Professional Genealogists – How Much Do They Really Cost?

The first thing to decide is whether you should even hire a professional genealogist. It all depends on which you have more of: time or money.

If you’ve got more money, you’ll probably want to hire someone who does ancestry research for a living to do it for you. Another reason you might hire a pro is that you don’t know how to do the research yourself. You might not even know where to begin. Or, you may have traced your ancestors back as far as you can, and now, you’re at a dead end, and you need help.

So how much do commercial genealogists charge? This is a sticky issue, because a lot of people don’t really know what they’re going to be paying for. This is why a free consultation before you hire a pro is a good idea. You’ll find that you will typically be charged for things you might not be expecting. To start with, there’s almost certainly an hourly fee, which is normally $40-$50, but can range all the way up to $200 in some cases. This is to cover the researcher’s time, whether it is being spent on actual investigation or on organizing and evaluating the work that needs to be performed or has already been done. You will also be paying for things like:

  • Photocopies, whether its a library or a courthouse, either of documents or pictures, you can expect to pay $0.25 to $0.50 per copy.
  • Certificate fees. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, or just about any kind of official document that has been registered with an institution will require a small fee for a copy.
  • Research fees $35 to $60
  • Presentation Binders make everything seem more organized and professional, but expect to pay $10 to $15 for each one.
  • Scans $5 to $10 each, and normally they will be sent to you via email.
  • Postage or Shipping $7 to $25, depending on the service used and the weight, volume and distance.
  • Handling charges will probably run between $2 and $3 each time something is sent to you.
  • Search fees for libraries, courthouses, etc.
  • Long distance telephone calls. These can be out-of-town, out-of-state, or international.
  • Genealogy forms and supplies.
  • Travel expenses. You should insist that you be notified in advance of any out-of-town travel.
  • Correspondence. It takes time to compose a letter, so you should be prepared to pay for that time.
  • Translations. If your ancestor search leads to a foreign country, you can expect that the documents uncovered will be written in that language. Costs to translate these documents normally run between $60 and $80 per hour.
  • Preparation of reports. This is the end result of the research, in which the results are organized, documented and any conclusions explained to you. This can be as costly as it is valuable to your family history.
  • Preparation of biographies. Again, this is not only an assemblage of dates and other facts, but a fleshed-out history of your ancestor.
  • Preparation of family histories. Your family tree is a result of tying together the biographical data on all your ancestors into a single history.
  • Photography. This can include pictures of ancestors’ homes, burial places or almost anything that is significant in their lives.
  • Bookkeeping.
  • Typing.
  • Genealogical database fees.
  • Genealogy website fees.

Most family history specialists insist on all, or at least 50% payment up front. This is not just to ensure that they get paid; it  also gives them predictable operating capital for doing their research. On occasion, some of them will agree to let you pay them upon completion of their research. This can be dangerous, If you don’t set limits on the scope of the research and on the amount you are willing to pay, the final bill can be devastating. Most people simply can’t afford unlimited research. Insist on a free consultation before you agree to anything. Make sure that you make it clear what you are willing to spend, and have everything put in writing so that everyone is clear on what you are going to be paying for.

There is another area of confusion that often comes up. When somebody pays a trained family history expert to research his or her family tree, they expect significant results. The problem is that the researcher is being paid for the time spent in searching the records, and not the amount of information he finds. It’s only natural for the customer to expect results, when he has paid for the work to be done, but it doesn’t work that way. No one can possibly know in advance how easy or hard it will be to locate members of your family tree. Sometimes, a surname is so common that it is difficult or impossible to determine which of the people who found is your ancestor. Some records are just not available. So many things can affect the results that are turned up, but the research still has to be paid for.

What does all this add up to, in terms of your wallet? Sure, the proper answer is, it depends-on how much time and effort is required, how much travel and other expenses total, and what you’ve set as your financial limit beforehand. However, if you want a ballpark figure to see if you can even afford to hire a pro, look at $650 to $1,000 to start.

Buying a Used Sunfish Sailboat: Know The Ins and Outs Before Sailing Away

As anyone who’s ever bought a used car knows, you have to approach the project armed with your own knowledge before you even set foot on the lot. In this situation, being uninformed is tantamount to being taken to the cleaners.

