By Becky Frost
It’s summer! Time to go visit the grandkids or fly away to an exotic location and completely check out, right? Think again. You may be leaving town, but not likely your online life. Today we have many options – smartphones, tablets and laptops – to remain connected while on the road. But if you’re not careful, the need to stay plugged in could put your identity at risk.
Identity theft is a serious crime that affects young and old alike. It only takes one important piece of information for identity theft to start – a Social Security card, a driver’s license or a bank account statement, for example. Making the situation worse, victims may not realize the damage for years, making awareness all the more important.
Unfortunately the risk of having your identity stolen can go up dramatically when you take a trip. That’s because there are certain activities associated with vacation that can increase our online and offline vulnerability. However, there are measures you can take on and offline that will protect you and your family. We at Experian’s ProtectMyID® suggest you implement the following tips to keep your identity safe during vacation:
Get your Own: Consider a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot for your own or your family’s devices. You’ll need a local SIM data card, which is available at most electronic stores or even airport kiosks. This will help you avoid using public Wi-Fi Spots.
Don’t Welcome Hackers: If you use public Wi-Fi, be very cautious of using unsecured networks. According to a 2012 Norton Cybercrime report, more than two-thirds of online adults use a free or unsecured Wi-Fi network, giving hackers free access to the networks. Make sure you are logging into secured or private network when you use Wi-Fi. If you aren’t sure, don’t visit sites that contain sensitive information, like bank accounts.
Be Careful about Being Social: Using social media while you travel can be a great way to share your family’s trip but remember- checking in or posting pictures can alert someone that your home is vacant! Make sure to set your home alarm, hire a house sitter or maybe the best option is to delay posts until you are back home. If you DO really want to share these photos while you are on vacation- make sure to set your privacy settings to “friends” only. This will help limit the number of people who actually see these pictures.
Make Sure it’s Legit: Before logging onto a website from your mobile device, make sure the URLs are legit. There are plenty of URL spoof sites out there, created in order to steal your information. Unfortunately mobile browsers do not show the URL, so it is best to bookmark your favorite sites after you type in the address.
Guard your Social Networks. If you have a blog or social accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, use the highest security settings possible to ensure your information, posts and photos aren’t being leaked onto the Internet.
Use Strong Passwords. Use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols and punctuation to make your passwords harder to crack.
Protect your Mobile Devices. Losing your mobile phone, a tablet or laptop can be just as bad as losing your wallet. Be sure to protect your mobile devices with strong passwords and encryption. Consider installing wiping software on your mobile device so that you can remove your information remotely if your phone is lost.
Avoid Skimming: If you have to use an ATM during your travels, be sure that it is in a secure location, and whenever possible, use one stationed at a bank branch. Fake ATMs are known to have been placed in high traffic tourist areas. Shield your pin entry with your other hand to avoid shoulder surfers.
These tips are important to follow while on vacation but it’s important to keep them in mind when you are out and about at home. With electronic devices becoming smaller and smaller, everyone’s online activity continues to become more mobile every day. Therefore, it is recommended you implement the above guidelines in your everyday life at places such as the local coffeehouse, shopping mall or library where you may want to use your phone to search for something online or send someone a photo of something interesting you found while out shopping, etc. Technology continues to make life more convenient in so many ways, and understanding and being well informed about its risks and how to mitigate them is vital to help keep your identity private and safe.
Becky Frost is senior manager of consumer education for Experian’s ProtectMyID.
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By Debra Karplus
Hamilton County Indiana touts eight great towns, one destination. Noblesville, the county seat, and Carmel and Fishers are the largest of the towns. But you’ll also find interesting ways to enjoy the other five, Arcadia, Atlanta, Cicero, Sheridan, and Westfield. Situated north of Indianapolis off Interstate 465, a quick twenty minute drive will get you this mecca of nature, arts, music and galleries, dining spots, farmer’s markets, crafts and antiques, golf, shopping and more.
Fishers Indiana is definitely one if the eight great towns, especially for children
The town of Fishers is considered to be a family-oriented community. It was an old trading post and a railroad community. The Nickel Plate Railroad has been part of its growth and development. You definitely want to visit Fishers.
Be sure to bring your grandchildren because they’ll be enchanted with Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fisher located on Allisonville Road. Open year-round except Mondays, with longer hours from April to October for outdoor events, Indiana’s only Smithsonian Institute affiliate sits on 200 beautiful wooded acres to enjoy. It’s partnered with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Children’s admission is $10, seniors pay $14; if you plan to visit again, you may consider purchasing a membership.
You can easily spend a day at Conner’s Prairie. Prairietown 1836 is a fictional but historically accurate town that you and your grandchildren can experience. There are cows to milk and farm animals to pet. Helpful volunteers are quite knowledgeable and can answer most any of your questions. The 1859 balloon voyage allows young and old to go up in a hot air balloon, for an extra fee. Great for photos of the larger area, this balloon ride will be a memorable event for your grandchildren of any age.
When planning your visit to Conner Prairie, you’ll want to check their web site, connerprairie.org, to learn what special events might be scheduled. In June was the Bio Blitz where scientists swarmed the area to catalogue the biodiversity of plants and insects, gave presentations to visitors and answered questions. Around Halloween, many haunted Headless Horseman events are scheduled. During many summer evenings, the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie can be enjoyed. Prairie Conner Park has places to eat and also a gift shop.
Any time of year, you and your grandchildren will enjoy Hamilton County.
Noblesville, Fishers, and Carmel all have Farmer’s Markets selling local produce, handicrafts, and more. Don’t be surprised to be entertained with live music while sauntering through the market. The town square of Noblesville regularly features family-oriented events. Carmel’s City Center is defined by its Arts and Design District. There are about a dozen galleries for browsing or purchasing local art. The realistic-looking statues along the sidewalks of the Arts District will have you believing they are real, until you walk near them.
Carmel City Center also has a The Center for the Performing Arts, offering a wide variety of live entertainment for all ages, from Erth’s Petting Zoo and Beanstalk the Musical to Diane Ross and Arlo Guthrie. To see what other live music, theater, dance and child-oriented programs are scheduled, see thecenterfortheperformingarts,org.
There are many places to stay in Hamilton County.
Numerous reasonably priced motels exist in the area that are ideal for grandparents travelling with grandchildren. Possibly you have never stayed at a bed and breakfast. You may want to try the Prairie Guest House, prairieguesthouse.com, in Fishers across from Conner Prairie. The breakfast is delicious and there’s lots of outdoor space for the little ones to run around.
For more information about things to do in Hamilton County, check out Visithamiltoncounty.com.
Author biography: Debra Karplus is a licensed occupational therapist, teacher, and freelance writer specializing in travel writing for national magazines, a baby boomer, and grandmother of four. She lives in a Midwestern college town. She writes regularly for The Dollar Stretcher and has been published in Grand Magazine in the past and is a featured columnist. Learn more about her at http://debrakarplus.blogspot.com.
Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L
registered occupational therapist
Champaign, Illinois 61820
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By Grandfather, Dennis Miller
Are annuities the greatest thing since sliced bread?
Well, no, but they do make sense for some investors as part of their portfolio. However, we have to shop wisely and not allow sales agents to push us into the wrong products just to fatten their own wallets. Unfortunately, that makes some folks shy away from something that could help them make their money really last a lifetime… or longer.
After we published both a Money Forever premium issue on annuities and a special report (The Annuity Guide) last November, our team received an outpouring of emails, some sharing happy stories and others with sad tales; but most folks were just thankful for our objectivity and eager for more information.
So I decided to go back to Stan the Annuity Man, who helped us with the issue, for more input. We have no financial arrangement with Stan; he is just a really smart guy with years of experience in the industry, but I guess his name probably gives that away. We appreciate Stan taking the time to make sure we all understand annuities and how to shop smart.
Take it away, Stan…
Use Portion Control with Annuities
By Stan the Annuity Man
Assuming that an annuity is appropriate for you (more on that in a bit), the first question you should ask yourself is: How much should I allocate to any one, specific annuity? A word of advice: “how much” is not a question you want to ask an agent, because most live in a fantasy world of “one size fits all” and “let’s put it all in the annuity.” Common sense would tell you that, like every other investment, annuities should only be a portion of your portfolio.
As Dennis has mentioned before, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Annuities are no exception to this rule, and you should own or consider owning an annuity for its contractual guarantees only. Do not let an agent show you hypothetical or projected returns and try to sell you a dream.
I created an easy to remember acronym – “PILL” – that tells you if an annuity might be right for you. In my world, if you don’t need to find solutions for the issues below, then you probably don’t need an annuity.
- P is for principal protection
- I is for income for life
- L is for legacy
- L is for long-term care
Notice that growth is not one of the issues an annuity addresses. Even though 75% of all annuities sold annually (over $200 billion worth) are high-fee variable annuities, I am a firm believer that annuities are not growth products. Indexed or hybrid annuities offer such limited growth that it’s comical. Load variable annuities offer limited investment choices in most cases, with an average annual fee of over 3%. No load, no fee variable annuities are growing in popularity because of tax-deferred growth, but you have to be able to properly manage the funds yourself… or hire someone to do it for you.
“P” Is for Principal Protection
The majority of annuities I recommend address the risk of outliving your money. No one wants to outlive their money, and annuities are the only product that will pay you regardless of how long you live. Most people I talk to think that if you die early, the insurance company will keep the balance. That is not true, and it is not how you should structure a policy. I always recommend the contract pay for life and leave 100% of any unused money to your listed beneficiaries.
With this lifetime income plan, you have no money at risk, and you are literally making a bet with the insurance carrier that you will live longer than they project you will. If you live to 125, the carrier will have to pay you. If you die early in the contract, all of the money will go to your family, and the insurance company doesn’t keep a penny. It’s really that simple.
“I” Is for Income for Life
I can give the insurance company the premium, and it will pay me for the rest of my life. Should I die before my monthly payments have exceeded the premium, the balance is returned to my beneficiaries. As Dennis mentioned in The Annuity Guide, in the worst-case scenario you end up lending your money to the insurance company interest-free for the period over which you collect payments. That is the tradeoff for knowing you have income for the rest of your life.
There are two ways to use annuities for lifetime income: You either need income now or income later. Income now is only solved with a single premium immediate annuity. Don’t let an agent try to convince you otherwise by recommending a variable annuity or indexed annuity, because they are factually and mathematically incorrect and only thinking about the commission.
Immediate annuities provide the highest contractual payout of all annuities, and can be set up jointly with your spouse. You also can add an annual cost-of-living percentage increase to the policy as well, even though this decreases the initial payout. If your family has a history of longevity, this contractual cost of living increase might be worth considering.
Immediate annuities used within your IRA can provide a lifetime income stream while offsetting your required minimum distributions (RMDs). When used outside of an IRA, an immediate annuity will provide tax advantages because a portion of your income stream will be excluded from taxes. Single premium immediate annuities have no annual fees and pay the lowest commission to the agent. That combination translates into “good for the client.”
If you need income later, there are two strategies to consider: longevity annuities; and income riders that are attached to deferred annuities. Longevity annuities are actually deferred immediate annuities with an enhanced payout at the time you declare the income to start. Longevity annuities can be structured exactly like an immediate annuity as described in the paragraphs above.
Income riders provide the same type of income later, but with a little more flexibility. This attached benefit provides a guaranteed percentage of growth during the deferral years that you can use for lifetime income down the road. The key point to remember with an income rider is that you can only use it for income, and you cannot access the money and that high percentage of growth in a lump sum. Agents tend to blur the line with this fact in the hope that you will believe you are receiving yield that just isn’t there.
These strategies for income now and income later – in conjunction with your other sources of income – should solve your basic overhead and expense problems. I call this “stacking income.” Along with Social Security payments, pension payments (if you are so lucky), dividends, rental income, and/or RMDs, etc., annuities can help fill in the gap right now or down the road.
For example, if your monthly expenses are $7,000 and your current income can only cover $5,000, then you can make up the $2,000 difference for the rest of your life with a single premium immediate annuity. Or you could project rising costs in the future and allocate money to a longevity annuity and have the income start at a specific date down the road. Because these strategies for income now and income later are contractual, you can plan to the penny how much your lifetime income stream will be.
Because interest rates are at historically low levels, you do have to factor this in to any current allocation decision involving annuities. Just like you probably have done with bonds or CDs, consider laddering your annuities – what I call “lifetime income laddering.” For example, if you wanted to allocate $500,000 to a lifetime income strategy, it might make sense to buy an immediate annuity in $100,000 increments over a five-year time period. Even if rates don’t move, the contractually guaranteed payouts will be higher each year because you will be older and your life expectancy will be shorter. If interest rates rise as you age, you will get even more bang for your buck and a higher payout.
“L” Is for Legacy, and Long-Term Care
The “transfer of risk” aspect of annuities works the same if you’re planning for long-term care or to leave legacy gifts to your beneficiaries. Long-term care annuities should only be used as a supplement to – not a replacement for – traditional long-term care policies. Legacy annuities provide protection of principal while guaranteeing an annual growth (5-6%) that can be left to your listed beneficiaries. Remember that annuities should always solve specific problems.
There are a few important questions you need to ask when considering annuities as part of your portfolio:
- How much risk am I willing to shoulder myself?
- How much risk do I want to transfer?
- What specific problem am I trying to solve? Lifetime income? Legacy giving? Long-term care?
- What is the specific dollar amount that I want contractually guaranteed?
When I worked with Dennis’ team on the November issue of Miller’s Money Forever and The Annuity Guide, we put together great tools for smart annuity shopping. A prudent buyer will always read the fine print, do the math, and understand exactly what he’s buying before he signs on the dotted line.
A good agent will help you run the numbers and understand the exact costs of what you are buying. Don’t let any agent push you into a buying something you don’t understand. I am a strong believer that an investor is better off with no annuity than with one not specifically tailored to his needs.
As Dennis mentioned earlier, annuities are not the greatest thing since sliced bread, so to speak. They are, however, pure transfer-of-risk contracts. Adding the right annuity to your portfolio can be a good step toward achieving your retirement goals.
Annuities, when allocated properly, can be just that simple.
Hi, Dennis here again. Before you start asking for quotes on annuity products, you’ll want to do some homework. As you can see from Stan, you don’t want to enter into an annuity contract without fully understanding why you want an annuity and which might be best for you.
To help you get started we’ve put together an easy-to-read report called Annuities De-Mystified. You’ll find our 8-point checklist to find out if an annuity is even right for you, our 9-point plan showing you what to look for when buying an annuity, and an important overview of the risks associated with annuities all within the pages of this timely, must-read report. Click here for your free copy today.
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By Laura Nikolovska
Did you know that more than 73% of car seats are not used or installed correctly? In an effort to reduce misuse and confusion, KID has compiled some of the most common questions we get about car seat use and installation and asked Jess Choi, Coalition Coordinator for Safe Kids Chicago for an expert’s answers.
Question: How do I know if my car seat is safe to use with my grandchild?
Answer: The first step in using a car seat safely is to make sure it has not been recalled. At NHTSA.GOV (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) you can search for car seat recalls by brand name and model. Once you enter this information, you will be provided any recalls, product investigations, complaints and service bulletins that are associated with your seat. If your product has been recalled, follow the instructions provided under the recall tab. For all other child product recalls, visit CPSC.GOV and select recalls or call the toll-free consumer hotline at (800) 638-2772.
