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Posted on June 23, 2014. Filed under: -- Uncategorized |

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What is an Actuary

Posted on October 16, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized | Tags: , |

A great friend of mine is a successful actuary who helps companies with defined benefits. Most of his family members don’t even understand what he does, so I decided I would explain it to them since I understood exactly what he did (since I asked him like a million questions). While explaining, I turned to the web to find more information, and below is what Purdue University has to say on their Department of Mathematics website.

What is an Actuary?

An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs. Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, government, employee benefits departments of large corporations, hospitals, banks and investment firms, or, more generally, in businesses that need to manage financial risk. A career as an Actuary is better described as a “business” career with a mathematical basis than as a “technical” mathematical career.

Why would I want to be an Actuary?

Actuaries describe their work as challenging and interesting and generally enjoy a good working environment. The Jobs Rated Almanac has consistently rated “Actuary” as one of the top two or three jobs on a variety of factors. (To check the current rating, click The 250 best professions.. ) According to several studies, the profession is more open than others to women and members of under-represented minority groups. Actuaries are in high demand, with starting salaries ranging from $45,000 to $55,000. The salary increments are based both on experience and exams passed. The increments can be quite large and may actuaries earn in triple digits. Most “well qualified” graduates (i.e. those with a 3.2 GPA and one exam) receive a number of job offers.

How can I become an Actuary?

To become an “Actuary”, you must become an Associate, and ultimately a Fellow, of one of the professional societies by passing a series of examinations administered by them. The largest of the professional groups is the Society of Actuaries (SOA), the organization for actuaries working in life and health insurance, employee benefits, and pensions. The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) is the organization for actuaries working in automobile, fire, and liability insurance and workers’ compensation. The American Society of Pension Actuaries is the organization for actuaries working in the pension field, in particular, those actuaries who certify to the federal and state governments that pension plans are sound.

Entry into the profession is very competitive and success in the field demands commitment and hard work during college and the few years after graduation when the actuarial exams are being taken. Potential employers suggest the minimum requirements for hiring are a 3.2 GPA or higher and at least 1 actuarial exam. The qualities sought in applicants are high technical ability, good communications skills, and a broad background including courses in mathematics, statistics, business, and the liberal arts.

The actuarial exams, administered by the SOA and the CAS, cover a variety of subjects of importance in the insurance industry. Exams cover probability, interest theory, risk management, life contingencies, as well as topics that are more specific to insurance. For more information on exams, see the Be An Actuary exams page.

The interdisciplinary Actuarial Science major, administered jointly by the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, is a good first step! The purpose of the program is to provide the broad quantitative background in mathematics, probability, economics, business, and related areas that is necessary for success in the actuarial profession and to provide the academic background needed to pass the first four actuarial exams.

Actuarial Science students take a substantial number of mathematics and statistics courses as well as courses that cover actuarial topics and some courses in the School of Management. In addition to the courses required for graduation, students should carefully consider electives that will coordinate with an actuarial career. In particular, additional courses from the School of Management, courses in economics, computer science, or courses in writing and communication are very helpful for an actuarial career. The goals of the program include that students be well prepared for the exams they take, that they be knowledgeable about the career and in technical areas, and that they have a well-rounded education. In addition, we hope that many students will have passed the Course 1 exam by January of their Junior year to help when applying for internships, and at least one more exam by January of their Senior year when they are applying for permanent jobs.

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National Grandparents Day

Posted on September 11, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , |



Jimmy Carter first declared Grandparents Day a national holiday in 1978. National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of the month after Labor Day, annually. That means this year the holiday will be celebrated, today,  on Sunday, September 11.

Happy Grandparents Day. Hope it’s a safe one.

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Austin’s Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses, Ranked by Gross Revenue

Posted on August 1, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized |

According to Austin Business Journal, here are Austin’s Top Women-Owned Businesses, ranked by 2010 gross revenue.

1. Austin Ribbon & Computer Inc.

2. Workplace Resources LLC

3. T3

4. Vintage IT Services

5. Visual Innovations Co. Inc.

6. RFD & Associates Inc

7. Omega Broadcast Group

8. MOSAK Advertising and Insights

9. Amelia Bullock Realtors Inc.

10. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing

11. Alliance Abroad Group LP

11 tie. EnviroMedia Social Marketing

13. Beehive Specialty

14. Gibson Concrete LLC

15. Realty Austin

16. Austin Bargain Centers Corp

17. Convenience Office Supply and Interiors

18. Biggs Plumbing Company Inc.

19. Internal Control Systems Inc.

20. Eat Out Restaurant Catering & Delivery

21. Luna Data Solutions Inc.

22. K.I.S.S. Inc.

23. Gottesman Residential Real Estate

24. JOSCO Products

25. Capital City Janitorial Inc.

26. Alphagraphics

tie: Furniture in the Raw Inc.

tie: Horizon Environmental Services Inc.

tie: Life Made Easy Home Health LLC

30. Sharco Technologies Inc. + Sharco Cable

31. BodyBusiness Health and Spa

tie: Paragon Printing and Mailing

33. McCarthy Print Inc.

34. Apicon Home Healthcare Agency Inc.

35. Baer Engineering

36. The Fowler Law Firm PC

37. Bridge360

tie: K Friese & Associates Inc.

39. Architectural Habitat of Austin Inc.

40. McKinney York Architects

41. Home Instead Senior Care

tie: I & O Communications

43. Dagar of Austin Caterers Inc.

44. Lago Builders Inc.

45. Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

46. Visiting Angels, Living Assistance Services

47. Compliance Resources Inc.

48. I.V. Specialty LTD.

49. Interior Design Gallery

tie: Southwest Installation Services LLC

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Healthiest Employers In Central Texas Award Results– Dell Takes The #1 Spot

Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Uncategorized, health, Texas | Tags: , , , , , |

The Austin Business Journal recently gave out their Healthiest Employer awards for 2011, and below are the results.

1. Dell Inc.

Dell has about 15,000 local employees and ranks #1 for the healthiest large employer in Central Texas. They do things a little differently than most. For example, they have a hotline staffed by a nurse for employees to call regarding health problems for themselves or family members (I actually used to work for Dell and have used this hotline before and loved it). They also have a health plan that enables employees to lower their premiums if they record more than 150 minutes of exercise a week and have lower body fat ratios and healthy blood pressure readings. Dell even partnered with WebMD to establish an online portal for employees to get medical advise, guage their health and even track health insurance accounts. The list goes on and on with what they offer their employees.

2. Tokyo Electron

3. National Instruments Corp.

4. Travis County

5. Seton Family of Hospitals

6. The Scooter Store

7. Applied Materials Inc.

8. City of Austin

9. Atmos Energy Corp

10. Lower Colorado River Authority

11. Edward Jones

12. Life Technologies Corp.

13. Maximus Inc.

Results for MEDIUM Companies in Central Texas

1. Frost Insurance

At Frost Insurance, employees monitor pedometers clipped to their belts or shoes EVERY DAY! The tiny devices track the number of steps taken, miles traveled and even calories burned. They then upload this information to a website that tracks their achievments and tells them how close they are to reaching incentives such as cash and gift cards, and shows them where they rank with “office bragging rights.”

The program is so popular at work that 3 of 4 participating employees goes to their website more than 100 times per year. The pedometer program is just a driver to get people to the customized wellness website for health improvement, and it seems to be working.

2. CP&Y Inc.

3. Southwest Key Programs 

4. Texas Mutual Insurance Co.

5. Higginbotham & Associates Inc.

6. Captial Metropolitan Transportation Authority


8. Lifeworks

9. Green Mountain Energy Co.

10. Field Asset Services

11. Strasburger & Price LLP

12. Texas Medical Liability Trust

13. University of Texas at Austin–Division of Housing and Food Service

14. TG

15. The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas

Results for SMALL Companies in Central Texas

1. The Karis Group

2. St. David’s Foundation

3. RFG Inc.

4. Ballet Austin Inc.

5. American Inovations

6. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing

7. Livestrong

8. Hotschedules Inc.

9. Charity Dynamics

10. Castle Hill Fitness

11. Maxwell Locke & Ritter LLP

12. Century Management

Congratulations to the Healthiest Employers and their employees!! Keep up the great work.

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Texas Tax Burden Among the Nation’s Lowest

Posted on March 9, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, Texas | Tags: , |

According to the Austin Business Journal, Texas ranks45th out of our 50 great states for the weight of total state and local tax burden, according to a report generated by The Tax Foundation who is based out of Washington DC.

