Market Watch – The 2 Biggest Retirement Misconceptions

While the idea of retirement has changed, certain financial assumptions haven’t. We’ve all heard about the “new retirement,” a mix of work and play with the modern retiree leading an active lifestyle. While this is becoming a cultural assumption among baby boomers, it is interesting to see that certain financial assumptions haven’t really changed with the times. In particular, there are two financial misconceptions that we can fall prey to – assumptions that could prove financially harmful to your future.

Misconception #1 – Assuming retirement will last 10-15 years. Historically, retirement has lasted about 10-15 years for most Americans. The key word here is “historically”. When Social Security was created in 1933, the average American could anticipate living to age 61. By 2005, life expectancy for the average American had increased to 78.1

In 2010, the American Academy of Actuaries says that the average 65-year-old American male can expect to live to 84½, with a 30% chance of living past 90. The average 65-year-old American female has an average life expectancy of 87, with a 40% chance of living past 90.2 With all the advancements in medicine, we could see this boost in overall American longevity to continue. The bottom line: every year, the possibility is increasing that your retirement could last 20 or 30 years—or longer. So assuming you’ll only need 10 or 15 years worth of retirement money could be a big mistake and most don’t realize how much retirement money they may need. This leads us to the next big misconception:

Misconception #2 – Assuming too little risk. Our appetite for risk declines as we get older, and rightfully so. Yet there may be unintended consequences of becoming too risk-averse. Holding onto your retirement money is certainly important, but so is your retirement income and quality of life. In addition to longevity risk, three major financial issues that can affect your retirement over time are taxes, health care costs and inflation.

Will the minimal inflation we’ve seen at the start of the 2010s continue for years to come? Don’t count on it. Over the last few decades, we have had moderate inflation (but sometimes worse, think late 70’s and early 80’s).  Over time, even 3-4% inflation gradually saps your purchasing power. Your dollar buys less and less. Taxes will likely be higher in the coming decade. So whether you are 20, 40 or 60, tax reduction and tax-advantaged investing will take on even more importance. Health care costs are climbing – we need to be prepared financially for the cost of acute, chronic and long-term care.

As you retire, you may assume that an extremely conservative approach to investing is mandatory. But given how long we may live – and how long retirement may last – some growth investing could be an important consideration in an overall income strategy.

1., Week in Review, 4-27-2008
2., Money, 4-30-2010

Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a principal of Walnut Creek Wealth Management. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and should not be construed as investment advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Not all recommendations are suitable for all investors. Each investor must consider their own goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or

The Upscale Suburban Gangster

I have a friend who investigates Medicare fraud for the feds. You know, bogus medical equipment cases in south Florida and what-not. “Reality is that we only have the resources to go after the worst 10-percent of offenders,” he said. “If you are not greedy, you can get away with it for a long time.”

He might as well have been talking about city, county and state law enforcement. I have a case right now where a lady gangster is stealing thousands from several different men but is so adept at covering her tracks and muddying situations that there is no concentrated effort to prosecute her. Law enforcement has limited resources, not just monetary but more so in terms of the lack of personnel.  Fraud investigations such as identify theft, bad checks and other financial crimes take time and energy. And if the losses don’t approach millions or victims are not exclusively elderly, then they are not necessarily a high priority. (I have found local law enforcement to take financial crimes against the elderly quite seriously.)

She drives a Mercedes C class SUV and rocks Gucci purses. Oh, she talked one of the men into leasing her the Mercedes because she did not have proper documentation to lease or buy such a luxurious ride. Her method is usually as follows:

She starts a sexual or romantic relationship with the men, most of whom are older. She comes across as educated, wealthy and successful. She got into the country through a marriage to an older man but is apparently still here without proper legal status. She talks them into various investments. She might move in with them. She assumes different identities with different Social Security Numbers.

