The View From The Golden Dome

Views on the week's events plus some of mine.

Les Berman Weekly 8-21 DDT, Starbucks, Sandwich Gen

Do you remember when the mosquito abatement trucks came by spraying DDT everywhere? And did you see what came from the Starbucks CEO this week? Mortgage rates continue to fall. And I’m delighted to see that people all over the country are disgusted with the antics of the children in DC.

I hope that this week will be better than last!

I’m looking for some DDT. When I was in NYC last November, I was shocked to see signs around Manhattan for bedbug eradication service. Then I made the mistake of watching a program today about bedbugs and the spread of the infestation. WOW ! I had no idea about the enormity of the problem. Apparently, 1 in 5 of us knows someone who has been affected by the bugs. And there are so few ways to get rid of them – heat is one, and DDT may still work, but it’s illegal. So, as you continue your travels around the country, check out this website for information. And if you have some extra DDT, call me !

This would be the natural place to segue into a commentary on the children playing badly in DC, and the disgust that’s being echo’d around the country. But I will not go there. OK, I wll…

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, rocked the world with an email that he sent out last weekend. Following is the article from The Seattle Times:

“SOMEBODY had to say it, and it might as well be Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. A round of boisterous applause, please, for Schultz’s deliciously, in-your-face call to other CEOs to withhold campaign contributions to President Obama and incumbent members of Congress. The coffee guru has had enough of political dickering — who hasn’t? — and is urging a boycott on campaign donations to leaders in D.C. until “a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger, long-term fiscal footing.” Schultz made clear he was referring to entitlements and revenues.

How smart to talk to these people in a language they speak: money for campaigns. Maybe Schultz’s idea will awaken leaders to the way the country views them. The recent showdown and ineffectual handling of the debt-ceiling crisis in D.C. was hugely disappointing. Obama was weak; the tea party displayed an inability to govern. The whole affair was beyond discouraging.

And so campaign contributors should join Schultz in withholding money until our leaders earn their keep.

Part two of his announcement is to put his money where his mouth is: Schultz is urging U.S. companies to look past worries about the economy, stop sitting on cash and start hiring. Schultz intends to hire 70,000 people in the U.S. during the next year, though some of those jobs already exist and need to be filled. This is what the country needs right now, a businessman who calls nonsense on politicians and corporate leaders who seem unable to make a move. You have to admire a guy who says he will go first.

“We are going to accelerate growth, employment and investment in jobs,” he said, adding that confidence is contagious. “We are not waiting for government to create an incentive program or a stimulus.”

His boycott of campaign contributions will be successful only if other likely contributors join him. But someone had to embarrass the folks in D.C. Someone had to say, let’s get the economy going by taking matters into our own hands. Way to go. ”

Thank you Howard !! I’ve said it here before, but I think that Schultz may gather a little more attention.

So, with the turmoil is the equity markets, money has fled to Treasuries, driving the yield on the 10 year under 2% for the first time in history. Although it was brief, that move was significant. And with that move, came record low mortgage rates. I just did an analysis for a client with a $340,000 mortgage. I saved him $150 month my moving his rate down just over 1/2 point to 4.125% for 30 years. His payback was less than 21 months. Pretty amazing ! For a free no obligation analysis, call me at 818.305.4695. All I need is your address, your interest rate, contact number and email address. Pretty simple for my California readers.


Look at the chart – 1985 when I moved to Los Angeles, I paid 12% and paid 2 points. I survived. So now it’s your turn to take advantage of a huge opportunity to put cash back in your pocket. The magic number is 818.305.4695.

One thing that continues to amaze me is the demands of some leaders on their minions. In the East, 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike. I understand that unions are needed in some cases, but their leadership is totally irresponsible in sending these folks out on the street. I’m guessing that virtually every striker’s position could be filled by people currently unemployed. The leaders are crazy. There are other tactics. And what about the grocery workers leadership here in California. The grocery chains are taking applications from people willing to cross the picket lines, because people are willing to work.. for money. Somehow, there’s a disconnect out there. We are not in a full employment business cycle. I know the companies are making money – they are entitled to do that, believe it or not ! The normal response is that if you’re not happy, leave your job and get another. Yes, there are negotiables, but if you go on strike for even one day, you will never recoup the lost income with the amount of raise that you want. Think about – and tell your leadership how you really feel. Tke a look around you and understand that you are more fortunate than millions of people !

Sort of like the two fish that swim into a concrete wall.  One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’

Or perhaps this observation..  I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.!!

Effective October 1, 2011, the temporary high loan balance loans (above $417,000) are subject to drop. If this happens this could have a dramatic impact  if you are looking to sell or buy a home.

• Sellers – Will have less qualified buyers due to larger down payment requirements and higher interest rates.
• Buyers – Will be required to put more down and qualify at a higher interest rate.

Be sure to read about the 6 Tips for the Sandwich Generation below.

Make your week a little better by calling me for your free mortgage checkup 818.305.4695.


Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive quicker? (I’m guilty!)

Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

First California Mortgage
Provided to you Exclusively
Les Berman CMC
Les Berman CMC
Senior Mortgage Advisor
NMLS ID # 227675
First California Mortgage
Office: 310-271-1588
Cell: 818-305-4695
Fax: 877-707-8823
Les Berman CMC

Forecast for the Week sym_arrow.gif

This week’s economic calendar is light but the impact could be big:

  • New Home Sales will be released on Tuesday. This report comes after a drop in Existing Home Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits. It would be nice to see some improvement – but the market expectation isn’t high.
  • Gross Domestic Product for the 2nd quarter will be released on Friday, and investors will be waiting with bated breath for signs of weakening in the US economy. The initial read for Q2 came in low. If the second read is weak, Stock markets could move a leg lower and give Bonds a boost. But the report isn’t released until Friday, so Stocks and Bonds will fight for investing dollars throughout the week.

Remember: Weak economic news normally causes money to flow out of Stocks and into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, while strong economic news normally has the opposite result.

As you can see in the chart below, Bonds and Home loan rates improved last week but tapered off a bit on Friday. Stock markets fell once again last week on fears of a double-dip recession. That coupled with a plunge in the Philly Fed Index along with weak housing numbers fueled a rally in the Bond markets that saw Mortgage Bonds hit fresh 2011 highs before giving up some of those gains on Friday.

Overall, however, home loan rates are still at some of the most attractive levels ever seen – making now a great time to consider a refinance or home purchase. Call me today at 818.305.4695 or send an email to

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Aug 19, 2011)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Les Berman Weekly View… sym_arrow.gif
Focus to Finish: A Mindset
By Jason W. Womack, MEd, MAWhen it’s time to sit down and work on your work, how do you hold your focus?Over the past 5 months I’ve been working on the book. In that time, I’ve tried it ALL! I’ve planned extra days in hotel rooms, blocked time on the calendar, hired editors, I’ve even kept the calendar completely clear for one 3-day stretch, all to buy a little extra time to write.Here’s what I’ve learned (or deepened my understanding of) over the past several months:

1. I’ve got to have a solid “start point.” When I sit down to write, it helps a TON if I’ve already decided WHAT I’m going to draft in that session. Now, EVERY time I do this, the topic is expanded on, but…I don’t waste any time getting started. I sit down. I write.

2. I (and this is me, what about you?) need to have some finish line in mind. And, it can’t be time. I don’t know why, but saying to myself, “I’m going to write until 3:45pm” just doesn’t get me going as much as, “I’ll take my next break after I’ve written 3,000 words.”

A starting line. A finish line. Maybe that’s why I like triathlons so much!

Jason W. Womack is an author and advisor, and founder of The Womack Company, a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, California. Jason’s next book will be published in January 2012. Pre-order copies today at .
Remember, as a general rule, weaker than expected economic data is good for rates, while positive data causes rates to rise.

Economic Calendar for the Week of August 22 – August 26

Economic Report
Tue. August 23
New Home Sales
Wed. August 24
Durable Goods Orders
Thu. August 25
Jobless Claims (Initial)
Fri. August 26
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Fri. August 26
GDP Chain Deflator
Fri. August 26
Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)
The material contained in this newsletter is provided by a third party to real estate, financial services and other professionals only for their use and the use of their clients. The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors.
As your mortgage professional, I am sending you the LES BERMAN WEEKLY because I am committed to keeping you updated on the economic events that impact interest rates and how they may affect you.
And here is some great information! Please read..
6 TIPS FOR THE SANDWICH GENERATIONWhere do you fit?·         35 to 65 years of age?·         Do you have children?

·         Are you dealing with parents* who are getting up there in years?

·         Are you needing to assume the role of parent or guardian for your parents?

·         Are you needing to make decisions on issues such as whether to keep your parents in their home, move them to an assisted living or nursing facility, and how to afford the move, among other issues?

·         At the same time your parents need help, you and your family also have important issues to deal with, and the load is just plain stressing you out?

If you responded “yes” to several of the above bullet points, welcome to “the sandwich generation.”  The life transition you are dealing with can be perhaps one of the most perplexing, confusing and frustrating times in your entire life. I know.  I have been through it.

In this time in your lives you are dealing with the issues of middle age, planning for your own future retirement, dealing with your children’s needs and assessing your relationship with your spouse.  All of a sudden, the issues of aging parents that you may never have really focused on have come full circle to you.  You are now faced with: decisions that will serve your parents the best; how to insure they receive “proper” care; their ability to outlive you may come into question; and a multitude of chronic and new health and sickness issues may be converging on your parents such as, the onset of senility, Alzheimer’s and related debilitating diseases that can be particularly challenging.

Stated plainly, the future planning for aging parents can create a situation where you are totally overwhelmed and unprepared to help despite your willingness to help.  This situation can also have a more dynamic twist if your parents were abusive to you as a child, were simply not there for you, are narcissistic, stubborn and don’t want to change their life patterns. The results can easily become financially and emotionally excruciating to deal with, almost overnight.  The good news is that there are some basic tips that can help you deal:

1.    Take care of yourself first.

This means you must tend to your own needs first, at least most of the time, or you will not have the patience, tolerance or fortitude to deal with your aging parents.

2.    Get your parents’ family Doctor or Internist involved.

The doctor will have advice and professional referrals which can make life easier for all concerned. Have the physician be the authority to talk to your parents

*Throughout I use “parents” to encompass 1 or more.  Please adjust to meet your own situation.

initially, not you, especially when driving safety or turning over the family finances becomes an issue.  Also, make a point of visiting the doctor with your parents to get the straight information about the visit.  This will avert you getting misinformation or no information regarding the visit.

3.    Make sure to continue your own life.

Socialize often – do not let family pressures cause you to isolate.  Have some fun as often as possible, away from parents and care giving chores.

4.     Put your parents’ “affairs” in order.

This includes; burial wishes, living trusts, health directives, and the distribution of assets which can be the most emotional issue.  These decisions can become extremely burdensome following a parent’s passing.  You will have enough emotional grief, loss and possibly anger to deal with without bringing on more issues you could have resolved while parents are living, regardless of how difficult parents can make it achieve while alive.

5.    Don’t let anything be left unsaid.

Expressing “I love you” or “I’m mad at you” is for the living.  Most of the guilt adult children deal with after a parent’s passing is about what has not been expressed, good or bad.

6.    Get help for yourself, emotionally.

Make sure you have outlets for your frustrations.  Seek out someone to talk to who has already gone through the process and can help you navigate through it.  A counselor or psychotherapist can be invaluable here. You will need new skills to shore up your coping. By sorting out your own abilities, feelings and emotions you will be able to make the tough decisions regarding your parents more easily.

If you need generic resources a good place to start is Care Resources (877-564-6036, toll free) or feel free to call me directly at 805-233-4754 for more specific issues and concerns.

No matter what you find yourself up against, don’t go it alone.  Get help whenever and wherever you need it.  It will save your money, nerves and much frustration in the long run.

 Ginger Adam Little, MS, M.F.T., (32446) is a psychotherapist and the Clinical Director of Lighthouse Therapy located in Calabasas, California.  For questions, concerns or a consultation, please contact her directly at 805-233-4754.


August 21, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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