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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 action if a raise is instituted. McDonald’s said it wouldn’t reduce jobs in light of a mandated wage increase, as its focus moving forward is on customer service. 

A former CEO of the company pointed out that this may not be the best fiscal approach, as it’s more costly long term to pay workers $15/hour than it is to install a $35,000 robotic arm that bags french fries. The cost may be worth it, as recent numbers demonstrate that McDonald’s focus on employee wages and benefits has improved its customer service scores, which increased by 6 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. 

However, this philosophy is hardly widespread. The CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s recently hinted that the overall food and beverage industry would likely engage in more automation if the government mandates a higher cost for labor.1 

The thing about wages is that there is a minimum standard by which a person can live, and any amount of money earned above that reflects his or her lifestyle choices. If you’re not earning what you need to meet all of your expenses — including saving regularly for retirement — then you may need to re-evaluate how you’re spending your income. We all need an insurance backstop for unexpected events such as an automobile accident, major repairs to your home or a health emergency. We’re happy to help you to find options that can optimize your income, so that one high-expense event doesn’t devastate your finances. 

Like most partisan issues, valid arguments can be posited on both sides of the wage war. While corporate profits may decrease by raising wages, those who receive increases have the opportunity to improve their quality of living. This is particularly true for low-income earners. One study revealed there are no U.S. states where a full-time minimum wage worker ($7.25/hour) could afford a one-bedroom apartment at the average fair market rent.2 

Similar arguments can be made for expanding government-sponsored health care benefits. It may cost more for taxpayers, but one recent study demonstrated that there could be direct benefits to employers. When comparing the numbers for low-income, childless adults living in the 14 states that expanded Medicaid in 2014 with those living in the 22 states that did not, two interesting findings emerged. 

First, in the Medicaid-expansion states, adults’ access to preventive care improved. Second, the average number of work days lost due to poor health in those states dropped by 12 percent, which works out to about a full day per month.3 

On the gender income equality front, a new study from the University of Notre Dame revealed the impact of having more women on corporate boards. The research found that public company boards with a large share of female directors correlated to significantly fewer mergers and acquisitions. The study observed that the women’s presence more likely led to smarter conversations about risk management, challenges and things that could go wrong. Indeed, previous studies have found that a more diversified boardroom is associated with better stock performance in tough markets, higher return on equity, fewer leadership-related scandals and less costly mergers.4 

In other discussions about wages, analysts have studied the tradeoff between today’s corporate expectation of boundary-less 24/7 accessibility and less engagement during the regular eight-hour workday, even suggesting that workers make a greater effort to appear busy than to get their work done efficiently.5 

There also are new innovations in the area of flex pay, such as the ability for workers to tap into wages for time already worked without having to wait until payday. One such innovation, called PayActiv, received a Best of Show award at FinovateSpring 2016 for its use of technology to ease the “cash flow struggles of working families.”6 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications 

1 Kate Taylor. Business Insider. May 27, 2016. “McDonald’s CEO reveals how the fast-food chain will use robots in the future.” http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-wont-swap-workers-with-robots-2016-5. Accessed May 27, 2016.
2 Kelsey Ramírez. HousingWire. May 26, 2016. “It’s officially impossible to rent at minimum wage in most of the country.” http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37130-factsheet-its-officially-impossible-to-rent-at-minimum-wage-in-most-of-the-country. Accessed May 27, 2016.
3 Allison Bell. LifeHealthPro. Mar 26, 2016. “How has PPACA affected people’s health?” http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2016/05/26/how-has-ppaca-affected-peoples-health?page_all=1. Accessed May 27, 2016.
4 Danielle Paquette. The Washington Post. May 24, 2016. “The weird thing that happens when you put more women in the boardroom.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/24/when-women-rise-to-power-in-companies-a-weird-thing-happens/. Accessed May 27, 2016.
5 Ilan Mochari. Inc.com. May 18, 2016. “Why Your Employees Pretend to Work 80-Hour Weeks.” http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/managing-high-stress-workplaces-employees-work-life-balance.html. Accessed May 20, 2016.
6 Suzanne Woolley. Bloomberg. May 25, 2016. “You Worked Monday. Why Not Get Paid Monday?” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/you-worked-monday-why-not-get-paid-monday. Accessed May 27, 2016. 

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. 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 Kiplinger.com

Great insight for investors, Chris! Check out the article below!

