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Sleigh Bells Ring

The holiday season kicked off early this year, with a big winter storm in parts of the country. Beautiful, yet treacherous, photographs emerged of cars and neighborhoods entirely submerged in snow; roofs, windows and doors collapsing from the weight of the precipitous precipitation, and once again motorists were stranded on highways and byways. The season began with a veritable wonderland that makes you wonder what it forebodes for winter this year.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “This Aerial Photography Shows Just How Arresting the Snow Storm in Buffalo Is,” from Business Insider, Nov. 20, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view, “24 Pictures That Perfectly Capture How Insane the Snow Is Near Buffalo, New York,” from BuzzFeed, Nov. 19, 2014.]

Perhaps inspired by the holiday spirit that the heavy snow emotes — assuming you’re not having to dig yourself out of it — Americans have several things to cheer about this holiday season. With each passing year the economy grows stronger. Inflation remains low and gas prices are down. Real estate prices continue to rebound, and unemployment is back down to relatively normal levels. Many, though not all, shoppers have more discretionary funds to spend on friends and family this year — a sign that bodes well for the economy.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Falling Gas Prices Fuel Holiday Cheer,” from Guggenheim Partners, Nov. 20, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view the data, “United States Unemployment Rate 1948-2014,” from Trading Economics, 2014.]

Holiday shopping also seemed to start earlier than usual, just after Halloween. Merchants appear more accommodating this year as well. Black Friday is no longer a one-day event; for some retailers it lasts two to four weeks. Keep in mind a few shopping tips for this year: 

  • If you find a better price after buying a product, you may be able to take advantage of the “price rewind” tool offered by some of the major credit cards, such as Citi and Discover.
  • Sales are expected to be early and brisk this year, so if there’s a must-have item on your list, you may want to purchase it early in case inventories run dry.
  • When shopping for clothes, consider that late-season sales can result in discounts of 60 to 70 percent; the same holds true for perennial gifts such as board games.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Tips for Braving (and Saving) this Holiday Shopping Season,” from Tampa Bay Times, Nov. 21, 2014.]
Holiday gifts for elderly seniors can often be a challenge given their limited mobility and the fact that many already have everything they need. Consider some of the newer innovations in medical technology — assuming you’ll take the time to teach the recipient how to use it. Consider a hand-held heart monitor, wireless blood pressure monitor or light therapy device if the recipient has a propensity for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in winter.
For those likely to experience more harsh weather this winter, consider thoughtful preparation gifts such as a generator or snow blower.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “This Holiday’s New Consumer Health Tech that Can Really Make a Difference,” from HL7 Standards, Nov. 20, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Best Outdoor Power Gear Gifts for the Holidays,” from Consumer Reports, Nov. 20, 2014.]
As you enter this holiday season, we encourage you to take time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the future. We believe it’s always best to have a plan in place for your financial future to help divert any day-to-day trials and tribulations that may affect your long-term goals. As always, we’re here to help you develop a strategy that can assist you through any potential hardships, and we wish a warm and wonderful holiday season for you and yours.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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Give Thanks. The Grass is Greener Here.

As we enter this holiday season, it’s worth taking a look at your individual circumstances and gauging whether your financial situation is stronger than it was last year, three years ago or five years ago. We can all find reasons to gripe about one thing or another, even in the best of the times. But that’s why it’s so important to remember when things were more difficult. This may be the very reason why bad things happen to good people — to help make us stronger.

The U.S. has its troubles, from Wall Street to Main Street. Although we must suffer through the onslaught of political campaign ads, it’s a small price to pay for the right to participate in democratic elections.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why is Hong Kong Protesting?” from BBC News, Oct. 18, 2014.]

Our economic growth has been slow to recover since the recession, but our government made an attempt at pre-emptive stimulus several years ago, and quantitative easing in the Unites States appears to be coming to an end.

