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Retirement: The New Status Symbol

A lack of savings among many U.S. households could mean a change in the perception of retirement. It used to be a foregone conclusion that once you were too old to work, you retired. That’s not always the case anymore. More than a third of U.S. households in prime earning years or later have no…

The Longevity Revolution

How old do you have to be before you’re considered “old”? This number may change depending on the age of the person making the assessment. For example, a child or a teenager might think someone age 40 is old. That view is less likely to be held by a 39-year-old. History indicates you have to…

The Changing Job Outlook: Challenges and Opportunities

The workforce in the United States is changing. Some long-standing professions are becoming obsolete, there are fewer manufacturing jobs,1 and some companies are moving their headquarters overseas for tax reasons.2 Then there is the increasing phenomenon of automation and robotics replacing jobs. It’s interesting to note, however, that the job market is not fixed. It’s…

3 Common Questions About Social Security

While Social Security shouldn’t be relied upon to be the sole source of income during retirement, it can play an important role in your overall retirement income strategy. But making sense of the basic ins and outs of Social Security can be overwhelming. Here are three questions people commonly ask as they approach retirement age:…

Is Feeling Younger the Secret to a Longer Life?

 “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”   ~George Bernard Shaw While some people accept getting older as a natural part of life, many others are on a mission to fight the aging process and maintain a youthful attitude and appearance. Although we are often reminded to…

How to Help Avoid Struggling with Caregiver Burnout

Serving as a caregiver for a loved one can be a wonderful thing. It often allows ill or disabled individuals to remain in their own home, surrounded by familiar surroundings. However, it can often take a toll on the person providing care, and can sometimes lead to the caregiver feeling depleted or exhausted. This feeling…

Tips for Bargain Hunters

For many of us, retirement means living on a fixed income, and that often means making a budget and watching expenses. One way to help stay on budget is to shop for the best prices on items that fall within our discretionary income budget. According to Consumer Reports, even though consumers can now buy just…

Expenses That Come With Caring

We spend our lives caring for others — at least if we’re lucky. One of the greatest treasures in life is having people, causes and pets to care for. Unfortunately, caring for others can have its challenges, including additional stress and financial burdens. Sometimes we get so caught up in making money that we don’t…

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…

Considerations for Retiring Couples

Retirement is another chapter in your life; one that requires not only planning but day-to-day maintenance once you get there. And if you have a partner in life, it’s important to remember that your retirement, like a tandem bike, is built for two.   Planning for your own retirement is complicated enough, but doing so…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The Psychological Impact of a Divisive Election

Before 2016, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual Stress in America surveys showed money, work and the economy were the biggest sources of stress in people’s lives.1 During the 2016 presidential campaign season, however, doctors began reporting patients were increasingly anxious due to issues candidates highlighted in speeches and interviews. 2 The APA’s most recent…

As You Age, Keep Looking Forward

Many people spend a large portion of their lives taking care of people like their spouse, children, siblings and older parents. Here’s a message for those in their later senior years: Don’t stop now. As we age, our concerns start to change. Some people may become preoccupied with ailments and difficulties in their living situations,…

Russia, Beyond the Headlines

These days, people have all sorts of opinions about Russia. Even beyond politics, images come to mind of fur-lined parkas and frozen tundra – hard and cold weather conditions, despite the fact that parts of it have a humid, subtropical climate.1 Perhaps we should take a moment to see Russia for its more positive attributes:…

Simplify Your Life

Life has its highs and lows. Sometimes when we go for a long stretch — everybody in the family is healthy, finances are on track, you’re enjoying yourself — we get that nagging feeling that our good fortune just can’t last. Often, that’s true. There’s inevitably a repair needed on your car, an appliance breaks…

Will Bank Changes Lead to Withdrawal From Human Interaction?

The investment banking struggles that contributed to the 2008 recession prompted stronger regulations for the finance industry. Unfortunately, some of the rules created to keep the larger banks in check also impacted smaller community banks, which have suffered as a result.1 However, the Trump administration’s goal to cut regulations by 70 percent to 80 percent…

How Government Regulations May Impact the “Average Joe”

We tend to take government regulations for granted. They can be annoying, like having to sign the HIPAA privacy notice before a doctor’s visit, or time consuming, like the yearly requirement of filing a tax return. But as the new presidential administration begins rolling back financial regulations, some people may wonder how they might be…

Will We Ever Close the Gender Gap?

Every year, the World Economic Forum updates its Global Gender Gap Report, which measures gender disparity across 144 countries and tracks this progress over time. The report pays special attention to the gaps between women and men with regard to health, education, economy and politics.1 Although the corporate “glass ceiling” has been broken by a…

Work Less, Spend Less: How Retiring Boomers may Impact the Economy

The economy has grown, in large part, because consumers are spending more money. It remains to be seen whether that trend will continue as more of the massive baby boomer generation approaches retirement. Even before people retire, many tend to slow down their spending habits. Part of this is lifestyle driven; by age 50, most…

A 100-Year Lifespan: Ways to Help Increase Enjoyment

The average life expectancy of a baby born in the U.S. today is 80 years. However, this prediction assumes prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of birth stay the same throughout a person’s life.1 In reality, patterns of mortality improve over time thanks to discoveries and innovations in nutrition and medical science. If you…

The Power of Mindfulness

It seems everywhere you turn these days, from news shows to news articles to local advertisements, there’s this idea of promoting “mindfulness” in our day-to-day lives. Mindfulness is generally accepted as focusing one’s mental state on the present moment, being completely aware of all elements around us. Some financial professionals have expanded this idea of…

Take a Look at Life Insurance

Middle-aged adults have a plethora of middle-aged financial priorities. It’s hard to even call them priorities because each one is important; it’s just a matter of spreading the money you have across a variety of different needs. In fact, a typical mid-life checking account might include payouts for a mortgage, college tuition, a savings account,…

The Future of Globalization

There was a time, at the end of the 20th century, when globalization was celebrated. We became more connected with the rest of the world. We could communicate and share information in real time without cost, nations benefited from strong imports and exports, and companies could improve their bottom lines by utilizing lower-cost suppliers and…

Sleep and Other Surprising Economic Factors

As a result of all modern society’s demands, researchers say people are sleeping less than ever. Common sleep inhibitors include stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity and excessive electronic media use.1 Sleep deprivation may be detrimental to one’s health, but there’s an economic toll as well. One recent study found that as much…

For the Health of Marriage

Turns out marriage can do more for your heart than fill it with love. A recent study found that, among other health benefits, married people have a higher probability of surviving a stroke.1 They are also more likely to survive major surgery, have fewer heart attacks, be less likely to have advanced cancer when diagnosed…

Looking Through the Glass Ceiling

The Women’s Rights Movement began in 1848 to enable women to have representation in decisions impacting their social, civil and religious rights.1 While Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate from a major party, was not elected this year, women take their right to vote very seriously. In every presidential election since 1964 (2016 results…

What it Means to be Disenfranchised

Disenfranchised people are those who feel deprived of a legal right or privilege. The number of people disenfranchised within the United States is part of the reason Donald Trump, a candidate without a history in politics, was elected to office. While much of the country is recovering from the Great Recession, there continues to be…

Possible Perks and Perils of Buying Coastal Property

All over the world, from Miami to the Maldives, rising sea levels threaten coastal real estate. Scientists say the daily high-water mark has been rising by nearly an inch a year in places like South Florida. During extraordinary high tides, saltwater even sneaks up the driveways of some multi-million dollar coastal homes.1  While projections vary,…

Tips for the Modern Traveler

Traditional vacation prep used to entail choosing a budget destination, buying some traveler’s checks and heading to the airport just in time for your flight. For many, that list of things to do has changed drastically.  “Wellness travel” has become a big draw for vacationers who are willing to spend around 140 percent more than…

Looking Through the Glass Ceiling

The Women’s Rights Movement began in 1848 to enable women to have representation in decisions impacting their social, civil and religious rights.1  While Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate from a major party, was not elected this year, women take their right to vote very seriously. In every presidential election since 1964 (2016 results…

The State of Real Estate

Thanks to price and sales growth, the U.S. housing market outperformed the U.S. economy in the first six months of 2016. Part of that success is demographic driven: Older millennials are looking to grow their families and buy their first home at the same time that some baby boomers are downsizing in preparation for retirement.1…

The 60-Year Career

Now that people are living longer, many are also working longer. Just imagine, if you start working regularly at age 20 and don’t retire until age 80, that’s a 60-year career. While it’s not as common today, traditionally, many workers would spend their entire career working for the same employer Take, for example, 86-year-old Detroit…

The 60-Year Career

Now that people are living longer, many are also working longer. Just imagine, if you start working regularly at age 20 and don’t retire until age 80, that’s a 60-year career. While it’s not as common today, traditionally, many workers would spend their entire career working for the same employer Take, for example, 86-year-old Detroit…

Taxing Questions

At the end of October, the IRS made several announcements regarding taxes in 2017.  Information available for the new year now includes tax rates, standard deductions, exemption amounts and more. While the standard deduction for various filing groups is set to increase by $50 or $100, an additional standard deduction of $1,250 is available for…

Get in the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Whether you want a little extra income or just want to get out and interact with new people, tapping into your entrepreneurial instincts can fill many needs in retirement. Here are a few examples of fun, money-generating ideas people have come up with recently.  Remember photo booths — a printed strip of quick takes for…

Drug Prices: The Power of a Celebrity Tweet

When drug manufacturer Mylan increased the list price of EpiPen last summer, it suffered the wrath of celebrity backlash. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker publicly criticized the company for raising the price of its emergency allergy treatment to $608.1  EpiPen, which has been around for decades, cost less than $100 when Mylan originally acquired the product…

Being Wise in a Smart World

These days, it seems like everything’s getting smarter. Smart phones, smart cars, smart appliances, smart technology.  Maybe we take things like this for granted, but you can start typing any phrase into Google, and the computer will finish it for you. That’s pretty darn smart.  Unfortunately, our increasingly smart world creates a host of new…

Jobs After Age 55

The good news is 62- to 64-year-olds experienced the largest increase in jobs between 2007 and 2014.1 The not-so-good news is that many of those jobs are not of the upscale, high-paying variety.2  New research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College offers insights into the type of work that older people are…

LTC Considerations

Long-term care insurance (LTC) has experienced some growing pains in recent years. Sustained low interest rates and coverage limitations have made it difficult for some to find policies that meet their needs.1  As a result, many LTC insurers have exited the business because they couldn’t make a profit.Today, there are only 14 carriers still writing…

The Far-Reaching Applications of Insurance

When most people hear the word “insurance,” the things that come to mind may be home, auto or life. However, the scope of what can be covered by insurance extends far beyond everyday needs.  Unfortunate as it may be, the news is often filled with natural and man-made disasters. The role insurance plays in these…

Health Care Spending Trends

For the 40+ year period of 1961 to 2002, health care expenses followed a pretty steady upward trend, thanks to things like the introduction of Medicaid, coverage expansion and occasional price increases.1  But between 2003 and 2007, that rampant growth slowed down considerably, and the impact of the recession was felt from 2008-2013.2 Many Americans…

Pension Matters

When it comes to preparing for retirement, headlines about underfunded pensions can be troubling. One study found that 21 state pensions held less than 40 percent of the assets needed to pay benefits. To make up for that shortfall, each taxpayer would have to contribute an extra $1,385 per year.1  While not every worker in…

Spending Influences

Everyone has their own unique way of spending money. Even people who live in the same house or grew up under the same parental influences can turn out drastically different. Some people are minimalists while others simply like to buy stuff.  A variety of factors can shape our values when it comes to spending and…

Men in Contemporary Society

With an increased focus on the pay disparity between genders, women in the workplace are a frequent subject of studies. How many work? How many out-earn their husbands? How many make less than their male peers?  Meanwhile, we don’t often see many studies about men. Just how are men faring in today’s society? For starters,…

Life at Home is Your Business

With a businessman running against a career politician in this year’s presidential race, one topic of discussion has been the pros and cons of running the country like a business.  The idea has been broached before, with several past presidents boasting more business than public service experience. In fact, 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney once…

Entrepreneurs on the Rise

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the growth of the U.S. labor market. The number of jobs created from startups peaked in the late 1990s before declining steadily through the first 10 years of the 2000s.1 However, from the ashes of the recession comes a phoenix of entrepreneurship.  In a recent study, 66 percent of…

What’s New With Social Security?

Before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 passed, the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund was projected to be depleted sometime this year.  Congress shifted tax revenues from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund to keep disability benefits fully funded. However, Social Security still faces long-term shortfalls under currently scheduled funding and expenditures.1 …

America’s Founders: Entrepreneurs and Opportunists

Our nation’s forefathers were reputed for their progressive views, business-minded principals and pursuit of independence through the establishment of a new government. It might help to consider these tenets as we aim for our own goals in our careers and retirement.  Earlier this year, author Edward Lenge published a book based on the writings of…

Will New Health Care Provisions Hold Up Long Term?

New incentives and physician payment updates put in place by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act have helped fix short-range physician payment issues, but as the Boards of Trustees for Medicare noted in its June 22 report, these changes raise some long-term concerns.1  The board is concerned these measures will not adjust for economic…

For Some Businesses, Success is All in the Family

Twenty-five years ago, business analysts thought the traditional family business model would eventually become extinct. But here it is in 2016, and some of the largest brand names in America are still owned and operated by their original families: Walmart, BMW, Tyson, Samsung, Kohler, Christian Dior, Mars, Ford and Comcast. In fact, public and private…

Americans Entertain Entrepreneurial Ideas

When it comes to TV shows and movies, Americans have shown a recent obsession with the rise of entrepreneurs. “Shark Tank” is an annual Emmy nominee, and the feature film “Steve Jobs” took home a couple Golden Globes earlier this year.  Perhaps it’s because many people lost their jobs during the recession, or maybe it’s…

Retailers Innovate to Meet Shifting Needs

You can tell a lot about people by reviewing their purchase receipts. Where they shop, what restaurants they favor, where they prefer to buy gas. So, what can you tell by evaluating a huge database of receipts submitted over time by a large population of people? Retail trends.  When researchers from Wharton School of Economics…

Banks Dialing Up Mobile Services

New technology continues to be rolled out to make banking more convenient than ever.  According to Federal Reserve research data, 53 percent of smartphone owners with a bank account have used mobile banking. Over 17 million customers at Wells Fargo alone use mobile banking, making it the fastest-growing channel in the company’s history.1  Wells Fargo…

Minimum Wage Still Raising Concerns

During this politically charged election year, one of the driving issues involves wages: Gender inequality, overall income inequality and the controversial movement to increase the national minimum wage.  The fast food industry would likely feel the most effects from a minimum wage increase, and recently some of the largest companies have announced varying plans of…

Who is the Middle Class Now?

The definition of middle class can vary depending on who you ask.  A young college graduate with a $22,000 entry-level job may consider herself middle class because her parents were, she graduated from college and she’s just starting her white-collar career.  A married blue-collar worker with two children making $41,000 a year may consider himself…

There’s no Ceiling on the Number of Housing Possibilities

America has long been dubbed the land of diversity, and our wide range of tastes is certainly reflected in our housing choices. There’s something for every preference, whether it be the architectural style (colonial, post-modern, Tudor, Victorian), the siding (wood, brick, stucco, vinyl) or the locale (urban, rural, coastal, plains).  However, popular trends do tend…

Longer Life Means Longer List of Considerations

“As a man grows older, his medicine cabinet grows bigger.” That quote, from the 1948 film “Heaven Can Wait,” certainly seems to hold true 60+ years later as lifespans stretch longer than ever. One in seven Americans are 65 or older, and there are now approximately 70,000 Americans living past the age of 100 —…