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Health Care Approach Evolving at Personal, Corporate Levels

An unexpected illness is something to think about when planning for retirement, as it could be costly. 

More fail-safes are now embedded in health insurance plans, allowing more people with pre-existing conditions to receive coverage with reasonable premiums, but financial risks may still await. 

For example, in an emergency situation, what are you supposed to do if you’re unconscious or otherwise unable to select the facility and provider that cares for you? 

Many times, patients are transported to the nearest hospital, regardless of whether it’s part of their health care plan’s network. This could lead to unexpected expensive bills. Also, be aware that a plan’s out-of-pocket limit may not apply to cost-sharing charges for out-of-network health care services. 

Today’s health care laws have enabled more people to buy health care insurance, but not necessarily the level of coverage they need. In fact, people are still filing for medical bankruptcy due to increased health costs and high premiums, copays, co-insurance and deductibles. 

Going forward, health care should be considered when preparing your long-term retirement income plan. The fact is, we may die sick or we may die healthy. While everyone prefers to maintain their health as long as possible, it’s better to prepare for the worst-case scenario and take steps to help ensure your family is covered in case you have a disability or illness later in life. Any remaining assets may be able to be passed on to your spouse or beneficiaries. 

As your financial professional, we’re available whenever you’re ready to discuss your long-term retirement income strategy. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “JAMA Forum: Surprise, Surprise,” from News@JAMA, Feb. 3, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Even Insured Can Face Crushing Medical Debt, Study Finds,” from The New York Times, Jan. 5, 2016.] 

[CLICK HERE to hear the story, “House Hearing Probes the Mystery of High Drug Prices That ‘Nobody Pays,’” from NPR, Jan. 29, 2016.] 

People working for large companies may soon be able to start putting a way a little extra savings thanks to their employers’ changing approach to health care. Some corporations that offer health care insurance coverage to employees are actively looking for ways to reduce the cost of medical services. 

For example, 20 major U.S. companies, including American Express, Macy’s and Verizon, recently formed an alliance to share health spending and outcome data on their combined 4 million employees. 

This is part of a burgeoning trend in which large corporations are exploring how to leverage their volume health care spending to reduce the cost of care and prescription drugs. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Companies Form New Alliance to Target Health-Care Costs,” from The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Who Has the Power to Cut Drug Prices? Employers.” from Harvard Business Review, Dec. 1, 2015.] 

Since 2013, the number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million, predominantly as a result of the Affordable Care Act. During last year’s open enrollment period, 12.7 million people either re-enrolled in a health plan or bought a new health plan through the government-sponsored marketplaces (9.6 million at Healthcare.gov; 3.1 million on state-run exchanges). And because health care plans are increasingly prone to change, about 70 percent of those re-enrolling at the federal site wisely shopped around for a better deal this year. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Here’s How Many Americans Signed Up for Obamacare This Year,” from Money, Feb. 5, 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 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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Strides in Pay Equality a Step in Right Direction

Lilly Ledbetter was hired in 1979 as a supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and worked there for the next 20+ years. When she retired in 1998, she sued the company for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts.

Initially, her pay was on par with her male colleagues, but after being promoted to area manager she earned significantly less than the men in that same role. The Supreme Court denied her claim because she did not file suit within 180 days after receiving her first pay check in 1979.

That was one step back for all women.

But in 2009, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which relaxed the timelines for a work discrimination filing. In 2014, Barack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss their compensation.

Then, in January 2016, Obama announced a proposal to collect pay data by gender, race and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees to help promote transparency in discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Taking Action to Advance Equal Pay” from Whitehouse.gov, Jan. 29, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” from Whitehouse.gov, January 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is It Rude to Talk About Money? Millennials Don’t Think So” from Time, Jan. 21, 2016.]

The movement toward equal pay does not just benefit women. Higher pay enables higher consumer spending overall, similar to the way low gas prices help boost our economy. Furthermore, enabling women to better plan for their financial future puts less burden on tax-funded government programs. After all, as a general rule women need to prepare for a longer life and financial future.

This issue affects couples as much as it does single, widowed and divorced women. Sources of retirement income, such as pension benefits, are often reduced when the husband dies. It’s important that couples have a retirement income plan in the event that one spouse passes away before the other. This is an area of  knowledge and planning in which we help many of our clients.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Centenarians Proliferate, and Live Longer” at The New York Times; Jan. 21, 2016.]

The issue — and opportunity — of equal pay is a global one. A recent report from McKinsey Global Institute estimated that if all women worldwide were as engaged in the financial markets as men, up to $28 trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025.

This year’s World Economic Forum spotlighted this issue and featured speeches from highly visible and influential women in today’s culture: philanthropist Melinda Gates, Facebook Chief Operation Officer Sheryl Sandberg and popular actress Emma Watson — best known as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films. 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “It’s Time to Break the Chains of Dependency for Girls and Women” from The Huffington Post, Jan. 21, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Emma Watson in Davos: Gender equality would be the ‘single biggest stimulus to the economy’” from The World Economic Forum, Jan. 22, 2016.]

When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon in 1969, he delivered the now famous quote, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” With increased focus on equal pay, hopefully soon we will see economic benefits that are not only a step in the right direction for women, but a giant leap for all mankind.

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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Spare Time

We all have spare time. However, it’s possible to be so busy, to have such a long list of things to do, that you actually feel guilty taking a bit of time to flake out in front of the television set, read a not-so-literary book or take a mid-afternoon nap.

Even visiting with family and friends is something you can check off your to-do list — the “nourishing friendships” line item that you never quite write down but feel guilty if you don’t do it.

This is the typical lifestyle of a person who works and/or raises children. But what about when you retire? When you wake up in the morning and there’s no place you have to be and the children are all grown and (mostly) self-sufficient?

We spend a big part of our adult lives planning and saving for retirement. This is an area where we can help. As financial professionals, we are here to help you create a retirement income strategy that you can feel confident about.

However, once you create a retirement income strategy, have you thought about a plan for how you will spend the 40 or 50 hours a week during retirement that you previously spent at your job?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Retirement Problem: What Will You Do With All That Time?” from Knowledge@Wharton, Jan. 14, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Turn Your 2016 Bucket List Into A Love List” from The Huffington Post, Jan. 5, 2016.]

Retirement isn’t all leisure and social activity. With today’s more transient society, more people end up in pre-retirement neighborhoods and friendships that were not lifelong. Along the way, individuals and couples start entertaining what they would like to do during retirement. Play more golf with your foursome. Spend more time barbecuing and hanging out with the next-door neighbors. Go sailing with your spouse.

The problem with these vague plan ideas is that they may not be compatible with the people you want to spend time with in retirement. It’s unlikely your golf buddies will all retire at the same time you do. The neighbors might be planning to move away to their retirement dream destination. Your spouse might be prone to seasickness, or consider a weekend shopping in New York City far more preferable.

While you may need to have more conversations about those “big plans” with your family and friends, what about your day-to-day activities in retirement? Perhaps you should think about an alternative, part-time work situation that you would enjoy. Or volunteer your time for a cause for which you’ve always felt a special tug. After all, people retiring today at age 65 could live another 20 to 30 years.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Show goes on for retiree turned volunteer” from The Welland Tribune, Dec. 28, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Volunteer Topeka: Retiree beats boredom by volunteering at ReStore” from The Topeka Capital-Journal, Nov. 28, 2015.]

A recent survey found that two-thirds of workers age 50 and older either plan to work past age 65 or not retire at all. If you are considering a working retirement, note that experts say you shouldn’t take off too much time between jobs.

Even with retirement as an excuse, you don’t want to have long employment gaps. Things change quickly in the work world — particularly with technology — and you don’t want to get too far behind the curve when it comes to new processes and trends.

Experts also caution that age discrimination still exists, so your best bet is to use your network and connections to help secure a gig. If you just apply online to job postings, you could appear overqualified and too expensive for a position, or underqualified if you’re thinking of changing career path.

Offering to volunteer your time and expertise can be a good way for you and a potential employer to test the waters to see if it’s a good fit for a future paid position.

Whatever you do, consider that a plan for how to spend your time in retirement is just as important as a plan for your financial well-being.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “6 Best Career Moves to Make in Your 60s” from Time, Jan. 11, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “10 tips for those who want to consult after they retire” from MarketWatch, Dec. 17, 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.

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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Few Benefit Financially from College’s Big Money Sport

As entertaining as college football is, the truth is it’s a multimillion-dollar business.

In some high-profile programs, coaches make seven-figure salaries rivaled only by university administrators at the nation’s most elite schools. All the money flowing to officials at the top has to come from somewhere, and often, it starts with the students.

In addition to increased tuition, many universities charge student fees to help cover the rising costs, not just because administrative positions are paying more, but also because there are more of them. The number of non-faculty administrative positions increased by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009.

Planning for college, and the costs that come with it, may be comparable to what you go through in the early stages of planning for retirement. There’s no definitive way to tell if the plans you make 10 to 20 years in advance will align with how life really plays out. As your financial professional, we’re here to help you  create a retirement income strategy that you can feel confident about.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much,” from The New York Times, April 4, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Sports At Any Cost,” from The Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2015.]

If you’ve had a child go away to college, you know what a nail-biter the experience can be, both emotionally and financially.

Fans of Alabama and Clemson had some nerve-wracking experiences of their own in January when the two schools played in a national championship game that went down to the wire. Nick Saban — one of the aforementioned multimillion-dollar coaches — made some gutsy calls, including a late onside kick, to help Alabama win its fourth title since 2009.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clemson lost College Football Playoff championship, but won offseason spotlight,” from The Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2016.]

Make-or-break moments like these may heighten the enjoyment of college athletics, but when it comes to sending your own child away to college, it’s preferable to make well-thought-out choices. From that standpoint, choosing the right school should be based more on cost and academic curriculum than strength of the football program. 

Even if your child is going to school to play a sport, and is fortunate enough to receive a full-ride scholarship, it’s important to keep in mind the career they enter after graduation is the one that will fund their future.

College athletes, even the football players who play for the highly paid coaches, don’t receive any money for their performance. While only 1.6 percent of college football players make it to the NFL, thousands more will experience long-term health issues from the aches and pains and concussions suffered during their college football days. The level of education they receive at those institutions often is called into question as well.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Clemson vs. Alabama 2016: Both Teams Will Lose,” from Forbes, Jan. 9, 2016.]

Many academically focused college students today have had a hard time finding jobs after graduation, yet are saddled with student debt loans. Meanwhile, as the cost of attending college has dramatically increased over the past three decades, the trajectory of pay for college football coaches has been even more startling — up 75 percent since 2007.

When compared to the public sector, football coaches are the highest-paid employees in every state and earn significantly more than CEOs of private companies with similar annual revenues.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “College Football Coaches: The Ultimate 1 Percent,” from Washington Monthly, January/February 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How College Football Coaches Became Multi-Million-Dollar Money Pits,” from Time, Aug. 25. 2015.]

Perhaps one day, some of those high-net college football programs can use their lucrative proceeds to help offset tuition and expenses for the rest of the student body.

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.

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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Ditch Multitasking, Embrace Interstitial Time and Get Productive!

For years, multitasking has been a valued skill — one that many folks have become quite adept at and proud of — but scientific analysis is showing more and more that it amounts to being a jack of all trades, master of none.

Scientists say humans don’t actually multitask; the brain switches back and forth quickly from one task to another, which keeps it from operating at full capacity during both activities. Multitasking actually diminishes the focus and general effectiveness of what you’re trying to do compared to giving one task full attention before moving on to another.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What’s Really Happening in Your Brain When You Multitask,” from The Huffington Post, Feb. 2, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Multi-tasking: how to survive in the 21st century,” from FT Magazine, Sept. 2, 2015.]

If multitasking can diminish effectiveness, it’s best if the important decisions get undivided attention. With our focus on retirement income strategies, we can help you work toward your monetary goals without a split-screen experience. We are financial professionals so you don’t have to be, so call us when you need a full focus on your retirement income strategy.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “‘There’s No Such Thing As Multitasking,’” from Forbes, Jan. 7, 2015.]

There’s a space of time that could be used to accomplish some of the to-dos that often get multitasked. Instead of flitting between a series of tasks, use your interstitial time. This is when you have intervals during the day when you’re doing absolutely nothing. Most people feel they don’t have any extra time, but consider the time you spend waiting at the checkout line in a store, waiting to pick up your kids or grandkids from school or activities, riding an elevator, or even all that time you spend on hold.

Instead of wasting your valuable time at home or work — or rudely “multitasking” when someone’s trying to have a conversation with you — check your Facebook page or ballgame scores on your cellphone during these interstitial times. You can use these in-between times to return phone calls and respond to emails and texts. When you make better use of interstitial periods, you can free up time throughout your day for other things, other people or even for yourself.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Life’s Work: An Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson,” from Harvard Business Review, January 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Lawyers, Here’s How to Take Back Your Interstitial Time,” from Legal Practice Pro, June 22, 2015.]

Searching for productivity often strains your creative energies most of all. After all, the new project idea, event title or anniversary gift idea never comes on demand, right? Multitasking and clicking through the never-ending task list — even if you are using interstitial time — doesn’t always leave room for the idea bulb.

When it comes to having creative and inventive ideas, the best time is usually when you’re a little tired, as a relaxed brain is more open to conjuring less obvious ideas. That means if you’re a night bird, you may have better ideas in the morning. If you’re a morning person, your fatigued brain may be more productive later in the day. Who knew?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Best Time of Day to Do Everything at Work,” from FastCompany, June 23, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The best time of day to take a break,” from The Washington Post, Sept. 14, 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.

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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New Year a Good Time for New Approach

We frequently resolve to reinvent ourselves in the new year — exercise more, eat healthier, read more or save more.

This concept of reinvention carries over to several aspects of the financial world as well, both personally and in businesses.

At a certain age, it’s common for people to put their materialistic desires behind them and focus on a more personal lifestyle. We grow up learning to want things, but after our income level reaches a comfortable level, we reflect on whether we have what we really want. At that point, our perspective can change.

If we can help you refocus your financial situation to match the type of lifestyle you want to lead going forward, we’re here for you.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Minimalist Living: When a Lot Less Is More,” from Time, March 15, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the news release, “What Psychology Says About Materialism and the Holidays,” from the American Psychological Association, Dec. 16, 2014.]

Companies often find themselves needing to reinvent as a result of rapidly changing surroundings. Not long ago, Yahoo and Barnes & Noble were industry leaders. But, as new technology and competitors emerge, a period of poor sales or stock performance can put once-successful business models in need of a shakeup.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is It Too Late to Reinvent Yahoo?” from Knowledge@Wharton, Jan. 4, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Can Barnes & Noble Avoid Borders’ Fate?” from Knowledge@Wharton, Dec. 18, 2015.]

An alternative method of reinvention is simply changing the impression presented to consumers through a rebranding. This could mean a new logo, a new look for brick and mortar stores, a new look for the website; basically good branding means creating a cohesive look across all customer touchpoints.

Does a new logo mean the service or product has changed? Perhaps. Sometimes companies rebrand to reflect changes, other times it’s just a new update to their look. While a fresh, new look could attract new customers in the short-term, if the product hasn’t improved, it won’t be long before it’s time for another overhaul.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “When’s the right time to reinvent your brand with a new logo?” from W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Jan. 4, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Three ways Fortune changed in 2015,” from Fortune, Jan. 4, 2016.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Goodbye, Moto(rola): Iconic brand name to be phased out,” from CNET, Jan. 7, 2016.]

The same can be true when it comes to reinventing our own situation. Sometimes we just “rebrand” ourselves, informing friends and family that we’ve joined a gym or started shopping at Whole Foods.

Truly reinventing ourselves requires commitment and discipline. We can’t just say we’ve made a change, we have to take the often painstaking steps to get there. If any of your reinvention plans involve your financial situation, remember that we’re here to help you develop a strategy and stick to it.

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. 

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

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.]

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