May 30, 2019

Healthier Eating and Living: Study Shows Just 10 Minutes of Walking per Day Helps Deter Arthritis

Got arthritis?


I do.  Tendonitis flare ups, too.  Thankfully, while painful at times, they do not keep me from engaging in exercise that I enjoy, including walking and gardening.

And, the good news (particularly for senior citizens with arthritis) is that if you have arthritis, just 10 minutes of walking daily helps prevent disability from arthritis.

Yep, just 10 minutes of walking a day.  Easy!  No need to join a fancy gym.  And you will destress and clear your mind, too.

True, I walk much longer than 10 minutes a day.  But this study (from Northwestern University in Illinois) show promise for arthritic senior citizens who may otherwise be more or less immobile and chair bound.  Read more about this study here.

The study results are pretty darn fantastic!  According to The Telegraph (see link above):
"The new research showed that just a weekly hour of exercise reduced their risk of mobility disability - walking too slowly to safely cross a street or less than one meter per second - by 85 percent and their risk of activities of daily living disability, difficulty performing morning routine tasks such as walking across a room, bathing and dressing, by almost 45 percent."
So get outside, and enjoy Mother Nature's beauty with a healthy walk.  As I do each and every day.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 24, 2019

San Francisco: Auto Break-Ins in April.

Auto Break-Ins in San Francisco.


Vehicle break-ins in San Francisco is an epidemic crime driven by organized criminal gangs.  1,553 vehicle break-ins were reported to San Francisco police in April, roughly 51 a day.  And that's down from roughly 61 per day reported during January, including one couple whose car was broken into while taking wedding photos.  The number is likely higher considering auto break-ins not reported to police.

These organized criminal units target San Francisco's tourist areas, although the entire city is affected.  Here is a map the plots the location of April vehicle break-ins in San Francisco:

Plot of 1,553 Vehicle Break-ins in April 2019
San Francisco, California
Pretty sobering, huh?

And the criminals almost always get away with their crimes.  Check out this statistic:  Arrests are made in less than 2% of San Francisco vehicle break-ins.

Now that's downright pathetic.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 21, 2019

Sid the Dog and my Almond Butter Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies. Busted!

Freshly Baked Almond Butter Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sid the Dog.
My Husband Jim.


Probably not the best trio to have together in the kitchen, as you'll see in the photos below.

I love to cook and bake, and my Almond Butter Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies is one of our favorite cookies.  I recently baked a batch, and was accompanied by my husband Jim and none other than Sid the Dog immediately after I removed the cookies from the oven.

And oh boy, Sid is fearless when it comes to the kitchen counter!  And unfortunately, in this attempted counter surfing event (Sid did not get any cookies, but Jim got his share!), Sid had a willing cheerleader in the form of his Daddy Jim.

Take a look.

Almond Butter Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies


Daddy:  "Sid, look at all of those awesome cookies Mommy just baked!"


Daddy:  "Let's eat some, shall we, Sid?!"


Sid:  "Yes!  Let's eat them all!"


Sid:  "Those cookies look and smell lip smakin' good!"


Sid: "Crap, Daddy, there's Mommy!  We're so busted!"


Sid:   "Daddy, I'm out of here.  Guard the cookies for me, please!  Save them!"

Unconditional love is as close as your nearest animal shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  She lives a wonderful life in Pleasant Hill, California with best-husband-in-the-world-Jim and Faithful Canine Companions Sid and Lexi.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 18, 2019

Privately Held Corporation? Consider Taking Advantage of Tax Breaks for Employee Stock Options.

Privately Held Corporations and Employee Stock Options.


The massive federal tax overhaul signed into law in December 2017, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, amended federal tax code to provide a savvy tax planning and tax savings benefits for certain stock options and stock units provided to employees.

Please note:  This change does not apply to publicly traded corporations, only to privately held corporations.

What changed?  Internal Revenue Code Section 83 was amended to provide that qualified employees of privately held corporations can defer paying income tax, for up to five years, on the value of qualified stock options and restricted stock units granted to them by their employers.  Pretty cool, huh?!

This change creates a significant tax savings opportunity for employees of privately-held corporations who receive qualified stock options or restricted stock grants as part of their compensation.  It is certainly something to consider when developing compensation plans for employees.  IRS Notice 2018-97 (download it here) contains technical guidance on this matter.

Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States, including tax planning, tax preparation, and audit representation services for privately-held corporations.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 15, 2019

Trade Wars: No Winners, Only Losers, Including Businesses and Consumers.

Trade Wars:  United States vs. China.


One (of likely many things) President Trump appears to be willfully ignorant about is Tariff-Driven Trade Wars.  When the whole tit for tat tariff imposition started with China last year, Trump proudly proclaimed that 'the United States would win!'

Sorry, President Trump, but there are no winners in trade wars.  Just victims and losers.  Businesses are hurt.  People lose jobs.  The costs of goods increases, leading to both less discretionary spending by consumers and higher inflation.

Here's the latest.  On Friday,  the Trump administration increased tariffs that Mr. Trump imposed last year on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.  Trump and his clan increased these tariffs by a jaw dropping 250%, from 10 percent to 25 percent!

That's crazy!

And did you know that this tariff is imposed on Christmas Lights?  Yep, pretty twinkly Christmas Lights.

What sicko person, what sicko government administration, imposes a 25% tariff on Christmas Tree lights?!

Scrooges!


Among the many other items in this Tariff Collection are dog collars, ski gloves, saw blades, sledge hammers, and backpacks.  Oh, and just in case you're in need of cassette tapes for your antique hand held cassette recorder, your cassettes are included in the tariff, too.

Silliness!  And just plain dumb, you don't mind me sayin'.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 12, 2019

Trump Businesses Lost $1 Billion Over 10 Years. So What?

Trump Businesses Lost $1 Billion Over A Decade.


My thoughts on that topic?  Two words:  So what?

I subscribe to daily delivery of the New York Times, and generally find the newspaper both informative and interesting.  But I have to say the Times made a insert-foot-in-mouth fool out of itself in the May 8 newspaper.

So much that I'm awarding the much sought after ... not! ...  Bonehead of the Month award for May to the New York Times!  Here's why.

You see, it's no secret that both the New York Times and the Time's Editorial Board are no fans of President Trump.  (Frankly, I'm not much of a Trump fan myself, but that's not relevant for this post.)  On May 8, the Times posted a front page, above-the-fold article that attempted ... but failed ... to make a humongous deal of Trump's purported $1 billion of business losses over 10 years from 1985 to 1994.

One problem with the Time's storyline is that this decade included the 1990-1991 recession, during which many companies posted large losses.

But the most compelling fault with the Time's storyline is rather ironic.  In the same day's newspaper, the Business section included an article about Lyft's recent staggering $1.14 billion loss.  Time frame to post this loss?  One quarter, or a measly three months.

That's 97.5% faster!  Now there is some news perhaps worth reporting. 

I find no front page, above-the-fold worthy news about Trump businesses losing $1 billion over 10 years, when a single company, Lyft, lost a staggering $1.14 billion in a mere 3 months.   The New York Times seems to believe it is earth shattering news when a collection of businesses lose $1 billion over 10 years, yet a single company losing $1.14 billion in a mere 3 months is worthy of little more than an uneventful everyday article in the Business section.

I cannot understand the Times' rationale.  Can you ?

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 9, 2019

Insurance: When is the Last Time You Reviewed Your Insurance Policies?

Adequate Property Insurance Coverage


Yes, I know ... insurance is not the most exciting topic to discuss.

But nevertheless, it's a critical one.

The November Camp Fire in the Paradise, California area was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California's history.  Nearly 19,000 structures were destroyed, with an estimated damage total thus far of nearly $17 billion.  88 people perished in this inferno.  The community of Paradise, home to about 29,000 residents, was almost entirely destroyed by the blaze.

And unfortunately, many of the homeowners and property owners in Paradise had inadequate homeowners insurance, or no insurance at all.

Adequate property insurance is crucial.  This coverage is a must, even if the property owner is not required to have such insurance coverage.  Avoiding becoming underinsured ... whether it be for homeowners, business property, liability, of an other type of insurance is easy to avoid with annual reviews of your insurance coverage.  Also, your insurance coverage should be immediately reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted if you incur significant changes in your life, including home remodeling and additions.

Insurance Concerns?  About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides insurance policy reviews, coverage recommendations, and other insurance consulting services and expert witness services for clients with a broad range of insurance concerns.  She has 31 years of experience in the insurance industry, and is one of the select few Life and Disability Insurance Analysts licensed by the California Department of Insurance.  For more information about Mary and her professional services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 6, 2019

Lexi the Dog: Home Office Time is Always Better when Spent with your Faithful Canine Companion!

Lexi the Dog.


My Loyal and Faithful Canine Companion.  My Chow-Chow Pomeranian mix Princess.

And Home Office Buddie!

Yes, every home office work day is better with a Faithful Canine Companion nearby or at your side.



Unconditional Love is as close as your nearest Animal Shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  She enjoys life in Pleasant Hill, California with her best-husband-in-the-world Jim and Faithful Canine Companions Sid and Lexi.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 4, 2019

An Early May Day in the Life of Mary Rae Fouts ...