The same goes for buying a sailboat. And, like automobiles, no sailboat is the same, so you should know the basics (and some particulars, as well) about the overall condition of the Sunfish sailboat you have your eye on.

The first question should always be, of course, how much cash are you willing to part with? If you plan on upgrading a used Sunfish, that alone can cost from $550 to $750 or more, depending on whether you want to use it to race. Prices also vary by location and supply; there’s no “set” price for a used Sunfish sailboat.

Then, where do you find a good used boat? Some people prefer to place their own ads (either in local newspapers or on the Internet) as opposed to responding to those already published. Many people have used Sunfish sailboats in pretty good condition but just haven’t thought of placing an ad for it. Also, check out local dealers, particularly if you’re buying out of season or if the outfit isn’t a Sunfish dealer. Also, knowing that sailboats go for less in winter and fall will put you ahead of the game.

Some obvious things that people often forget to look for are: age of the boat, which can be determined by checking the rudder, gunwales, or the serial number, if you don’t know the actual age; the weight of the hull, which should be between 115 and 130 pounds, and the resistance or lack thereof – watch out for a hull that’s too flexible.

Also, check the mast step and daggerboard trunk for hairline cracks or holes, and the condition of the bailer and storage compartment. And, the cockpit rim may be hiding some damage.

Other places to look for potential deal-breakers:

Signs of moisture in ports or drains.

Nicks or dents in the blades; splits and cracks in wooden blades.

Rudder and tiller cracks, corrosion, or pitting.

Dents or bends in the mast, near the tube.

Corrosion in the gaff and boom.

Holes or bad seams in the sail.

Never let the seller think you know as much as you do, bring plenty of cash just in case, and you’ll find a good deal on a used Sunfish sailboat.

The Business of Running a Bed and Breakfast

Running a Bed and Breakfast (“B&B”) sounds great at 5pm rush hours in the streets of Manhattan during the cold of winter. The fact is it can be a real job. Let me give you a taste of what it’s like in the life of a typical B&B owner.

Imagine it is 8pm on a Friday in the middle of summer at your lovely B&B. You just finished clearing out the dining room, in which your guests recently indulged in some light fare and beverages. You’re tired. It’s been a long day. You’re about to begin to do the dishes, which will take you an hour or so, and the phone rings. It’s John Smith, a late arrival guest, who was to check-in at 9pm. He tells you he will be there no later than 10pm.

It’s now 9pm, you’ve just finished the dishes and now you are tossing the dirty towels into the laundry and gathering up new towels, to replace the old ones in the bathrooms. This takes you another hour or so. You check your watch. It’s 10PM, no John Smith. “Where could he be?” you wonder to yourself. You check the phone for any messages, none. At 10:30pm the phone rings. It’s John Smith. He is on the Garden State Parkway at exit 117. He should be there in about ½ an hour. At 11pm John Smith finally arrives. You check him in, show him his room and at 11:20pm you rush to your bedroom to hit the sack because you promised early riser, Julie Murphy, you would have fresh coffee and a continental breakfast for her at 6am. If you’re lucky you pass out from exhaustion at 11:45pm and squeeze in just over five hours of sleep.

Welcome to the tranquil world of B&Bs. Not your typical day, but you get the idea. My point is this, managing a B&B not as easy as you would think. It can, however, be everything you thought it would be as long as your thoughts are anchored in reality.

The level of your attention to detail, along with your B&B’s location, can make your B&B a real success or a real nightmare. During your B&B’s busy season (primarily May-September in the Northeast) you are always on the go. Your hours are dictated by the hours of your guests. A late arrival can keep you up late and an early riser might require that you wake up at 5am.

Frequently Asked Questions

What constitutes a B&B? Generally speaking anything larger than 5 rooms is considered an Inn and anything less is considered a B&B.

How do you know if your B&B is successful? 100 nights, out of a year, filled to capacity, is a good year.

Can you make a living running a B&B? In most cases you will need about six rooms to make a living at it. Anything less is just supplemental income. If a host wants to make a living at a B&B they must open an Inn.