When she senses trouble and pressure, she will seek restraining orders against the men. She does not do all of her crimes in the same jurisdiction but pursues her craft in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.  So when a local police department starts to pursue her, her side of the story is that she is a victim. Right or wrong, many of the police departments tell the victims that it’s a “civil matter” and that a criminal case is not the proper forum. So she has been arrested a few times but never prosecuted. One victim got the courts to evict her from his house but before she could finally be thrown out she had a moving van take the man’s household goods and other items.

Police might take reports and investigate but prosecutors want solid cases not murky ones. She might hit a rough patch or two but is an artful dodger avoiding significant convictions or penalties. By rotating jurisdictions and creating the illusion of true romantic relationships she derails criminal investigations and prosecutions. She knows how to game the system. She does not have a valid California driver’s license but has committed a couple of hit-and-runs without eyewitnesses. When police stop her, they just give her another citation for driving without a license.

She will write bad checks to these men from various accounts, under different names, and then try to take cash out of the accounts. She apparently likes to text photos of large amounts of cash in her possession, as if she is bragging about her scores. In terms of real assets, such as property, she doesn’t own anything. So going after her in a lawsuit is not that great of an option either.

She plays the game and she plays it very well.

Everyday Style…Beyond the Fitting Room

Everyday Style | Shoes for Summer
Why go barefoot this summer when there are so many cute shoes to choose from? Just like clothing trends for spring, color is a major player this season. Don’t worry about busting your budget either—great summer shoes and sandals can be found at any price point from bargain city to super-chic designer versions.

Take a look at the best of the summer:

  1. Bright flat sandals can be worn as a neutral. Introducing this “pop of color” is a great way to make a plain outfit extra snazzy.
  2. Wedges will give you a lift…literally. Adding a heel always looks dressier than flats. They are easy to wear, and comfy, too. A new kind of wedge is a “flat-form”, and it’s essentially a raised flat sandal. Perfect for the “vertically challenged.”
  3. Cap-toe flats are a fun spin on the classic ballet flat. Other interesting trimmings include bows, buckles, chains and studs—some of which are pointy and could double as a weapon!
  4. The classic, preppy boat shoe is hotter than ever. Shown in bright color combinations and prints, they only confirm the notion that “prep is back.” My favorites are from the new Milly-Sperry collaboration, and
    are tres stylish.
  5. Espadrilles are a summer staple, and with the popularity of Tom’s (the shoe company that donates a pair of shoes for every shoe purchased), they are a “feel good” shoe in more ways than one; they  look cute, feel comfy AND save the planet.

Just be sure that when you’re sporting those great new sandals, that your feet are pretty and properly pedicured. Toes should not hang over the sides, heels can’t spill over the backs, and the tops/sides of your feet should not “pudge out” between the straps. Got it? Now, let those “piggies” out and enjoy the summer!

Carolyn Rovner is a certified image consultant and owner of C2 Style, a style consulting and personal shopping service. For additional style tips and trends, to to Carolyn’s blog at, and subscribe by clicking the “subscribe” button on the right side of the page.

Legal Lines

Every so often a litigation firm will experience the tide of a wave of cases in a particular area of law. This has been the situation with labor violation claims over the last five to ten years.  Many of our business clients have been experiencing claims filed against their companies for wage and hour violations, some of which give rise to class action claims by plaintiffs or audits by the particular agency investigating the claims. In most cases, employers truly believed that they were in compliance with applicable labor codes and wage orders, they were simply confused by the requirements around meal breaks and employees who did not want to leave their desks or work project to go to lunch when required.

The recently decided Supreme Court ruling in Brinker Restaurant Corp. vs. Superior Court has changed the required duty landscape of California employers in overseeing the meals and break periods for its non-exempt employees. Previous law, under California Labor Code Section 512 and applicable wage orders as well as the prevailing case holdings, put the policing onus on employers to ensure that employees were actually away from their desks and work duties during the meal and break periods. Meal periods are the requisite thirty minutes for every five hours worked under the Labor Code. Rest periods are the requisite 10 minutes for provided every four hours worked.  Prior to the Brinker ruling employers were held to daunting obligations which they had to impose on non-exempt employees, forcing them to leave their work areas and, ideally, go off-site for a meal or break period every day worked. For those employers with employees working remotely or from home, this imposed the somewhat impossible task of constant oversight and administrative tracking. Additionally, in many cases, the employee preferred to stay on site and work, forfeiting the meal break, if he or she was involved a compelling project or work assignment. So the legal requirements actually put the employer and employee at odds, when both may have desired the alternative common sense approach to a break or meal requirement.

The Brinker case clarifies and modifies the requirements under the Labor Code. The claims in the Brinker case were initially brought in 2004 by five employees against Brinker, Chili’s restaurant’s parent company, and expanded into a class action claim which had the potential of including some 63,000 past and present employees claiming meal and break violations. In April of this year, the Brinker court held that employers need only provide the employee a work free period for meals and breaks and that the employee may elect to use that time for whatever he or she prefers. There is no requirement that the employer police the employee to ensure that they leave the premises or work area. The requirement to track the use of that time is also now born by the employee, however best practices for employers would be to collect that information and store it for HR record keeping and tracking. Brinker also addressed the certification requirements for a class action claim under wage and hour violations.

So what does this mean for employers and employees — what should they be doing under the Brinker ruling? Employers should educate and train managers and its HR department on the Brinker requirements. Employers should also update handbooks, policies and procedures and manuals as well as educate its workers as to its policies, making it clear that employees have the option to take meals and breaks away from all work obligations for the requisite time period and do nothing to imply or directly discourage employees from taking a meal or break away from work duties or their work areas or to imply or state that they should work during that period of time.  They should also make clear the processes by which an employee and employer mutually elect to waive such lunch or break periods (in writing, for best practices). The Brinker decision certainly takes the heavy burden off of employers to police the actions of its workforce but the impetus to care for a workforce, even a small one, is born by the employer interested in fostering a healthy work environment. Brinker just makes it easier to utilize common sense and a mature and cohesive commitment to mutual company goals and objectives.

This article and the materials on the De La Housaye & Associates ALC website are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice.  This article does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and De La Housaye & Associates.

Angela and her counsel and staff offer comprehensive legal services for compa­nies in the areas of commercial litigation, business-employment law, contracts, entity formation and mergers and acquisitions.  De La Housaye & Associates (DLHA) works to provide clients the benefit of large firm com­prehensive expertise with that of close personal attention. Angela has always found a strong legal value to clients in providing a combination of proactive, attentive legal support based upon the vast detailed knowledge of her clients and their businesses.

De La Housaye & Associates, A Law Corporation
Angela De La Housaye, Attorney, Founder, CEO
1655 North Main Street, Suite 260
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Tel 925-944-3300

Beauty and the Beach – Sun Protection and Anti-Aging

Sunscreens have been on the market for years, so what sun protection products are the most affective against anti-aging, and what are the long-term effects that sunscreens have on our skin? There is new information regarding the differences between chemical sunscreens and natural sunscreens.

Sun Protection sunscreens with organic Aloe Extract, Almond oil, and B-Carotene “Botanicals of Life” contain the richest known source of anti-oxidant beta-carotene, and help protect skin against free radicals and premature aging. These benefits are enhanced by a new generation of micronized and micro-dispersed Titanium-Dioxide (ultra-fine mineral pigment of natural origin) that act as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays that cause wrinkles. Titanium-Dioxide forms an invisible protective shield on the surface of the skin that physically deflects the sun. It’s like wearing a t-shirt on your face.   Where as, the chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays into the skin.  Chemical sunscreens are irritating to the skin, and researchers have noticed the use of chemical sunscreens has decreased water retention in the skin giving an “orange peel” texture to the skins surface.

You can find natural Titanium-Dioxide in many foundations and Powders on the market today. They are one of the best sources of sun protection in latest discoveries.  Some dermatologist are recommending foundations to their patients instead of chemical sunscreens because it guarantees a natural and efficient, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection that helps to deflect the suns harmful rays.

