The View From The Golden Dome

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

ds and more ! Les Berman Weekly – 8-28 Goodnite Irene !, Dead or Alive, Junk Bonds and more !


Well, it looks like NYC is going to be happy to sing ‘Goodnite Irene’  on Sunday! And the USA now has a group of people called the ‘undead’ – rather the undead have to prove that they are in fact, undead. And really, you have to read the fine print to discover that $1 Million is really not $1 Million. And there is a situation now that could make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.

Happy weekend everybody !

Every year, about 14,000 people are declared dead – and they’re not. A woman discovered that her rent checks were bouncing so she went to her bank, and  she was told by the bank that she was dead. Interesting to say the least. So she went to the Social Security Administration, the SSA, and was told that she had to bring in two paystubs to prove she was alive. She was told that, in person, at the SSA. What a comedy routine this could be! So two months later, after the SSA finally decided the woman was alive, they discovered the error – a mistyped SSN that was entered into the National Death Registry. And this death registry can be accessed by the public. All of this woman’s info was now public record. Wait ! it gets better…

This woman had $300 – $400 of bank charges for bad checks, and had not received more than $1000 in disability payments. And all of her public information, like that of real dead people, had been sold to credit agencies, banks etc. Even after the SSA corrected the records, the information was still available on at least one web site. Oh yeah – the SSA did not give her the disability payments due when she was dead. No mention is made about the bank fees. So tell your kids that zombies really do exist, over 36,000 in the last three years, according to the SSA.

I’m in NYC for a few days. I arrivced Friday night to find out that the building where my son lives is under mandatory evacuation orders. All water adjacent buildings have been ordered to evacuate. I came to NYC to see him, and the US Open. I did not come to see Irene ! So when we say Goodnight Irene, on Sunday, I will have participated in three of Mother Nature’s greatest acts: the Great Blizzard of ’66, the Northridge earthquake in ’94, and Irene. So for those of you that think that a blizzard is something that you buy at Dairy Queen,  think again ! The storm that hit Winnipeg in ’66 shut down the city. Entirely. The only method of getting around was with privately owned skidoos – power toboggans. EMT’s were taken around by volunteer drivers, and pregnant women were, if they were lucky, taken to hospitals. And the snow had drifted over our house. My brother used downhill skiis to get food supplies to infant cousins. It took days for the city to get back to normal. And yes, we had snow days and school was cancelled! The Northridge ‘quake was a big one.. not like the little burp that hit Virginia and surrounding states last week.

Irene – we’ll see. Airports are closed as of noon Saturday, public transit is shut down for the first time in NY history. The only thing that I know for sure, as I write this at 10 AM EDT Saturday, is I won’t have messy hair !

Now Bernie Madoff  scammed about $20 Billion +/- a few billion. If you want a really good investment, yielding about 25% for each of five years, there are the bonds issued by, yup, Greece. The Greek government. This could be the deal of deals, and Madoff, watching from prison, is hitting himself, asking why he didn’t think of raising money for governments. Sorry Bernie… you blew it !

How can you con the TV public… oops.. that’s really easy. Just say something that isn’t quite true and CYA with the fine print in the middle of the credits that no one reads anyway. Earlier in the week, I was channel surfing and happened to catch the end of America’s Got Talent on NBC. While wiating for the next program, of course the credits were rolling and something caught my eye. I was able to go back and see that the much touted Million Dollar prize to the winner, is not what it appears to be. This Million dollar prize is actually paid at the rate of $25,000 per year for 40 years. Yes FORTY years. Even the California Lottery pays out over 26 years. So the question is this – By touting a Million Dollar prize, and not saying to the TV public, that it’s paid over 40 years, is that misleading advertising? Should they have to say up front, that it’s paid over 40 years? what do you think?

By the way, did you know that atheism is a non-prophet organization?

Mortgage rates continue to fluctuate and generally they are continuing to be at or near all time lows. If you or someone you know wants a no obligation mortgage checkup to determine how these great rates can benefit you, please call me at 818.305.4695. First California Mortgage closed more than $1 Billion in residential loans in 2010, and is on track to surpass that this year.  Of course, if you or someone in your sphere of influence is planning to buy a new home, I’ll be happy to assist on the mortgage side.

I read an interesting article about tennis that converts easily to business attitudes. So here is the rewrite: In business, your most basic choice is whether to focus on offense or defense, and this will depend largely on your personality type. If you’re risk averse, you’ll be more comfortable slanting your business practices toward defense, where you play consistently and win by attrition and your opponent’s errors. If you enjoy living on the edge, you are better suited to offense and win by forcing errors or hitting winners. However, over the years, the aggressive tactic and conservative nature will clash, and you may make a lot of errors.

Bottom line is that, within the broader concept, you should not ‘hit and hope’. You have a range of power within which you are mentally comfortable and your error rate is low. This is specific to you. You can adjust your power somewhat within a range, but hitting above it will cause a big jump in error rate.”  Thanks to Allen Fox for the idea.

Wow, looking out at the East River right now, there is no traffic. I’m thinking that everyone has secured their boats and getting out of Dodge.

Remember last week, I mentioned those ugly little blood sucking critters? One of my readers, Bill Kuser, told me that there is a product called Nuvan Pest strip, from American Vanguard Corp that has been approved for bed bug mitigation. Check out www.amvac-chemical.com . I don’t normally give out plugs, except for myself, however this is important info.

