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Media ignores Democratic infighting, abandonment of Obama. My primary care doctor received the report asap and ordered blood work asap. You need to report income changes to avoid under- or overpaying on your premiums throughout the year. And once the Web site starts working right, they will realize they can get better plans anyway. Sassan Khalaj This year the state gave them a special program for diabetics and cardiac patients; complain there too.
However, some insurers offer more or different options outside the exchange. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation said that a number of insurers have requested double-digit premium increases for Based on initial filings, the change in benchmark silver premiums will likely range from -5 to 49 percent across 21 major cities.
These rates are still being reviewed by regulators and may change, the analysis said. With rapidly rising costs, enrollees without subsidies may want to consider the lower-cost bronze plans to see if they meet their health insurance needs. Understanding basic health insurance terminology can help you make a more informed decision about your options.
Here are common terms you should know. This credit can be taken in advance to offset your monthly premium costs. The subsidy is based on your estimated income and can be taken directly from your insurer when you apply for coverage. You must repay credits if you qualify for a smaller subsidy once taxes have been filed. You can learn more about repayment limitations here. This program was designed to provide coverage to uninsured children who are low-income but above the cutoff for Medicaid eligibility.
The federal government has established basic guidelines, but eligibility and the scope of care and services are determined at the state level. Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you purchase an insurance policy through the health care exchange. Your share of the costs of a covered health care service. This is the percentage you must pay out of pocket after you have met your annual deductible.
You pay a specific coinsurance amount until you meet your out-of-pocket maximum. If you earn between percent of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for additional savings. This extra savings reduces your out-of-pocket maximum, and it offers assistance with copays and coinsurance. There is ambiguity surrounding whether or not Congress and the White House will appropriate funds for the cost sharing subsidies.
In October, President Trump used an executive order to cut off funding for the subsidies. However, the Affordable Care Act still requires that health insurers must issue them to all people earning percent of the federal poverty line.
As a result of this Trump executive order, many insurers raised premiums for silver plans. The premium increases will not affect the prices that people with subsidies will pay, but they will affect the prices you pay if you do not qualify for a subsidy.
Until the Affordable Care Act or the cost sharing subsidies are repealed, insurers will continue to pay cost reduction subsidies in A fixed amount you pay for a covered medical service, typically when you receive the service or prescription.
The amount you pay for covered health services before your insurer begins to cover part of your costs. These plans focus on integrated care and focus on prevention. Usually, coverage is limited to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. Health Savings Accounts HSAs allow you to save and invest money for current or future medical expenses.
You do not have to pay any taxes on money you contribute to an HSA, and you can withdraw the money tax- and penalty-free if you use the funds for a qualified medical expense. You can only contribute to an HSA if your insurance meets the standards for a high-deductible insurance plan.
If you shop for insurance through Healthcare. The out-of-pocket maximums required by the IRS do not line up with Affordable Care Act maximums, so many plans with high deductibles will not allow you to contribute to an HSA. Not everybody will have an opportunity to purchase a subsidized HSA-compatible health insurance plan. If you can afford to purchase health insurance and choose not to, you will be charged an individual shared responsibility payment, in the form of a tax penalty.
There are a few qualified exemptions , outlined in the guide above, that allow you to avoid the fine. For example, if your employer-sponsored health plan costs more than 8.
The fine for has not yet been released , and Congress has considered removing the individual mandate requirement for If it is removed, we will update this piece with the required information. A joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income households, some pregnant women, some elderly Americans and people with disabilities.
Medicaid provides a broad level of coverage including preventive care and hospital visits. Obamacare gives each state the choice to expand Medicaid coverage to people earning less than percent of the federal poverty line.
The primary goal of the ACA is reducing the number of uninsured people through both Medicaid and the health insurance marketplace. Open enrollment for Medicare, which started Oct. You can learn more about Medicare plans from the Medicare Plan Finder. The highest amount you will pay for covered services in a year. You need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist. You may use out-of-network doctors, specialists or hospitals without a referral.
However, there is an additional cost. All health insurance plans purchased through the health care exchange cover some preventive care benefits without additional costs to you. These benefits include wellness visits, vaccines, contraception and more.
Most insurance plans have preferred pricing with a group of health care providers with whom they have contracted to provide services to members. The federal subsidy for health insurance that helps eligible individuals or families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through a health insurance marketplace.
The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.
Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here. Shen Lu is a personal finance reporter at MagnifyMoney. Her work examines the intersection of politics and consumer finance. She frequently writes about financial challenges that women face. Shen Lu recieved her master's degree in journalism with a focus on business and economics reporting from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
In fact, health care experts urge consumers who will be shopping for individual plans to act sooner rather than later. Not only is the window for shopping on the federal marketplace narrower this time around, but planned maintenance periods will further reduce the number of days that HealthCare.
Here is what you should expect from the coming open-enrollment period for coverage under the act, also known as Obamacare. The open-enrollment period extends from Nov. The period is half as long as it was last year. Existing enrollees who miss the enrollment deadline will either be automatically enrolled in their existing health plans, or l be put into a comparable plan if their existing plan is no longer available.
Further reducing the amount of time consumers will have to enroll in plans, the U. Consumers who live in states that run their own health care exchange websites might catch a break. Many of the 12 states, such as Colorado and Minnesota, have extended the enrollment window. If your insurer has exited the marketplace, you should have been notified by now, Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said at an October news briefing.
Pollitz urged consumers who will have to switch plans to go to the marketplace to check and compare other plans as soon as Obamacare open enrollment starts. The slashed budgets have led states to cut back on hiring health care navigators, which could lead to more confusion, experts say. Some states like Ohio have shut down their navigator program completely.
Use this tool from HealthCare. If not, you can:. Experts are concerned that the pullback on advertising grants, especially on TV promotions to get people signed up, will cause a drop in enrollment. This happened at the end of open enrollment this past January when marketing ads were canceled by the new administration, according to Pollitz. While the enrollment procedure remains largely unchanged this year, there are a few new rules experts say are worth your attention:.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ruled back in the summer that during the coverage year, insurers are allowed to deny enrollment for customers who missed payments in This change will affect those who signed up for health care after the new rule took effect on June 17 and then missed a payment. Insurers have an option to not to adopt the policy, and states can also prohibit the practice. Pollitz said If you missed payment in that window, you can repay your premium debt to the insurer before the end of the coming open enrollment, or you can sign up for a coverage under a different company.
Consumers who got premium tax credits in but have not yet filed a federal income tax return with Form the form allows filers to calculate their tax credits and reconcile their credit amount this year will be denied premium tax credits next year. She advised that if you are denied tax credits, you have to figure out that this is the reason and then file an amended return with Form to receive premium subsidies in Consumers in 31 states and Washington D.
You can apply through the marketplace to find out whether you are eligible for tax credits or Medicaid. The penalty for not having coverage is the same as it is this year. The fee is calculated as a percentage of your household income or as a fixed amount per person. And if your plan has changed, you will be automatically assigned a plan. But experts strongly recommend you not rely on auto-renewal this year because algorithms may not get you the best plan for with all the subsidies changes.
What you should do is to log into your account, carefully review all the plan choices and costs and select a plan for Unable to successfully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ACA , the Trump administration has begun peeling back some elements of the legislation in recent weeks.
In mid-October, President Trump announced he would yank key federal subsidies offered to insurers that were used to offer copay and deductible discounts to low-income consumers. Soon after Trump moved to pull the insurance subsidies, two senators struck a bipartisan deal to fund the subsidies through Experts say if the deal is passed, that could stabilize the marketplace.
Most people still get tax subsidies that can help reduce their premiums — every eight in 10 people who enrolled in an Obamacare plan received premium tax credits that lowered their monthly insurance bills in Premium subsidy dollars increase as premiums go up. However, those who earn too much to qualify for tax credits will likely feel the effects of higher premiums. Shen Lu is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Shen Lu at shenlu magnifymoney. LendingTree is our parent company.
LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender. Variable rates from 6. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, and are subject to change without notice.
Not all rates and amounts available in all states. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at Lowest variable rate of 6.
For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. To qualify, a borrower must be a U. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate.
To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions.
Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness for example, credit score and credit history and the length of your loan for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans.
Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.
Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.
Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Tiffany Hamilton knew as a college student that she would one day be an entrepreneur. With that in mind, she made sure to enlist the help of a financial planning company when she bought her first life insurance plan at 21, as she was just getting her start in real estate. When her salary increased, she decided she needed more coverage than that. As a single woman with a burgeoning business, she wanted to make sure she had enough coverage to take care of any debts and leave something for her mother..
Her insurance representative at the time encouraged her to up her coverage. Now 35 and running her own real estate business based in Tallahassee, Fla. Is it possible to be overinsured? As we grow in our careers, home life and families, paying for life insurance becomes another one of those obligatory items on our financial to-do lists, like establishing a k or an emergency fund. But the sheer volume of life insurance options available may have created a unique problem: Some of us might be overly insured.
That is, our insurance coverage may be wildly disproportionate to our salaries and overall net worth. Joel Ohman, a Tampa, Fla. Of course, there are other options for anyone who has a large estate, want to make charitable contributions, needs special tax breaks or has other complicated financial circumstances to consider.
Most insurance websites include insurance calculators to make it easy to figure out what your costs could be for a variety of different plans. John Barnes, a certified financial planner and owner of My Family Life Insurance , said those cost savings can be important for families. Chris Acker , a chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant and independent life insurance broker in Palo Alto, Calif.
Plus, you can always get additional insurance later. But he cautions against applying one piece of advice across all situations. There are two main types of life insurance: Term insurance and permanent insurance.
When consumers typically think about life insurance, they are looking for an option that will provide their families with financial stability if the unthinkable happens. Permanent insurance does exactly what the name implies: It provides lifelong coverage. In addition to the death benefit also provided by term-life insurance, permanent insurance also accumulates cash value.
But with that added benefit comes pricier premiums. Whole life is the most common type of permanent insurance. With a whole life policy, the premium never changes. Part of the premiums goes into a savings component of the policy, which builds cash value and can be withdrawn or borrowed. That cash value also has a guaranteed rate of return. Variable life offers the same death benefit, but allows consumers the option to seek a better return by allocating premiums to investments like stocks and bonds.
Universal life lets you vary your premium payments and gives a minimum death benefit as long as the premiums are sufficient to sustain it. Variable universal life insurance is a sort of mix between variable and universal life, meaning consumers can vary premium payments and can also allocate them among investment subaccounts. Those who want a policy that offers cash value and stable premiums.
There are also tax advantages to this type of policy. Those who want the same advantages as a whole-life policy, plus the option of allocating premiums toward different stocks and bonds. Those who want the same advantages of any permanent policy with the option of varying premium payments.
For example, those who may want to start with a lower premium that increases as their finances do. Those who want the option to vary premium payments, but also the option to allocate those payments toward different stocks and bonds. Customers pay a premium each month and are covered through the specified term. This is typically the cheapest insurance option. Those whose need for coverage will disappear or change at some point, like when a debt is paid or children reach adulthood and go to college.
Also good for those looking for a low-cost option. Even within term- and whole-life insurance, there are additional products you could be offered, like mortgage life, return of premium in which your premium is returned if you outlive your initial term and final expense which covers just funeral expenses.
Use a life insurance calculator. Wealthy families, those with special-needs family members and others in unique situations will also have different insurance needs. Most insurance websites offer calculators to help consumers decide how much coverage to take. The consumer website lifehappens. Get multiple free quotes. Consumers can also get free quotes from multiple insurers from sites such as My Family Insurance, InsuranceProviders.
Keep this in mind: Choose the right advisor. You want someone who works best for you and inspires comfort. Hamilton said she not only interviewed potential reps this last go-around, she also requested references and asked them about their company philosophy before making a decision. LifeHappens suggests that consumers use referrals to find an insurance provider. Seek out independent agents.
Understand what it means to be a fiduciary. Those who hold a CFP designation like Ohman are expected to provide fiduciary care to their clients. There are four independent agencies that provide this information: Do your research and find the ratings from each of the four agencies, because some companies may highlight a positive rating from one agency and play down a lower rating from another agency.
Barnes said regardless of whom you choose to represent your insurance needs, make sure you have a level of comfort. During that first meeting or so, Barnes says the agent should spend time getting to know you and your situation without necessarily trying to sell you on a product. For her part, Hamilton says she also looked into whether companies were commission- or fee-based.
That means you have the option to change policies, as Hamilton did. Some consumers also choose to buy additional policies down the road. Then you can figure out if you want to keep the insurance.
Crystal Lewis Brown is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Crystal here. Still, that represents a mere fraction of the estimated million pets living in U. One factor holding pet owners back from investing in an insurance plan for their pet could be cost. Those costs can become much higher depending on the age of your pet, type of animal and where you live.
The most basic plans offer one or the other: At a more comprehensive level, plans can cover illnesses and wellness visits as well as routine checkups.
Prices also vary based on what type of pet you have. For example, Nationwide offers a comprehensive dog insurance plan that covers wellness exams and visits, accidents, hereditary conditions, chronic conditions, and pay back up to 90 percent on some veterinary bills.
You can pay less and get less coverage. While pet insurance can cover many emergencies, the type of plan you purchase will determine if the insurance pays for medical care beyond accidents. Wellness visits and vaccines are not covered by Trupanion, for example, which insures only cats and dogs. Pet insurers such as Trupanion and Nationwide do not cover pre-existing conditions that the pet had before coverage began. Nationwide limits coverage for hereditary disorders by breed — such as cardiac arrhythmia in Boxers — in some plans, but offers full coverage for those conditions in its comprehensive Whole Pet with Wellness plan.
