Nancy B. King
Thoughts About Investing in Common Stocks and Living Life in an Ordinary Way


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is there the experience to work with the private sector to create jobs?

The graphic below from the Enterprise Blog makes me wonder.

8:17:33 PM    comment []

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Moving Along

L and I had fun attending the last two games of the Great Alaska Shootout. Neither game was particularly good. UAA played in the first game and lost. However, the UAA hockey team playing in Colorado Springs beat Colorado College in overtime. Wonders never cease!

Tomorrow the weekend ends with my working again in the Nutcracker store---part of the Concert Association's presentation of the Nutcracker.
9:58:30 PM    comment []

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day After Thanksgiving

Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings I've had in a long time. Many thanks to those people who know and to those who do not know they played an important part in making the day special.

Today it is off to help at the Concert Association Nutcracker store, visit the Museum's Christmas crafts weekend, and maybe to another Shootout game.

Beautiful snowflakes are falling and creating another winterland scene.
9:15:32 AM    comment []

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

"We gather to gather . . ."

"Over the river and through the snow . ."

"We choose the steps and the paths we take which lead to our individual destinations."

5:22:07 PM    comment []

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Fuzzy Market

I've been stock shopping today. Not too much luck. It is difficult to find something that looks likely whether for the long- or the short-term.
4:16:15 PM    comment []

A Pleasant Day at Home

A morning of reading---Word Press: 24-Hour Trainer. RadioLand, the software and host for this blog, is closing shop December 31st. So, it is time for a new host and new software. The software will be WordPress. Since reading parts of the book this morning, I'm really kind of excited by the possibilities. Daughter pointed me to a host (the one who hosts her blog). Next, I will decide on the template for my blog, contact the new host, and proceed.
4:10:20 PM    comment []

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eleven Degrees Below Zero

Today is a lovely, sunny day with lots of hoarfrost on the trees---a Christmas card scene.

However, considering the above temperature, summer and fall must be over. With that reality in mind, I cleaned my closet and the coat closet today. I said good bye to a super summer and moved my summer clothes to the downstairs closet and rearranged my winter outfits.
1:20:04 PM    comment []

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

American Clipart

I am grateful for all who serve and for all who have given their lives that I may live free to speak my mind, to worship as I desire, to . . . . As a small return, may I make the most of each day.
9:13:33 AM    comment []

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Back

How many times have I said that, only to disappear again. "I'm back!" tends to end up in the same heap as my New Year's resolutions.

In the meantime, as the president of the Alaska Chapter of BetterInvesting, I led (with the help of all Chapter Directors) the fall Investor Education Fair (September 26th). The all-day event at the Millennium Hotel involved 4 beginning investor sessions, 4 advanced investor sessions, and a luncheon speaker. Allen Holdsworth, a regional Director for the national BetterInvesting organization presented the advanced sessions and gave the luncheon address. He was an excellent presenter with a vast array of knowledge. It was great to become acquainted with him and his wife, Anne. Between Thursday and Monday evening we had many stimulating conversations.

My tenure as president of the Alaska Chapter of BetterInvesting ended October 3rd. I decided I did not have the time I needed to do a quality job for the usual 3rd year. A new president was duly elected and is adeptly leading the Chapter.

During September and October, I gave 30 hours of lectures between three Tuesday and Thursday evenings and three all day Saturdays. My two classes were Economics, Stocks and the Stock Market plus Introduction to Stocks through UAA and the Alaska Council on Economic Education. I had top notch people in both classes---enthusiastic about the background content and 'turned on' by learning how to do basic stock analysis to determine quality companies for long-term investments. I have their projects checked and graded, grades turned in, course materials sorted and some rejuvenated, and everything filed, put away, and ready to use again this spring.

The Stock Market Game Program is going well---9 schools, 11 teachers, 145 teams with nearly 700 students. I have spent time in two of the high school classes. Outstanding teaching is going on. Students are learning economic concepts and obtaining hands-on experience with the financial markets. They are learning the characteristics of a quality company for long-term investing. Trading and short-term investing is not part of their vocabulary. For some students this may be the only hands-on experience with investing they might otherwise have.

Now, I am back volunteering for the Anchorage Concert Association, doing small, short-term projects for the BetterInvesting Alaska Chapter, tutoring my two dyslexic students, and managing my own portfolio. In other words, things are back to normal.


