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The Influence of Work

Work offers a confluence of possibilities, ranging from satisfaction to frustration to, many days, a little of both. If you work during retirement, here’s an interesting revelation: Social Security taxes are deducted from your work paycheck even if you’re already drawing benefits. For a lot of retirees, wages from some type of job represent a significant portion of their retirement income.1

This is a scenario in which you may be able to increase your Social Security benefits even if you started taking them early. If the annual income you earn in retirement is higher than the lowest inflation-adjusted year of earnings factored into your current benefit, a new benefit will be calculated for a higher amount.2

The decision to work or not during retirement is a personal one, based on both financial and lifestyle factors. Please contact us to discuss creating retirement strategies through the use of insurance products that can help you work toward your long-term retirement income goals.

When you’re making the decision about whether to retire, remember you may have more options than you think. Some people may want to work longer either because they could stand to save more or want to keep their brains engaged — or both. However, if they’ve grown tired of their job, they figure they might as well retire. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Many people go job hunting because they’re frustrated with their boss or company and no longer feel they get the respect they deserve.3 You can do that too, even if you’re older. If you aren’t ready to retire, consider looking for another job.

If that doesn’t appear to be a feasible option, there are other ways to cope with a job that has you down. People often talk about developing hobbies during retirement to occupy their time, keep their minds engaged and nurture a social network. There’s no reason to wait until retirement. Studies show people experience long-term fulfillment when they commit to an activity for the sake of the activity itself.4 This gives you something to look forward to doing outside work, so that the day-to-day grind is more tolerable. A secondary benefit is that once you do retire, the activity could be waiting for your full-time attention.

Then again, you might be considering quitting your job and working for yourself. To get started, human resources professional Liz Ryan offers the following questions to ask yourself:5

·         What services can I sell?

·         What kinds of problems or challenges can I solve for clients?

·         What is the going rate for my services?

·         How can I explore the possibilities as a new consultant while continuing to work at my job?

·         How can I market my new business?

 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Tom Margenau. Arizona Daily Star. March 23, 2017. “Social Security and you: Working seniors pay taxes and may see benefit increase.” http://tucson.com/business/social-security-and-you-working-seniors-pay-taxes-and-may/article_d12b59db-5376-549c-a628-e7c569db772c.html. Accessed May 19, 2017.

2 Ibid.

3 Liz Ryan. Forbes. March 31, 2017. “The Real Reason Good Employees Quit.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/03/31/the-real-reason-good-employees-quit/#4390ea844b4e. Accessed May 19, 2017.

4 Brad Stulberg. New York. March 27, 2017. “Your Job Can’t Be the Only Meaningful Thing in Your Life.” http://nymag.com/scienceofus/article/how-to-find-meaning-outside-of-work.html?mid=twitter_scienceofus. Accessed May 19, 2017.

5 Liz Ryan. Forbes. April 2, 2017. “Full-Time Employment Is Great For Employers – Not So Great For You.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/04/02/full-time-employment-is-great-for-employers-not-so-great-for-you/print/. Accessed May 19, 2017.

 

We are able to provide you with information but not guidance or advice related to Social Security benefits. Our firm is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any governmental agency.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is 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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Retirement: Loneliness Can Sneak Up on You

Even people who have spent a lot of time planning for retirement may encounter unexpected challenges once they’re in those golden years. They focus on retirement income planning, which is, of course, important and appropriate — and we can help you there. They also focus on things they want to do while they’re still in good health, such as traveling or playing pickleball. They look forward to spending more time with their spouse and good friends.

It can be quite joyful, but the less joyful realization often sets in when a spouse or a close friend passes away. That’s when many retirees truly understand they are facing the reality of their mortality. Apart from that, they’ve also lost a best friend and companion.1

Sometimes the pain of loss causes us to want to avoid that pain altogether, which can lead to an even unwitting desire to isolate ourselves. Unfortunately, this can be particularly problematic during retirement, when people are less likely to have scheduled daily interaction with others outside the household.

