Good Day Alabama: Sept. 22, 2015

Good Day Alabama: Sept. 22, 2015

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

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

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:

  1. A low-fat diet control group - although the women in this group did not really stick to the diet very well
  2. A Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts
  3. 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:

  1. There were only 35 confirmed cases of breast cancer among the over 4000 women in the study – so that small number weakens the statistics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

The definitive answer regarding your best choice is,"It depends!"  For example, if you're in a relatively low-income tax bracket, have a small balance and need the money to pay off debt, cashing in may be perfectly fine.  Deciding whether to do a rollover versus keeping the pension can require some complex calculations.  In a recent case, we determined the client's best choice was to keep the pension.  We calculated that the pension returns were relatively high and this couple had no children so they were not concerned about leaving an inheritance.  In many cases, doing a rollover to an IRA is the best choice since you obviously have a lot of investment options, fully control the money, and what's left over can go to heirs. My main point is that these decisions should be well thought out and, if in doubt as to your best choice, you should seek the help of a financial professional since these decisions typically cannot be 'undone'.

OUR HOUSE - Janice talked with Amanda Leblanc about the fall closet swap! She showed us ideas for switching out your wardrobe and purging your closet. She also showed us a handy app to use to keep track of your wardrobe and outfits - Stylebook.

FALL FASHION - Melissa Patton with Von Maur joined us with a look at fall fashion. She says the biggest trend is 70's inspired looks but in new and current ways. The great thing about this trend is that you can layer it on as much or as little as you want. You think 70's, you think flares. It's an easy way to layer in the trend for the season and create a long, lean silhouette. This cut really lengthens the leg. The poncho is a great layering piece for the season and is out there this fall is a lot of great textures and in shapes ranging from the traditional throw over poncho to vests and jackets that take inspiration from this look. She showed us an outfit made up of a Seven Flared Leg Jean $189, Fornia Black Cami $28, Jack Dark Taupe w/ Faux Shearling Vest $80, Sam Edelman Sleeveless Poncho Vest $118, Steve Madden belt $36, & Nakamol Designs necklace $62. She also says suede is huge for the season. It looks great with denim and can be found in jackets, skirts in more classic and trendy silhouettes. She showed us an example accented with fringe which edges up that 70's look a bit. She added a fun pop of color in a berry color but this would be great with traditional denim skinny or full on 70's with a flare. The outfit she showed us included a J.O.A. Just One Answer sueded halter with fringe detail $72, Kendra Scott necklace $80, and J Brand sueded cotton cranberry pant $188. The color of the year is Marsala so you'll see that influence in all departments from apparel to shoes to home goods – it's a beautiful mix with more neutral colors. So, while there are pops of color, there is definitely a lean to more neutral taupes, greys and olives. The outfit she showed us included a Halston "Berry Magenta" Ultra Suede slip dress $595, Halston "Flint Grey" Peacoat $595, and Simon Sebag Sterling and Stone necklace $265. She says everyone has a white button up shirt …and if you don't, get one. It's a basic that has made a real come back. Worn alone with a jean or layered up it will be current.  She showed us how to take a classic stripe and add a fun fringe jacket. The outfit she showed us included a Foxcroft striped woven shirt $85, Miss Selfridge Black Suede jacket with fringe details on sleeve $258, sold exclusively at Von Maur , and Ellen Tracy floral print skirt $89.50.

TAILGATING COCKTAILS - It's officially football season and as every Southerner knows, tailgating is just as important as the actual game. Southern Living Editor in Chief Sid Evans joined us to share seasonal beverages you all need to know for your next tailgate. Whether you're hosting a tailgate outside the stadium or gathering friends to watch the game in the comfort of your own home, we have some great beverage recommendations for you. Make up some large batch cocktails. He showed us how to make a Tequila Mojito- a spiffed up classic mojito with tequila instead of rum. It includes tequila, lemon-lime soda, fresh lime juice, water, mint and sugar. He also showed us a Sorghum-cider punch. This refreshing drink has a subtle spice and effervescence – and it's perfect for fall! It includes apple juice, ginger ale, hard cider, bourbon, fresh lemon juice, sorghum syrup, and bitters. If you want to have a non-alcoholic option, this recipe can also be made without it – just leave out the bourbon and replace the hard cider with apple cider. For the recipe, visit And he introduced us to some unique beers to try. He says Good People Pale Ale is made in our own backyard of Birmingham. It pairs well with many foods with its medium body and notes of floral and citrus. The Southern Pecan Lazy Magnolia is the pecan pie of beers. Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale is the first beer in the world to be made with whole roasted pecans. The Mississippi beer is lightly hopped to let its rich caramel and nutty flavors take center stage. Devil's Backbone Real Ale Brewing Company is named for a winding stretch of Texas Hill Country highway. Devil's Backbone is a Belgian-style tripel, brewed with candy sugar (a rock candy made in-house) that gives it strength without the heaviness. Casual Session IPA Red Brick Brewing comes from Georgia's oldest operating craft brewery. As the name suggests, this is an easy drinking beer. Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Funky Buddha Brewery includes aromas of maple syrup, coffee and bacon. This beer is perfect for the early rising tailgaters. This South Florida brewery is celebrated for playing with culinary flavors. You may not be able to drink several of these, but it's a fun one for you and your guests to try.

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, we gear up for the season premiere of Empire! Lots of big trucks on the road these days! We find out why they're so important to our economy and lifestyle and how to make sure you stay safe when sharing the roadways! Mickey's always wanted a pony.... now he meets one at the Birmingham Zoo! The doctor joins us to take your questions! We talk college football and look ahead to the big games coming our way this week! Plus the Pope makes his first trip to the U.S. and we find out what it means for our country! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day!