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Thursday, November 21, 2013

It’s time to talk turkey

Everyone dreads “the talk.” It’s inevitably awkward, always painful and absolutely heartwrenching. What will we do with mom and dad? Even worse, it’s easily avoided with a liberal application of self-delusion.

Over 70 percent of Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives. Only 25 percent actually believe that they’ll need it themselves. As a result, nearly all of us are unprepared for a harsh reality. In-home care, even occasionally, is expensive and 24-hour care for feeding, bathing and toileting is financially insurmountable for most – if you’re unprepared. 

A new report from UC Berkeley drives home the point. Over the next decade, the number of retiring baby boomers in California will increase from 4.8 million to 6.9 million. Right alongside that will be an astronomical bill that may bankrupt the state, your friends and your family. 

Today, government spends an impressive figure on Medi-Cal’s long-term care support – about $6.6 billion. In 2023, that number could double to $12.4 billion. And since Medi-Cal only covers the poorest Californians, untold billions will come right out of our paychecks.

Thankfully, the picture isn’t all doom and gloom. If you plan today, we all can have a better tomorrow.

 “Now is the time for families to start talking, especially around the holidays. We want families to begin having conversations about long-term care and long-term care needs,” says Brenda Bufford, program director for California’s Partnership for Long-Term Care, after mentioning that only 10 percent of Californians have some sort of long-term health plan. 

In other words, it’s high time to talk turkey this Thanksgiving. 

Working with your family, you can decide what is best for everyone. Should you invest in long-term care insurance? Should you save and hope for the best? Or, is your family willing and able to take care of you?

The only way to answer these questions is to start the conversation. For more information on how to get the ball rolling and to learn more about the UC Berkeley report, visit

~ Jonathan 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Toys Sell, Not Burgers!

Is anyone still shocked to hear that children are being targeted by fast food advertising on the television?

Yes, I’m sure it didn’t rock your world, but what is shocking is that two of the biggest names in the fast food industry are single-handedly responsible for 99 percent of the ads for children’s meals, shaping what they like to eat and how they consume it! Why should I care? Because as a working mom trying to put a nutritious meal on the dinner table, it’s hard to compete with the barrage of tantalizing messages coming at my children at such a fast pace that by the time dinner is ready, all they are hungry for is the latest toy in the kid’s meal. How can broccoli “trees” and carrot “swords” compete with apple slices so cleverly packaged with the latest movie promo that the characters practically pop out of the plastic?

Here are the key findings from a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study on how TV fast food marketing aimed at children compares with adult advertising:
  • 99 percent of children’s meal ads are from McDonald’s and Burger King
  • 40 percent (44,062 ads) of McDonald’s ads were aimed at children
  • 21 percent (37,210 ads) of Burger King ads were aimed at children
  • 79 percent of advertisements aimed at children aired on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD and Nicktoons
  • 69 percent of ads mentioned toy giveaways
  • 55 percent had movie tie-ins for children versus 14 percent in adult advertisements
  • 88 percent of ads aimed at children included strong branding images in food packaging compared to 23 percent of ads targeting adults

If you’re not convinced, check out the infographic. I think it will leave you feeling less hungry for a happy meal.