Chris Hobart- Kiplinger July 2016

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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 middle class because the family owns a lovely three-bedroom home in the Midwest and their kids attend a good public school. 

According to standards followed by Pew Research, these people would be considered “lower income.” Pew categorizes middle-class household incomes as ranging from $42,000 to $125,000, and upper-income households as having incomes of $125,000 and above (measured with assumptions regarding household size and geographic cost of living).1 

Unfortunately, even those who truly fall under the “middle-class” category aren’t always in an optimal financial position. In a recent survey, people across all income thresholds responded that they would have a difficult time coming up with just $1,000 to pay for an emergency expense. This is how the numbers broke down:2 

·         75% of people in households earning less than $50,000

·         67% of people in households earning between $50,000 and $100,000

·         38% of people in households earning more than $100,000 

It’s worth repeating that more than one-third of households earning more than $100,000 a year don’t have $1,000 set aside in an emergency fund. 

The thing about emergencies is that we don’t adequately plan for them. We happily auto-transfer money from our paychecks to our 401(k) plans each month, but pay for out-of-pocket car repairs with a credit card. Which, incidentally, is how many people overburdened with credit card debt get started down that path. 

We believe that insurance takes many forms, and one of them is emergency funds. If you don’t have a liquid cash account for unexpected expenses, we encourage you to start saving. 

While money is typically the biggest factor in determining class, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank looked at three demographic characteristics — age, education and race — to assess middle class status. By and large, most people who fall into its middle class statistics are those who finished college, regardless of their age or race.3 

One reason for this is because even in low-wage industries, such as retail or food and beverage, employers appear more likely to hire a college graduate over applicants who did not finish college. In fact, this may account for why Americans with a bachelor’s degree have a 2.4 percent unemployment rate compared to the 5.9 percent of those with a high school diploma or less.4 

Just how much money does it take to live in a middle class household in this day and age? According to the Economic Policy Institute, the basic family budget for a two-parent, two-child family ranges from $49,114 in Morristown, Tennessee, to $106,493 in Washington, D.C. Geographic variations are primarily due to housing and child care costs.5 

We keep seeing headlines claiming that there are Americans who work full time and yet still live in poverty. For example, a full-time, full-year worker paid $7.25 per hour (the federal minimum wage) will earn about $15,080 a year before taxes, based on 2,080 annual hours. This is below the federal poverty line of $16,317 for a single parent with one child. Of course, that applies only to workers who make the federal minimum wage, but states can set their own laws.6 

For example, if you live in Montana and work for a business not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less, the minimum wage can be as low as $4 an hour.7 A full-timer in that scenario would earn about $8,320 a year, which makes it easy to see how coming up with $1,000 for an emergency expense could be difficult. 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications 

1 Richard Fry and Rakesh Kochhar. Pew Research Center. May 11, 2016. “Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/11/are-you-in-the-american-middle-class/. Accessed May 20, 2016.
2 Ken Sweet and Emily Watson. The Associated Press. May 19, 2016. “Poll: Two-thirds of US would struggle to cover $1,000 crisis.” http://bigstory.ap.org/article/965e48ed609245539ed315f83e01b6a2. Accessed May 20, 2016.
3 Tami Luhby and Tiffany Baker. CNNMoney. 2016. “What is middle class, anyway?” http://money.cnn.com/infographic/economy/what-is-middle-class-anyway/. Accessed May 20, 2016.
4 Josh Boak and Emily Swanson. The Associated Press. May 18, 2016. “Poll: Americans more upbeat about own finances than economy.” http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e8923ac9e5a64dba9117c8fc25e5789b/poll-americans-more-upbeat-about-own-finances-economy. Accessed May 20, 2016.
5 Elise Gould, Tanyell Cooke and Will Kimball. Economic Policy Institute. Aug. 26, 2015. “What Families Need to Get By.” http://www.epi.org/publication/what-families-need-to-get-by-epis-2015-family-budget-calculator/. Accessed May 20, 2016.
6 Ibid.
7 United States Department of Labor. Jan. 1, 2016. “Minimum Wage Laws in the States – January 1, 2016.” https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm. Accessed May 20, 2016. 