Sun bathing has its benefits as researchers have concluded that some sun tanning can be beneficial. The natural sunlight helps heal the body, boosts the immune system and energizes organs. Vitamin D from the sun enhances healthy bone and tissue. Sun tanning should only be in moderation. You do not want to sunburn the skin. Sunburn is the quickest way to damage the skins surface. It causes the breakdown of collagen, then forming wrinkles which results in premature aging.

Self-tanners in a clear cream formula are highly recommended. Clear cream sunless tanners work with your own melanin in your skin producing a natural appearance that is three shades darker than your original color. Self- tanners that have a bronze pigment will tan you immediately but will rub off on clothing. Be careful to apply the lotions evenly, watching troublesome areas such as ankles, wrists, and knees. Self-tanners are a great way to look bronzed naturally with out the risk of ruining the skin from sun damage.

At The Rouge we carry only the finest advanced skin care for all skin types. Our natural SPF 30 moisturizer contains rich peptides with no parabans and protects the skin all day long. We carry the famous Ongrien Self Tanner—our number one top seller of the summer!

Key to Medical Care

My name is Dr. Bob Brown and my goal is to help readers get to the root of what might ail them and guide them to seek care that treats cause of the ailment and not just mask symptoms with medications.

Let me start our journey together by sharing a bit of my story. I am 74 and have spent my life engaged in high-level competitive sports like college football, skiing and tennis. Injuries usually follow such activity and I am no exception. I’ve had two hip replacements, a shoulder replacement, a broken neck requiring three fused vertebrae and the loss of most of my right rotator cuff. Yet, despite all this and my senior status in AARP, I have no pain and no arthritis.

How is this possible? Possibly luck. A good genetic makeup might have contributed. Mostly, though, it is the practice of homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicine, among other things, uses holistic tests to determine the root cause of any pain from which a patient might be suffering. The entire patient must be taken into consideration to complete a proper diagnosis and not just place a chemical band aid on symptoms.

One of my most valuable life lessons occurred when my youngest daughter, Michelle, was born 36 years ago. At a very early age she was diagnosed with severe asthma. Doctors gave her medicine and inhalers that would make her cry because the adrenaline-like action of the medicine would cause extreme tension and stress.

By then, I had begun a career as an orthodontist and had familiarity with traditional medical practices. Because of Michelle I took up the study of homeopathic medicine. I used holistic tests and discovered the root cause of Michelle’s breathing problems was food allergies. Within six months Michelle was asthma-free as long as those foods were not consumed. Today, Michelle is a world champion in the martial arts and runs a very successful business in physical fitness. None of this would have been possible if she remained dependent upon inhalers and pills.

I transferred this approach into my orthodontic practice. Patients would complain to me about headaches and pain in their jaw joints. I discovered that sleep apnea can be a large factor in headaches and pain related to jaw joints. If you have a large neck and your partner complains of snoring, any headaches or jaw pain may be the result of sleep apnea. Basically, sleep apnea disrupts the airway in the back of your mouth and is a factor in not achieving the sleep necessary to be at your best every day.

Because of my belief in holistic medicine I began the study of sleep apnea and became a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in 2005. The large masks and breathing apparatus are not necessarily the best treatment for sleep apnea. A simple appliance inserted in your mouth at bedtime will almost always better serve the patient.

Many people who believe they are suffering from migraine headaches are actually suffering from Myofascial pain which, unlike migraines, is not related to blood pressure changes in the brain but spasms in the muscles of the jaw. A sleep test can determine if sleep apnea is the root cause. A simple questionnaire can get you started.

For more information about treatment for sleep apnea or other topics discussed in this article, feel free to contact Dr. Brown at 925-548-8385 or at He looks forward to hearing from you!

ALIVE & Fit: Do You Koko?

New technologies continually make our daily lives easier. Need a recommendation for a great Italian restaurant? Go to Yelp. Afraid of getting lost? Turn on your GPS. Like that song? Download it on your iPhone. Technology makes us more efficient, keeps us on track, and removes life’s daily obstacles that get in our way.

Technology though has had little impact on our lives when it comes to getting in shape. For many of us, it’s still a boring, time-consuming struggle.

Until now.

Koko FitClub, the “world’s first automated personal training studio,” is using state-of-the-art technology to make exercise simple, efficient and personal. Its patented SmartrainingTM system takes the best of exercise science and designs a completely customized training plan that guides you through each step. These smart, high-efficiency cardio and weight training workouts can be completed in 30 minutes or less.

“It’s like having your own personal trainer without having to have a personal trainer,” said Michael Lannon, CEO and co-founder of Koko. “Everything you do at Koko is precisely customized for you. We do all the planning and thinking so you don’t have to. This means no more falling into ruts, no more wasting time figuring out what to do, and no more disappointing results trying to follow a program that’s not the right fit for you.”

With locations nationwide in nearly 30 states and thousands of men and women across the country as members since first opening in 2009, Koko is literally becoming a nationwide movement.

“Thanks to our technology, Koko is delivering a whole new, more efficient way to exercise than the world has ever had before,” said Lannon.

You just show up, pop in your personal “Koko Key” and you’re guided through a personalized, custom workout regimen based on your individual strength and fitness level. And Koko automatically adapts each day to the progress you’ve made so your body and your mind stay continually engaged.

“Koko is for people who are done with the whole gym scene. We have jobs and families, and don’t have the time or desire to spend hours at gyms that don’t work for us anymore” said Lannon. We also don’t want to pay for a personal trainer, but we could really benefit from the right level of guidance, motivation and accountability. On our terms and our schedule. That’s where Koko fits in perfectly.”

Technology is the future for many things in our life, and Koko is surely the future of fitness. In just 30 minutes, you can enjoy your comprehensive custom workout and get back to your life. You can be confident you’re making the most of your time because Koko’s cutting edge technology has already figured out your most efficient workout. And Koko not only saves you time, but money. For the cost of one single personal training session, a membership at Koko FitClub gives you unlimited sessions each month. Getting in shape has never been easier. Just go to Koko.

Koko FitClub Danville is owned and operated by Val and Mike Rogers, local Danville residents. Koko FitClub is conveniently located in downtown Danville at the Iron Horse Trail Crossing.

Design Tips from Stephanie’s Corner – J. Hettinger Interiors

The Elegant and Efficient Window

Stephanie YerakaIf you are looking for a soft and airy window treatment design that diffuses sunlight, custom sheers may be the ideal solution.  Direct sunlight into the home can damage furniture, carpeting, and fabric. It is important to protect these interior items from fading and discoloration with decorative sheers and draperies.The style and application you choose depends on the needs of your space.

Sheers look good standing alone or under your favorite drapery. Sheers are usually made from a lightweight, loose weave fabric, and more commonly appear as panels, tiers or valances depending on the look you are going for.

Custom draperies are available in a variety of designs to accommodate any style or function. Much like sheers, custom draperies prevent unwanted light and are a beautiful addition to any room. Standard lining will block out most of the light when the draperies are drawn closed, or they can be lined with black out lining which will not let any light in- ideal for those late sleepers!

For a fuller, more traditional drapery look inner lining can be added; this lining is placed between the decorative fabric and the main lining, which creates more protection from the sun. Tie backs can also be used in this application when the drapes are open. The gathered look of draperies on either end of a window adds drama and interest to any space.

Roman shades provide a decorative valance when open and defuse light when the shades are lowered. Roman shades can be opaque, blackout, or sheer to provide the desired amount of privacy. This design also offers superior light control, heat reflection and insulation, while creating a decorative way to block out unwanted harsh sunlight. Beading or decorative trim at the bottom of a roman creates a whimsy addition.

Hardwired, battery operated, or manual draw drapes are available for all drapery options including sheers, draperies, and roman shades.  Hardwired window treatments are ideal when ease and versatility are required.  There are no cords or chains so large windows can easily be covered with automatic draperies at the touch of a button.

A designer can recommend the perfect sunlight control option for your home or office. Get started today and beat the heat just in time for summer.


