April 25, 2018

More California Craziness: A cancer warning on your morning cup of coffee!

Folks, time for another only-in-California moment. 

What now, you ask?

It's about coffee.  You see, if pending litigation is upheld, coffee sold in California will require a warning label stating that consuming coffee may cause cancer.

Yep.  Cancer.

You see, roasted coffee beans contain acrylamide, a natural occurring substance. As stated in this New York Times opinion piece written by Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, MD, (who disagrees with a need for a coffee cancer warning), acrylamide is "a chemical that is made almost any time you cook starches at temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You can make acrylamide from frying, baking, broiling or roasting — essentially anything that isn’t boiling or microwaving."
French fries, coffee beans, and your morning toast all contain acrylamide.  In fact, according to Dr. Carroll's analysis, "acrylamide is present in about 40% of the calories consumed by people in the United States."

Even the American Cancer Society disagrees with the coffee warning label requirement!

A group who believes acrylamide is cancer causing filed the lawsuit to require a cancer warning label on coffee sold in California.  In spite of the fact that the American Cancer Society believes that acrylamide  consumption does not pose an increased risk of cancer, if a recent court ruling stands, the warning notice will be required on coffee.

Just another warning notice that Californians will see and shrug off.  More hassles for businesses, restaurants, and coffee shops that sell coffee products.

So you see, according to the Coffee Causes Cancer plaintiffs, since I had coffee and homemade sourdough toast for breakfast this morning, and another slice of toast with lunch, I am really ... really ... screwed!

Just another Crazy in California moment.  What's next?  A warning label on my toaster?

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  She will never forgo her morning coffee and toast.  Never, ever, ever.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

April 23, 2018

Commissioned Insurance Agents: Is your agent honest?

Commissioned Insurance Agents.


While the sale of insurance is typically based on commission payments to the selling agent, commissions can create a conflict of interest in the sale of an insurance policy.  How so?  Well, an unethical agent can simply choose to sell insurance products that offer the highest commission payments, rather than selling insurance products that are in the best interest of clients.

And sometimes, the thirst for commission payments leads to criminal activity.  Click here for a recent press release from the California Department of Insurance about a criminal scam run by former insurance agents.  The insurance agents fraudulently collected $1.9 million in upfront commission payments when they submitted bogus life insurance applications to insurance companies.

As an aside, the lingering question I have about this matter is:  How did the insurance companies that received the bogus applications allow this matter to happen?  Nothing is said in the press release about insurance company involvement in this criminal matter.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Insurance questions?  Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

April 21, 2018

April: A few interesting facts about the Gregorian calendar's 4th month.

April.


The month of April is associated with Spring by many people in the Northern Hemisphere , even though Spring officially begins on March 20 or 21 each year.  The month of April is associated with some interesting trivia.  Here are a few things I recently discovered.


April Trivia

In thе Unіtеd Stаtеѕ, 4 Prеѕіdеntѕ were born іn April: Grant, Buchanan, Monroe, Jefferson.  Four Prеѕіdеntѕ have also died in April: Harrison, Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Nixon.

Similarly, in the United Kіngdоm, 3 Prіmе Mіnіѕtеrѕ were born in April: Lord North, the Duke of Portland, and George Canning.  Three Prіmе Mіnіѕtеrѕ have also died in April:  Benjamin Disraeli, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and Margaret Thatcher.

Aрrіl іѕ аlѕо a fairly рорulаr first name for people.  April іѕ thе 423rd mоѕt соmmоn nаmе іn the Unіtеd Stаtеѕ, and the 250th most common name in the Unіtеd Kingdom.

The exact origin of the word April is uncertain. However, the most common theory is that April is derived from the Latin verb Aperire, which means to open. This theory corresponds to Springtime events in April, in the blossoming and budding - or opening - of flowers and trees.

April is a food happy month.  April is not only Grilled Cheese Month, it is also Pecan Month, BLT Sandwich Month, Florida Tomato Month, Garlic Month, and Soft Pretzel Month.

April also includes the dreaded Tax Day in the United States, but let's not spoil the month by dwelling on taxes.  😁 

Enjoy your month of April!


About Mary Rae Fouts, EA, CFP®

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

April 19, 2018

Homeowners Insurance: Are you prepared in the event of a disaster?

Homeowners Insurance.


Homeowners Insurance coverage is absolutely essential if you own a home.  Same with Renters Insurance coverage if you rent your home.  Although Homeowners Insurance is only required if you have a mortgage on your home, it is an absolute must to have if you own a home.  Just because a fire or other disaster has not happened at your home, does not mean a calamity never will occur.

In the event of a fire or other disaster at your home, are you prepared for the insurance claim process?  Most people are not, as they have few records about home construction and contents.

For help in keeping track of home contents, click here to download a handy Home Inventory Guide from the California Department of Insurance.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA, CFP®

Questions about Homeowners or Renters Insurance?  Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

April 17, 2018

IRS: Trying to E-File Tax Returns Today? No Can Do. Come Back in 7981 Years After the IRS Systems Are Back Up!

IRS E-file and Payment Systems Are Down.


And this has been the case since early this morning.  IRS Systems Down.  As in Crashed.  Today, on Tax Day, when 2017 Individual Income Tax Returns (or Extensions to File with any due tax payments) are due, as well as 1st Estimated Tax Payments for taxpayers (such as myself) who pay taxes via quarterly estimated payments.

And what is the IRS saying about this huge mess?  Essentially nothing.

Here is the notice taxpayers saw today when they tried to make electronic tax payments via the IRS Direct Pay System:

image credit:  newyorktimes.com

No kidding.  Come back to pay (and file) your taxes in 7981 years, after this "Planned Outage" is over.

For more information on this ginormous debacle, check out this New York Times article.

Hackers?  Don't know, but that is a possibility.  Which, given the lack of computer security at the IRS, would come as no surprise to me.  (I posted about about this critical topic just last week, here.)  Just one more reason why I have never, ever, EVER been a proponent of electronic payment of tax payments, and electronic filing of tax returns. 

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients who have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts