Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Latest on Interval Training

In this month's issue of Prevention Magazine, there is a discussion of another new approach to interval training. I have written several times about the many benefits of interval training on weight loss, reduction of blood pressure and glucose levels.;;

In an article entitled, "Turn Up Your Fat Burn," Prevention Magazine, October, 2013, p.106, the author, Michele Stanten, discusses yet another approach to interval training as part of a weight loss program. Basically, the plan she proposes would involve a 30-20-10 Core Set.  This involves a 30 second stretch of a slow interval, followed by 20 seconds of a fast interval and finally, 10 seconds of a max interval.  Doing this routine for five minutes, three times a week is supposed to result in a weight loss of up to 11 pounds and 12 inches during an 8 week period. Pretty impressive results. The program can involve the activity of your choice, walking, running, cycling or swimming.

In another brief article in that same edition of Prevention, it is suggested that if you do follow an interval program, that you keep the intense portion of the program to less than a minute because you are more likely to keep at it if you find it more enjoyable. Anything over a minute at max is probably not going to be enjoyable and cause you to lose interest. Prevention Magazine, p. 38.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Save Money by Negotiating

Today on the ABC News with Diane Sawyer, there was a story about how you can negotiate to get a better price even when shopping at the mall. Many of the same suggestions in that story are discussed in more detail in my book, "How to Get the Best Deal Every Time," which is available exclusively on Amazon. tony basinski

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Rules for Reverse Mortgages Go In Effect September 30

If you are thinking about getting a reverse mortgage, you had better act quickly. I have written previously about the potential dangers of a reverse mortgage.
Reverse mortgages allow homeowners over the age of 62 to tap their home equity without having to make any payments on the amount borrowed. The lenders get their money back when the house is sold. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which insures most reverse mortgages, is issuing new rules, effective September 30, 2013 that may make it difficult for borrowers to get as much value from their home's equity as they were able to do previously..

The new rules will limit the available equity by about 15%.  In other words, in taking money from a reverse mortgage, the homeowner will not be able to tap as much of the equity as before. The new FHA rules also limit the amount of money that can be taken out during the first year of the mortgage.

Other key changes are:  (1) the price of the mortgage will now be based upon the amount withdraw; (2) lenders will be required to make a financial assessment of the borrower to make sure he or she can make the necessary insurance and tax payments; and (3) if the lender determines you may not be able to pay those premiums or taxes, the borrower may be required to set aside money to insure those payments are made.

As can be seen, these new rules change the entire landscape for reverse mortgages. If you are still interested in pursuing a reverse mortgage, make sure you investigate and understand these changes.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Rumfish Grille is a Hit

If you happen to live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and enjoy good food in an interesting atmosphere, you'll enjoy the new Rumfish Grille. Located in the Great Southern Shopping Center in the suburb of Bridgeville, it is a real find.  My wife and I ate there on a recent Thursday night after receiving a coupon in the mail for $10 off two entrees. Tucked in the corner of the rather nondescript shopping center, home to TJ Maxx and LA Fitness, among other tenants, it has a casual decor that is quite inviting, especially the large open patio, which suggests that you are in Southern Florida or Southern California.

We requested seating outside and were pleasantly surprised by the rather large waterfall and expansive view of the surrounding hills. The menu (as suggested by the name) is dominated by fresh seafood. There is a raw bar serving up succulent oysters as well as a varied array of fish and a few meat choices. My wife and I started off with the mussels in white wine sauce. They were large, plump and very tasty. The broth was garlicky but not overly so.  It was served with one crouton and a plate of caraway seed rye bread, both quite good.

The entrees give you a choice of fish dishes as well as side dishes and sauces. You create your own entrĂ©e, picking the combination of fish, starch, vegetable and sauces that you prefer. I had the rainbow trout with mashed  potatoes and grilled corn. The trout was perfectly grilled as was the corn on the cob. The mashed potatoes were fresh and lumpy, just the way I like them. I ordered the rum sauce, which was quite spicy and I ended up using it very sparingly.

My wife had the Ono fish, which was quite meaty but a bit overdone. It was full of flavor when I sampled a small piece.

We both had desserts.  I had the chocolate mousse cake with toasted coconut flakes. It was very dense and moist, almost fudge-like.  Quite good. My wife tried the mixed berries in cream sauce. The berries were fresh and the sauce was somewhere between a whipped cream and zabaglione sauce. Also quite good.

We were pleasantly surprised at the large crowd of people on this Thursday night. The parking lot was full and we were told by one of the adjacent store owners that it is busy every night and particularly so on the weekend and during Steelers football games.

The staff seems well-versed in the menu and is generally unobtrusive, something of a rarity these days in restaurants.

The Rumfish Grille is open daily, including Sunday for brunch. It is located at 1155 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017 in the Great Southern Shopping Center. The phone number is 412-914-8013.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Interval Training and Weight Loss

As everyone who reads this blog knows, when it comes to the subject of exercise, I am a strong advocate of interval training.;;;

Several recent scientific studies have confirmed the hypothesis that short intense periods of exercise may have a greater impact on weight loss than longer periods of exercise. Both studies suggest that the short periods of exercise appear to dampen the desire to eat as much food as do longer periods of exercise. One study was conducted by researchers at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia and was published online in the June issue of The International Journal of Obesity. The other study was conducted by the University of Copenhagen and it too confirmed that interval training seemed to have the same weight loss effect. See New York Times, "For Weight Loss, Less Exercise May Be More." September 19, 2012.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who Says Baby Boomers Want to Downsize?

It is a common place misconception that boomers want to downsize their lifestyles, especially by moving into smaller houses. The reality is quite different. As explained in a recent article in the CanadianFinancial Post,most boomers are actually moving into condos that are almost the same size as their prior residences.  While the survey was conducted in Canada, I think the same trend is taking place in the U.S..

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Would Warren Buffett Do? Part I

What would Warren Buffett do? (WWWBD) This is a question any investor worth his or her salt should ask himself or herself regularly. I will try to answer that question in a series of posts using his own words.

.Invest In Index Funds

Index funds are mutual funds that mimic a specific benchmark.  The most well known of these are the funds that hold stocks in the Standard and Poor's 500. Index funds were developed by the founder of the Vanguard Group and Buffett's fellow octogenarian, John Bogle. The best known of the index funds is the Vanguard 500 Index Fund.  Here is what Buffett had to say about index funds in the 1996 Berkshire Hathaway annual report:

"Most investors, both institutional and individual, will find that the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges low fees."

Why does Buffett favor index funds?  Again, from the 1996 annual report, he states:

"Those following this path are sure to best the net result (after fees and expense) delivered by the great majority of investment professionals.  Seriously, costs matter"

The Vanguard 500  Index Fund, for example, charges  0.17%  in fees and might represent a good choice for some people seeking low fees.

John Bogle puts another gloss on the use of index funds. In an interview at, Bogle suggests that investors begin with a heavy emphasis on growth index funds and that a transition to bond index funds take place as you near or are in retirement in order to generate income.

(The writer of this blog owns shares in the Vanguard Index 500 and other Vanguard funds, including index funds).