For this reason, the best time to purchase pet insurance is when the pet is young because there is little chance of pre-existing conditions. The average age of insured cats and dogs was 4. Insurance appeals to pet owners who prefer to pay a monthly cost for future health expenses instead of doling out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars when care is needed.
When deciding whether or not to purchase pet insurance for your animal, there are several factors to consider other than cost:. Insurance companies provide a variety of plans. Pet insurance can vary due to different factors such as species, geographic location, age and gender.
Paying for a more expensive plan may be worth the money if you make several visits to the vet each year. For example, Nationwide offers these examples: Coverage for a small mixed-breed puppy, under the age of one and located in San Diego, Calif.
While pet insurance has been in the United States for about 35 years, the awareness and interest is much smaller than their European — most specifically British — counterparts, say insurers and veterinarians. Platt says when he worked in the United Kingdom, he would fill out three to four insurance claim forms a day. Platt says he has filled out only three to four claims while living and working in the United States the past 11 years.
Shop around and compare rates. Providers include major home, auto and life insurers, such as Nationwide and Geico, while some companies, such as Trupanion, PetFirst, and Healthy Paws, specialize in insuring animals. Free trials from pet shelters. Pet shelters also sign up owners for insurance, typically by offering a free trial for the first 30 days.
However, after the trial, you could be charged unless you cancel the policy. Some companies, such as Deloitte , Microsoft, and Chipotle Mexican Grill offer pet insurance as an employee benefit. See if your employer offers a policy. Marena Galluccio is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Marena here. Brynne Conroy is a personal finance writer based in Pittsburgh. She enjoys exploring the space where personal finances meet with individuals' day-to-day challenges and triumphs, and writes about such issues for various publications both on the web and in print.
In addition, she regularly releases new content on her women's finance blog, Femme Frugality. Jana Lynch was 27 years old when she was formally diagnosed with depression. At the time, Lynch was working full-time for a social service agency. Rather than resign outright, she decided to take a four-month leave on short-term disability. A break, she thought, might help. But when the time came to return to work, the same issues began to surface again.
In the end, she chose her mental health over working full time. In a study that followed workers over the course of six months, researchers found workers with depression dropped out of the workforce at a rate of 12 percent compared to only 2 percent of their peers. While depression may force affected workers out of active employment at higher rates, it is also true that those who become unemployed are more likely to show signs of depression — three times more likely, according to a NIH study.
Some research shows losing your job impacts depression because it makes it hard to cope financially, but other studies suggest it has little impact. This then exacerbates their depression further. Abigail Perry, author of Frugality for Depressives , had already been formally diagnosed with depression as a part of a bipolar disorder when unrelated chronic fatigue forced her out of traditional employment.
A lot of therapy and medication management doctor visits later, I finally started believing that I might have worth despite not being able to work. Richardson notes that many are able to develop coping strategies, allowing themselves to stay in the workplace. Only then was I able to shift into a business model that worked for me. Richardson recommends going to your manager or supervisor for access to resources when your symptoms become too much to bear.
If you work at a larger company, it may be more appropriate to get in touch with your human resources department.
This means your employer cannot fire you because of your disability — in this case, depression — and that they have to provide reasonable accommodations in order to allow you to do your job. But depression makes it difficult to look for clients. It will get better at some point. Lynch and Lewis both note exercise as a way of sustaining a healthy hobby.
Lewis teaches yoga, and Lynch regularly attends a gym. While not the primary goal, a side effect of going to the gym or studio happens to be spending time with other people of similar interests. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness may not only alleviate depression, but could prevent relapses. Richardson has produced a free mindfulness resource, which can be accessed here. By understanding and confronting these challenges head-on, there are strategies you can use to protect your finances as you learn to manage depression.
During these episodes, he found four key ways that their finances suffered. Lynch notes that before she set up automatic payments, she would have trouble remembering pay upcoming bills. This led to unnecessary costs like late fees.
It found that missing bills was a financial manifestation of avoidant coping behaviors. Those with depression have a harder time completing tasks like budgeting because planning ahead is made more difficult. The study also revealed that rational thinking and the ability to remember past purchases in order to log them into a spreadsheet were impaired. Alternately, you may be more likely to spend money on things that you think will make you happy or comforted — from convenience gadgets to home décor to clothes.
This stress leads to more dire mindsets, like extreme anxiety and hopelessness. For help developing more coping strategies or getting resources that can help you manage your depression, consider seeking out mental health care services.
Therapists can help you deal with the things that depression makes harder with strategies, workarounds, or just working through past events that are contributing to or causing your current depression. Therapy and medication management specialists can be expensive, though.
Many regions in America face a shortage of mental health care providers , and the matter is further complicated when you consider that some providers may be out-of-network, bringing copays up even if you are currently insured. Another affordable resource is public mental health care clinics, though their availability may be limited. Licensed Clinical Social Workers LCSWs and other counselors often accept insurance and are able to provide therapy, referring you out to a psychiatrist for prescription needs when necessary.
Lynch did seek therapy and go on medication for a while, though she now leans on other coping mechanisms such as avoiding triggers and exercising regularly. Today, Lynch operates from a place of acceptance.
Depression is a part of her life that she has learned to deal with. Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here. Career , depression , mental health. Sasha Aurand has had to scramble for four years to find high-quality mental health care she can afford on her salary from running a website on psychology and sex.
The year-old New Yorker suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and anxiety, and has no health insurance. Aurand originally sought help for these conditions while still a college student in Indiana. Aurand is not alone, having to be resourceful finding doctors and therapists in her price range. According to the State of Mental Health in America report , one out of five American adults with mental illness report they are unable to get the treatment they need, often due to cost.
And with an uncertain health care climate in Washington, the challenges are unlikely to ease soon. If you live near a university with a graduate psychology program, it most likely has an in-house clinic. You can see a trainee at one of these clinics for a reduced fee. Yes, the therapists are students, but each one is closely supervised by a seasoned, licensed professional. Most trainees work at these clinics for a year or less.
Aurand now sees the doctor every three months. If you find a therapist you like, let him or her know your financial concerns and inquire about paying a lower fee. With a sliding scale, you get all the benefits of good, one-on-one therapy at a lower rate. To avoid this, discuss payments every few months to see if an adjustment is needed.
There are many online tools, including Breakthrough. Rates vary, but if you search, you can find someone affordable. Several California-based therapists among the most expensive in the nation on Breakthrough. A note of caution: Choose someone licensed in your state.
You can get high-quality, one-on-one therapy without ever having to leave your home, office, or pajamas — and at a reasonable cost. Therapy apps — which allow you to text or chat with a licensed therapist — are becoming increasingly popular. Among the many available are Betterhelp.
You can get help anytime, anywhere, even while sitting in a business meeting or on the subway. And some people find the technology alienating. You can find psychological and psychiatric care at public mental health clinics, which offer services for free or on a sliding scale, based on your income.
Organizations devoted to helping survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse also offer a wide range of services, including free counseling. And religious organizations, such as Jewish Family Services, often offer therapy on a sliding scale. The best way to find resources in your community, says Richardson, is to dial the information hotline, , on your phone or look online at http: The demand at public health clinics is huge, and staffs are often overwhelmed.
