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All Work, No Play Makes for a Long Day

One of the great things about the United States is that your level of success is largely in your hands. Hard work and the right decisions can go a long way in ensuring your prosperity.

However, when chasing the American dream, some forget that it’s important to maintain happiness along the way. Many workers in the U.S. are known for living with a “work hard, play hard” mentality.

On the surface, putting all of your passion and focus into the activity in which you are engaged seems like a good idea. But the fact is, when we’re happy, we make better decisions, both at work and at play.

We believe the same holds true when making financial decisions. It may not be a good idea to make a big financial decision when you’re under a lot of stress or grieving. That’s one reason why it’s important to work with a financial professional who can help you with your long-term financial goals, using a variety of insurance products.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Decision Making under Pressure” from CFA Institute, Feb. 22, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Financial Guidance for Widows Struggling Through Grief’s Fog” from The New York Times, Feb. 19, 2016.]

Studies have shown that people who prioritize their own well-being tend to be more productive, perform better and have better relationships with other people. This is true both in your personal life and in your professional one.

Research also demonstrates that leaders and employees who are more supportive of others around them — as opposed to “looking out for No. 1″ — not only improve their own performance, but even improve their health and longevity.

There are even more benefits to the science of being happy. For example, it can lead to better sleep, better digestion and just plain giving your nervous system a break. Many of the methods for facilitating happiness are simple and inexpensive, such as low-stress exercise like walking and swimming, not eating lunch at your work desk and eating fresh and more nutritious foods. Take time to focus on long, deep breaths, which help slow your body’s rhythm and funnel more oxygen to the brain.

It may also help to just take a break from whatever causes you stress, particularly at work. Studies have shown that creativity is more apt to occur when our mind is in a more relaxed state.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why Being Happy Is the New Success” from Knowledge@Wharton, Feb. 25, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “7 Positive Psychology Happy Habits for Work and Life” from Huffington Post, April 13, 2015.]

Thanks to America’s work ethic and prolonged hours in the office, the nation ranks highly in many areas compared to other developed countries. But in the happiness department, we fall a little flat. Perhaps if we focus on our own well-being and learn to de-stress and improve decision making, we can close the gap on Columbia and Denmark on the list of countries that rank highest in the happiness category.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “This Country Was Just Named the Happiest in the World, Again. No surprise here.” from Huffington Post, Jan. 5, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “WIN/Gallup International’s annual global End of Year survey reveals a world of conflicting hopes, happiness and despair” from WIN/Gallup, December 2016.]

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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How to Handle Finances with Class

Going back to college as a grown adult is a big decision.

In the long run, the skills and knowledge acquired from additional education can help land a higher-paying job. The question is if the temporary costs and time constraints of paying for classes will provide a satisfactory return on investment. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Important Money Tips for Older Adults Going Back to College,” from U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 9, 2015.] 

Before using current assets to fund either your own education or the education of a child or grandchild, we encourage you to meet with a financial professional first. While the initiative to seek higher education is admirable, it’s also important to ensure that your objectives do not circumvent your long-term financial goals. 

After all, there are ways, including auditing or taking online classes, to help procure the knowledge you seek for yourself or a loved one without adversely impacting your retirement income goals. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Free School: A Secret Benefit for Seniors,” from Senior Planet, Aug. 5, 2014.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Grants for Adult Students,” from CollegeScholarships.org, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Class of Now: Reasons to Go Back to School,” from SeniorResource.com, 2016.] 

The increase in people paying for college later in life has translated to a higher amount of debt for today’s pre-retirees and retirees. Economists at the New York Federal Reserve recently published a report revealing that older Americans held significantly more debt in 2015 than they did in 2003. 

In fact, the amount of debt among borrowers between the ages of 50 and 80 has increased by about 60 percent. While mortgage debt, home equity lines of credit, auto debt and credit card debt have stayed relatively flat for this demographic, student loan debt has increased substantially.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Graying of American Debt,” from Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Feb. 24, 2016.] 

In another report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the following data regarding this issue. 

  •          27 percent of loan balances held by those aged 50 to 64 was for their children
  •          The remaining 73 percent was for their own education
  •          Among the next-older age group, 82 percent of the loan balances was for the borrower’s own education 

The GAO report also indicated that older Americans are more likely to default on their student loans than younger co-eds. While 12 percent of federal loans held by borrowers aged 25 to 29 were in default, more than twice that (27 percent) were held by borrowers between the ages of 65 and 74. Among people age 75 or older, more than half their student loans were in default. 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees,” from Government Accountability Office, Sept. 10, 2014.] 

As if having student debt during retirement isn’t already a challenge, the federal government can garnish Social Security benefits to repay the loan. The number of retirees who had their Social Security benefits garnished to pay for student loans increased sixfold from 2002 to 2013. 

While the problem is no doubt worrisome for retirees or near-retirees carrying a large load of student debt, this is by no means a mainstream issue. If you feel the urge to enroll in classes and further your education, you shouldn’t be deterred by the financial challenges others have endured. 

However, it does emphasize the need to carefully assess your assets, your future earning potential and your timeline for repayment before you apply for student loans for yourself or a loved one. Feel free to speak with us if you have questions about how tuition may fit into your  retirement income strategy.

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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Difference in Stagnant Market Could be Startups

The jobs report from January 2016 revealed gains in some industries and declines in others, with the net result putting the unemployment rate at 4.9 percent, roughly the same as the month before. 

Areas on the rise included retail, food and beverage, health care and manufacturing; declines were seen in private educational services, transportation, warehousing and mining. Perhaps the best hope of sustained growth in the U.S. job market rests in the potential of startups. 

[CLICK HERE to read the new release, “The Employment Situation — January 2016,” from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Feb. 5, 2016.] 

The most net job creation in the U.S. economy comes from brand new companies during their first few years of existence. By contrast, established companies may look to increase their profit margin by decreasing jobs. 

According to one report, the United States is enjoying a “veritable entrepreneurial revolution.” 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “‘The Looming Entrepreneurial Boom’: Kauffman Weighs In,” from The Atlantic, Feb. 22, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “The Looming Entrepreneurial Boom: How Policymakers Can Renew Startup Growth,” from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2016.] 

As a local independent financial professional, we applaud and embody the spirit of entrepreneurship. We feel it is important to live, work, worship and play in the communities where our clients reside. We understand the day-to-day issues you face, whether in our schools, our workforce, our local government, at the gas pump or in the grocery store. Our guidance is personal, as are our client relationships. 

So it’s heartening to see that a greater proportion of our national economy is supported by smaller, specialized, entrepreneurial firms. Larger companies have even started recognizing that the key to their own growth is to invest in the smaller players. 

Instead of competing against the little guys, many are funding them. A smaller, innovative startup is more nimble and can incubate ideas more quickly than within the vast infrastructure of a larger corporation. As an example, Campbell Soup Company has invested $125 million in a venture fund to help finance food startups. 

The combination of ready capital and established manufacturing facilities and distribution channels with new, innovative ideas appears to be the next wave of opportunity in the U.S. Consider that between 2012 and 2015, the grocery store food and beverage category grew by only 2.3 percent a year, but the largest 25 food and beverage companies contributed only 0.1 percent to that growth. The rest was generated by 20,000 small companies outside of the top 100.

It’s true that the vast majority of startups fail. But the one thing they have in common, which larger companies typically do not share, is the opportunity for rapid growth. Just like children grow faster each year than fully grown adults, studies show that surviving young firms grow at much faster rates than firms that have been around for decades. As a result, their net employment growth rate is about 15 percent, compared to 4 percent for the oldest companies. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Big Companies Should Collaborate with Startups,” from Harvard Business Review, Feb. 25, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Start-Ups That Last,” from Harvard Business Review, March 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Job Creation by Startups and Young Companies,” from CGA Office of Legislative Research, Jan. 26, 2016.] 

While an increase in startups should give the job market a boost, the rise in automation and robot technology may work against it. The World Economic Forum recently released a report purporting that the increased functionality of robots will create a loss of more than 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Where will robots take over the most jobs?” from The World Economic Forum, Feb. 16, 2016.] 

However, other experts claim that it is simply the nature of work that will change. People will continue to work, but they may not have “jobs” in the traditional sense. We’ve seen new, flexible work options crop up over the past 10 years, enabling companies to scale their workforce based on their needs, and workers to become more independent. 

