In the same way aging is a part of life, so is keeping up your health. Whether your regular doctor has retired, you’ve moved to a new area, or you need additional doctors to treat specific conditions, there are some helpful questions to pose to a new doctor as a senior citizen. Read on to find out how to evaluate your new physician.
“WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?”
It’s never a bad idea to get a sense of how your doctor ended up where they are. Ask them up about their college years and what drew them to medicine. Find out if they’re board certified or their opinion on the doctor-patient relationship. In addition to inquiring about their educational background, you can find out more about their areas of specialty. You may find a sense of comfort knowing that your current physician spent time working in the ER.
“HOW WILL THIS FIT INTO MY CURRENT CARE PLANS?”
If this new doctor is a specialist, it’s important to understand how their treatment will integrate with the care you currently receive. Will you still see your primary care doctor, or are they taking over? Do they communicate or confer with your other doctors? Are there any interactions – either from medications or treatments – that you should be aware of? They’ve undoubtedly been briefed on your care up to this point, so don’t hesitate to ask they provide a clearer picture of how their care will impact your day-to-day life.
“AM I ON THE RIGHT MEDICATIONS?”
When we think of doctors prescribing medications, we generally imagine these decisions as infallible. However, mistakes do happen. According to studies, preventable medication errors affect 7 million patients each year. Even if a prescription doesn’t lead to adverse effects, there may be better options that exist for a specific condition or set of illnesses. It never hurts to ask for a second opinion, especially when your health and healthcare are changing.
“WHAT ARE YOUR OFFICE POLICIES?”
No one likes waiting around at the doctor’s office. These delays are not only irritating, but they can cause serious concerns about the physician’s dedication or attention. A new study found that 1 out 5 patients have switched doctors due to long wait times, and the same research showed that 30% of patients have actually physically left an appointment after being stuck in the waiting or exam room. It’s helpful to understand the setup of a new doctor’s office.
Some specific questions to ask are:
All these questions will help to set a reasonable expectation for your visits.
In younger years, heading to the doctor was usually reserved for being sick. But as we grow into those all-important golden years, healthcare becomes not a luxury but a necessity. If you’re preparing to see a new doctor or begin a search for a better one, keeping these five questions handy can be helpful in making sure you find the best care possible.
Case Study: Dave and Joyce bought life insurance when they were younger to protect their childrens’ futures. Joyce lost her battle with cancer last year and the kids are all grown. Dave no longer needs his coverage. Dave’s investment advisor told him he could sell his unwanted life insurance policy for an immediate cash payment. Dave sold his life insurance policy and used the proceeds to pay off medical bills and check off a few boxes on his bucket list.
In the scheme of things, one of the most significant twelve-hour periods in a year occurs on the first Tuesday of November-- from six a.m. to six p.m. in most of the United States – Election Day. For this half-day in the majority of our fifty states, from dawn to dusk, a series of important events are put into motion that affect our future and our very existence.
For many years, it was my duty and honor as well as my job to play a role in the process of electing various officials to city, county, state and national offices. In those years, I helped elect, through advertising and public relations, men and women who would serve as our leaders. As I reflect on those campaigns, they assume even more responsibility today than I had imagined since I was engrossed in day to day operations involved in the election process.
Please understand, I knew the importance of our efforts at those critical times, and was certainly not alone in the electioneering . Often, there were many people who were engaged in campaigning. In fact, the process required dozens of professionals and well as volunteers. However, it was easy to become personally enamored with the personalities of those seeking the various offices, becoming emotionally carried away, as we toiled through the hours of meetings, polling, slogans, production sessions and arguments that were always a part of every election.
All of our efforts culminated in one twelve- hour period. The weeks, months and in some cases, years of toil boil down to half a day in November. In the earlier days of my campaigning, most often the investment in time was not matched with dollars spent. Even the most important Mayor, Congressional and Senatorial races didn’t generate even close to the millions of dollars invested today. In a number of campaigns for Mayor less than fifty thousand dollars was invested.
It wasn’t unusual in the early 1950s and ‘60s to find under one hundred thousand dollars allocated on a Congressional Campaign. Today, less than a million dollars would not be considered worthy of the effort. That begs the question, “What does a candidate really expect to receive when the investment in time, talent and dollars are so significant?” Hopefully, there are still a number of individuals who are altruistically motivated to seek an office, and are genuine in their desire to serve their fellow men and women. I sincerely hope so.
Back to my original premise. The twelve hours that are provided to select those representatives of our desires and wishes for the future are often taken lightly and do not generate the demand and attention deserved. Many of those November days see light turnouts at the polls. Having watched intently the returns as they pour in during the evening hours of an Election Day, I can attest to the fact that I often felt relief or enormous pain depending upon the results. However, I always wanted a heavy turnout. Let the majority rule. On the other hand, there is nothing in my life that compares with losing an election after hundreds of hours of demanding day in and day out effort. That is particularly true when you sincerely believe in the person or persons you are representing.
Over the years, I have worked for men and women of both Democratic and Republican Parties. In my analysis of those efforts, I believe I can justify my time spent on their behalf. There were a few, very few, that I did not believe were worthy and deserving of my total attention and commitment. When adding up the years those people served in the various offices attained, I believe their efforts and mine were merited.
Do not take the responsibility of your vote for granted. In our great nation, it is a right paid for through the generations by men and women who were willing to give their lives for the privilege of seeing our way of government grow and flourish. Make your TWELVE HOURS COUNT!
It was a very warm day in August 1944. Our family, my Dad, Mom, Sister and Mary were on our way back to Scott Field, an Army Air Corps Base, east of Bellville, Illinois. We had been in Indianapolis on leave for ten days, and were driving back to base in our 1941 Chrysler four-door. My sister, along with Mary, and I were straddling a rubber tire between the front and back seats of the car. It held a position of honor because a tire, of any kind, was precious beyond words during the war years.
Because of the length of the trip and the heat of the day, it was determined we would stop in Terre Haute, Indiana, for a bite of lunch and a brief rest break. A small restaurant was selected in the center of town, and the family with my Dad in his Major Uniform and the rest of us in tow, entered the restaurant and found a table for lunch. The waitress approached us and stated quietly, but very firmly, that Mary, could not be served in the restaurant. She would have to leave.
Without a word, Mary eased out of her chair and started toward the door. I followed quickly behind her out the door. The waitress looked toward my mother, and said, “The little boy didn’t have to leave!” My mother answered, “Yes, he did. You hurt his best friend!” Mom brought sandwiches to the two us in the car before we drove out of Terre Haute.
Mary Sanford was my sister’s and my best friend and shield growing up. I was just a little over five years old when Mary joined our family. She meant a lot to my sister and to me. Mary was a story-teller; a trusted buddy; a confidant; a playmate and was different than the two of us.. Mary was African-American. We didn’t understand what that “difference” meant. To us, Mary was a part of our family – as much as we all were. We understood she was with us to take care of us, and to help my Mom with chores, but Mary held a position of pride and no prejudice in the family. She was as much a part of our life and living with us as was anyone else in the family. As far as I was concerned, she had equal status with everyone. I could take anyone being upset with me in the family, but Mary. If Mary wasn’t happy with what I was doing, it hurt me deeply. I think I expected my Mom and Dad to get upset with me, but not Mary. However, my Mom and Dad made sure that my sister and I knew that Mary was to be respected, just as if they were giving the orders.
Mary was in early twenties when she arrived at Homecroft, our home prior to World War II, just south of Indianapolis. She had been married twice prior to joining our family, and had been sold by her father into marriage with her first husband while just a girl in her early teens. Mary told me once that she didn’t know how to cook for her first husband, and as a little girl, she thought mud pies were to be served and eaten. Both of her husbands had been killed in accidents prior to her coming to Indiana. She was working as a servant for another family in Indianapolis when we learned of her wanting to find a different position. I personally felt that it was destiny that Mary found us, and that she was to become a part of our family.
Mary was responsible for my upbringing as was anyone in the family. I looked to her for guidance and consulting. She taught me the basics of cooking; how to wash dishes and clothes properly; how to play kindly with neighborhood kids and to respect all races and religions. She would not tolerate any cussing, or swearing of any kind. So, we just didn’t do it! We knew, however, that Mary was a woman of “color” and consequently, would be treated differently outside of our home. We still went everywhere with her. We went to the base movie theatre with Mary, but couldn’t sit with her because she was segregated from us. We traveled downtown with her on the streetcar, but couldn’t sit with her at a lunch counter. We took her hand when crossing street corners, much to the dismay of on- lookers, but we didn’t care.
I learned many lessons from Mary. The most important, I would say, was tolerance. She showed me the fortitude to withstand the pressure of those around me who were void of decent understanding and caring. Consequently, I grew up with no racial prejudice, and still refrain from having any to this day.
As we grew older and left home, we always knew that Mary was still a major part of our home life. She was there for our Mom and Dad, even though, they were now growing much older – the needs still existed. My sister and I were always happy to see that Mary was still a very active part of our family life even though it wasn’t the same as when we were growing up. Mary stayed with the family for over fifty years, and grew old right along with my folks.
Mary’s health gave way in later years, and she went to a rest home in Kentucky. When she passed away in her late seventies, my sister and I drove to Kentucky for the funeral. Mary had always paid her own insurance program out of her weekly pay. Her sister used the funds for other expenses. So, the funeral had not been paid for. As we were leaving after the funeral, the director, asked my sister and me, “Who will pay for the expenses?” My sister stated immediately, “My mother will!” There was no doubt in her answer to the question. Mary was still a part of our family, and always will be.
I look back with fondness on the years we spent visiting my mother-and father-in law in my wife’s family home. My father-in-law was the city attorney and his wife was the editor for the local newspaper. The Christmas after Jan and I were engaged, I received a Webster’s Dictionary with a handwritten note that said, “I read a letter you sent to my daughter. I hope this dictionary can help”. I used that dictionary many times during my undergraduate studies and even into graduate school. A few years later we were concerned when Jan’s mom began to miss editing mistakes at the newspaper. Shortly after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. During the next seven years, we helped oversee her care and she was able to spend her last days in their home with her husband of fifty years by her side. After her passing, Jan’s dad came to live near us and our five children in Fishers, Indiana.
The one huge problem we were left with was what we were going to do with their home filled with 50 years of treasured belongings.
This task was daunting, and more so because we lived in another state. After successfully navigating the difficult and emotional journey of downsizing their home, my wife and I asked each other if there were any resources to help people through this experience. Seeing an important, unfilled need in society, we founded Life Transitions, originally Senior Life Transitions, in 2009. In the last 10 years we have helped over 5,000 families with their downsizing and transitions needs. We would like to share with you a few tips that we have learned along the way. Hopefully they will help you in your own journey.
It is never too early to start the downsizing process.
For many of us, the idea of downsizing causes anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. Simply put, sorting through possessions collected over a lifetime makes us face our own mortality. Peter Walsh, host of TLC’s Clean Sweep says, “It is so emotionally charged because this is not about the stuff, it is about dealing with fundamental issues of families and growth, and loss and love.” I remember one 95-year-old client who needed to move to an assisted living community. I could hear crying before we even entered her home. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “This was not the plan. I was supposed to go through that door in a casket.”
Downsizing can be an opportunity to redefine your life.
It can help you create a “best of the best” lifestyle. I have witnessed hundreds of people at the front end of their downsizing process who were overwhelmed, stuck or resistant to the idea, but in the end said, I wish I would have started this earlier. I feel so much more free. One of our clients said to us, “I have been saving all my best stuff for special events. I’m now going to use my best for everyday”. Her downsizing has created a new liberty to use the best of her best.
Set reasonable goals for sorting.
Whether you have two weeks, two months or two years to downsize, set clear and reasonable goals. When sorting, ask these questions: Do I love it? Do I need it? Will I use it? If you don’t “say” yes to one of these, the items go.
Start with the room you use the least and are not as emotionally attached to.
For example; a pantry, a closet, a guest room. This will strengthen you to tackle the area you’re more attached to. Mark Brunetz, one expert on living clutter free says, “The more you do, it and the easier it gets. It’s like a muscle that’s been dormant. Use it and it gets stronger.” As you work your way through one area, you will see progress and gain the confidence to go onto the next. Be patient with yourself. You can absolutely do this.
Purge early and often!
Tao Te Ching chapter 63 says, “Confront the difficult while it is still easy, accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” Trash costs a lot of money to get rid of in bulk – so start taking a few things out to the corner each week. Watch for your community’s HAZMAT days – these are important for getting rid of chemicals, paints, etc. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters will sometimes come to your house to pick up items you want to donate.
The more you give away the less there is to sort & downsize. Jan and I recently spoke at the Home Economics Guild recently and one of the ladies told us about her “Blue Light Special” give away. This creative home economist would use holiday gatherings at her home as opportunities to bring out all the things she wanted to downsize. She would place it in one room and invite family and friends to take freely. Giving things away to family and friends can be an enjoyable experience.
Challenging categories. Some items that are tough to let go.
Jan’s parent were avid readers, belonged to book clubs and had lot collected many books. Books can feel like family. One place to donate books is your local library, used book store or charity. Last month we took hundreds of books to be sold at Half Price Book Store. All the books earned a little over $200, the exception was one Bible that sold for $1000.
Many of us have too many clothes. Remember the rule; Need, wear, love. Do you love how it looks? Do you wear it? Most people wear only 20 % of the clothing they own. Most times when downsizing to a smaller home, closet space is at a premium. Measure your new closet space. Measure what you have in your current home.
Regarding family photos, Peter Walsh says “photos have a particular power and importance that make it feel like sacrilege if you throw them away.” This was one of the most emotionally difficult parts of downsizing Jan’s family home. Choose the best one or two and have the rest to be digitized for easy storage and easy access. This new technological age, all important documents can be scanned and stored.
Start a conversation with your family.
Have your kids tell you what they want. Most people believe that their children and grandchildren will want their prized possessions, but that is often not the case. Author Marni Jameson says, “Keep what you love and what nurtures you. Hold dear your memories along with a few treasures from those who loved you and whom you loved. Leave a few treasures for those you love to remember you by…hold on to a heartful—not a houseful—of memories.”
You don’t have to do this alone.
Our company, Life Transitions specializes in helping people of all ages downsize, often when they are moving from one home to another. If you find yourself with such a need, please feel free to give us a call.
The internet is a fantastic tool for seniors, as it provides the opportunity to stay in touch with family and old friends, as well as take advantage of the trove of information online. Though the web has plenty to enjoy, it can also be an unsafe place for unsuspecting individuals. Hackers and cybercriminals use email, fraudulent websites, and viruses to steal personal and financial information, as well as outright steal money. When retirees are the victim of an internet scam, they lose between $600 to $1100 on average. So, how can you surf the web without getting a fast one pulled on you? Here are some common ways to spot internet scams.
Someone You Don’t Know Is Contacting You
While the internet is often used to interact with new people, criminals use this cloak of anonymity as a way in with new marks. Often times it begins with an email or Facebook message from someone claiming to know you or have your best interests at heart. It may start innocently enough, but unless you’re sure of the identity of the person on the other end, it’s probably best to ignore them. Even if they have a Facebook profile, it’s possible that this was created as a ruse; experts estimate that there are nearly a billion fake Facebook profiles floating around.
The Offer Seems Too Good to Be True
Everyone dreams of the chance to get rich quick, and scammers take hearty advantage of this. If you’re receiving offers that promise financial reward – especially for things you haven’t signed up for – you can almost always bet that this is a scam. A common version of this scam is the “advanced transfer scam” in which someone claims they can deposit huge amounts of money into an account after you pay a transfer fee. They may claim you’re the beneficiary of a will, solicit for donations, set up fake websites, or explain that they have money tied up in foreign banks. Regardless, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
You’re Being Asked for Personal Information
A common fraud tactic is known as “phishing.” Scammers will contact individuals posing as a trusted source, such as a bank or email service, and ask for personal info. They may ask you to reset your password or provide financial information. However, it is highly unlikely that your bank will ever ask for you to send this kind of sensitive data via email, as this can be very insecure. If you’re being asked for a password or personal information, contact the company they claim to be and check with them directly. More often than not, they’ll be able to confirm they did not send this message and that it can be ignored.
Staying safe on the internet is an important issue for seniors, as is protecting valuable retirement savings. By keeping common themes of internet scams in the front of your mind – whether it’s an offer too good to be true, a person you don’t know contacting you online, or someone asking for personal information—you can safely use the internet and all the benefits that come with it.
Most of us work all of our lives trying to accumulate a nest egg to take care of our families and ourselves during our “Golden Years.” It’s a tough job! We encounter lots of distractions along the way: money we need to by our first homes, start businesses, put braces on our kids’ teeth, pay for college tuition – the list is endless and, for the most part, necessary.
Most Americans take pride in creating a prosperous lifestyle for our families. We chase the American Dream attempting to create a more prosperous lifestyle for our children than we had when we were growing up. Then, we retire.
Retirement should be a time to settle back and enjoy a new stage of life, but for many of us, leaving the daily grind of work will be one of the most difficult transitions we will ever make. Not going to work every day can be frightening, but realizing that you are going to live the rest of your life off your savings and Social Security can be even more intimidating! This period can be the most challenging and difficult of all.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s a way for you to reduce or eliminate any fear of about your financial future and develop your own lifetime income plan! Fear of your financial future rests in your not knowing the answers to several important questions.
We ask ourselves, for example:
Prior to retirement, we earned money – we were in the “accumulation phase” of life. We worked, earned an income, and tried to keep as much of it as possible after paying our expenses. At some point, we began to think about how we could keep more of that earned income – the “preservation phase” of life. And finally, when we do retire, we have reached the “distribution phase” – that period of life when we must live on the money we have “accumulated” and “preserved.”
Our retirement income, therefore, becomes more important than ever! We are no longer “accumulating” new money. Instead, at retirement, we become recipients of income. We become beneficiaries of retirement income. One of our income streams is Social Security. But from where does the rest of our income appear? It will come, of course, from our nest egg – the money we have preserved during our working years.
Today, retirement is quite different than it was for previous generations, and it will continue to change and become more difficult for future generations. Why? First of all, people are living much longer, so their money must last longer. They need a guarantee to keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Plus, we have to factor in inflation.
Inflation at 4% (the past 20-year average is 3.6%) can have a devastating effect on our spending dollars. It’s also important to understand that the health care inflation rate is more than double! These three factors alone require far more individual planning for retirement than just one generation ago. None of us can afford to make mistakes at retirement. It’s different than making a mistake at age 26, 36, 46, or even 56. At those ages, most of us can still recover – we can accumulate additional money. But, recovering from a financial miscue at age 66 or older is far more difficult today.
Today’s pre- and present retirees need to have a plan and not just a product. Retirees need solutions and assurances. They need the services of a trusted advisor who can provide those guarantees. Yes, you read that correctly – guarantees – regarding your retirement income! Every person – including me – at or nearing retirement should participate in a complete review with a trusted advisor – a Safe Money Places™ advisor.
Each of us needs to determine a retirement income amount that we believe will be necessary to live in the style to which we’ve become accustomed. In the process of doing this planning with a trusted advisor, we need to be sure to adjust for rates of inflation and the potential increase in our life expectancy. Then, we should implement this new plan and monitor its progress over the years – stay on top of the changes in the financial world and our own lives and the years roll by. All of this activity requires a dialogue – a conversation – with a financial professional.
Each Safe Money Places™ advisor is dedicated to helping each client (that’s YOU!) determine the best places to put your money so that it is safe and so that you can take advantage of all of the legal tax advantages that could save you thousands of dollars in your retirement income. Safe Money Places™ advisors constantly study, participate in training (continuing education), and stay on top of the latest products from all of the companies out there. Accordingly, they can customize your retirement plan that will guarantee you an income for life!
Call, toll-free: 877-844-0900 today, to locate a Safe Money Places™ advisor in your area. There’s no cost or obligation whatsoever, and you’ll sleep better every night knowing you’ve got your own professional advisor on your side!
Maintaining good records is important to help meet your tax and legal obligations. The right record-keeping system not only helps satisfy these obligations, but it may save you money and time. Here’s what to consider for your record-keeping system.
What Records Do You Need to Keep?
The first step is identifying the records you need to maintain. The obvious examples include leases, contracts, payroll and personnel records and a range of accounting and finance information, such as invoices, receipts, checks, payables and inventory. Please consult a professional with tax expertise regarding your individual situation.¹
How Do You Want to Keep Them?
Record maintenance can take three basic forms:
What Software Should You Use?
The right software can make life more productive; the wrong software may cost you time and money.
When shopping for software, consider:
The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2019
Liquidity means the ability to turn an asset into cash. Having liquidity gives you the feeling of control, but liquidity provides both real control and the illusion of control. The financial reason for wanting liquidity from what are intended to be dollars left untouched until some future date, is the ability to cope with or avoid potential risk. If you have an unexpected financial emergency, being able to sell or transform an asset quickly to get dollars in your hands is real control. This is generally what is thought of when one thinks about their asset being liquid, but liquidity isn’t that simple.
Does liquidity also mean getting the money without a cost? If so, then certificates of deposit within their penalty period could be viewed as illiquid. Indeed, even money market accounts could be viewed as illiquid since federal law limits free withdrawals to not more than six per month. Typically there is a commission or fee if you sell a stock or bond – does this mean stocks and bonds are illiquid?
What is the time limit on liquidity? We use words like immediate or instant liquidity, but unlåess the money is in our mattress or wall safe we can’t get it this very second. You typically can’t get the money for two days or more when you sell securities; is this liquid? A check is called a demand deposit, but the bank can stop access to those funds for a week by saying they have concerns over “doubtful collectibility”. And if a week delay is viewed as liquid, why wouldn’t the two to four weeks it usually takes to get the check from cashing in an annuity also be liquid?
And then there is the illusion of liquidity. Typically a bank will let you cash in that CD or make that seventh withdrawal from the money market account this month, but they don’t have to. A bond sale settles in two days, unless you were trying to sell many of the mortgage-backed bonds in 2008 for which there were no buyers. And, an extreme case, there was zero investment liquidity in the days following 9 -11. Although that was extreme, governmental authorities in some countries believe that some exchange traded funds (ETFs) could become illiquid during a market panic. The financial markets, banks, and even governments all operate on the illusion of liquidity believing there will always be buyers, enough people paying their debts and a government that will be able to ultimately bailout any crisis, but this is only true if people still believe the illusion.
The illusion of control imagines that you will exercise that liquidity well. In the stock market the mirage is that the investor will sell out of the market just as it begins its fall – or will use the liquidity to keep moving from liquid choice to liquid choice to maximize returns. The reality is that doesn’t happen. Indeed, as Investment Company Institute data shows time after time, the liquidity is used to sell at the bottom of markets and often to leap out of rising markets.
The concept of liquidity is not as clear cut as it first appears. If liquidity is defined as not having a cost then many annuities would be excluded, but so would any ETF, stock or bond where a commission or transaction fee is involved in the sale. If liquidity is defined as having instant access to the funds then every investment is ruled out as well as many bank products. What this all means is you need to ask yourself how you define liquidity and what it means to you.
Let me state at the outset of this article, that “downsizing” is not for the faint of heart. After a little over eight decades of living; more than twenty-eight years of marriage; almost too many moves to remember and dozens of disarrayed storage closets, it is not only difficult to comprehend, it is just about impossible to fathom.
I suppose it happens to the best of us at least once in our lives. We go along throughout our twenties and thirties accumulating boxes of memorabilia - momentous piles of significant keepsakes that we just can’t part with. Our forties and fifties don’t improve the storage picture, we just add to the junk pile hidden in secret places we alone are allowed to enter because no one else would dare to disturb our cache of treasures. The sixties and seventies should prove the worth of our valuables, but often there is only a little more dust on the faded folders and forgotten reasons why they were saved in the first place.
You have the right to ask and know what type of memorabilia I saved over the years. Taking stock of the many treasures accumulated, I found materials covering years of ads and commercials for varied clients. There were archives honoring political campaigns for candidates of local, state and national level. There was a wealth of pictures from grade school, high school and college days along with grades that weren’t always so glorious. I found speeches covering every topic from welcoming new students to honoring recent graduates. Family and friends were captured in slides, photos and movies that would take hours to sort through. The phrase “pack rat” began to take on a new meaning where I was concerned and I knew something had to be done, or many of the items saved would disappear in a wisp of dust and mildew.
Downsizing opens the doors to a lot of questions. Once the decision had been made that it was time for us to downsize, we had details to work out. Where were we moving? How much room would we have? This was a major concern of mine considering the amount of stuff I have stored away. I have a store house of a lifetime of memories – most documented in one way or another. Personally, what was I going to do with a lifetime of accumulation of stagnant junk – most of which, as mentioned, had been unopened for a long time?
This all has a happy ending. We made a successful move to a lovely home in East Texas near children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all of whom have gone out of their way to assure our continuing comfort. And, yes, I shipped the boxes of my unopened accumulation!
I am passing along the inherent wisdom of this article so that those of you who may be thinking this “will never happen to me”, can start making adjustments now – before it’s too late. I am still trying to unpack and sort through the boxes that I just couldn’t live without, but hardly ever opened. The lesson learned is very simple. Don’t wait till until the moving van is at your front door and the movers are asking what you want to take with you. Start “downsizing” your significant piles of precious artifacts asap! Suggest you start today! If you don’t, your kids, family members or friends, will end up doing it for you. They won’t understand why you kept all that stuff anyway!
Studies have found that we tend to get more risk averse about financial matters as we get older, especially after we hit age 50. However, aging, in and of itself, accounts for 60% of the increased dislike of risk. The balance is due to life events.
We all don’t look at financial risk the same way. Not surprisingly, the rich are more tolerant of risk than the poor, as are those with college degrees, and some people simply enjoy the rush of taking a risk. Even so the studies show what- ever group you fall into, you are more likely to become a bit more reticent about exposing yourself to loss as you get older. This was originally thought to be purely a chronological thing, but it turns out life choices and life shocks affect how we perceive risk.
Even though each has the same income net worth and health picture, the change in the household changes their risk tolerance.
The study also found that the effect of these life shocks is greater on women than men.
Agents need to go beyond the financial questions to truly understand what is in the best interests of the consumer.
Banks, J., E. Bassali & I. Mammi. 2019. Changing Risk Preferences at Older Ages. University of Venice No. 01/WP/2019
According to a recent study by the AARP of almost 4,000 people over 45, 13% said they still work some in retirement. And why not? For many seniors, some work in retirement can offer significant benefits, from adding extra spending power in a fixed budget, to giving seniors something new and exciting to do with all their extra time.
Maybe you have friends or family who would benefit from a new source of income, but don’t want anything to do with regular schedules or a boring office. Good news! There’s never been a better time than 2019 to find work in the gig economy.
Here are five different jobs you can share with your senior friends and family that require nothing more than a smartphone app and a desire to get to work. With these companies, seniors can take on as little or as much work as they want, so they can enjoy the freedom of retirement while still earning.
UBER AND LYFT: PUTTING YOUR CAR TO WORK
Across the country, Uber and Lyft are changing the way people get from A to B. These ridesharing apps allow anyone with a smartphone to hail a ride from nearby drivers—and those drivers can make some serious income! In fact, studies have shown that seniors are flocking to these rideshare apps in droves to earn some extra money using the vehicles they already own.
To get started, all you need is to download the driver app for your smartphone. You also need a 4-door vehicle, a valid driver’s license, car insurance, and a vehicle registration. Drivers for Uber and Lyft can make an average of $8.55 to $11.77 per hour (as of 2018).
WAG!: TAKING YOUR LOVE FOR DOGS PRO
Do you know a senior who loves animals and staying active? Wag! might be just the app for them. By signing up as a dog walker for Wag!, you can choose to walk local dogs in your neighborhood whenever you’d like—for pay. Wag! also offers dog sitting services for seniors who are happy to share their home with a furry friend for a few hours.
Specifically, Wag! requires their walkers to be physically able to walk for at least 20 minutes at a time. They also have an application process that involves a quiz on dog care and safety, as well as your knowledge of harnesses and collars. In other words, this is a great fit for anybody who loves dogs and has experience with them.
POSTMATES: DELIVERING HOT MEALS
There are many apps available in most cities around the U.S. that allow hungry people to order delivery from virtually any restaurant they can imagine. Postmates is unique in that, unlike many of the other apps, they don’t require their couriers to own a car. When you sign up to deliver for Postmates, you’ll have the opportunity to take as many delivery orders as you’d like, and you’ll be responsible for picking up orders from restaurants and delivering them to homes and offices.
All you need to sign up is a smartphone and a visit to the Postmates website. A bike or car to get around is optional. On average, Postmates couriers can expect to make up to $25 per hour.
HANDY: HOUSEKEEPING AND HANDYWORK
Do you know any seniors who have a knack for cleaning house or keeping everything in working order? Handy offers the chance for anyone with experience in housecleaning or handiwork to put their skills to work at their chosen pace.Unlike some of the other apps on this list, Handy does require contractors to have some professional experience—so this is best for that retired contractor you know, or your client who cleaned on the side a few years back.
For the right person, however, Handy makes it easy to find jobs and get paid. Once you sign up and start working, you bring your own supplies to the job. Then, when a job is completed, Handy takes payment from the customer and deposits it directly into your bank account. Professionals working through Handy can expect to make anywhere from $22 to $45 an hour on their own schedules.
SHIPT AND INSTACART: GROCERY SHOPPING FOR CASH
In a world of smartphones, there’s nothing you can’t have delivered right to your door—and that even includes your groceries! Apps like Shipt and Instacart offer convenience for busy people who need to keep their pantry stocked, and they also offer a flexible way to make extra money.
Seniors who can lift 30 pounds or more, who have a car, and are excited by the prospect of keeping active walking the aisles of their local superstore can register to be a shopper and start earning money right away. Today’s digital shoppers can typically expect to make up to $10 to $20 per hour.
Are your senior clients looking to increase their spending power in retirement? Side jobs aren’t their only resource! Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance? At Life Settlement Advisors, we help trusted advisors just like you to give their senior clients the opportunity to sell unwanted or unneeded life insurance policies for more than the cash surrender value. Learn more about how you can start offering your clients this powerful financial tool, and contact us today to learn how we can help!
CaseStudy: Harold and Dorothy bought life insurance when they were young to protect their children’s futures. Now the kids are grown and have good jobs, their youngest is 49 years old and they no longer needed the coverage. Harold’s financial advisor informed him he could sell his unwanted life insurance policy for an immediate cash payment. Harold and Dorothy sold their life insurance policy and used the proceeds to pay off a few medical bills, take a vacation and supplement their retirement.
Yes, I said “KASH” and not cash. Of course we need cash when either in retirement, or planning for retirement. But, today I want to focus on an acronym I learned many years ago, in a management class. The two week course was through Main Event Management. The title of the course was “Model-Netics”. At the time, the thought was that our business, personal, spiritual and family life revolved around 151 models. The course is still around today, and the number of models has increased past the 151 models at that time. But, “KASH” has been a guiding principle for me.
The “K” stands for knowledge. Let’s relate this to retirement planning. Basically, the more knowledge that you have about this topic, the better your attitude (the A in KASH) in dealing with your retirement income goals, challenges, etc. The “S” stands for Skills. The better your planning skills, the better your chances of having a happy retirement. Finally, the “H” stands for habits.
So, in a summary, the better your Knowledge, the better your Attitude, the better your Skills and it all becomes a Habit. So, how can you get more KASH? Let’s look at some opportunities.
If you are nearing retirement, take some time to learn about options and choices. There are many different sites available to you. One, is this website!. Please explore and browse around. You can also go to the social security site. I would also go to your employer and take a look at your 401K plan. And, I suggest meeting with a financial professional. Check our his/her website, look for credentials, etc. Then, arrange an introductory phone call and determine if you want to meet.
You do need a plan, and most of us need some help. You should also take a “risk tolerance” test. You can find many of these online. Also, forget what your friends are doing. It is your retirement and not theirs. Also, take a look at the birth date on your drivers license. Do you have enough time to overcome losses? And, be realistic.
Knowledge in everything is key. A good attitude when planning is paramount. You still have time to improve your retirement planning skills. And, you need to make it a habit to give you the best shot at a happy retirement. Finally, there is always a time to start playing it safe. Are you more motivated by the hope for a huge gain, or the fear of a huge loss? That could give you direction. Stay safe my friends.
How do chip cards help fight payment card fraud? Chip cards — also known as Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards — contain tiny metallic squares that are actually minicomputers, designed to generate a unique encrypted code for each transaction. Instead of being swiped, EMV-equipped cards are dipped into the merchant’s card reader for about 10 seconds, giving the card’s chip and the merchant’s terminal time to communicate. The time it takes to complete a chip-card transaction is similar to the time it takes to pay cash and receive change.
Outside of the United States, chip cards typically require a personal identification number (PIN) to authenticate transactions. This enhances the security of chip cards issued abroad, because criminals must steal a payment card number along with the cardholder’s PIN.
Many U.S. merchants have been reluctant to switch to chip-and-PIN cards, because some chip card readers aren’t equipped to accept PINs, just signatures. In addition, some cardholders aren’t in favor of memorizing PINs and, instead, prefer to authenticate transactions with signatures as they’ve done in the past.
Magnetic Strip Cards
By comparison, magnetic strip cards store static information, similar to old-fashioned music cassette tapes. Instead of dipping the payment card in a reader, cardholders swipe the card to allow the merchant’s POS to read the information encoded on the card’s magnetic strip. This outdated technology makes them easy targets for hackers.
When issuing new chip-enabled cards, U.S. card issuers didn’t remove magnetic strips from the back of the new cards. While that decision provided merchants and their customers with two ways to complete transactions — and a backup in case a POS device was unable to read a chip — it reduced the pressure on merchants to invest in new POS chip readers. As a result, some merchants haven’t yet updated their card readers.
When a cardholder swipes the magnetic strip on a chip card, instead of dipping it, they make it possible for criminals to steal data from the less secure magnetic strip. Once the information is stolen, it can be used to create a cloned card that can be used online or at merchants that haven’t upgraded their POS devices.
Facilitating Secure Payments
Consumers aren’t directly affected by the liability shift when their credit cards are dipped, instead of swiped. The change just transferred liability from credit card companies to merchants that continue to accept magnetic strip cards for in-store purchases. Consumers do, however, benefit indirectly from the shift, because chip cards generally offer a more secure payment method.
Nonetheless, if criminals continue to steal U.S. payment card numbers from POS systems, cardholders still may be forced to accept replacement cards and then update their monthly autopayments for their new card numbers. This inconvenience, in turn, may cause consumers to pressure merchants to speed up their adoption of chip technology — and credit card companies to adopt PIN-and-chip technology.
Merchants that haven’t yet upgraded their equipment and internal processing systems to allow for the processing of chip cards should do so immediately. In addition, they might consider enabling mobile near field communication (NFC) payments, such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Doing so is likely to minimize the long-term cost and hassle of upgrading card readers, as well as providing optimal flexibility and fraud protection when processing transactions for years to come.
And there were no waves to pound on me as I splashed about. We had been to Baja California the year before and found it, well, dangerous. That’s mainly due to its waves, which were 3-4 feet high when they hit the beach and could easily knock you down.
We’d also been to the French Riviera, which is pretty but whose beaches are mostly rounded stones that are very uncomfortable to walk or lay on. Plus, partygoers in Nice sometimes haul in bottles and leave behind them, or their shards. If you want sand, try up the coast in Antibes.
So that’s how I define a safe beach: Smooth sand coupled with placid, shallow waters that coddle even novices. Ideally there would be a lifeguard, though I saw none at Eagle Beach.
The Red Cross has tips about safe swimming, including instructions on handling a rip tide. Check them out at:
My sister, Kathy, and I were just happy to be with our Dad again, having missed him through the summer months while he established a home for us in Madison. He selected a wonderful location on the shores of Lake Mendota about a mile and a half from the campus of the University of Wisconsin. It was a marvelous home overlooking the lake. I now realize that the people who rented the house to our family must have considered our family plight because I doubt if we could have afforded the home on a Captain’s pay. It was truly exciting to go fishing off the pier or take a rowboat to the center of the lake and drop a line to catch perch.
We loved the gentle breezes of Mendota during the late summer and early fall months. When school began in September, we enjoyed the friendship of a whole new group of youngsters. That was one very positive thing to come out of the service. We made friends very quickly because we knew we would not be stationed in one place for very long.
As the weather changed, it became very cold. The snows were beginning to build and trudging to school meant detouring several blocks to avoid the strong winds off the lake. The short daylight hours were frigid and bleak. The realization of our first Christmas away began to settle in. We had become house-bound. There was no escaping the walls that seemed to capture our spirits and drain imaginations. We found things to amuse us, but nothing seemed to take the place of staring out of the windows and wondering what it would be like to slide down the hill to the lake on a sled. We did get outside, but it was so cold, we couldn’t take the chill for very long.
Kathy was almost two and a half years younger than I and was still very much in enthralled with Santa Claus. As her older brother, it was my job embellishing and perpetuating the story of the Jolly Old Elf, and carrying on as if the tradition would last forever. I know I didn’t do a very good job of pretending, but it was difficult for me to sit on Santa’s lap and smile at my sister while doing so.
In our family, Santa always put up the Christmas Tree about a week before the holiday while we were supposedly sound asleep. I had discovered the “Mom and Dad trick” a year or two before. I waited until my sis was old enough to appreciate my observation, and I alerted her to the charade going on downstairs in the living room. She bought that part of the story, but Santa maintained a prized position in her memory for years still to come.
As kids, we had sensed Christmas would never be the same during the war. Away from family and friends; no more decorating the outdoor trees; rationing on many of the basics that created candies, cakes and cookies. For my sister, how would Santa find our new address? I know these images must have entered the minds of our Mom and Dad because Kathy and I observed they were going above normal to prepare us for a Christmas in a slightly different way.
There weren’t as many holiday cards that first war year. My Dad received a number of greetings from his civilian patients. Most of them included a message of spirited patriotism and thankfulness for his service. I do remember getting some cards from classmates, but none from my friends at home. As December 25th drew near, the Christmas carols took on a different meaning than before. The words to “I’ll be home for Christmas,” had significance to me because it stressed the difference our present war time home life was to peace time. Even Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” could bring a choked-up feeling when it was played.
I’m not sure what my sister asked for from Santa that year. My requests were for “Lincoln Logs” ® and “Tinker Toys” ®. These were modest choices considering the seriousness of the war news. Those gifts had a lasting value because they didn’t break easily. I knew that Christmas might never be the same again.
Then, a few days before Christmas, my parents announced a surprise that put us all in the holiday spirit. My Dad’s parents, along with our Aunt Suzie and cousin Ronnie, would be in our home during the holiday. It was instantly like old times. Once again the joy of Christmas seemed to spring forth through our household. The decorations that had seemed bland became beautiful. Even the traditional carols took on a magical luster.
Though our tour of duty kept us away from our home in Indianapolis, from that Christmas on I knew we would make it back and everything would return to normal.
Merry Christmas…and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to one and all…and “May all your Christmases be white!”
I remember you suggesting at one point that we simply sell our stocks and mutual funds and put all the money into gold. Of course, after that Iranian nuclear accident in 2023 caused all the spiders to begin spinning webs of gold the bottom fell out of the market – I understand gold is down to $35 a ton.
I know that President Gaga says this recession is simply because we were born this way and if we keep our poker face showing to the rest of the world that we will be on the edge of glory, but since China now owns our national parks as payment for our Treasury debt I’m just not as optimistic as I used to be. Fortunately, that annuity will allow me to retire this year with an income far higher than I ever dreamed and the certainty that it will be around as long as I am...a certainty you were never able to give me.
John, you’ve been a great stockbroker, but I’ve left you for my annuity agent.
All my love,
When it comes to those “one-of-a-kind” family treasures, here’s a fact you might not be aware of: old audio tapes (reel to reel, cassettes, micro-cassettes, and even those “classic” 8-track cartridges) and your family video cassettes (VHS and BetaMax) are deteriorating every single day. At some point, you won’t be able to play them, even if you can find a working machine in the basement or at Goodwill! So, if you’d like to watch your Aunt Martha and Uncle George dance the samba at Cousin Chrissy’s wedding back in 1983, you’d better hurry! The same goes for Little Julie’s first hit in Little League baseball, Junior’s solo performance at the Fall Festival impersonating Elvis, or that surprise birthday party for your mom’s 60th birthday when she slipped and fell, face-first, into her three-layered cake! Or, how about that favorite record album that’s out of print?
Luckily for all us, a small cottage industry has grown up over the past couple decades that specializes in transferring all of these media formats to current, virtually indestructible formats. We can, for example, transfer all of your old VHS tapes to crystal clear DVDs, so you can share those precious family memories with generations to come. We can take your old home movie film – 8mm, Super 8, 16mm, even 35mm – and enhance and restore it so that it looks better than the original in many cases – delivered to you on DVD that you can copy and share with friends and family around the world.
Oh and one more thing. Among the most enjoyable projects I get in on occasion is what I call “Individual Tribute” videos that we produce for a special occasion: anniversaries, special birthdays, retirement parties, graduations, and, quite often, memorial services. For these videos, we transfer all sorts of media to DVD – photos, slides, video tapes, home movies, newspaper articles, yearbook photos, bowling trophies, and audio tapes… just about anything we can scan or photograph, we can put into your special tribute video!
Aside from my “not-so-subtle” commercial message, my point is simply this: Don’t put off transferring those memories to modern formats. Contact me through your Safe Money Places agent or just take a look in your local community for a company that does this kind work. Back in 1991, I helped one of my closest friends start his own business (Home Video Studio) that today has grown into an international concern. Look him up online: www.homevideostudio.com.
And think about this scenario for a moment. What do you think that most victims of home fires try to grab as they’re rushing their family and pets outside? Their jewelry? Their flat-screen TV? Their computer? (Well, maybe their computer!) Surveys show that most families try to save their family photos and videos. Because they are priceless and usually irreplaceable. But, if you’ve transferred all of your audio and video media onto discs, you could place a copy of each one in a small safety deposit box or give complete sets to other family members … or both! You could probably transfer every single movie, video, audio, photo, and slides onto a dozen or fewer DVDs or CDs – about the size of shoebox. And you’ll have a collection that will outlive several generations of your family.
By all means, be sure to take care of your financial legacy by working with your Safe Money Places Agent, but don’t forget those other priceless treasures stored away in a closet, desk, or dresser. That’s as important a legacy as you can leave as anything else
Maintaining records on computers save space and make records management easier. Consider backing up files and keeping them off-site.
Records are stored and managed on the internet, offering possible savings on software, reducing the risk of lost data and providing access from any location.
What Software Should You Use?
The right software can make life more productive; the wrong software may cost you time and money.
When shopping for software, consider:
The size of your organization. Do you want an easy-to-use package, or are you able to hire a dedicated employee to take advantage of a more sophisticated alternative?
What sort of training and support is provided?
Without the right measure of either, your software may not be the productivity tool you envisioned.
Is specialized software available?
The needs of different professions can vary greatly. Specialized software may have capabilities not available with more generic software.
What are its mobile capabilities?
If you operate your business from the road, you may want your software to have robust mobile features.
The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.
The field of “Sports” has had a significant influence on Indianapolis, Indiana, during the eighty-plus years that I have lived in the Capital City. From the outset, over one hundred years ago, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the famous “500 Mile Race” to the present day NFL Indianapolis Colts, NBA Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Indians Baseball Team and The Fuel Hockey Team, all have contributed to the luster and glory that sports have brought to the “Circle City.” Once again, “sports” are making a major contribution to the future success of a major entity in Indiana’s Capital.
It was a personal pleasure this past Spring to have a preview visit to “The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children’s Museum.” If the title doesn’t take your breath away, the “experience” will.
The 7.5 acre, $38.5 million project is by far the most exciting and worthwhile addition to the local sports scene in decades. It encompasses both opportunities for sports participation and fitness while encouraging learning, fun and entertainment through sports memorabilia and challenges for all ages. The emphasis is on family participation.
The challenge is where to begin enjoying the various “Sports Legends Experiences.” There is so much to see and do that it is difficult to determine a starting point. I was initially shown some of the displays in the “Old National Bank Sports Legends Avenue of Champions.” Various sports “Legends” who have inspiring stories with strong Indiana connections are featured. The names are familiar to all who have ever resided within the boundaries of the Hoosier State: Oscar Robertson; Larry Bird; Tamika Catchings; DaMarcus Beasely and A.J. Foyt, to name just a few. Add to those illustrious individuals Wayne Gretzky; Bobby “Slick: Leonard; Reggie Miller; Wilma Rudolph; Reggie Wayne and Barbara Wynne. Hopefully, you are beginning to understand my challenge in trying to cover all there is to know about the many “legends” presented.
Moving along as quickly as my legs and mind would allow, displays covering the accomplishments of the before mentioned legends as well as the various collegiate and pro athletes and teams that have performed so admirably within our State were presented. Best of all, there was the opportunity to practice my sports technique, such as it is, against the legends while shooting hoops against a time clock; agility and balance through rowing; blocking and kicking football and soccer goals and even becoming a broadcaster announcing my personal great moments in sports.
All that was covered before I had the opportunity to see the greatest challenges of them all – outside The World’s Largest Children’s Museum. That’s right…as the saying goes, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!” Within easy walking or running distance, depending upon your agility, are a dozen experiences on paths made of soft, spongy material to prevent injury should you stumble or fall. You can test your various mental and physical skills against time clocks, hoops and goals. Your personal “bests” will come together to create your own legendary family moments.
Try a hand at shooting baskets geared toward various age and size requirements; kick field goals and participate in soccer games; play golf on special links designed by Pete and Alice Dye; race along on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racetrack; Church Brothers Collision Repair Drag Strip or the Barbara Wynne Tennis Challenge. Are you getting the picture? There is far too much to see and do in one trip to the Museum. The “Legends” will take more time and trips to accomplish all there is to do.
Before we go, however, you will want to experience the “Fantasy Tree House of Sports” which dominates one end of the sports field. This sixty-foot tree was inspired by Disney’s “Tree of Life” letting visitors climb among giant pieces of sports equipment and provides a platform overlooking all the outside sports venues. The view is breath-taking and can only begin to make you appreciate the many sports experiences in which you have participated.
The Museum located at 3000 North Illinois Street is open Sunday thru Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday thru Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The doors are closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mondays. after Labor Day through February. For pricing of the “Legends” consult the Museum’s e-mail address: www.childrenmuseum.org/sport-experience.
Several months ago I was asked by the president of my organization to assume a new role on an interim basis. While I had worked with each of the groups I was being asked to supervise, the new responsibility would be totally outside of my day-to-day experience. Oh, and I had to make this decision in the next 2 1/2 hours.
When situations like this present themselves, what do you do?
The safe route is just that—safe. It’s easiest to decline and stay right where you are. You can think of reasons to justify that decision. You don’t know that part of the organization. Who will take your role if you’re not there? You’re not ready for it.
Each of those thoughts ran through my mind. But I also had other thoughts, competing for space in my head. These included: This is a way to grow, I will learn new things and meet new people, the president must think I can do this, my associate dean is ready to be the dean.
So when he asked me what I thought, I candidly replied, “This scares me to death. But I will paraphrase Richard Branson [CEO of Virgin] who said, ‘When someone asks you to do something amazing, say yes and then figure out how to do it.’ ”
So I said yes.
Saying yes is not necessarily the right decision for every person. But think about what you would do if a similar situation was presented to you.
I had been a business dean in three institutions for about 16 years. While each institution was quite different, the job was essentially the same. I chose to be a dean again and again for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that it was easy for me, especially as a mom who wanted to be present for most of her kids’ activities. I knew how to do this job inside and out, and I was comfortable.
But about a year before I was asked to assume my new role, I told the president that I was getting into “maintenance mode,” which is a not a good thing for me. I am a builder, a change agent, a “make things better” person, and I was running out of ideas. The president remembered that conversation when he needed someone for the interim role.
He understood that I had not spent time in the part of the university he was asking me to lead. But his confidence in my abilities to lead, manage and communicate gave me the willingness to leap into the unknown.
I see folks stuck in lots of jobs. Maybe they never should have taken the job to begin with, as their skills and experiences are not a good fit with what they are doing. Or perhaps they once were quite happy but now are miserable. They might even think no one realizes how miserable they are. On the contrary, everyone does. Maybe, like me, they need to grow in a new direction and, for whatever reason, haven’t had the gumption to pursue anything new.
Please don’t stay stuck! If anything I’ve said resonates with you, look for new opportunities, either within your organization or outside it, so you can stretch yourself. Learning new things is quite exciting, but also intimidating. I haven’t been this stimulated in probably five years. Is it scary? Of course! But sometimes a little fear of failure can provide the impetus to work that much harder to ensure your success.
The goal is growing and helping the organization. So I’m glad I took the leap of faith and said yes when asked to do something different. While you may not be asked, you are in charge of your career and can certainly pursue new growth opportunities. Update that resume and get started today!
The study of aging is incredibly important. Although it’s a process we all go through, the amount of research on aging is sorely lacking. Considering that the number of people in the United States over the age of 65 outnumbers the entire population of Canada, it’s obvious that need for research into the aging process is dire. Understanding the biology of aging doesn’t require a lab coat, but it does require knowledge of the jargon around the science. For the convenience of America’s senior population, here’s a helpful breakdown of all the facts and figures on aging seniors need to know.
About Caloric Restriction
Caloric restriction is an eating practice seniors might want to consider. However, always remember it’s crucial to discuss any potential diet changes with your doctor before engaging in them. However, knowing the language around caloric restriction can help you ask the right questions. Scientifically speaking, caloric restriction is described as “undernutrition without malnutrition” and is essentially eating 30-40% fewer calories while still maintaining nutrients and vitamins to support a healthy lifestyle. Preliminary results from studies conducted on monkeys demonstrates success in extending lifespans through caloric restriction. This has not been tested in humans yet, but the results in other organisms are promising. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that a calorie restricted diet makes mammals more susceptible to hypothermia and increases healing time for wounds.
Protein p53 and Tumors
Protein p53 is a tumor suppressor—meaning that it acts to combat the cell mutation that causes cancer. It occurs naturally in the body but is disrupted by damage to your DNA. The question of whether aging causes DNA damage or DNA damage causes aging is one that scientists have been arguing for several years. However, regardless of their answer, what seniors need to know is that proper nutrition can help increase DNA repair, making it easier to support protein p53 and the important work it does in protecting our bodies from cancerous cells. Eating lemons, persimmons, strawberries, apples, broccoli, and celery has been shown to aid in DNA repair so keep these around the house and you’ll be taking active steps towards wellness.
ROS, or reactive oxygen species, are oxygen-containing molecules produced naturally when the body turns food into energy. This is a process that we see in many instances of nature; for example, the way an apple browns in the sun or rust occurring on iron. The more we age, the more likely oxidative damage is because our cell’s defenses against it is reduced. Oxidative damage can lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and age-related deafness. However, consuming antioxidants helps boost the body’s ability to protect itself. Examples of foods high in antioxidants are: grapes, blueberries, red berries, nuts, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables like carrots, green tea, and whole grains.
No matter where you are in the aging process, eating right is one strategy you can employ to slow the cell damage and oxidation and help keep our brains and bodies strong even in old age. However, buying fresh vegetables, supplements, and vitamins can become costly especially considering a large portion of seniors rely on social security to make ends meet. Fortunately, there is a way you can increase financial liquidity after retirement. Did you know if you still maintain a life insurance policy, you can sell all or a portion of your policy for an amount greater than the cash surrender value? This is known as a life settlement and can provide the stability you crave. Contact Life Settlement Advisors to learn more.
Patricia’s two children are grown, married with their own children and live more than a seven-hour drive away. Patricia wanted to be closer to her grandchildren. Her oldest son convinced her to move closer to him. Patricia sold her life insurance policy and used the funds to ease the cost of moving and find a comfortable new living arrangement.
I know that it is sometimes easier to say than actually do. So many things are racing through our minds. This is especially true if you are near or at retirement. There are so many things to consider. We have family that we worry about. They can be kids or grandkids. Where will they go to school, how are they financially? Will they need our help? Or, how can we help?
Let’s not forget ourselves. Will I have enough retirement income to keep me in the lifestyle that I have become accustomed to? Will my money last? What about a downturn in the stock market? Do I have too much equity exposure? And, let’s not forget our health, long term care needs, and the money to take care of all these things. And, with all this in mind, how can you “go to bed happy and wake up happy?” The answer is to start emptying your “worry buckets.” And, the way to do that is with some planning. Let’s take a look:
There is an old saying that goes something like this. When young, the question is if I will die. When we get older, the question is... when will I die. If we all knew the answer to that, life would be simpler but I don’t think enjoyable as we approach that end date. So, how about some good soul searching questions. If you happen to be married, do it with your spouse. Let’s look:
If you happened to pass away now, would those that are dependent upon you be in decent shape? If the answer is no, take a look at your life insurance portfolio. Maybe you need some more. Maybe you want to sell all or a portion of your life insurance portfolio.
Want to look at long term care types of expenses? What happens of you can’t perform 2 of the 6 activities of daily living? Do you have a financial vehicle that would spring alive and provide you with cash now? They do exist, and it doesn’t have to be a long term care policy.
Have you pre-paid for your funeral and expenses around that event? It makes it much easier on your family if you have.
Are your beneficiary designations up to date on your policies and investments?
What about your will? Up to date or need a revision?
Have you made a distinction between your wants and needs? You know, separating your essential and discretionary income needs.
What about your doctor? Are you going in regularly for a checkup?
In closing, I did have an event happen that shook me around. My wife passed away with complications in surgery. Being in this business, I had a pretty good plan and felt comfortable. Now that my life has changed, I went back and revisited everything I mentioned above. I took the steps to make sure that everyone was protected... including myself.
So, I am not going to say that I have emptied all “worry buckets” but I have most of them. And it allows me to “go to bed happy and wake up happy.” Is there anything better than that? Maybe you need to sit down with a financial professional and take a look at your situation.
Are you having enough money withheld from your regular paychecks? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made several significant changes to the tax rules for individuals for 2018 through 2025. As a result, many taxpayers who previously itemized deductions are expected to claim the standard deduction, starting in 2018.
3How is withholding affected by the TCJA? The amount you elected to have withheld on your Form W-4 under the previous tax law might need to be revised under the new law. If you withhold too much, you’re effectively giving the IRS an interest-free loan to use your money until it’s refunded after you file your 2018 return sometime next year. Conversely, if you withhold too little, you’ll face a stiffer tax bill when you file the return.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to figure out the right withholding amount under the TCJA. A “paycheck checkup” can help you assess your situation.
Your 2018 tax return isn’t due until next April. But you generally can’t wait until you file your tax return to pay the full amount of tax you owe. Instead, employers are required to withhold taxes from the paychecks of employees. Likewise, self-employed individuals and retirees and others with investment income or retirement account withdrawals must make quarterly estimated payments.
You might need to do both — have tax withheld and pay quarterly installments — if you earn substantial income outside of your regular salary. If you fail to comply with the requirements, you could be liable for an estimated tax underpayment penalty, in addition to the tax liability.
The due dates for the quarterly estimated payments for a tax year are:
These dates are adjusted for weekends and holidays. So, the next quarterly installment for income earned in 2018 is due Monday, September 17, 2018.
You can avoid an estimated tax underpayment penalty using any one of these three safe harbor rules:
If you’ve been having “just the right amount” withheld for your circumstances in the past, the TCJA has altered the landscape. Examples of major changes that will affect individuals for 2018 through 2025 include the following:
The standard deduction is almost doubled to $12,000 for single filers, $24,000 for joint filers, and $18,000 for heads of households.
The itemized deduction for state and local taxes combined is limited to $10,000 per year. This applies to any combination of 1) state and local property tax and 2) state and local income tax (or state and local general sales taxes if you choose to deduct them instead of state and local income taxes). Previously, these amounts were fully deductible by most taxpayers who itemized deductions.
The itemized deduction for mortgage interest is potentially reduced under the new law. Specifically, the interest deduction for new acquisition debt is limited to interest paid on the first $750,000 of debt, down from $1 million. (Pre-TCJA home acquisition debts of up to $1 million are grandfathered under prior law.) In addition, the deduction for interest paid on up to $100,000 of home equity debt is generally repealed (unless the home equity debt is used to buy, build or substantially improve the home secured by the debt, in which case it can be treated as acquisition debt subject to the $750,000 limit).
Itemized deductions for most miscellaneous expenses — such as investment advisory fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses — are eliminated.
Personal and dependent exemptions are eliminated.
The child tax credit — which generally applies to dependent children under age 17 — has been increased from $1,000 to $2,000, and the income phaseout thresholds have been significantly increased (to $200,000 for singles and heads of households and $400,000 for married couples who file jointly). So, many more households will be eligible for the increased credit. In addition, a new $500 credit is available for other qualified dependents, including a qualifying 17- or 18-year-old, a full-time student under age 24, a disabled child of any age, and other qualifying (nonchild) relatives if all the requirements are met.
In light of these changes, many taxpayers who have itemized in the past may instead opt for the standard deduction starting in 2018. This could have a major impact on their withholding obligations.
Even if you expect to continue to itemize under the TCJA, you can benefit from a “paycheck check-up,” especially if you have older children who won’t qualify for the $2,000 child tax credit or you report income from more than one job. (See “3 Families Who Might Need to Adjust Their Withholding” at right.)
Of course, your withholding choices should also reflect your personal preferences. For instance, some taxpayers prefer to overpay taxes during the year so they can receive a big tax refund from Uncle Sam. Others like to just break even.
To adjust your withholding, request a new W-4 form from your employer, fill it out and then submit it. Any withholding change will show up in the next payroll calculation.
The IRS offers worksheets for estimating the “right” amount of withholding, as well as a new online withholding calculator to help you crunch the numbers. Unfortunately, the online calculator requires you to input a lot of financial information, which can be time consuming. And many people aren’t comfortable putting sensitive personal data into cyberspace.
To minimize the hassle and potential security risks, discuss your withholding with your tax advisor. He or she can help you sort through the provisions of the TCJA that will affect your tax situation and address other withholding objectives in the coming years.
If you are an active reader of this website, chances you are a savvy, informed investor. As we approach retirement age, smart investors have learned to reallocate their portfolio, moving away from more aggressive investments and into safer bets. Some of us have our homes paid off; some took advantage of recent years’ low mortgage rates and have refinanced to fund once-in-a-life-time vacations, pay off credit card debts, or to finally pursue that dream hobby – maybe a boat, an antique car – that could be a bit impractical, but what the heck, you’ve earned it.
Some of us are also refinancing to help our children. We tell them we all had it tougher when we were their age; but truth be told, in today’s economy, young people do have a lot of financial burdens. Average student loan debt has doubled in just twelve years. Starting salaries are in much better shape than a decade ago, but current level of wage growth cannot keep up with home price growth, which is now at 6.2% annual increase nationally and as high as 13% in markets such as Seattle. If you have adult children living in one of these expensive cities, a conversation about helping them buy a home may already be familiar to you.
To many, parents helping a child buy a home is a duty and a rite of passage. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of all home loans in the U.S. now has a non-spouse co-borrower listed for the mortgage. In most cases, it is a parent who is co-signing. In San Jose, that figure is 51%; in Miami, 45%; in Seattle, 39% of home loans now have a non-spouse co-borrower. So it is certainly common particularly in expensive housing markets for a parent to be a co-borrower of an adult child’s home loan.
Beyond that, parents are also helping to fund children’s down payment. According to ValueInsured’s latest quarterly Modern Homebuyer Survey, 34% of Millennial first-time homebuyers plan to rely on a parent’s help to fund their home down payment. In Denver where home prices are giving Seattle a run for its money, 41% of young people said they need to rely on their parents with their down payment. 46% of Baby Boomers nationally report they have helped or plan to help their children with a down payment, and again, that percentage is higher in hot housing markets.
No doubt many among us are refinancing our own home to help our children. Some might be able to draw funds from savings or other investments to help without a cash-out refinance. In either scenario, The assumption is that home prices will continue to go up, and eventually, hopefully, the adult child will be in a position to pay back the parent. Or if it is a gift, the down payment would give the child a leg up for a better financial future as home values rise. Sounds great, but all relies on a big “if”…
Any housing historian or economist would tell you home prices do tend to go up long term, but never in a straight ascending line. The housing market on average goes through 7-10 year value fluctuation cycles. As luck would have it, we are now right at the 10-year mark from the height – and the eventual spectacular collapse – of the last cycle that ended in 2008. As parents, we want to help our children and set them up for success, but we need to be careful that by helping, we are not moving them closer to the eye of the next financial storm.
After nearly a decade of downward trends, interest rates are now on an upward trajectory, with 30-year fixed now at a 4-year high. Home sales volume are on a decline, indicating that while some people are willing to pay the possibly overvalued prices, many more are staying on the sidelines to avoid buying high, and therefore bringing down total home sales volume.
The Federal Reserve is planning another three to four interest rate hikes this year. Median home prices are now 20 to 30 percent above pre-bubble peak of the last housing correction in many overheated markets. Housing bubble talks are getting more rampant, including by renowned money manager James Stack, who predicted the last one. Some say like the stock market, home prices could continue to go up. But we are witnessing more volatility after several years of uninterrupted gains on Wall Street. Now, even typically bullish Goldman Sachs is warning there is a "high probability" for a stock market correction in the coming months.
If you have or plan to refinance your own home to help your child buy a home, it is prudent to bear in mind that young people who buy now could be buying at top of the market. If the housing market corrects and your child needs to move for a job or other reasons during the downturn – as mobile young families often do – one home purchase by your child now could have regrettable effects later on two households. Nearly half of the country’s housing markets – including Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas – still have not recovered close to their pre-2008 crash peaks. In other words, a parent who refinanced their own home to help a child buy a home in Chicago in 2006 could still be under-water, in both households.
Unlike during the last housing peak, the current market run-up does come with new solutions: Down Payment Protection and Equity Protection. These innovative and consumer empowering products are insurance policies that can be purchased by homebuyers and refinance mortgage borrowers from their insurance agents to protect their down payment and appraised home equity value. Even if homebuyers are buying at peak of the market, if they sell later at a loss after a correction, their loss in the down payment they put into the home purchase is reimbursed back to them, in a simple, no-catch process that issues them a check of the loss value within 30 days. Refinance borrowers have a similar option, in equity protection. They can lock in the appraised value of their home at market high when they refinance; when they sell later at a loss after a downturn, their loss in equity can be reimbursed back to them, also simply and quickly within 30 days.
Caring parents want to help their adult children pursue the American Dream of homeownership and build their own nest. It’s an admirable thing to do. But there’s a smart way to do it without exposure to unpredictable market risks, while setting your children up for more secure leaps into their financial future. In the same way you may be reallocating your own investment to safer money places, there is now a safer way to buy a home, and certainly a safer, smarter way to be a generous parent.
People often think of different things. For many people the first thought when the word annuity is mentioned is that an annuity provides an income – a pension is a type of annuity. However, while every annuity could be used to provide an income, the ways in which the income is provided differs depending on the annuity.
A period certain income annuity provides income for a certain period. You provide the principal and the insurer will pay back the principal plus interest for 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, 20 years, whatever timeframe you select.
Why might you do something like this? Perhaps you are forced into early retirement at age 57 and you need an income to carry you through until you are old enough to collect Social Security. Perhaps you want to help a grandchild with their college expenses, without giving them a lump sum, a period certain annuity could help cover college costs for the years needed for them to get that bachelor’s degree. Perhaps you already own an annuity and you’d like to convert a part of that annuity value into a tax-free life insurance benefit; a period certain annuity could fund that conversion.
The use of a period certain annuity can also offer certain tax advantages because most of the income produced is not only free from federal and state income taxes, but it isn’t included in calculating whether you owe taxes on your Social Security benefit. It would take too much time to get into all of these different uses, so the main point you should take away from this is a period certain annuity pays out a steady income for a specified number of years.
Those Roman legionnaires were given a life income annuity that paid an income as long they lived. When they died, the income stopped. You can also get the same type of annuity today. It’s a great deal if you live a long time and a bad deal if you get hit by a bus next month.
Why would you buy this type of life income annuity? People buy them when they don’t plan to leave this particular money to children or charities and want to get the maximum income. A person typically would not put all of their assets into buying a life income annuity, but they might purchase one to ensure they have a guaranteed income to cover the essentials if something happens to their other assets.
A life annuity can be set up to last as long as one person lives or two. If your health and genes are good, a life annuity can provide a dependable monthly income for a long time, so it is often used in conjunction with other assets to provide for a tranquil retirement.
The rap on a life annuity is if you die the insurer keeps any money that is leftover, but that isn’t necessarily true. You can buy a type of life annuity that guarantees that if you die early the annuity will continue to pay out to your beneficiary until your original principal is returned – if you put in $100,000 the insurer will pay out at least $100,000.
There are a variety of other options. You can have the annuity pay out until you die or for 20 years, whichever is longer. You can arrange it so that your spouse would still get all or half of the original income amount if you die. You can even buy a life annuity that won’t start payments until 10 or 20 years from now. The different options offer different amounts of income. The first annuities were issued by the Roman Empire as a reward to legionnaires for their service. Two millennium later annuities are still being used to provide a dependable income.