Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Have "LiveStrong" Survivor Notebooks

Just a quick note to let you know I now have "LiveStrong" Survivor Notebooks. They are available at no charge. It is a notebook to track cancer treatments, doctors, etc. It's a great resource for both inspirational and practical information. If you or someone you know could use one, just let me know and I'll get one to you or them.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Live 'Til I Die"--Memorial Day

I had a conversation with my 9 year-old to day about Memorial Day, about how traditionally people go and decorate the graves of their dead relatives. We talked about how we should honor their memory every day, not just once a year. One way I'm doing that is by naming my new project "Live 'Til I Die" in honor of Grandpa Green.

He put together working hard and working smart as well as anyone I've ever known. I had trouble keeping up while working with him on his farm even when I was a fit teenager and he was on Social Security with heart trouble and diabetes . The "Live 'Til I Die" comes from what he always said whenever Grandma would get on his case about his blood sugar when he put real sugar and cream in his coffee to go with his glazed donut. He'd always say, "I'm gonna live 'til I die!". We all worried that he would lose his eyesight, feet, etc. He had been so active throughout his life that we thought he'd be miserable in his final years. Instead, he was hit head-on and killed by a drunk driver, so I guess he showed us.

So am I saying to ignore your doctors and conventional wisdom regarding your health? Absolutely not. What I am saying, is to make the most of your time, because we don't know when it will end.

Many insurance companies, investment companies, etc., have some kind of planner kit that they say is to help you leave some kind of financial legacy. In the right hands, they can be very useful. However, like any other tool, they are only as good as the person using the tool. And sometimes the tool isn't very good. The biggest problem I've seen with them is that they are a one shot deal. The advisor or agent uses it to find out where the client has money and finds a product he can sell the client which produces a commission. Then he or she moves on to the next prospect.

"Live 'Til I Die" will be different. It will be a living document with no two of them looking the same. The base of it will come from a Reader's Digest article I read in college, something along the lines of "50 Things to do before I die" (If anyone knows how to track it down, please let me know). The story was about a guy who had made a list like that when he was in high school, then made his living by going on adventures, then lecturing, writing, etc. about them. I made my own list which has been lost in one of my moves, but I have rewritten. Some I have accomplished (having kids), some I've altered (watching the Olympics in person instead of competing in the Olympics), and some I've postponed (still plan to win a national cycling championship, but will be in the 70 and over bracket when I've outlived a bunch of my competitors). However, I can't think of any that no longer interest me. Instead, I just keep adding to the list. If I stopped working today and lived to be 100, I'd still run out of time to accomplish everything I want to do.

The goal of "Live 'Til I Die" will be to help people discover what they want to do, then help them do it. Fear of loss is a much bigger factor in decision making than potential reward, so my role as an insurance agent will be to remove or minimize the fear of loss, freeing people up to accomplish dreams.

I'll be writing more about this as I develop "Live 'Til I Die". Please let me know if you have any materials or suggestions to add to this, and also if you want to be a guinea pig for the development of it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride of Silence Today

Across the world today, bicyclists will be riding in silence at a slow pace to bring awareness to the issue of motorists hitting bicyclists. Here in Des Moines, the ride will start at 6:30 at the steps of the Historical Society building (600 E Locust). Unfortunately, I didn't find out about it until today. I definitely will ride it in the future. For details of the movement and ride locations, please check out their web site,

As an insurance agent, I look at this as a prime reason to make sure we're all covered with life and accident insurance. But it's a much more personal issue for me. About 20 years ago I was hit by a drunk driver while on my way home from a training ride. By sheer luck my bike went to the left and I rolled to the right. The driver drug my bike under his car for almost a block before turning the corner and running over it with the back wheels. Had he hit at a slightly different angle, it would have been me under the car. Although he fled the scene, was driving without a license and had no insurance, he spent a couple of days in jail but had no further consequences. Because he had no insurance or job, I even had to get my destroyed racing bike replaced on my own. I have mostly recovered, but still have problems with my hip that was injured and will probably have to have it replaced at a relatively young age.

I was the lucky one. Two of my friends and teammates were killed in separate incidents, Dan Bockenstedt, and Chris Lillig. When I do the ride next year, I'll be riding a bike formerly owned by Chris.

So when you're driving, remember that bicyclists have as much legal right to the road than you, but more importantly that they are friends, parents, sons and daughters.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Help Hypertension, Help Your Brain

I guess I can take the rest of the day off. My dad always told me I should learn something new every day, and I just learned something.

Some new research is showing a link between high blood pressure and Alzheimer's Disease. Keeping your blood pressure down can reduce your risk of decreased brain function, attention def--are the Penguins and Flyers playing this afternoon? When do the Stars and--I wonder if it's too late and too dry to get morels--I could really go for Tasty Taco--wonder how the Hawkeye quarterback situation--anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Anyway, I also learned that only about 1/3 of people with high blood pressure have it because of too much salt. The best way to fight it is to keep your weight down. So I guess I'd better go play some hockey tonight.

You can find the whole article at

Friday, May 9, 2008

Generic Requip Approved by FDA

The FDA has given final approval for a generic version of Requip (ropinirole hydrochloride) used to treat Restless Leg Syndrome. The portion of the patent that covers the same drug for Parkinson's Disease doesn't expire for another month. It's expected that companies will apply for approval to label it for treatment of Parkinson's once that patent expires.

If interested, you can view the details at