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Last November I saw a new doctor who, after examining a host of blood tests, told me that I would likely develop diabetes if I didn’t change my lifestyle. I was stunned to get such a bad report. As most of you know, I exercise pretty regularly and have eaten a no-sugar, no-gluten, and no-dairy diet for quite some time.
However, I knew that I was still about 35 pounds more than my ideal weight. In addition, I had read about Dr. Mark Hyman and his theory of the explosive onset of American “diabesity” (a combination of obesity and diabetes). Even though I didn’t think I had a “diabesity” problem, after that doctor’s visit, I decided I needed to make some changes. I resolved to eat less, eat better, and exercise more.
With the help of a personal trainer, a nutritionist (who later became our family chef), and a massage therapist, I made significant lifestyle changes.
This past April, I was retested and got back the best and most important report card that I have ever received. The radical difference between my current bloodwork and the bloodwork that produced such disappointing results made me realize that if I could make healthy changes with a reasonable exercise and diet regimen, then most of us can too. We can change our bodies and dramatically increase the likelihood of enjoying significantly better health, as well as increasing our life expectancy.
I didn’t do anything magical other than eating less food, eating better food, and exercising more.
Comparative Highlights of Test Results:
|Risk of Diabetes||11-15-2015||5-16-2016|
(normal is < 100)
(lower = better)
(lower = better)
(Measure of free arterial inflammation)
(lower = better)
|HDL – Good Chol.|
(higher = better)
|LDL – Bad Chol.|
(lower = better)
(lower = better)
|Prediction of Cardiac Event|
(lower = better)
My improvements stem from guided and directed changes over things we all have control over. We can’t change our gender, age, or genetic predisposition, but we can control what we eat, how much we exercise, and we can learn how to moderate stress in our lives. One important question to evaluate for yourself is whether you can do it on your own, or do you need to do as I have done and engage a support system?
Did I have to pay out of pocket for some of these tests? Yes. Did I have to pay out of pocket for a functional medicine doctor to order and analyze the tests for me? Yes. Am I paying a fair amount of money for a personal trainer, a personal chef who analyzes the tests and prepares appropriate personalized meals based on my needs, as well as a massage therapist? Yes. Did I even have to spend thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe because my old clothes didn’t fit anymore? Yes.
But what is a better use of your money if not to live a healthier and longer life? Granted, I am fortunate enough that I can afford these expenses — many of my clients are similarly fortunate. But are you taking as good of care of your health as you could be? The point is, I offer my results as a bit of motivation, an indication of what can be achieved with some discipline and good choices.
Please ask your doctor or healthcare provider for their recommendations.
I hope this newsletter finds you well today, but even healthier six months from now.
Anyone searching for investment advice is undoubtedly confronted with many choices of service providers operating under titles such as certified financial planner, financial consultant, registered investment advisor, stockbroker, and insurance agent.
These titles can be confusing because on the surface it is not clear whether these professionals are legally required to have a client’s best interest in mind when making investment recommendations. Many investors may have read that the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a substantial overhaul in the regulation of financial advice given on retirement savings. Central to this discussion are two terms: fiduciary and suitability. What does it mean for an advisor to operate on a fiduciary standard, and how does this differ from a suitability standard?
THE FIDUCIARY STANDARD
The DOL has described a “fiduciary” as someone who is required to put their clients’ best interest before their own profits. Fiduciaries include registered investment advisors, advisors to mutual funds (like Dimensional), and others who hold themselves out to be fiduciaries (like trustees and certain retirement plan consultants).
Fiduciaries are required to act impartially and provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest, and in doing so, must act with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence that a prudent person would exercise based on the current circumstances. A fiduciary must avoid misleading statements about fees and must avoid conflicts of interest. Fiduciaries are typically compensated by payment of a fee rather than a commission. Fiduciaries to retirement plans, plan participants, and IRAs are also prohibited from receiving payments that create conflicts of interest unless they comply with the terms of certain exemptions issued by the DOL.
Probably most importantly, clients can expect that a fiduciary will act with transparency and avoid prohibited conflicts of interest. For example, given two comparable investment choices for a client, a fiduciary should typically recommend an option with lower management fees. Fiduciaries are personally liable for breaches of their fiduciary duties. For example, if there is a loss caused by a breach of fiduciary duty, the fiduciary must make the plan or IRA whole by restoring any losses caused by the breach and restoring to the plan or IRA any profits made through the use of plan or IRA assets. Civil actions to obtain appropriate relief for a breach of fiduciary duty may be brought by a participant, beneficiary, fiduciary, or the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and the fiduciary may be subject to excise tax penalties.
THE SUITABILITY STANDARD
Historically, representatives of a broker-dealer are required under the securities laws to judge the suitability of a product for a prospective investor, based primarily on that person’s financial goals, income, and age. Unless agreed otherwise, under this standard the rules do not legally require a recommendation of the most cost-effective product, a disclosure regarding conflicts associated with the investment, or disclosure of the compensation received when making that recommendation. Under the new DOL rule, it may mean that common forms of broker compensation, such as commissions and revenue sharing, will be restricted.
A SINGLE STANDARD OF ADVICE
As many financial advisors are dual registered as both brokers and investment advisors, it can be difficult to determine under which standard investment advice is given. A primary goal of the recent regulatory changes was to create a single standard for retirement financial advice based on a fiduciary model. Many clients already receive fiduciary advice, and for those clients the change in rules will not have much impact. Following the new DOL rule, it may be the case that professional financial advice for retirement assets (whatever the source) is subject to a level fiduciary standard. However, as with any investment advice, clients should conduct their own research, ask questions, and learn more about the reputation and philosophy of an advisor.
Note that in certain circumstances, information provided by advisors or brokers may not be treated as fiduciary advice. Some examples of these exceptions from the new DOL rule are providing general investment education, simple “order-taking” (executing an order to buy or sell without providing a recommendation), or certain “robo-advice.”
For informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing tax or legal advice. You should contact your tax advisor or attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
Source: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.
All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This information is intended for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services. This information should not be misconstrued or otherwise int
- 1 zucchini, spiral-cut into “noodles” using a spiral slicer or grater
- 2 medium avocados, chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted and chopped olives
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/9 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch of ground black pepper
Combine the zucchini “noodles,” avocados, olives, and scallions in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, then drizzle the dressing over the veggies. Toss the salad to coat everything evenly.
Variation: Serve with leftover salmon.