unsolicited message ostensibly from a Nigerian official who needs your financial help to move large sums of money out of Africa. This is known officially as the ?Nigerian 419? scam, after a section of the Nigerian criminal code that addresses Internet fraud. In the past 10 years, thousands of people collectively have lost millions of dollars to 419-type scams. These 419 scams trap people from all walks of life and with all degrees of financial savvy. Apparently, greed or a penchant for risk-taking inhibits the brain's circuitry for rational thought. The FBI warns people not to reply to any e-mail from Nigeria that asks for personal or banking information or to place large sums of money in overseas bank accounts. Anyone you know who is contemplating or involved in such a transaction should be encouraged to contact the FBI or Secret Service immediately. For more information, visit the University of Pennsylvania's 419-scam information page at www.upenn.edu/computing/security/advisories/419scam.html.