P: 925.820.9336   F: 925.820.9414


ALIVE at the Movies – The Vow

The VowI’ve been thinking a lot lately about “throw-away” marriages and I’ve got to say it breaks my heart. I’m not sure what the cause is, much less the cure, but I suspect the reasons are multi-faceted.

I enjoyed The Vow primarily because it is a film based on a true story with an incredible message. Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are newly and blissfully married. On their way home one snowy Chicago evening they have a tragic accident and Paige is thrown through the car windshield and suffers a severe brain injury. After weeks in a deep coma Paige awakens to her old world; her old, old world. She has lost the last five years of her life, including Leo.

Now, in case this is not problematic enough, she has lost all feelings for him as well. What is truly problematic is that she does remember her well-to-do family and former fiancé, all of whom Leo has never even met. So now, we’ve got the good guy, (new) husband, trying to start all over again creating a relationship when his wife has memories and, she thinks, feelings for this whole other life before Leo.

Even though Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum have both starred in a Nicholas Sparks movie or two, I want to mention that The Vow feels to me to be more of a drama-romance than a romance-drama. This should be somewhat of a relief to some of you guys who don’t tend to cry at movies. Besides, this one ends well.

The book,
“The Vow: The True Story Behind the Movie,” was written by Kim Carpenter. The story is untouched by Hollywood of Kim and Krickett Carpenter. The main difference is that the real people shared a faith that was the core of the story. This doesn’t mean the situation was easy, just different. Not only was Krickett’s memory gone, the amnesia appeared to alter her personality. Kim was quite literally married to a different person. This is when their vows kicked in. “Til death do we part” left him with a wife who didn’t know him, maybe didn’t want to and had a dramatic personality change. I wonder, what would I do?

Kim, a baseball coach went back on road with his team after the insistence of his in-laws. He called every evening to speak to a wife who didn’t really want to talk to him. This went on for weeks when one night, a little later than usual, he summoned the strength the call yet again. When his mother in law answered the phone she said the words he had been waiting to hear, “There’s somebody here who wants to talk to you.” Even though when Krickett got on the phone all she said was “Got to go now, bye,” it was the encouragement that he needed.

The Vow has an all-around good cast including Jessica Lange and Sam Neil as Paige’s parents and Scott Speedman as Jeremy the low-life (oops, almost gave it away) old fiancé.

Whether you’re married for the first time or want whatever marriage you’re in to be your last, watch The Vow, read the book or both. This #1 box office hit may just save a few marriages! As always, I welcome your comments at


Trivial Matters

The umpteenth annual Kings X Trivia Tournament was held a couple weeks back at WPLJ in Walnut Creek. We still use the Kings X name to honor our log time headquarters in North Oakland, the famous “home of trivia.”

Unfortunately, my team lost in the finals to a good friend, Darrel Garrison and his team of stalwarts. Fortunately, we lost, so I do not have to host next year’s tournament, Darrel does. This year’s host was Rich Berkery, who did an exemplary job. You know the moderator has done well when there are no complaints afterward. Here a few of Rich’s gems.

  1. What team was the winningest in ABA history before they merged with the NBA?
  2. John Wayne won an Oscar for “True Grit.” For which other movie was he nominated for Best Actor?
  3. What lake is called “Lake in the Clouds?”
  4. What was the name of the detective agency on the TV show “77 Sunset Strip?”
  5. “Heartaches” was the song. Whose band played it on the popular recording of the 40’s?
  6. Morgan Freeman reunites with Tim Robbins in the final scene of “Shawshank Redemption” in what Mexican city?

 May Answers:

  1. Dreamt
  2. Berlin, Germany
  3. The Holy Roman Empire
  4. “The Color of Money”
  5. “Thieves”
  6. England and Scotland


Joyce Granville of Pittsburg

The first person to email or mail, no calls please, the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate for The Uptown Cafe in downtown Danville, compliments of Ben Fernandez! Entries must be received by June 20, 2012. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random.

Please email your answers to, or mail to ALIVE East Bay, 3200 A Danville Blvd., Ste. 204, Alamo, CA 94507. Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE East Bay are not eligible. Restaurant may be changed without notice.