To continue to stay safe on the go, sign up for child seat recall updates through NHTSA’s recall notification system. If you select Child Restraints, NHTSA will email you every time a child seat is recalled. The website also has a child seat inspection station locator where you can locate installation experts by location.
Also, be sure to follow NHTSA’s 4 Steps to Child Passenger Safety to make sure your grandchild is using the correct restraint.
Question: Why do car seats expire?
Answer: Car seats are made of plastic and Styrofoam. Both of these materials degrade over time, but when they are placed in a car, they break down even faster. Our cars are exposed to very hot and very cold temps, so the plastic on the car seat is expanding and shrinking during those temperature changes. After 6 years, you should replace the car seat unless the manufacturer says otherwise. An expired seat probably won’t keep your grandchild safe, because it could break apart during a crash.
Question: Does it matter what direction the car seat is facing?
Answer: Yes, very much! Babies should be rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old,but even longer is better. Babies and toddlers have bigger heads in proportion to their bodies than older kids do, and their necks aren’t as strong and fully developed as older kids.
First, select the right seat for your grandchild based on their age and size. Babies and toddlers can use a rear-facing only infant seat, or they can use a convertible seat (just make sure to check the height and weight requirements to see if your grandchild fits). A convertible seat is one that can be used rear-facing and forward- facing. Keep your grandchild rear-facing until they reach the upper height and weight limits of their convertible seat.
When they outgrow the rear-facing position, it’s time to turn them forward (but not before age 2). Once your grandchild is forward-facing, make sure to use the top tether strap, in addition to the seat belt or lower anchors when you install the seat.
Question: Is the car seat a safe place for a baby to sleep if there is no other sleeping environment available (crib, play yard, etc)?
Answer: No, car seats aren’t a safe place for baby to sleep. Car seats are at an exact angle when they are properly installed in a vehicle, but they don’t stay at that angle when you bring the car seat inside. Because of this, baby’s airway might not stay open when you bring the seat inside. Remember that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a bare crib that meets the current safety standards.
If you have your hands full when you come in, place the baby’s car seat on the floor while you put your bags down. Remember never to place the car seat on the couch or on a bed or crib– the car seat can tip over, and baby’s face can be pressed into the soft mattress or couch.
Question: How do I know if my car seat is properly installed?
Answer: First, take the time to read the manual that came with your seat, and then look through your vehicle manual in the child safety seat section. Follow the directions and make sure your grandchild’s seat is installed nice and tight, it shouldn’t move more than 1 inch at the belt path. Make sure your grandchild’s seat is installed at the correct angle, based on the instructions. Rear-facing babies need to be at a 30-45 degree angle, and this differs with each seat. This angle is really important for newborns and young infants, because it keeps their airway open. Forward-facing kids usually need to travel in an upright position, but some seats allow a semi-reclined position as well. Each seat is different, so always read the manual.
Another great way to make sure your grandchild’s seat is installed correctly is to find a child passenger safety technician to take a second look for you. They will help educate you on your child’s seat, and show you how to use it correctly. One of the reasons car seats are so hard to install correctly is because of the many variations of car interiors and restraint systems, so having it installed by a technician is the best way to go. To find a CPST, please go to Cert.Safekids.org, then scroll down to Get Your Car Seat Checked. Click on Find a Tech, and then you can enter your city and state. Please contact any of the individuals or organizations on that list. You can always call or email Jess at Safe Kids Chicago or call her at 312-227-6696 if you are having any trouble finding someone near you. We’ll do our best to help connect you.
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(Editor’s Note: Grandparents are always looking for fun new ways to improve the lives of their grandchildren. We want to share experiences and expose them to nature and history. A trip to the Marorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Florida fills that need and more).
By Florida Department of Environmental Protection
We’re heading through another summer and perhaps feeling restless listening to the hum of the air conditioner and the chatter on television. Why not tackle a project with a uniquely Florida twist? Read a beloved novel set in Florida and then plan a camping trip around it.
In 1938, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings published her classic coming-of-age novel, “The Yearling.” The story of a boy and his pet fawn in the Florida backwoods won a Pulitzer Prize. Help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the novel’s publication by visiting the area that also inspired Rawlings’ other classic novel, “Cross Creek” (1942).
Visit the author’s homestead at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park north of Ocala. Walk through the restored farmyard and the citrus grove that surrounds the cracker-style home. It’s easy to view the home’s interior from the outside, but guided tours inside the home are offered Thursdays through Sundays, October through July. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This literary landmark does not have camping facilities, but other state parks in the area do offer campsites that allow you time to explore the area where Rawlings found so much beauty and inspiration.
North of the Rawlings homestead is the 22,000-acre Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park with a rich array of habitats for wildlife and livestock including bison and wild horses. Eight trails are open for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and fishing is available on LakeWauberg. A boat ramp is provided for canoes and boats with electric motors. Paynes Prairie Preserve offers primitive and equestrian camping, as well as a full-facility campsite that accommodates tents, trailers and RVs.
Cool off with a canoe trip on the Santa FeRiver at O’Leno State Park northwest of Gainesville, which retains its 1930s charm as a Civilian Conservation Corps project. The CCC was formed by President Franklin Roosevelt to combat unemployment during the Great Depression. Canoes and bicycles are available for rent, and the park offers swimming, fishing and miles of hiking and biking trails. O’Leno State Park has primitive and full-facility campsites.
Mike Roess GoldHead BranchState Park, east of Gainesville, which also was developed by the CCC in the 1930s, is set on rolling sand hills where marshes, lakes and scrub provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Sand hill cranes and bobwhite quail are common in the area. Visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, canoeing and hiking. The park offers primitive and full-facility camping, as well as rustic and modern cabins.
East of Ocala is SilverRiverState Park, where you can canoe on the SilverRiver. You can hike or bike the miles of trails, or sign up for guided trail rides on rented horses. Swimming and fishing are prohibited on the river, but rental canoes are available. The river originates at Silver Springs, which has been a private attraction for more than 100 years but will merge with SilverRiverState Park this fall. The park offers full-facility camping as well as 10 heated and cooled cabins.
Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon began as a privately held tourist attraction in the 1930s. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the headsprings where you also can swim, picnic and snorkel. Be sure to visit the historic gardens and the butterfly garden, and bring your binoculars for some outstanding birding. The park has a newly renovated full-facility campground on the RainbowRiver. Fishing and swimming are popular at the campground, and canoe rentals are available.
It’s easy to plan camping trips online by visiting www.FloridaStateParks.org. You can find extensive information about each park including amenities, maps and pet policies. Reservations for state park cabins and full-facility campgrounds can be made up to 11 months in advance by calling Reserve America at (800) 326-3521 or TDD (888) 433-0287 or online at http://FloridaStateParks.ReserveAmerica.com. Reservations for primitive and group facilities must be made directly with the individual park.
You also can plan your trip on your smartphone. Download the free Pocket Ranger® Florida State Parks app for on-the-go information. The mobile app is available on iTunes, Android Market and at http://www.PocketRanger.com.
Also keep in mind that senior citizens receive a discount of one-half off the base-rate camping fee. Visit the Florida State Parks website for details.
Scan this code with your phone to see a video about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Cross Creek, or visit http://goo.gl/F5tDF.
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By Jonathan Micocci – GRAND Magazine Car Reviewer AKA – Grandpere
I should probably have recused myself when asked to review the Mazda Miata MX5. After all, I’m massively biased in favor of cars that are fun to drive at the expense of utility. So biased in fact, my favorite ride is a single seat race car that serves no useful purpose whatsoever.