[CLICK HERE to read Janet Yellen’s speech, “What the Federal Reserve Is Doing to Promote a Stronger Job Market,” from The Federal Reserve, March 31, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Japan’s Central Bank Shocks Markets with More Easing as Inflation Slows,” from Reuters, Oct. 31, 2014.]

Economically speaking, opinions abound as to whether the U.S. government has done too much or too little to rally jobs, real estate values and stimulate growth. But instead of comparing our current state to the past, perhaps we should compare it to how well other countries are faring now.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Europe Must Act Now,” from Guggenheim Partners, Oct. 29, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why the Next Financial Crisis Will Be Different,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Oct. 28, 2014.]

We complain about our nation’s unwieldy and costly health care system, but is there somewhere else you would prefer to be treated for a serious medical condition? We have ongoing issues we must address regarding equal rights across race, gender and sexual orientation. But it could be worse.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Beyond Ebola: What’s Needed to Combat the Next Outbreak,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Sept. 3, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Short Skirts, Bad Stars, Chow Mein: Why Men in India Rape Women,” from Reuters, Oct. 30, 2014.]

Below is a link to the top news stories of 2007. Despite the fact that these events took place seven years ago, many stories bear a striking resemblance to prominent headlines today: the war in Iraq, poor care at a VA facility, the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech and the quarantine of a man infected with tuberculosis.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “National News Headlines of 2007,” from Boston.com; accessed Oct. 31, 2014.]

If we don’t address the mistakes we’ve made in the past, we are surely destined to make them again in the future. This is true not just as a country, but within each of our households. If we can recommend proactive strategies tailored to your circumstances to help you feel confident in your financial future, please give us a call.

But remember — especially this holiday season — that whatever your current grievances, there are others all over the world who wish they could live as well as you.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

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his content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Small Business, Small Incomes

Large corporations in America have only been around about 13 decades. Before then, America was built on the backs of small business owners.

Larger companies started to take root in the mid-19th century, led by railroads and industrial firms. Small business owners took a hit but adapted by developing market niches too small for big companies to accommodate or by serving as suppliers to larger firms. Small businesses have never gone away, and today they provide 55 percent of all jobs in America.

[CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from “A History of Small Business in America,” by Mansel G. Blackford at the University of North Carolina Press, Copyright (c) 2003.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Small Business, Big Impact!” from The U.S. Small Business Administration, accessed Oct. 17, 2014.]

In the recent economic recovery, small businesses have been more instrumental in forging the path toward economic growth, generating two-thirds of all new jobs. But the true measure of success comes from hiring the right people with the experience needed for the job they hold. The bland “jack-of-all trades” position is buckling under the need for more specialized skills and knowledge. In traditional college curriculums, many students may not be qualified to hold the high-tech jobs that are available in the country’s newly energized manufacturing industry.

Still, with six straight months of employment gains above 200,000, the prospects for stronger economic growth are indeed on the horizon.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Small Businesses at Head of Trend in New Job Creation,” from The Bay State Banner, Oct. 16, 2014.]

Of course, successful small businesses tend to grow into larger companies. But is it a given that they will succumb to big business policies, politics and problems? Not always. Kip Tindell, the chairman and CEO of The Container Store, started his company with two buddies and an initial investment of $35,000. Today, the man who sells boxes has honed his management skills by thinking outside the traditional box. Just check out a few tenets on which he bases his company’s success:

  • The average retail clerk earns $48,000 a year.
  • He believes that if you hire great employees and pay them twice as much, you’ll get three times the productivity.
  • He believes women make better executives than men because they have high emotional intelligence, keep their egos in check, are comfortable surrounding themselves with people better than them, aren’t hungry or insecure and are calm and have self-awareness.
  • Women hold about 70 percent of the top leadership positions at the company.
  • The company’s turnover rate is just 10 percent, compared to the retail industry average of about 100 percent.
  • The Container Store has never laid anybody off in the history of the company (although it does fire people in pursuit of meritocracy).
     
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Container Store CEO Says ‘Women Make Better Executives than Men,’” from Business Insider, Oct. 13, 2014.]
A lot of media attention has been given to the growing disparity among incomes in the United States. People who earn more than they need to live on are able to take advantage of market opportunities, while those who live paycheck to paycheck have little chance of ever getting ahead. It’s just one of the growing economic problems in this country for which no one has successfully prescribed an antidote.
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Yellen ‘Greatly’ Concerned by Widening Inequality in America,” from Bloomberg, Oct. 17, 2014.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Americans Consider Inequality World’s Greatest Danger,” from PBS NewsHour, Oct. 17, 2014.]
Whether a small business owner, an employee at a large corporation or a retiree living on a fixed income, we tend to spend much of our time focused on the here and now. Please contact us for help creating a retirement income plan to help improve your financial future. We’ll do what we’re good at, so you can focus on what you’re good at.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Have The Retirement You’ve Dreamed Of

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Have The Retirement You’ve Dreamed Of- Hobart Financial Group

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Money: Relatively Speaking

Money is a topic that is on every adult’s mind a great majority of the time. But there’s a big difference in what people are thinking when it comes to money. Some people wonder how their earned income stacks up against others. Some people create financial goals and save and invest diligently to meet them. Others just wonder if they’ll have enough to pay all their bills this month.

Recently, an employee at Wells Fargo bank sent an email to the CEO there requesting that every employee in the company be given a $10,000 salary increase. This equates to an increase of $4.71 an hour. Moreover, the cost to the company would be about $3 billion a year; a veritable drop in the bucket of the company’s net revenues. The employee cc’d 200,000 of the employees who worked at the company and the email was quickly picked up by the press. He refers to his lone email request as one voice that is a mere whisper, but calls upon his 300,000 colleagues to make their opinions heard.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Wells Fargo Worker Asks CEO for Raise in Email, CC’ing Hundreds of Thousands,” from CNN Money, accessed Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the Wells Fargo employee email at CNN Money, Oct. 10, 2014.]

This email was distributed the same week the White House started making a big push to increase the minimum wage across the country. It is pressing Congress to raise the wage to $10.10 an hour, as was increased by executive order for individuals working on new federal service contracts.

[CLICK HERE to read “Raise the Wage,” from The While House, accessed Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Small-Business Owners Push Back Against Ballot Measure to Increase Nebraska’s Minimum Wage,” from Fox Business News, Oct. 9, 2014.]

Opposing points of view on this topic are both valid and impassioned, with very little middle ground. Still, one quote from Vice President Joe Biden is worth a second thought: “No one in America should be working 40 hours a week and living below the poverty level.” The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 a year. Technically, the national poverty line for a single person is $11,670. By that argument, a person making minimum wage wouldn’t be living in poverty, but most people would find it difficult to live on $15,080 a year, or $30,160 for a two-income family of four.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “From Mid-Atlantic to Midwest, Voters Express Frustration and Fatigue,” from The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Vice President Biden: No One Who Works 40 Hours a Week Should Live in Poverty,” from The White House, Oct. 8, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the 2014 Poverty Guidelines from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accessed on Oct. 10, 2014.]

Of course, no discussion of income inequality is complete without comparing men’s and women’s wages. This year, Pew Research published findings concluding that young adult women are entering the workforce at near parity with men — at least for now. Women working in the technology industry may disagree, based on a recent comment from Microsoft’s CEO that drew criticism.

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “There’s More to the Story of the Shrinking Pay Gap,” on YouTube, Jan. 9, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “Nadella’s Advice to Women on Raises Comes Back to Bite Him,” from The Seattle Times, Oct. 9, 2014.]

Wherever you stand on the pay dispute, or the income continuum, one thing remains the same: It’s personal. Our circumstances, our backgrounds, our experiences, our dispositions, our efforts, our challenges and our achievements; they are all different and combine to form the basis of our opinions on the topic.

