Winners And Losers Of Obamacare Hooray!

In N Out Double Double BurgersIn a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme court says Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution when it required Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty!

The legislation is 1,000 pages long so I can’t even come close to understanding all the nuances of the bill.  All I understand is that those against Obamacare think the bill is a violation of individual rights by our big bad federal government.  In addition to the perceived violation of human liberties, the question is who is going to pay for universal healthcare?

Those for Obamacare say that the legislation is not a violation of individual rights but only a tax on people who don’t have healthcare.  Justice Roberts explains, “The mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income.”  I guess that makes sense.  The other reason for Obamacare is that in a country as rich as the USA, all people should be have health insurance, rich or poor.

LOTS OF UNINSURED

There are supposedly 32 million people in America without healthcare.  Some of them think they are healthy enough that they don’t need healthcare.  Meanwhile, the large majority of people who don’t have healthcare is because they can’t afford healthcare!  Hence, the irony is that if you penalize people who don’t have healthcare with a 1-2.5% extra income tax hike a year, you are essentially making the poor even poorer!  They are already annoyed the government is making them abide by more rules!

Meanwhile, payroll taxes for small businesses and income taxes for the wealthier population will go up to fund Obamacare because income tax hikes on the poor are not going to cover the cost of the program. Supposedly most of the 32 million people without healthcare will get partial or if not full subsidy by the government to get healthcare.  Of course that is not going to make the people who have to pay more taxes happy.

If the poor and rich and independent people of America are all pissed off about Obamacare, who is really happy the bill may pass besides President Obama and the people who serve him?  If you have health insurance or can’t afford health insurance you’re likely unaffected.  Those who are stuck in the middle now need to watch out for the encroaching Sentinels!

WINNERS AND LOSERS OF OBAMACARE

The Ideal Body Weight: Finally Losing The Last 10 Pounds

Financial Samurai Weight

At the beginning of the year, I discovered that I was not in ideal weight and it pissed me off.  At 167-169 pounds, I thought I was doing pretty good for a middle-aged guy standing 5′ 10″ until spending a couple hours of research online for the post.  It turns out that based on the majority of reports, I was actually about ~10 pounds overweight, which is a lot since I don’t weight that much to begin with.

With tennis season just three months away at the time, I didn’t want to be out of shape.  My teammates were counting on me.  In competitive sports there’s the triumvirate mind, body, and skills for winning.  The body is the EASIEST thing to optimize, which means during competition against high caliber opponents, they are all in great shape.  Having an ideal body weight is standard (ever see an overweight professional tennis player?), and therefore one is able to focus their energy on mental strength and specific skills.

For well over a decade, I had an enormous mental block that I had to overcome.  I told myself it was IMPOSSIBLE to get under 160 pounds, even though I was a lean 155 pounds in college.  I kept saying there was no way I could break 160 because of work and a slower metabolism.  I accepted weight creep and the ideology that people automatically gain 10 pounds every decade.

PLEASE TELL ME ANOTHER EXCUSE 

A Look Inside Australia’s Education, Investment, Tax, Healthcare & Retirement System

Australian CurrencyYou’ve heard about Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Elle McPherson and the Australian Open.  You know that Australia has a great “walkabout” culture where college graduates take a gap year to go explore the world and expand their horizons.  As far as you can tell, Australia is a wonderful land down under!

Unless you’ve been to sunny Australia, everything is hearsay.  I’ve never been, but fortunately for all of us,  Shaun from Money Cactus is a regular reader who hails from Australia and has decided to provide some insights into what it’s really like living and working in Australia.

One of my friends from San Francisco moved to Sydney five years ago and he loved it so much he decided to start a business there and become an Aussie citizen!  After looking more into the Australian healthcare and social safety net system, there’s no wonder why people love Australia!  In fact, I might consider retiring there myself if they have me.  Then again, why would they since I haven’t paid any of their taxes!

Here’s Shaun’s perspective on Australia.  For other Australian readers and those who’ve spent some time there, please feel free to share your thoughts as well!

Australian Boom: Where The Money’s At

Should I Get Long-Term Care Insurance?

Old Man In SantoriniI spoke to my father yesterday and curiously asked him about his thoughts on assisted living facilities.  “Absolutely depressing!“, he said.  I couldn’t agree more that assisted living programs are depressing given it reminds us everyday about our mortality.

Who wouldn’t want to stay put in a home they’ve lived in for years instead?  I know I would.  Home is a special place that makes us feel comfortable and warm.  Ideally, you own your home outright in retirement and no longer have payments.  However, this is a topic for another post.

We can only hope that we remain healthy for the rest of our lives, but we’ll eventually need some help thanks to injuries or illnesses.  Some of us will have the financial strength to comfortably pay for our healthcare in retirement.  Others might have wealthy children to rely on.  But what if you do not want to burden anybody, and don’t have that much money to last?

Buying long-term care could be an ideal solution for your retirement years.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

The Ideal Body Weight Pisses Me Off

Weight ScaleFeel like losing weight?  What a surprise, me too!  Like every other knucklehead, I went to workout on New Year’s day to lose some weight I gained during the holidays.  I got a sweaty two hour tennis match in and then hit again with my buddy for another 1.5 hours the very next day.  I’m not delusional to think that after two days I would lose any amount of weight, but I stubbornly got on the scale before and after anyway.

Hoping to see a loss of a at least a pound due to less water weight, the damn scale betrayed me.  In two days, I had gained 5 pounds from 164 lbs to 169 lbs!  How the hell does someone gain 3% more body weight in just 48 hours.  I didn’t gorge myself during this period, so I’m at a loss for words.  I could blame the flashing “battery” signal on the scale, but that’s just an excuse.  I suck.

At slightly over 5 feet 10 inches tall, 169 lbs is a lot to carry on the tennis court.  Allen Iverson of the 76ers was my height (listed as 6 feet), but could easily dunk and weighed only 155 pounds for example.  Ever since that trip to India 11 years ago, my weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 4-7 pounds (162-169lbs).  But, now I’m dangerously close to breaking this 11 year record with all the crap I’ve been eating.  I feel guilty because in high school, I was a trim 150-155 lbs.  I also feel guilty because I’m disrespecting the poverty I witnessed in India and all around me.

I don’t accept mediocrity in my work, so why the hell do I accept being overweight and mediocre in my health?  Makes no sense at all.

MAN ON A MISSION TO LOSE WEIGHT

Five Creative Holiday Workouts

MusclesAh, the holidays are great for spending time with family, wearing ugly sweaters, and shoving enough shrimp cocktail, turkey, ham, cheese, fruitcake, cookies, Australian wagyu beef and more into our pie holes to make Homer Simpson blush. It’s the holidays! We can eat as much as we want! ‘Tis the season for eating guilt-free. Or is it?

I wouldn’t dare suggest that you or I should maybe put that 6th cookie back on the plate but maybe, just maybe, these 5 creative holiday workouts can help us to sneak in a few extra ways to burn off some of the excess calories we will be ingesting over this holiday season.

TOP FIVE CREATIVE HOLIDAY WORKOUTS

#1 The Sneaky “Family Time” Workout

The only thing worse than refusing a second helping of Grandma’s cornbread pudding is refusing a second helping of Grandma’s cornbread pudding and then telling everyone that you are “off to workout”. The dirty looks that you will get from your not so dedicated family members that are still busy shoveling in seconds and thirds can be amusing but a difficulty that you should avoid if at all possible. Rather than ditching the family to go workout, instead suggest a game of football, soccer, or basketball with the whole family. Be sure to give any family member not up for some “good ‘ol fashioned family time outdoors” your best look of disappointment.

The Fittest People Have The Lowest Self-Esteem

I’m somewhat obsessed with physical fitness right now.  It’s surprising, because the new year’s health push usually dissipates by February!  Just yesterday I thought, “What’s the point of being thin if I don’t have four pack abs?”  And then I started thinking what kind of person thinks about these types of questions?  Pretty unproductive and pointless if you ask me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that those with the highest self-esteem are the least fit and most indebted people on Earth.  Meanwhile, those who constantly think about their looks, and who are always at the gym exercising and pumping iron have the lowest self-esteem.  They are constantly checking themselves in the mirror to admire their physiques, even though they already know they look fine.