Of course I accepted the challenge because I love fun cars more than journalistic objectivity and besides, I wanted to know how this third generation Miata stacks up against earlier models.
Mazda rolled out the Miata in 1989 as a niche vehicle, a pure sports car in the tradition of the British and Italian roadsters many of us grew up lusting after if not owning. In fact, 1st Generation Miata styling was an unsubtle forgery of the Lotus Elan, but unlike the Elan, it could reliably be started up and driven. Handling was razor sharp and enthusiasts flocked to the dealer.
So after 24 years, had the company compromised as most have? Was this beautiful little skateboard morphing into a pudgy luxo GT with a pudgy luxo sticker price? The car is not cheap but I can report that it has remained true.
Our copy was the Club version which has performance trim, bigger wheels and a striking color scheme; mid-life-crisis-red bodywork with black accents. Curb weight has experienced some inflation, from 2,150 lbs in 1989 to 2,500, but that’s still lean by current standards and likely those gains were invested in crash protection.
The 2.0L four up front puts 167 hp through a six speed close ratio manual – really close ratio…five gears might be ok – and through a limited slip differential out back. Combine this with ultra-quick perfectly weighted steering and braking that is both powerful and easily modulated….you have a tremendously engaging driving experience. Plenty of power for fun but not so much as to distract from the go-kart handling.
Comfort and Convenience? Enough for the purpose. This is a driver’s car and gadgetry is not a priority. It’s a bit noisy at speed with the top up but in seconds you can drop the top and be in glorious open air. It’s probably still noisy but you can’t hear it over the wind. Drive down the coast like this on a bright sunny day and you will envy nobody nowhere. Note; this joy is reserved for a maximum of two people who travel light. Most cars can be stuffed with stuff almost indefinitely if needed. Not this one.
True story; I’m turning the Miata north on 1-95 a couple of miles from the Daytona Speedway, reflecting on some exciting moments there and thinking about what a fun little race car the MX-5 would be, only to look over and spot a race-prepped Miata on an open trailer going south! Somebody with the right idea.
This car is so popular as a club racer because the stock machine is a doll to start with. Mazda has stayed true to the vision and been rewarded by the market, creating the best-selling roadster of all time. For a driving enthusiast, it’s all good news.
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In this installment of Gramma Good, we discuss bicoastal families and how to stay close despite the distance.
Hi Gramma Good: My grandchildren live on the opposite coast. I miss them dearly. Any ideas of how I can still have a close relationship with them?
Hi Opposite Coast: I also have children living far away from me. I feel how you feel. I often say to myself, “Why did Orville and Wilbur Wright invent the airplane!” It took my grandchildren away! Now that they have moved I say, “Thank goodness for Orville and Wilbur! I can now visit!” It is important to establish a relationship with the little darlings when they are little.
Visual contact across the miles can be accomplished. Skype, a service that offers video chat, with your children and have your grandchildren on their laps. Personal contact at an early age can also be accomplished.
Be ‘gramma the babysitter’ when your children take a vacation. As your grandchildren grow older and you have established the above you can add emailing. I have done this and have files of emails. It establishes a relationship across the miles and is a wonderful way of sharing feelings and storing priceless communications. Phone calls are also a way to establish a relationship, and I am the one who calls. I am the initiator. I make the effort.
Another way is through texting. Often I send a text saying, how r u, or I love u or I miss u. I get immediate responses. That forms a connection.
Traveling with older grandchildren is a wonderful way of bonding. The key: it is not important how much time you spend with your grandchildren. It is the quality of time. I can personally attest to that. When I see my grandchildren it is like I never left them. Love and happiness flow from gramma to grandchild and from grandchild to gramma.
Do Something GOOD today: We have all suffered unpleasant experiences, both large and small. We often need help with an answer from an outside source. Let Ask Gramma Good be this source. If you have a question for Gramma Good, ask here.
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