I’ve never really gotten into debt,” he says. “I’ve always kind of lived within my means, and I’ve found there’s a lot less stress with that.

Debt-Induced Stress Is Still On The Rise: AP Poll

People on average carry around $44,000 in debt – mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and other consumer debt. That’s a far bigger load than in the early 1980s, when unemployment topped 10 percent. In 1982, per capita debt totaled about $14,000 in today’s dollars.

While the banks/credit card companies have successfully grown their business, they’ve also successfully sold us more stress and unhappiness.

They don’t really care about our well-being. They care more about extracting revenue from us.

But we also need to stop playing sucker to the marketing machine’s illusion that having more stuff will bring you happiness. Purchasing “stuff” gives people the same feeling as a shot of morphine. Although it feels good for a few days, the rush quickly subsides and we’re forced to either buy more stuff or rethink our own happiness. I’ve been reading two books lately about the science of happiness. I highly recommend them…



The same insurance policy is $70 in California but $324 in NY. Why?

An individual can purchase health insurance in California with a $5,000 deductible for as low as $70 a month. In New York, an individual can purchase that same $5,000 deductible policy for $324 a month

Why the difference? 

In California, insurers can deny you coverage if you’re deemed too expensive based on age or pre-existing conditions. They can cherry pick for healthy people. One of the benefits of cherry-picking is ultra-cheap plans. In New York, they cannot:

In 1993, motivated by stories of suffering AIDS patients, the state became one of the first to require insurers to extend individual or small group coverage to anyone with pre-existing illnesses.

New York also became one of the few states that require insurers within each region of the state to charge the same rates for the same benefits, regardless of whether people are old or young, male or female, smokers or nonsmokers, high risk or low risk.

Health insurance reform turns every state into New York…and then some. It also mandates that insurance companies provide preventive services free of charge, increasing the costs even more.

New York is one of only a handful of states with these laws. Therefore, after insurance reform goes into effect, all across America, the cheapest plans that make the most sense for young, healthy people, will be four to five times more expensive than what they are today.

My favorite NYC building, The Chrysler Building, turns 80 today. A few years ago, I became friends with one of the lawyers in a 15 person law firm that occupies the 53rd floor of the Chrysler Building. I got to visit him one Sunday afternoon. A glass door opened up to the veranda that had “safety” rails that came up to about your knees. Here are a few photos I took…