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The (Shoe) Doctor is still in

Beloved EP business loaded up the Kia and moved to Beverly

Moises Compos — the man known as Moises the Shoe Doctor made an emergency exit from The Plaza in Evergreen Park, by turning his Kia Sportage into an ambulance of sorts that transported his business into Beverly.

“We just didn’t have time to inform all of our customers,” his grandson, Steve Sanchez, said. “We received notice of the closure in April and we had until the end of May to vacate the premises. We didn’t even hire movers. My grandfather used his creativity and built a shoe rack on top of his Kia Sportage SUV. It took 25 trips but we got it done!”

Many of the small businesses within The Plaza left 10 years ago when rumors of the closure first began to surface. During that time, Compos, of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood was just a loyal employee to former owner and friend, Alberto Levin. Compos began working for Levin in The Plaza in 1969 shortly after he and wife, Maura, and their nine children arrived from Mexico, hoping for a chance for a better life.

Compos said wasn’t deterred by the rumors of The Plaza closing. He eagerly slipped into Levin’s shoes and purchased, what was then known as, Sam the Shoe Doctor in 2001.

A tablet for the holiday? This might be the year

  If you were hoping to purchase a new tablet this holiday season, you’re in luck. Between Microsoft’s recent launch of the Surface 2, Nokia unveiling what seemed like 100 new devices at Nokia World and then Apple’s unveiling of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display — there are several to choose from. Which should you buy?

Iteration from Apple
  Apple’s in a bit of a pickle right now, and it knows it. It used to enjoy close to 100 percent market share because Apple invented the category. Now, it has about 49 percent market share and the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
  The company knew it had to make a big splash to regain some momentum. It showed off two new devices: the iPad Air, which is thinner, happier, better, yummy yummy; and a new Retina display version of the iPad mini, which at 7 inches is a great form factor. They’re good. But it’s not really true innovation. (That’s not to say Apple can’t do true innovation anymore; the newly re-designed Mac Pro that was shown off just before the new iPads is stunning.)

  But when Apple unveiled its new iPads, CEO Tim Cook said, “Our competitors don’t really know what they’re doing.” He said that his competitors are making tablets, they’re making notebooks, they’re making Chromebooks. Cook said that Apple’s clear focus and singular vision is better. I disagree. Truthfully, Apple is just making iPads. They’re making them great. If you like an iPad, nothing else will do. But, if you want a combination of a PC and a tablet, Microsoft is really working hard.

So…what’s going on between Nokia and Microsoft?
  It makes no sense for Nokia to unveil a brand new tablet, powered by Windows RT, on the same day that Microsoft launched its new Surface 2 tablets. Nokia’s about to be bought by Microsoft, yet for some reason still thought it was a good idea to unveil what’s basically the same unit as the new Surface 2 (the new version of the tablet known as the Surface RT). Both of these devices are crippled because they’re both RT units. The Lumia 2520 and the Microsoft Surface 2 are literally both the same unit from a technology standpoint.
  The standout tablet from either company is the Surface Pro 2, which is a whole other thing because it’s expensive. It’s basically a laptop that’s sold without the keyboard… which you will purchase separately making it even more expensive. The Surface Pro 2 with a keyboard is far more expensive than an iPad Air and more than double the price of the new iPad mini. Nothing to compare here. The Surface Pro 2 competes with Windows Ultrabooks, not Apple iPads.

Remember: it’s not Microsoft vs. Apple
  The Surface Pro 2 is getting great reviews … but there’s no one lining up to buy them. The battle is not between Microsoft and Apple. The battle is between Google and Apple and, specifically, between Android devices and iOS devices. Microsoft hopes, wishes and prays to be included in the conversation, but it’s not there. Microsoft is trying to create a market for tablet computing as opposed to tapping the market of tablet users — it may sound like a semantic argument, I assure you it is not.
  Look at Microsoft’s operating systems. You have Windows 8 on a PC vs. Windows 8 on a tablet vs. Windows RT … these are operating systems that people will like when they learn to use them, but Microsoft has done nothing to teach them to use them. When you walk up to Windows 8, you go, “I want it to be Windows 7!” Microsoft has missed all kinds of consumer opportunities. What they have to do is figure out how they’re going to beat Apple and Google at the game Apple and Google are actually playing — a game Microsoft clearly does not understand.

Who won Triple Tablet Tuesday?
  Apple. It said, “We’re going to be here for Christmas, and you’re going to be happy!”
  Who lost? Microsoft. It’s about to go and spend a big chunk of money for Nokia, and Nokia’s sitting there going, “We don’t know what we’re doing…” and Microsoft is saying the same thing. Microsoft’s got some work to do. There’s a chance for Microsoft to make great strides in the tablet market, but looking at these holiday offerings, it’s hard to be optimistic.

  Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York’s On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television’s monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network’s, Shelly Palmer Digital Living Daily, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards).