OK friends. Have a better week, and remember to call me at 818.305.4695 for your mortgage needs.

LES

Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart. (baaaaddd!!)

 

 

First California Mortgage
Provided to you Exclusively
By
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
E-Mail: lberman@firstcal.net
Website: www.firstcal.net/berman
Les Berman CMC

Forecast for the Week sym_arrow.gif

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This week heats up again with the big topics of housing, inflation and employment taking center stage:

  • The week starts off Monday morning with reports on Personal Spending and Personal Income, as well as Pending Home Sales.
  • On Monday, we’ll also see the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index, which is the Fed’s favorite gauge of inflation. Remember, inflation is the archenemy of Bonds and home loan rates, so this will be an important report to watch.
  • Manufacturing reports will also hit this week. On Wednesday, we’ll see the Chicago PMI, which reports on manufacturing in Chicago and is a good indicator of overall economic activity. Then on Thursday, we’ll see the ISM Index, which is the king of all manufacturing indices and is considered the single best snapshot of the factory sector.
  • The big topic of the week will be employment. First up is the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday, which measures non-farm private employment, followed by another round of Initial Jobless Claims on Thursday. In last week’s report, Initial Jobless Claims were reported higher than expected. This leading indicator of the labor market shows us that things remain weak.
  • Finally, the busy week culminates with the highly anticipated monthly Jobs Report on Friday. This report features new data regarding job growth and the unemployment rate – needless to say, this report can be a big market mover!

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, the markets have continued their volatility. But Bonds and Home loan rates were able to finish the week strong.

That means that home loan rates are still at some of the most attractive levels we’ve seen in history. If you know someone in considering purchasing a home or refinancing, it’s an ideal time for them to review their options and see how they can benefit. All they have to do is call 818.305.4695 or email me les@lesberman.com to get started.

Chart: Fannie Mae 3.5% Mortgage Bond (Friday Aug 26, 2011)
Japanese Candlestick Chart
The Les Berman Weekly View… sym_arrow.gif
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3 Tips for Increasing Intelligence

Webster’s Dictionary defines intelligence as the ability to learn and understand, or to deal with new or trying situations. Simply put, it’s the degree of one’s mental sharpness.

It’s easy to believe that your intelligence is set, meaning there’s no way to “boost” your brainpower. However, many scientific studies have proven the exact opposite. A combination of lifestyle adjustments and mental exercises has been shown to not only increase intelligence, but also to improve general brain health and help prevent disorders associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

According to most neurologists, the key is to stay mentally active, despite your age. The following five tips will help boost your mental activity and increase your intelligence.

Get Some Sleep An adequate amount of restful sleep is an important component of brain function. While scientists argue over its effect on memory and learning, restful sleep provides energy as well as the ability to focus. Both are vital factors in achieving mental stimulation. Some studies have also shown the reverse to be true. More mental stimulation during the day equals better sleep at night.

Increase Your Exercise Exercise brings oxygen-rich blood to the brain, an important component to overall brain health. Exercise also regulates blood sugar levels. Some recent studies have shown a correlation between impaired glucose tolerance and an undersized hippocampus, the portion of the brain that controls the conversion of short-term memory into long-term. In addition, forms of exercise such as aerobics, dance, and martial arts all require memorization and are great for promoting mental stimulation. They also help to develop the rhythm and timing circuitry that runs through multiple regions of the brain.

Play Games Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, certain board games, and card games are great for mental stimulation. Each of them will exercise various brain functions such as lexical recall (memory for words that name things), attention, memory, logic, and pattern recognition. They are accessible to almost everyone, and some only require one player. The key here is that as you advance in skill, you should seek out harder, more challenging versions.

Economic Calendar for the Week of August 29 – September 02

Date
ET
Economic Report
For
Estimate
Actual
Prior
Impact
Mon. August 29
08:30
Personal Income
Jul
0.4%
0.1%
Moderate
Mon. August 29
08:30
Personal Spending
Jul
0.5%
-0.2%
Moderate
Mon. August 29
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Jul
0.2%
0.1%
HIGH
Mon. August 29
08:30
Personal Consumption Expenditures and Core PCE
Jul
NA
1.3%
HIGH
Mon. August 29
10:00
Pending Home Sales
Jun
-1.4%
2.4%
Moderate
Tue. August 30
10:00
Consumer Confidence
Aug
52.0
59.5
Moderate
Wed. August 31
08:15
ADP National Employment Report
Aug
100K
114K
Moderate
Wed. August 31
09:45
Chicago PMI
Aug
52.5
58.8
HIGH
Thu. September 01
08:30
Jobless Claims (Initial)
8/27
408K
417K
Moderate
Thu. September 01
08:30
Productivity
Q2
-0.5%
-0.3%
Moderate
Thu. September 01
10:00
ISM Index
Aug
48.5
50.9
HIGH
Fri. September 02
08:30
Non-farm Payrolls
Aug
75K
117K
HIGH
Fri. September 02
08:30
Unemployment Rate
Aug
9.1%
9.1%
HIGH
Fri. September 02
08:30
Hourly Earnings
Aug
0.2%
0.4%
HIGH
Fri. September 02
08:30
Average Work Week
Aug
34.3
34.3
HIGH

 

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.
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August 27, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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