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. 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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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 to dominate the real estate market, and recently those trends have been fluctuating based on economic factors. For example, in the 1990s, we saw the birth of the “McMansion” — large, newly constructed homes boasting 4,000+ square feet.1 A bastion of the middle class, these homes were often generic in style, supersized and built quickly, hence the nod to the McDonald’s style of dining. However, nickname aside, these homes gave up-and-coming families the “we’ve arrived” stamp of respectability and affluence. 

When the recession hit, many of these houses began to lose equity, and the not-so-big-house became the trend once again. In recent years, we’ve also seen downsizing to the extreme, in the form of “Tiny Houses,” a 100 to 1,000 square foot hut no bigger than a camper, many of which are on wheels for convenient relocation.2 

Many retirees have found a happy medium in retirement by “right-sizing” their homes after the children move out. Moving to a smaller house once the need for kids’ bedrooms disappears provides the dual advantages of lower living expenses — such as reduced property taxes, utility bills and maintenance, as well as a more convenient means to “age in place” without the upkeep burden of a large home.3 

If you’re behind on your retirement savings goals, right-sizing may be an option. In many areas of the country, residential prices have risen considerably due to continued low inventory, which offers the potential for a good return on your home investment. Depending on your individual situation, you might want to consider buying a less expensive home and using some of your net proceeds to strengthen your retirement savings. If you’re in the market for buying or selling a house, you should consider talking with a qualified professional. Come talk to us if you’d like to learn more about retirement income strategies that may be suitable for you. 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications. 

Interested in reading more? Here are some articles that may be of interest to you: 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “An About-Face for McMansions” from The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2015.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Stellar Tiny Houses You Can Buy Right Now” from Curbed.com, April14, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Baby Boomers, Downsizing for Retirement, Create Niche Real Estate Market” from Curbed.com, March 22, 2016.] 

1 Nick Gromicko. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. 2016. “‘McMansions’ and Energy Inefficiency.” https://www.nachi.org/mcmansions-energy-inefficiency.htm. May 27, 2016.
2 Nick Gromicko. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. 2016. “The Small House Movement.” https://www.nachi.org/small-house-movement.htm. May 27, 2016.
3 Jeff Reeves. USA Today. Mar. 9, 2016. “Less means more for Baby Boomers who downsize in retirement.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/03/09/less-means-more-baby-boomers-who-downsize-retirement/80878654/. May 27, 2016. 

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. 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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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 — twice as many as there were 20 years ago.

Living longer is definitely a positive, but as it becomes common for Americans to live deep into their 80s and 90s, there’s also a need to save more for retirement. Inflation and medical expenses will continue to rise, and if you retire in your 60s, retirement could last upward of 30 years.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Nursing in an Aging America,” from NursingSchoolHub.com, June 1, 2015.]

If you believe you have sufficient retirement assets but are worried about making them last a lifetime, please contact us. We have retirement income strategies using a variety of insurance products that may be appropriate for your situation.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “3 Things You Can Do to Increase Your Chances of Living to 100,” from Health magazine, April 18, 2016.]

Of course, one way of funding a long retirement is to work longer. This enables older workers to save more and delay taking Social Security, which will increase their benefits. Many may not have enough saved up to retire in their early 60s, but Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, said 85 percent of households would be adequately prepared if they worked to age 70.

Munnell proposed increasing payroll taxes by 2.6 percent to “fix” the pending drain of the Social Security Trust Fund for another 75 years; a 4.0 percentage point increase would be necessary to help the cause longer term.

It’s important to recognize that working longer doesn’t necessarily mean working full time, nor does it require you stay at the same job. There are now twice as many entrepreneurs 50 or older than those younger than 25, and entrepreneurs aged 55 to 64 represent the highest rate of business creation over the past decade.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Saving’s Not Enough” from Financial Advisor, May 5, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clients are living longer, putting pressure on retirement advice,” from Financial Planning, May 2, 2016.]

A recent study has found that because of today’s longer lifespans, the original way Social Security was set up now actually favors wealthier people. That’s because wealthier income earners (particularly the top 1 percent) tend to live longer, presumably due to better health care options and the ability to afford a healthier lifestyle.

Someone with a $2 million salary who begins drawing Social Security at age 66 and lives another 20 years will wind up receiving substantially more benefits than someone who earns less and doesn’t live as long. So, not only is the income gap growing larger between the rich and the poor, the lifespan gap is increasing as well.

The richest 1 percent of Americans typically live to 87, having gained three years of life expectancy from 2001 to 2014 alone. On the other hand, people who earn $30,000 or less a year die, on average, closer to age 78 (and had almost no lifespan gain during the same timeframe).

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Rich People Are Living Longer. That’s Tilting Social Security in Their Favor.” from The New York Times, April 22, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The rising longevity gap between rich and poor Americans,” from The Brookings Institution, May 3, 2016.]

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

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. 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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Taking Stock of Changing Financial Landscape

A recent report says 30-year returns won’t be as high as they were in the 20th century. 

According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s stock and bond market research, a 30-year-old today will have to work seven years longer, or nearly double how much money he or she needs to save for retirement, to compensate for these lower returns. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why investors may need to lower their sights,” from McKinsey Global Institute, April 2016.] 

While none of that sounds like good news, it’s important to know that there are positives. Just as the markets have changed, so has the financial industry. There are insurance products available to help provide reliable sources of income. With certain insurance products, like annuities, you can create a steady stream of fixed income, which is what most people need in retirement. Remember that guarantees and protections provided by insurance products including annuities are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurer. 

We are happy to review your current situation to see if adding insurance products to your retirement income strategy is appropriate for your objectives and situation. Feel free to schedule an appointment for more information. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Stress is One Reason People Retire,” from Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, April 28, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Economy Expands to 0.5% Pace, Weakest in Two Years,” from Bloomberg, April 28, 2016.] 

Rather than create a retirement income strategy, many people just plan to work longer. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that choice, depending on our health (and that of our family members), the job market and plenty of other factors. 

In fact, if you work in a demanding, high-stress job, you’re less likely to be able to work past age 65. Studies show that people who can work longer tend to be in low-stress careers with stable job duties and the ability to transition to part-time work. This includes such occupations as writers, musicians, clergy and college professors. 

The main thing to remember is that none of us will ever be able to control the economy, interest rates, the housing market or even our own ability to work as long as we may want. Taking the time to simply learn about how creating a source of guaranteed retirement income through the use of insurance products like annuities can help you feel confident about your financial future. We’re here if you’d like to discuss this further. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Housing market, intergenerational transmission of poverty, and more,” from Brookings Institution, April 28, 2016.] 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

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. 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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Taking Your Best Shot at House Hunting

It’s that time of year again. Homeowners have been painting, repairing, trimming and planting in an effort to get their properties ready for the spring real estate selling season. 

It’s an annual ritual that, according to those in the industry, hasn’t created enough volume in recent years. Perhaps this year we’re poised for a change. 

If you’re in the market for buying or selling, don’t underestimate the impact changing homes could have on your financial situation. Remember that overreaching for a real estate purchase could potentially impact your financial plans for the future. It’s always good to review a home buy within the context of your complete financial picture — particularly before you make any big decisions. Let us know if we can help you with your long-term retirement goals. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Existing-Home Sales Spring Ahead in March,” from National Association of Realtors, April 20, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Home sellers see strongest appreciation since the recession,” from MarketWatch, April 21, 2016.] 

When you’re looking to sell, remember that shoppers and lenders are more guarded in home purchases these days, and they often won’t spend more than what a home’s currently valued at. It’s important to check recent comparable home sales to help you establish an accurate market price. 

Also, never underestimate the power of staging and sprucing. There’s a fine line between making a house look homey and leaving it so cluttered with personal items that it’s hard for a potential buyer to see it as their own. There are plenty of online resources to help guide you on preparing your home for sale, or you can work with a professional in your area. With today’s low inventory, the houses that look good and are priced right sell the fastest. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Mistakes People Make When Selling a Home,” from CheatSheet.com, March 17, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Staging Tips for Spring,” from HGTV, 2016.] 

Retirees in the market to buy likely have a different set of criteria than the last time they went home shopping. If the kids have moved out, a smaller space may be more preferable. It’s important to have space for visitors, but the best option to cut down on price, utilities and maintenance may be a smaller home with a few pullout couches and cots for overnight stays. 

For baby boomers, there’s also the consideration that this might be the last home they own. In order to “age in place,” many are more focused on certain features than in the past. For example, one-story houses may be more popular among people considering mobility issues. Wider hallways and open spaces could be two features to look for, as well as some nice window views for those days when you just want to kick back and relax at home with family and friends.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “7 Home Buying and Selling Tips from the Property Brothers,” from HGTV, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to Renovate Your House to Age in Place,” from U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 10, 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 has been obtained from third-party 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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Consumption Isn’t Always a Dirty Word

The word consumption can take on a variety of meanings, some good and some bad. 

In the old days, consumption was an expression used to describe tuberculosis, presumably because the disease seemed to “consume” the body by drawing away its energy and weight. Today, it’s far more common to hear about the negative effects of overconsumption and its contribution to our nation’s obesity issues. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why Tuberculosis Was Called ‘Consumption,’” from TodayIFoundOut.com, March 17, 2014.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Personal Income Decelerates in February” from U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, March 28, 2016.] 

When it comes to food and drinks, the U.S. may be going overboard on consumption, but that’s not necessarily true when the word is used in a financial sense. As an economic term, consumption refers to the purchase of goods and services by individuals — aka consumers. It’s what drives our economic growth. 

We believe what we consume reflects our lifestyles, and the amount we consume compared to what we earn can have a significant impact on our savings for the future. For some, thinking about tomorrow is a vague and difficult exercise. That’s why we offer guidance to our clients to focus on today: What can you do now that will help you in the future? 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Bottled-Water Consumption to Surpass Soda This Year: Chart,” from Bloomberg, April 14, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Here’s What Moderate Alcohol Consumption Really Looks Like,” at U.S. News & World Report, April 15, 2016.] 

At a national level, economic experts get a little worried when too many people are focusing on saving rather than spending. But a new study from the McKinsey Global Institute said that likely won’t be an issue in the foreseeable future. Population increases should contribute to 25 percent of the world’s economic growth in the next 15 years, but, according to the study, increased earnings for consumers will have three times as much impact. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Vacations eclipse business trips as primary US air travel purpose,” from Air Transport World, April 13, 2016.] 

Urban populations are expected to drive this growth in spending. Large cities will account for 91 percent of consumption growth, and a quarter of that amount will come from just 32 cities between now and 2030. 

It may come as a surprise that the demographic most likely to contribute to global consumption is the 60+ group. Data suggests baby boomers are generally well-prepared to consume during retirement. If you want to help ensure you’re among these ranks, please contact us to discuss retirement strategies that can help you meet your long-term financial goals. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Big Cities Are the Future of Global Consumption,” from CityLab, April 14, 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 has been obtained from third-party 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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Crisis Management: Focus on What you can Control

How do you choose what to worry about? 

In the 24-hour news cycle, we’re hit from all directions with the latest “crisis” the world is facing. Obesity. Sleep deprivation. Student-loan debt. A shortage of biscuits. It’s constant and can be exhausting. 

That’s not even taking into consideration the “crises” we experience in our own personal lives — things like avoiding mistakes at work or keeping track of appointments for yourself and relatives. 

It’s hard to be concerned about refugees in Europe when you’re trying to keep your affairs in order on the home front. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Great British Biscuit Crisis is finally over,” from The Independent, April 7, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The American Health Crisis That’s Bigger than Obesity,” from The Fiscal Times, April 6, 2016.] 

Then, somewhere at the edge of our consciousness, there are our retirement income concerns. Have we saved enough? Will it last to the end of our lives? Long-term retirement income planning can be one of the most challenging and personal issues we face. Since none of us know how long we’ll live, we don’t know how much money we’ll need. 

But we believe there are some certainties. Those nearing retirement can likely expect a Social Security payout, and Medicare can help offset health care expenses as we grow older. But these programs alone aren’t intended to fund your retirement lifestyle. As a financial professional, we’re here to help you use your current retirement assets to create strategies utilizing insurance products that help meet your long-term financial goals. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “America’s looming retirement savings crisis,” from CNBC, March 15, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to view the infographic, “The Crisis in Pensions and Retirement Plans,” from Accounting Degree Review, 2016.] 

With our help, creating a retirement income strategy may be one less thing to worry about. Other regional concerns may apply to you, like the water crisis in Michigan or mosquito infestations in South Florida, but whenever possible, direct your attention to things you can control. 

View the world’s ills through your own personal lens and reflect on whether the latest crisis will impact you. If it does, make an action plan. If it’s not likely, move on. Focus on your today, because we believe that’s what will help you enjoy a more confident tomorrow. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Could What Happened in Flint Happen Anywhere?” from National Geographic, Jan. 26, 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 has been obtained from third party 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 featured in Ballantyne Magazine!

Check out Chris in the latest edition of Ballantyne Magazine:

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