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Chris Hobart on WCNC

Chris Hobart to be featured on WCNC’s Charlotte Today this morning at 11am! Don’t miss it! GO PANTHERS!

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No Matter the Age, There’s No Place Like Home

For many, — hopefully most — “home” represents security and acceptance. A place to retreat when things don’t go your way; a place to celebrate when they do.

Not long ago, the holidays were the one time of the year when the family reconvened to spend time together under one roof. Now, it’s not uncommon for relatives to share a home year-round. Gone are the days when a son or daughter moved on to college or a career at the age of 18, only to return on special November and December occasions.

For better or worse, boomers are growing accustomed to welcoming back grown children, as well as seniors seeking care from a familiar face.

Retirees typically prefer to live in the comfort of their own home as long as possible, but the best alternative may be moving back in with adult children.

As your financial professional, we focus on helping clients feel confident in their finances now and in the future, and, if necessary, develop contingency plans, because even the best-laid plans can go awry. If we can help you with your retirement income plan, please contact us for a meeting.

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

Most people need more than just a retirement strategy — they need an aging plan. An aging plan has two components. First, a place to live that is suitable for seniors, such as a one-story home, preferably with large doorways. The second component is access to people willing to offer help when needed.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retirement: Are Tiny Homes One Big Fix for Senior Housing?” at The Ticker Tape, Oct. 30, 2015.]

While moving in with adult children certainly meets these criteria, there are alternatives. Cooperative communities have been popping up all around the country via shared homes, clusters of homes, condominium and apartment communities.

These communities give residents a network of neighbors who can check in on you, take you grocery shopping or drive you to a doctor’s appointment. Not surprisingly, the housing arrangement seen on the hit TV show, “The Golden Girls” is becoming more prevalent, as retirees pool resources to look after each other and become less isolated.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Meet the new Golden Girls (and guys): How boomers are coming up with creative living arrangements,” at The Globe and Mail, Nov. 12, 2015.]

Whether you prefer to live alone, with family members or in a cooperative community, we’re here to help make that a possibility financially. If you have any questions about where you stand now and in the future, 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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Digital Evolution Changes Way We Shop, Interact

The Internet, much like radio and television before it, has changed modern society and the way we interact with each other. It’s even changed the way companies market products to consumers.

Social media has essentially redistributed power from brands to individuals thanks to immediate and evergreen feedback that customers can write about the products they purchase and use.

In a way, we’ve reverted back to the days when people relied more heavily on recommendations from friends and family to help decide what to buy. Now, no matter how slick a marketing campaign or sales pitch, people can perform due diligence to help get the real scoop before making a purchase.

In our business, we rely on referrals from clients, friends and family as well. When it comes to your finances, you must be able to trust your financial professional.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Imagine There’s No Marketing … It’s Easy If You Try,” at Knowledge@Wharton, Nov. 13, 2015.]

Computers, tablets and cellphones are now conduits for mass quantities of information, which can make it even more difficult to make decisions. Because there is so much greater choice now, you can’t always get recommendations from friends for something you want to buy.

However, you can tap the resources of social media — namely point-of-purchase reviews by strangers who nonetheless have already purchased the exact same product you’re considering.

According to recent research, 90 percent of consumers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39 percent do so on a regular basis. On many websites, merchants provide the opportunity for customers to leave both good and bad reviews about their products.

Be wary, however, of a merchant that has only good reviews — it’s possible they may be filtering out negative input or submitting their own positive remarks. If you want feedback but there is none available, perform a Google search to see if there are reviews for the product at other sites. Once you’ve read them, you can always go back and purchase the item from the original site.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “88% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations,” from Search Engine Land, July 17, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Predictions about the Growing Power of Online Customer Reviews,” from Entrepreneur, Aug. 28, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Amazon sues more than 1,000 sellers of ‘fake’ product reviews,” from CNN, Oct. 19, 2015.]

People do more than read, shop and chat online. For example, 25 percent of college students have taken at least one class online, and more than twice as many now take a class online as live on campus.

One of the positives of online educational opportunities is that it can help solve the problem of student debt. It used to be that the only way for many students to get a college education was to take out a student loan. Now online classes can be both less expensive and offer the flexibility for students to get an education while holding down a job, caring for children or living in a rural area.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “One in Four Students Takes Online Classes,” from Social Media Today, Nov. 12, 2015.]

Then, of course, there are the downsides of social connections. A recent survey found that 60 percent of Americans check their email while on vacation and 25 percent become restless and unwell after just three days without access to email. In fact, doctors have estimated 11 million Americans suffer from “email addiction.”

One way to downplay the tendency to constantly check your phone is to turn off email and other notifications from social media sites. If you are at work or in the company of children or elderly parents (or anyone, really), allowing your focus to shift every time a new email arrives takes up a lot of energy to both respond and then get back to the task or conversation at hand.

Not only can this multitasking make you less effective, it sends the message to the people right in front of you that they are a lower priority.

As for checking emails first thing in the morning, experts suggest waiting at least half an hour to an hour after you get to work before checking your inbox. That’s because the brain is generally most alert, most focused and most creative in the first part of the morning.

If you waste this mental acuity on responding to emails, you’ll be less sharp when you get to tasks that would benefit more from it.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Five ways to use mindfulness to manage your email,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Nov. 13, 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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Making the Most of Life After Work

Most working folks go through the daily grind week after week, counting down the years to retirement.

But before you get too excited about walking away from your 9 to 5, consider the alternative lifestyle that comes with not going to work.

Whether your working years are winding down or already behind you, many retirees will tell you the grass is almost always greener. With that in mind, there are two important ways to prepare yourself for retirement: (1) financially, and (2) finding something to do once your “spare time” becomes all the time.

When it comes to the retirement income planning aspect of retirement, we’ve got your back. In fact, if your post-retirement plans involve travel, an entrepreneurial venture or another expensive consideration, we may be able to help you there, too.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Rethinking Work,” at The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2015.]

For some, retirement may come sooner than expected. If you’re in a good spot financially, this may not be too detrimental, but keep in mind you lose more than just income once you stop working. Health insurance goes out the door, and if you have to begin Social Security early your checks will be smaller as well.

In the U.S. today, the average retirement age is about 61 years, but a lot of people don’t have much choice in the matter. Some people are forced out of their job and unable to find a new one, while others are forced to retire due to health issues or caregiving responsibilities. One study revealed that almost half of workers retire earlier than planned.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is The Risk of Forced Retirement Rising? How To Enter Retirement On Your Own Terms,” at Forbes, March 5, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “More Than 1 Million Baby Boomers Are Secretly Unemployed,” at AOL Jobs, May 3, 2013.]

Meanwhile, there’s one place that has trouble getting its workers to retire: College campuses. Professors who have tenure can keep working as long as they are able, and since many are driven by the intellectual questions posed in academia, they can’t imagine doing anything else.

A recent survey found that 72 percent of university and college faculty plan to work beyond age 65. Sixty percent say they’ll work past 70, and 15 percent of them plan to stay until they’re 80.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “On Campus, Older Faculty Keep on Keepin’ On,” at NPR, Oct. 9, 2015.]

Whether you retire early or late, unexpectedly or on your own terms, everyone wants to be assured that when their working years are over, they’ll have plenty of income waiting for them. As your financial professional, that’s what we’re here for. If you ever have questions about your financial situation, 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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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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Chris Hobart on WCNC Tomorrow!

Chris Hobart will be featured on WCNC’s Charlotte Today on Friday, December 11th at 11:00am EST. Tune in to see THE SIX ESSENTIAL TOPICS YOU MUST DISCUSS WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Don’t miss it!

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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 im