Studies in the U.S. and Britain show the prevalence of loneliness among people older than 60 ranges from 10 percent to 46 percent.2 Additionally, people with low levels of social interaction can experience brain changes that cause them to see other human faces as threatening and, therefore, are less likely to seek social ties.3 It’s all kind of ironic, isn’t it? With so many people experiencing the same malady, you would hope we could find each other, since companionship would certainly help.

One social scientist — Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford — summed it up with this observation: “It has become apparent in the last 10 years that the most important factor influencing your health, well-being, risk of falling ill, even your risk of dying and divorce is actually the size of your friend network.” His research shows bonding is strongest when endorphins are released, so he recommends that one way to strengthen friendships is by singing, dancing and working out with others.4

Retirement isolation is being studied from a number of different perspectives, particularly in housing. Although many retirees are reluctant to move to an assisted living facility, the longer they live, the more they will need help. Some have taken to moving into co-housing apartment buildings in which the tenants plan activities and support each other without all the rules and restrictions of a retirement home.5

We’re always happy to get together and chat with you about any retirement income planning questions you might have. Give us a call if we can be of assistance  and be sure to spend time with friends and family doing the activities you enjoy. 

 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 National Institute on Aging. July 2016. “Mourning the Death of a Spouse.” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/mourning-death-spouse. Accessed May 28, 2017.

2 Katie Hafner. The New York Times. Sept. 5, 2016. “Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/06/health/lonliness-aging-health-effects.html?_r=2. Accessed June 13, 2017.

3 Olga Khazan. The Atlantic. April 6, 2017. “How Loneliness Begets Loneliness.” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/04/how-loneliness-begets-loneliness/521841/.

4 Aylin Woodward. Scientific American. May 1, 2017. “With a Little Help from My Friends.” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends/?WT.mc_id=SA_TW_MB_NEWS. Accessed May 28, 2017.

5 Idil Mussa. CBC News. May 2, 2017. “Seniors in Ottawa look to co-housing to avoid isolation.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/seniors-in-ottawa-look-to-co-housing-to-avoid-isolation-as-they-age-1.4094267. Accessed May 28, 2017.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is 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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Checking Up on Health Care Expenses

If there’s one thing every adult demographic in America values, it’s maintaining good health. 

People with medical conditions may be interested in topics like new medical technology, pharmacology or national changes to health care insurance. Meanwhile, those without serious medical issues want to know how they can stay that way, through nutrition, exercise, weight loss and preventive screenings. It’s a national conversation, and not one that’s likely to diminish any time soon. 

The 6.5 percent growth rate in medical expenses has plateaued recently, according to business consulting firm PwC, but the company’s researchers see signs the rate will increase again in the near future.1 

This isn’t just a reflection of the cost of health care insurance, but also the prices charged by facilities, physicians and specialists for the drugs and therapies necessary to treat medical conditions. Escalating health care usage and prices contribute to the increase of insurance premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance.2 

Whether you’re working or retired, the issues of finances and health care are inextricably interwoven. You can’t really think or plan about one without considering the other. This is true whether you’re covered under employer-sponsored insurance, a plan from the individual market or a government-sponsored plan. As financial professionals, we work with clients in each of these situations to help ensure their retirement income plan takes into consideration current and potential medical expenses in the future. If you need help assessing your retirement income needs, please contact us for help. 

Ultimately, the message the health care industry is promoting is that people need to take better care of themselves. They need to research and understand their health care options, and also work on improving their overall health now to prevent problems — and related expenses — in the future. 

When it comes to individuals taking responsibility for their own health, there’s no need to wait for the government to step in and pass legislation. There’s plenty of knowledge available at our fingertips to help maintain health, from advice on healthy eating away from home3 to using diet to manage indigestion problems like acid reflux.4 

For older Americans, taking on new fitness activities may be worrisome since they can increase the likelihood of injury. On the other hand, when done correctly, moderately and consistently, exercise can also help decrease the likelihood of injury. 

Plus, it may be easier than you think to catch up on today’s fitness trends. Many are simply rejuvenated from the workouts of yesteryear.5 Like today’s trendy Pilates exercises, which were quite popular in the 1950s and 60s,6 one thing that will never go out of style is taking strides to maintain health. 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications 

1 PwC. 2017. “Medical Cost Trend.” https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers.html. Accessed May 5, 2017.
2 NBC News. Nov. 4, 2016. “Why Health Care Eats More Of Your Paycheck Every Year.” http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/why-health-care-eats-more-your-paycheck-every-year-n678051. Accessed May 5, 2017.
3 Harvard Medical School. 2017. “Tips for healthy eating away from home.” http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tips-for-healthy-eating-away-from-home. Accessed May 5, 2017.
4 Jane E. Brody. The New York Times. Mar. 20, 2017. “Pop a Pill for Heartburn? Try Diet and Exercise Instead.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/well/pop-a-pill-for-heartburn-try-diet-and-exercise-instead.html?_r=0. Accessed May 5, 2017.
5 Jessica Smith. Shape.com. 2017. “Then & Now: 7 Retro Workouts That Still Get Results.” http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/then-now-7-retro-workouts-still-get-results. Accessed May 5, 2017.
6 Balanced Bodies. 2017. “Pilates Origins.” http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/origins-of-pilates.html. Accessed May 5, 2017. 

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is 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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All Things Pharmaceutical

The White House recently launched a task force aimed at addressing the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.1 According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the majority of drug overdose deaths that occur today involve an opioid.2

Prescription drugs are a nuanced example of how positive innovations can have negative consequences. Certainly new medications developed over the past three decades have contributed to healthier people and longer lifespans. But they are not without drawbacks.

The number of reported drug side effects has increased by five times since 2004. The proliferation of drugs prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes are among those with the most challenging side effects.3

It’s worth observing that many things come with possible drawbacks, even those that may be entirely appropriate for you — like diabetes medication. The same holds true when it comes to decisions related to finances. While many financial vehicles, including insurance products, feature benefits to help enhance your situation, it’s important to understand the possible downsides as well. If you’re considering purchasing insurance now or in the future, please allow us to help you fully understand both the advantages and disadvantages that may be associated with the purchase.

Perhaps even more disconcerting than negative side effects to medications is that many people aren’t taking full advantage of today’s pharmaceutical wonders. A recent study found that up to three out of 10 prescribed medications are never filled and about half of those filled for the treatment of chronic diseases are not taken the way they’re supposed to be. While those patients may think that’s not a big deal, collectively speaking, this lack of adherence causes around 125,000 deaths a year and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations. If you’re concerned about rising medical costs, consider this: Poor medication compliance costs the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion annually.4

Speaking of expenses, the country anxiously awaits to see if the new presidential administration and Congress will be able to slow the rising cost of medications. It appears there will be a loosening of regulations associated with streamlining approvals of new drugs, and many insiders are in favor of allowing Medicare to negotiate volume pricing with drug manufacturers. However, there are still instances of medications that have been on the market for quite some time, having more than recouped their research and development costs, making substantial price hikes for the sake of increasing profits.5

Of course, a price reduction could actually increase the problem of opioid addiction, making these drugs more affordable. One of the controversial mandates of the Affordable Care Act is coverage for 10 essential benefits — one of which is for substance abuse services.6 Ironically, the combination of reducing the cost of prescription drugs and repealing the Affordable Care Act could worsen the epidemic of opioid addiction. It just goes to show nothing is simple. For every positive action, there could be negative consequences, so all ramifications should be considered. And so it goes for financial decisions as well.

 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications

1 Jill Colvin. U.S. News & World Report. March 29, 2017. “Trump, Christie Pledge to Combat Nation’s Opioid Addiction.” https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/washington-dc/articles/201