Advantages of Hiring a Personal Driver

Whether you are going on a road trip with your family, a business trip or temporarily unable to drive due to any medical condition, hiring a personal driver or chauffeur is a great idea compared to renting a car and doing all the paperwork related to insurance, liability and gas. It is no longer practiced only by the affluent sections of the society but even middle class people because of the various advantages associated with it.

The greatest advantage of hiring your own personal driver is that you still get to use your own car and are in control of the quality and condition of the vehicle. You know the history of the car, have all the necessary documents regarding the car's registration and maintenance and can fill the amount of gas you require. Renting a car or limo along with a driver can be very expensive. But by hiring a professional driver, you can get his services at a fraction of the cost, and also travel within the comfort of your own car. It also eliminates the need of hiring an expensive cab.

The chauffeur's job is to drive the car for you and show you around the city, which is extremely helpful if you do not know the place well. It saves time because you do not have to keep searching for any particular location or accommodation, as the driver usually has the knowledge of every important area in a place. He will come right to your doorstep and drop you at your destination. You no longer have to search for parking and run late for your appointment because your personal driver will take care of that. After your work is done, the driver will drop you back home in your car.

Another benefit of hiring a chauffeur is that you can relax and enjoy the drive and your vacation without having to worry about driving the car. This is especially helpful if you have kids, elders and other family members because you can concentrate on having fun with them without being stressed about driving the car throughout the journey. Personal drivers are particularly trained to drive for long distances and are more accustomed to it. Instead of stopping at the motel in the night because you are sleepy, your driver can continue to drive in the night while you can take a short nap, thereby saving money and shortening your travel time.

If you are traveling alone, it gives you a sense of safety to have a driver in the car. Most chauffeurs are trained for basic car emergencies so if the car breaks down, you are not alone and there will be someone to help you. Their personal background and driving history is also thoroughly checked and so you can rely on them to drive you safely. It is also a great idea to hire a personal driver if you are going to a party which involves drinking. You can have a fun night with your friends and not worry about driving, which is a responsible thing to do, benefiting both you and other people on the road.

Posted in general | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Advantages of Hiring a Personal Driver

The Top Five Advantages of Getting a Warranty Direct from the Warranty Provider

When seeking an extended vehicle warranty for your car, truck, or SUV, you have several options. You can purchase the plan offered by the car dealership, or you can choose a third party provider. You might think that the plans offered are the same, but they're not. Many times, a third party warranty provider can offer you a better deal than you would find at the dealership. Here are five advantages of buying your extended warranty from a warranty company versus an vehicle dealership.

You'll save money – many vehicle dealerships offer extended warranty plans at retail prices, which can be quite a bit more than the plans you'll find with a third party provider. By purchasing your extended vehicle warranty direct from a warranty provider, you'll cut out the middleman and save money!

Expertise is also a factor. While car dealerships are knowledgeable in the area of ​​selling vehicles, they're not necessarily the most informed provider of extended warranties. By dealing directly with a warranty company, you'll get the benefit of expert advice from people whose job it is to know about extended warranties.

Special features are also a benefit. Often, the extended warranties offered by car dealerships are more limited than the ones you'll find from a direct warranty provider. Some warranty providers simply offer better coverage and features like roadside assistance, which you may not get from a car dealership.

Variety is another feature of dealing with a direct warranty provider. There will most likely be a larger assortment of plans to choose from than you would get with your vehicle dealership. Some warranty plans charge deductibles, some do not. Some cover parts only, some cover parts and labor. Still others cover both mechanical breakdown as well as wear and tear. This is the kind of plan you want – with the rising costs of labor, you'd end up spending quite a bit if labor was not covered under your plan!

Convenience is another benefit of dealing directly with an automotive warranty company, especially if you happened to purchase your vehicle out of town. There are warranty companies that exist at physical locations, and warranty companies that are strictly online. By purchasing a plan online, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle. After all, who does not enjoy the convenience of shopping for a warranty plan from the comfort of their own home? Plus, with online providers, you will not be dealing with pressure from salespeople.

There are many reasons why you might want to choose a direct extended warranty provider rather than purchasing one from your car dealership. However, when choosing an extended warranty provider, do your research and make sure the company you're dealing with has a satisfactory history of customer service. The last thing anyone wants is to get ripped off by a shady warranty provider!

Posted in general | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Top Five Advantages of Getting a Warranty Direct from the Warranty Provider

Boat & Vessel Title Insurance – Protecting Your Watercraft Investment

Just as real estate titles are subject to record errors, preexisting liens and other encumbrances, vessel and boat titles may have hidden problems which can pose a liability to new vessel owners. The best way for buyers of watercraft vessels, yachts and boats to protect themselves from these liabilities is to purchase title insurance. Agencies which provide this kind of insurance perform thorough investigations of title histories to ensure the vessel title is in "good opinion". Vessel title insurance also ensures vessel owners financial protection in the event of a lawsuit or other financial losses due to complications with the title.

Why Do Watercraft Vessels Need Title Insurance?

There several types of problems which can occur on boat titles. Buyers of vessels are usually unaware that any of these problems exist – until they are slapped with an ownership lawsuit or fees associated with prior liens. Insurance agencies hire underwriters and title attorneys to investigate the title's chain of ownership to uncover these problems – and resolve them – before the sale occurs.