This trend also means that each of us may have to be more responsible for our own financial future, such as health insurance and retirement income planning through the use of insurance products, which were once the domain of employers. These are our areas of experience, and we’re here to help you along the way whenever necessary. 

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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Pondering Retirement Relocation?

There often are two schools of thought among new retirees: (1) Stay put, or (2) “Get out of Dodge.” For those interested in moving, there’s a proliferation of questions to address. 

For example, where would you go? Do you have a favorite vacation spot where you’ve always dreamed of living? Can you afford to live there if you sell your current home? Should you downsize, or even consider buying a low-maintenance condominium? 

The first step is to see how much you have in retirement assets, and then figure out where you can afford to go. We can help you  create a strategy to help optimize your retirement income for a more confident — and possibly sunnier — future. 

Here’s a new trend among retirees that doesn’t require relocating very far away: Downsize to downtown. With the kids grown and out of the house, many folks don’t see the point in keeping up the big house in the suburbs. 

After all, weekend traffic can be crazy driving by the ever-growing strip mall meccas and soccer field complexes. There frequently are long lines at the post office and local bank branches, with popular grocery stores crowded and impersonal. That doesn’t even take into account the big house that must be cleaned, the expansive yard that must be maintained and the pressure to buy a brand new Lexus to “keep up with the Joneses” down the street. 

So what’s another option for a couple on the brink of retirement who don’t want to move far from friends and family? How about a walk-up brownstone or converted loft downtown? If it’s within walking distance of theaters and museums, corner coffee shops and eateries, boutique shopping and a local farmers market, all the better. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “More choosing to retire, empty-nest downtown Minneapolis,” from NBC Channel 11, Sept. 18, 2015.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Downsizing to Downtown,” from Tucson.com, May 18, 2015.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Kennedy: Trend alert: Downtown downsizing,” from The Times Free Press, Sept. 18, 2014.] 

Your relocation can be even more enhanced in a college town. Often, retirees are able to take advantage of university amenities even more than students or faculty because they have both more time and a greater appreciation of what’s available. 

Some colleges allow community members to access their athletic and cultural facilities for a fee, not to mention the option to audit classes on campus for lifelong learning. 

Even if you don’t become associated with the school, there may be other opportunities available in a college town. Transportation usually is excellent, parks and other green areas tend to be well-maintained and the surrounding community is generally brimming with local service businesses, bookstores, banks, music venues, art galleries and art-house movie theaters. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Do You ‘Live Well’ in a College Town?” from College Town Retirement, 2016.] 

If going downtown doesn’t offer the drastic change of scenery you’re looking for, you may want to think about retiring abroad thanks to the current global economy. Mexico and certain Central American countries, such as Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, offer a combination of low-cost living in a warm, sunny climate. 

If health care is a concern, Malaysia gets high marks. And the neighboring countries of Spain and Portugal are popular for their first-rate European infrastructure, moderate climate and healthy Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The World’s Best Places to Retire In 2016″ from InternationalLiving.com, Jan. 1, 2016.] 

Then there’s always the option to move into a well-appointed senior living community. Many of these upscale establishments feature country club living on-site every day. Some feature multiple bars and gourmet restaurants, media rooms and live theater, contemporary gyms with trainers, pools, golf courses and the latest exercise trend: pickleball courts. 

Just keep in mind, the more upscale the community, the higher the cost. Come talk to us if you’d like help in creating a retirement income plan to assist you with figuring out what you may be able to afford. 

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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It’s Never Too Early to Plan Your Retirement

Even when you’ve determined an exact date you want to retire, it’s hard to know how many years your retirement will last. So it stands to reason that planning for an early retirement could be a challenge. 

However, there are ways. We can take a look at your current financial situation and figure out if there is a strategy to help you retire or semi-retire with a retirement income plan that you can have confidence in. In the meantime, here are a few ideas to bear in mind. 

First of all, should you wish to retire at age 55, you will not be subject to the standard 10 percent early withdrawal penalty from your current employer’s retirement plan, including a defined contribution plan, on distributions made before age 59 ½. The penalty-free retirement age drops to 50 for people who work in public safety professions. 

Why public safety officers? These generally are higher-risk jobs in which stress takes its toll, leading more people to retire earlier than from other careers. Examples include federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, border patrol officers and air-traffic controllers. 

Note that this penalty exception does not apply to IRAs or any retirement plan you may have still with prior employers. This is important to remember if you’re thinking of rolling over your employer plan into an IRA. If you do that when you retire early, you may not be able to tap that money before age 59 ½ without triggering the penalty charge. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to avoid the 10% penalty when retiring early,” from MarketWatch.com, Feb. 5, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Getting Your Retirement Money Early — Without Penalty,” from Nolo.] 

In the past, another concern with regard to retiring early was health insurance. However, due to health care reform, you can buy your own policy on the exchange to hold you over until you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. 

You may pay higher premiums due to your age, but you won’t be penalized for any pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Remember, if you’re retiring early and living on far less income, you could qualify for tax subsidies to help pay for your health insurance. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The New Rules for Early Retirement,” from Time, 2015.] 

While some wealthy entrepreneurs retire early and live a life of luxury, many early retirees choose the trade-off of freedom from work in lieu of wealth. That could mean drastically cutting living expenses. To help you get to that point, reduce expenses while you’re still working and stash that extra cash into your retirement savings. Then when you retire early, it won’t seem like such a lifestyle downgrade. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retiring Early and Moving Abroad: How One Couple Made It Happen,” from Time, 2015.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Lessons From People Who Retired at 40,” from Entrepreneur.com, Feb. 3, 2016.] 

And finally, one of the most important decisions you can make regarding early retirement is whether to start drawing Social Security benefits. Of all of your retirement assets, this may be the one you want to hold off on the longest. 

Here’s a good rule of thumb to consider: If both of your parents lived past 90 years old, delay. If you have major health issues, draw sooner. At the end of the day, it’s all about effectively utilizing the retirement income sources available to you. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Tips for People Who Will Retire in 2016,” from U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 7, 2015.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A soon-to-be retiree’s guide to a crazy market,” from CNNMoney, Feb. 11, 2016.] 

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.

We are not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein shall constitute, tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about their personal situation. 

We are able to provide you with information but not guidance or advice related to federal benefits. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

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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Health Care Approach Evolving at Personal, Corporate Levels

An unexpected illness is something to think about when planning for retirement, as it could be costly. 

More fail-safes are now embedded in health insurance plans, allowing more people with pre-existing conditions to receive coverage with reasonable premiums, but financial risks may still await. 

For example, in an emergency situation, what are you supposed to do if you’re unconscious or otherwise unable to select the facility and provider that cares for you? 

Many times, patients are transported to the nearest hospital, regardless of whether it’s part of their health care plan’s network. This could lead to unexpected expensive bills. Also, be aware that a plan’s out-of-pocket limit may not apply to cost-sharing charges for out-of-network health care services. 

Today’s health care laws have enabled more people to buy health care insurance, but not necessarily the level of coverage they need. In fact, people are still filing for medical bankruptcy due to increased health costs and high premiums, copays, co-insurance and deductibles. 

Going forward, health care should be considered when preparing your long-term retirement income plan. The fact is, we may die sick or we may die healthy. While everyone prefers to maintain their health as long as possible, it’s better to prepare for the worst-case scenario and take steps to help ensure your family is covered in case you have a disability or illness later in life. Any remaining assets may be able to be passed on to your spouse or beneficiaries. 

As your financial professional, we’re available whenever you’re ready to discuss your long-term retirement income strategy. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “JAMA Forum: Surprise, Surprise,” from News@JAMA, Feb. 3, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds,” from The New York Times, Jan. 5, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to hear the story, “House Hearing Probes the Mystery of High Drug Prices That ‘Nobody Pays,’” from NPR, Jan. 29, 2016.] 

People working for large companies may soon be able to start putting a way a little extra savings thanks to their employers’ changing approach to health care. Some corporations that offer health care insurance coverage to employees are actively looking for ways to reduce the cost of medical services. 

For example, 20 major U.S. companies, including American Express, Macy’s and Verizon, recently formed an alliance to share health spending and outcome data on their combined 4 million employees. 

This is part of a burgeoning trend in which large corporations are exploring how to leverage their volume health care spending to reduce the cost of care and prescription drugs. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Companies Form New Alliance to Target Health-Care Costs,” from The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Who Has the Power to Cut Drug Prices? Employers.” from Harvard Business Review, Dec. 1, 2015.] 

Since 2013, the number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million, predominantly as a result of the Affordable Care Act. During last year’s open enrollment period, 12.7 million people either re-enrolled in a health plan or bought a new health plan through the government-sponsored marketplaces (9.6 million at Healthcare.gov; 3.1 million on state-run exchanges). And because health care plans are increasingly prone to change, about 70 percent of those re-enrolling at the federal site wisely shopped around for a better deal this year. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Here’s How Many Americans Signed Up for Obamacare This Year,” from Money, Feb. 5, 2016.] 

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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Strides in Pay Equality a Step in Right Direction

Lilly Ledbetter was hired in 1979 as a supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and worked there for the next 20+ years. When she retired in 1998, she sued the company for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts.

Initially, her pay was on par with her male colleagues, but after being promoted to area manager she earned significantly less than the men in that same role. The Supreme Court denied her claim because she did not file suit within 180 days after receiving her first pay check in 1979.

That was one step back for all women.

But in 2009, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which relaxed the timelines for a work discrimination filing. In 2014, Barack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss their compensation.

Then, in January 2016, Obama announced a proposal to collect pay data by gender, race and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees to help promote transparency in discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Taking Action to Advance Equal Pay” from Whitehouse.gov, Jan. 29, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” from Whitehouse.gov, January 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is It Rude to Talk About Money? Millennials Don’t Think So” from Time, Jan. 21, 2016.]

The movement toward equal pay does not just benefit women. Higher pay enables higher consumer spending overall, similar to the way low gas prices help boost our economy. Furthermore, enabling women to better plan for their financial future puts less burden on tax-funded government programs. After all, as a general rule women need to prepare for a longer life and financial future.

This issue affects couples as much as it does single, widowed and divorced women. Sources of retirement income, such as pension benefits, are often reduced when the husband dies. It’s important that couples have a retirement income plan in the event that one spouse passes away before the other. This is an area of  knowledge and planning in which we help many of our clients.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Centenarians Proliferate, and Live Longer” at The New York Times; Jan. 21, 2016.]

The issue — and opportunity — of equal pay is a global one. A recent report from McKinsey Global Institute estimated that if all women worldwide were as engaged in the financial markets as men, up to $28 trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025.

This year’s World Economic Forum spotlighted this issue and featured speeches from highly visible and influential women in today’s culture: philanthropist Melinda Gates, Facebook Chief Operation Officer Sheryl Sandberg and popular actress Emma Watson — best known as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “It’s Time to Break the Chains of Dependency for Girls and Women” from The Huffington Post, Jan. 21, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Emma Watson in Davos: Gender equality would be the ‘single biggest stimulus to the economy’” from The World Economic Forum, Jan. 22, 2016.]

When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon in 1969, he delivered the now famous quote, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” With increased focus on equal pay, hopefully soon we will see economic benefits that are not only a step in the right direction for women, but a giant leap for all mankind.

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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Spare Time

We all have spare time. However, it’s possible to be so busy, to have such a long list of things to do, that you actually feel guilty taking a bit of time to flake out in front of the television set, read a not-so-literary book or take a mid-afternoon nap.

Even visiting with family and friends is something you can check off your to-do list — the “nourishing friendships” line item that you never quite write down but feel guilty if you don’t do it.

This is the typical lifestyle of a person who works and/or raises children. But what about when you retire? When you wake up in the morning and there’s no place you have to be and the children are all grown and (mostly) self-sufficient?

We spend a big part of our adult lives planning and saving for retirement. This is an area where we can help. As financial professionals, we are here to help you create a retirement income strategy that you can feel confident about.

However, once you create a retirement income strategy, have you thought about a plan for how you will spend the 40 or 50 hours a week during retirement that you previously spent at your job?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?” from Knowledge@Wharton, Jan. 14, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Turn Your 2016 Bucket List Into A Love List” from The Huffington Post, Jan. 5, 2016.]

Retirement isn’t all leisure and social activity. With today’s more transient society, more people end up in pre-retirement neighborhoods and friendships that were not lifelong. Along the way, individuals and couples start entertaining what they would like to do during retirement. Play more golf with your foursome. Spend more time barbecuing and hanging out with the next-door neighbors. Go sailing with your spouse.

The problem with these vague plan ideas is that they may not be compatible with the people you want to spend time with in retirement. It’s unlikely your golf buddies will all retire at the same time you do. The neighbors might be planning to move away to their retirement dream destination. Your spouse might be prone to seasickness, or consider a weekend shopping in New York City far more preferable.

While you may need to have more conversations about those “big plans” with your family and friends, what about your day-to-day activities in retirement? Perhaps you should think about an alternative, part-time work situation that you would enjoy. Or volunteer your time for a cause for which you’ve always felt a special tug. After all, people retiring today at age 65 could live another 20 to 30 years.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Show goes on for retiree turned volunteer” from The Welland Tribune, Dec. 28, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Volunteer Topeka: Retiree beats boredom by volunteering at ReStore” from The Topeka Capital-Journal, Nov. 28, 2015.]

A recent survey found that two-thirds of workers age 50 and older either plan to work past age 65 or not retire at all. If you are considering a working retirement, note that experts say you shouldn’t take off too much time between jobs.

Even with retirement as an excuse, you don’t want to have long employment gaps. Things change quickly in the work world — particularly with technology — and you don’t want to get too far behind the curve when it comes to new processes and trends.

Experts also caution that age discrimination still exists, so your best bet is to use your network and connections to help secure a gig. If you just apply online to job postings, you could appear overqualified and too expensive for a position, or underqualified if you’re thinking of changing career path.

Offering to volunteer your time and expertise can be a good way for you and a potential employer to test the waters to see if it’s a good fit for a future paid position.

Whatever you do, consider that a plan for how to spend your time in retirement is just as important as a plan for your financial well-being.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “6 Best Career Moves to Make in Your 60s” from Time, Jan. 11, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “10 tips for those who want to consult after they retire” from MarketWatch, Dec. 17, 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.

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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Few Benefit Financially from College’s Big Money Sport

As entertaining as college football is, the truth is it’s a multimillion-dollar business.

In some high-profile programs, coaches make seven-figure salaries rivaled only by university administrators at the nation’s most elite schools. All the money flowing to officials at the top has to come from somewhere, and often, it starts with the students.

In addition to increased tuition, many universities charge student fees to help cover the rising costs, not just because administrative positions are paying more, but also because there are more of them. The number of non-faculty administrative positions increased by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009.

Planning for college, and the costs that come with it, may be comparable to what you go through in the early stages of planning for retirement. There’s no definitive way to tell if the plans you make 10 to 20 years in advance will align with how life really plays out. As your financial professional, we’re here to help you  create a retirement income strategy that you can feel confident about.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much,” from The New York Times, April 4, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Sports At Any Cost,” from The Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2015.]

If you’ve had a child go away to college, you know what a nail-biter the experience can be, both emotionally and financially.

Fans of Alabama and Clemson had some nerve-wracking experiences of their own in January when the two schools played in a national championship game that went down to the wire. Nick Saban — one of the aforementioned multimillion-dollar coaches — made some gutsy calls, including a late onside kick, to help Alabama win its fourth title since 2009.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clemson lost College Football Playoff championship, but won offseason spotlight,” from The Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2016.]

Make-or-break moments like these may heighten the enjoyment of college athletics, but when it comes to sending your own child away to college, it’s preferable to make well-thought-out choices. From that standpoint, choosing the right school should be based more on cost and academic curriculum than strength of the football program. 

Even if your child is going to school to play a sport, and is fortunate enough to receive a full-ride scholarship, it’s important to keep in mind the career they enter after graduation is the one that will fund their future.

College athletes, even the football players who play for the highly paid coaches, don’t receive any money for their performance. While only 1.6 percent of college football players make it to the NFL, thousands more will experience long-term health issues from the aches and pains and concussions suffered during their college football days. The level of education the