Trail Mix – Hayley Sabella

first_imgI have never been so interested in a press release before.So interested, in fact, that I didn’t even open it. I didn’t read it. I knew I could read it online, so I just looked at it and then propped it on my desk, near my computer, for future enjoyment. See, this particular press release was sealed, with wax, like some medieval parchment, or a message sent clandestinely from the worlds of Tolkien or Martin.I had never gotten anything like that before and I sort of geeked out.Admittedly, it was a cool touch from Hayley Sabella, a singer/songwriter from the Boston area. I am in love with her new record, Forgive The Birds, which drops later this month. Her voice is magical and the tunes on the new record, her second release, are spiced with both quiet introspection and sing-along hooks.Hayley and I recently chatted about a number of things, including growing up a bit nerdy, the new record, and a rather unfortunate introduction to skiing.BRO – I loved the wax seal on your press release. Too nerdy to say I felt like I had gotten a message via raven from King’s Landing?HS – I am so happy to hear that feedback! I wanted to make it special somehow, and I’m glad it stood out. Even though I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, I grew up assuming every parent read Lord of The Rings to their kids, so I am not one to point a finger when it comes to that brand of nerdiness.BRO – What’s the last song that gave you goosebumps?HS – I think it was when I was listening to The Tallest Man on Earth’s latest EP, the one he did with yMusic. I have a weakness for orchestra-meets-folk music. Adding a string quartet and an oboe to fingerpicking is an instant chills-factory for me.BRO – We are featuring “Turn Around” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?HS – “Turn Around” is coming from a place of angst that most of us New Englanders can relate to this time of year – begging the weather gods to turn from winter to spring.BRO – I caught some pictures on your Instagram feed. You in a walking boot. Some broken bone x-rays. You feeling better?HS – I am feeling better, thankfully. Still rocking the boot and crutches until the end of April. But I am getting stronger and more flexible every day.BRO – Recent ski mishap aside, if our readers are looking for some slope time up your way, where should they head?HS – I am sad to say that this was my first time skiing! I was really getting the hang of it and feeling like I could eventually live the life of a ski bum. Until I saw bone coming through skin. The idea of whirling down an icy hill makes me a bit nauseous at the moment. But my roommates are huge skiers and they love Sugarbush in Vermont. Come to find out, they have great doctors on staff, which is a bonus!Hayley’s tour schedule is a bit quiet now as she is recuperating from that busted leg. Fans in Plymouth, Massachusetts, can catch her on April 29th at The Spire Center. Until then, here’s hoping Hayley is on the mend and up and at it soon.For more information on Hayley Sabella, the new record, and her tour schedule, be sure to take a look at her website. And while you are surfing around, take a listen to “Turn Around,” along with new tracks from Lindsay Lou, Western Centuries, and Charley Crockett on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

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Estonia set to overhaul €4.4bn second-pillar system

first_imgEstonia is set to become the latest eastern European country to scale down its second pillar pension system.Membership of the €4.4bn system is to become voluntary and the level of the country’s state pension is to be raised as part of the coalition agreement struck in April between the Centre Party, Conservative People’s Party of Estonia and Isamaa.When the second pillar was introduced in 2002, it was mandatory for those above the age of 18 and voluntary for workers above the age of 60, an option which stopped at the end of 2010.It is funded by diverting 4% from Estonia’s employer-funded state pension tax, alongside an additional 2% of salary from workers. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, TallinnThe bill is still to be published. If passed by the Estonian parliament, the second-pillar change would take effect at the start of 2020.While returning the employer-funded portion of second-pillar contributions to the first pillar would boost the state system, there have been inter-party disagreements about when the pensions rise would take effect, as the government has no way of knowing how many workers will take up the option.As of mid-August the second pillar had a membership of around 738,000 – around three quarters of the total labour force – and assets of €4.4bn.Weak performanceOne of the government’s rationales for the reform was the system’s relatively low investment returns, a long-standing criticism of all Estonian retirement vehicles.According to the OECD, as of the end of December 2018 the annual real rate of return fell to a loss of 5.5%, from a loss of 0.1% the previous year.The real annual average performance over the 15 years to end 2017, net of expenses, was a loss of 0.2%.Meanwhile management fees – although cut by a third at the start of this year – remain among the highest in the OECD.The second-pillar system has also experienced issues with its payout system, which is mostly done through lifetime annuities. This has proven expensive as only three insurance companies provide such products.Opponents voice concerns#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# The government plans to allow second-pillar members to suspend existing contributions and transfer existing savings to a personal investment account, in which profits are reinvested tax-free into further assets, while withdrawals are subject to income tax.center_img Credit: Rainer SüvirandTallinn, EstoniaCritics of the proposed reform, including the Estonian central bank and the International Monetary Fund, have warned that the changes could result in lower pensions for future generations. They have urged the government to focus on solving the system’s issues rather than dismantling it.Kristjan Tamla, CEO of Swedbank Investment Funds, said changing the mandatory funded pension system “has been presented under the slogan of ‘giving people wider choice in managing their pension savings’, though in reality what has leaked from the plans emphasises the possibility of withdrawing pension savings before retirement”.“The inevitable consequence of future lower old age benefit levels has never been mentioned,” he added.Tamla heads a pensions working group set up by the trade body FinanceEstonia earlier this year. One of its two main proposals was to ensure that the pension system did not end up with lower savings.“Instead, we have advocated and proposed a number of options to increase savings via, for example, occupational pensions, which are currently totally absent in Estonia,” Tamla told IPE.“The second is to reduce the current excessive administrative burden of pension funds. This has made it expensive to operate the current system and has created a barrier to increased competition.”last_img read more

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