My Master of Liberal Arts in Finance at Harvard

This past week, I’ve been compiling tons of documents for my admissions application to Harvard University Extension School for my MLA in Finance. I am excited about it and can’t wait to start my classes on January 25th, 2010. The good thing is that all of the courses, except 6 core courses, have an option to do them online, and only the 6 ones must be done on campus.

This gives me an ample time to continue with my current activities, and still be able to do my online classes. The average time frame to complete this degree program is generally 3 years, but because I have most of the GECs already done at OSU as part of my Economics program, I am hoping to complete my MLA degree program in a year and half.

Just wish me luck please; I personally value a good and quality education more than anything else. I still believe as I always have that a good education is the key to almost everything, just look at Barack Obama. In reality, life can be so simple and easy living for almost everyone, if one only listens to his or her parents; go, stay, and finish college, then eventually get a good paying job that fulfills one’s needs and wants, then everything else in life eventually just gets better.

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Ten Great Economists

Adam Smith, Scotland (1723-1791)
David Ricardo, England (1772-1823
Thomas Malthus, England (1766-1834)
John Stuart Mill, England (1806-1873)
Karl Marx, Germany (1818-1883)
Leon Walras, France (1834-1910)
Alfred Marshall, England (1842-1924)
Thorstein Veblen, USA (1857-1929)
John Maynard Keynes, England (1883-1946)
Irving Fisher, USA (1867-1947)

More at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Economic 101 for the Health Care Reform With a Public Option

Having a Government’s Healthcare with a Public Option as proposed by President Obama will likely cause to bring down and lower your monthly health insurance premium to as little as $25 a month for a full healthcare coverage including dental.

This is how it will work. As it has been reported (see CNN.com) that the premium cost for the proposed Government’s Healthcare with a Public Option will be about 10% – 20% less than the monthly premium fees that you currently pay each month, for your private health insurance coverage.

Currently, private insurance companies charge high premium fees as driven by their need for profit. They do so because they simply have no competition which can help reduce their premium fees and improve your health care needs and benefits. However, with the proposed Health Care Reform with a Public Option, it will help create competition for the health insurance companies, and that’s the only way that health insurance companies may reduce your monthly premium.

Let’s say you currently pay about $165 a month for your health insurance, not including your dental plan, and the proposed Government’s Public Option is 10% less than what you pay now. In order for health insurance companies to continue growing and retaining customers, they will try to match the Government’s Public Option premium fees. And as health insurance companies lower their premium fees, so will the government’s public option.

This graph image is from an unlikely source as noted, but it hits the point

I copied this graph image from an unlikely source as noted, but it hits the point that I'm defining.

The Government’s Public Option premium fees will keep going down as private health insurance companies try to match the government’s public option, until the price comes down to a neutrality (equilibrium) level, where the costs of your healthcare equals your healthcare benefits.

In the end, you may end up paying as little as $25 each month, in health insurance premium, for quality healthcare, and if you end up getting sick, for whatever the case might be, you’ll never have to suffer because of additional out of pocket money you would need to pay for your medical care. And you certainly won’t have to go broke just because you’re sick, and you won’t have to hurt or even die, just because you don’t have health insurance.

You will also have a chance to switch to any healthcare insurance coverage without ever losing your current healthcare benefits. And your existing medical needs or illness will not be the case for any insurance company to deny you the coverage you need just because of your existing illness.

As we all know, that 30% of every dollar you spend on your healthcare premium is spent on medical administrative costs, and probably about 40% of every dollar you spend is spent towards the salaries and wages for the doctors and medical professionals, and only about 30% of every dollar you spend on your health insurance goes towards your medical needs. What the proposed healthcare reform with public option will do is make medical care providers to reduce their excessive costs and give you more healthcare benefits, as they too will have to compete for your business, because the government public option will give you more choices and options to where you go to get treatment for your healthcare needs.

And as the President outlined it last night in his speech, whether you are self employed, business owner or have your own health insurance coverage with whomever you have previously chosen, the proposed Healthcare Reform with Public Option will not make you give up your current health insurance coverage. You can keep what you already have or shop for a better health insurance coverage since health insurance premiums will severely go down. This basically gives you more choices and better options of what you do with your own healthcare needs.

America is becoming polarized so much that loyalty to one’s political affiliation is so important and more relevant than the general needs for the Americans. Even if a certain issue may cause potential danger or even death, party loyalties may not even care if the solution was initiated by the opposite isle of the chamber. And the public elected officials in Washington always seem to forget why or how they got there in the first place, but they are not thinking that there comes a time when the consumers will once again have a chance to decide who to send to Washington, someone who can honestly work on their behalf, and not on the behalf of special interests and lobbyists.

Just because a certain bill, which may be deemed to actually benefit the consumers was initialed by a member of a political party doesn’t mean that the opposite party members shouldn’t support it, just because they feel too loyal and too good for their own party.

Sometimes putting political party differences aside and focusing on what the American people actually need may serve best for everyone, even those who feel otherwise. Just because you feel like you are well off or if a certain issue doesn’t affect you or benefit you, that doesn’t mean that everyone else feels the same.

The majority of people are not as well off as what you are, thus sometimes we just need to think about how or what other people are going through, and show them more compassion as much as you’d want them to show you.

A Success Story: Guided by an Angel

I grew up on a farm with my mom. My dad always lived in a city where he worked and only came home rarely, on weekends, not every weekend, but may be twice a year. I was the oldest male-child in the house, after my older brother went in exile and joined SWAPO, a political organization that fought to liberate Namibia from the South African apartheid government.

Since I was the oldest son left at home, with two of my young brothers and youngest, baby sister, and my mom, I had to take on the tasks, which were generally handled by adult males, usually the fathers, the heads of household. Tasks such as plowing the field during the rainy season, looking after our farm animals, and simply maintaining the exterior and interior structure of the house and the sprawling, long and high, fence that covered our farm of more than 75,000 acres of land.

These kinds of tasks had to be dealt with constantly on a daily basis, every day of the week. And since I was just a little boy, in addition to helping my mom at home with all these tasks, I also had to go to school and keep up with my homework and study. Most parents then discouraged their children from going to school, so they could stay at home and work. However, I had and still have a wonderful, the best mom, not only that she never asked me to stay out of school, she actually helped me study. She actually taught me how to read, even before I started school. For all of us, her children, to get an education was her first priority.

In order to stay on top of all the household chores and school homework, I made a deal with my mom. That we’d go to school three days a week, and stay to work at home on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On the days we had to go to school, we would get up at five in the morning, and work in the field before leaving for school. And then after school, we would go to work in the field some more and attend to our farm animals.

That was my daily life, everyday of each week, except on Sundays when we had to go to church and rest up. In my whole neighborhood, I was one of the very few kids who went and stayed in school. Most of them stayed at home, and probably never even passed standard 5, let alone finish school.

In primary (elementary) school, I was smart, but not the smartest kid. Luckily, there was this girl in my first grade class, standard one. Her name was Katalina Asino, and she was so beautiful. She was so beautiful that she took my breath away each time I looked at her. I have to say now that I had fallen in love with her the very first time I laid my eyes on her on the first day of class. However, Katalina didn’t come from my neighborhood but from the opposite side of our school. I was from the east side and she was from the west side of the school. So, the only time I could get to see her was if I had gone to school.

Not only that Katalina was the most beautiful girl in the whole school, she was also the smartest kid in class. I immediately befriended her, the very first day of school, the very same day I met her in class. However, if I had to be her friend, or maybe I could now say, her boyfriend then, then I’d have to be smart like her as well. So I had to push myself harder, study harder, just so I could keep up with her in class, and still be able to play together outside of the class, during the school recess.

At home, when I was not at school, I missed her a lot, and so I had to talk to my mom about me going to school every school day, instead of just a few days a week. Basically so I could see Katalina. Of course I didn’t tell my mom why I really wanted to go to school every day, but my mom perfectly understood the need to be at school every day regardless of the never ending house chores. So, she let me go to school five days a week, but so as long as we would work on our farm before and after class.

At school, I was able to see Katalina every school day, but I was also able to keep up with her academically. That was the whole thing about being her friend. It wouldn’t have looked good to be her friend and not be smart. Because in quizzes and tests, so as in the exams, Katalina was always the first student and I was second in class. There has been times that I was also either the first and she was second. It was beautiful. I was able to do my chores at home and be the second best student at school.

Times went on like that for years until we got in standard four (grade six). We had also gotten a bit older, and Katalina started looking and talking to other boys, other than just me. And when she did, her school work started to slack too, to the point that she barely passed standard four. In standard five, she was slacking far behind. We weren’t even talking as best friends by then, as she was seeing and dating another guy, Gottlieb, who was one of my best friends. I was devastated when Katalina and I were no longer friends. I couldn’t sleep at times at home, nor could I do anything else, because my mind and thoughts were about Katalina. I wrote her several love letters and most times, she would throw them away, letting the whole school read them. That had hurt me so much that I felt like quitting school. But I never did, because I am not and have never given up on anything that I’ve wanted in my life, and at that time school became my only priority.

Gottlieb knew that Katalina was my girl, and he would tell me about all the fun things they’d be doing, him and Katalina, just to shove it in my face and then laugh at me, which to him was just a big joke, but to me, even if I didn’t show it, deep down inside of me, I was horrified. However, instead of looking down on myself, I lifted my head up high and I studied hard, more than ever. Standard five (grade seven) was and may still be one of the hardest classes in Namibia and South Africa. Most students in Namibia back then never even passed it. Also, most of my classmates in standard five were repeaters, those who were taking it over. Some students were repeating it for their 3rd or 4th times.

While Katalina was struggling with the rest of the majority of the class, I was thriving. I made up my mind that I would not flunk the class and especially that Katalina was not talking to me, I had to show her that I was the best man for her, that I was smart, and not only that, I played soccer, was on school soccer team, and cross country. In my mind, that’s all I had gotten used to, getting A’s and B’s in any class at that time. Even though Katalina and I were no longer best friends, I couldn’t let myself get any grades less than A’s and B’s.

At the end of the year, after the final exams, I was only one of the 3 students who passed standard 5, out of more than 40 students in our class. Two of those students were repeaters. Katalina and Gottlieb both flunk the class, they stayed behind, and I moved on to a secondary (high) school at Iipumbu Secondary School, then to Jacob Marengo Tutorial College.

I believe that certain things happen for very good reasons, and that Katalina was my angel, purposely sent by God to help me with my early years of school, she was the main reason for me to go to school and study hard in order for me to pass all my primary classes. If it was not for her, I don’t think that I would have been able to pass my classes with A’s, let alone go to and stay in school. I’d have ended up just like some or maybe, most of the students in Namibia who never even finished standard five. So, if I could go back in time at my primary school days with Katalina, my true guided angel, then I would try to encourage and make her realize how silly it was to give up on something so important, education, instead of just focusing on some other things, especially boys, some who may not have had her best interest.

At home, there were never days that we went to bed hungry. My mom and I worked very hard to keep our house afloat, and it was one of the best fields produced in the area. We produced lots of food products, from corn, watermelons, black-eye peas, peanuts, rye and more. At the same time, my older sister Jenny, whom I’m forever indebted to, was working for the Retail Magnate, Mr. Aupa Indongo at Continental #1, so she was able to financially support the whole family and my school fees. Thus we were very well off compare to other families, and, in addition, we were never hungry and were never in need of anything. I was able to comfortably help my mom and work at home, in our farm, while maintaining good grades at school. This was and still is an achievement I will always alone cherish. And it didn’t go unnoticed, because when I left for the secondary school, I was told that most parents in the area were pushing their children to go to school so they could one day be like me.

Excelling in school, while at the same time helping my mom at home, just made me feel very proud of myself. Thanks to my mom who never stopped me from going to school, even when most other parents wouldn’t let their kids go to school every day or even some days in the week as I did.

A few years ago, I tried to find out what had happened with my God given angel, Katalina and to my great sadness; I was informed that she might have died of AIDS. And, that just sadness me more, because I never even kissed her, and mostly, I never had a chance to say thank you to her for helping me realize my academic potential early in primary school and for helping me go to school every day and passed all my classes with high grades.

Angels come in many different ways, shapes, and forms. She or he might be the guy next door, or perhaps someone who tried to talk to you in the hallway or street the other day, or may be the person who was standing on the corner begging for some change, but you’ve ignored him, or perhaps, your best friend who tried to warn you about a mistake that you were about to make.

Angels come in many different ways, forms, and shapes. Try to explore and discover yours, and try to listen to him or her. You may just make the right decision as I did, by going to school and finish my primary school education, and eventually college – which is the best thing that I’ve ever done in my life. Now, I’m going to pursue my MBA at INSEAD and PhD in Economics at Harvard University, with focus on Economic Development, Macro and Political Economics.

The Most, Very Unique Invention Idea to Make Billions, Only for You?

In today’s competitive global economy, it’s all about finding your niche’. Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Google (Page & Brin), and many other entrepreneurs have magnificently excelled at doing this very same thing, they found their niche’, which they have and continue to exploit while making tons of money. You can also find your niche and proprietarily develop it, market it globally, and make a fortune.

However, in this age, it’s nearly impossible for you to come up with a completely unique invention to capitalize on it. Because, nearly every unique invention that you could come up with, has already been invented by someone else.

Here is the best news for you, but only if you hurry and grab this idea now. This was an idea proposed by my Evolutionary Biology professor, Dr. Taylor, at the Ohio State University.

The idea is; most of us know that most amphibians, such as Frogs, lay their unshelled eggs in shallow water. Their mating process is unique too; the male frog grabs the female frog from behind, and then the female frog squirts out the eggs, lots of them, and all the eggs are sprouted in the water, no nest, just wrapped up in a clear jelly like liquid that keeps the eggs together.

Since their eggs remain alone, unguarded and unprotected, they usually become a meal for most other amphibians. The result is the decrease in their species growth, for such as frogs and other amphibians, which may eventually extinct, as their population continue to evaporate due to slow reproduction.

