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Perspectives Monthly Lifestyle eNewsletter for October

July 12, 2018
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SMART TIP:

Grilling burgers? To make your patty juicier, try dunking it in very cold water for about 20-30 seconds before placing it on the grill.

WHO SAID IT?

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
-Helen Keller

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE:

Q: In the summer of 2011, the S&P 500 went through one of the most volatile episodes it has seen in this decade. Across four straight days of trading, the index saw an intraday swing of at least how much every day?

A)2%

B)3%

C)4%

D)5%

Answer: C, 4%. 6

Should You Freelance?

The pros and cons of working solo.

Since 2014, the ranks of freelancers have increased by 2 million. In fact, 35% of the U.S. workforce now freelances, according to the 2016 Freelancing in America report issued earlier this year by the Freelancers Union and UpWork.

If you associate freedom with freelancing, you are hardly alone. In Sphera’s 2016 Freedom Economy Report, 100% of the 120 freelancers interviewed cited freedom, self-determination, or a flexible work schedule as reasons to go solo. Sixty-three percent of the men and women contacted for the Freelancers Union study said they were freelancing out of choice, and 79% felt freelancing was superior to working as a captive employee. A majority said their incomes had improved as a result of freelancing. More and more companies are looking to outsource specialized work, a boon for freelancers. The downside is that not everyone is a self-starter capable of being their own boss. Seasonally variable income and a lack of employee benefits can be deal-breakers for others. Still, the allure of working on your own terms is clearly attracting more workers, not less.1,2

A Matter of Little Interest

Mortgage rates were supposed to rise, yet they have defied consumer expectations.

When the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate in December 2015 for the first time in several years, would-be homebuyers braced themselves for more expensive home loans in the future. Mortgage rates, however, have barely budged since then. On December 17, 2015, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey recorded the average rate on a conventional home loan at 3.97%, right as the Fed changed course on monetary policy. Looking at the September 7 survey, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is but 3.78%. Why are conventional mortgages now 0.2% cheaper?

Home loan interest rates are most affected by movements in the bond market. Mortgage bonds (i.e., mortgage-backed securities) exert the major influence. In uncertain times (like these), demand for bonds rises, including mortgage bonds – and yields on mortgage bonds drop. Mortgage interest rates descend in response. Interest rates on long-term and mid-term Treasury notes also play a role here. In early September, the yield on the 10-year note hit a year-to-date low, dropping 0.09% in a week; that helped send home loan rates lower. If the Fed starts to sell off some of its massive bond portfolio this fall and raise the federal discount rate, mortgage rates may soon begin to rise.3,4

Zero Calories, Zero Lasting Benefits

Periodic fasting might slim you down, but studies dispute its worth over time.

A co-worker tells you he is going to drink only water and fast for 48 hours. He says he does this once a month, and insists this weight loss method is more effective than dieting. Is there any merit to his claim?

In a sense, yes. If your caloric intake is zero for two days, you will undoubtedly lose weight in that time. Fasting is a severe form of calorie-restrictive dieting, which tends to produce the undesired yo-yo effect; the dieter soon binges to put the pounds back on. Studies published in Nutrients and the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that intermittent fasting is in no way superior to ordinary forms of calorie-restrictive dieting, echoing conclusions of prior research studies. In fact, the whole idea of calorie-restrictive dieting is discouraged by many nutritionists, who point out that eating right and exercising, not merely eating less, is central to weight loss and weight management.5

Recipe of the Month

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Soup

1 lb. ground mild Italian sausage

4 large, unpeeled russet potatoes

5 cups chicken broth

1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

2 cups fresh kale (or Swiss chard)

3/4 cup heavy cream or half and half

1 tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)

Start by cutting and preparing your vegetables. Cut potatoes into 1/4" slices, dice your onion, mince your garlic, then de-stem and tear your kale into small pieces. Set your kale and onions aside, place the potatoes and garlic into your not-yet-turned-on slow cooker.

Place olive oil in a pan and slightly saute onions, then place them in the still-not-turned-on slow cooker. Using the same pan, brown your sausage in crumbles, then place in slow cooker with garlic, potatoes, and onions. Add chicken broth, then cook until potatoes are soft. (On high for about 3-4 hours, or on low for about 5-6 hours.)

Once potatoes are softened, add cream and kale to the slow cooker, and continue cooking on high for about 30 minutes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

* Trying to reduce calories a bit? Substitute milk (instead of heavy cream.)

* Not subject to calorie restrictions? Try topping with crumbled bacon!

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

Citations.

1 – entrepreneur.com/article/287202 [2/24/17]
2 – thebalance.com/disadvantages-of-freelancing-2164223 [5/5/17]

3 – freddiemac.com/pmms/ [9/8/17]

4 – quickenloans.com/blog/affects-mortgage-rates [8/3/16]

5 –washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/dont-believe-the-hype--intermittent-fasting-isnt-a-magic-weight-loss-cure/2017/06/12/33dfc432-4b9e-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html [6/12/17]
6 – cbsnews.com/news/this-record-setting-stock-market-sure-is-boring/ [8/8/17]