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Indefatigable Solutions

Some people put off looking into long-term care, either because they think it’s too far down the road or they may not need it altogether.

Despite research showing people are living longer than ever, only 22 percent of respondents to a recent survey believed they would need long-term care in the future, while about one-third thought that their parents, spouses and other family members would need it.

In reality, experts predict that approximately 58 percent of women and 44 percent of men will need long-term care during their lifetimes. Ironically, the healthier you are today, the more likely you’ll need long-term care in the future. That’s because if you’re fortunate enough to live a long, healthy life, you’re more likely to eventually experience the physical and mental effects of old age.

Perhaps part of this denial is simply that people don’t want to pay insurance premiums for something they may never use. However, we have some alternative strategies for how to help afford medical care as part of your retirement income plan in the event that it is needed. Schedule an appointment today, and we’ll help you find a strategy that can fit your particular situation.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Long-Term Care: How Big a Risk?” from Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, November 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “The Next Era of Palliative Care,” from The Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct. 20, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “New Products Address Shortcomings of Long-Term Care Insurance,” from Bank Investment Consultant, Sept. 1, 2015.]

Here’s another thing that that changes as we get older: We stop asking questions. One researcher observed that, “A child asks 300 questions a day. By middle school, the number is down to practically none.” Obviously, we don’t know all the answers by sixth grade. Instead, the study concluded that our natural curiosity is trained out of us. Parents, teachers and employers want correct answers, not questions, so we lose our natural inquisitiveness to question why things are the way they are — like why the correct answer is the correct answer.

By the same token, some researchers say that creativity is inherent in most, if not all, children. As adults, continuing to exercise our creative instincts can make us more creative. Not using them causes our creativity to become latent.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Companies Value Curiosity but Stifle It Anyway,” from Harvard Business Review, Oct. 21, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Can Creativity Be Taught?” from Knowledge@Wharton, April 27, 2014.]

Albert Einstein once said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” This is often true of problem solving. Sometimes we must assimilate what we have learned, mix in a little creativity and resourcefulness, add some new knowledge and data, and transform it into a new strategy tailored for our specific needs.

That’s what we try to do for each of our clients. Your wisdom, our knowledge of the industry and a little imagination can work wonders.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “This Infographic Depicts 9 Domains of Intelligence,” from Gizmodo, July 24, 2015.]

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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What could your future look like? How today’s societal trends are shaping tomorrow’s retirements

If your picture of the typical retirement consists of a retiree spending her days strolling the grounds of her pricey assisted living complex with her spouse of forty years, today’s picture of the modern retirement may surprise you.

While many seniors enjoy growing old with their spouse, the marriage statistics for younger generations make that plan appear less likely. According to recent studies, in 2014, for the first time ever, there were more unmarried American adults than married ones. Additionally, 20 percent of American adults have never been married (a record high), and experts predict that as many as 25 percent of millennials will never get married.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Singles nation: Why so many Americans are unmarried,” at Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why 25% of Millennials Will Never Get Married,” at Time, Sept. 14, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why more women choose not to marry,” at CNN, Oct. 15, 2014.]

Some experts attribute financial constraints and the slow job market to the reduced interest in marriage. In fact, some women would rather not marry at all than marry someone unemployed or with poor job prospects.

The financial struggles of today’s retirees have led some to consider alternative living arrangements that benefit them both economically and socially.

Several community programs are being developed to utilize the time and talents of older adults to address social problems, such as providing care for overwrought single parents, foster parents or adults with developmental disabilities.

Communities that enable people to support each other are also forming. For example, at the Hope Meadows neighborhood in Rantoul, Illinois, seniors who move into the community volunteer a certain number of hours each week in return for reduced rent, an ideal fit for many widows, empty nesters, retired school teachers, etc., who live on a fixed income.

This model of care provides a synergistic support system. For example, a young single mother drives a retired woman to her doctors’ appointments and takes her to the grocery store. In return, the older woman looks after her first-grader after school.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A Community Built around Older Adults Caring for Adoptive Families,” at NPR, Aug. 4, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Who Will Care for America’s Seniors?” at The Atlantic, April 27, 2015.]

Perhaps you’ve put off thinking about how to plan for your own long-term care situation. If you’re single, this may be a big concern; if you’re married, you may want to consider a contingency plan should one or both of you need an extra hand as you get older.

One of our focuses is helping people create retirement income strategies that can include different types of housing options. After all, aging at home doesn’t necessarily mean staying in your own home. Sometimes, downsizing or moving to a shared community, such as Hope Meadows, can offer both financial and social living opportunities.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “A Profile of Older Americans: 2014,” at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The ‘elder orphans’ of the Baby Boom generation,” at CNN, May 18, 2015.]

A proper retirement income strategy is an important part of enjoying your retirement to the fullest. If you ever have questions about your financial situation, we’re here to answer the call.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Values of Adulthood: A True Cause and Effect

Sometimes it’s interesting to think back to how our upbringing determined how we developed our specific set of ideals. After all, the situations and experiences we faced early in life can have a big impact on the paths we chose in adulthood.

Our earliest impressions of the world are an extension of the behaviors we observed and the lessons our parents taught us. As we grow older, our life experiences often align and reconfirm the validity of those early influences.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Do Children Just Take Their Parents’ Political Beliefs? It’s Not That Simple,” at The Atlantic, May 1, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors or Artists?” at NPR, March 18, 2014.]

One aspect of growing up is finding people who share your same values, and this can create strong relationships. As financial professionals, we live and work in the same community as many of our clients, and in many cases, share the same values in terms of work ethic, prudence and money management. Having a similar belief system as our clients has enabled us to develop strong, long-term relationships.

As your financial professional, our goal is the same as yours: To help put you in the best position possible to have an optimal retirement.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “More Students, Secular but Feeling a Call, Turn to Divinity Schools,” at The New York Times, Oct. 16, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Race, guns, culture and change in S.C.,” at ABCnews.com, Oct. 16, 2015.]

While we can work together to monitor your financial situation, other aspects of life are left to chance and perhaps even determined before birth.

For instance, a recent study revealed that people with summer birthdays tend to have a higher birth weight and grow taller than those with winter birthdays. The contributing factor appears to be that their pregnant mothers were exposed to more sunshine in summer — and its inherent vitamin D, which has a measurable effect on childhood development and health.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “People born in summer are taller than those with winter birthdays,” at The Telegraph, Oct. 12, 2015.]

Another interesting cause and effect: Economic downturns tend to produce better teachers. When jobs are scarce, there is an increase in highly-educated, well-qualified people seeking teaching jobs. Normally, the pool of people who want to become teachers is much smaller, in part because pay for teachers is relatively low compared to other professions.

While there are obvious downsides to growing up in a time of economic turmoil, quality teaching is one of the most positive influences a youth can experience.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why recessions produce good teachers,” at World Economic Forum, Aug. 6, 2015.]

On the flip side, sometimes children can have an influence on us. Anyone with children understands how priorities change after entering parenthood. As they’re exposed to other stimulus in the world, the beliefs and values they develop can in turn have an impact on how their parents see the world.

The relationship between parent and child comes full circle, as parents impart their values on youth, and vice versa.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “CEOs with Daughters Run More Socially Responsible Firms: An Interview with Henrik Cronqvist,” at Harvard Business Review, November 2015.]

It just goes to show you that while wisdom and experience are invaluable, we are never too old to learn something new — and no one is too young to teach us.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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Talkin’ ’Bout My Generation

A generation gap exists whenever different age groups interact, but never are the differences more evident than when parents are in the process of raising teenagers.

There are a plethora of factors that differentiate generations — communication mediums, interests, values, work ethic — and the list goes on and on. Psychologists say the divide between parent and teenager is a natural progression to help both prepare for their eventual separation: Teenagers rebel toward their independence; parents start looking forward to an empty nest.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “When Parents Get Angry at Their Adolescent,” from Psychology Today, June 15, 2015.]

Marketers have conducted exhaustive research differentiating and defining the generations that co-exist today, from the greatest generation all the way down to Generations Y and Z. Despite all our differences, one common thread is that every era has some kind of financial dilemma, such as the 2008 recession’s effects on adults and the student debt millennials now face.

Whatever your current financial concerns are, our team of professionals is here to answer any questions you might have.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Market crash of 2008 still affects Gen Xers, boomers,” from BenefitsPro, Sept. 22, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Student Debt Squeezing Parents and Children Simultaneously,” from ABCnews.com, Oct. 5, 2015.]

One positive of having distinct generations is that everyone brings something unique to the table. For example, baby boomers have had a clear influence on both the economy and culture over the last 40+ years and continue to drive new innovations and industries with vivacity and longevity.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Generational Identity: The Power of ‘Boomer,’” from Pew Research Center, Sept. 2, 2015.]

The post-baby boomers who make up Generation X tend to get lost amid the headlines that surround the more populous boomer and millennial demographics, but the fact is, many Gen Xers have had their own unique financial experiences as a result of the recession and real estate decline that hit just as they were nearing their mid-career earning potential.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings,” from Marketwatch.com, Oct. 8, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “When It’s Time to Cut Financial Support to Your Parents or Adult Kids,” from Time.com, Aug. 10 2015.]

The millennials, now just as populous as boomers, are now a coveted market in the consumer world, and the teens of Generation Z are nipping at their heels.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers and Are Far More Diverse, Census Bureau Reports,” from the U.S. Census Bureau, June 25, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Millennials on Steroids,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Sept. 28, 2015.]

We make generalizations when it comes to generations, and each does have its own set of circumstances, but sooner or later, everyone can use the advice of an objective professional to help create a financial strategy and stay on track to meeting their goals. We’re fortunate that you chose us to provide you this guidance, and we’re available to discuss your future whenever you feel the need.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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Feeling Like a Fish Out of Water

As the 2016 election approaches, immigration is being brought up more than ever.

But the issue is nothing new, and will still be around long after the next U.S. President is elected.

Some have viewed immigration as a concern since the French, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish settled in America back in the late 16th century, while others argue none of us would be here in the first place if it wasn’t for immigration.

We’ve all had a first day at a new school or job where we had to wonder how we would be treated and if we would fit in. Imagine that predicament if you moved to a place where everyone around you had a different native tongue.

On occasion, consumers unfamiliar with the world of finance may feel like everyone’s speaking a whole new language. Our job as your financial professional is to clear this confusion and help ensure your financial strategy is suited to your unique needs.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Immigration Timeline,” from The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Immigration Before 1965,” from History.com, 2015.]

Like any other time in our nation’s history, viewpoints on immigration are all over the spectrum. Today’s presidential candidates have proposed interesting ways to deal with immigration, from building a wall with a big, welcoming gate, to tracking people the way UPS tracks packages.

[CLICK HERE to view the article and video, “Trump Gets Down to Business on 60 Minutes,” from CBSnews.com, Sept. 27, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Ben Carson Immigration Reform: Let Undocumented Immigrants Work on Farms,” from International Business Times, Sept. 16, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Immigration?” from Bloomberg, May 6, 2015.]

Some economic analysts offer a different perspective. For example, in response to a comment made by Donald Trump early in his campaign, one scholar reveals that the immigrant crime rate in the U.S. is very low compared to native people.

Many also believe that more immigration is necessary to replace the tens of millions of retiring baby boomers over the next two decades, and that it is a tremendous driver of economic growth. In fact, many of Silicon Valley’s startups in the 1990s were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Immigration Boogeyman: Separating Fact from Fiction,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Sept. 30, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Immigration Act That Inadvertently Changed America,” from The Atlantic, Oct. 2, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065,” from Pew Research Center, Sept. 28, 2015.]

It takes more than luck and courage to try something new and succeed, yet for hundreds of years, millions of immigrants have done just that. The same can be said for deciding on the strategies that can help you feel confident in your family’s future.

For many people, trying to navigate the financial world can make you feel like you’re not in your element — a fish out of water. Luckily, it’s our world, and we welcome the opportunity to help you make decisions that can benefit you now and for years to come.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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You Might Be Overdue for a Leadership Shakeup

In September, a celebrated visit from Pope Francis made quite an impression on Americans. During a political era when discussions of both church and state are increasingly divisive, somehow the Argentinian leader of the Catholic Church grabbed attention from every end of the spectrum for his message of unity and cooperation.

In many ways, Pope Francis has transformed papal leadership with his willingness to depart from traditional norms or expectations. From his access to the public — even mastering social media — to his outward demonstration of the value he places on all people, which includes inviting the homeless to eat with him and empowering his subordinates with decision-making authority, his leadership style alone has impressed believers and nonbelievers alike.

An effective leadership style can make all the difference, and when it comes to your personal finances, we hope you’ll find that we lead by giving you the information you need to take charge of your financial future.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Pope Francis, in Congress, Pleads for Unity on World’s Woes,” from The New York Times, Sept. 24, 2015.]

Even the United States is grappling with the issue of leadership as the two biggest parties gear up for the 2016 presidential race. Certainly, there are various types of leadership styles, with varying levels of success. As American voters consider who will sit in the White House next, it’s important to recognize, too, that a style of leadership that may have been very effective in one circumstance may not resonate with all constituents; some may respond well while others do not.

We see this again and again with different critiques of leaders, such as Carly Fiorina’s role as chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard, and the soon-to-be-former Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

Whether these critiques are fair or not, it is undeniable that, at least for the Republican voter base, a leadership shakeup, or a departure from “business as usual,” is attractive. The top polling candidates for the GOP — Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson — are newcomers to politics. None have held public office, which is traditionally a “must” on the resume of the top elected public official in the country. Whether their current traction in the race is sustainable or not, their lack of experience in the public sector has helped rather than harmed the three candidates in the polls, reflecting a growing reconsideration of what “leadership” means.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Carly Fiorina’s Legacy as CEO of Hewlett Packard,” from Harvard Business Review, Sept. 25, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Boehner departs as least-popular speaker in three decades,” from The Washington Post, Sept. 25, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Poll: Fiorina rockets to No. 2 behind Trump in GOP field,” from CNN Politics, Sept. 21, 2015.]

You can also work on a personal leadership shakeup, regardless of whether you are responsible for several people, a business, a family or just yourself and Bubbles the goldfish. The qualities being repeated in headlines and talking head soundbites can be equally effective within your own life, helping you accomplish your own goals. For example, take some of the leadership qualities of Pope Francis:

  • Accessibility — Be available to loved ones, family, friends and colleagues.
  • Compassion — Show others respect, no matter their circumstances.
  • Empowerment — Vet well and trust others to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Courage — Sometimes the greatest risk is to speak up or act on your convictions, even when you know you’ll go against the grain, but it is better to be authentic.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis,” from Fast Company, Sept. 25, 2015.]

Applying these qualities in your own life might help you to feel more involved or more empowered to act. Remember, your actions today are the beginning of your legacy and your future. And as always, if you are ready to act in the area of finances, we are here to help.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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Young Adults Left Waiting on Post-Recession Employment

Underemployment is a problem that has been particularly difficult on recent college graduates, but its effects are felt by all demographics.

Although the unemployment rate is down, you could say we have the most well-educated bartenders and busboys in history. The World Economic Forum found that most college-educated workers took jobs in low-earning industries between 2000 and 2014, and wages of young college graduates are 2.5 percent lower than they were in 2000.

This has an impact on more than just graduates and the parents they may be moving back in with. Unemployed and underemployed people spend less on consumables. In turn, low demand for goods and services leads to lower growth, and companies that aren’t growing don’t create more jobs.

As a whole, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August, but it was at 7.2 percent for recent college graduates and 19.5 percent for those fresh out of high school. This means that more than a quarter of this teenage generation is unable to buy a new car, house or other perks that come with being in the job market.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why college-educated workers are taking low-paid jobs,” from World Economic Forum, Sept. 4, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “The Class of 2015: Despite an Improving Economy, Young Grads Still Face an Uphill Climb,” from Economic Policy Institute; May 27, 2015.]

All of this is just part of the reason the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee decided against raising interest rates in September — also citing global issues and their impact on the U.S. stock market.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss how this may impact your current financial strategy.

[CLICK HERE to read the media release, “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary,” from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 18, 2015.]

The lack of jobs and a stalemate in the real estate market have contributed to slow recovery in many areas of the country. Six years after the recession ended, many cities in the Southwest have the lowest recovery rates based on 17 economic indicators, such as home-price appreciation and wage growth. Nine of the 15 cities in the worst shape are located in Arizona and Nevada.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Cities in the Southwest Are Still Waiting for a Recovery,” from The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “2015′s Most & Least Recession-Recovered Cities,” from WalletHub, Sept. 14, 2015.]

As you might have guessed, those faring best in the post-recovery stage are people who already possessed a substantial amount of wealth. Earnings have increased among households ranked in the 90th and 95th percentiles of wealth in the U.S. since the recession, but on average, income levels for all other groups are still below 2006 levels. Today, the median household income is 6.5 percent lower than it was in 2007, the year the recession started.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Richest Americans Are Winning the Economic Recovery,” from Bloomberg, Sept. 16, 2015.]

One of the best lessons we can extract from the recession is that we can’t control what will happen with the economy, but we can be proactive about what we do with our assets. Regardless of where you stand in the recovery spectrum, please give us a call to discuss potential strategies for positioning your assets that can help ensure your family’s financial future.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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What Role Can you Play in the National Economy?

Thanks to our nation’s growth in employment levels, low gas prices and stability in the real estate market, it was expected that consumer confidence would remain steady.

Instead, the index measuring consumer confidence dropped to its lowest mark of the year, from 91.1 in August to 85.7 in mid-September.

So, what gives? Some experts believe this lackluster attitude is in response to the volatility the stock market experienced in August, when the S&P 500 dropped by about 6 percent.

Still, this disappointment on the part of consumers has one upside: They are off the sidelines and keeping a close eye on what happens with their assets.

This is a good reminder that no matter how well off you are, you should never be complacent about your finances. As your financial professional, we consider it part of our role to help clients feel confident about their future.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “August’s stock market mayhem has Americans feeling worse about everything,” from Business Insider, Sept. 11, 2015.]

In a recent Wall Street Journal survey of private economists, more than half believed that an increase in consumer spending could have a significant impact on economic expansion, particularly moving into the fourth-quarter holiday season.

The lesson here? Don’t be a cheapskate … although you may get a kick out of reading about some of the wealthiest cheapskates of all time in the article below.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What’s Most Likely to Shift Economy Toward Faster Growth? Consumers,” from The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 11, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “10 of the Richest Cheapskates of All Time,” from Time.com, 2015.]

Researchers at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank recently compiled data on how people of all ages manage their money. While the results are mixed across all demographics, there was a meaningful tip that applies to all ages: Don’t judge yourself based on point-in-time circumstances, because life accomplishments and income accumulation is a process. Wealth typically doesn’t happen overnight.

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “What Roles Do Age and Birth Year Play in Income and Wealth?” from St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, July 15, 2015.]

Here’s another idea to play a role in our nation’s health: Engage in political oversight. We’re embarking on an election year, and the media is already running rampant with stories. Make sure you get the facts — the real facts, not some pundit’s interpretation of them.

Although we are continually inundated with campaign rhetoric and a muckraking frenzy, don’t forget that Congress has some pretty big issues to resolve before the end of the year. If you’ve never written your congressional representatives in the past, you may want to take advantage of easy online communication forms to let them know what issues are most important to you as a constituent.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Five Fiscal Deadlines to Watch This Fall,” from The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 11, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Find Your Representative,” from House.gov, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to contact U.S. Senators,” from Senate.gov, 2015.]

As always, we stay on top of today’s issues, headlines and economic news and understand how various factors can impact your financial future. If you’d like to get together to discuss your personal situation, please give us a call.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Women and the Process of Retirement Planning

Planning for retirement income shouldn’t stop just because you retire. It’s a process, much like raising children and pursuing a career.

You learn, you implement, you make mistakes, you seek advice. So whether you are already retired, nearing retiring or thinking about it as an abstract concept many years away, we can help you engage in this ongoing process.

In addition to general retirement income planning for a couple, it’s a good idea for married couples to also engage in individual reitrement income planning. Odds are, one spouse will live longer than the other, so it’s important to plan for financial security once one spouse has passed away. Given that women generally live longer than men, this can be especially important for them. 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Impact of Retirement Risk on Women,” from Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, 2013.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “10 Money Tips for Retired Women on Fixed Incomes,” from NextAvenue.org, Aug. 28, 2015.]

Needs change throughout life, whether you’re a man or a woman. But a change in marital status can have a more detrimental impact on financial security in retirement for women.

When a woman gets divorced, she is likely to lose her survivor’s benefits from her ex-husband’s pension plan. That’s why it’s important as part of the divorce settlement to draw up a special court order, called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, that can specifically provide for a survivor’s pension in the event of divorce.

Widows now have protection for survivor’s benefits, thanks to a 1984 law that requires private pension plans to provide a pension to a worker’s surviving wife (or husband) if the employee earned a benefit.

In fact, the employee’s spouse has to provide written permission in order to waive this right. Note, however, that this legislation only applies to private pension plans. If the spouse worked at a state, local or federal government job, then the widow should find out what rules apply to that pension.

Now, some people suffer through one or more divorces and decide, “That’s it. I’m not ever getting married again.” They may engage in a long-term relationship and even share a home with a partner, but simply not marry. This arrangement should be considered in the process of retirement income planning, because common law and non-married partners may not have a legal right to survivor benefits from Social Security or pension plans. Despite its troubles, marriage may still have financial benefits, depending on the situation.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Rights of Surviving Spouses,” from Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Widows and Widowhood,” from Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, 2015.]

If you’re a working woman, you have plenty of good income planning options. Especially when you consider that within the next 15 years, it’s estimated that women will control two-thirds of the wealth in the U.S.

That is particularly remarkable when you consider that, on average, women still earn about 22 cents less per dollar than men. But women will need the extra funds, because right now experts project that 70 percent of baby boomer wives will outlive their husbands by 15 to 20 years.

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “The Financial Divide: Women and Wealth,” from Regions Bank, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Women and Retirement Savings,” from U.S. Department of Labor, August 2013.]

Regardless of where you are in the lifelong process of retirement income planning, it’s certainly never too late to get started. Even if you have a plan for retirement income as a couple, it’s a good idea to ensure it would cover a surviving spouse.

As always, we’re here to help you with just that type of retirement income planning — now, and as you need it throughout your lifetime.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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Finding Fulfillment in Part-Time Work

Professional employees in their 50s and 60s are starting to think more strategically about retirement. Not just about how to pay for it, but how they’ll spend their time once they get there.

For some, that means they’d like to keep doing what they’re doing — just not quite so much of it. According to one survey, 80 percent of workers in their 50s and up indicate an interest in staying in the workforce past their planned retirement date if they could scale back their hours and responsibilities.

Take Steve Norwitz, for example. After 38 years working in media relations at T. Rowe Price, he took a 25 percent pay cut in exchange for just over three months’ vacation time each year. Now, at age 68, in between the special projects he manages for the company, Steve and his wife have traveled to Ecuador, China and Slovenia and taken a river cruise down the Rhine.

When he’s home, Steve’s happily engaged at work and out of his wife’s hair. It’s a win-win, not only for the couple, but also for his company that benefits from his same experience for a much lower price.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Facing Retirement, but Easing Your Way Out the Door,” from The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to view the infographic, “Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of Workers of All Ages,” from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 2015.]

As your financial professional, we specialize in creating financial retirement solutions, but not all of them are asset-based. As people live longer, a better solution than retiring altogether might be to save for periods of unemployment, with eventual returns in and out of the workforce. For that, you need flexible and customized retirement income strategies.

Today’s buzz word in the halls of human resource departments is “work-life balance.” If the millennials can demand it, why not soon-to-be retirees? According to one research report, work-life balance is the single most important factor on staff morale — up from its No. 6 ranking in 2009. Interestingly, it’s those in senior management who complain of having the worst work-life balance.

Maybe it’s time for a change. Not a dramatic change, like retirement, but a reorganization of priorities — so mature workers can keep the responsibilities they like and delegate the ones they don’t. At the same time, this opens the door for younger workers to pick up more responsibilities and management opportunities under the watchful eye of an experienced coach.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Bosses have the worst work-life balance in 2015,” from Human Resources Online, Aug. 18, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Wellbeing and Business Performance,” from Morgan Redwood, 2015.]

Unfortunately, while it looks like companies are starting to embrace a culture change that includes workplace flexibility, not everyone is on board. And so it may in your world. But consider whether that should stop you from achieving your own work-life balance.

There are other companies and other jobs that may value your skills and experience in a less demanding environment. To go this route, consider two things. First, focus on your skill set, not your past job descriptions. You may find that your knowledge is applicable across different types of businesses and industries.

Second, consider how to transform from a workaholic Type A personality to a more laid-back Type B. This doesn’t mean you have to drop your standards for work performance, simply that you learn to enjoy your labors more. After all, at the pre-retirement stage in a career it’s important to appreciate that work is a privilege, since it may not always be an option.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Future of Work and Our Social Compact,” from Forbes, June 18, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “How to Go From Type A to Type B in Retirement,” from NextAvenue, July 14, 2015.]

If you’d like to discuss ways to integrate your retirement income plan with your career, please give us a call.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

The information contained in this material is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

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