When it comes to finding affordable mental health care, persistence is the key. Laura Hilgers is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here. She's passionate about helping others do more with their money, their careers, and their lives. She can reach her via her site KaliHawlk. Medicare will likely play a role in helping you mitigate those costs in your golden years. The federal government offers Medicare as an insurance program for permanently disabled Americans and those 65 or older.
The Social Security Administration is responsible for funding the program, and most of its funding comes from a Medicare payroll tax you might have noticed on your pay stubs it ranges from 1. The majority of working Americans become eligible for Medicare coverage when they turn But the program does become much more complicated when you start digging into the details of what specific benefits make the most sense for you.
But you need to sign up for Medicare if:. If you need to manually apply, you can do so online here. You also have the option of going to your local Social Security office or calling to apply at You can receive this coverage for free as long as you paid at least 10 years into Social Security. This can include medical equipment and physical therapy. It may cover some preventive care services, too, like screening for certain diseases including cancer and glaucoma.
The costs for Part B are more complicated than Part A. Henry goes into even greater detail. Henry explains other services like cosmetic surgery and alternative medicine get excluded from coverage, too. Medicare coverage gets more complicated when you look at additional parts of the program. Whereas Medicare is a program offered by the federal government, private insurance companies offer coverage with Medicare Advantage Plans which the government still regulates.
Some Part C plans offer more services not included in traditional Medicare, including prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are also offered by private insurers and are separate policies from Medicare Parts A and B. Just like Part C coverage, Part D plans vary widely in what they cover and their costs. The White House and Republicans in Congress have promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and are in the process of proposing radical changes to the current health care system.
But most of the proposed changes affect Medicaid , not Medicare. But Speaker Paul Ryan has talked about making the following changes:. Again, this is all just talk for now. Kali Hawlk is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kali at Kali magnifymoney. Here are some hints: The money you earn in the years to come will allow you to pay your bills, save for the future, and create a secure financial foundation for you and your family.
By sending you a monthly check that replaces some or all of your income, it protects your biggest financial asset from those worst-case scenarios. Disability insurance is often ignored both because the prospect of becoming disabled seems remote and because the premiums can be hard to swallow, especially for young families who are already struggling to pay for child care and all the other expenses that come with having young kids.
According to WebMD , your odds of becoming disabled before you retire are about 1 in 3. So the big question is this: How long would your savings be able to support you, and what would you do if you needed help past that point? Most people would struggle to make it more than a few months, which is exactly why disability insurance is so valuable. Both can be helpful, but they play very different roles in your financial plan.
Short-term disability insurance only offers benefits for a relatively limited amount of time. Most short-term disability insurance policies cover you for months, though they can provide coverage for up to two years. There is typically a waiting period of up to 14 days before the insurance kicks in to prevent it from covering minor illness and injury.
One of the most common uses of short-term disability insurance is during maternity leave. Many, though not all, short-term disability policies cover the latter parts of pregnancy and the period after childbirth, which can help replace your income while staying home with your newborn. Most short-term disability insurance policies are offered as an employer benefit, and in some cases that coverage may even be free. One alternative to short-term disability insurance is building an emergency fund.
A month emergency fund would provide the same protection as a month short-term disability insurance policy, with the added benefit of not having a monthly premium. Long-term disability insurance is where you typically find the most value. Long-term disability insurance picks up where your emergency fund or short-term disability insurance leaves off. This is a big potential benefit. That would go a long way toward keeping your family on the right track.
For that reason, the rest of this guide will focus primarily on long-term disability insurance. Long-term disability insurance is a complicated product with a lot of terms and conditions that vary policy to policy.
Your monthly benefit is the amount of money your long-term disability insurance policy would pay you each month in the event of disability. And there are a few key factors that go into deciding how big a benefit you need:.
Believe it or not, there is no one way of defining disability. There are a lot of variations, but most policies fall into one of three main groups:. The elimination period is that amount of time you have to be disabled before you can start to collect your benefit. Typical elimination periods range from 60 to days, with longer elimination periods leading to a smaller premium.
Many long-term disability insurance policies pay out until age 65 or 67 to coincide with the standard Social Security retirement age. Other policies will only pay benefits for years. Longer benefit periods are more valuable, but also more expensive. Most long-term disability insurance policies will exclude certain types of conditions from coverage. For example, mental health conditions are often not covered or are subject to a shorter benefit period. Sometimes the exclusions will only last for a period of time, such as the first two years of the policy being in place.
Sometimes they last for the life of the policy. You should evaluate these exclusions in relation to your personal and family health history to understand how likely you might be to run into them.
Some long-term disability insurance policies are non-cancelable , which means that you are guaranteed a fixed premium until your coverage period ends. The insurance company cannot cancel your coverage and cannot raise your premium. A residual benefit feature means that you could receive partial benefits if you return to work at a reduced salary.
This feature can help you build your workload over time, making for an easier and smoother transition. Policies that come with a cost-of-living adjustment will increase your benefit each year based on the rate of inflation. This is meant to ensure that you are able to pay for the same amount of goods and services each year, even as the cost of those things increase over time.
Many long-term disability insurance policies guarantee you the right to increase your coverage in the future if your income increases, without any medical underwriting. This is a valuable benefit because it eliminates the risk that a decline in health could prevent you from getting more coverage when you need it. These are not mere business relationships.
They are the bonds of brotherhood and blood. They are the bonds of fervor and ancient grievances. Sheikh Mahfouz, who passed away in , had also founded National Commercial Bank, which is the single largest financial institution in the Middle East. Meanwhile, some American pundits claimed that Saudi billionaires like Sheikh Mahfouz had donated to Al Qaeda only to avoid being attacked, like frightened shop owners paying protection money to the local Mafia thug.
These pundits misunderstand the nature of Saudi society, the two most important features of which are Salafi Islam one of the foundations of the jihadist ideology and the inviolability of personal relationships. When Sheikh Mahfouz filed lawsuits against the few journalists who sought to expose his ties to Al Qaeda, the families of the victims of the attacks filed lawsuits against Sheikh Mahfouz for providing financial support to the people who killed their loved ones.
The new Hamas financial institution, which is called al-Aqsa Bank , quickly formed a joint venture with Citibank. That joint venture was quite lucrative for Citibank, which may have been willing to turn a blind eye to illicit financial transactions. In , the U. Treasury Department advised Citibank that it was operating a joint venture with a bank controlled by Hamas, and the U.
Treasury Department advised Citibank that it might want to disband this joint venture. Citibank, however, ignored the advice. Neither Sheikh Kamel nor any other Golden Chain billionaire has been charged with any crime related to the financing of terrorism. Sheikh Faqeeh also had a joint venture business with the above-mentioned Sheikh Mahfouz.
Indeed, each Golden Chain member has some sort of business partnership with each of the other Golden Chain members — one reason why I say that these people need to be viewed as not just a club, but as a family. I will not bore the reader with a long recitation of every financial transaction that ties these jihadist financiers together, but I will mention a few, just to erase any question as to whether the relationships exist.
For example, National Commercial Bank, owned until recently by Sheikh Mahfouz, is a partner in a multi-billion dollar investment outfit called the Middle East Capital Group, which is partly controlled by Sheikh Rahman Hassan Sharbatly — who was another member of Golden Chain club. This brings to mind the report that I mentioned at the outset of this story — the one commissioned by the U. That report speculates that one component of the possible financial attack on the U.
Sheikh Taher, in addition to being a Golden Chain member and the former governor of the Saudi state oil company Petromin, has also served as director of Saudi European Bank, a big financial institution that is important to the stability of global economic order. He is also a former director of Saudi Aramco, which is the largest oil company in the world. In addition, Sheikh Yamani presides over Investcorp, an investment firm that he founded.
Investcorp has made a deep imprint in the American markets, and has been involved in everything from short selling to the trading of self-destruct CDOs. Investcorp has not been implicated in any crime related to its PIPEs deals, and I am not suggesting that Ivestcorp has done anything technically illegal, but PIPEs deals generally are considered to have been a major scourge on the American markets.
But PIPEs investors often end up destroying the company to which they are supposedly serving as benefactors. When this happens, short sellers often naked short sellers who are colluding with the outfit that provided the PIPEs finance attack the company, causing its stock price to drop. The more it drops, the greater the number of shares are owed to the PIPEs financier. Once the stock price of a PIPEs victim is mauled, the finance is cut off, and the company goes bankrupt, delivering big profits to the short sellers i.
Again, this is not to suggest that Investcorp has necessarily done anything illegal, and we cannot say with certainty that its PIPEs business follows the same modus operandi of most other PIPEs dealers. But the emergence of the PIPEs industry has, without doubt, been a scourge on the markets. As numerous court cases attest, it has destroyed countless companies and countless jobs.
Sheikh Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi is not miserable. He is jolly and well. Maybe because the twenty members of the Golden Chain club are the most prominent people in Saudi Arabia, the U. It does not take steps to shut down their bank accounts or bar them from trading in the U. It does not even dare utter their names, perhaps because to do so would embarrass the Saudi government, which is ostensibly a U. But when the report was released to the public, the 28 pages about the Saudis were censored, so ordinary people could not read them.
A full 28 pages — with no words; nothing but big blocks of black ink. Thus, it is left to independent jihad experts to sort out many of the connections. Some former top government officials have said that Emerson is better informed about the jihad than the government itself. But Emerson and other people who have done excellent research are largely ignored by the media, which will not report the facts unless they have been stated explicitly by some official spokesman.
And the official spokesmen have nothing bad to say about Saudi billionaires, regardless of whether they fund terrorism. When the BCCI scandal broke, it was widely reported that Sheikh Mahfouz and other Saudis some, such as Kamal Adham, with links to Saudi intelligence had invested with prominent figures of the American political establishment in order to gain influence over American government policy.
But nothing was done about it, and the influence increased exponentially in the years that followed. Also a board member of Sana-Bell, you will recall, was Mr. Bahfzallah, head of Benevolence International, the outfit that was dealing with people who were shopping for nukes.
Given his important role in the jihad, it is fair to assume that Sheikh al-Rajhi harbors some disdain for not just Western civilization, but also the prevailing economic order. At the same time, Sheikh al-Rajhi is one of the most important players in the global financial order, a person who is perfectly capable of transforming or even undermining it.
Said to be a whiz with numbers, Sheikh Rajhi directs multiple hedge funds that manage many billions of dollars, several stock brokerages, and the massive Al Rajhi Bank, which is the most venerable of the elite financial institutions that control the Stock Exchange of Saudi Arabia, also known as the Tadawul.
A report issued by a U. Senate investigative committee revealed that Al Rajhi Bank was still as of dealing with Al Qaeda, and that it was laundering Al Qaeda money through HSBC, the prestigious British bank, but, of course, Al Rajhi has been charged with no crime on that account HSBC paid a relatively small fine for this and other money laundering infractions.
All told, the financial fire power of the Golden Chain exceeds that of most mid-sized nations. Worse yet, they — and the theo-political-legal doctrine, Shariah, from which they spring — pose a real threat to our society and form of government. On the surface, it seems that there is nothing wrong with people creating shariah compliant financial products, even if they cater to a radical interpretation of Islam.
People have a right to be radical and to create radical financial products. Indeed, it took me a long time to believe that shariah finance posed any threat whatsoever.
My instinct was to believe that it was merely an effort to cater to people who are devoutly religious, no more dangerous than Halal beefsteak. However, it is prudent to consider whether there is more than religion behind the astounding growth of shariah compliant finance in recent years.
That outfit was funded almost entirely by Sheikh Al Maktoum and his family until it was implicated by authorities for having ties to violent jihadists. Despite their accusations, authorities did not file charges against the organization. Ibrahim had the full protection of Sheikh Al Maktoum until Dubai was pressured by the international community to send him packing. Ibrahim was no ordinary mobster. Former ABC News journalist Gretchen Peters, a friend and work colleague of mine when we both lived in Cambodia, has published an excellent book about the nexus between jihadists and the heroin trade.
Viktor Bout, like Dawood Ibrahim, operated with the full support and protection of the Dubai government until Interpol put out an arrest warrant for him. Then he moved to Moscow, where he enjoyed the protection of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin until he was lured to Thailand and arrested by the FBI. Some cargo planes that Bout used to smuggle weapons to Afghanistan were registered as belonging to a company called Flying Dolphin, which was owned by Sheikh Mansour Al Nayan, the present ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Then there is the famous story widely reported by U. The Al Qaeda leader and his friends were spending their days hiking in the mountains and hunting with falcons, then retreating to an Al Qaeda training camp to drink tea and perhaps talk of subversive notions. Figuring that there would not be much time before Osama would vanish again, the U. The generals were ready to pull the trigger, but Clinton and his cabinet stopped them.
They aborted the mission because Osama bin Laden and his friends were having a party. And these friends were all from Dubai. At any rate, the CIA watched the satellite images.
The generals asked Bill Clinton if they should fire the missile. What matters is the end result. And it is probably safe to assume that the Dubai royals who went on hunting expeditions in Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden may be at least to some extent sympathetic to the jihad.
Before we discuss our present predicament, however, we need to understand more about the nexus. And to do that, we must first go back in history. We must, for starters, further examine the BCCI enterprise. We must, in addition, consider what occurred after BCCI collapsed in One thing that occurred soon after BCCI collapsed in , of course, was that BCCI was revealed to be the biggest banking fraud in the history of world finance.
More important, that same year, , a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Hasan al Turabi then also a top official in the government of Sudan founded an outfit called the Islamist International, appointing Osama bin Laden to serve as chairman. The purpose of the Islamist International was to unite the Muslim Brotherhood, affiliated terrorist organizations, and their state sponsors behind a common mission.