What are the biggest problems facing B&B hosts? Typically, it’s the attention to detail required of a well run B&B and last minute cancellations or guests just not showing up.

Should you list your B&B with a reservation service agency (“RSA”)? If this is your first B&B and you are just starting out, the answer is a definitive yes! Here’s why. A good RSA provides a number of valuable services. First and foremost they can drive business to your B&B. Many RSAs provide brochures to state-run Welcome Centers. Some RSAs reach out to local businesses and special-events coordinators. When a potential guest takes one of those brochures and calls the RSA they will provide the prospect with B&Bs that meet their geographic and personal needs. Other advantages of joining an RSA include valuable advice about how to run the B&B. Many RSAs will usually come to your B&B to see if it has the right set up for accommodating guests.

They typically bring along a checklist and go through a type of inspection process. Soon you will find out just what strengths and weaknesses your B&B has. Oftentimes, this service is offered free of charge, as an initial consultation, The RSA will do this as a way of determining if your B&B meets their minimum standards. This inspection helps flesh out the problems inherent in your B&B. If you pass the inspection, the RSA will be interested in listing your home. Typical operational services an RSA provides, beyond those mentioned, include answering phones, e-mail/mail inquiries, screening and matching guests with hosts. They will send confirmations to guests who make reservations. Some even send out regular newsletters to hosts and help hosts with record keeping and tax preparation. All of these services, of course, come at a cost. Generally, an RSA’s commission will be between 20-25% of the rental income from the guests they book.

How much should you charge per room per night? Most B&Bs charge a minimum of $100 per night for a double occupancy room. Depending on your geographic location this amount could be significantly higher or lower.

What kind of costs/expenses can you expect to incur in your B&B? Expenses in running a B&B include food, beverage, coffee filters, soap, shampoo, facial/toilet tissue, cleaning supplies, cleaning help, laundry, new sheets, paint, repairs, linens, bedding, towels, fresh flowers, new mattresses, advertising/promotion, office supplies, dues/subscriptions, business cards, reading lamps, telephone, internet access, commission to your RSA, membership fees to local business organizations (i.e. Chamber of Commerce), insurance, utilities, accounting fees, legal fees, income tax, real estate tax and mortgage interest,.

What type of accounting or bookkeeping system is needed in a well run B&B? Accounting for a B&B does not have to be that complicated. Your options are a manual accounting system or a computer-based one. A manual accounting system could be as simple as a checkbook, accordion file and some envelopes. The accordion file should have twelve compartments for each month. Include envelopes for your main expenses in each compartment and place your expense receipts in each expense envelope. For those expenses that do not fit neatly into any one category, include a “miscellaneous” envelope. At the end of the month tally up your expenses on a control sheet which lists the expenses on the left and a column for each month on the right. Subtract the month’s total from your receipts for the month and you will know how much money you made or how much you lost. A computer-based system should be one that is simple to use. I recommend QuickBooks as it is one of the easiest accounting software programs to learn and use on the market. A few hours with your accountant, learning QuickBooks, can save you many more hours of trial and error, not to mention frustration and stress, down the road. If you feel that you don’t have the attention to detail in keeping even a rudimentary accounting system then use your checkbook as your accounting system. Make sure every expense you incur, however, is run through your checkbook or a specific credit card is used only for business purchases, if you are not good with keeping receipts.

Should I organize my B&B as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC?

This is not an easy question to answer. Before we get to that answer let me touch on how the B&B should be owned. I would recommend that the B&B be owned personally. The reason is that there are tax advantages to owning the B&B personally. One major tax benefit is the personal residential exclusion of any gain of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for single taxpayers) on the personal residence portion of your B&B. Another reason is that this direct ownership better facilitates the use of a tax advantaged sale of the B&B using a like kind exchange, which allows the seller to defer taxation of any gain from the sale of the B&B, as long as like kind property (real estate) is acquired within six months from the date of the B&B’s sale. With a direct personal ownership structure you could lease the B&B to the legal entity that will be running the business. In no case would I run the B&B business as a sole proprietorship, since a sole proprietorship has unlimited liability.

