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Average: $31,644; Median:  March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Retirement.
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According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, the mean retirement saving of a family between 32  and 37 years old is $31,644.

Not good. 

Fidelity advices that if you want to have enough to retire at 67, you should have 3 times of you salary saved by 40. By the time you reach 67, you should have 10 times of your salary saved.

In Q4 2016, the median wage for an American worker is $44,158/year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Since wages vary widely depending on worker’s occupation and age, we’ll use BLS data to calculate the amount you need to stash away for retirement: $132,474.

In other words, our average American worker has managed to accomplish 24% of his retirement goal.

Since average isn’t a good way to tell the entire story, let’s use median to see how American people are doing in their retirement saving department:

The same BLS report put the median amount for families between 32 and 37 is:

Drum roll, please!

$480.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

Let see, how much does our average family owe on its 10 (just aguess) credit cards? What’s the balance on its student loan if it is fortunate enough to have a college education? 

So, who is going to take care of our average American worker after he or she reaches retirement?

Pension? Very few companies offer it these days.

Social security benefit? Average SS benefit is about $1,341 in 2016. Definitely not enough to live on. Worse, social security may bankrupt in less than 30 years.

Food stamp? Don’t count on it because America has bankrupted for decades.

$480?

Looks real bad.

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答案很簡單, March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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我不是教授,不過答案就在你的四周:

1。臺灣房子太小了。(台北有些房子只有七,八坪大)。八坪是280 sq ft,差不多 12 ft by 23 ft。雖在這裏住五,六天以後,都想要逃的遠遠的。

2。臺灣市區人太多。(人多就一定混亂,擁擠,嘈雜,骯髒。任何人,只要一有機會,就 一定跑。不過放假時,不在家裏擠,要換一個地方擠。在高速公路上擠。在私家汽車裏擠。在公車上擠。在遊覽車上擠。在捷運上和捷運站擠。在地下街擠。在機場擠。在免税商店擠。在公園裏擠。在遊樂場擠。在商場擠。在西門町擠。在景點擠。在餐館擠。說實在的,臺灣沒有什麽地方不擠的。)

3。臺灣人民錢多了。(不見得是年輕人自己賺的。四個長輩給的。有可能是八個長輩給的。沒錢,除了在家付豆芽,你能去那?)

4。臺灣人的壓力大。(薪水低。加薪升職機會少。必須爲加班而加班。老闆沒走,員工敢回家嗎?上班被壓的喘不過氣來。放假當然要出去玩一玩。)

不丟這,丟那? March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan.
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除了這個問題,我還有一個問題要問老板:為什麼?

The hand-written sign says: “Don’t throw the tissue into the toilet.” My questions are: If not there, where?” My follow-up question: “Why not?”

為什麼不能丟在馬桶裏?政府規定的嗎?

Ryan and Trump should read this March 31, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Health Insurance, Trump.
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http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/28/health-reform-road-ahead.html

The road ahead for health care reform in the U.S. is treacherous and filled with many obstacles. The process outlined by Newt Gingrich is a good one: sensible, pragmatic, comprehensive and well-thought-out. 


Unfortunately, it has a small chance of being followed by the White House, the Congress or health care reform advocates.

The reasons are simple:

  • No one in the Beltway wants to touch it with a 10-foot pole.
  • Whoever brave enough to bring this subject back will lose his seat in 2018 or 2020.
  • Republican’s margin in Senate before 2018 is too small even if a bill passes the House.
  • Trump won’t understand it because it is much more complicated than building an apartment building. 
  • Trump has no vision to see the forest. He can’t handle the details. 
  • It takes more than 140 characters to get the points cross.
  • American people don’t have the patient nor the stamina to follow it through. They care about the results only; not the process.
  • Democrats will do their darnedest to block the legislature in the Congress.
  • Republican will lose the control of Senate to a united Democrat Party in 2018.
  • People work in The Congressional Budget Office don’t like Trump. It will come up with a number that will make the bill, any health insurance reform bill, look bad.

