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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What Does It Really Cost to Drive A Car?

A surprising article I read in S.Club magazine says the costs vary widely, but you should consider liability insurance, property damage insurance, property taxes, license tags, routine oil changes, wiper blades, other inspection costs. Plus depreciation, tires, windshield washer fluid, radiator flush, cabin and other air filters. Repairs from minor scrapes you don’t report to insurance companies. Longer term things like fan belts, and timing belts, brake repairs.  Car washes and waxes could figure in as well.  Of course gasoline. Not to mention garage space rental (at work, perhaps?). Or the costs to the environment of your carbon exhaust (who pays for the clean up?). Road tolls? 

The best guess for a reasonably new economy car, small type, driven 20,000 miles a year is   $ .369 a mile.  So that 3 mile trip to save a dollar?  It costs you a dollar. A large sedan or SUV driven only 10,000 miles a year costs a staggering $ .931 per mile. That 150 mile trip to visit mom (round trip) costs you about $279. So air fare doesn't look all that out of line.

The above website is an interesting explanation of costs to own a car by AAA. 

Note that, due in part to big boxes, we now travel (on average) double what we did 35 years ago to get food and other items from stores.

Noting the shocking $ .93 a mile cost to drive a car, I notice that an UBER ride in South Florida that I was pricing (on line) before calling the car was going to charge me $37 to $43 for the trip of 31 miles from airport to hotel.  That’s about what it costs for a larger vehicle, driven only 10,000 miles a year. So, if that’s your option, the cost of UBER and your car would be about the same.  But we all know the fixed costs of car ownership (depreciation and all that) run on even if you don’t drive it.  So it’s not a fair comparison.

But, suppose the UBER driver had to dead-head back to the airport to get his/her next fare?  Then they break even or lose money, perhaps.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Our National Health Care Bill

(credit :  most content of this post was gleaned from AARP April 2017 bulletin)

Our annual bill is $3.2 trillion annually.  And the attached chart shows where it goes.  Since we are all involved in either paying for this, or using some of its services, I thought it would be good to share this graph from AARP Bulletin  April 2017

Age is a big factor in health care costs. With the exception of Japan, the world’s
25 “oldest” countries are all in Europe; the United States ranks 29th in aging population percentage. That’s measured by the % of the population over age 65.

An interesting aging option (Government assisted) is a cash model. Germany, introduced a social insurance program for long-term care that includes a cash benefit option. This option provides beneficiaries with a cash payment to purchase services or support informal caregivers. In Germany, most cash benefits go to informal caregivers or are given to the household rather than used to buy formal services. 

Here is an interesting PDF on health care among developed nations – we obviously spend way more % of our GDP than most developed nations.   

Where does our USA health care dollars go?

1.     by far the most goes to hospital care  32% of all medical spending
2.     physicians get the next 20 %
3.     drugs get the next 10 %
4.     Government or Insurance company expenses get 8%
5.     Nursing care facilities take in about 5 % -- far less than I thought
6.     Research is about 5 %
7.     Personal care about 5 %
8.     Dental services about 4 %
9.     Medical equipment 4 %
10. other services  3 %
11. home health care only 3 % -- I thought it would be much more
12. public health care (for the poor ?)  3 %  .. not a great deal

Where does the money come from ?

1.     Private health insurance  33 %
2.     Medicare   20 %
3.     Out of pocket  11 %
4.     Medicaid  11 % --- not as much as some think but still sizeable
5.     VA or Military  3 %
6.     Public health money 3%
7.     other 3rd. party payers  8 %
      8.     non profits  8 % --- I guess like the Gates Foundation?  Not sure

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Take Less Of A Charger On The Road

The Wall Street Journal today had a small suggestion on how to make travel a bit easier.  Love your thin and tiny notebook computer, but then notice you have to take along the “brick” as most chargers are known.  The “bricks” are heavy, bulky and not very portable.

At only 2.9 oz and measuring a pockable size of only a few inches, this charger will charge a wide range of PC’s and a new version works with MacBooks’ too. 

Not only that, it can be used anywhere in the world, and includes a USB charging port.  What a deal !!  Even comes in colors.  Including one called blue, which is not your usual blue, and orange and magenta.  Only $100.  Not a bad solution at all for a nagging problem many of us have had over the years. 

NOTE:  some reviewers on Amazon said it might not be strong enough to charge a big, 15” laptop / notebook.  But it will do many, if not most, of the smaller ones many people travel with.Customer service, however, is great said one reviewer.