My first choice would be a corporation in which an S election was made. The S corporation offers the best limited liability protection, even better than an LLC or a partnership. Here’s why. In an LLC your personal liability is limited, in the case of a lawsuit for some type of negligence, but only if you did not personally cause the negligence or injury (i.e. an employee was responsible for the negligence or injury and you did not direct that employee to perform that act). If you had something to do with the negligent act, you and all of your personal assets can be at risk. In a partnership, as a general partner, you may be held personally liable for any negligence or injury, even if caused by an employee. In a corporation, only the corporate assets are at risk. Your personal assets are safe. Personal liability at the corporate level would require “piercing the corporate veil”, something that is very hard to do given the long history of corporate case law precedence limiting this. In an S corporation, any net income or net loss and certain other tax items will flow through to your personal income tax return, as an S corporation is a pass-through entity.

4 Life Research – The Pros and Cons of the 4 Life Research Opportunity

4 Life Research, from a third party prospective, appears to be a great opportunity for the entrepreneur looking into network marketing. I always love to see companies that promote the body’s immune system, as it’s a great counter for all the drugs dispensed these days by western culture physicians.

The 4 Life products can be compared with human breast milk, which is a huge immunity builder! And it’s not a new fly by night product, as there have been over 50 years of scientific research in this area.

If you’re thinking about going into the 4 Life Research opportunity, you may want to consider the pros and cons before you take the plunge…

4 Life Research Pros:

– All 4 Life products have been patented, over 75 products contributing to wellness, including pet and elderly care

– There is a 30 day money back guarantee for 4 Life products.

– The commission structure is generous, the traditional MLM structure, allowing commissions both retail and from others who sell in your downline.

– There are great rewards and bonuses for top marketers, including vacation trips.

4 Life Research Cons:

– The 4 Life products are not FDA approved. (As far as I’m concerned, this is not a concern, but it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to promote to physicians and veterinarians.)

– As with most non-drug wellness products, they have long-term results, so your customers won’t be able to assess how well the products are helping.

– The wellness market is saturated, so a lot of folks tend to have a mind block about being open to new MLM wellness products.

– In order to achieve a successful income level, you need a minimum amount of monthly total sales to qualify for commissions and bonuses. As with any MLM, a team of recruited reps under you is required before you see any real income.

If you’re worried about the “pyramid scheme” gossip, don’t be concerned, as 4 Life Research is just as valid a company as most. But like any MLM, you need to prepare yourself to work hard. Don’t buy into the “hope” that if you just recruit two who recruit two, then you’re set for life. The multilevel professionals themselves can attest to the fact that this actually doesn’t work. But that’s not to say it’s not possible.

The main problem with marketing 4 Life Research is the same as with most multilevel companies. You need a marketing system in place that is duplicable. Because, realistically, you have to take into consideration that 95% of the people you recruit in your downline will quit. That’s the statistic. As a third party marketer who is familiar with how network marketing companies work, I strongly suggest marketing online.

Here’s your 4 Life Research Blueprint for Marketing Online…

Step number 1: Brand yourself as the expert.

Of course, you will need to invest some time and money in training yourself first, because none of us are simply born experts! However, once you learn just a few important tips, you’ve got one up on the guy who doesn’t know, so to him, you’re the expert. You can easily brand yourself as an expert online when you establish a personal blog.

Step number 2: Promote your blog.

Surely this can’t surprise you… just like in any other business; you need to spend money to make money. However, if you’re hurting for money, there are a lot of methods available today with only a small financial outlay up front. And some techniques can be purchased with only a one time fee. I personally prefer article marketing because, once leads are generated, your link stays on Google for no additional cash outlay.

Step number 3: Establish relationship with your new leads.

Once the traffic starts building, the leads are available! The expert network marketers use an automatic email responder system, or “autoresponder”. This inexpensive tool will make immediate contact with the leads via email. Marketing becomes fun and exciting when you start to see the autorsponder messages your email inbox advising you that you have leads!

Hotel Management As a Career in India

Hotel Management has been rated as one of the most popular choice of students after 10+2 studies.


