At various times, many people may feel frustrated by the performance of their investments. For example, they expect growth, and they don’t get it — or they think the value of their investment won’t fluctuate much, but it does. However, some of this frustration might be alleviated if investors were more familiar with the nature of their investment vehicles. Specifically, it’s important to keep in mind the difference between long-term and short-term investments.
What defines long-term and short-term investments? Long-term investments are those vehicles that you intend to hold for more than one year — in fact, you generally intend to hold them for several years. On the other hand, you usually hold short-term investments for one year or less.
Apple is gearing up to soon begin hardware repairs for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in its chain of retail stores, according to sources with knowledge of the upcoming initiative. These sources say that Apple Stores will be able to replace several parts of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on-site, meaning that Apple will no-longer need to fully replace iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units with damage or other problems…
The sources say that Apple will be providing its stores with special machinery to replace the touchscreens on both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. These machines will be used specifically to calibrate the displays. The screen replacements cost $149 for each device, and this price point is significantly more affordable than the several-hundred dollars required to completely replace a device with a damaged/cracked screen.
In addition to displays, Apple will have the capability to replace the volume buttons, vibrating motor, rear-camera, and speaker system on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Apple Stores will be able to replace the conventional Home button on the iPhone 5c, but it does not appear that Apple will be able to conduct swaps for the Touch ID-based button on the iPhone 5s.
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).
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.
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