22. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Finances · Tags:

PRINCETON, NJ Pre-retirees do not fully anticipate the challenges of retirement suggests a new poll, and that disconnect has particular implications for the long-term care industry.

Twenty-five percent of retirees polled by independent researchers on behalf of the Harvard School of Public Health said that life in retirement is worse than before retirement while only 14 percent of pre-retirees believe that life overall will be worse when they retire.

Pre-retirees dont fully anticipate the challenges of retirement because they sort of estimate that things will be worse in a bunch of categories to a much smaller degree retirees say it is worse, said Gillian K. Steelfisher, PhD, research scientist and assistant Director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health.

[See also: Americans are clueless about retirement healthcare costs.]

The Retirement and Health Poll, a collaboration between Harvard, National Public Radio and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focuses on views and experiences related to retirement. A national sample of 1,254 people age 50 and older was used.

Of particular note are the views pre-retirees and retirees have on Medicaid. Neither group said they believed Medicaid would be very important to them in retirement. Sixty-five percent of pre-retirees and 74 percent of retirees said Medicare will be personally important to them in retirement but only 38 percent of each group said Medicaid will be personally important to them in retirement.

Although Medicaid is the primary payer across the country, said Steelfisher, only 10 percent of pre-retirees believe that Medicaid will be their primary payer for long-term nursing home care.

For those engaged in the fight against budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, this disconnect among pre-retirees and retirees should be a red flag, said Steelfisher, especially since older people, historically, make up a large portion of those who vote in elections.

From a policy perspective they may not be fully engaged in the issue. They may not realize they have a stake in this, said Steelfisher. I think the risk is that they would not be as worried about cuts to the program. They might not fully anticipate how this is going to affect them. They may see it as applying to other people but not them.

That retirees and pre-retirees dont seem to understand how Medicare and Medicaid work has implications for their own financial planning but also for the long-term care industry beyond policy concerns.

When people are actually examining the process or thinking about enrolling, theyre looking at long-term care or long-term care insurance, they may not really realize what the alternatives are so they may not really understand either the benefits of long-term care insurance; they may not understand how to get themselves set up financially to protect themselves most if they do need or their spouse needs long-term care. I think these are important things for the long-term care community to think about.

Other findings from the poll include:

bull; Both pre-retirees and retirees expect a long, relatively healthy life.
bull; Pre-retirees and retirees differ in their views on the future of Medicare, but neither group wants a complete overhaul or major change to the program.
bull; A substantial minority of pre-retirees say they are likely to have trouble paying for healthcare in retirement, and a substantial minority of retirees say they have actually experienced many of these problems.
bull; Admission to a nursing home would worry most retirees and pre-retirees.
bull; For most retirees, life in retirement is better or the same as it was before, but it is worse for a substantial minority in key areas, including health and finances.
bull; A substantial minority of pre-retirees and retirees say they dont or wont have enough money to live comfortably.

Follow HFN associate editor Stephanie Bouchard on Twitter @SBouchardHFN.

14. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Finances · Tags:

After 23 seasons, its not surprising that production costs for The Simpsons are high, but could those costs do the series in, or is the studio that produces the series (20th Century Fox) just posturing in public during negotiations for a 24th season.  20th says it hopes it can strike a deal with the talent but that it cant produce future seasons under its current financial model.  The impasse is between the six principal voice actors and the studio. According to The Daily Beast, late last week the actors submitted a proposal that would amount to a 30% pay cut, but the the studio is insisting on a 45% pay cut.

While the gap between 30% and 45% is large on a percentage basis, all other things being equal it seems unthinkable that they wont work something out. But without knowing the overall economics its hard to say. While The Simpsons surely is lucrative in syndication, it doesnt follow a traditional syndication model that includes nationally sold advertising — the local channels that license The Simpsons in syndication sell all the commercial spots and take the advertising revenue. As a result, the ratings for The Simpsons dont appear in the national syndicated ratings we regularly see. Last week, The Simpsons tied for 29th with adults 18-49 among all broadcast network primetime programs with a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating.

12. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Finances · Tags:

David Ward may only be an interim chancellor, but he doesnt
want the next two years to be wasted time for UW-Madison.

Hes set out an ambitious agenda to implement newly gained
authority from state government and reform the universitys
finances.