Common problems associated with yacht and vessel titles include:

Fraud. Forged or fraudulent documents can occur at any point in ownership history. Vessel brokers or previous owners sometimes attempt to sell vessels under false titles, defrauding both the vessel mortgage lender and the new owner. In some rare cases, the mortgages in the vessel's ownership history may be revealed as fraudulent. Additionally, watercrafts may be registered with both the US Coast Guard and the State, allowing vessels to carry more than one "valid" title. Multiple titles can precipitate multiple mortgages for which the vessel owner can be held responsible.

Ownership disputes. Even though a vessel owner carries a valid Certificate of Documentation and Federal boat registration, he or she may still be subject to ownership disputes. These documents do not have the ultimate authority to determine ownership; only the yacht or vessel's underlying contract can determine ownership. If the vessel title's underlying contract is drafted on fraudulent documents, the buyer's ownership could be rendered void.

Preexisting mortgages or liens. The new owner of a watercraft is held responsible for any unpaid taxes, unresolved mortgages and unpaid contract work associated with a vessel's title, even if he or she was not privy to them at the time of purchase.

Watercraft buyers may ask for a title opinion before finalizing the sale. While a good opinion provides some assurance against disputes, vessel title opinions and abstracts may not always be reliable. Erroneous records, improper documentation, fraud and human error can lead underwriters to draft faulty title opinions. The only way for the buyer of a yacht or boat to protect him or herself against these complications is to purchase vessel title insurance.

How Does Boat Title Insurance Protect Me?

In addition to performing a thorough investigation of the vessel's ownership history before the sale is complete, title insurance companies provide financial compensation in the event of a lawsuit. Vessel title insurance typically covers the cost of legal defense against attacks on the vessel's title; additionally, insurance will provide compensation for any financial or asset losses caused by a faulty title.

Posted in general | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Boat & Vessel Title Insurance – Protecting Your Watercraft Investment

Study: My Understanding of Wellness

Facing the Facts that Parents Do Get Old and How to Handle the Situation

We might avoid thinking of this, but we have to face the fact that one of these days our parents will not be able to fend themselves, from climbing stairs, driving, changing their clothes, or even feeding themselves. It would pain us to think of what will happen with our parents in the future, but we need to be strong and face reality so we can be prepared to help and give them a comfortable and safe conditions in the remaining days of their lives. Here are the following suggestions that you can follow in order to face this unavoidable future condition of your parents.

No children would like to talk about the end of the days of their parents, how much more talking about it. In fact, having an in-depth discussion with parents about matters like living arrangements when they retire, inheritance, their long-term care, funeral wishes and so on, are not done by around 75% of children. But, it is also a fact, that not only are the children who are avoiding this so-called big talk, but spouses with ages 50 and above also have not talk with each other about these matters.

This old age matter of parents could be the so-called elephant in the room, meaning as the most difficult yet very important topic that you and your family have to do and face. It is a sad reality that our parents could be fine today and all of a sudden the following day would need a great amount of care and understanding from us, so it is advisable to be more prepared so as to minimize the stressful condition of the whole family.

This kind of discussion with the family cannot be done just out of the blue, but rather, it is advisable to have a family meeting with your parents and siblings to prepare everybody with the conditions, from financial to feelings. The most difficult part during the family meeting is the thought that you are discussing the days when you will not have your parents in your life sooner than later, and thus it is better to make the agenda as less intense as possible, like saying that the goal of the meeting is to know what dad and mom would need and their wishes as they retire, or something to that effect.

There are some guidelines from a professional source on what to prepare and conduct a family meeting with this kind of agenda. First suggestion is for everybody in the family personally present during the meeting, not chatting or sending emails, so that you have an honest feedback from each one. Other suggestions would be to have ready each one’s questions in advance so there is no rush in getting thoughts, give full attention to each one talking during the conversation, and write all the important matters agreed upon for future references.

Posted in Legal | Comments Off on Study: My Understanding of Wellness

Case Study: My Experience With Resources

Things You Need to Know About Nursing Home Neglect

It is not really an easy decision to send our beloved elder to a nursing home. And it is very important that we find a nursing home that can provide the best service possible. It is our responsibility to find a nursing home that has a very stable, safe, and caring environment. If you search on the web, you will discover that there are countless of nursing homes today that are willing to accept or receive your loved one. But you need to know that not all nursing homes or assisted living home which you will encounter on the web can provide you top-notch quality service. Keep in mind there are nursing homes out there that can violate the rights of your loved one or can commit nursing home neglect. That is why it is very important that you take the time to consider some few things first before choosing a particular nursing home.

In order for you to find the best nursing home out there and avoid nursing home neglect, you need to make sure that you don’t make rushed decisions when choosing an institution or establishment. It should be your goal to find a nursing home that has a staff that provides the residents excellent level of attention and does everything they can in order for the elders to become happy and healthy. Bear in mind that you need to double check the credentials and the background history of the nursing home before you send your loved one there.

You need to know that nursing home neglect is a serious issue and it should be avoided at all costs. There are some reports wherein the nursing home committed nursing home neglect, like missing a day’s medication, and as a result, the elder died. Another common sign of nursing home neglect is when an elderly acquired bed sores. If you think the assisted living home or the nursing home has committed nursing home neglect to your loved one, then you need to make sure that you take action quickly and decisively. You need to know that the nursing home will face serious repercussions and entitled to pay a compensation if they are proven to have committed nursing home neglect.

There are companies or lawyers out there who specializes in nursing home neglect. Make sure that you contact them if you believe that your loved one has become a victim of nursing home neglect. Research can go a long way and it is very important that you do it in order for you to find the best nursing home out there. You always need to double check whether or not that nursing home or the assisted living home has committed nursing home neglect before you send your loved one there.

Posted in Legal | Comments Off on Case Study: My Experience With Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Health

A Guide To Maintaining A Healthy Body During The Golden Years Of Your Life

Although we all grow old eventually, it does not mean we have to embrace the deterioration of our health. Each and everyday, we encounter all kinds of information on how to get a healthier body and have a longer life. This makes us question if can a human being really stay healthy for a long period of time and eventually grow old fitly?

What Are The Changes That Our Health Undergoes Over The Years?

Lets face it, our health changes rapidly as we age, and the older we become the more likely these changes appears. These changes occurs discreetly that they can take place without us knowing it. Both mental and physical aspects in our health are the components of these changes. First and foremost, a person’s metabolism rate gradually drops off. The rate at which a person’s body burns calories differs depending on their age, the older person burns calories slowly while the younger one burns calories quickly. This practically means that the older we become, the lesser we need food energy compared to when we were still young. Sexual function deficiencies also takes place to us as we grow old. There is also a tendency that we become unable to attain prolong focus on things we do as well as becoming slower and more forgetful. These symptoms are considered the secondary products of the chronic disease dementia.

Sad to say, as we grow old our body is not as efficient as it was when we were younger. The efficiency of the functionality of our vital organs lessens. Take for example the kidney, its function of cleaning the water in our body becomes less efficient. Moreover, our heart’s health will also experience a constant decline as we age.

What Measures Can We Take To Improve Our Health While We Age?

Know that there is no time limit as to when we will start to invest for our future especially in our health. It means that if we are going to invest in our health early, then the rewards will come early as well.

It is of utmost importance for us to remain physically active. Having regular exercise will prove to be of great help if we are to maintain a physically and mentally fit body. With an active lifestyle, we will be as energetic as we were during our younger years and we will not be prone to depression as well. Exercise also promotes socialization to older people enabling them to easily get in touch with the other members of the community. Walking and going to the gym provides opportunity for old people to socialize while exercising at the same time. But before you go starting your exercise regime, be sure that you are going to consult your doctor to make sure it is the regime suited for you.

Suggested Post: more tips here

Posted in Legal | Comments Off on The Ultimate Guide to Health

A 10-Point Plan for Tips (Without Being Overwhelmed)

Why You Should Care for Your Seniors

There are a great number of senior citizens out there that are not really being taken care of because no one really has time to care for them. You may have work and therefore you have to go out of the house and you can not be with them. If you are someone who really wants to care for your senior at home but you do not have time to watch them, you have come to the right place because today we are going to talk about nursing homes for seniors so without further due, let us begin.

If you have ever heard of nursing homes before, you know that these places take care of all seniors and people who need care and love. There are many people today who do not really treat their seniors well so it would be best for these people to take them to senior or nursing homes because they can really feel better there. It would be a really good idea to bring them to a senior home so that they can be watched over by the staff there. Of course not a lot of people wold want to take their seniors to a nursing home but this can actually benefit them and their seniors as well. Leaving seniors at home can be really dangerous because you may not know if they are already suffering from something; at least if they are at a nursing or a senior home, you know that there is always someone watching over them.

Another thing that you can do if you really do not want to try the nursing home for your senior is that you can hire a care taker to watch over them while you are away. If you do not want your senior to be away from your house in a senior home, hiring a specialized care taker for seniors will really do the job for you. Of course you have to be careful that these care takers are really good ones and ones that will not abuse your dear seniors. This is actually what a lot of people do instead of taking their seniors to nursing homes or senior homes because they feel that it can be safer and they can always go back home to their seniors when they are done with work; it can also be cheaper because you only hire one person to look after your senior so that can save you some money for extra things that you can buy.

Posted in Legal | Comments Off on A 10-Point Plan for Tips (Without Being Overwhelmed)

What You Should Know About Tips This Year

Things To Remember When Caring For Aging Parents

It is true that every year, there are many people that are struggling with taking care of their aging parents. Many people thinks that this task is difficult but with careful planning and a bit of effort, these things can be simplified. It is when these things comes that most of the time, caregivers will be overwhelmed with the situation and started hating it which can start the issue. It is these things that are considered as not a rare case as many families area also experiencing this one. But you have to know that the solutions to these problems are not as complicated as yo think.

It is crucial that you will be planning and be thinking ahead the moment that you will be taking care of your aging parents. It is by planning ahead that you will be able to create simple easy steps so that your aging parents will not find it hard to do their everyday choirs. One thing that you can do is to prepare small meal portions the night before so that the mid-day meal the next day will not be so hectic. You can try cutting vegetables in small portions the day before s that it will be easier the next day. Removing food items from their packaging beforehand will make it a lot easier for elderly individuals to access them and that is one thing that you have to do as well.

In red to make sure that you will be there to do the activities that your parents love to do, all you have to do is to synchronize your schedule so that you can do it together with them. You can also find senior social groups that can accommodate your parents if you will not be able to find time due to your busy schedules. Since your parents will feel independent when they are in these groups, the end result is that they will not feel be feeling any guilt about what they are going through.

It is not really far from happening that you will not be able to handle the task of taking care of your parents, your job, and your own family all at the same time. The moment that this thing will occur, then you must recognize that you will be needing an assistance. It is when you will be needing help that it might be hard to accept. Feeling more stressed and being less effective in providing care what will happen most likely the moment that you will not be asking for help.

It is help that you will get with the local retirement facility or home care that you gave in your community. The moment that you will do these, then you can get past the emotional stress and just enjoy your time with your aging parents.

Suggested Post: http://wellbeing-support.com/

Posted in Legal | Comments Off on What You Should Know About Tips This Year

Various Benefits Of Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

Suffering a serious injury due to someone else's negligence can be very traumatic. It not only requires to be hospitalized, but also make you lose time at work. The law allows you to bring a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injury. To make sure that you are properly represented in your injury and insurance case, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

The sooner you hire one after an injury, the sooner you can be assured that you will get good legal support to fully recover your resources. Whether you were involved in a car or an auto accident or injured on the job, hiring a personal injury lawyer will be in your best interest. There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer, including:

Experience – Most of these lawyers have experience with similar cases. They have good knowledge of the law, insurance tactics and previous case history will help you in saving a lot of time and research. An experienced professional can guide you through all the options and the entire legal process.

Free Consultation – Most of these professionals offer free consultation to prospective clients. They can offer you an expert legal opinion about the merits of your claim. You can take a list of questions along with you while going for a consultation to get greater insight into your claim.

Higher Settlement Amount – You will never know whether the compensation offered by the insurance company is fair or not without a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer by your side. He will know how much your claim is worth and will fight to get you that amount. He knows about the documents and medical records required to maximize the value of a claim.

Contingency Fee – Most of these professionals work on a contingency basis, which means you do not owe them any fees, if they will not win for you. They will have to be paid out of the settlement amount, so no payment is required up front.

Representation in Court – These professionals are aware of the litigation process and know well how to file and defend motions or take depositions. They can represent you fully as they are aware of the court rules and procedures.

Saves Time – A personal injury lawyer can handle the medical reports, investigative reports, talk to the doctors and communicate with the insurance adjusters, thereby saving you time and efforts.

Personal injury and insurance laws are very complex. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Posted in general | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Various Benefits Of Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid – What RE Investors Should Know

There are 3 major drugstore chains in the US: Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. Below are some key statistics about the 3 major drugstore chains as of 2012:

1. Walgreens ranks first with market cap of $ 28.51 Billion, $ 72.2 Billion in 2011 total revenue ($ 45.1B from prescription revenues), and an S & P rating of A. According to Walgreens, 75% of the US population lives within 3 miles from its stores . In April 2010, it acquired 258 Duane Reade drug stores in New York Metropolitan area which brings a total of 7841 drug stores Walgreens operates as of February 2012, including 137 hospital on-site pharmacies.

2. CVS ranks second with market cap of $ 56.56 Billion, $ 107.1 Billion in revenue ($ 40.5 Billion from CVS prescription revenues and $ 16.1B from its Caremark prescription mail order revenue), and an S & P rating of BBB +. As of December 31, 2011, CVS operates 7404 drug stores.

3. Rite Aid ranks third (fourth, behind Walmart in terms of prescription revenues) with market cap of $ 1.49 Billion, $ 26.1 Billion in revenue ($ 17.1B from prescription revenues), operates 4714 drug stores as of February 2011 and has an S & P rating of B-.

Investors purchase properties occupied by these drugstore chains for the following reasons:

1. The drugstore business is very recession-insensitive. People need medicine when they are sick, regardless of the state of the economy. Both rich and poor people in the US have access to medicine. Some even argue that low-income people use more medicine due to free or low-cost drugs offered by government-assisted programs. So the tenants should do well during tough time and have money to pay rent to landlords.

2. The drugstore business has a good prospect in the US:

· People are living longer and need more medicine to sustain longevity, eg Actonel for osteoporosis, Aricept for Alzheimer's symptoms. Older people tend to use more medicine than younger ones as they often have more medical problems. As the 78 million baby boomers are getting closer to retiring age starting from 2008, the drugstore chains anticipate the demand for medicine to increase in next 20 years.

· The drug market continues to expand as the US population continues to grow. More and more Americans suffer from various diseases. The number of Americans suffers from seasonal allergies doubled in the last 15 years to 37 million people per Fortune magazine. They spent $ 5.4 Billion in 2009 for allergy drugs. As their waist lines balloon (75% of Americans are forecasted to be either overweight or obese by 2020), more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, along with high cholesterol at younger and younger ages. In addition, doctors also recommend treating various diseases sooner than later due to better understanding about the diseases. For example, doctors now prescribe antiretroviral drugs for patients soon after infected with HIV virus instead of waiting for the infection to become AIDS. More doctors combine insulin with oral medicines to treat type-2 Diabetes instead of just oral medicines alone. All these factors increase the size of the drug market.

· Advance in genetic engineering has introduced various new genetic DNA testing kits which allow the genetic diagnosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and disorders. Genetic testing is currently the highest growth segment in the diagnostics industry. Some of these genetic tests will probably transform into direct-to-consumer testing kits available in drug stores in the near future.Upon FDA approval, these new products will potentially bring in additional revenue for drug stores.

· Using a new method of tailoring molecules called structure-based design; drug companies come up with new medicines that they might not have discovered otherwise, eg Xalkori by Pfizer to treat lung cancer.

· The passage of Health Care Reform Bill on March 23, 2010 provides insurance coverage to an estimated 33 million more American. This is a great present to the drugstore industry.

· There are new drugs to treat previously untreatable illnesses, and new diseases, eg Viagra for men's unhappiness, Avastin for colon cancer, Herceptin for breast cancer ,. The new medicines are very expensive, eg a year's supply of Avastin costs about $ 55,000. Eli Lilly has sold about $ 4.8 billion of Zyprexa in 2007 for schizophrenia and yet most people have never heard of this medicine.

· There are existing drugs now approved to treat new illnesses and thus increase their sales revenue. For example, Lyrica was originally intended to treat pain caused by nerve damagein people with diabetes. It is now approved by FDA to treat Fibromyalgia which affects 5.8 million Americans per WebMD.

· Big advances in genetics, biology and stem cells research are expected to produce a new class of drugs to treat diabetes, Parkinson's and various rare genetic disorders. For example the new drug Ilaris from Novartis targets genetic causes of an inherited disorder that there are only 7000 known cases worldwide. However, Novartis hopes to gradually broaden its drugs to a blockbuster drug to more common disorders caused by similar genetics.

· Technology and modern life introduce and require new products, eg pregnancy test kits, Lamisil for stronger clearer toe nails, Latisse for longer & thicker eyelashes, Propecia for male hair loss, Premarin for menopausal symptoms, diabetic monitors, electronic toothbrushes, contact lenses, lenses cleaners, diet pills, vitamins, birth-control pills, IUDs, nutrition supplements and Cholesterol-lowering pills (Americans spent nearly $ 26B in 2006 on Cholesterol medications alone per IMS Health, a Connecticut-based consulting company that monitors pharmaceutical sales.)

· Before the customers can get to the medicine aisles or pharmacy counters, they have to pass by chocolates, sodas, digital cameras, watches, toys, dolls, beers and wines, cosmetics, video games, flowers, fragrances, and greeting cards. Drug stores hope you use the one-hour photos services there. The stores also carry seasonal items, eg Halloween costumes, and "As Seen on TV" merchandise, eg Shamwow. As a result, customers buy more than their prescriptions and medicine in these drugstores. CVS reported that non-pharmacy sales represented 30% of the company's total sales in January of 2007. The figure for Walgreens is 34% and 37% for Rite Aid. Many pharmacy locations are in effect convenience stores especially ones that are in residential or rural areas. And so Walgreens hopes that customers also pick up WD-40, and screwdrivers at its stores instead of at Home Depot; Thai Jasmine rice, and fish sauce to avoid a trip to Safeway or Kroger Supermarkets. During the recession, sales of these non-drug items are down as customers buy what they need and not what they want. Walgreens tries to reduce the number of items by 4000. It also introduces its own private label which has higher profit margins.

· There are more and more generic medications on the market as a number of enormously popular brand-name blockbusters lose their 20-year long patents, eg Lipitor (best selling drug in the world to lower cholesterol) in 2010, Viagra (you know what it's for) in 2012. Drugstores prefer to sell generic drugs to customers due to higher profit margins than the brand-name medications.

· Many people are addicted to pain killers, eg Hydrocodone / Oxycodone. Per the DEA in 2012, there are 1.5 million American addicted to cocaine but 7 million addicted to prescription drugs.

· This author estimates that at least 10% of the dispensed prescription drugs are not used at all and sit idle in the medicine cabinets. They are eventually expired and thrown away.

3. These companies sign very long-term NNN leases, guaranteed by their corporate assets. This makes the investment in the underlying property fairly low risk, especially for Walgreens with a S & P "A" rating. In fact, these properties are sometimes referred to as investment-grade properties. Once the drugstore chains sign the lease, they pay the rent promptly and timely. This author is not aware of any properties leased by one of these drugstore chains in which the tenants failed to pay rents. Even when the stores are closed due to weak sales (Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007), these companies may sublease the properties to other companies, eg Advance Auto Parts and continue to pay rents on the master leases.

· A typical Walgreens lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 8-10 five-year options. During primary term and options, there will be no rent increases in most of the leases. This is the main disadvantage of investing in Walgreens drugstores.

· A typical CVS lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-5 five-year options. The rent is normally flat during the primary term and then there is a 2.5% -10% rent increase in each 5-year option.

· A typical Rite Aid lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-8 five-year options. The lease often has a rent increase every 5-10 years.

Investment Risks

Although the pharmacy business in general is recession-insensitive, there are risks involved in your investment:

1) The main downside about investing in pharmacies is there is little or no rent bump for a long time, eg 20-50 years, especially for Walgreens. So the rent is effectively reduced after inflation is factored in. This is one of the main reasons these properties do not appeal to younger investors, especially when the cap rate is low.

2) The 3 drugstore chains now have a new formidable competitor, Walmart. Walmart sells prescription drugs in more than 4000 Walmart, Sam's Club and Neighborhood Market stores in 49 states. As of 2012, Walmart is the third largest drug retailer with $ 17.4B in prescription sales, just ahead of Rite Aid with $ 17.1B in prescription sales. The retail giant is known for launching in 2006 a highly-publicized $ 4 generic prescription drug program which now sells 350 generic medications for a 30-day supply. The actual number of medications is less as the medications with different strengths are counted as different medications. For example, Metformin 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg are counted as 3 medications. Walmart probably makes very little profits on these medications if any. However, the marketing campaign – created by Bill Simon, the President and CEO of Walmart US, generates a lot of publicity for Walmart. Walmart hopes to draw customers to its stores with other prescriptions where it has higher profit margins. In an unscientific survey with just one brand-name prescription of Lyrica, this author finds the lowest price at Costco, the highest price at Walgreens and Walmart at the middle. Other drug chains try to counter Walmart in different ways. Target now offers the same 350 generic medications for $ 4 for a 30-day supply. Walgreens has a Prescription drugs club with membership fee which offers 1400 generic medications for as little as $ 1 / week. CVS says it will match any offers from its competitors.

3) Chief Business Correspondent Rick Newman from US World & News Report predicted that Rite Aid might not survive in 2009. Rite Aid is still around in 2012. The prediction seems to go away in 2012 as Rite Aid as it was able to refinance the long terms debts and sales revenue has increased.

4) Drugs are also sold in thousands of supermarkets, Target stores, and Costco warehouses. However, there are no drive-through windows at these stores or Walmart to conveniently drop off the prescriptions and pick up medicines. Customers will not be able to pick up their prescriptions during lunch hour or after 7PM at Target stores or supermarkets. They need to have membership to buy medicines at Costco. Others may not fill their prescriptions at Walmart because they do not want to mingle with typical Walmart customers who are in lower income brackets. And some baby boomers do not want their prescriptions filled at Target or Walmart because there are no comfortable chairs for them to sit down and wait for their medicines.

5) Drugs retail business to some degree is controlled by the Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). Customers normally get prescription coverage from their health insurance companies, eg Blue Cross. These PBM manage prescription benefits on behalf of the insurance companies. In 2012 Walgreens lost a contract valued at over $ 5 Billion with Express Scripts, a major PBM. Walgreen revenue was immediately fallen in the first quarter of 2012 as Express Scripts customers can not fill their prescriptions at Walgreens. The PBMs are also in the drugs retail business via mail orders which do not require leasing expensive retail spaces. The prescription mail orders currently capture over 20% market share of the total prescription revenue. Should customers change their prescription purchase habits to mail orders (there is no such evidence in 2012), it could have negative impact to the business of drugstore chains.

6) Many leases in areas with hurricanes and tornadoes are NNN leases with the exception of roof and structure. So if the roof is damaged, you will have to pay for the expenses.

7) The tenant may move to a new location down the road or across the street when the lease expires. This risk is high when the property is located in small town where there is low barrier for entry, ie lots of vacant & developable land.

8) The tenant may ask for rent concession to improve its bottom line during tough times. The possibility is higher if the tenant is Rite Aid and if the store has low sales revenue and / or higher than market rent.

9) More Americans are walking away from their prescriptions, especially the most expensive brand-name medicines. This may have negative impact on the sales revenue and profits of drug stores and consequently may cause drug store closures. According to Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solution, a health-care data company, nearly 1 in 10 new prescriptions for brand-name drugs were abandoned by people with commercial health plans in 2010. This is up 88% compared to 4 years ago just before the recession began. This trend is driven in part by higher and higher co-pays for brand name drugs as employers are shifting more insurance costs to their employees.

Among 3 drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in general have the best locations-at major intersections while Rite Aid has less than premium locations. Walgreens tends to hire only the top graduates from pharmacy schools while Rite Aid settles with bottom graduates to save costs. When possible, all drugstore chains try to fill the prescriptions with generic medications which have higher profit margins.

1) Walgreens: the company was founded in 1901 by Charles Walgreen, Sr. in Chicago. While the company has existed for more than 100 years, most stores are only 5-10 years old. This is the best managed company among the three drugstore chains and also among the most admired public companies in the US. The company has been run by executives with proven track records and hires the top graduates from universities. Due to its superior financial strength – S & P A rating– and premium irreplaceable locations, properties with leases from Walgreens get the highest price per square foot and / or the lowest cap rate among the 3 drugstore chains. In addition, Walgreens gets flat rent or very low rent increases for 20 to 60 years. The cap rate is often in the low 5% to 6.5% range in 2012. Investors who buy Walgreens tend to be more mature, ie closer to retirement age. They are looking for a safe investment where it's more important to get the rent check than to get appreciation. They often compare the returns on their Walgreens investment with the lower returns from US treasury bonds or Certificate of Deposits from banks. Walgreens opened many new stores in 2008 and 2009 and thus you see many new Walgreens stores for sale. It will slow down this expansion in 2010 and beyond and focus on renovation of existing stores instead.

2) CVS Pharmacy: CVS Corporation was founded in 1963 in Lowell, MA by Stanley Goldstein, Sidney Goldstein, and Ralph Hoagland. The name CVS stands for "Consumer Value Stores". As of 2009, CVS has about 6300 stores in the US, mostly through acquisitions. In 2004, CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd Drugstores mostly in Texas and Florida. In 2006, CVS bought 700 Savon and Osco drugstores mostly in Southern California. And in 2008 CVS acquired 521 Longs Drugs stores in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona for $ 2.9B dollars. The acquisition of Long Drugs appears to be a good one as it CVS did not have any stores in Northern CA and Arizona. Besides, the price also included real estate. It is also bought Caremark, one of the largest PBMs and changed the corporation name to CVS Caremark. When CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd stores, it formed a single-entity LLC (Limited Liability Company) to own each Eckerd store. Each LLC signs the lease with the property owner. In the event of a default, the owner can only legally go after the assets of the LLC and not from any other CVS-owned assets. Although the owner loses the guaranty security from CVS corporate assets, this author is not aware of any incident where CVS closes a store and does not pay rent.

3) Rite-Aid: Rite Aid was founded by Alex Grass (he just passed away on Aug 27, 2009 at the age of 82) and opened its first store in 1962 as "Thrif D Discount Center" in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It officially incorporated as Rite Aid Corporation and went public in 1968. By the time Alex Grassstepped down as the company's chairman and chief executive officer in 1995, Rite Aid was the nation's largest drugstore chain in terms of total stores and No. 2 in terms of revenue. His son, Martin Grass, took over but was ousted in 1999 for overstatement of Rite Aid's earnings in the late 1990s. Rite Aid is now the weakest financially among the 3 drugstore chains. In 2007, Rite-Aid acquired about 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd drugstores, mostly along the East coast to catch up with Walgreens and CVS. In the process, it added a huge long term debt and is the most leveraged drugstore chain based on its market value. The integration of Brooks and Eckerd did not seem to go well. Revenue from some of these stores went down as much as 20% after they change the sign to Rite Aid. In 2009, Rite-Aid had over 4900 stores and over $ 26 Billion in revenues. The figures went down in 2010 to 4780 stores and $ 25.53 billion in revenue. On January 21, 2009 Moody's Investor Services downgraded Rite Aid from "Caa1" to "Caa2", eight notches below investment grade. Both ratings are "junk" which indicate very high credit risk. Rite Aid contacted a number of its landlords in 2009 trying to get rent concession to improve the bottom line. In June 2009, Rite Aid successfully completed refinancing $ 1.9 Billion of its debts. In 2012, Rite Aid benefits from Walgreens contract problem with Express Scripts. Same store sales increased 2.2%, 3.2%, and 3.6% for January, February and March of 2012, respectively. Rite Aid is still losing money in fiscal year 2012 which ended in March 3, 2012. However, it is losing less, $ 0.43 per share in 2012 versus $ 0.64 per share in fiscal year 2011. The company expects better outlook in fiscal year 2013.

Things to consider when invested in a pharmacy

If you are interested in investing in a property leased by drugstore chains, here are a few things to consider:

1. If you want a low risk investment, go with Walgreens. In stable or growing areas, the degree of safety is the same whether the property is in California where you get a 5.5% cap or Texas where you may get a 6.5% cap. So, there is no significant advantage to invest in properties in California as the property value is based primarily on the cap rate. In 2012, the offered cap rate for Walgreens seems to come down from 7.5% -8.4% in 2009 to 5.5% -6.5% for new stores.

2. If you are willing to take more risk, then go with Rite-Aid. Some properties outside of California may offer up to 9% cap rate in 2012. However, among the 3 drug chains, Rite Aid has 10.5% chance of going under in 2010. Should it declare bankruptcy, Rite Aid has the option to pick and choose which locations to keep open and which locations to terminate the lease. To minimize the risk that the store is shuttered, choose a location with strong sales and low rent to revenue ratio.

3. Financing should be an important consideration. While the cap rate is lower for Walgreens than Rite Aid, you will be able to get the best rates and terms for Walgreens.

4. If you are not a conservative investor or risk taker, you may want to consider a CVS pharmacy. It has BBB + S & P credit rating. Its cap rate is higher than Walgreens but lower than Rite Aid. Some leases may offer better rent bumps. On the other hand, some CVS leases, especially for properties in hurricane areas, eg Florida are not truly NNN leases where landlords are responsible for the roof and structure. So make sure you adjust the cap rate down accordingly. Some of the CVS locations have onsite Minuteclinic staffed by registered nurses. Since this clinic idea was introduced recently, it's not clear having a clinic inside CVS is a plus or minus to the bottom line of the store.

5. All 3 drugstore chains have similar requirements. They all want highly visible, standalone, rectangular property around 10,000 – 14,500 SF on a 1.5 – 2 acre lot, preferably at a corner with about 75 – 80 parking spaces in a growing and high traffic location. They all require the property to have a drive-through. Hence, you should avoid purchasing an inline property, ie not standalone and property with no drive-through windows. There is a chance that these drugstores may not want to renew the lease unless the property is located in a densely-populated area with no vacant land nearby. In addition, if you acquire a property that does not meet the new requirements, for example a drive-through, you may have a problem getting financing as lenders are aware of these requirements.

6. If the pharmacy is opened 24 hours a day, it is in a better location. Drugstore chains do not open the store 24 hours day unless the location draws customers.