This first snowfall of the season here at our house!
9:31:04 PM    comment []

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where Your Health Insurance Dollar Goes

And a GI doctor receives $68 per patient visit.
1:42:37 PM    comment []

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Profit Margin of Health Care Insurance Companies

Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar the company takes in via sales that ends up as profit after all expenses including taxes have been paid. Here are the profit margins of the five major Health Care Insurance companies. These came from SmartMoney data

Aetna 3.9%

Coventry Health Care 1.8%

Humana 2.8%

United Health Group 4.1%

WellPoint 4.1%

Thus, Aetna makes only 3.9 cents profit on each dollar of premiums your employer or separate individuals pay in premiums. Coventry Health Care makes only 1.8 cents per dollar of premiums.

In contrast, other industries have pretax profit margins of 15 and 20%. Some industries have profit margins as high as 40%. That means they make 40 cents on every dollar of sales---a good business to be in.

So---how have the profits of Health Care Insurance companies grown in the past 5-years? The cost of health care has certainly gone up and health care insurance rates have definitely increased. Below I have listed the five companies' average earnings growth rates over the past 5 years.

Aetna 2.4%

Coventry Health Care 0.83%

Humana 24.73%

United Health Group 8.26%

WellPoint 11.5%

I don't even consider a company worth investing in unless it can grow it earnings on an average of 15 to 18%.

It doesn't appear to me that Health Care Insurance companies are getting that rich on our premium dollars.
8:58:15 PM    comment []

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can You Believe It!

What is the profit margin of health insurance companies? How much do they make from each dollar we or our place of employment pays them?

What's your guess? Click on Comments and enter your guess. The winner will receive a gift certificate to Contest closes Friday at 6:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time.
12:01:32 PM    comment []

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The lovely Alaskan summer day has changed to rain, rain, and more rain.

I've been using the rainy days for spring/summer/fall house cleaning and purging. So far, Husband is still around.
11:45:41 AM    comment []

Monday, July 13, 2009

A lovely Alaskan Summer Day

We have had a perfectly beautiful Alaskan summer day and evening---with a "Lisa & Julia" Christmas gift for dinner. It's cooled off a bit, a gentle breeze is blowing, and the bugs and haze are no where to be seen. It was a perfect evening to once again to do a couple Omaha steaks on the "barby Q".

Last week it was hot, hot, hot---82 degrees and not a breath of air stirring. The windows and doors were wide open but not a bit of air. The only thing that drifted in was the smoky smell from the dense haze caused by the 66 fires burning in the Interior.

What a change after last summer's temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s!
7:28:12 PM    comment []

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

Here is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence. (My emphasis added)

Declaration of Independence
Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
12:50:32 PM    comment []

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Congrats to Iraq for a successful next step. I cheer you on as you continue to find your way toward increased peace, freedom, and security for all.

Speaking of congrats and rebuilding, look at what the Iraq Stock Exchange has done since 2007.

The Iraq Stock Exchange holds trading sessions three days a week (just like the New York Stock Exchange did when it first started)--Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Ninety-one companies are listed; the last few days investors traded 195 million shares. Going forward it will be exciting to watch what it does---undoubtedly a barometer of life in Iraq.

Thinking of you, Farah.
9:57:29 PM    comment []

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Life is Good

Sunny summer days, music, and progress with my two educational therapy out-of-third-into-fourth-grade clients.

I worked in the yard this morning for a couple hours with my iPod Touch. Music and pod casts certainly enhance weed pulling, etc. I have never been impressed with gardening until I discovered this new approach.

This afternoon I went shopping for and found 2 small iron garden straight chairs that will go with my new three panel iron garden screen. I want to put them in a little garden flower bed that won't grow much of anything except dogwood ground cover. I'm going to place them in a conversational arrangement and put pots of red geraniums on their seats. At least that will give me some color out our front windows. My friend, R, and I had a delightful time visiting the garden places around town, having lunch outdoors at the Spenard Roadhouse, and later having ice cream to keep up our strength. What a change from last summer and its three months of cold and rain!