Now, imagine if you come up with a new invention, an invention that can help amphibians lay their eggs better, protect them, and eventually cause their reproduction to increase. Not only that you’ll make gazillions, but you will also help save most of the amphibian species.

Well, hurry up, and grab this new great invention idea. And when you successfully develop it, please don’t forget me.

The Daring Power of Honesty

Every one of us, anywhere, are all in need of something, we are all competing for resources, to make a living, to survive, and whatever it is that we may want, we can only get it from each other, if we are completely straight forward with one another.

In order to successfully make it in this competitive market, in this crowded global economy, where everyone is doing everything he or she best can to better him or herself in order to best compete, there is only one thing you need to do to effectively get what you want; and that’s to gain the trust of everyone, known or unknown to you. And you can only gain their trust, if people get to know you, and the best thing to do for people to get to know you, is to properly introduce yourself to them, let them get to know you first, and be honest and straight forward with them. Your resume or link to your blog or web profile is the first best start for anyone to get to know you best. You don’t need to have a long resume or years of experience in your specialty, all you need is charisma, straightforwardness, and passion for what you want to do, and with that, you can almost get whatever you want from anyone.

Barrack Obama spent a few years in Chicago as a community organizer, then the state senate, and the only people who knew him then were the people of Chicago and the surrounding areas, but most of us elsewhere only came to get to know him the first time, when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. When he stepped and spoke on that podium, on that stage, he displayed something that most of us are lacking; passion, enthusiasm, courage to dare, straightforwardness, and most of all, charisma and ambition. He looked very young then, but he was full of charismatic and passion. He spoke daringly the truth, he let people know who he is and what he stands for, and what he wants and hopes for, and most people listened. And look where he is now four years later.

No matter where you go, no matter whom you speak to or ask for anything, if they can look at you, and gain your trust based on your pitch, based on your personal information, based on your honesty, then you can almost have anyone listen to you and do whatever you want them to do. But if you come out like some schmuck from somewhere, lacking any of the stated above, then you can’t get anything from anyone, unless from the stupid ones, and there’re no more stupid ones out there.

Look, we all make mistakes, but the best education is not to keep doing the same mistakes over and over. So, don’t dwell on the mistakes you’ve made in the past, move on, do what you can so you don’t keep making the same mistake, and get ready, and go out there and make it happen.  Be honest, tell the truth, and everyone will eventually buy whatever you are selling. You can do it; you can get whatever you want from anyone, anywhere.

Surviving the World of Statistical Selection

On November 18, 2008, The New York Times published an article titled, The Wrong Place to Be Chronically Ill. The article reports the finding of 7,500 patients surveyed in several countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain and the United States, who suffered from at least one of seven chronic conditions: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, lung problems, cancer or depression.

The article further states that the shameful findings on the patients in the United States the health care they received, that more than half of the American patients went without care because of high out-of-pocket costs. They did not visit a doctor when sick, skipped a recommended test or treatment or failed to fill a prescription. The uninsured suffered most, but even 43 percent of those who had insurance all year skipped care because of costs.

“The surveyed American patients also were likely to report wasting time because their care was so poorly organized. About a third reported that medical records and test results were not available when needed or that tests were duplicated unnecessarily. A third experienced a medical error, such as being given the wrong medication or test results. Some 40 percent found it very difficult to get after-hours care without going to an emergency room,” reads the article.

As I read this article, I was asking myself, why they conclude that America is the wrong place to be chronically ill, because as I look at the stated data, that a survey of 7,500 patients from different countries was observed, but it failed to state whether that proportion was randomly selected or not, and what was the exact proportion of the American patients who were among the surveyed patients?

Thus, looking at their data, I fail to believe that this number was a representation of all the American patients. As for The New York Times, I would expect nothing but the best report from them, but for them to actually publish that insufficient and unrepresentative data, surprises me. Even though the article generally and fairly estimates how most patients may be treated in America, I still feel that those who conducted this survey could have used more representative variables, such as the exact proportion of patients surveyed from each country, their gender, and age category.

Also, yesterday, I was watching TV and a Bosley TV commercial came on, illustrating their inventive hair transplant procedure and that it was clinically tested and proven. As I sat there watching it, I took my right hand and felt the top of my head, which has gotten thinner than I’d like to admit, and I was like, that sounds like a good solution to my nearly baldness. But then, I asked myself, how was it clinically tested or proven?

Just like some of the examples of the article and the Bosley TV commercial stated above, everyday, we are bombarded with information and data, which some seem representative enough to actually, but most may not be. That’s why it’s important that, no matter what is said or stated anywhere about anything, there is always a question and an answer to everything and it’s up to you, as an individual, to critically analyze each and everything in order to make an informed desicion.