The report says that tax burdens in fiscal year 2009 fell from the previous years, and said New Jersey residents paid the highest combination of income, sales, property and other taxes at a whopping 12.1 percent.

Texans paid only 7.1 percent over the same period.

New York (12.1 percent) and Connecticut (12 percent) were close to New Jersey with their tax burdens, while Alaska (6.3 percent), Nevada (7.5) and South Dakota (7.6) had the lowest, according to the report.

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Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America, According to Amazon.com

Posted on March 1, 2011. Filed under: -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |


Amazon.com releases the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America each year, and below I have the results for 2010. According to Amazon.com, after compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books (Kindle Books and print books), romantic comedy movies (digital movies and DVDs), Barry White albums (CDs and MP3s), along with sexual wellness products, since Jan. 1, 2011, on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents, the Top 20 most romantic cities in the U.S. are:

1. Alexandria, Va. 

2. Knoxville, Tenn.

3. Orlando, Fla.

4. Miami

5. Ann Arbor, Mich.

6. Columbia, S.C.

7. Cincinnati 

8. Murfreesboro, Tenn.

9. Gainesville, Fla.

10. Tallahassee, Fla.

11. Vancouver, Wash.

12. Round Rock, Texas

13. Pittsburgh, PA

14. Salt Lake City 

15. Arlington, Va.

16. Las Vegas

17. Clarksville, Tenn.

18. St. Louis

19. Dayton, Ohio

20. Frisco, Texas 

In taking a closer look at Amazon.com’s “romantic” data, the company also unveiled that:

  • Alexandria, Va., knows how to keep the romance alive as America’s most romantic city (second year in a row!)
  • Needing to turn up the heat are El Monte, Calif.; Paterson, N.J.; and Miami Gardens, Fla., as the least romantic cities, coming in with the fewest number of overall purchases in the determining categories.
  • Florida is for romantics, with four cities–Miami, Gainesville, Orlando, and Tallahassee–ranked among the Top 20 most romantic cities.
  • For the second year in a row, Miami is the Sexiest City in America, winning the top spot in the sexual wellness category.
  • Of the Top 20, Knoxville, Tenn., is the most improved, jumping up 14 spots from last year to clock in as the second most romantic city.
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New Poll Identifies Most Liberal and Conservative States…Where Do You Live?!

Posted on February 26, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, Politics, Texas | Tags: , , , , |

I love politics. Been really into politics for about 6 year now. If I would have known how political I was going  to become when I “grew up,” I would have majored in political science and history while in college. Instead, I majored in Leadership Management. Nowadays, I’m thinking that was a better choice.

Interestingly, I grew up in Vermont, which is one if the  most liberal states in our great country but am now living in Texas, which is one of the most conservative states in the USA.  In fact, Vermont  is so liberal, that I believe it is the only state George W. Bush has never visited. I’m pretty sure that is still a fact.

Below are the results from a recent Gallup Poll about liberal and conservative states. I find it funny that Mississippi is #1 for being the most conservative state AND also #1 for being the least healthy state. In case you missed which states are the healthiest and unhealthiest, click here to read about the how they rank.

Hope you enjoy the data below!

Self-Identified Ideology by State, 2010

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6 Ways to Guarantee Ripped Abs

Posted on February 26, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized |

Ripped abs. Oooh la la, sounds sexy.  If that’s what you are striving for, hopefully you’ll find these tips below helpful. I found this article today while catching up on the news on www.foxnews.com (and if it matters to you, I also read CNN and other news outlets, not just Fox. I don’t want any haters out there for where I get my news. Wink).

If you’re on a mission this summer to get cut and achieve that ripped set of six-pack abs, there are some important abs diet commandments that you must follow. Failure to account for the foods you eat on a daily basis will quickly short circuit your results and leave you continually wondering when progress is going to take place.

If you really want to get results quickly, you must take control of your abs diet and only feed your body the foods that will prime it for fat burning.

Let’s go over some of the top abs diet commandments that you must know.

1. Thou shalt not skip post-workout meals
Without question, the single most important meal that you must eat during the day is the post-workout meal. Many people make the mistake of skipping this meal, thinking that it will allow them to continue to burn off body fat after the workout.

The period after a workout is when that food will be used to stoke the metabolic rate and when it’s going to get sucked right up into the muscle tissues.

If you want to really boost your ability to get lean, load up a higher percentage of your daily calorie intake right after the workout and keep the other meals during the day lower in overall calories.

2. Thou shall eat protein with each meal or snack
The second abs diet commandment to follow is to make sure you get some protein with each and every meal or snack you eat.

When on a strict fat-loss diet, protein is the single macronutrient that will spare your lean muscle mass.
If it’s a rock-solid physique you’re after, this will be essential. Focus on proteins that are naturally leaner, such as chicken, fish, egg whites and extra-lean cuts of red meat.

3. Thou shall include at least one high-carb day a week
Third, don’t forgo carbs altogether. Many people who are attempting to get a ripped stomach are quick to remove virtually all carbs from their diet except fibrous vegetables.

When all carbohydrates are removed like this, your metabolism is going to plummet, making fat loss extremely difficult — if not impossible.

Having at least one high-carb day in the diet is going to prevent this and keep that metabolism running faster. If you can have two or three high-carb days on your hardest workout days, it will be all the better.

4. Thou shall include casein protein before bed
Having some casein protein right before bed is another key issue that you must make sure you’re doing. This is the slowest form of protein available, so by placing it before you enter the long nightly fast, you ensure your muscles have a constant stream of amino acids to feed upon.

If you’re currently in a calorie deficit and go to bed without protein, you will definitely be at a higher risk for muscle mass tissue loss.

5. Thou shall include 3 to 6 grams of fish oil
When it comes to fats on your abs diet plan, you do want to be limiting them. At nine calories per gram, they contain twice as much as either protein or carbohydrates do. But one particular type of fat that you should take in daily is fish oil.

Fish oil will improve your insulin sensitivity so that when you do decide to add carbohydrates to your diet, your body can handle them better and there is a reduced risk of turning them into body fat.

Aim to take three grams to six grams of fish oil caps per day, unless you’re eating a larger serving of fatty fish in one of your particular meals. Salmon and mackerel are both great sources of essential fatty acids, so those are the types to focus on.

6. Thou shall limit sodium intake
Finally, the last abs diet commandment is that you must make sure that you’re limiting your sodium intake. While sodium isn’t going to play a role in actually gaining or losing body fat, if you take in too much, it’s definitely going to play a role in how you look.

If you really want to get that shredded look, you must be avoiding water retention. Just a few hundred milligrams of sodium can easily throw off your leanness factor — so definitely do keep tight reins on your sodium as you get leaner and leaner.

The less body fat you have, the more of a difference you’ll notice on the impact of your sodium intake.
absolute abs

Don’t mindlessly go about your diet any longer. If you want ripped abs, you must obey all six of these commandments to achieve success.

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More Than Half of U.S. Pets Obese, Study Says

Posted on February 25, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, health, Tips | Tags: , , , , , |

I am an animal lover. Always have been.  I’ve always owned cats, but for the first time in my life, I have a cat, Olive, that I thought was too skinny.  I took her to the vet just to make sure she wasn’t dying of cancer.  The doc laughed at me saying that “just because your cat is a normal weight, doesn’t mean she is sick. There are such things as active cats. Not all cats are overweight.” He then continued to tell me that Americans are so used to seeing overweight cats that they immediately think a “thin” cat has something wrong with it.

Turns out he is right. We are used to seeing fat cats. Almost everyone I know has a fat cat. In fact, in an article found on cnn.com, according to a new study from the Association for Pet Obesity (APOP),  more than half of pets in the U.S. are obese—and their owners lack of moderation is to blame.

The study found that 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, and the numbers are on the rise.

“While the general trend of overweight pets has remained fairly steady at around 50 percent, the number of obese pets is growing. This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease costing pet owners millions in avoidable medical costs,” APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward said in a press release.

When the APOP conducted the same study in 2007, just 19 percent of cats and 10 percent of dogs were overweight. In fact, based on estimates, they found that approximately 50 million cats and 43 million dogs are believed to be overweight or obese. Whoa! That’s a lot of extra pounds.

Below is the full article found on www.petobesityprevention.com. I hope you enjoy. And don’t forget–you don’t need to show your love for your pet with treats. Love and affection can be shown WITHOUT a snack or two (or three or four).


Fat Pets Getting Fatter According to Latest Survey

(Calabash, NC – February 23, 2011)


Over Half the Nation’s Dogs and Cats Now Overweight Costing Pet’s Years and Owners Millions.

Obesity continues to expand in both pets and people according to the latest pet obesity study. The fourth annual Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study found approximately 53% of cats and 55% of dogs were overweight or obese. Preliminary data released from a nationwide collaboration with Banfield, the nation’s largest chain of veterinary clinics, reveals pet obesity continues to be a serious problem. APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward remarks, “This year’s data suggests that our pets are getting fatter. We’re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before.”

32% of cats in the preliminary sample were classified as overweight by their veterinarian and 21.6% were observed to be clinically obese or greater than 30% of normal body weight. 35% of dogs were found to be overweight and 20.6% obese. “While the general trend of overweight pets has remained fairly steady at around 50%, the number of obese pets is growing. This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease costing pet owners millions in avoidable medical costs.”

The group began conducting nationwide veterinary surveys in 2007 and has seen a steady increase in the percentage of pets classified as obese or at least 30% above normal body weight. In 2007, roughly 19% of cats were found to be obese by their veterinarian and in 2010 that number increased to almost 22%. For dogs, obesity rates escalated from just over 10% in 2007 to 20% in 2010. “One of the reasons we think the obesity rate for dogs has dramatically increased is due to a better understanding of what an obese dog looks like. Veterinarians also realize how critical it is to tell a pet owner when their dog is in danger due to its weight.” comments Ward.

Proof that pet obesity is an important topic among veterinarians is the fact that the nation’s largest group of veterinary clinics, Banfield Pet Hospital, joined APOP in this year’s study. “Banfield is committed to improving the health and well-being of pets—weight-related disorders are a major concern for us,” states Dr. Elizabeth Lund, a veterinary epidemiologist and Banfield’s Senior Director of Research. “Preventive care is at the core of Banfield’s mission and we are incorporating weight assessment and counseling into each patient visit.”

Increased awareness can help prevent serious injuries. “As a surgeon, many of the joint problems I treat are related to excess weight. If pet owners could keep their pet at a normal weight, many of these surgeries could be avoided.” remarks Dr. Steven Budsberg of the University of Georgia and past-president of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. “Even more important is the impact obesity has on joints and the arthritic changes that are often crippling. Many overweight pets experience severe joint pain that could easily be prevented by proper diet and exercise.”

Ward sums it up, “The bottom line with our annual surveys is that pets are battling excess weight just as their owners are. Our ultimate goal is to help pet owners better care for both themselves and their pets through better diet, exercise and lifestyle strategies.”

APOP Study Preliminary Data

133 adult cats

383 adult dogs

29 clinics representing 29 US states

average age of dogs 6 years, 2 months

average age of  cats 7 years, 4 months

Of the patients participating in the APOP survey on 10/13/2010, 35% of dogs and 31.6% of cats were overweight, while 20.6 and 21.8% were obese, respectively. Overall, 55.6% of dogs and 53.4% of cats were either overweight or obese.

From the initial dataset, 35% of dogs and 32.1% of cats were overweight and 20.6% of dogs and 21.6% of cats were obese. Overall, 55.6% of dogs and 53.7% of cats were either overweight or obese. 6.7% of cats were classified as “thin” or body condition score of 2. 5.2% of dogs were reported as BCS 2. No cats in the study were found to be “underweight” or BCS 1 while 0.26% of dogs were underweight.

Based on these initial estimates, approximately 50 million cats and 43 million dogs are believed to be overweight or obese.

More complete data analysis will be available in a forthcoming peer-reviewed veterinary medical journal.

Body Condition Score (BCS)

1 = Underweight, 2 = Thin but Normal, 3 = Normal, 4 = Overweight, 5 = Obese

Obese Cat – 19 pounds, Ideal weight 10 lbs.

Analogous to a 5’4” female adult weighing 276 lbs (131 lbs over maximum normal weight of 145 lbs) or 5’9” male weighing 321 lbs. (152 lbs. over maximum normal weight of 169 lbs)

Obese Dog – 48 lbs, Ideal weight 20-22 lbs.

Analogous to a 5’4” female adult weighing 317 lbs (172 lbs over maximum normal weight of 145 lbs) or 5’9” male weighing 368 lbs. (199 lbs over maximum normal weight of 169 lbs)

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