臺灣的機車文化 March 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan, 林口.
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臺灣人叫 motocycle, “motobike”,或機車。以前我們叫它摩托車。這是中文加英文發音合併的說法。幾乎臺灣所有的摩托車都是 two cycle internal combustion engine 的摩托車。空氣污染嚴重,還吵得要死。在街上走路,不知道吸進了多少廢氣。臺灣空氣好,這些摩托車要付很大的責任。不像在中國,至少在上海,99.9999% 都是可以在家充電的電機車。就算它開到你邊上,你都聽不到一點聲音。

一般來說,臺灣,尤其是台北和新北市,的大眾運輸比美國要方便許多倍。台北市內捷運方便,公共汽車無遠弗屆。如果你腿有點勁,你的腰還撐得住,很多地方,走路都可以到。不過,如果你不住在台北或新北市,捷運就沒有那麽方便了。有些城市還沒有捷運。普通老百姓只有坐公車,騎摩托車,或者走路。

如果你不住在台北,可是你在台北上班。那坐公車上下班,跟數不盡的計程車和私家車擠,是無法忍受的。

那你怎麽辦?走路是走不到的。

摩托車是你唯一的選擇。

臺灣經濟在過去三十年一個勁的飛漲。隨著人民的收入增加,以前到處都是的腳踏車,幾乎已經完全被摩托車替代了。騎腳踏車變成關心環保的聲明,也是一種繁忙生活中的解脫。再說,騎腳踏車非常危險。一般來說,臺灣人騎腳踏車是不戴安全帽的。如果不小心被車子撞到,那你就要在大街上表演空中飛人,三十尺外,臉蛋跟石頭地或水泥街道親吻,脖子一歪,嗚呼哀哉,保險見閻羅王。

摩托車也好不到那裏。肉做的腦袋還是不能跟鐵做的車子和水泥地比。不過我在街上看到的摩托車騎士幾乎百分之百都戴安全帽。雖然有一點保護,可是,被車子撞死的摩托車騎士也不少。

當然,騎摩托車的要小心,開車的大眾和在街上走路的步行族,也要小心注意你周圍的摩托車。

摩托車有摩托車的文化。
第一,基本上,你不知道它的下一個動作是什麼:保持一定的速度往前揚長而去,突然加速往左竄,換車道衝到你前面,往右邊加速飛快的衝,在紅綠燈打 U-turn,擠到前面車子的邊上,轉進左邊十字路口的加油站,還是慢下來在對面的人行道上面停下來;他們的行蹤是根本沒有道理可循的。

第二:有不算少的台北和新北摩托車騎士是不守交通規則的。有對面沒車就闖紅燈的。有綠燈還沒有亮,摩托車已經快到十字路口中間的。有還是紅燈就不顧一切打 U-turn 的。有前後不到一尺,左右只有半尺,就怕被人家趕上,努力往前衝,一副不怕死的。有紅燈右轉的(臺灣汽車不能紅燈右轉)。有就怕比你慢一步的。有一車載四人的。有小孩沒有安全帽站在前面的。有狗站在前面東張西望的。有不打燈號(差不多百分之百。不過我可能過分了一點)就轉彎或換車道的。有就是不讓行人先走的。還有你根本不知道他要去那裏的。總之,在臺灣,什麼樣的摩托車騎士都有,你在路上是猜不勝猜,防不勝防。一定要小心才行。

第三:你如果在路上開車,你的前後左右可能都有摩托車在你邊上跑來跑去。一會兒比你快,一會兒比你慢。一會兒在你左邊,一會兒又在你的右邊。一會兒在你的前面,一會兒在你的後面。在林口,主要的大街上有三條車道:兩個左邊的車道是給汽車走的。最右邊的車道是專門給摩托車走的。你從中間的車道要右轉,你必須要轉頭往右邊看看,看你車子的後右邊有沒有一兩個摩托車躲在你看不到的死角裏。雖然你打了燈號,你絕對也不能假設摩托車會慢下來讓你先轉彎。你也不能假設,他不管你要轉,他會突然加速超過你。

新的摩托車。

林口遠雄大未來家樂福超市外面都是摩托車。

我猜你大概不知道這是幹什麼的。我原先就不知道。這是家樂福超市爲騎摩托車的朋友準備的。在家樂福買了東西,你只有把東西放在紙箱子裏,然後放在摩托車前面,才能帶回家。

小巷子裏有像這樣的摩托車修理店。

許多大樓有摩托車專用的車道,可以上下大樓地下室的停車場。


第四:在台北,只要是繁忙的十字路口,像南京復興,摩托車是不能左轉的。在四個路口的斑馬線前面的地上各有一個長方的框框,這是給要轉彎的摩托車準備的。你要轉彎,你就需要用這個框框。

你想從南京東路左轉去復興南路,那需要兩個步驟才能完成:

a)當南京東路綠燈時,你慢慢加速開到復興南路的那個框框裏,停下來,跟其他要往復興南路的摩托車和汽車一起等綠燈,

b)等復興南路的綠燈一亮,你就跟你邊上七,八個摩托車一起用力的加速,大家轟轟隆隆的一聲怒吼,各人憑自己的本事和摩托車的性能,向跑一百公次短跑一樣往前衝馳,勇往直前,揚長而去。

3)在這同時,斑馬線後面的摩托車,公車和汽車也沒有閒著。大家依序加油,各憑自己的本事往前走。

你要是這個時候站在路邊上 看到這個情景,你以為這是台北市市政府辦的摩托車比賽一樣。上百部摩托車在計程車,私家車和公共汽車之間爭先恐後的往前開,對我這個土包子來說實在是歎為觀止。

也許我大驚小怪,沒見過世面,不過這種情景天天在臺灣的大街上一遍又一遍的上演著。

有機會,你也停下来看看?

Could but not is March 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Health Insurance, Social Issues.
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If a person doesn’t have health insurance, he or she won’t live as long as people with health insurance. 

That’s not debatable.

When a person is obese, like many Americans are, his or her life will be shorter. 

Common sense.

Attribute longer life expectancy for Canadians to Canada’s universal health insurance system is a stretch to put it mildly. 

The headline is misleading. 

The article talked about Canadian patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant who on average lived 10 years longer than average American patients with the same disease. 

If you believe the headline, you are duped to think that the one-payer health insurance system in Canada is better than the system in the U.S. 

It is not. 

With no monetary incentives, Canada’s health-related industries wouldn’t produce life-saving medicines or medical instruments like their counterparts in the U.S. have done. Canadians benefited from the medical advances developed in America and the article totally ignored this little fact.

Canada, about 8% of the U.S. in terms of GDP, is a socialist country with very high income taxes, 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax), up to 10% HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), a separate PST (Provincial SalesTaxes) in some provinces, a weak currency, fewer fancy cars, harsher weather in the winter, short spring, beautiful summer, slow pace in their daily lives, relaxed atmosphere at offices, less stress at work, cleaner air and water, highly dependent of exports of its natural resources (primarily crude oil and oil from oil sand) and a good social welfare (unemployment benefit) system.

The bottom line is this: the average life expectancy for Canadians is almost 3 years longer than that for Americans.

Be careful about what you read on the web; even on a website as creditable as BBC.

When in doubt, check it out yourself.

The price of vanity March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics.
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336%, to be exact. On diamonds from Tiffany.

For a 2 carat, round solitaire diamond ring:

Tiffany: $80,000 with a $25 blue box.

Source: Google search image.

Costco: $19,000 with a burgundy colored box.

Source: Google search image.

Source: The Daily Mail

Jewelry expert’s undercover to show Tiffany overcharges for diamonds http://dailym.ai/2ngBWtc via http://dailym.ai/android

Will you buy diamonds at Tiffany’s had you read this?

If you have money to burn, go ahead, no one is stopping you.

Automation=fewer jobs March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Trump.
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Common sense. But Trump didn’t tell you that.

Source: Fox News

Source: Fox News

Just like the auto factories in Detroit where robots replaced union workers on the assembly line, automation on port terminals will do the same for the dock jobs. In time, many of these jobs will be gone too. 
Other everyday examples are many: cashier jobs lost to the self checkout machines at Walmart and your local grocery stores, bank teller jobs lost to ATMs and waiter and waitress jobs to the self-ordering kiosks at restaurants, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast food joints. 

Even lawyers’p jobs aren’t safe because AI can provide basic law information better than young lawyers can. And AI can do it more accurately.

These are the jobs Trump won’t be able to save and it has nothing to do with globlization. 

The trend can not be stopped no matter how many sound bites or tweets Trump delivers. It’s like a tsunami which will hit American jobs hard.

It’s time to use robots to replace government jobs. Robots are friendlier than government employees. They are more efficient. They don’t need breaks and they don’t need vacation or sick leaves. They don’t need 403 (b) and they don’t complain. They don’t have family problems and they don’t call in sick at the last minute. They are on time and they don’t need overtime pays either. In addition, they won’t get pregnant, ever.

Will we ever have a robot in the White House? 

At least, it won’t tweet anything about Obama, Ryan or even the Freedom Caucus in the middle of the night.

Maybe Star Trek’s Data should seriously consider the offer.

台北公共汽車 March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan.
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臺北的公車司機好厲害。坐公車的乘客更厲害。

我覺得臺北的公車司機真厲害。他開個這麽大,怎麼長的一個車子在擁擠的街道上,一方面要換擋,一方面要開車,一方面要注意其他車輛,一方面要看到左竄右鑽的摩托車,還要小心過街的行人。快要到站了,還要記得有沒有乘客要下車,站牌那裏有沒有要上車的乘客。乘客上下車,要注意他們有沒有刷卡,有沒有丟正確的車資。二段收費要給有些乘客一張下車小單,這樣他們下車就不需要付錢。如果公車是要上高速公路,九字頭的公車,司機還要檢查車內有沒有空位子。如果沒有空位,就不能再讓乘客上車。如果客滿了,到車站還要跟等車的人說”客滿了。”

上車的乘客進來以後要在最短的時間之內把門關上。下車的客人後腳剛剛離開車門,他就關車門,打信號燈,鬆剎車,鬆離合器,加油,換檔,看邊上有沒有車來,然後擠到快車道裏。這些動作都是一氣呵成,沒有一點遲疑,沒有一點拖泥帶水。

街道窄 對他們不是問題。只要有10公分的距離,他們不用減速就可以輕輕松松的開過去。臺灣的公車站之間距離不遠。要是我來開,那我一定緊緊的靠在右邊的車道,到時候好靠站停車。臺灣的司機可不在乎。他們只要前面車道有空位,他就把方向盤一打,把個大車的頭一轉,就過去補上那個位子。等一下要停車再說。

不過,有不少公車司機並不是非常的遵守交通規則。例如,在長庚醫院後面從復興一路要左轉,有些司機就從不該左轉的車道左轉,完全不在乎左邊的車子是不是要直走。有些司機開車極猛,換檔,剎車,轉彎,變車道,完全不顧乘客的安全。公車前面要乘客等車子停穩了再站起來的指示燈是白放了。

並不是所有公車司機都怎麼不通人情。大都會公車司機的素質就比其他客運公司的司機要好得多。有些司機還會跟客人打招呼,要客人下車小心後面的來車。如果你跟他說謝謝,他也會跟你說謝謝。有一次我們坐大都會的 937 從圓山捷運站回林口。一位客人坐在我們邊上,他知道我們從國外回來,跟我們說大都會的車一般都比較好。大都會以前是台北市政府辦的。後來交給大都會經營,車況良好,車子清潔,司機素質高。我們深有同感。

公車司機厲害,坐公車的乘客一樣厲害。乘客一上車,那你就必須做好準備,一刻也不能疏忽。你如果是最後一個上車,那你後腳一上車,那車門就在你的屁股後面關起來了。等你刷完卡 ,車子已經開始動了。你左腳往上一跨,正要往前走第二步,司機換擋了。車子一頓,慢下來了。你還往前衝,一個勁的往右擺。等你會過意來,手用力平衡上身,膝蓋著力要平衡自己的下盤,司機加速了。這時候,你跟著車子又往前衝,你也跟著往前衝。等你正準備要在你前面的一個空位上坐下去,司機又換檔了。你的屁股怎麼坐也坐不下去,只有一隻手用力抓著椅子邊上的手把,屁股一擺,另外一個手把手上的東西放在椅子上,膝蓋一用力,撲通一聲,坐下來了。
這只是大功完成了一半。還沒有下車呢。

快到你要下車的那個站時,你必須按下車的鈴,告訴司機你要下車了。還沒到站時,你就要拿出悠遊卡,一個手提好東西,車子一面開著,你就站起來,抓住椅子邊上的手把,腰一用力,站起來。等你平衡了自己,換個手,抓著車子上面的把手,一步一步的挨到車子前面,抓緊把手,等司機停車。車子一停,你往前一衝,好不容易平衡下來,刷了悠遊卡 提著袋子,下階梯,再下車。臨走還不要忘記回頭跟司機說聲謝謝。

你要是手沒勁,膝蓋沒力,腰挺不直,你是沒辦法坐台北或新北的公共汽車的。

司機先生如果沒有兩把刷子,眼不快,心不細,膽子不大,那是沒法給公車公司開公車的。

你要不要親自來試一試?多坐幾次,還可以鍛鍊身體呢。

Good for him March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taiwan.
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But the threat of jail time for 馬英九 is still like  “the Sword of Damocles” over his head with no sign of going away anytime soon.
His chance of getting away from the “crimes” he was accused of while in office isn’t very good because sooner or later he’ll face a pro-Democratic Progressive Party judge.

The DPP is hell-bent to put him in jail and to further humiliate the Chinese Nationalist Party. 

Hope he gets a fair trial.

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