What we set out to do is take the wealth you have accumulated and the income you have earned and help increase its long-term potential. Give us a call to see what we can do for you.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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A Lifetime of Wisdom

In contrast to popular perception, young adults do not rule. In fact, the 18 to 44 age group currently comprises 36.4 percent of the population, while those age 45 and up represent 40.3 percent. Of course, if you play your teenage child or grandchild in basketball or try to wear the same size dress you wore before having children, being part of the demographic majority may not seem like much of a win.

But the older people become, the more they tend to develop a perspective on what they’ve learned and gained versus what they still want out of life. In other words, a lifetime of wisdom might be worth more to you now than a 32-inch waist.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “So How Many Millennials Are There in the US, Anyway?” at MarketingCharts.com, June 30, 2014.]

When it comes to your health, you may not feel as good as you did when you were younger, but many people start eating better as they get older. Gone are the pizza deliveries at midnight and fast food binges on the way to meet friends. We get smarter, become more diligent and begin to notice the way certain foods (and drinks) make us feel and affect our body.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to Old-Proof Your Body (While You’re Still Young),” at GQ magazine, Oct. 2014.]

In terms of work, as we age through our careers, we get a feel for what type of work we truly enjoy and what type of environment works best for us. This knowledge often comes through a process of trial and error, but it generally comes. Even if we remain in a less-than-satisfactory work environment for the sake of earning a living, at least we become well aware of what works, what doesn’t and why.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “America’s oldest workers: Why we refuse to retire! The Wal-Mart worker,” at CNN Money, Oct. 1, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “America’s oldest workers: Why we refuse to retire! The park ranger,” at CNN Money, Oct. 1, 2014.]

One life skill often overlooked is the ability to fail — and learn from it. Sadly, it takes years for many young people to learn this lesson, and once they learn it they may not be young anymore. The good news is that eventually most people learn this critical survival skill: The development of an internal voice that says, “I can overcome this. I can do this.” Not only can this life skill help improve life immeasurably, it makes us feel good inside, confident, self-aware and comfortable in our own skin.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “4 Critical Skills Your Child Needs to Develop before Inheriting Your Money,” at Forbes, Sept. 15, 2014.]

Perhaps many of us do trade a taut belly, balance and quick reflexes for life’s wisdom. When you think about this in totality — and on a good day — it may seem a fair trade. In return, we share our time-worn insights with others, generally younger people who believe they hold the world on a string. Who is the wiser?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How to Become Rich, and 24 Other Insights from Warren Buffett,” at Money, accessed Oct. 3, 2014.]

Let’s put your lifetime of wisdom and our financial knowledge to work to help build you a confident financial future. Please give us a call.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, it is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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Hospitable Hospitals

Hospitals acquire reputations, just as all companies (and people) do. But there are so many different ways a hospital can be perceived. Some consider them a place where people go to die and should thus be avoided — a commonly held belief of Ebola victims in West Africa.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are Hospitals Part of the Ebola Problem? Charity Wants New Strategy,” from NBC News, Sept. 15 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Too Many People Die in Hospital Instead Of Home. Here’s Why,” from Kaiser Health News, Sept. 22, 2014.]

Recently, there’s been press about how hospitals are saving money thanks to Medicaid expansion in some states, citing a reduction in uninsured admissions by 30 percent. As a result, the tab for uncompensated hospital care will be approximately $5.7 billion less in 2014.

On the other hand, individual patients may not benefit from these savings. Because hospital charges are not as transparent as in other industries, even the most diligent of health care consumers can get hit with outrageous bills they weren’t expecting.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Report: Admission of Uninsured at Hospitals Dips,” from The Memphis Daily News, Sept. 25, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know,” from The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2014.]

But there are signs of improvement where quality is concerned — particularly with doctors. One recent study found that a surgeon’s desire to perform well surpassed the desire for financial gain by a significant margin. The research also revealed that while physician report cards are largely ignored by patients, the competitive comparison has done much to improve physician awareness and focus on quality.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Physician Report Cards Can Improve Health Care,” from Knowledge@Wharton, Aug. 28, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Hospitals Focus on Patient Experience Through Design,” from U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 25, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clues to How People Bounce Back from Surgery,” from Detroit News, Sept. 24, 2014.]

Meanwhile, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to be scrutinized, most recently with regard to whether mandated hospital benefits are required to be offered by large, self-insured employers.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Debate Grows Over Employer Health Plans Without Hospital Benefits,” from NPR, Sept. 26, 2014.]

A new study estimates that people retiring today will need more than $318,000 to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses over a 30-year retirement, not including the cost of retirement living expenses or long-term care.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Easy Way to Beat the High Cost of Health Care in Retirement,” from Time magazine, Sept. 12, 2014.]

Addressing both the cost and quality of health care delivery in this country is an ongoing and daunting task. But each of us needs to address it within our own financial and retirement income plans. If we can help you with strategies to help pay for health care both now and in the future, please give us a call.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, it is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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Together, We’re Worlds Apart

The world continues to grow (figuratively and virtually) smaller. The economy is more global. We are connected by Facebook and other social media. We can exchange ideas with people in foreign lands. Check out videos and photographs taken in Australia, 10 minutes ago. We’ve learned that our individual — and national — problems are more universal than we ever considered.

Yet, perhaps now we wonder why we wanted to be so connected with others. Take Scotland, for example. In a 55 percent to 45 percent vote, the country will remain a part of Great Britain. But leadership has confirmed it will move forward with expanded “devolution” plans, a process started in 1999, to decentralize governing bodies and give more powers to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Scotland Rejects Independence: What It Means for Sterling Gilts and the Economy,” at BNY Mellon, September 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Scottish Referendum: Salmond to Quit after Scots Vote No,” at BBC News, Sept. 19, 2014.]

Here in the U.S., we like our independence. We may not have appreciated it as much until our college-educated children moved back home. Along with aging parents. But with the disparity that exists among generations, preferences and cultural touch points, does geographic proximity make us any closer? Just take a look at who shows up at the dinner table on any given night. Do some family members pay more attention to their tech gadgets than the mashed potatoes? And what does a multi-generational family — potentially comprised of grade school-aged children, teenagers, young adults, middle agers and retirees — all agree upon to watch on TV after dinner? It makes you wish the Olympics were on every single night.

Even an extended family tucked away in one household is likely to scatter to individual entertainment preferences: television, video games, tablet surfing, cellphone texting, etc. Close in proximity, yet worlds apart in sharing.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Home-cooked Family Dinner Isn’t All It’s Cracked up to Be,” at The Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Study Proposes Outrageous Solution In Lieu of Family Dinners,” at NaturalBlaze.com, Sept. 4, 2014.]

Historically, the young have ruled the earth. Youthfulness is generally viewed as better; more preferable. But what would happen if young adults became the minority; when older people rule due to sheer numbers? The enormous baby boomer generation has always been a tremendous influence on commerce. Even now, fashion magazines and late-night television are riddled with advertisements for products to help people look younger and bathe without stepping over a bath tub. The elderly portion of the population is expected to expand further when you consider longer lifespans, lower fertility rates among the young and the retirement of the largest generation ever.

Once this shift occurs, consider what might happen. Politics could become dominated by retirees who vote for more generous entitlement benefits that the young must pay.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What Happens When We All Live to 100?” at The Atlantic, Sept. 17, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” at The Atlantic, Sept. 17, 2014.]

Retirement is often met with mixed emotions: Sorrow at leaving one chapter of life, but joy of not having to work for a living anymore. A recent study confirmed that three keys to a happy retirement are good health, financial security and having a loving family and friends. Please contact us if you would like assistance in devising a retirement income plan to help cover health care expenses that may arise.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Study Reveals The #1 Key to a Happy Retirement,” at The Huffington Post, Sep. 15, 2014.]

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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Does Your Financial Strategy Take Into Account Unforeseen Retirement Challenges?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” However, when it comes to planning for retirement, it may not be a bad idea to develop a strategy that takes into consideration unexpected challenges that could arise.

An unanticipated scenario in retirement might include a major medical issue, debilitating illness, or an adult child moving back in after a job loss or even returning home with grandchildren in tow after a divorce. Many people create an income plan for retirement’s best-case scenario, but it may be a good idea for them to consider what may happen to their retirement income if a challenging situation were to arise.

Perhaps a better approach would be to create a strategy for potential obstacles. That way, if you happen to make it through retirement with no unexpected financial issues, you could potentially be able to leave a larger inheritance for loved ones.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retirement Living: Biggest Retirement Regrets,” from USA Today, March 11, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Elderly Baby Boomers: With Fewer Children and More Divorce, Who Will Take Care of them?” from PennLive, July 1, 2014.]

Planning for retirement can comprise more than just a retirement nest egg. In addition to working with a financial professional, you may want to consider speaking with a qualified tax advisor or an attorney to provide you with proper tax or estate planning and develop a strategy that is appropriate for your unique situation. With a strategic, clearly defined retirement income plan in place, you may be able to avoid some common retiree mistakes, such as premature IRA withdrawals or not retiring to a more tax-friendly locale (e.g., some of the more traditional retirement spots, like Florida and Nevada).

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Raiding Savings Can Hurt Your Retirement,” from Vanguard MoneyWhys, Aug. 1, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “These States Have No Income Tax,” from USA Today, April 26, 2014.]

Another reason a retirement income plan can come up short is because both spouses are not engaged in the process. Many women manage household expenses and are sensitive to prices, inflation and their own longevity. Perhaps this is why, despite the fact that they earn less on average than men, women are catching up when it comes to retirement savings. A recent survey found the average retirement savings balance for women was up 17 percent from a year ago and up 71 percent from 2009. Nationwide, average salary deferral rates are 5.37 percent for women and 5.70 percent for men. But interestingly, deferral rates for men have been declining since 2010.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Women Showing Greater Retirement Plan Engagement,” from PlanSponsor, Aug. 27, 2014.]

Another scenario people may not plan for is divorce at an older age. Although the strategy may sound wrong and immoral, the story of one pending Medicaid recipient demonstrates why divorce can help reduce medical bills.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Divorce Due To Medical Bills? Sometimes It Makes Sense,” from Forbes, Aug. 21, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Can You Collect on Your Ex? Social Security Eligibility after Divorce,” from BlackRock Blog, July 14, 2014.]

What can each of us do now to help prepare for the unexpected in retirement? You may consider spending and borrowing less and saving more. The tendency to overleverage during high-income years can be tempting. We convince ourselves that because we work hard and earn a good salary, we should be able to drive an expensive car and take lavish vacations. Perhaps we can afford that during our high-earning years, but should we continue to live “high on the hog” if it could potentially diminish our lifestyle in retirement?

Think about adapting your lifestyle today in a manner similar to how you would like to live in retirement — and consider whether you’ll be able to retain that lifestyle once you’re no longer earning a paycheck. If we can help you develop a strategy to address the possibility of an unfavorable scenario occurring during your retirement, please don’t hesitate to call.

Our firm assists retirees and pre-retirees in the creation of retirement strategies utilizing insurance products. Our firm is not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein shall constitute, tax, legal or accounting advice. Be sure to speak with qualified professionals before making any decisions about your personal situation. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency.

This content is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided by third parties and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation.

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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Market Volatility Has Media Calling Chris Hobart

When the market is as volatile as it has been the past couple of weeks, people need to hear sane advice from an industry expert. Chris Hobart was sought out several times by media outlets last week to clue people in on what is going on and what to expect. Check out 3 of his local appearances here:

Chris Hobart WCNC 10.15.2014

Chris Hobart WSOC 10.16.2014

Chris Hobart WBTV 10.16.2014

As always, thanks for the insight Chris!