Turabi had always known the importance of a reliable financial system to support and sustain Islamist activities. By then Osama bin Laden was the most qualified individual in Khartoum to untangle this financial mess. In late summer , Turabi approached bin Laden and asked for help. What, exactly, was BCCI, and why was it so important? And why has this story never appeared in The Wall Street Journal? What lines of business is it pursuing today? And is this good news for the American economy?
To be continued…Click here to read Chapter 3 of this series. They said it simply did not exist, that only wild-eyed conspiracy theorists believed in naked short selling. That was before , when the CEOs of some big banks started hollering that naked short selling was causing the stock prices of their banks to nosedive. With the CEOs of the big banks hollering, the SEC, in June, , issued an Emergency Order banning naked short selling that previously did not exist in the stocks of 19 big financial institutions i.
But the SEC did nothing about the naked short selling of other stocks because, apparently, that naked short selling existed only in the fevered imaginations of people who believed that their savings were being wiped out by little green men.
Their stocks which had increased in value while the Emergency Order was in place once again nosedived, and one of them, Lehman Brothers, saw its stock go into a classic death spiral i. Almost immediately after Lehman collapsed, the SEC issued another Emergency Order, this time banning all short selling in financial stocks, and in this new Emergency Order, the SEC stated in plain English that naked short selling can cause stocks to go into death spirals, making it difficult for the targeted companies to raise new capital, and thereby result in bankruptcy.
Which, of course, was what had just happened to Lehman, as the SEC knew full well. Some weeks later, the SEC lifted that Emergency Order and put into effect some new rules governing naked short selling. So once again, the conventional wisdom is that only wild-eyed conspiracy theorists believe that naked short selling occurs, and only UFO abductees with tin foil hats believe that naked short selling occurs in massive volumes, causing damage to the markets. It has long since been forgotten that CEOs of big banks were, back in , hollering that naked short selling had caused their stock prices to nosedive, and it has long been forgotten that the SEC issued two Emergency Orders in to save the banks from naked short selling, suggesting in one of those Emergency Orders that naked short selling had contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
And now we know why it has been forgotten. As in too big a number for a calculator to handle? Meanwhile, of course, the captured media continues to pretend that naked short selling i. According to Brickman, the report proves that Einhorn was right about Allied being a massive fraud. The report, which I gladly post below, does nothing of the sort. I will discuss the report in further detail, but first a little history.
Eight years ago, Michael Milken, the famous financial criminal, appeared in the offices of a top Allied Capital executive. It appeared to the Allied executive that Milken was fishing for inside information about Allied and threatening an attack. For a variety of reasons, short-side stock manipulators in the Milken network often accumulate large numbers of shares in the companies that they seek to destroy. For the next eight years, Einhorn led a vicious campaign against Allied, loudly and publicly pronouncing that the company was a massive Ponzi scheme and an all-around fraud that could be as big as Enron.
Rather, Einhorn was just doing his duty as a concerned citizen — or so his slick public relations operation would have us believe. I will give Einhorn credit. He is a master of spin. Could this investment have been a bribe? Was Einhorn seeking inside information about Allied? The investment was purely incidental, Einhorn assures us. And you, dear reader, should be ashamed of yourself for even asking such questions.
Indeed, your suspicions make you part of the problem. The official asked this question: Einhorn, have you ever compensated [short selling hedge fund] Gotham Partners…for providing you with an investment idea? You see, it is perfectly natural for hedge funds to share ideas.
Oops — slip of the mind. How dare you ask such a question. Allied Capital asked that question. He stood up to the critics. You see, Carruthers is really smart guy who does good research.
And shame on the SEC for having the temerity to investigate Einhorn. In fact, the SEC did nothing but ask Einhorn a few questions.
Then Einhorn all but directed this massive but ultimately misguided investigation for a period of three long years. As for the media — well, Einhorn is deeply disappointed. As it happens, these are the same journalists that Deep Capture has shown to have had too-cozy, and in some instances, outright corrupt relationships with a select crew of short selling hedge fund managers, including David Einhorn. But Einhorn was disappointed — the media failed him. But, no, these journalists were not honest.
They are part of the problem. They should be publicly shamed. One of them even investigated Einhorn. This was an outrage. Look, lying and cheating short-sellers are essential watchdogs, they add liquidity to the markets, and they are really very fragile people. Einhorn even lets us know that he is going to donate some of the proceeds from his short selling of Allied to needy children. As far as I know, the children are still waiting.
Although Einhorn has made enormous profits from his short selling of Allied, he has provided no evidence that his contributions to charity have significantly increased. But it is clear that the purpose of his book was not to tell the truth. It was to inoculate himself from public criticism and regulatory scrutiny in preparation for his next big project — the destruction of Lehman Brothers. Einhorn began this speech by discussing his supposedly philanthropic fight with Allied.
Lest there still be any doubt that Einhorn really was a crusading crime-fighter, rather than a profit-seeking hedge fund manager, he hired an expensive lobbying outfit called the Gordon Group to orchestrate an astounding public relations campaign. Their Einhorn campaign was marked by the sort of hype that normally accompanies the launch of a new teen-idol band. It was also a particularly greasy sort of deception — imagine a pimp marketing a cheap 42nd Street hooker. Well, the media swooned for the cuddly Einhorn.
This was the same media that Einhorn had accused of bungling idiocy, but never mind that — now he had glowing profiles in many of the top news publications, and a three-hour appearance on CNBC. He said he had stood up to the bullies and proven that Allied was a massive fraud.
Then he smoothly transitioned into a discussion of Lehman Brothers, suggesting to the journalists that Lehman was just like Allied, a massive fraud. The journalists swallowed this nonsense without an ounce of skepticism.
I do not mean to suggest that Lehman Brothers was a clean bank. Clearly, it engaged in some shady accounting, including its now notorious Repo transactions. Its brokerage probably catered to criminal market manipulators. But while Lehman was a deeply troubled bank, it is also true that it was subjected to a wave of false rumors, each one accompanied by illegal naked short selling.
With all the manipulation that accompanied the attack on Lehman, it was difficult to know what the truth about the company really was. And sure enough, panic ensued. With potential business partners wondering whether Lehman was, in fact, massively overstating the value of its commercial real estate, the bank was unable to raise new capital.
To protect itself, Lehman sought to spin off the real estate assets, but by that time it had come under a brutal and criminal naked short selling attack, with more than 30 million of its shares failing to deliver. In short, Lehman was a bad bank. Regulators should have forced it to reform. SEC officials met with Einhorn on multiple occasions to review his allegations.
They also scoured through millions of Allied emails and the cart-loads of other documents that Allied supplied every time Einhorn came to the SEC with a new set of accusations. In addition, Allied was not, as Einhorn claimed, a massive Ponzi scheme. Einhorn had made the smarmy suggestion that Allied was a Ponzi because it supposedly raised money from the markets to pay its dividends. An SEC official told the inspector general that this claim was patently false — it was perfectly obvious that Allied legitimately paid dividends out of earnings.