A beautiful early May day in Pleasant Hill, California.


A beautiful start to a gorgeous day in Pleasant Hill, CA on May 4, 2019.

A sound full night's sleep the night before.  ✔

Delicious breakfast (including toasted homemade Sourdough Sandwich Loaf bread that has a few pine nuts in it) for humans, and a delicious home cooked breakfast for dogs Sid and Lexi.  Leftovers warmed up for lunch.  ✔

Long morning walk in mild, breezy temperature and sunshine galore.  ✔

Some roughhousing for dogs Sid and Lexi, followed by lounging and sleeping in the backyard in the gorgeous mild weather.  ✔

Wash laundry and hang on clothesline to dry.  Best laundry drying ever!  ✔

Household chores and some yard work and gardening, including picking fresh artichokes.  They are spectacularly delicious this year!  ✔

Continue to enjoy the day.  ✔

And once again I ask myself:  Why would anyone want to live here? ✔  😃

I hope you enjoy your weekend, too!














About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  She enjoys life in Pleasant Hill, CA with husband Jim and dogs Sid and Lexi.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

May 3, 2019

Caster Semenya: Intersex Athlete Must Decrease Testosterone Levels to Continue Competing Against Women

Caster Semenya.


Caster Semenya
The two-time Olympic gold medalist in the women's 800 meter race.

An athlete who identifies as a female, yet has male testes which continuously generate testosterone levels equal to that of a male.

In spite of this testosterone-generated muscle-building and enhanced oxygen-carrying capacity, Semenya has been allowed to compete as a woman in woman's elite track events.  I posted about this matter twice in 2016 (see my August 24, 2016 post below), and stated I did not believe it was fair to the rest of the female competitors to allow Semena to compete as a female.  I felt then as I do now, that Semena's greatly increased testosterone level gives her a competitive advantage not attainable by the other female athletes, and therefore creates an unequal playing field.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport recently agreed with me.  The Court ruled (2-1) that if Semenya wants to keep participating in at major track international competitions, she must do one of the following:
  1. Take hormone-suppressing drugs and reduce her testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter for six months before competing, and maintain those lowered levels; or
  2. If she chooses to not reduce and maintain lowered testosterone levels, she must compete against men; or
  3. She can enter competitions for intersex athletes, if any are offered.

Caster Semenya Has No Female Sex Chromosomes,
Only Male Sex Chromosomes


Oh, and by the way, the Court's ruling also stated that Semenya's genetic testing showed that she has only XY Chromosomes, or Male Sex Chromosomes.  She has no ... zero ... XX Chromosomes, or Female Sex Chromosomes.  You can learn more about that finding and related technical information here.  Semenya was born with male testes and no female reproductive organs

Some people are arguing that the Court's decision is not fair to Semenya, as she identifies as a female and her high testosterone levels are naturally produced.  I don't buy that argument.  Why?  Well, if the Court's decision is truly unfair to Semenya, it is also unfair that female athletes are prohibited from taking anabolic steroids, which would allow them to compete with Caster Semenya on a level playing field.

Also, in elite sporting events, why should it matter at all if an athlete "identifies" as female or male?  If a person identifies as a fish, do we then need to create an Olympic Fish Category so the fish-identifiers are not discriminated against?  Geesh!

Lastly, if males who conveniently identify as female are allowed to compete as females in elite sporting events, the female sporting divisions will be flooded with male athletes who use this permission to game the system.  After all, winners of  Olympic and other major sporting event can earn $$$ millions in sponsorship fees and royalties.  We may never see a biological female on the podium again.

~~ Originally posted August 24, 2016 ~~

I posted about the Olympic Games yesterday, and mentioned Caster Semenya, the "intersex" female who crushed the women's 2016 Olympic 800 meter field to win the race.

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, has indicated the IAAF will likely challenge the ruling which stopped monitoring of female athletes who have extremely high testosterone levels. The ruling allowed Caster Semenya to discontinue taking testosterone-lowering medication, which had the direct effect of a dramatic decrease in Semenya's middle-distance race times.

Read the article in the Guardian here.

And here is the photo on the article. Pretty telling, huh?



I'm sorry, but this person should not be allowed to race as a woman.  Being sensitive to Caster Semenya's physical deformities is one thing.  But allowing her to compete as a woman is quite another thing, and is simply not fair to the rest of the competitors.  No woman would naturally have this physical appearance, nor would a woman naturally have a sky-high testosterone level.

Hopefully common sense will prevail.  But then again, as my late father-in-law said, "There is really no such thing as common sense, because sense is not common."

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts