What if you get sick while traveling abroad? How to get and pay for the treatment you need

Probability in Health and Medicine, Economics –

Consumer Reports, June 2015

What age is best to start drawing Social Security benefits? Truth is, it depends.

Probability in Investing, Economics –

If there is one piece of advice that financial advisers seem nearly unanimous on, it’s Social Security and when you should take it. If you can, wait till you’re 70. You could double your monthly check.

Granted, it may be good advice, but few people take it. It makes you wonder: Is there a disconnect between financial planners and “real people”?

In fact, most Americans don’t wait that long. According to the Social Security Administration, 37 percent of people take benefits at 62, as soon as they are eligible. Another 18 percent take benefits at full retirement age (66 for most baby boomers), and only 3 percent waited until 70.

Rodney Brooks, Washington Post, June 25, 2015

Millennials Don’t Trust Stock Market, Goldman Sachs Poll Shows

Probability in Investing, Psychology – 

When it comes to the U.S. stock market, millennials can’t even.

That’s the conclusion of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. survey that found 18 percent of the young adults trusted the stock market as “the best way to save for the future.” More than 20 percent of the respondents said they didn’t know enough about it, while another 16 percent said stocks are either too volatile or the marketplace isn’t fair for small investors.

American demographics are shifting and Wall Street is taking notice. Millennials, usually defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34, are entering their prime savings years as the Baby Boom generation heads toward retirement.

“Millennials will become the most important financial generation in America and the industry will have to adapt to meet their needs,” Goldman Sachs analysts Conor Fitzgerald and Sarah Cha wrote in the survey.

Callie Bost, BloombergBusiness, June 24, 2015

Do You Know What Your Spouse Makes? 43 Percent of Americans Don’t – American couples aren’t on the same page when it comes to money

Probability in Relationships, Economics –

In the constant struggle to balance family finances, many Americans have a problem: They don’t really know how much money their spouses are bringing home.

In a study of 1,051 couples, Fidelity Investments asked people how much their partner earns. More than 40 percent got the question wrong. One in 10 misjudged their partner’s income by more than $25,000.

So far the 21st century hasn’t exactly been easy on middle-class finances, and couples’ failure to communicate may be adding to the anxiety. If you don’t have a handle on how much your household earns, it can be hard to feel in control of your spending.

Generation X couples are the worst at judging their partners’ income, with 55 percent getting it wrong. This generation—in their late 30s and 40s, at the peak of their careers—is also the likeliest to get bonus pay, Sweeney notes.

Ben Steverman, BloombergBusiness, June 24, 2015



How We Store Food At Home Could Be Linked To How Much We Eat

Probability in Health, Psychology –

Keeping food out of sight could be a way to keep it out of your mouth. That’s the hunch of Charles Emery, a psychologist at Ohio State University, anyway. His latest research suggests that how food is set up around the house could be influencing how much people eat and, ultimately, how heavy they might be.

There are a lot of factors that scientists say explain obesity — defined as a body-mass index over 30 — from genetics to lifestyle changes to socio-economic status.

But Emery says the home environment and how it may influence eating behaviors has largely been left unexamined. So his team decided to “look at every aspect of the home environment related to food,” he says.

NPR, Angus Chen, May 18, 2015

The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever

Probability in Climate, Science, Technology –

The renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That’s according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 20401

Here are six massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:

Tom Randall, BloombergBusiness, June 23, 2015

More Americans expect higher incomes this year

Probability in Economics –

Americans are significantly more optimistic about their income prospects while their perceptions of their financial well-being have improved modestly, according to Federal Reserve survey results out Wednesday.

Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed expect their income to be higher in 2015, up from 21% the previous year. The annual survey of 5,800 Americans was conducted last fall as part of the Fed’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014.

The respondents’ bullish outlook on their income is consistent with other reports showing that wage gains are finally picking up after years of stagnation since the Great Recession.

Paul Davidson, USA Today, May 27, 2015

5 steps to brewing exceptional coffee – With a little effort you can wean yourself from coffeehouse brews

Probability in Health – 

The best coffee, for many of us, is what you pick up at your local coffee haunt on the way to work. But that can get expensive, with a medium-size coffee every workday adding up to $500 or more a year. Here’s how to improve your chances of making top-notch coffee at home:

Consumer Reports, June 22, 2015

A A What’s your bike helmet habit? Consumer Reports found riders with loose chin straps, tilted helmets Published: May 09, 2015 09:00 AM

Probability in Safety, Health and Medicine –

Take off that Fitbit. Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight.

Probability in Health and Medicine –

Exercise — no matter how many gym memberships you buy or how often you wear your Fitbit — won’t make you lose weight.

The idea that our obesity epidemic is caused by sedentary lifestyles has spread widely over the past few decades, spurring a multibillion-dollar industry that pitches gadgets and gimmicks promising to walk, run and kickbox you to a slim figure. But those pitches are based on a myth. Physical activity has a multitude of health benefits — it reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even cancer — but weight loss is not one of them.

Aseem Malhotra, Washington Post, May 15, 2015