Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:
JEH JEH LIVE @ JOB CORPS - Through a nationwide network of campuses, Job Corps offers a comprehensive array of career development services to at-risk young women and men ages 16 to 24 to prepare them for successful careers. Job Corps employs a holistic career development training approach which integrates the teaching of academic, vocational, employability skills and social competencies through a combination of classroom, practical and based learning experiences to prepare youth for stable, long-term, high-paying jobs. The Job Corps design is based on the principles of quality services and individualized instruction to meet the needs of each student. Training approaches and methods of implementation vary to allow tailoring of service components and delivery methods, effectively use resources and meet individual student and employer needs. For more information, call (205) 916-5000 or log onto www.jobcorps.gov.
JEH JEH @ COMMUNITY KITCHEN - Jeh Jeh got the scoop on the Can Opener, a benefit to support Community Kitchens, which is Sept. 24 at Carrigan's Public House. This event features a raffle and silent auction with prizes including a brand new Komodo XL Grill and Iron Bowl ticket, tailgating & parking package at the famous orange and blue house, two blocks from Jordan-Hare Stadium. Ticket prices are $50 for a single admission ticket, $80 for a couple, $20 for a raffle ticket, $50 for a 3 raffle tickets, or $100 for 7 raffle tickets. Open since November of 1980 with the goal of alleviating hunger, The Community Kitchens of Birmingham serves hot, nutritious mid-day meals to the needy in Birmingham 365 days a year from our kitchens in Woodlawn and on Southside. Anyone is welcome to eat with us, regardless of situation or condition. Our guests come from all walks of life; many are working poor, veterans, disabled, elderly or homeless. Some suffer from mental illness or addiction issues. They are men, women and children, they are our neighbors in need. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 people here in the Greater Birmingham area are considered 'food insecure'. We strive to help address this problem by serving over 96,000 plates of food a year. Of those that eat with us, two-thirds report that it will be their only hot meal of the day, one-third of our guests report that it is the only meal they will have. It takes a lot of cans to meet these needs, and we hope that you will join us and help us open them for our neighbors in need! For more information on the Can Opener, call (205) 251-3569 or visit thecommunitykitchens.org.
BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with her thoughts on a new study that asks - can a Mediterranean Diet with extra olive oil lower your risk of breast cancer? Can a specific way of eating lower your chance of getting breast cancer? A new study helps to answer that question. The PREDIMED is a large "randomized controlled trial" - RCT. RCT's can show cause and effect and are generally stronger studies than the more commonly done "observational" study. This study is important because breast cancer is the leading cause of female cancer burden and it has been increasing worldwide.
This study - PREDIMED - looked at whether a Mediterranean Diet lowered the chances of getting breast cancer. Here are the important facts about this study:
• It's a randomized controlled trial so it can show cause and effect
• 4,282 women age 60 to 80 were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
- A low-fat diet control group - although the women in this group did not really stick to the diet very well
- A Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts
- A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil
• The women were followed for an average of 4.8 years
• When compared to the control group, the women in the Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil had a 62 percent lower risk of getting breast cancer.The women on the Mediterranean diet with nuts did not show a lower risk.
So should you start loading up on olive oil? Even though this was a really strong study, there are some limitations:
- There were only 35 confirmed cases of breast cancer among the over 4000 women in the study – so that small number weakens the statistics.
- Even though the women in the low-fat diet group had a higher incidence of breast cancer risk, since they did not follow the low-fat diet very closely, you can't really draw any conclusions about the low fat diet specifically.
- Since these were all Spanish women, many of them were following may of the basics of a Mediterranean diet – so it may have been the extra high olive oil content that had the effect on the Mediterranean plus EVOO group.
- How much olive oil were they asked to eat? 22 percent of their total calories ended up coming from olive oil – that translated into about 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons a day! That can be expensive as olive oil is not cheap and it can also pack on the calories.
Next week: How can eat more Mediterranean!
MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joined us to explain what it means when companies terminate pension plans. Over the past decade, there has been a growing trend for companies to terminate defined benefit pension plans in favor of defined contribution retirement plans. One Alabama company, Energen, terminated its pension plan this year. Recently, employees of Energen received notice of their options regarding the terminated plan. With a defined benefit pension plan, a company promises to pay the employee, at retirement, an income for life. How much depends on a number of factors including years of service, income and age of retirement. In order to fund the pension plan, the company must make 'pooled' annual contributions based on a number of assumptions including earnings on investments and average life expectancy of retirees. Contrast this with a defined contribution retirement plan. Under these plans, the employee is allowed to make pre-tax contributions within certain limits which the company often provides some 'matching' contributions in order to encourage participation. In other cases, the company may commit to a 'base' contribution, say 3 percent of pay, for all eligible employees while allowing employees to voluntarily make pre-tax contributions in the form of payroll deductions. One of my partners, Hugh Smith, CPA, summed it up by saying, "In defined benefit plans the employer bears the investment risk. In defined contribution plans, the employee bears the investment risk. Employers are shifting the investment risk to the employees." Why are so many companies terminating pension plans?
The simple answer is money. In the old days, pensions were used as a way to create employee loyalty and to reward long-term employees. Two big things changed. First, improvements in healthcare resulted in people living much longer than the actuaries originally guessed causing the lifetime income payments required by companies to far exceed their expectations. Second, investment returns have also been much lower than expected, particularly since the Great Recession of 2008. This one-two punch resulted in significant underfunding of pension plans across the country. The law requires underfunded plans be made whole which has put a strain on these companies finances. In mass, companies have decided to terminate these plans in favor of defined contribution plans such as the popular 401k plan. If your company terminates your pension plan, you'll typically have a number of options.
- Rollover to an IRA. You can roll your account balance over to an IRA and postpone taxation until you begin withdrawing money at retirement.
- Keep your pension plan. You can choose to keep your pension plan based on the 'frozen' amount. There'll be no further company contributions. At retirement, you can typically choose between a number of lifetime income options including lifetime income for just you or a smaller lifetime income for you and your spouse.
- Cash out. You can cash out your pension balance and pay the income taxes now. Certified Financial Planner, Foster Hyde, added this note of caution, "If you're under age 59½ you may owe a 10 percent federal penalty in addition to ordinary income taxes."
What's your best option?