Is Our Advice Useless?

When I first started my newsletter Retirement Millionaire in 2008, I told readers that my goal was to share a "better way to live, work, travel, save, and take care of yourself."

And I've dedicated the last seven years to that goal.

I – along with my Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team – spend my time reading and reviewing the latest news and research on topics ranging from finance to medicine and everything in between.

But our solutions aren't always perfect. And sometimes, we just don't have an answer to a problem.

Last week, we told readers that one way to avoid getting scammed this holiday season was to add their phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. One reader wrote in to tell us that the registry doesn't work.

Last month, we warned readers to "Be Careful With Prostate-Cancer Testing" due to the high percentage of false alarms thanks to the unreliability of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. This had a reader asking what our recommendation is for a better alternative to PSA screening.

Today, we'll explain why the National Do Not Call Registry isn't perfect and explain our view on PSA screening.

Have you used any of our advice? Or do you have advice to share? Let us know at [email protected].

Q: Just wanted to let you know, though, that the National Don't Call List doesn't work. I've joined it twice and still receive all the calls. When I remind the callers that I'm on the list, they just say, "I'm sorry." They're not sorry, because they're supposed to check the list before calling, and it's obvious that they don't because there is no enforcement and they could care less. It's been a waste of time signing up for that list. – M.A.

A: This is something we've heard a bit from our subscribers – why recommend the Do Not Call list when it doesn't work?

The answer is very simple – it does work... on most sales calls. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has seen an increase in the number of calls since 2009. The reason – new technology has allowed scammers and telemarketers to "spoof" numbers. That means they can make their number appear on your caller ID as coming from anywhere in the world. Worse, they also use robots to call numbers and use these fake numbers, meaning they can make even more calls than a human.

There are a few options to cut down on more calls. First, call your phone company and see if it allows you to block numbers. If one particular number keeps calling you, have the phone provider block it (there may be a fee for this). If the calls are coming to your cell phone, try a call-blocker program (you can see a list here).

If you continue to get sales calls and you are on the registry, do NOT interact. Don't talk to them and don't push any buttons. If they say something like "push 2 to remove your number from our call list," do not push anything. Any interaction will mark you as an "active" participant and put your number on even more lists.

Instead, hang up and report the number to the FTC right here. The FTC has sued hundreds of illegal telemarketers for ignoring the Do Not Call list. And although the number spoofing used today makes it much harder to track down the culprit, the more reports the FTC gets, the easier it will be to catch the criminals.

Finally, there is an option to take your case to small claims court. If you can prove a company called you more than once over a 12-month period after you requested it not or if your number appears on the Do Not Call list, you can sue the company. It looks like you can get about $500 in damages, which may not be enough to cover court costs, but it would be a win for personal privacy. Whatever you do, make sure to screen your calls. Do what I do and use caller ID as much as possible.

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Q: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted a draft research plan on screening for prostate cancer:

As I'm sure you're aware the USPSTF is the organization responsible for the recommendation against prostate cancer screening which you agreed with in your Retirement Millionaire June 2015 Issue # 79. Their May 2012 recommendation reads: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer.

What is your replacement for the PSA test? – L.T.

A: Right now, there's no good replacement for prostate-specific-antigen screening. There are alternatives in progress, but none that are ready for the masses.

The problem with PSA tests is that they can do more harm than good. Let me explain...

PSA tests are notorious for giving false-positive results because benign factors can cause elevated PSA levels. Inflammation, infection, recent ejaculation, and even riding a bike can increase your PSA levels.

Studies show the PSA screening is unlikely to reduce your chance of dying from prostate cancer – most men die of something else because of the disease's extremely slow progression. A positive PSA test can also lead to overtreatment. The treatments for prostate cancer can lead to worse side effects than the cancer itself... including impotence and heart problems.

It's important to remember that despite its ominous reputation, prostate cancer is a slow-moving disease. Most men who've been diagnosed die of something else. And you can live a long and happy life with prostate cancer.

However... if you have any of these six symptoms, you may have developed a more aggressive form of the cancer or your condition may have progressed enough to warrant treatment. The six danger signs are...

  • Frequent urination
  • Hesitancy with urination
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Burning with urination
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Stiffness in the upper legs

If you're exhibiting any of these symptoms... make an appointment with your doctor for a prostate exam today.

And a family history of prostate cancer always urges caution – if you have a family history of prostate cancer, get a screening as well.

Q: Really enjoy all the tips you send out, but had to correct you on one point. The freedom pass for the national parks is for people over 62... not 65 as you said. Plus, I got mine at a national park for only $10, and saved the processing fee.

Thought I could save YOU some money for a change. Keep up the great work!! – R.A.

A: You're right. The age to qualify for a Senior Pass is 62. And if you pick up your pass in person (instead of getting it mailed), you can save $10 on the processing fee. Thanks for pointing out the error and giving us another great savings tip.

Here's a list of all the locations you can pick up a national park pass:

Q: Is there an archive of past Dailies? – S.M.

A: You can find an archive of our issues at

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