In the present era, tourism in India has evolved from a simple leisure activity to a much more advanced – diversified activity having a direct bearing on the socio-economic progress and the effect on per capita income in India. The business volume of tourism in India is on a par with that of revenues earned from oil exports + automobiles, etc. India has earned the reputation of an incredible tourist destination with the diversity of experiences.

Visitors coming to India are influenced by the richness of Indian culture, touched by the warmth of Indians, amazed by the grandeur of Indian monuments and delighted with the excellent standards of Indian hotels.

To be able to cater to the increasing inflow of tourists in India, there are numerous international hotel chains across the country. Regardless of where you go & what your pocket allows spending for the purpose of boarding and lodging, India has all types of hotels ranging from budget hotels to 5 Star Deluxe Hotels in the country to cater to the varying tastes of all types of guests. So a degree in hotel management in India will open the door to a world of exciting career opportunities. Apart from this, hotel management students in India might also get the chance to go to exciting places abroad. The students can opt to work with hotels, resorts, cruise ships or other organisations affiliated to the Indian or International tourism industry.

The Indian Tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust itself to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth & job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic & geopolitical challenges present in the world.

Demand in India for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific with a projected growth of 5%- 6% in the year 2015.

Career after doing Hotel Management Degree:

In the last 10 years, Indian tourism industry has witnessed an increase in foreign tourist arrivals plus spurt in domestic tourism with around 30 million Indians who travel within the country every year. The rising demand has given a boost to the employment opportunity in the Indian tourism sector. While most graduates usually seek work in 5 Star hotels or other private hotel chains, some find themselves seeking alternative employment, career avenues in restaurant management, cruise ship, hotel management, institutional & industrial catering, club or bar management, airline catering and cabin services or management of catering departments in Indian banks & insurance houses.

At middle management and supervisory levels in the Hotel Industry, students are absorbed in the multifarious areas of hotel operations including Front Office/ Food & Beverage Services/ Food Production or Kitchens/ Housekeeping and Marketing & Sales. All of these are specialized areas of operation and require a great deal of study and practical application in India. Coupled with this is the requirement for trained manpower in India in special areas such as airline and railway catering- industrial catering- institutional catering- etc. and that has warranted further augmentation of training capability and modernisation of existing facilities in India. The Indian hospitality industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 2 decades and the demand for trained manpower in this industry is immense.


There are various short term and long term courses available in the Hospitality Management studies. Students can pursue Certificate (6 months- 1 Year), Diploma (1 Year) or Degree (3 Years). There are tremendous Hotel Management colleges in India to gain this professional education.

How to Impress My Husband With Surprises – Most Important Keys to a Successful Married Life

You have a perfect marriage and are happy in your comfort zone. You know that he is content being with you and it seems that you are made for each other. However, if you wish to sparkle up your lives, then there are few things you can do and impress him.

Go for a make over

If you have been neglecting yourself of late, go ahead and join some exercise classes of your interest. You can join a gym or take yoga classes that can help you to shape up. Next, you should pamper yourself with a new style or color that gives your appearance a great boost. Your husband will be impressed with your new look and shapely figure.

Change your wardrobe

Get some stylish dresses in your wardrobe and surprise him when he sees you wearing an outfit you have never worn before. This may remind him of the time when you used to take lot of care to look good, your dating days.

Plan for a ‘date night’

If you have been busy taking care of home and your work and had not enough time for him, plan a ‘date night’ by arranging to leave kids with a nanny. Go out and have a most exciting dinner forgetting all the worries while focusing on enjoying as if you were on a date.

Plan for a second honeymoon

Surprise him with a weekend getaway by taking care of the booking and travel arrangements. He will definitely be thrilled and feel happy by your planning an unexpected break, this will bring back the sparkle in your romance and bring you more closer than before.

Gift him something thoughtful

If you have been receiving gifts from him then you know how nice it feels to receive unexpected gifts. Give him something that he always wanted or that holds special meaning for you, he will be impressed by the thought that goes behind gifting.

Give him his freedom and space

Push him at times to go out with his buddies for a guy’s night out and he will be impressed by your understanding behavior. Let him have fun with his gang of boys, if you showed resentment earlier he will be surprised by your changed attitude, but love you for it.