Now, I'm sitting at my desk listening and watching the Met opera on my 24" computer screen (thank you Daughter) while getting in the mood to do lesson plans for my two clients. It's time to go to the Met for another three performances this year.
6:32:34 PM    comment []

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2 Friends Gallery---A Great New Gallery in Town

Jacqui Ertischek and Georgia Blue have opened "a most unusual gallery" on Benson in the small mall with Cafe del Mundo and Classic Toys.

I had more fun yesterday. I purchased a great one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for Daughter, a little gift for Daughter and Ski Boy in honor of Echo and Tyge and a "cutie" for Daughter from Mom with thoughts of a one-of-a-kind daughter in years past.

For me, I bought this raven sitting on an 8 ball; he and I really hit it off. You will note that he is not in front of the 8 ball, nor behind it, but on top of it! I can identify with that. You can't see it, but he has a key in his beak which symbolizes the opening of doors and the welcoming of positive change into our lives (according to Mark Orr of Scavenger Art.) The raven is now presiding over the mantle. The items that had been sitting there were simply place holders waiting for him.

9:54:52 PM    comment []

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Enjoy the warmth of the sun. Summer is coming to an end!

Today is the first day of increasing darkness---shorter days.

To top it off, the tips of the peaks received a dusting of new snow this afternoon. The temp on the deck was 41 degrees and this evening the heat came on in the house.
11:05:38 PM    comment []

Monday, June 22, 2009

Longest day of the Year

The longest day is officially June 21. The sun rises in Anchorage at 4:20 a.m. and sets at 11:42 p.m.

However, to me the more interesting fact is that the sun rises at 4:20 a.m. from June 15th through June 23rd. And the sun sets at 11:42 p.m. from June 21st through June 26th. Therefore, we don't have just one longest day but three---June 21, 22, and 23---three days with the maximum number of daylight hours.

My Solstice Weekend event was the Alaska Botanical Garden's 2009 Garden Fair & Art Show: Solstice in the Garden. It was a picture perfect morning---sunny and warm with a gentle breeze to blow away the bugs.
8:58:24 PM    comment []

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Technology and Instant Gratification

It's been much easier to adjust to technology than to instant gratification. The later is decadence beyond belief.

Back to yesterday's post about Aaron Copland---his Lincoln Portrait has always been a favorite of mine; it is so dramatic. However, I have never been able to find a recording (I own two) that have the drama of Betty McDonald's performance with the Anchorage Symphony. After listening to the Yale University interview (see the previous post), I had a longing for that full voice, perfect diction version that Betty McDonald provided. I briefly interrupted my cleaning activities yesterday and off to to check if a better recording existed than the ones I owned. YES---James Earl Jones. The first review described just the qualities I was looking for. A quick download to my iPod and back to my "cleaning lady" activities with James Earl Jones' marvelous, deep, dramatic voice with every syllable beautifully articulated and exquisite phrasing in my ears. I listened to it three or four times while finishing the dusting. Finally, I had to interrupt his performance and reperformance to vacuum---technology has yet to invent the silent vacuum cleaner.

To think, in the space of 45 minutes I heard a great interview with Aaron Copland, decided I really wanted to hear a first class recording of Lincoln Portrait, found it, downloaded it, and listened to it two or three times---all without leaving the house and scarcely interrupting my household duties.

Ah, the wonders of modern technology. I love it. It so enriches my everyday life. Thank your Daughter!
11:09:32 PM    comment []

Friday, June 19, 2009

Technology--Its Wonders and Its Enhancement of the Most Menial Tasks

I love listening to my iPod Touch with my Bose head set, gratus Daughter, when I have work to do around the house. Yesterday I was doing the usual "dust and vacuum" routine and listening to Yale University's podcast series, Voices of American Music. Today's episode was a recorded compilation of oral interviews with Aaron Copland.

Aaron Copland

How priceless to hear his voice and his talking about working with Martha Graham and his composing the music for her Appalachian Spring ballet. I loved his statement about her, "She is a wonderful gal." And to think I saw her with her dance troupe at West High School auditorium a number of years ago thanks to the Anchorage Concert Association.

Thanks to YouTube here is a performance of Appalachian Spring with the original cast---Martha Graham, Eric Hawkins, and Merce Cunningham.

You can find the Yale University Voices of American Music at iTunes Store---click on iTunes U, click on Fine Arts, (see all) choose Yale Music
11:04:08 PM    comment []

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