Its not a happy message, Ward said in an interview in his
Bascom Hall office Wednesday, the day after his interim term was
extended a year through summer 2013. Even though people may
applaud, a lot of them are very troubled by it. I dont see this as
a quick fix.

Ward, 73, is a familiar face on Bascom Hill. He was chancellor
from 1993 to 2001. Since Biddy Martin left in July and Ward took
over, hes proved to be popular. It was in large part because of
requests from students, faculty and staff members that his tenure
was extended.

Here are edited excerpts of the interview:

Q: How did you make your decision to continue
on for a second year?

A: I thought it would be a huge challenge to
reassimilate. But to be very frank, its like wearing old clothes.
While the issues are different, functionally and culturally, the
place seems to work like I remember it. … Second thing, in terms
of the extension, I tried to create a dialogue about change. Almost
every public flagship institution is probably facing a revenue
crisis. Theres just not enough money to be of the quality we
currently aspire to be. How can we use — if you like — self-help,
as well as new money, to work our way through that? I want to
create a dialogue about that.

Q: How did your wife (Judith Ward) feel about
extending your term?

A: Whatever happens, I think we find it to be
an adventure. Its not like committing the rest of your life. Its
an incredible opportunity to do a limited number of things in a
short period of time.

Q: Would you consider a permanent job as
chancellor?

A: I wouldnt be an applicant. Im old. Ill be
75 after two more years. My inclination is the university should
look for younger leadership. I think I can be very helpful
transitionally.

Q: Youve said youve heard from almost
everyone that salaries are a huge problem. Do you have a plan for
bringing back raises or a pay plan?

A: I do think the morale-salary relationship is
a problem. Having said that, I think everybody has to recognize
that outside the university, its not seen as a problem. In a
recession, looking at a relatively high-paid, upper-middle-class
occupation, if youre in a rural community or if youre in Racine,
or even perhaps the East Side of Madison, theres something odd
about this. I think theres an enormous communication problem in
trying to express that issue. And by the way, the same is true of
tuition increases.

Q: Youve said the university needs to look to
self-help to handle budget problems. What does that mean?

A: If we can find money in administrative
savings, in rethinking how were academically organized, or even
persuade donors to think about the core budget as well as the
excellence budget, maybe we can create a war chest that allows us
to do something on the inside.

Q: Does that mean cutting jobs?

A: What it means is you resize. Im not sure
everybody gets cuts. There may be some areas where you have to
increase as well. Im not sure its one-size-fits-all. …
Reallocation is something that universities have never — not just
here, anywhere — been very good at.

Q: When will UW-Madison employees see pay
raises next?

A: I dont know. What Im suggesting would be
very selective. I think it would have to be, maybe almost everybody
receives it, but it would have to be based on merit. I think the
challenge here is to do this in a way that doesnt arouse public
ire.

Q: How would you gauge the universitys
relationship with the state Legislature?

A: Ive met with leadership on both sides. I
really wanted to see how they felt after the spring. Its fairly
clear the idea of autonomy or independence for Madison is just not
there politically. Its incumbent on me to figure out how I can
help the (UW) System-campus relationship work more effectively. I
think Ive worked on that a lot. Ive been very impressed by how
Kevin Reilly and the (UW) Board (of Regents) have responded to the
feeling of unhappiness with the System that came out of the debate
about whether Madison should be a public authority.

Q: Are you a football fan? Predictions for
Badgers season?

A: I came here in 1960, so I remember the Rose
Bowl in 63, which I listened to on the radio. The next Rose Bowl
was when I was chancellor. The next three. We won them, too. Im a
sports fan. I like ice hockey, too. … Its very exciting to come
back and see a very competitive team and see the kind of public
bonding that comes from a football program. Its really a great
form of outreach that we have.

09. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Finances · Tags:

Slovenian Yield Above 5% May ‘Impact’ Finances, Vasle Says
October 05, 2011, 7:23 AM EDT

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By Boris Cerni

(Updates with bond prices from second paragraph, comment in fifth paragraph.)

