“There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.”
– G.K. Chesterton
The 411 on the 911 abroad
We all know that 911 is the number to call when we have an emergency, but other nations have other numbers. In Japan, the emergency number is 119. In member nations of the European Union, it is 112. The UK’s 999 is the world’s oldest such emergency number. Why not program these numbers into your phone before traveling to these destinations?
Five Step Word Puzzle.
How can you change the word “hard” to the word “soft” in five steps? You can only change one letter at a time, and each step must leave you with a real word.*
DID YOU NOW?
The Beatles despised jelly beans
In 1964, avid Beatles fans (inaccurately) heard that the Fab Four enjoyed Jelly Babies, a soft British candy. When the Beatles toured America that year, fans began to toss Jelly Beans at them, the American equivalent with much harder coating. The band hated getting pelted by them, and in August of that year, their concert in San Francisco had to be halted twice until fans stopped throwing the candies onstage.4
WHAT ARE THE BEST (AND WORST) STATES FOR RETIREMENT?
Every year, consumer financial services website Bankrate.com tries to determine them through a survey of financial, health, and lifestyle factors. Its 2016 survey conveys a distinct message: for a nice retirement, avoid coasts and head west.
For the second straight year, Wyoming ranked as the best state in which to retire. Three of its geographic neighbors (South Dakota, Colorado, and Utah) came in second, third, and fourth. Virginia was fifth, and it was the only state in the top ten east of the Mississippi River. In sixth place through tenth place: Montana, Idaho, Iowa, Arizona, and Nebraska. These states have three things in common, Bankrate notes: their residents consistently report being happy with their quality of life, their crime rates are low, and their cost of living is reasonable.
What state ranked dead last? New York, which was 50th in taxes and 48th in cost of living. The rest of the bottom five, in ascending order: West Virginia, Oregon, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Hawaii came in 45th (the Aloha State ranked 50th in cost of living) and Florida ranked 28th (the Sunshine State ranked 39th in crime and 29th in health care). Alaska presented retirees with the best potential for low taxes, New Hampshire ranked first in health care services, and Mississippi came in first for lowest cost of living. California ranked 39th, even though it had the second-best weather. New Mexico came in first in the weather rankings.1
THE UPSIDE & DOWNSIDE OF DOWNSIZING
According to a recent Demand Institute survey, 63% of baby boomers do not plan to move once retired. How about you? Should you stay where you are, or should you move and downsize?
Downsizing can save money in the long run; depending on where you move, it can mean lower taxes, less need for two cars, lower utility bills, and perhaps easier access to high-quality medical care. In the short run, it may cost plenty; you may have to fix or remodel parts of your home to ensure a sale, and the fees and costs of buying and selling are sizable. If downsizing is on your mind, you may want to run some numbers using the National Council on Aging’s free online tool: calculator.benefitscheckup.org/calculators/move-or-stay-put.2
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
The current bull market turned seven years old on March 9. It gained 215% from March 9, 2009 to its most recent peak on May 21, 2015. By that standard, it ranks as the fifth-best bull market in history.3