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Michael Lewis
Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive and entrepreneur. During his 40+ year career, Lewis created and sold ten different companies ranging from oil exploration to healthcare software. He has also been a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC, a Principal of one of the larger management consulting firms in the country, and a Senior Vice President of the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the United States. Mike's articles on personal investments, business management, and the economy are available on several online publications. He's a father and grandfather, who also writes non-fiction and biographical pieces about growing up in the plains of West Texas - including The Storm.

What Is a Health Savings Account (HSA) – Rules, Limits & How to Open

By Michael Lewis

money healthcare jarAn inability to pay medical bills is the single greatest cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States. While this result may not be surprising since the American health care system is the most expensive in the world, the study paradoxically found that three-quarters of the people filing a medically-related bankruptcy have health insurance. According to Steffie Woolhandler, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, “Many of them were bankrupted anyway because they had gaps in their coverage, like co-payments, deductibles, and uncovered services.”

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What Is Term vs. Whole Life Insurance – Types of Life Insurance

By Michael Lewis

life insurance coupleMany young men about to propose marriage struggle to choose the perfect wedding ring – whether to buy an elaborate and expensive diamond, or a simpler, less expensive gold band. Each ring serves the same purpose as a symbol of everlasting commitment, but there is a substantial difference in cost, as well as the possible reaction of friends and family and the expectations of the recipient.

Choosing life insurance can pose a similar conundrum. While all life insurance provides funds in the event of the insured’s death, the same factors – the purpose for which the funds are intended, the cost, and the needs of the beneficiary – have to be considered when selecting the type of life insurance most appropriate to your situation.

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Buying a Second Vacation Home – Pros & Cons, Things to Consider

By Michael Lewis

vacation homeAccording to Money Magazine, now is the time to purchase if you’re considering a second or vacation home. Across the country, prices are near or below their five-year lows. In Vail, Colorado, home prices are down 30% from their highs. Pebble Beach, perhaps the most renowned golf area in the U.S., has seen a decrease of 36.3% in square-foot prices compared to five years ago. And prices in Orlando, Florida, home of the Walt Disney World theme park, are down more than 50% from their highs.

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How Expensive Healthcare Affects Working Americans & Retirees

By Michael Lewis

expensive healthcareAmerica spends nearly 18% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for healthcare, more than 50% higher than the next highest nation, Switzerland. However, it is probable that, unlike Switzerland, the United States will be required to spend additional money to improve national defense, to replace our aging infrastructure, and to expand our investment in education. America simply does not have enough funds to go around.

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8 Tips to Protect Yourself From Rising Healthcare Costs

By Michael Lewis

healthcareThe impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally referred to as “Obamacare,” is likely to be felt by Americans in the near future through higher healthcare insurance premiums, increased difficulty in making doctor appointments, and decreased face-to-face consultations with their personal physicians. While the exorbitant annual increases in healthcare costs of past years could moderate – and possibly reverse – in the long-term as a result of the act, everyone should be prepared for higher healthcare expenses in the short-term.

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What Is an Internship – Benefits, Pay & Expectations

By Michael Lewis

internInternships, both paid and unpaid, have become increasingly popular over the last decade with employers and candidates. Employers have long recognized the significant expenses incurred to identify, recruit, hire, and train employees, only to lose the employee who then quits and moves to another company or industry. Presently, one in three employees in the U.S. leaves his or her job for a new position each year – this is substantially higher than the rate of one in four that existed in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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What Is Health Insurance – Definition & How It Works

By Michael Lewis

doctor nurse patientThe purchase of a health insurance policy for the first time is, in many ways, a rite of passage – a signal that you have passed from child to adult. The purchase of a health insurance policy is also one of the more expensive acquisitions you will make during your life, rivaling the expense of buying a home. At the same time, most people do not understand health insurance or the components of the contract between insurance companies and themselves, often learning to their dismay that coverage they thought they had is actually nonexistent.

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Investing in Individual Stocks – 5 Survival Techniques in a Changing Market

By Michael Lewis

some feel that the stock market is a big gambleThere are no flashing lights, no clatter of coins hitting the metal bins of slot machines, no raucous shouts of victory or envious looks when a winner hits it big. But some believe that Wall Street is no different than the Las Vegas Strip – less glamor, less glitz, but still a place for gamblers to risk all where the house has the edge.

Dr. Leon Cooperman, the noted hedge fund founder and president of Omega Advisers, Inc., warned President Obama on CNBC television that “the best capital markets in the world were turning into a casino.” And The Motley Fool, a popular newsletter for individual investors, said in November 2011 that “market volatility had become so erratic this summer that it often felt like a rigged game.”

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What Is Good Customer Service – 2 Models for Success

By Michael Lewis

clerk and a buyerAll companies claim to value and provide great customer service. But the fact is, few companies understand the components of the customer service model they promise, or deliver the level of customer service expected. In fact, according to a poll by American Express, 78% of customers surveyed chose not to make an intended purchase due to poor service, and 60% of purchasers were willing to try a new brand or company solely to receive better service elsewhere.

In an environment where all competitors have broad selections, similar brands, and low prices, excellent customer service is what differentiates retailers from their competition. Why then is mediocre or poor customer service commonplace, and how can management make a difference?

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What Is a Private Placement (Reg D) Offering – Definition & Risks

By Michael Lewis

riskPrivate placements – the sale of securities by an issuing company to a limited number of private investors – have become the venue of choice for “bad brokers, disingenuous dealers, unprincipled promoters, and iniquitous issuers,” according to Jeff Joseph, a noted venture blogger.

A private placement transaction is exempt from the registration and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under rules detailed in Regulation D (Reg D) found under Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 230, Sections 501 through 508. As a consequence of the exemption, use of Regulation D is the favorite vehicle of those looking to fleece unsuspecting investors.

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What Is a Certified Financial Advisor – 15 Types & Credentials

By Michael Lewis

financial advisor with coupleSince prehistoric times, men have adorned themselves in paint, animal skins, and feathers to impress, intimidate, and influence their fellow humans. While people no longer wear such accoutrements, many, particularly those employed within the financial industry, continue to enhance their status by appending alphabetic symbols to their names, the psychic totems of a modern world. Of course, the value of such acronym symbols depends upon the recognition and understanding of their meaning by the viewer.

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What Is the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups)

By Michael Lewis

jobsH.R. 3606, Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) was passed by the House and Senate on March 27, 2012 and signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. While most economists believe the act will have little impact on increased employment, the restrictions and costs faced by private companies seeking to access public markets during their early growth years will be reduced.

However, the benefits are likely to come at the expense of private investors who have lost long-established protections provided under prior securities laws. Many observers believe that the increased risks of frauds and scams to the public at large outweigh the small benefits to a limited group of companies, investment managers, and broker-dealers.

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5 Cell Phone Etiquette Rules & Tips to Curb Your Addiction

By Michael Lewis

poor cell phone mannersCell phones first began popping up in the early 1990s. Cute, brick-like objects weighing two-and-a-half pounds, they seemed to be perfect companions for long road trips. However, over time, the cell phone underwent a makeover, shrinking in size and growing in capabilities. Initially purchased by electronic aficionados and early adopters of technology, cell phones spread rapidly through the world’s populace, with approximately 5.6 billion phones in use by 2010. The question, “Why would I want a cell phone?” quickly became, “How can I live without one?”

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How the U.S. Can Eliminate Dependence on Foreign Oil by 2020

By Michael Lewis

oil wells in texasUnited States presidents since Richard Nixon have sought the development and implementation of a comprehensive energy policy without success. As a consequence, the country became heavily dependent upon foreign oil imports in the early 1970s. The first supply crisis occurred with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-1974, which, in his “Memoirs,” Henry Kissinger called the “worst crisis to the free world since World War II.”

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How to Improve Customer Service in Your Business & Make It Great

By Michael Lewis

customer satisfactionWhen was the last time you enjoyed a truly superb shopping experience? According to research, less than 10% of consumers are satisfied with the customer service they receive, whether purchasing a new television or staying in a luxury hotel.

Access to worldwide products, improved logistics, new technologies, and similar business philosophies and strategies have created a standardized, homogenized marketplace in consumers’ minds. While the rewards of being an industry leader are great, the risks of a wrong decision can be disastrous. As a consequence, few in management are willing to “think outside the box” or try new approaches to create a robust link between themselves and their customers. The result is a lack of differentiation that creates an environment where consumers are indifferent about the companies from whom they buy goods and services, viewing each as offering similar, if not identical, benefits as the others.

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