But nowhere in the report does the inspector general conclude that any such Ponzi scheme existed. Clearly, Einhorn is no Harry Markopolos.
The inspector general seems to believe that the investigation of Allied could have been more thorough in some respects. But, again, the inspector general does not state that the SEC was wrong to conclude that Allied was innocent of any major crime. Apparently, some Allied lobbyists secured an unusual meeting with SEC officials and managed to convince these officials that Allied deserved a lighter fine.
It seems that nobody at the SEC was capable of conducting an investigation without having his or her hand held by some self-interested party. But it is clear from this case and many others like it that the hedge fund faction won the day. He never handed over the phone records, and nobody at the SEC seemed to notice or care. Which is funny, because Einhorn states in his book that he did hand over his phone records.
Indeed, he goes to great lengths to describe how hurt he felt about this. We do not know that Einhorn, others in the Milken network, or their brokers were committing this crime. Maybe it was someone else. Either way, it was not beyond the pale for Allied to ask the SEC to investigate.
Or maybe it was. Indeed, Milberg filed a class action lawsuit against nearly every company attacked by short sellers in the Milken network. It was all so confusing. The deep thinkers at the SEC picked their noses and tried to figure it all out. Then they went to lunch. The inspector general has been on a mission to expose ineptitude at the SEC, and for this he deserves praise and gratitude.
However, given the facts, I think his report on the investigation of Allied Capital was a bit too kind to David Einhorn. All of these investigations yielded the same conclusion: In other words, Allied was the victim of this fraud.
But this story has a happy ending. That could be a coincidence. Einhorn, you are noble man. You did it for the children. Einhorn, one more thing — boo! Well, the current state of the global financial markets is certainly interesting. Actually, I take it back — it is not in the least bit interesting. And more than likely, it was not some anomalous but innocent trade that triggered a run-of-the-mill panic.
What it was, exactly, nobody seems able to say — and that is what makes it all the more scary. I have been trying hard, but I simply cannot imagine any natural confluence of events that would cause this.
I can, however, think of a number of criminal market manipulators who have caused similar, though less dramatic, events in the past. And I know that these manipulators would get a kick out of triggering a full-blown market cataclysm. At any rate, this much is clear: It can happen because the Securities and Exchange Commission has done nothing to prevent it from happening. Despite overwhelming evidence that market manipulators contributed to the financial turmoil of , not a single criminal has been apprehended.
And not only does the SEC let the miscreants run loose, but it also stubbornly refuses to close gaping loopholes that enable market manipulation to occur. To its immense peril, much of America seems disinclined to discuss market manipulation. Not all of the discourse in Europe has been helpful, however.
Our enemies are criminals, not market freedoms. The European response has also been characterized by a certain degree of ineptitude. Germany had already banned naked short selling in , and foolishly lifted the ban last January.
It is presumed that the naked short selling and other manipulation will simply move to exchanges in London, where officialdom seems less inclined to fight. Which makes the American media coverage all the more inexplicable.
This, of course, is precisely the opposite of what happened. While the emergency order was in place, the stock market surged. Then, on August 12, , the SEC, for reasons that cannot be fathomed, lifted its emergency ban, allowing the manipulation to resume.
The stock market duly tanked, and continued to spiral downwards until September, when market manipulators wiped out a large swathe of the American financial system. It is not just me saying this. Respected economists, famous hedge fund managers, former government officials, and current U. Senators such as Ted Kaufman of Delaware have all studied the events of , and the consensus is that illegal naked short selling and other forms of short-side manipulation contributed to the demise of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, and countless smaller companies.
The practice is already banned in the U. Although the SEC took some half-hearted steps to prevent naked short selling in the aftermath of the carnage, it did not ban naked short selling outright — traders are still permitted to sell shares before they have borrowed them. This means that market manipulators can flood the market with phantom stock for three to six days, inflicting serious damage on prices. When it comes time to deliver the stock they have sold, the manipulators buy stock at the newly damaged price on the open market and hand it over.
Then they do it all over again — flooding the market with phantom stock for another three to six days. In nearly every case, such naked short selling is designed to manipulate prices, which is blatantly illegal. But the SEC turns a blind eye to the manipulation so long as the manipulators deliver stock before the three or six-day deadline. Every day, more than million shares go undelivered before the anointed deadline, and that is in just one part of the system monitored by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation.
Far more phantom stock is processed ex-clearing, and in other shadowy regions of the financial system. But, alas, the officials of that agency have been too busy picking buggers out of their noses. What the report does not contain is the names of any culprits, or any evidence that the SEC is trying to identify specific culprits. The report does not even contain a plausible explanation for what happened. If the SEC were charged with writing a report on the causes of the New Orleans flood, it would provide a hundred pages telling us how many cubic meters of water there were, how many molecules of oxygen and hydrogen the water contained, and plenty of assurances that water is usually good for the health, but it would forget to mention hurricane Katrina and the broken levy.
Meanwhile, the madness of the market circus continues, and we look up at that teetering tent with great trepidation. Wait…I take that back. Though evidence has mounted for a while, today it became official: I can only imagine the look on their faces when Goldman brass first realized why their calls were not being returned: And folks with badges were knocking on the door. Indeed, the bulk of this particular complaint focuses on a few infractions observed over a few weeks in late Goldman, for its part, attributes the problem to an inconsequential bookkeeping error.
The alternative is to focus on the other side of the equation by limiting the capacity of any market participant to become so influential the rules cease to apply. Not a single criminal has been prosecuted. Indeed, the regulators continue to allow the miscreants to manipulate the markets — not just the stock markets, but also the markets for corporate bonds, derivatives, U. Treasuries, and all manner of commodities — even when the regulators are provided with indisputable evidence of a massive crime in progress.
They could easily fix the flaws in the settlement system that allow much of the manipulation to occur, but they refrain from doing so either because they are too captured by the miscreants or too cowed by the possible consequences of throwing the lights on what may be an enormous confidence game.
So I am inclined to say that it is hopeless. Everyone loves an optimist — but, yes, it is hopeless. We are like the audience in one of those cheesy horror flicks — yell and scream all you like, but the dumb blonde is still going to walk into that room and get hacked to pieces. Except that it is not a movie. It is all of us. It is our economy. It is our standard of living.
It is our financial system — the lifeblood of the nation. The latest case of regulatory indolence was recently exposed by Andrew Maguire, a successful metals trader and whistleblower who went to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with data that strongly suggested that a small number of criminal short sellers had rigged the markets for silver and gold. That is, Maguire told the regulators that a massive crime was about to happen, and the crime happened precisely as he predicted it would.
Indeed, there is a strong case to be made that our national security is at stake. As Maguire stated in a recent interview with King World radio, the manipulators have likely created a massive naked short position that can easily be exploited by foreign entities who might see financial or even political gain in eviscerating the dollar. In one email he writes:. The non-farm payrolls number will be announced at 8: There will be one of two scenarios occurring, and both will result in silver and gold being taken down with a wave of short selling designed to take out obvious support levels and trip stops below.
While I will no doubt be able to profit from this upcoming trade, it is an example of just how easy it is to manipulate a market if a concentrated position is allowed by a very small group of traders…I sent you a slide of a couple of past examples of just how this will play out.
The news is bad employment is worse. This will have a bullish effect on gold and silver as the U. This will be sold into within a very short time mins with thousands of new short contracts being added, overcoming any new bids and spiking the precious metals down hard, targeting key technical support levels. The news is good employment is better than expected. This will result in a massive short position being instigated almost immediately with no move up.
This will not initially be liquidation of long positions but will result in stops being triggered, again targeting key support levels. It would be hard to get more specific than that. As Maguire says in the same email: How is it possible for me to know what will occur days before it will happen?
Only if a market is manipulated could this possibly occur. The CFTC had previously had the courtesy to call Maguire and listen to his concerns, but by the time Maguire sent the message laying out the crime, the CFTC had stopped returning his emails. The regulator showed no real interest, and let the crime happen.
After the crime occurred, Maguire wrote another email:. How would this be possible if the silver market was not in the full control of the parties we discussed in our phone interview? After that, Maguire sent several more emails detailing manipulation of the gold and silver markets. He received no replies. So he wrote a final email, providing still more evidence in support of his case and stating: To that email, a CFTC official finally replied: Thank you so very much for your observations.
Thanks a lot and goodbye. No follow up questions. No acknowledgement that a crime had occurred. No apparent interest whatsoever. Maguire was understandably peeved. How they were going to flush it down below 15, how it then went down below 15, and how then they were putting big block offers hitting all the bids to stop it getting back through the technical level of 15 so as not to trigger covering by the shorts and inviting longs to get long again.
Not long after the massive crime took place, the CFTC held a public hearing on manipulation of the metals markets. Maguire was specifically barred from participating. However, the hearing a partial transcript and video of which can be found at the excellent financial blog Zero Hedge did yield an interesting piece of information.
What Christian was saying is that every ounce of gold or silver is being sold times. This is slightly absurd. Indeed, Maguire says that he has received phone calls from wealthy individuals in Asia looking for the go ahead to exploit the naked short position. Maguire says that the naked short selling scam is in the trillions of dollars, making it by far the biggest financial fraud in history.
It might be hard to believe that foreign entities are plotting to crush the U. The only dispute is whether such a desire exists. Maguire and Adrian Douglas of GATA, an organization that lobbies against manipulation of the metals market, took their concerns to the mainstream media and had a number interviews scheduled. However, every one of those interviews were suddenly cancelled. This is not surprising. Meanwhile, just as the stock manipulators have engaged in a coordinated effort — deploying threats , ruthless smear campaigns, and slick lobbying — to keep their crimes out of the spotlight, so too will the gold and silver manipulators.
Douglas concedes that this might have been a coincidence, but when this sort of thing happens often enough, a little healthy paranoia is probably a good thing.
The day after Maguire gave his radio interview, he was the victim of a hit and run collision. A high-speed chase ensued, and the perpetrator was caught by police. The British press has reported that this might have been an assassination attempt, or a threat, but as yet there has been no word from the police. Maguire was injured, but not seriously. This fire happened to be located in the one small basement room where gold and silver trading data and other pertinent documents were kept.
The CFTC claims that its investigation of metals manipulation, for what it was, did not burn. So maybe it was just an accident. Maybe some eager CFTC regulators were down there smoking cigarettes. Maybe it was stress. Maybe, just maybe…yes, everyone loves an optimist, so let me make this clear — the horror show that is our regulatory system is going to have a happy ending. There will be no massacre. The financial system will be just fine…really…maybe… or maybe not.
This was an apparent attempt to shut down the website and prevent the scandal from being exposed further. Your hosting account is the target of a distributed denial of service attack…Computers were attacking your account.
Steps were taken to protect the website, which is once again up and running. And it was the collapse in the value of collateralized debt obligations a majority of which contained New Century mortgages that hobbled a number of big financial firms.
Once hobbled, the likes of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were ripe targets for unscrupulous hedge fund managers who amplified their problems by spreading exaggerated rumors while bombarding them with illegal naked short selling.
So we must ask: Why did New Century Financial go bankrupt? Did the company die of natural causes, or did miscreants orchestrate its destruction? And if miscreants destroyed New Century, did they do so planning to profit from the broader economic calamities that were certain to result from its collapse?
I do not yet have definitive answers to these questions. But interviews with sources close to New Century and a review of documents, including the oddly biased page New Century bankruptcy report , make it clear that at least two hedge fund managers — David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital — played a significant role in creating the conditions that made New Century vulnerable to catastrophe.
And they did so while building massive short positions in Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, MBIA and other companies that were likely to be seriously damaged if New Century were to go bankrupt.
He has gone to lengths to suggest that he lost a lot of money from his investment. Moreover, some banks, most notably Goldman Sachs, created and sold collateralized debt obligations containing New Century mortgages while simultaneously betting that the CDOs would plummet in value. Those CDO could not have been created without Einhorn and his allies inside New Century delivering the mortgages that went into them.
And there is no doubt that Goldman Sachs delivered the knock-out punch that put New Century out of business, ensuring that the CDOs would, in fact, implode. This constellation of facts may be coincidental, of course. This essay lays them out, and leaves it to the reader to decide. In his letter, Zona explicitly stated that he was making this demand in league with David Einhorn and Dan Loeb.
Zona stashed the draft letter on his computer and instead submitted a letter making a similar demand, but omitting all mention of Einhorn and Loeb. Prior to his attacks on Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, Einhorn was best known for his eminently dishonest attempt to demolish a financial company called Allied Capital. The attack on Allied began in at a hedge fund luncheon. Some weeks before the luncheon, Michael Milken had appeared in the offices of a top Allied Capital executive.
Loeb seems to take a certain pride in his bad boy image, and has distinguished himself in all manner of chicanery, such as hiring a cast of convicted criminals and scofflaws to spread false information about public companies on the Internet. Given their backgrounds, there was every reason to doubt the merits of the demand that Einhorn and Loeb had articulated through New Century board member Richard Zona.
Selling off all the loans would make the company entirely dependent on the banks, such as Goldman Sachs, that bought the loans. If, for some reason, the banks were to demand that New Century buy back its loans, the company would go bankrupt. After a brief time, Flanagan went to work for hedge fund Cerberus Capital. Cerberus Capital was run by Ezra Merkin, famous for being one of the biggest feeders to the Bernard Madoff fraud, and Stephen Feinberg, who was formerly a top employee of Michael Milken.
Cerberus is also the proud owner of an Austrian bank called Bawag, which was at the center of a scandal that wiped out Refco, once one of the most abusive naked short selling outfits on Wall Street. Sources tell Deep Capture that Cerberus made massive profits from the demise of New Century, and if so, it is likely that Flanagan had a hand in this.