Plan for long-term care costs

Scott-Johnson---Head  November is Long-term Care Awareness Month. And when it comes to long-term care — such as a stay in a nursing home or the services provided by a home health aide — you’ll want to plan for the potential costs involved.
  Of course, you might think that you’ll always be able to live independently, without requiring any assistance — and perhaps you will. However, the odds aren’t necessarily in your favor: About 70% of Americans who reach the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lives for an average of three years, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  And every type of long-term care is expensive. Consider these numbers, taken from the 2013 Cost of Care Survey produced by Genworth, a financial security company:
  • The national average rate for a private room in a nursing home is $83,950 — a jump of 24% over the past five years. And it’s not much cheaper for a semi-private room in a nursing home — the average cost is $75,405 per year, up 23% from five years ago.
  • A full-time home health aide costs, on average, $44,479 per year.
  If you had to spend more than $80,000 per year for a nursing home, and you needed to stay in that nursing home for several years, what would it do to your savings? How would it affect all your financial goals?
  Many people think Medicare will pay for long-term care expenses, but that’s just not the case. In reality, Medicare only covers a small percentage of long-term care costs, which means it’s typically up to the individual to foot the bills.
  You’ve worked hard to position yourself for an enjoyable retirement, so it’s important to protect your income and assets from potentially huge long-term care costs. How can you deal with these expenses?
  Essentially, you have a couple of options. First, you could “self-insure” by incorporating long-term costs into your future budget — but, as the above numbers indicate, that could be pretty expensive. Your second choice is to “transfer the risk” of incurring long-term care costs to an insurance company. A financial professional can assist you in choosing the right solution for your individual needs.
  However, as important as it is to address costs, and ways of meeting them, it’s also necessary to look at some of the other factors that may be connected with the need for long-term care services. To illustrate: If you were to enter a nursing home, you might be suffering from a physical or mental disability that could keep you from handling your own affairs. So you may want to consult with your legal advisor to discuss a durable power of attorney, which would allow you to delegate your financial decisions to a relative, close friend or anyone else you might choose.
  Preparing for the unexpected, including long-term care, takes time and careful planning. So why not observe Long-term Care Awareness Month by getting started on your plans? It can be time well spent.

Scott Johnson, CFP, is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, 8146 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, 974-1965. Edward Jones does not provide legal advice. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor.

Beware of scams exploiting Affordable Care Act signup

  Potentially, 50 million people could sign-up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
  That’s 50 million people who could potentially be scammed. With so little actually being understood about ACA “Obamacare” and the problems brought on by massive computer glitches during sign-up it’s become a perfect storm for scammers.
  The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois says there are a number of scams that consumers must watch out for. Leading the list are these:
  • Fees For Service — Scammers pose as Affordable Care Act Advisors who will help you get enrolled through one of the exchanges. The scam: There are trained and certified ACA Advisors, however, they are not allowed to accept money for their services.
  • Medicare Coverage — Senior Citizens are being told they will need new Medicare Cards because of the ACA. The scam: They provide Social Security numbers and financial information for new cards that are not required.
  • Medical Discount Plans — Scammers call offering medical discount plans that provide needed coverage and avoids penalties for lack of coverage. The scam: Medical discount plans are not insurance they are programs offered by specific clinics, doctors, and pharmacies. They are also a window to identity theft.
  • Government Imposters — Individuals call acting as “government officials” who offer assistance in enrollment or provide answers to questions about your insurance plan. To do this they will need your personal information. The scam: No government official will call, email, or text you about your insurance options.
  “To avoid being scammed is simple” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Don’t engage in conversations over the phone, don’t give out personal information, and don’t provide any payment information unless you have checked out the business offering you services.”
  For more tips and information about scams, visit bbb.org.
— The Better Business Bureau

Should you take a pension buyout?

Scott-Johnson---Head  Have you recently received a pension buyout offer? If so, you need to decide if you should take the buyout, which could provide you with a potentially large lump sum, or continue accepting your regular pension payments for the rest of your life. It’s a big decision.
  Clearly, there’s no “one size fits all” answer — your choice needs to be based on your individual circumstances. So, as you weigh your options, you’ll need to consider a variety of key issues, including the following:
  • Estate considerations — Your pension payments generally end when you and/or your spouse dies, which means your children will get none of the money. But if you were to roll the lump sum into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and you don’t exhaust it in your lifetime, you could still have something to leave to your family members.
  • Taxes — If you take the lump sum and roll the funds into your IRA, you control how much you’ll be taxed and when, based on the amounts you choose to withdraw and the date you begin taking withdrawals. (Keep in mind, though, that you must start taking a designated minimum amount of withdrawals from a traditional IRA when you reach age 70½. Withdrawals taken before age 59½ are subject to taxes and penalties.) But if you take a pension, you may have less control over your income taxes, which will be based on your monthly payments.
  • Inflation — You could easily spend two or three decades in retirement — and during that time, inflation can really add up. To cite just one example, the average cost of a new car was $7,983 in 1982; 30 years later, that figure is $30,748, according to TrueCar.com. If your pension checks aren’t indexed for inflation, they will lose purchasing power over time. If you rolled over your lump sum into an IRA, however, you could put the money into investments offering growth potential, keeping in mind, of course, that there are no guarantees.
  • Cash flow — If you’re already receiving a monthly pension, and you’re spending every dollar you receive just to meet your living expenses, you may be better off by keeping your pension payments intact. If you took the lump sum and converted it into an IRA, you can withdraw whatever amount you want (as long as you meet the required minimum distributions), but you’ll have to avoid withdrawing so much that you’ll eventually run out of money.
  • Confidence in future pension payments — From time to time, companies are forced to reduce their pension obligations due to unforeseen circumstances. You may want to take this into account as you decide whether to continue taking your monthly pension payments, but it’s an issue over which you have no control. On the other hand, once your lump sum is in an IRA, you have control over both the quality and diversification of your investment dollars. However, the trade-off is that investing is subject to various risks, including loss of principal.
  Before selecting either the lump sum or the monthly pension payments, weigh all the factors carefully to make sure your decision fits into your overall financial strategy. With a choice of this importance, you will probably want to consult with your financial and tax advisors. Ultimately, you may find that this type of offer presents you with a great opportunity — so take the time to consider your options.

Scott Johnson, CFP, is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, 8146 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, 974-1965. Edward Jones does not provide legal advice. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor.