Happy Breeds More Happy


In the 20th century, the typical retirement lasted about 10 to 15 years. These days, if you retire in your 60s, your golden years could last upward of 30 years or more. The more people recognize this, the more it becomes evident that we can’t work our careers in quite the same manner anymore. Working for 40 years — particularly in our more materialistic culture — typically won’t provide enough income to both live and save for a retirement that could last nearly the same amount of time.

Longevity experts are now calling for a revolution in the workplace, one that enables people to work longer. For one thing, it doesn’t help our economy to have our most knowledgeable and experienced workers completely out of the workforce. On the other hand, few people want to work for 50 or 60 years without taking a break. So, why not take a break?

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retiring retirement?” from Fidelity, Feb. 4, 2015.]

Today’s longer life expectancies behoove employers to consider more flexible and part-time options for people. Employers may need to consider options for employees to move in and out of the workforce periodically. In other words, being out of workforce for a few years shouldn’t hurt a person’s ability to find a new job.

With this new approach to work, young people could travel the world for six months to a year at an age in which they can truly soak in that experience. They could enter the workforce and work long enough to earn the money to take off for a year — but not so long that they’re already burdened with children and a mortgage.

Such a work culture might also help remove the stigma of young moms and dads taking time off work to raise children. Retirees and near-retirees could take off a few years to hit the links, then go back once they get bored. Mid-career workers could jump out of the rat race for a while to re-charge their batteries, then jump back on that wheel with re-energized motivation.

Experts say extending our work lives would benefit us both mentally and cognitively. Work enables us to wake up in the morning and know we are needed somewhere — that our presence and knowledge have value. Moreover, the intellectual stimulation of work is proven to improve our cognitive abilities and delay the onset of conditions associated with old age.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Ways To Make Workplace Flexibility The New Way Of Working,” from Forbes.com, Oct. 30, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Mom Corps: A Further Move to Flexible Work Hours,” at American Management Association, Aug. 15, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Secrets to a Happy Retirement,” from Time.com, Jan. 12, 2015.]

Adapting work schedules and providing a happier work environment doesn’t just benefit employees. Another recent study found that companies with the lowest employee satisfaction tended to significantly under-perform in the stock market. Conversely, highly profitable companies that invest in attracting top talent and have employee-friendly policies tend to outperform the overall market.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Do Satisfied Employees Matter for Company Bottom Lines?” from Glassdoor.com, March 11, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Like Your Job? The Stock Market Will Probably Like Your Company,” from The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2015.]

It’s hard enough to create a financial plan for the future, but how can you also create a long-term “happiness” plan? Some experts have suggested viewing a long life in 10-year segments. For example, if you’re 40, think about what you want to be doing when you’re 50. At 50, think about 60, and so on.

Long-range income planning is important, but it doesn’t have to sacrifice your happiness. After all — does spending money make you happy, or does spending time doing what you love with people you love make you happy?

We’re always happy to help you re-evaluate your priorities.

We are an independent financial service firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. Our firm is not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein shall constitute, investment 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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Longevity Decisions

People over age 90 are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. By mid-century, this population is expected to quadruple. Many researchers currently are studying what the commonalities are for longevity and whether we can replicate them either in lifestyle choices or perhaps even pharmaceutically.

A “60 Minutes” episode last year revealed some interesting findings about people over age 90, based on data originally gathered on this group back in 1981. Some marked commonalities among this group included:

  • Exercise every day is correlated with a longer life. As little as 15 minutes a day is effective, but 45 minutes a day is ideal (even more ideal than two hours a day). Also, it isn’t necessary that the exercise be intense or all at once — it can be spread throughout the day through walking, gardening, housework, etc.
  • Taking vitamins has no impact on longevity.
  • Clean living is not a factor; people who drink alcohol tend to live longer than those who don’t. And not just red wine — all types of alcoholic beverages, up to two servings a day.
  • Coffee drinking — consuming the caffeine equivalent of one to three cups a day is consistent with longevity.
  • Engaging in non-physical activities, such as book clubs and bridge, are consistent with a longer life. The more activities, the better.
  • Eating — not worrying about food intake is a common theme. In fact, moderate weight gain as you age is OK; being underweight is a negative factor for longevity.

One study from Brigham Young University further contributed to the data, showing that people who are lonely or isolated from social relationships and communities have the same risk of premature death as those who struggle with obesity or those who live in poverty.[CLICK HERE to view the “60 Minutes” episode segment, “Aging to 90+ years,” on Youtube.com, Aug. 31, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Loneliness and Isolation Are as Bad for You as Obesity, New Study Says,” from The Huffington Post, March 12, 2015.]

However, there are decisions other than lifestyle choices we can make at earlier ages to help prepare for a longer life. One such decision is what we do for a living. Obviously, the happier and more satisfied we are with our professional lives, the less aggravation and stress we feel. A recent article from World Economic Forum features a list of six questions to ask yourself regarding whether or not you should stay in your current work situation.

If you work for a family-owned business, your longevity can take on a whole new meaning — in terms of your legacy. Research from Harvard Business Review discovered that only 30 percent of family businesses last into the second generation, even though they account for the most employment in most countries. The sustainability of these businesses across multiple generations is largely indicated by whether they invest in both family and non-family talent, whether they engage in succession planning and whether they implemented a firm governance structure such as a board of directors.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Are you sure you want to leave your job?” from World Economic Forum, March 20, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Leadership Lessons from Great Family Businesses,” from Harvard Business Review, April 2015.]

And finally, how much does our wealth and the language we speak impact us by the end of a long, eventful lifetime? There are interesting studies revealing that people with less money rely more on and prioritize their social relationships, while wealth tends to breed independence — often with the unintended consequence that wealthier people can grow more isolated over time. In fact, one study went so far as to conclude that wealth can make us less sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. In other words, “meaner” than those with less means.

As for accumulating wealth, there is a fascinating study underway that correlates why many northern European countries lead the world in personal savings rates. Hint: It has to do with the language the people speak and the way it impacts their culture and mindset for saving money.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Does money make you mean?” from BBC News Magazine, March 16, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “The Influence of Language on Saving,” on Squared Away Blog from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, March 19, 2015.]

Obviously, there are dozens of ways to prepare for longevity. We can help you tackle some of those as they relate to your financial life. Please give us a call.

We are an independent financial service firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. Our firm is not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein, shall constitute tax, legal or investment 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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Funny About Money

Money is both basic and complicated. It enables us to get the things we want, yet people are often reluctant to talk about how much they make, how much they have or how much they pay for things — even to their own family.
Funny Money George Washington
In fact, according a recent survey of affluent investors:

  • 62% said they do not plan to tell their children about their net worth — ever
  • The lower their net worth, the less likely they are to tell their children
  • 75% of business owners said they do not tell their kids about their financial situation
  • Of the 38% of investors who did tell their children about their net worth:
    – 61% said they did so in case something happened them
    – 56% said they wanted their children to understand the implications of major financial decisions, such as their college choice
    – More than 50% said they spoke to their children about the family’s net worth once they reached age 21 or older 

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Over half of wealthy people don’t tell their kids what the family is worth,” from Business Insider, March 4, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to view the video, “The Mistake 80% of Parents Make with Allowance,” from Time.com, March 6, 2015.]

One of the newest innovations in money is “virtual currency.” The most popular version is bitcoin, which was created in 2009 but no one knows by whom — the person used the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. That may seem incredible, but bitcoin is no joke. Bitcoins can be used to buy merchandise anonymously all over the world via the Internet with no bank or credit card fees, which is why more and more merchants are accepting them. Furthermore, there are “bitcoin exchanges” in which you can buy or sell bitcoins using different currencies.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What You Should Know about Virtual Currencies,” from the California Department of Business Oversight, April 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What is Bitcoin?” from CNN Money, accessed March 6, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Bank Regulator: Virtual Currencies Could Be ‘Revolutionary,'” from The Boston Globe, March 4, 2015.]

Whatever our individual feelings are about money, most people believe it’s important to save. The good news lately is that more Americans have increased their savings over the past year. According to a new survey, people with a savings plan are more likely to be prepared in case of a financial emergency (82 percent vs. 48 percent with no plan), believe they are saving enough for retirement (65 percent vs. 31 percent) and are currently saving the difference from spending less than their income (90 percent vs. 50 percent).

Furthermore, the percentage of affluent Americans surveyed who report they have no consumer debt or are reducing their obligations rose from 76 percent to 78 percent over the past year.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Good Going, America! You’re Saving More!” from Spectrem Group, March 3, 2015.]

Saving tends to be a universal priority no matter what level of affluence people achieve. But when you reach retirement age, you may want to consider converting those savings to a regular stream of income. We can help you evaluate ways to do that.


We are an independent financial service firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. Our firm is not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein shall constitute, tax, legal or investment 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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Beyond the Cold

As parts of the country dig out from under the snow this winter, it’s important to remember that, despite life’s uncertainties, you can always count on one thing: Spring will come.
Blooming Daffodils
It may be a small comfort, but it never fails that sunshine, warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, leaves appearing back on the trees and people enjoying themselves outdoors has a calming, hopeful effect on so many.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Unrelenting snowfall darkening our moods,” from The Boston Globe, Feb. 10, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Spring Opens the Mind,” from The Atlantic, March 21, 2014.]

This year, economic experts believe there is much to be positive about. 2015 started on strong footing with lower oil prices, higher jobs reports and, according to one analyst, positive indicators that wages are finally going to pick up. While home-buying numbers fell, the average sale price of houses rose. These factors combine for a potential bottom-line impact on household budgets and individual purchasing power. This is great news domestically and abroad, since consumers drive about two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A year of wow,” from Fidelity Investments, Feb. 20, 2015.]

Before 2007, there were 10 postwar recessions that ranged in length from six to 16 months. The 2007-09 recession, which officially lasted 18 months, is recorded as the longest and most severe recession in the postwar period.

One of the most important tenets of moving forward with a positive outlook is to remember where you’ve been. First off, recognize that we survived this latest economic battle. Second, most of us will experience yet another recession in our lifetimes, quite possibly more than one, so it is important to keep lessons learned top-of-mind as we move forward.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Recession and Recovery in Perspective,” from The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, accessed Feb. 27, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Is the economy different this time?” from Bason Asset Management, Feb. 27, 2015.]

They say the best time to look for a new job is while you have a job. It enables you to better target the next logical step based on career goals and negotiate from a position of power and confidence. The same applies to your finances. As your financial picture improves, it may be a good time to start planning for the future — both the good and the bad that may occur, like winter and springtime.

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 investment 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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Keep Calm and Carry On

During World War II, the British government used a poster campaign to help the general public prepare for and deal with the realities of war on their personal lives. The first poster was encouraging: “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory.” The second was a bit menacing: “Freedom is in Peril.”

Keep Calm and Carry On Poster from WW2

The third and most well-known, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” was ironically never even distributed. It was scheduled to be posted should Germany invade Britain, but that never happened. Perhaps it has been the most enduring missive due to its more tempered message — both realistic and reassuring.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Keep Calm and Carry On, The Real Story,” from The Churchill Centre, Mar. 7, 2012.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “So what is this Keep Calm and Carry On thing all about then?” at Keepcalmandcarryon.com, accessed Feb. 20, 2015.]

Throughout the recession, we looked for hope. Instead we got a slow, lumbering recovery — both here and abroad. But apparently we don’t need a booming global economy to carry on. Great times may be great, but as we’ve witnessed over the last few years, good times aren’t so bad either.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Stock markets keep calm and carry on,” from Reuters, Feb. 18, 2015.]

You may be familiar with the oft-quoted adage that you can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control the way you react. According to a recent Forbes article, there are five surefire ways to help adjust your attitude as a means of handling whatever life throws at you:

  1. Never complain again — or, more realistically, go 21 days in a row without complaining.
  2. Feel great by waking up earlier. Wake up one hour earlier each morning to focus on yourself.
  3. Take 100 percent ownership. If you take ownership over all that happens to you, there is no one and nothing left to complain about.
  4. Exercise your mind through journaling. Through documentation, you can see the things that you continue to repeat year after year.
  5. Believe in something bigger. The law of attraction says if you believe that something will happen, the universe will move out of its way to make it happen for you.

Personal life coach Tony Robbins suggests that people can master their “internal world” by adopting the viewpoint that life is not something that happens to you, but rather, it happens for you. With this approach, you acknowledge that everything bad that happens must be for a reason, so you use this knowledge to figure out how it will serve you.

He suggests conducting a seven-day exercise in which you say “erase” anytime you catch yourself saying anything negative or derogatory. If you truly focus, he jokes, it’ll take you about a month to actually go seven consecutive days without having to say “erase.” The exercise is meant to make us fully aware of how much negativity seeps into our consciousness every day.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Ways to Improve Your Attitude in 2015,” from Forbes, Dec. 31, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “An In-depth Interview with Life Coach Tony Robbins,” from The Huffington Post, June 29, 2012.]

Whether you are currently experiencing a stretch of good or bad fortune, the one thing you can count on is that nothing lasts forever. One of the best coping mechanisms is to devise a well-thought out plan to deal with misfortunes. It’s best to do this during the good times, as it provides confidence to help you through the bad times. Naturally, we’re here to help you through both.

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 investment 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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Love and Marriage

As the song goes, “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” Interesting then, that if you don’t put the horse in front of the cart, things go awry. Perhaps it is the same with relationships.

Bride in Carriage

Only about half (50.5 percent) of Americans ages 18 and over were married in 2012, which is a significant drop from nearly three-quarters (72.2 percent) in 1960. However, 70 percent of American adults confirmed they were in a committed relationship of some sort.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 facts about love and marriage,” at Pew Research Center, Feb. 14, 2015.]

As the traditional transition of romantic relationships into marriage continues to shift, so too does the conversation regarding gender roles, both in and outside the home.

Gender disparity continues to persist in the professional world. The degree however, depends upon your perspective. In one study, 72 percent of male senior executives agreed that much progress had been made toward women’s empowerment and career progression. However, among female executives, about the same percentage (71 percent) disagreed with that statement.

Stereotypical roles of men and women still run quite deep, regardless of how far society progresses. In short, while people often theoretically support the advancement of women, perceptions of women in the work environment show there is an underlying bias. This is evidenced in a Fortune magazine research report that analyzed how men and women were labeled in personnel reviews: 76 percent of feedback on women included descriptions like “abrasive,” “judgmental” and “strident.” Only 2 percent of reviews on men included those types of comments.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How men and women see gender equality differently,” at World Economic Forum, Feb. 11, 2015.]

Well-defined expectations for the roles of men and women start long before they enter the workforce. One survey of Harvard Business School graduates found that once they entered marriage, half of the men thought their career would take priority over their wives’, and 75 percent of male graduates assumed their wife would take on most of the responsibility of child/caregiving. The female Harvard Business School graduates did not share these beliefs, with half of the women saying they believed their careers would share equal importance with those of their spouses.

And why not? In 38 percent of U.S. marriages, the wife earns more than her husband. If you eliminate the marriages in which the husband doesn’t work at all, 29 percent of women earn more than their husbands. While it is well-documented that wives still shoulder the greater burden of household chores in two-earner families, it’s interesting that this gap is even wider among households in which the woman earns more. Why? Researchers believe she’s trying to overcompensate on the home front so her husband won’t feel threatened. Unfortunately, the increased strain of working “double-duty” can also lead to challenges in marriage, increasing the statistical likelihood of divorce.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Many Women Earn More Than Their Husbands?” at FiveThirtyEight.com, Feb. 5, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Wives who earn more than their husbands, 1987-2012,” at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 24, 2014.]

As a country, we don’t make it easy for either working spouse to be an attentive parent. In fact, of the 185 countries and territories compared in a Geneva international law review, the U.S. was one of only three (the other two being Oman and Papua New Guinea) that do not require companies to offer paid maternity leave. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of American dads say they don’t get to spend enough time with their children. In countries that promote paid paternity leave, studies have found that a dad who takes two or more weeks off after the birth of his child becomes more involved in changing diapers, feeding and bathing the infant nine months later than a father who doesn’t take leave. It also helps with the future household income; in Sweden a mother’s income rose 7 percent for every month of leave her husband took.

Unfortunately, studies also confirm what we already know about moms who take time off work to have children: When Dad takes family leave, his immediate earnings can suffer, in addition to experiencing a higher risk of getting demoted or disciplined.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “How Everyone Benefits When New Fathers Take Paid Leave,” Think Progress, Feb. 13, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “U.S. Paid Family Leave Versus the Rest of the World, In Two Disturbing Charts,” at Think Progress, July 31, 2014.]

Love, marriage, family…it’s a lot to balance. Whether you see any of these factors playing out in your life or the lives of your loved ones, we can help you develop and monitor a financial strategy that can help provide confidence in your family’s future.

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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Consumption

In society, consumption means a variety of things. Economically speaking, the term refers to the purchase of consumer goods. In ecology, consumption refers to the natural food chain. And finally, the antiquated definition of consumption refers to tuberculosis — the infectious disease of yore.

 

Today, we generally speak of consumption as a positive economic force. After years of high unemployment and low consumer confidence, people are finally building a financial foothold and beginning to spend money again. Of course, like the disease, consumption can become infectious to the point that it leads to over-spending and living beyond one’s means. Then, too, exuberant consumption can lead to a greater schism in wealth inequality, because some people can afford to spend more discretionary income while others would be wise to save it.

Recently, at least one retailer claimed that if we don’t spend beyond our needs, the overall economy will suffer. As voices call to limit consumer spending and over concerns for over-consumption of ecological resources, the head of the world’s second-largest fashion retailer said the poor will suffer most if we decrease consumption. Instead of limiting typical buyer behavior and possibly leading to higher prices and loss of jobs, he advocates that companies be more innovative in their raw materials and manufacturing.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “CEO of H&M: reducing consumption will create a social catastrophe,” from The Guardian, Feb. 3, 2015.]

The reality is that consumer consumption is critical to our economy, representing approximately 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. In the final quarter of 2014, it was the driving force behind GDP growth, which increased by more than 4 percent. A big part of recent consumer demand has been for imported goods, which reached an all-time high in December as U.S. companies imported $48.8 billion worth of consumer goods.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Good News Behind GDP’s Decline,” from Guggenheim Partners, Feb. 5, 2015.]

Increased consumer demand is attributed largely to progress in the job market. Employment improved with the biggest three-month gain in 17 years and the highest wage increase since 2008. One of the key indicators is that people who previously dropped out of the job market are now back in: In January, 1.05 million people entered the labor force and 759,000 found work.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Jobs Report Crushes It,” from Bloomberg, Feb. 6, 2015.]

Now that we have jobs and confidence, it’s a good time to consider the value of discipline in the face of prosperity. It’s easy to consider cutting back on spending when you have no choice; much tougher when you have more discretionary income. In fact, new research has found that this lesson is retained much better when first taught in high school. Currently, 22 states require students to take an economics course. A new study found that high school students required to take personal finance in high school had higher credit scores and fewer credit delinquencies than students in states without this mandate. In fact, three years after high school, the enlightened graduates had significantly higher credit scores — up 11 points in Georgia, 16 points in Idaho and 32 points in Texas.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “New Findings About Kids and Money That Your School Can’t Ignore,” from Time, Feb. 6, 2015.]

While presently high consumption is positive news, we must monitor it carefully within our own lives to help ensure it does not adversely impact our total financial picture. As always, we’re here to help you create financial strategies with your future in mind.

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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The Power of Confidence

In January, American consumer confidence reached an 11-year high. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 98.1, up from 93.6 in December, which is the highest level since January 2004.

Thanks to lower gas prices, more people said they are likely to buy a car than in any other time in the last decade. Folks also indicated they were back in the market for big-ticket household items — which may well need to be replaced by now — such as a washing machine or vacuum cleaner.

While the job market remains at an uptick, workers today admit they still feel less secure about retaining their jobs than workers did back in the late 1970s. They fear not just losing their job — but not being able to find a comparable job if they did. Alas, although the economic recession technically ended more than six years ago, its scars still run deep.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Consumer Sentiment Brightened in January to 11-Year High,” from Bloomberg, Jan. 30, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Worker’s expectations about losing and replacing their jobs: 35 years of change,” from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2015.]

With those levels of remaining uncertainty, it’s no wonder our economy has moved so slowly to recover. Confidence plays a tremendous role in everything we do. Whether competing in sports or just trying to accomplish goals in daily life, how you feel about your chances for success can help tip the scales one way or another.

For example, a psychology study from Ohio State revealed that a person’s level of self-confidence can influence his career path. Another recent study found that female STEM students (who study science, technology, engineering or math in college) exhibit far less confidence in the classroom than male students, possibly contributing to the comparatively low proportion of women who pursue STEM careers. Really, for all workers, a lack of self-assuredness may lead to less confidence when negotiating a job salary and may ultimately mean a lower lifetime income.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Study: Self-confidence Plays a Crucial Role in Forging Your Career Path,” from Fast Company, accessed Jan. 30, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Female programmers are less confident than male programmers,” from IT World, Jan. 12, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Reasons Why You Should Negotiate Your Salary, Every Time,” from The Huffington Post, Jan. 21, 2015.]

Perhaps with the improving job market and some salary negotiation training, parents will soon be able to kick their young adult children out of the nest. Recent analysis shows that 11.5 percent of baby boomers live in households with children under age 18, but more than 30 percent live in households with children of any age. This not-so-empty nest phenomenon also holds true for seniors (1 percent vs. 12 percent).

On one hand, young adults may lack the confidence to move out on their own given the high levels of unemployment and economic uncertainty they’ve witnessed since graduating from college. On the other hand, now that they’re settled into an adult routine at home with the luxuries of on-site laundry and every cable channel known to mankind, who wants to move out to prepare meals, spend an hour each week at a laundromat or give up programming on ESPN, TNT or CNN?

However, for older adults that need to get back to the business of saving for retirement, one less on-site mouth to feed can make a difference. And not having to support another adult under your roof can help bolster your confidence to meet retirement income goals. If we can help raise your confidence in your retirement income, please contact us today.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Children in the Household by Generation, 2014,” from Demo Memo, Jan. 28, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Intended for Millennials, Dish’s Sling TV Is a Cord Cutter’s Dream,” from NPR, Jan. 26, 2015.]

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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Retirement Income Tips

A lot goes into retirement income planning. You have to estimate how much you’re going to spend years from now, when sometimes it’s difficult to know what you’re going to spend this year. Cars break down. The roof leaks. The furnace needs to be replaced. Life is a cornucopia of who-knows-what will happen next.

In addition to knowing what you’ll need once the paychecks stop coming in, you’ll need to consider what tax bracket you’ll be in. You’ll need to project how your assets will fare from now until and through retirement. Yet if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we can’t predict the markets and we can’t rely on historical performance to repeat itself.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Winging It in Retirement?” at The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Jan. 22, 2015.]

Then there’s the issue of health. Some people are fortunate and suffer only the minor aches and pains of getting older. Others develop more serious chronic conditions, both mental and physical. Taking screening tests and conducting a comprehensive family history can help spot genetic predispositions to certain conditions. But even then, some people who are predisposed go unscathed, while others with no genetic markers acquire some unsuspecting ailment that changes their retirement plans.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Careful planning can ease retirement’s health costs,” at CNBC, Jan. 20, 2015.]

This income planning process for retirement can seem bleak, but perhaps it’s only a matter of approach.

Remember when you saved for your first car, or your first home? Even just saving for a deposit, first and last month’s rent before you could move into your first apartment may have seemed insurmountable. But you did it, eventually, and it felt great. Like freedom. Life was yours for the taking, and you were in control.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “‘Intergenerational’ retirement home sees students live alongside the elderly,” at CTV News (Canada), Dec. 7, 2014.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What to Know about Money and Work by 50, 60, 70,” at NextAvenue.org, Jan. 6, 2015.]

You can approach retirement income planning in a similar way. It’s just another one of life’s great adventures, and the more you focus on the strategy, the more in control you may feel. Regardless of market volatility, job insecurity, emergency expenses and health concerns, the more you prepare for unexpected adverse events, the more contingency options may be available to you. Like so many other things in life, some variables you can control better than others.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retirement planning isn’t just about the money,” at CNBC, Jan. 21, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Plan for a Long Life When Saving for Retirement,” at Kiplinger, February 2015.]

It’s important to plan for the long term through healthy choices. In this way, retirement income planning is similar to lifestyle choices. Let us help you devise a strategy designed to support your unique situation.

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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Wage War Wages On

The hacking incidence at Sony may have hurt actor Seth Rogen and the release of his film, “The Interview,” but it was a boon for actress Charlize Theron. After leaked emails revealed her male co-star Chris Hemsworth was being paid $10 million more than her in their film, “The Huntsman,” she successfully renegotiated equal pay for equal work — the longtime behest of gender equality activists.

Charlize Theron

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Charlize Theron Negotiates $10M Raise after Sony Hack Reveals Male Costar Was to be Paid Millions More,” from Think Progress, Jan. 12, 2015.]

A recent study revealed the extent of geographical reach of unequal pay among men and women. In every state in the U.S., men make more money than women. Among the wealthiest women, the vast majority acquired their wealth as relatives of wealthy men.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Men make more money than women in every single state across the U.S. — with Louisiana’s $16K gender wage gap being the widest,” from DailyMail.com, Jan. 15, 2015.]

In Washington, the debate over raising the national minimum wage is expected to continue. Critics argue that a mandatory increase, on top of the employer health insurance mandate, would be devastating to businesses and a major setback in unemployment levels.

However, the Peterson Institute for International Economics recently tackled the question of whether raising the pay of low-skilled workers at large corporations can lead to higher productivity. It reports a plethora of advantages, including lower turnover, less absenteeism, less supervision, better health, improved productivity, attracting more high-quality candidates with higher IQs and a better fit for the job, more inventory knowledge and higher customer satisfaction.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Higher Wages for Low-Income Workers Lead to Higher Productivity,” from The Peterson Institute for International Economics, Jan. 13, 2015.]

Another topic heatedly debated in Congress is the employer mandate imposed by the health care law. Many legislators are seeking to change the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s definition of a full-time employee to one who works 40 hours per week instead of 30. However, according to the Commonwealth Fund, this change would mean twice as many workers may have their work hours reduced and shift more workers to either Medicaid or the health care exchanges, which would increase the federal deficit by an estimated $73.7 billion over 10 years.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why Changing the Definition of Full-Time Work Under the ACA Will Put More Workers at Risk and Increase Federal Spending,” from The Commonwealth Fund, Jan. 24, 2014.]

In his new book, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., proposes transforming the way the Earned Income Tax Credit works. Rubio believes the credit isn’t effective because it’s paid as a one-time lump sum, which many people then spend on something frivolous. He recommends the credit be doled out in equal increments via a worker’s paycheck, essentially increasing his take-home pay throughout the year.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Sen. Marco Rubio charts conservative solutions to vexing problems in ‘American Dreams’,” from Tampa Bay Times, Jan. 11 2015.]

While income inequality may be a hot topic in America, another issue we should concern ourselves with is making sure our net worth accumulates over time, and leveraging the assets we do have. Earning a higher salary as we get older and acquire more skills and experience is all well and good. But the key is to utilize financial strategies that can help ensure our retirement income will last as long as we do. As always, we’re here to help you do just that.

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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