7. Many properties may have a percentage lease, ie the landlord can get additional rent when the store's annual revenue exceeds a certain figure, eg $ 5M. However, the revenue used to compute percentage rent often excludes a page-long list of items, eg wine and sodas, tobacco products, items sold after 10 PM, drugs paid by governmental programs. The excluded sales revenue could account for as much as 70% of store's gross revenue. As a result, this author has seen only 2 stores in which the landlord is able to collect additional percentage rent. The store with a percentage rent is required to report its annual sales to the landlord. As an investors, you want to invest in a store with strong gross sales, eg over $ 500 per square foot a year. In addition, you also want to check the rent to revenue ratio. If the figure is in the 2-4% range, the store is likely to be very profitable so the chance the store is shut down is low.

8. It does not matter how good the tenants are, avoid investing in declining, eg Detroit and / or low-income areas or small towns with less than 30,000 residents within 5 miles ring. In a small town, it may be the only drug store in town and captures most of the market share. However, if a competitor opens a new location in the area, revenue may be severely affected. In addition, the tenant can always moves to a new location down the road when the lease expires since there is low barrier to entry in a small town. These properties are easy to buy now and hard to sell later. When the credit market is tight, you may have problems finding a lender to finance these properties.

9. Many properties have an existing loan that the buyer must assume. If you have a 1031 exchange, think twice about buying this property. You should clearly understand loan assumption requirements of the lenders before moving forward. Should you fail to assume the existing loan (assuming an existing loan is a lot more difficult than getting a new loan), you may run out of time for a 1031 exchange and may be liable to pay capital gain.

10. With few exceptions, drugstore chains do not own the stores they occupy for several reasons. Here are just a couple of them:

– They know the pharmacy business but do not know real estate. Stock investors also do not want Walgreens to become a real estate investment company.

– Owning the real estate will require them to carry lots of long term debts which is not a brilliant idea for a publicly-traded company.

11. About 10% of the drugstore properties for sale and typically CVS pharmacies require very small amount of equity to acquire, eg 10% of the purchase price. However, you are required to assume an existing fully-amortized loan with zero cash flow. That is, all of the rent paid by the tenant must be used to pay down the loan. The cap rate may be in the 7-9% range, and the interest rate on the loan could be attractive in the 5.5% to 6% range. Hence, the investor pays off the loan in 10 to 20 years. However, you have no positive cash flow. This requires you to come up with outside cash to pay income tax on the rental profits (the difference between the rent and mortgage interest). The longer you own the property, the more outside cash you will need to pay income taxes as the mortgage interest will get less and less toward the end. So who would buy this kind of property?

– The investors who have substantial losses from other investment properties. By acquiring this zero cash flow property, they may offset the income from the drugstore tenant against the losses from other investment properties. For example, a property has $ 105,000 of rental profits a year, and the investor also has losses of $ 100,000 from other properties. As a result, the combined taxable profits are only $ 5,000.

– The uninformed investors who fail to consider that they have to raise additional cash to pay income taxes.

Out of the Box Thinking

If you put too much weight on the S & P rating of the tenants, you may end up either taking a lot of risks or passing up good opportunities.

  1. A Good location should be the key in your decision on which drug store to invest in. It's often said a lousy business should do well at a great location while the best tenant will fail at a lousy location. A Walgreens store that is closed down later on (yes, Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007) is still a bad investment even though Walgreens continues paying rent on time. So you do not want to blindly invest in a drug store simply because it has a Walgreens sign on the building.
  2. No company is crazy enough to close a profitable location. It does not take rocket science to understand that a financially-weak company like Rite Aid will make every effort to keep a profitable location open. On the other hand, a financially-strong Walgreens will need justifications to keep an unprofitable location open. So how do you determine if a drug store location is profitable or not if the tenant is not required to disclose its profit & loss statement? The answer is you can not. However, you can make an educated guess based on the store's annual gross revenue which is often reported to the landlord as required by the percentage clause in the lease. With the gross revenue, you can determine the rent to income ratio. The lower the ratio, the more likely the store is profitable. For example, if the annual base rent is $ 250,000 while the store's gross revenue is $ 5M then the rent to income ratio is 5%. As a rule of thumb, it's hard to make a profit if this ratio is more than 8%. So if you see a Rite Aid with 3% rent to income ratio then you know it's likely a very profitable location. In the event Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, it will keep this location open and continue paying rent. If you see a Rite Aid drug store with 3% rent to income ratio offering 10% cap, chances are it's a low risk investment with good returns and the tenant will most likely to renew the lease. The weakness of corporate guaranty from Rite Aid is probably not as critical and the risk of having Rite Aid as a tenant is not really that significant.
  3. Drug stores with new 25 years leases tend to sell at lower cap, eg 6-7% cap on new stores versus 8.0-8.5% cap on established locations with 5-10 years remaining on the lease. This is because investors are afraid that the tenants may not renew the leases. Unfortunately, lenders also have the same fear! As a result, many lenders will not finance drug stores with 2-3 years left on the leases. The fact that drugstores with new leases have a premium on the price means they have potential of 20% depreciation (buying new at 6% cap and selling at 7.5% cap when the leases have 8 year left). Some investors will not consider investing in drug stores with 5-10 years left on the lease. They might simply ignore the fact that the established stores may be at irreplaceable locations with very strong sales. Tenants simply have no other choices other than renewing the lease.
Posted in general | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid – What RE Investors Should Know