Be a different woman in the bedroom

If you have been a passive partner all this while, surprise him by taking the lead and doing something different to please him. Taking initiative and being sensitive to his needs is sure going to impress him if you had not done it before.

Hypnobirthing Birth in a Hospital or Birthing Centre – A Guide of What To Pack

Each hospital or birthing centre varies in what equipment it provides for your comfort during birthing. It is important to find out before your birthing day, exactly what equipment your hospital provides so you can be prepared. The more prepared you are for your birthing day, the more time you have to commence relaxation and Hypnobirthing techniques once your labour starts.

Below is a packing checklist to assist with labour and post birth comfort for you, your birthing companion and your baby.

Check List

Medical details – Government Medicare card and or private health insurance card.

Administration – Hypnobirthing birth plan and any hospital paperwork.

Beauty products – Lip balm, moisturiser, facial cleansing wipes, hair bands (x 3), hair brush, face washers (x 3), shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, tooth brush, tooth paste, any make up (remember the days after the birth and leaving the hospital) and breath mints.

Comfort – Massage oil (to assist with your light touch massage), birthing ball (if not already provided by your hospital), Ural (assists with reducing the sting in your urine post birth), ear plugs and your own pillow.

Technology – Mobile phone, phone charger, camera, camera charger. It is important to note many hospitals no longer allow video cameras (check with your hospital’s own policy in advance to avoid disappointment should you intend to film your birth).

Music – IPOD or CD with Hypnobirthing recordings. Speakers or IPOD docking station if one is not available at the hospital. General relaxation music.

Hypnobirthing – All Hypnobirthing handouts required for the labour (particularly the balloon trip script, rainbow relaxation, birth companion’s guide and birthing prompts handouts).

Hydration and Nutrition – Iceblocks, water bottle, sports drinks or coconut water and light nutritional snacks (muesli bars, fruit juice boxes, clear soups etc).

Hygiene – Face washers, thongs or flip flops (for the shower), maternity pads (available from the pharmacy – do bring your own as the hospital ones tend to be bulky, uncomfortable and matronly) plastic bags for dirty clothes.

Clothing – Loose singlets or night dresses, swimmers (if you are modest when showering or in the tub relaxing), socks, spare clothes for you and your birthing partner (remember a nice set for leaving the hospital and potential photo moments). Black men’s underpants (these are to wear after birth with maternity pads). Loose pyjamas or night gown’s for easy access for breast feeding. Maternity bra’s and nursing pads, dressing gown, slippers, loose comfortable clothing (you will loose weight immediately after giving birth but you will not loose all of it -the size of clothing you should bring should be what you were wearing at approximately 6 months pregnant).

Entertainment – 3 x Books – (one stimulating light hearted book for you, one breast feeding book and one book for your birthing partner).

Money – Small change is always handy in hospitals (should you want a snack from the vending machine, make a phone call or buy a cup of coffee).

Baby Equipment and Clothing – Nappies (cloth or disposable), 3 x singlets, 3 x romper suits, (000 and 0000 depending on what size they come out) beanies, bunny rugs, muslin baby wrap, socks, large tub of baby wipes, disposable nappy bags and pacifier.

For travel after birth – Remember your baby will need to leave the hospital in a correctly installed baby capsule that passes the required safety standards for your country. It is a good idea to have this fitted a week or two before your estimated due date to avoid the last minute rush.

It’s Time For Mandatory Retirement at 65 For Truck Drivers

A 70-year-old truck driver was travelling west on I-196 near Grandville, MI, driving a semi-truck carrying pies when his truck crossed the centerline and collided with a 20078 Chevy Tahoe. The truck careened over the edge of an overpass and both vehicles caught fire.

Motorists who stopped at the scene and Grandville police officers helped pull Robert Gortner, 82, from the Tahoe. But his wife, a passenger, was trapped in the vehicle and Robert Osborne, 70, was trapped in his truck. Edna Gortner, 83, of Grand Rapids and Osborn of Macelona both were killed. An elderly passenger in the Tahoe was killed along with the truck driver. That was in September 2009.

About a year earlier in July 2008 a 71-year-old truck driver on I-75 in Michigan slammed into vehicles in the southbound lanes, causing the death of 19-year-old Kara Joan Larivee of Rochester Hills. The 71-year-old driver, already driving at a high rate of speed, failed to react quickly enough to the fact that traffic had come to a standstill because of merging traffic.

The common denominators of both tragedies is that neither accident should have occurred, no one should have been killed, and both truck drivers were 70 or older.

As a personal liability attorney who has grieved with clients over the needless deaths resulting from car-truck accidents, I have argued in the past that truck related deaths can be reduced by paying more attention to highway safety and driver fatigue. In recent months I have become convinced the effort should now involve a three-prong approach – safer roads, less driver fatigue, and a mandatory retirement age for truck drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that as many as 4,000 Americans a year are killed in collisions with trucks that have incurred thousands of safety violations, such as defective brakes, bad tires or loads dangerously beyond weight limits. Many of the truck drivers involved had little or no training, many were 65 or older, and many others had a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Because Michigan does not allow for punitive damages against truck drivers in effect all truckers have immunity against being held accountable. For that reason truckers causing tragic accidents will continue driving even though untrained, continue to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and continue to drive when age slows their reflexes and judgment.

Truck accidents occur because of fatigue, highway design faults, defective equipment, and driver error. Some causes are predictable; others are not. The result is always predictable, though — the shear volume of a truck traveling 40 m.p.h. or faster will always create havoc.

The biggest killer on our highways is fatigue. Federal transportation officials must come up with stricter guidelines to make sure that logbooks are properly kept and that commercial carriers ensure their drivers get the rest they need between trips.

State highway departments throughout the U.S must adopt an aggressive program to widen two-lane highways throughout areas to make high-speed travel safer for all. Law enforcement officials must police our highways to enforce speed limits rather than tolerating drivers traveling 80 m.p.h. or higher.

I became an advocate for reforms to reduce the number of car-truck collisions after representing the family of a 5-year-old boy who was killed when a semi-tractor truck struck from behind a vehicle being driven by his mother.

The minimum reforms I championed then were: paving construction to widen our two-lane highways or at least provide for more left-turn flare lanes increased speed enforcement on two-lane highways stricter enforcement of truck driver’s driving time limits can prevent deaths.

I now add to my call for reform the need to lower the maximum driving age for all truckers to 65. Because we cannot predict with any certainty the age when a driver’s physical and mental reactions begin to slow, then 65 becomes the best standard because at that age the driver can draw Social Security and Medicare in addition to any retirement benefits or 401k investments.

Age 65 also is the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots thanks to a bill signed in February 2007 raising the mandatory retirement age to 65. Going back to the 1960s airline pilots were forced to retire at age 60 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Think about that. A pilot flies his plane in open air, without any other planes within visible sight, is aided by a co-pilot a seat away and by a controller on the ground, and often flies on auto-pilot. Yet even with this redundancy and backup help the FAA for more than half a decade said it was unsafe for a pilot over 60 to continue on the job. Now it’s considered unsafe at age 65.

So why in the world do we allow truckers to continue driving at age 65, 70, 75 even 80? Truck drivers at high speeds every day must make split-second decisions that require extra-ordinary quick reaction times. Common sense, if not physical exams, eye and hearing tests, and stress tests, tells us that a driver age 65-70 is not physically and mentally equipped for this challenge.

If a truck driver makes a mistake it is very hard to correct because of the mass and size of a truck. Most truck drivers are good drivers who drive defensively and are qualified and trained to be good drivers. But only a single driver error in a lifetime of driving can have tragic results. And as that driver nears the end of a career of driving the odds increase dramatically that a fatal mistake will occur.

I cannot rest at peace because I know with certainty that before the year ends someone else will needlessly die somewhere on a highway. I am certain of this because federal officials, state and county governments, and law enforcement won’t take any actions beyond the civil and criminal judgments recorded. None of us should be at peace until certain actions are taken. And these actions are: widening our two-lane highways; adding left-turn flare lanes as needed; stricter enforcement to ensure log books reflect actual driving time and rest time; and establishing a mandatory retirement for truck drivers at age 65.

Join me in this campaign by writing letters to the Federal Transportation Agency, to the governor of your state, and to newspaper and television editors. Increased public awareness will result in the changes that are needed to save thousands of lives. What we say does matter and will count for change.


The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Paramedic

Choosing to become a paramedic is a great decision. As a paramedic, you play a critical part in helping to save lives during an emergency situation. However, the job of an advanced emergency medical technician is not all sunshine and roses. As with any job, there are pros and cons to entering this emergency medical services field. Below, you will find some common pros and cons associated with becoming a paramedic.

To get things started, here are some of the pros to being a paramedic.

Helping Others: This by far can be considered the number one pro to becoming a paramedic. You are directly involved with helping someone else. Often times, you are helping to save the life of someone you don’t even know. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re making a difference to a person who is potentially having the worst day of their life.

Good Pay and Job Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment as an EMT and paramedic is expected to grow by about 33 percent between now and the year 2020. This is much faster than other occupations. Paramedics earn more money than basic EMTs. Your salary is commensurate with the level of education and experience you have. As you gain more in both knowledge and training, you can expect your pay to also increase.

Easy of Entry: In order to become a paramedic, it is not required that you go to college. In most cases, you simply need to be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma. After that, you have a number of options as to how you obtain your formal training in order to become eligible to sit for and pass the state administered paramedic exam.

Now, let’s look at some of the cons of deciding to pursue a career as a paramedic.

Lack of Sleep: As a paramedic, you may be required to work long hours. As a result, you may end up working a shift where you are on the clock for 24 hours, and then off for 48 hours. Chances are, you’re going to end up needing to be awake for those full 24 hours too because you might not always get the opportunity to sleep through the night.

Not So Nice Patients: Let’s face it, as a paramedic you are more than likely going to come into contact with people who are not having the greatest day. Patients and their family members, as a result of being involved in an emergency situation, might speak to you in language that is offensive and/or rude. In extreme situations, you may even be the target of someone’s attempt to assault you, all because of the stress that an emergency situation can cause.

Risk for Work Related Injuries and Illnesses: As a result of all of the bending, lifting, and kneeling that you’ll be frequently doing, you are at risk for suffering from a work-related injury and/or illness. You may be spit on or come into contact with a patient’s vomit. As an advanced EMT, you might come into contact with persons who are infected with diseases like hepatitis-B or AIDS.

Financial Planning Advice

The aim of financial planning is to analyse your current financial status and make suggestions and recommendations that will help you secure your long-term financial future. Many leading financial advisors recognise that in order to be successful they need to comprehensively understand a client aims and objectives. Once they’ve established a clear idea of what the client wishes to achieve they can then begin to identify the best financial solution for their client.

In a typical assessment the following aspects will be taken into consideration, naturally this will vary on a client to client basis: budget, asset allocation, savings and investment, risk management, insurance, cash-flow, taxation, life cover, retirement plans and estate management.

To achieve a secure financial future that will benefit both you and your family it is essential that you discover the best possible solutions for your own individual circumstances and objectives. By enlisting the support of a personal financial advisor they can help you develop a strong financial strategy that is designed to fit in with your current lifestyle and long-term plans.

Expert advisors will assess your position on an ongoing basis and make the required changes in order to deliver the best results. As with most things in life, change happens and it is necessary to adjust your planning in the event of unexpected situations. Many leading advisors will understand that you’ve worked incredibly hard for your money and they’ll do their best to ensure that it works as hard for you as you have for it.

Financial advisors can provide information on the following aspects of wealth management:

Savings Plans. Regardless of the purpose and whether you are looking to save a large or a small amount, financial advisors will factor in different elements to find the right outcome for your own individual needs. A savings plan is the ideal way for you to save the funds you need to purchase a new house, plan a wedding or take time out to travel the world.

Lump Sum & Offshore Investment. These are often a popular alternative to keeping your saving in a bank or building society and offshore investments can sometimes provide the opportunity to take advantage of significant tax breaks.

Life Assurance. There is no value that can be placed on life but in order to find the best options that are available to you a financial advisor will be able to talk you through a range of policies and offer additional health protection cover that can be added.