Think about the extreme case of anorexia.  Despite being thinner than the average person, the person who is inflicted with this disease doesn’t have the self-esteem to recognize their own beauty and stop punishing themselves.  Now think about the morbidly obese person.  Is this also a disease as well?  The person doesn’t really care what you think of him or her.

YOU ARE WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Dear Personal Trainer, You Are Worth The Money!

Ouch.  I’m so sore it feels so good baby!  I gave it a go with Meredith the personal trainer for a free 45 minute trial session and she did things to me that no woman has ever done before.  She made breathe heavily and sweat profusely!

She showed me exercises I never would have thought of doing to solely focus on getting me into shape for tennis.

45 Minute Trial Routine

* Sumo squat rope wave.  Whuh?

* Three TRX exercises to improve the quads, core, and shoulders.

* Wind sprints on the treadmill 3 minutes jog, 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest 8X up to 12 mph.  I would never do these voluntarily.  Why suffer?

* Pro-roller stretches to roll out the calves, quads, IT bands and hamstrings.  Talk about pain all over.

* Side stepping through a maze for quickness and agility.

* Core training with cable pulleys three different ways.

* Four different stretches for the back, torso, and legs.

In retrospect, all the stuff I’ve been doing at the gym has been all wrong.  I was doing bench presses, butterfly squeezes, lat pull-downs, biceps, and triceps.  That’s it really.  I never bothered to do anything cardio, or work on the muscles that would help improve my serve or backhand.  I just went the easy route.  There is also 100% NO CHANCE I would have ever done any wind sprints or anything to make me sweat.  Again, I hate working out so I just focused on doing the easiest exercises that required the least amount of effort!

USING THE BLOG AND PERSONAL TRAINER TO SAVE SOME MONEY

Hire A Personal Trainer Or Get Buff On Your Own?

Working out sucks.  I hate it with a passion because I find it so wasteful to expend energy on doing nothing.  I would rather use the energy to build a house in Somalia, landscape the backyard, or play sports than lift some stupid weights.  That said, working out is also convenient because there’s a gym right across from me that I attend before every team or client dinner outing.  I figure I better pump some iron and jog a little before blitzing my diet!

One of my goals in 2011 is to win a tennis tournament.  To do so, I have to improve my endurance given I faded in both tournaments since we had to play back to back matches each day.  The season really gears up in March, leaving me with a solid two months to get in shape.  I know there is no way in hell I will be able to go to the gym 3X or more a week so I’ve thought about enlisting a personal trainer for help.

THE BIG BUCKS MIGHT BE WORTH IT

A Weight Loss Tip To Die For

Turkish BacklavaAre you feeling a little stuffed?  With parties and business meals galore, it’s so easy to pack on some weight and transform your once slender figure into a mound of dough.  Is there any wonder why many people fail their weight loss goals?  You can be doing great all year and then BAM, you wonder what happened.

The good thing about our bodies is that we have a natural mechanism to stop eating when we get full.  Otherwise, we’d all be unrecognizable in about a month.  However, if we’re honest, we know we often can’t control ourselves and overeat anyways.  I can’t control myself when it comes to eating buttery cookies and gobble two at a time.  Yum, yum.

My weight used to fluctuate in a 10 pound upward band, which is a lot considering I’m just under 6 feet and every pound counts on the tennis court.  I could be a taut 160 pounds one month and a soft 170 pounds just a couple months later if I wasn’t careful.  At my prime, I used to be 10 pounds lighter given I ran track as well.  Oh, to be that fit again.  Nowadays, my weight only fluctuates by 3-4 pounds since a visit to New Delhi and Agra 10 years ago that changed my outlook on eating forever.

SEEING THE WORLD CHANGES YOU