Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:
JEH JEH LIVE - The UAB Blazers Men's Basketball Team end the season with a record number of wins! The Blazers finish 26-5 in the regular season.... winning them a top seed in this week's Conference USA tournament! The Blazers also get a first round bye so they face the winner of Wednesday's Western Kentucky/North Texas game. The Blazers play on Thursday at BJCC's Legacy Arena. The men's tournament, as well as the women's semifinals and championship, will be played at Legacy Arena in downtown Birmingham while the women's first-round and quarterfinal action will take place at UAB's Bartow Arena. The UAB women's team begins its quest for a Conference USA Tournament championship tomorrow at 11 a.m. against Southern Miss. The Blazers are 10-3 this season at Bartow Arena and are outscoring opponents by 15.5 points per game in Birmingham.
BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with a look at diet drugs and if they are right for you! As the weather warms up, thoughts tend to focus on weight loss and looking good or at least better in your bathing suit. But, if you've ever tried to lose weight and keep it off, you know it's tough. Many people get lured into over-the-counter gimmicks that are unproved, not approved by the FDA, and may even be dangerous. But what many people don't know is that there are medicines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for weight loss. And if you've struggled with weight loss over the years, these may give you the boost you need. Interestingly, not many primary care doctors are using these helpful tools to help their obese patients. But they are not for everyone. If you just want to lose a few pounds before your high school reunion, your doctor should not prescribe these for you. However if you have:
• A BMI of 30 or higher
• A BMI of 27or higher and health problems that are related to body weight like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Your doctor may consider prescribing one of these medicines for you. To find out what your BMI is, use this BMI calculator on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. The list of FDA-Approved Weight Loss Medicines for Long-Term Use includes Alli & Xenical (Orlistat), Belviq (Lorcaserin), Contrave (Naltrexone-Buproprion), Saxenda (Liraglutide), & Qsymia (Phentermine-Topiramate). The first medicine you see there is a fat blocker that is available over-the-counter in a half dose version and also by prescription in a higher dose. One of the biggest problems with this one is that, if you don't eat less fat, you could have really bad diarrhea. Really bad. All of the other meds work by reducing your appetite to varying degrees.
Two things you really need to consider with these meds:
• Insurance may not cover them. I looked online to see what some prices are – Belviq starts at about $240 a month. Others are more like $110 a month.
• You still have to diet and exercise. These are not miracle pills that melt the fat away. They simply improve your weight loss and help you to keep the weight off.
Follow Beth at @DrBethK.
MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joined us to explain how to invest even a small amount and start to see some big returns. Think of someone you know who is rich. How did they get there? Well, one day they had a hundred dollars and decided not to spend it, but to invest it instead! Over the decades I have spoken to hundreds of people who simply feel lost regarding how and where to invest. They don't know what to do so they do little or nothing. Today, I'm going to eliminate that excuse! The single most important step to investing is the first step…getting started! And no, it doesn't take a lot of money to set up an investment program. Here are two simple alternatives:
1. The Obama Plan- Recently, President Obama launched a new savings plan called MyRA. Under this plan, you can begin by investing as little as one dollar per month so there's no excuse for not getting started. The money goes into the Government Securities Fund which invests in government bonds and there is no risk of loss. Interest rates change monthly but have averaged 3.2 percent. Contributions are limited to $5,500 per year plus an additional $1,000 catch-up if you are age fifty or older this year. . To qualify for the full $5,500 contribution, your income must be under $116,000 for single filers or $183,000 for joint filers. You can withdraw the money anytime but must pay taxes on the interest earned if withdrawn before age 59½. Once the account reaches $15,000, you must roll it over to a Roth IRA. For more information visit www.MyRA.gov.
2. The Welch Plan- The Obama Plan offers an investment strategy that has no risks of loss but also pays only modest returns. Most people will need a higher rate of return in order to have a chance of meeting their retirement goals…which I'll help you calculate in next week's column. This means taking on the inherent volatility of the stock market. Seasoned stock market investors know that the market is impossible to predict in the short term but historically has earned seven to nine percent over the long term - ten years plus. While there are a number of low-cost, no-load choices, a great choice is Charles Schwab's One Source Funds. A large number of these fund options allow you to invest as little as $100 initially plus add as little as $1 per month. Two choices worth considering are Schwab's S&P 500 Index fund - symbol: SWPPX; 5-year annualized returns: 10.5 percent - and their Dividend Equity Fund - symbol: SWDSX; 5-year annualized returns: 7.97 percent. The S&P 500 Index fund invests in 500 of the largest companies in America while the Dividend Equity Fund focuses on the slice of the large U.S. companies that have a history of paying dividends. This dividend-paying strategy generally makes them a more conservative choice. If you invest in either of these funds, you should plan to remain invested for a minimum of seven to ten years.
