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Nov. / Dec. 2013 Issue 5 ...Volume 2

Playing it Safe Safe Travels in 2014 You can find dozens of safe ways to avoid the frustration of the government-run parks and museums being closed during shutdowns. For example, try state parks, or private museums, or ... By Steve Dinnen Continue Page 15

Safety Pins Seeing the REAL Risk Investing can also distort the true risk of loss. Suppose there is a 90% chance that an investment will produce a 10% return each year for the next five years – those are pretty good odds – but perhaps the more important question is how much can you lose if that 1 in 10 chance happens? By Dr. Jack Marrion

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Personal Finance Business Lessons Learned at The End of a Fishing Pole It is interesting to take a leisure activity and apply its rules to business and see how they compare. Recently, I spent several relaxing days casting, straight-lining and watching bobbers while fishing. There was plenty of time to do a comparison. Norm Wilkens

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Safe Retirement

Beach Renourishment By Raymond J. Ohlson CLU, CRC

Ann and I were sitting on our deck at our beach house in South Carolina gazing at the beautiful, blue Atlantic Ocean. It was a wonderful October day, with the temperature about 77 degrees; the skies were blue, and there were just a few whispering clouds and a light breeze. You know it just doesn’t get any better than that! Every time I see the palm trees, the lush vegetation, and the dolphins playing, it just doesn’t seem as though anything is out of place or in harm’s way. But I know we have protection problems.

Keep Your Old Videos, Movies, and Photos Safe

In our family, the holidays give us some time to reminisce, pull out our old home movies and videos, and perhaps those dusty old photo albums, and recall the wonder years that have flown by too quickly. But once in awhile, trouble awaits us ... By Al Stone Continue Page 11

Safe for Life Don’t Get Scammed, They Are Very Clever While you are thinking about the holiday season, the scammers are out there figuring ways to dupe you out of your money. They become very active towards the end of the year and during tax season. By Thompson Myers & Associates

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Safety Pins ... Beach Renourishment- Continued The beach has been eroding over the last few years and has lost some of its strength. This erosion happens about every decade. The winter storms take their toll on the sand dunes, and then storms like Katrina and Rita add to the misery. Although they didn’t reach the Low Country, their powerful winds and storm surges made their presence felt. Some of the most recent storms are doing like-wise. You see, these dunes are very important for all life, including the human population of South Carolina. The dunes must be at least three feet tall, with an area of roughly ten to twenty yards of vegetation, followed by another set of dunes at the sea wall. The ecosystem depends on the vegetation and wild life inhabiting and strengthening the center portion of the beach. The dunes behind this center portion help stop the waves from entering our homes and flooding the island, which is below sea level. Of course a hurricane would be too much for these dunes to handle, so evacuation plans are always a necessarily. We must also be ready to repair these dunes when they have deteriorated to an unsafe level. Over the next few years, the state of South Carolina will begin another Beach Renourishment program. What I didn’t know is that it’s very precise work to replace sand, because not just any sand will work. Let me explain. I learned that sand has it’s own DNA. It has its own “blood type,” so it must be matched perfectly. To renourish the beach, the Army Core of Engineers will tow barges out three to five miles off shore to begin drilling for the perfect sand. They will prepare parts of the beach for the installation of the perfectly-matched new sand by clearing away some of the existing land and vegetation in the area. The actual process of installing the new sand is quite impressive: The Engineers blow the sand through huge pipes similar to those used to create “man-made snow” and the Palmetto State appears to be having its own Midwestern snow storm! The Engineers will have already erected sand fences to which the new sand will stick. The tides will then harden the dunes, new sea oats will be planted, and we’ll be okay for another ten years or so. However, protection Back to Table of Contents

and security are not a one-time job. We have to review and occasionally take action before the next disaster strikes.

A similar type of renourishment process applies to our financial planning. We may think that our financial plans are solid and “bullet proof,” but the reality of inflation and taxation, along with the looming threat of longterm care needs, can threaten our security. And any of these types of “disasters” can strike without warning! Furthermore, longevity is actually a double edge sword. Although the average life-span for both men and women has increased dramatically over the past few decades and most of us are fortunate enough to enjoy longer lives on this great planet, sometimes we may come up short on the dollars we need to sustain our lifestyle for those additional golden years. So, it’s time to get out of our barcaloungers and get to work! There are millions of us all across America who may be in a future “storm’s” path. If you think you might be at risk, it’s time to give your Safe Money Agent a call and schedule a “renourishment” review of your financial situation. Just visit www.safemoneyplaces.com, click on “Ask A Question,” and we’ll help you find an the Agent near you. Don’t wait for the next “financial hurricane” to hit while you’re unprepared. Your Safe Money Agent can assure that you’ll be safe in both sunny and stormy times.

About the Author: Raymond J. Ohlson CLU, CRC, CEO & President of The Ohlson Group, Inc. and SMP International, LLC Mr. Ohlson entered the insurance business while completing his Bachelor of Science Degree at Ball State University. He quickly qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) of which he is a Life Member. He also received his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Mr. Ohlson, a former life insurance company president, currently sits on college and hospital boards and is a published author. Raymond J. Ohlson can be reached at: Email: rohlson@ohlsongroup.com.

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Personal Finance

Business Lessons

Learned at The End of a Fishing Pole

I

t is interesting to take a leisure activity and apply its rules to business and see how they compare. Recently, I spent several relaxing days casting, straight-lining and watching bobbers while fishing at Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee. There was plenty of time to do a comparison. Here are the results I came up with during time on the lake.

Patience: You can’t hurry in fishing or business. Patience is a virtue. You can’t rush success in fishing no more than you can in a business venture. Quite often it takes months and even years Back to Table of Contents

By Norm Wilkens

to find a successful way of handling a business opportunity. Hopefully, it won’t take that long in fishing, but even a couple of hours sitting on a river bank or in a steamy boat in the hot sun, can seem like many hours. That is particularly true if the fish aren’t biting.

day adventure. In business, proper preparation can spell the difference between success and failure. Even the best business plan can fail if it isn’t properly aligned with all parties informed and on the same page. Communication is of significant importance in the final analysis.

Expectations:

Marketplace Knowledge:

It certainly doesn’t hurt to think ahead, but planning and executing the plan is more exciting and exact. Nothing takes the place of the fun of preparing for an outing with family and friends. Our recent activity took over a year of planning to execute for a three

You certainly have to know where your product or service will be marketed and what the competition is doing. You can’t just jump into the pool until you are sure there is water in it. Obviously, it is helpful to ( Page 3 )


Personal Finance ... Business Lessons Learned at the End of a Fishing Pole Cont.

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have some knowledge of the place you have decided to fish even after a seven year absence. In our targeted area, four generations of our family have now fished at Reelfoot with outstanding success. It is likely that we will have success in returning again. A business person must know the territory and calculate the chances for success or failure.

When properly aligned with that knowledge, the opportunity is in favor of succeeding. However, to make sure, it doesn’t hurt to update your knowledge in case something might be changing. In our case, we hired guides who were up-to-date on the lake and where the fishing should be at its best. Business persons can do the same by taking surveys to determine if all is

the way it should be, or call on persons with market “smarts� to make sure all is well.

Proper Equipment: It goes without saying, that a part of the preparation includes putting together the needed and proper equipment for the

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Personal Finance ... Business Lessons Learned at the End of a Fishing Pole Cont. outing. That’s part of the fun of going. The same holds true in business. You align your staff expertise and various skills to match the challenge and market. You should know what is needed before the first budgeted dollar is spent. Will it include print; broadcast; social media or other tools (equipment) to accomplish your objectives? You execute your plan based on the types of expertise assembled.

a different direction. How quickly you are able to adjust your sights and skills can still mean having success.

Plan B: It is always a good idea to have a fall-back position in business should all of your advance knowledge and planning prove to be not quite what you thought it would be and success evades your efforts. Even the best laid plans can go astray should something un- foreseen happen. Often it is totally unexpected and clearly off the radar. In spite of all the preparation, you find a little something that was overlooked and it means you must execute in

In the case of our recent lake visit, we were unaware that Asian Carp were now plentiful in our fishing grounds. Our first indication of their infestation came as our motors (two boats) began kicking-up these predators and their jumping antics landed a number of sizable specimens in our boats. My son held up one approximately two-feet long and indicated to me that he thought he had just landed the largest fish of the day without a hook or line in the water. Needless to say, we were not in a position to adjust other than to attempt to rid ourselves of the normal fishing patterns and see if we could go about trolling for crappie by a different means. We did bring back several nice packages of catfish and a few nice crappie. So much for planning and execution in fishing, or we can always take up golf!

About the Author: Norm Wilkens A nationally recognized speaker and writer, Norman Wilkens has traveled to forty-seven of the fifty states speaking on topics of marketing, advertising and public relations. His most noteworthy subjects include: Healthcare Marketing; Multi-generational travel and Baby Boomers their contribution to society and economics. He is presently serving as Midwestern Contributor to California’s AAA WESTWAYS Magazine. Among Wilkens’ current activities are the Butler University Alumni Board of Directors; Butler’s Central Indiana Alumni Chapter Board; Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the new Communication College of Butler; Board of Directors of Ruth Lilly Educational Foundation; Salvation Army of Indiana Advisory Board and as an Elder at Second Presbyterian Church of Indiana. Email: NormWilkens@aol.com

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Safety Pins

Seeing the Real Risk In I’m going to make you an

offer on your IRA. We’ll use half a pair of honest dice – one die. If you roll it and it comes up one through five, I’ll add 50% to your current IRA balance – if you have $100,000 and win, you’ll wind up with $150,000! However, if it comes up with a six, I win your IRA. How about it? If you roll the dice six times the expected average return is a gain of 25%, but that average return distorts the risk of the situation because there is a 16.7% chance that you’ll roll a six on that first try. If you roll a six on the first try, you lose everything; game over. Investing can also distort the true risk of loss. Suppose there is a 90% chance that an investment will produce a 10% return each year for the next five years – those are pretty good odds – but perhaps the more important question is how much can you lose if that 1 in 10 chance happens? If the loss is 20% and it occurs in your first year, the actual annualized 5-year gain is 3.2%, even though four out of five years produced 10% returns. I used 20% because a 20% loss is the definition of a bear stock market, but that’s the starting point and not the limit of a bear Back to Table of Contents

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Safety Pins ... Seeing the REAL Risk - Continued market loss. In the last bear, market many stock indexes dropped over 50%! Even if there had been a 90% chance that an investment would return an amazing 19% a year for the next five years, if the first year suffered a 50% decline you’d still have a loss at the end of the five years. A bigger problem with having the boldness to say there is a 90% chance of a gain or that the maximum loss is 50% is that those statements are based on the results of models that like to pretend that finance is the same as physics. But finance ain’t! Although financial consequences are the result of cause-and-effect, the relationship is not linear and can be completely disrupted by outliers (occurrences with a very small probability of occurrence) that are either unpredicted or are completely ignored because the odds of the nasty event happening are so low. The belief in 2006 was that there would never be a mortgage bond default crisis because the mortgage bond quantitative model showed

the odds of this happening were too remote. What they should have done was shut off their computers and asked “what if?” Our model says that the possibility that 100% of our “AAA” rated bond portfolio going into default is very remote, but what if it did happen multiple times and what if these defaults forced one of the largest investment banks on the planet out of business? Could that scenario result in an international banking crisis, and if so, how would that affect the perception of other good quality bonds and the ability of homeowners to borrow? And the answer is: Lehman Brothers did fail and the world narrowly avoided a global depression.

About the Author: Dr. Jack Marrion Dr. Marrion’s research on senior decision making and the financial world have been featured in hundreds of publications including: Business Week, Kiplinger, Smart Money, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of six books and a frequent media guest. Email: jack@safemoneyplaces.com

The problem with investments is that it’s impossible to create finite linear math models that can predict the unpredictable. What that means is to truly understand the risks, sometimes you need to throw away the spreadsheets, the charts, and the purported “odds” and simply ask, “what if?” You may decide to go in a completely different direction.

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Safe For Life Don’t Get Scammed, They Are Very Clever

By Thompson Myers And Associates

Article Highlights

your personal such bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, etc.

• Scammers disguise e-mails to look legitimate. • Legitimate businesses and the IRS One of the most popular methods these unscrupulous people use is requesting your never request sensitive personal personal information by e-mail. and financial information by And they are pretty good at making their e-mails e-mail. look as if they came from a legitimate source • Don’t become a victim. such as the IRS, your credit card company, your bank, etc. • Stop – Think - Delete While you are thinking about the holiday season, the scammers are out there figuring ways to dupe you out of your money. They become very active towards the end of the year and during tax season. What they try to do is trick you into divulging Back to Table of Contents

You need to be very careful when responding to e-mails asking you to update such things as your account information, pin number, password, etc. First and foremost, you should be aware that no legitimate company would make such a request by e-mail. If they do, they should be deleted and ignored just like spam e-mails.

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Safe For Life ... Don’t Get Scammed, They Are Very Clever - Continued We have seen bogus e-mails that looked like they were from the IRS, well-known banks, credit card companies, and other pseudolegitimate enterprises. The intent is to trick you and have you click through to a website that also appears legitimate where they have you enter your secure information.

If your identity is stolen, your life can become a nightmare. Identity thieves will even file tax returns under your Social Security number claiming huge refunds and leaving you with a horrendous mess to clean up with the IRS. Don’t be a victim. Please call this office if you believe your tax ID has been compromised.

Here are some examples: • E-mails that appeared to be from the IRS indicating you have a refund coming and they need information to process the refund. The IRS never initiates communication via e-mail! Right away, you know it is bogus. If you are concerned, please free to call this office. • E-mails from a bank indicating they are holding a wire transfer and they need your bank routing information and account number. Don’t respond; if in doubt, call your bank. • E-mails saying you have a foreign inheritance and they need your bank info so they can wire the funds. The funds that will get wired are yours going the other way. Remember, if it is too good to be true, it generally is not true. We could go on and on with examples. The key here is for you to be highly suspect of any e-mail requesting personal or financial information.

A good rule of thumb is to: STOP – THINK – DELETE.

About Thompson Myers & Associates, PC Accounting Firm Thompson Myers & Associates’ accounting and payroll staff have been delivering professional services to small businesses in Central Indiana for over 20 years. Having worked with hundreds of small business clients, we have significant expertise with a wide variety of service businesses in Indiana. We have especially strong experience and expertise in working with businesses in the healthcare (medical, dental, etc.) and food service (restaurants, caterers, etc.) industries. We recognize the value of a personal hands-on approach to doing business and earning clients for life. Thompson Myers & Associates is committed to carrying out our services with integrity, excellence, and respect for others. Our dedication and client support are beyond compare—focused on putting your best financial interests at the forefront. Phone Number: (317) 571-8080 Email: info@thompsonmyers.com Website: https://www.thompsonmyers.com/

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Safe Retirement Keep Your Old Videos, Movies, and Photos Safe By Al Stone, King Media Service

Father’s Vietnam War Voice

The holidays are upon us

again, and in addition to blowing a huge hole in your giftshopping budget, you may also be planning visits with family and old friends. In our family, the holidays give us some time to reminisce, pull out our old home movies and videos, and perhaps those dusty old photo albums, and recall the wonder years that have flown by too quickly. But once in awhile, trouble awaits us. Back to Table of Contents

The first problem we encountered a few years back is pretty universal these days: Our ancient 8-mm Bell & Howell movie projector no longer worked. It just sat there, frowning at us – no power, no projection lamp, no nothin’! Then, we went searching for a VCR – you remember those, don’t you? We have literally hundreds of VHS and BetaMax tapes gathering dust in the hall closet. But where the heck is the VCR! And those vacation

slides? Forget it! I haven’t seen our slide projector in at least twenty years. Photo albums? What a hassle that is! Some are stored in the attic; some are in the garage; none of them are labeled very well, and all of them are in danger of decomposition! The color is fading; the plastic sheeting covering the pages now sticks to the photos, often making it impossible to move them around. It’s a nightmare! ( Page 11 )


Safe Retirement ... Keep Your Old Videos, Movies, and Photos Safe - Continued I’m afraid we’ve already lost a ton of memories that my sixyear-old grandson will never get to see.

damaged or lost. The solution to protecting these priceless memories is to move them onto the newest media available.

Well, luckily I happen to be in the audio and video production business, and I just happen to have all of the old equipment needed to transfer nearly any medium to the newest formats: From VHS and Beta tapes to DVD; 8-mm or Super 8-mm movies to DVD; photos and slides to CD; audio tapes and discs to CD; and much more. Please excuse my crass commercial plug, but transferring these things has been a wonderful activity over the past couple of decades.

As part of my business, I have transferred thousands of tapes, records, movies, and photos for customers around the country. Some of the materials have been difficult to save, but nearly all of them have been engaging to watch and hear.

I learned way back in the 1980s that audio and video tapes deteriorate, slides and photos fade, and home movies become practically useless if not stored properly. And all of these media can be

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In the early 1990s I received a 7” reel-to-reel audiotape. The material on the tape was simply an old lady talking. As I listened to the tape, I heard the woman, who sounded quite ancient, describing her father building a privy on the back of their home. She became confused for a moment as she discussed which one of her brothers was helping her dad. “Hmm? Was that John helping out? She wondered. “No, no, that couldn’t have been John; he wasn’t born until ‘98.”

I was confused. I was transferring her tape in 1996. Was she “losing it?” Then, I looked at the tape box and found this information: “Grandma’s 100th Birthday Party – May 12, 1952.” I realized that Grandma’s brother John was born in 1898 not 1998, and that I was listening to the voice of a woman who was born in 1852 … eight years before Lincoln was elected President of the United States! Had Grandma been alive on the day I was transferring her tape to CD, she would have been 144 years old! Another example of the thrill I experience when transferring old media to new media is typical. I frequently receive small, 3” audiotapes for transfer to CD or, now, mp3 files. I was working on a tape of a soldier who was in Viet Nam in the late 1960s. He and his parents exchanged these small tapes frequently.

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Safe Retirement ... Keep Your Old Videos, Movies, and Photos Safe - Continued On this particular tape, the soldier is describing where he was sitting and what’s going on. Suddenly, we can hear gunfire off in the distance, and the soldier says something like, “Hang on Mom; I’m gonna leave the tape running. ‘Charlie’ (the Viet Cong enemy) is firing on us!” I then listened to a rather terrifying firefight in Viet Name from more than forty years ago. You can have your “reality TV.” This stuff is magical! One more? Around Christmas a few years ago, a lady and her husband brought an old transcript record over to my studio. It was basically a round piece of cardboard with a vinyl layer on top. It was in pretty bad shape. The mailing envelope was yellowed, and obviously it had been hit with moisture. The record inside was terribly scratched and damaged. I looked at the date on the envelope; it had been mailed in May 1944. So, I put on my headphones and worked on the record for

about twenty minutes while the lady and her husband sat behind me in the control room. When I had finally resurrected the voices from the record, I turned on the studio speakers and said, “Would you like to hear this?” She nodded, and I hit the play button. The recording contained two voices – an announcer and a soldier. The record was an example of the kind of patriotism Americans demonstrated during World War II: Pepsi had paid for the American Red Cross to send recording engineers into the European War Zone to capture messages from soldiers to mail back home to family and friends. The Pepsi and the Red Cross logos were printed on the mailing envelope. As we listened to the short recording – about 3 or 4 minutes – I turned to see the lady with tears streaming down her cheeks. I asked her who the voice on the recording was? She said, “That’s my dad!” I thought, “wow,” that’s pretty cool. She’s hearing what her dad sounded like, during the

war, nearly seventy years ago! It gets better! Recall that the date on the Red Cross envelope was “May, 1944.” The lady leaned toward me, wiping the tears from her eyes. She continued, “I was born in September, 1944.” She paused for a moment as her husband put his arm around her shoulder. “My dad was killed in action in July, 1944. This is the first time I’ve ever heard my father’s voice.” Did you just experience the same chill running down your spine that I felt at that moment? Keep those old records, tapes, slides, movies, and photos safe by getting them transferred to new media. I’d be happy to help, of course, and I know of other studios around the country that can also do the work for you. In the meantime, happy holidays!

Al Stone

KING MEDIA SERVICES 12544 Pointer Place Fishers, IN 46038 317.288.9495 Studio MyAudioAndVideoToDisc.com

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Playing It Safe

Safe

Travels in 2014 By Steve Dinnen

M

uch (sad) news has been made of the old soldiers who traveled to Washington, D.C., recently only to find that the World War II Memorial they planned to visit was closed due to the federal government shutdown. Likewise, Yosemite National Park, the Statue of Liberty, and every other national park and monument hung out “Unwelcome Mats!� The government is now reopened and so are those sites. But wrangling in Washington continues, which means tourists could easily find themselves in the same situation in a few months. However, you can find dozens of safe ways to avoid this frustration going forward. For example, try state parks, or private museums, or whatever is not tied to Congress and its seemingly endless infighting. Back to Table of Contents

For instance, although we honor Orville and Wilbur Wright with a national park in Dayton, Ohio, that site was a no-go during the shutdown. Nonetheless, it was business-as-usual just sixty minutes to the west, at the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum near Millville, Indiana. This privately run museum

(http://www.wwbirthplace. com/#) features the stillstanding birthplace home (c. 1867) of Wilbur Wright, along with a mockup of the Dayton neighborhood where the brothers built their airplane. You can also visit various static displays of their adventures in North Carolina, including a ( Page 15 )


Playing it Safe ... Safe Travels in 2014 - Continued

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model of their airplane. There’s even an airfield out back where model airplane enthusiasts regularly gather to put their planes through their spins and turns. In Dearborn, Michigan, you’ll find still more homage to the Wright Brothers at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield

Village, likewise both privately run. These places feature a lot of impressive collectibles gathered by Henry Ford, such as a camp bed used by George Washington (yep, he actually slept here!), the rocking chair in which Abe Lincoln was sitting when he was murdered, and the home of Noah Webster.

You can spend hours viewing massive displays of everything from washing and sewing machines to light bulbs, all of which are meant to mark the economic and cultural development of America. You can devour a good dose of transportation items, such as Model T’s (you can even

What Happens if You Develop a Chronic Illness? CLICK HERE to Watch Back to Table of Contents

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Playing it Safe ... Safe Travels in 2014 - Continued ride in one), locomotives, and airplanes. Stop to read the 1934 letter from bank robber Clyde Barrow, thanking Mr. Ford for building peppy engines. “For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got every other car skinned,” he bragged of the V-8 that he favored for getaways. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park that straddles Tennessee and North Carolina may have been closed, but numerous public highways pass through it, and you can take in the wonderful scenery from them or the byways just outside the park. You can enjoy plenty of places to camp or lodge just outside of the park. Out West, the infamous

former federal prison at Alcatraz Island is part of the Golden Gate Bridge National Recreation Area. Closed due to Congressional bickering? Then head to Angel Island, which also is in San Francisco Bay, and is run as a state park – and didn’t miss a beat during the shutdown! Angel Island (www. parks.ca.gov/?page_id=468) served as the Ellis Island of the West Coast from 1910 to 1940, mostly for Chinese immigrants. It later served as a Nike missile base. The view of San Francisco is just as spectacular from there as it is from Alcatraz.

About the Author: Steve Dinnen Steve is a freelance writer specializing in financial and travel news. He received his Bachelors Degree from Drake University and his Master of Journalism from Oklahoma University. Mr. Dinnen served as Sr. Business Reporter for the Des Moines Register, Business News Editor for the Indianapolis Star and served as Editor (freelance) for the Christian Science Monitor of its weekly personal finance column. Email: paudel2001@msn.com.

So get out there and enjoy the land and all it has to offer. Ignore that wet blanket called Congress.

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Issue 5, Volume 2 - Winter Edition  

This issue includes articles about: - Traveling in 2014 - Why Investments are Risky - Business Lessons and Tips - Financial Planning Tips -...

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