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) — A rise in Slovenian bond yields since the rejection of pension changes in June probably will hurt public finances, the state forecasting institute warned.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Slovenia’s bonds maturing in 2021 rather than similar-maturity German debt rose to a record 351 basis points, or 3.51 percentage points, in Ljubljana at 12:13 p.m. The spread has more than doubled since voters in June rejected the pension changes in a referendum. The yield on Slovenia’s 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) in notes maturing in January 2021 advanced 5 basis points today to 5.175 percent, according to Bloomberg data.

“If the premium rises to above 5 percent, that would have a significant impact on public finances,” Bostjan Vasle, the director of the government’s economic institute, told reporters in Ljubljana today. He wasn’t referring to a specific note.

Slovenia, a member of the euro region since 2007, had its credit ratings cut by Moody’s and Fitch last month on deteriorating public finances, political uncertainty, a weak banking industry and a worsening outlook for the economy. The government to emerge from early elections on Dec. 4 will have to hold down spending as the economic outlook worsens and a solution to the European debt crisis eludes policy makers.

Yield Pressure

“There is great pressure on yields in many European nations and banks and, unfortunately, Slovenia is among them,” Radivoj Pregelj, an analyst at Abanka Vipa said in an e-mail. “And the outlook isn’t bright either.”

Slovenia’s outgoing government of Prime Minister Borut Pahor, which was toppled last month, saw public debt surge to 45.2 percent of gross domestic product in the first quarter on dwindling tax receipts and a greater need for social-benefit spending during the recession. The government aims for a 4.6 percent of GDP budget gap by year’s end, or 5.5 percent under European accounting standards.

“Slovenia is destined for low economic-growth rates in the coming years, which will be just above 1 percent,” Vasle said today.

GDP will expand 1.5 percent this year as demand for Slovenian exports in Europe weakens, the institute forecasts. The central bank has an even lower estimate of 1.3 percent for 2011 with the risk the expansion may be even slower.

Slovenia’s banking industry, which may need fresh capital of 3.1 billion euros according to Fitch ratings, will continue to struggle with bad loans, said Marjan Hafnar, an economist at the institute.

“Bad-loan levels were 25 percent higher in the first eight months of 2011, compared with a year earlier, and it’s very likely the level will be higher by the end of the year than it was at end of 2010,” Hafner said.

– Editors: James M. Gomez, Alan Crosby

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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08. October 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Finances · Tags:

Arsenal Chief Executive Officer
Ivan Gazidis says the soccer team’s finances can survive not
qualifying for the Champions League.

The Gunners have appeared in Europe’s top club competition
for 14 straight seasons, but are off to their worst start to a
season since 1953 after losing four of their opening seven
Premier League matches.

That run, which includes a 8-2 defeat at Manchester United,
has led to fears among supporters the club won’t finish among
the top four Premier League teams to qualify for the Champions
League. Arsenal got 30 million euros ($40 million) in prize
money after reaching the round of 16 last season.

Arsenal last month announced its fiscal-year profit fell
79 percent to 13 million pounds ($20 million) as the club sold
fewer apartments at its former stadium and paid more to its
players. Revenue declined by a third to 255.7 million pounds,
while its debt was reduced by 28 percent to 97.8 million pounds.

“We would rather qualify for it,” Gazidis told reporters
at the Leaders in Football conference in London. If the club
doesn’t qualify, “we have got a really stable model that could
not just cope but do well and compete.”

“It would be very foolish to build a business model that
relied on being in the Champions League for perpetuity. I don’t
think any clubs do that, and if they do then they probably
aren’t being run as responsibly as they should be.”

Matchday Sales

Arsenal, which has won England’s top league 13 times,
played at Highbury from 1913 to 2006 before moving to the
60,000-seat Emirates Stadium nearby. The new facility, which
helped almost double matchday sales, drew an average of 59,849
fans per home game last season. Each match generates about 3
million pounds per game, meaning last season’s four home
Champions League fixtures would have brought in 12 million
pounds.

Any loss from not appearing in the competition can be
limited by not paying appearance bonuses to players and using
the free dates to play friendly matches. Manchester United
earned 1 million pounds from playing an exhibition game in Saudi
Arabia in 2008.

Arsenal is 15th in the 20-team Premier League. The club is
regrouping after selling captain Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri,
Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy over the summer, while bringing
in Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos
and Gervinho.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Tariq Panja in London at
bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.