So how much should you invest? Stewart's wife likes to use the phrase, "Bloom where you are planted!" This phrase can be used in many contexts, but here it means start investing an amount of money that you can afford to invest even if it's $1 per month! Creating a habit of saving is vital to your ultimate success. Clearly you should invest where your money has the greatest potential such as your company matching 401k plan, deductible IRAs or Roth IRAs. Take a look at all of the places you could invest and then prioritize them in order of most powerful. For example, if your company offers a 50 percent matching contribution from a portion of your own 401k contribution, start there. Then, when you get a raise or bonus, commit one-half of the amount to your retirement savings program. That way, you receive a boost in spendable income while also stepping up funding for your retirement. It's a painless strategy. Ok, no excuses for not starting your investment program! Consult your advisor before acting on these comments. For more help, visit www.welchgroup.com.
GOOD DAY COURT - Mike held Good Day Court this morning and talked with prominent defense attorney Eric Guster about some hot topic headlines. They discussed Erin Andrews $55M lawsuit, Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker, and a knife found on O.J. Simpson's former property.
TASTE OF TEAL - The Laura Crandall Brown Foundation will host its "Taste of Teal Gala" on Saturday, March 12 starting at 6:00 p.m. in the Cahaba Grand Ballroom at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center - 3660 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35243. The annual event is one of the organization's premier fundraisers, featuring a seated dinner and drinks, live and silent auctions, and casino games and live music. The foundation also bestows its "Legacy of Laura" honors on four members of the community at the Gala. Tickets for the gala are $100 per person. Tickets include dinner, drinks, and "play money" that can be used at the casino games. Patron tables are available for $750 and Sponsor tables start at $1,500. Visit www.thinkoflaura.org/TasteofTeal for more information or to purchase tickets.
SHAMROCK SHINDIG - Mike talked with Rachel Young and John Lawes - Junior Board Members for The Arc of Jefferson County - about the Shamrock Shindig. The Arc of Jefferson County's Junior Board Hosting Annual St. Patrick's Day Event. Birmingham's premier St. Patrick's Day event is moving to a new location! Due to its increased popularity in past years, the Arc of Jefferson County's Fourth Annual Shamrock Shindig will be held at the Sloss Furnaces' Visitor's Center. The event will take place on Saturday, March 12th from 7 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. With catering by Rusty's BBQ, live music by Birmingham's own Schmohawks, plentiful libations, an iron pour and a chance to win $3,000, the Shamrock Shindig is sure to continue the tradition of providing a night of spectacular entertainment. All proceeds go toward advancing the Arc's mission of serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the State of Alabama. Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple. With each ticket, event goers also get a chance to win some wonderful prizes including the $3,000 Pot O' Gold cash prize, a $500 Diamonds Direct gift card, 50 Free Waffles at Waffle House, a LifeTime Fitness membership, tickets to Alabama Theatre's Summer Film Series and so much more. To purchase tickets, visit www.arcofjeff.org. For more information about The Arc of Jefferson County Junior Board's 4th Annual Shamrock Shindig event, contact Mary Frances Colley at (205) 423-6230.
SOCIAL MEDIA & TEENS - Janice talked with Nancy Jo Sales, author & award-winning journalist, about her new book "American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers." In American Girls, Sales reports on what teenagers are doing online, and what their online lives are doing to them. Nancy Jo Sales spent the last 30 months in the company of over 200 teenage girls, getting them to open up about their experiences and documenting the massive changes that growing up with social media and smartphone technology is bringing. What emerges is a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it. Most girls spend between nine and eleven hours a day on a device. The digital world is where they interact with friends and peers, get to know each other and establish identities. It's a new kind of adolescence one dominated by rewritten social norms, where a girl's first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instant judgment.
From exploring the world of beauty gurus to online rumor mills to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today's teenage girls. Provocative and urgent, "American Girls" will start much-needed conversations about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate their world today. This segment promises to be eye-opening for parents and extremely informative about social media and how it impacts youth today.