Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:
BETH K - Celebrate Don't Inebriate! There's nothing like a cup of good cheer for getting into that holiday mood. For many of us, enjoying the holidays also means enjoying the foods and drinks that embody the spirit of celebration. But UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin says here's the bummer: those drinks – alcoholic or not - often pack a lot of calories. And too much alcohol can get us into trouble and take the fun out of the holidays. The number of fatalities due to drunk driving increases over the Christmas and New Year period – although, surprisingly, the Fourth of July is the most dangerous day. The trick is to enjoy your holiday beverages without suffering the ill effects. Let's start with some sobering facts about the calories that some of these drinks pack - but notice that even non-alcohol drinks can pack in the calories:
Where are all these calories coming from? Yes, some of it is the alcohol. But for many holiday drinks, the mixers are adding sugar and fat that jack up the calories. Here are some tips for keeping your beverage calories at bay and lowering your chances of having a hangover the next day:
Follow Beth on Twitter at @DrBethK.
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.
MONEY TUESDAY - "The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Fed Rate Hike" - It's been almost ten years since the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates. As the Fed cut rates in the aftermath of the Great Recession, retirees have suffered through historically low-interest rates on savings instruments such as CDs, money market accounts and savings accounts. What does this one-quarter percent rate hike mean for investors and consumers and what actions should you consider taking as a result? The results fall into what Stewart Welch calls the "Good, Bad & Ugly": First, it's important to understand that raising the Fed funds rate .25 percent is far less important than how fast and how far the Fed will continue to raise rates. A review of history suggests that once the Fed changes the direction of rates, it sets in place a multi-year trend. In other words, expect rates to continue to rise over a number of years. For example, the Fed lowered rates in Apr 2007 from 6.75 percent to 6.25 percent. It continued to lower rates twelve more times until it hit a Fed funds rate of .0% in December of 2008. Rates remained at that level until this past week's rate hike of .25 percent. This obviously was a very aggressive rate reduction policy and, this time, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen has indicated the Fed will be deliberate and conscious when raising future rates.
What you should do now: First, be aware that rates are trending up so be cautious about locking in rates for long periods of time. For example, if you go ahead and lock in a 5-year CD for 2.25 percent, you may be unhappy when rates quickly rise above that level. The same is true when buying individual bonds. One strategy that might help off-set this negative result is using a laddering strategy. For example, you could invest an equal amount of money in 5 CDs or bonds maturing years one through five. That way, as interest rates rise, your bond maturing in one year can be reinvested at the new higher interest rate using a 5-year maturity. This will allow you to 'track' interest rates as they rise.
What you should do now: Review your existing loans to determine if they are fixed rate verses variable rate. If variable rate, consider whether it would be advisable to convert it to a fixed rate even if that rate is higher than you are currently paying. You might be better off paying a higher fixed rate now rather than allowing rising rates over the next few years climb much higher. I can remember back in the eighties when the prime interest rate rose to 21%!
What you should do now: Here I think you have two choices:
• Swap out your bonds: Replace your longer term bonds and bond funds with bonds of shorter maturities. Good news: You may have a profit!
• Hold your bonds: For individual bond holdings, you can choose to hold them until they mature and all you've lost is the opportunity cost on your money. If you choose to hold longer maturity bond funds, you'll need to plan to hold them until the rising interest rate cycle is completed likely several years and expect losses in your bond funds in the early years. However, you should see the yields rise on these funds as the fund manager replaces maturing bonds with ones of higher yields. My main caution with this strategy is that you avoid finding yourself in the position of having to sell bonds to raise money for cash flow.
Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, the veterinarian joins us to take questions about your pet's health! We check out what's going on at Aldridge Gardens and find out how to take care of your crepe myrtles! Mickey takes us for a visit at the Birmingham Zoo! And we enjoy some more Christmas music! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day!