Here is what you saw on Good Day Alabama for October 29, 2013:
ASK THE ANGLER - Reed Montgomery answered viewer questions about fishing. You can contact him with your questions at (205) 663-1504 or on his website fishingalabama.com - there you can find lake reports, fishing tips, upcoming events, and more.
MOSS ROCK FESTIVAL - The 8th annual eco-creative festival - the Moss Rock Festival - is this weekend at The Preserve in Hoover. You can explore Nature, Eco-Ideas, Art + Design at The Preserve in Hoover. There will be live music, food trucks, an eco district, a cake expo. craft beer tasting, hikes, and smartliving and gluten free features. And there will, of course, be many exhibiting artists with plenty of work to show off and sell! There will be 100 artists inspired by nature, working with natural materials, and utlizing recycling/repurposing of materials and found objects in their work. There is also an educational outreach program called Planet Projects - a school project for creative recycling. For more festival programming details, visit MossRockFestival.com.
JEH JEH LIVE - Birmingham H.O.G. Chapter presents the 20th Annual Teddy Bear Ride benefiting Children's of Alabama on Saturday, November 2rd. Registration begins at 8am at Rider's Harley Davidson in Trussville. Riders depart at noon and arrive at Children's of Alabama at 1pm. Riders of all types of motorcycles are encouraged to participate! You can also donate brand new stuffed animals for the Birmingham H.O.G. to give the kids at Children's during their monthly patient visits. Harley-Davidson stuffed animals can be purchased at Rider's Harley-Davidson in Trussville or Heart of Dixie in Pelham for $10-$20. You can also make cash donations to HOGS Teddy Bear Ride benefiting Children's of Alabama online at childrensal.org/hogs. For more information, contact Rick Gamble at (205) 259-3987 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grand Marshall for the event is Miss Alabama 2013 Chandler Champion
BETH K - Darker days mean less Vitamin D. With the waning light of winter and the time change coming next weekend, many of us will be getting less sunlight. Darker days may be bad for your health. Less sun means less vitamin D production. Our major source of vitamin D is from the sun reacting with our skin, so dark days mean less vitamin D. There are very few food sources of this vital vitamin so with less sun your daily dose may be low. In fact, many studies show that vitamin D levels in the body drop in winter. And other problems with depending on the sun for your D. You need direct rays to make vitamin D. You may feel the warmth of the sun but it doesn't mean that you're making vitamin D. The sun needs to hit your skin at a direct angle for the best vitamin D production. The hours between 10:00 and 3:00 on a sunny day are best for vitamin D boosting. You need at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun two to three days a week to make enough D. Darker Skin Makes Less D. African-Americans and other groups with darker skin make less D. The melanin that gives darker skin its tone acts as a natural sunscreen and blocks vitamin D production. Older Skin Make Less D. Our skin thins as we age. Thin skin has less of the chemical that the sun turns into vitamin D. Sunscreen Blocks Vitamin D Production. An SPF as low as a 6 can vastly lower vitamin D production. Get Checked. It's a good idea for most people to get their blood levels of vitamin D checked. You may be taking a vitamin D supplement but that does not mean that your blood levels are in the healthy range. Right now, vitamin D is not a standard lab test so you may have to request the test from your doctor. Even if you are getting enough sun during the summer to make vitamin D, you probably still need an extra boost from supplements during the winter months. So even during the sunny summer months, you may not be making enough D. Vitamin D does so many great things for our bodies - including calcium absorption, muscle strengthening and possibly cancer prevention - that we can't afford to miss out. You need to get 1000 to 2000 IU's (international units) of vitamin D every day. So how are you going to get it if food and sun can't cut it? To see if you are getting your 1000 IUs of Daily D check your:
-Multivitamin. If you take a multivitamin, most have at least some D. Most contain at least 400 IU's and some have up to 1000 IU's of vitamin D.
-Buy Calcium Supplements with D. Most calcium supplements have D added.
-Add a D Supplement. If you're not getting D from a multi or a calcium supplement, you can buy separate vitamin D supplements in your drug store or grocery store. They are inexpensive and effective. You can easily get 1000 IU"s from an over the counter supplement!
If you're surprised that we've not focused on food in this segment, it's because there are very few high vitamin D foods. So, look to your vitamin D fortified foods and dietary supplements to give you your daily dose of D.
MONEY TUESDAY - Worried about the safety of your bonds? Stewart Welch joined us with some advice. When people talk about stocks and bonds, many people intuitively associate 'safety' with bonds and 'risky' with stocks. While it's certainly true that, in general, stocks are more volatile than bonds, bonds can be pretty risky under certain circumstances. I've found that a lot of people also find bonds to be confusing to understand. Let's start with a few bond basics...when you buy a bond, you are 'loaning' your money to an entity with the expectation of receiving an agreed upon interest rate for a specified period of time, at which point you'll receive all of your principal back. Bonds can be issued by the federal government, such as treasury bonds; municipalities or corporations, to name a few of the more common issuers. The most common risks associated with owning bonds includes: 1) credit risk- the risk that the issuer will default; 2) interest rate risk- the risk that interest rates rise after you buy your bond; 3) inflation risk- the risk that bond interest will not keep up with inflation.
Credit Risk. Most investors rely, at least partially, on independent rating services to rate bonds according to some variation of investment grade versus non-investment grade (junk). These rating services are not infallible and there have been cases where highly rated bonds ended up in default.
Interest rate risk. Bond values move inversely with interest rates, meaning as interest rates rise, bond values fall and visa-versa. This is confusing for a lot of people so let's look at a simple example. Let's assume you purchase a $1,000 30-year 4% bond. A year from now you decide to sell it but interest rates for a similar bond have risen to 5%. Any potential buyer would obviously choose the higher interest rate bond unless you offer to sell your bond for less than $1,000 (called a discount). In order to equalize the yield to maturity of the two bonds, you'd have to discount your bond to $848 (a 15% loss)! Note that the opposite happens if interest rates fall after you buy your bond. This inverse relationship between bond values and interest rates holds true whether you buy individual bonds or bond mutual funds.
Inflation risk. Fortunately inflation has been very low for a number of years and may remain low for several years to come based on a relatively high unemployment rate and Federal Reserve policy.
What does the future look like for bonds?
From the early nineteen-eighties to mid-year last year, in general, interest rates have been falling which has created a thirty-year bull market for bonds. It appears that this long-term trend of falling interest rates and rising bond values has been broken and that suggests challenges for bondholders over the next several years. If I am right, and that is not a certainty, there are several strategies you could use to protect yourself:
1. Reposition your bonds towards higher quality and shorter maturities. The shorter the bond maturity, the less effect rising rates have on bond values. For our clients, we have shortened the average maturity to less than three years while focusing on high quality bonds. An example is Vanguard Short-Term Investment Grade Bond Fund (symbol: VFSUX).
2. Sell bonds for cash. Current interest rates on money market accounts are near zero and therefore subject to inflation risks. However, interest rates should improve over time.
The more likely it is that you'll need to 'access' your bond portfolio for cash needs, the more important these two strategies are.
Ride it out. If you anticipate that you'll only need the interest (not principal) from your bond funds, you can simply hold your positions and wait for interest rates to complete this next cycle (of rising interest rates), which could take several years. For individual bonds, you could hold them until they mature at which time you'll get your principal back and can reinvest at the prevailing interest rates.
What's important is that you take a moment to reassess and evaluate your overall portfolio allocations in general and your bond strategy in particular.
For more information, visit www.welchgroup.com.
Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, it's Homecoming Week for UAB and Jeh Jeh catches up with Blaze, the cheerleaders, the band, and more to get the scoop on all the fun! We continue our look at the Moss Rock Festival and all the ideas, art, and resources you'll find there! Plus Mickey takes us on a trip to the Birmingham Zoo and we bring you the latest news out of Hollywood! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama!