Monthly Archives

November 2015

New Financial Rules for Retirement

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Doesn’t it just seem like yesterday that you started your first job? And now you are looking retirement in the face. Time does fly, doesn’t it? In our twenties, retirement seems a lifetime away. We were focused on getting that first paycheck and experiencing life. Saving for retirement is not even on the radar, and then life happens: your career takes off, you get married, buy a house, have children, and so on. Oh, if we only listened to our parents early on about saving and investing.

While it is never too late to make some impact on our retirement nest egg, we need to understand how the rules of our financial freedom in our later years have changed. For many the market impact to our 401k was hit hard in 2008-2009. Many had to dip into savings, pension or 401ks if their employment was affected and are still catching up. Many parents and even grandparents are supporting their kids and grandkids. Life, indeed, has changed.

So what now? In the wake of a different financial world, there are new principles for managing and budgeting for your golden years:

1) 15 is the new 10. Today, with longer life expectancies and interrupted careers, workers should save 15 percent of their gross income, inclusive of their 401k (employer match), based on their projected lifestyle currently and in retirement. Per T. Rowe Price senior financial planner, Stuart Ritter, if you have not saved anything, the higher above 15 percent that you can go, you should.

2) Goal for retirement savings should be 10-12 times your final salary. For most people, and including your Social Security, this should be a sufficient amount to generate pre- retirement income.

3) Preretirement Gross Income. Do you know yours? It should be 70-80 percent of your annual income. Think about what you live on now and what you won’t need in retirement. For instance, if you are in sales and travel, all of those related expenses such as gas, lunch or dinner entertaining clients, will potentially go away. However, if in retirement you plan to travel more and help your kids or parents, you will need to stock away more. Need help figuring it out? The Ballpark Estimate online calculator can help determine a projected target. Log on at choosetosave.org/ballpark.

4) Emergency Savings. Life happens at any age, but in retirement with set savings, it can have maximum impact. Thus, start putting back three to six months’ worth of living expenses that you can access quickly in times of unforeseen circumstances. You can help that little fund grow by potentially investing in a balanced mutual fund or another short term growth fund.

5) Stock Market and your age. While the stock market can be up and down, it still provides the biggest and most consistent growth opportunities for your dollars. The old rule of thumb was to pull back on stock investment the closer you got to retirement and subtract your age from 100. Today, investment experts are advising people in their 50’s to subtract your age from 120 as people are living longer, plus have a continued investment in stocks as stock growth options can continue to grow and supplement your funds. We implemented this strategy for my mother and my aunt. It has become invaluable in funding assisted living, memory care and living expenses.

Holiday Recipe: How Would You Revamp an Old Family Recipe?

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Every year families gather to celebrate the holidays and there’s always Aunt Mary’s Apple pie and her amazing stuffing. And every year Aunt Peggy brings her famous fruit cake, and we all pretend to love it when in reality we usually take one bite and cover it with a napkin readying it for the next trash drop. For years, the fruitcake has been the butt of many jokes, not just in my family, but families around the world.

I even found websites offering uses for the Christmas Fruitcake – see uses below:

  • Bury them in the backyard for future archaeologists to discover.
  • Use them to hold up a broken table or chair leg.
  • Give them to a child for a science project.
  • Use them to pave the freeways. Just place them on the road and run a steamroller over them.

People actually say there’s only really one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. Fruitcakes are made to withstand the test of time. What are some of the jokes you’ve heard about the fruitcake?

This year I decided to go in search of an alternative recipe for the fruitcake using the same ingredients, but using a twist to see if people realize they are eating everything that they would normally eat when eating a fruitcake. After searching Google, I found the perfect remake for the retro fruitcake — Cranberry Orange Cookies with Crystalized Ginger.   The recipe can be found on the Food.com website. I cannot wait to see if anyone notices that it’s pretty much Aunt Peggy’s recipe with a twist.

I would like you to forward your recipes that are great, but could use a twist to change things up a little this year. For instance, what could I do differently to my stuffing, scalloped potatoes or my candied yams that would make my family wonder what I did differently? Use the comment tab on the right side of this page to share your favorite redo of a retro dish. Your recipe could make the The Wesley Communities newsletter.

What Is #GivingTuesday?

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What Is #GivingTuesday?

By now, most of us have probably heard about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These “holidays” following Thanksgiving can be great ways to find some items on sale before Christmas, and you can end up saving a lot of money by heading to a local business on Small Business Saturday or by surfing the web on shopping sites on Cyber Monday.

What Is #GivingTuesday and What Day Is It?

Giving Tuesday is the day following Cyber Monday that encourages giving to different organizations or community programs instead of spending money on commercial needs. You can give to any nonprofit organization that interests you, and then share how it helps others on your social media pages. This year in 2015, it takes place on December 1st. This newly-christened day is a way for people to give back when they might not have known about organizations that need funds in order to continue their services.

How Can You Help?

Consider donating the amount you saved on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains to our organization this year on Giving Tuesday! Many folks are not aware that it can be difficult to pay for daily living expenses as a The Wesley Communities resident. These struggles can make daily life stressful and uncomfortable for the residents here—even after they might have been saving for years, they might have experienced a setback or two that would have drained their funds. Many find themselves struggling to pay for services or daily needs, lowering the quality of their lives and health care. Your donation will be sincerely appreciated by our residents.

How Do These Donations Help Others?

In 2014, we at The Wesley Communities offered 56 residents $1.4 million in care. This money goes directly to helping the residents at either the Wesley Glen or Wesley Ridge location, and goes into the Charitable Care Fund. Each situation is looked at, and the money from the Charitable Care Fund fills in the gaps between what the resident can pay and how much is needed in order to stay there. One year in a nursing home can cost over $80,000, so there’s always a need for more assistance.

Nursing home care also manages to become more expensive every year. Last year, 4% was the five-year annual growth rate for the cost of living in a nursing home. When you are thinking about spending your money on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, think about putting it to a different use and donating money to your favorite charity or the Methodist ElderCare Services. By giving a little money on Giving Tuesday, you can increase the quality of someone’s life.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday or to make a donation, please visit www.methodisteldercare.org/giving-tuesday.

Discount Programs for people over 50

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At age 47 my husband and I started receiving membership information for American Association of Retired Person (AARP). Since I didn’t consider myself a senior, I always pitched the envelope when one came in the mail. When I finally turned 50, and because I do not turn down a bargain, I decided to open one of the AARP membership envelopes the next time one was delivered. I found the offers to be awesome and worth the membership. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the discount offers available:

  • Outback Steakhouse – offers 15% on lunch and dinner every day.
  • AT&T- members can save 10% on monthly charges for wireless plans.
  • Tanger Outlets – gives free coupon books containing over $1,000 in savings at the outlets.
  • Regal Cinemas – members get $3.00 off any popcorn and soft drink combo.
  • Avis Rent-A-Car – members save up to 25% and get other exclusive benefits.
  • Hilton Honors – you can save up to 10%.
  • com – members save 30% on membership for a year.
  • Dunkin Donuts – Get a donut with purchase of any L or XL beverage.
  • Kindle – save 50% on select Kindle E-books. Members also save 10 % on the Kindle Fire HDX7″ tablet.

If you don’t see a particular discount on the AARP site, search Google.com using keywords like senior, discounts, 50+, senior citizens, senior deals. There are many discounts to take advantage of for seniors.   Some offers are publicized, but others you have to ask about. My husband has no shame in asking, and I must say I’ve been surprised at how willing places are to extend their discounts without questions. So if you have a location that you frequent, there’s no harm in asking if they offer discounts. For more information on all discounts offered with the AARP membership, visit their site at www.aarp.org. E-mail us and share the discounts you and your friends find within the city!

Take Our Memory Quiz

By | Alzheimer's and Dementia, Health and Wellness | No Comments

It has happened to all of us — we forget where we put our car keys, we are talking and forget what we are saying mid-sentence or we see someone we know, but can’t for the life of

it remember his or her name. We joke and say “oh.. just a sign of old age.” Or is it?

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and a great time to test our memory skills.

Did you know that women are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s versus men? Doctors assume it is because they live longer, but recent research suggests that biological differences may be the reason that women are at higher risk than men. In fact, one study from Duke University linked hormonal or genetic factors to increased memory loss.

While some instances of early onset Alzheimer’s has occurred in people as young as 50 years of age, the average age for increased memory challenges usually hits around 60. If you have noticed some instances where your memory appears “off,” you are not alone. On October 27th, AARP announced the formation of the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) to bring together doctors, scientists, and leaders in academia and policy experts from all over the world to better inform people how to keep their brains healthy.

Below are ten questions crafted by brain health experts. This test is not meant to be diagnostic. If you have concerns, however, it is always a good idea to talk with your family physician. Each question should be answered with a “Yes” or ” No.”

1) Your kids or grandchildren show up for Sunday dinner—-and you completely forgot they were coming.

2) You run into a friend and start to ask about his daughter, but can’t remember her name–until later.

3) You sometimes look in the mirror and do not recognize yourself.

4) You always miss the turn on the road to your grandkids’ regular soccer field.

5) You find your glasses in the freezer, your watch in the sink or other objects in weird places.

6) Your friend told you some great news about his wife’s new job. You were certain he told you at lunch, but it turns out he told you over the phone.

7) You’ve always been a pro at budgeting expenses, but now your bills/checking account are a complete mess.

8) You made a doctor’s appointment months ago, but completely forgot to go.

9) Your spouse or partner tells you that you repeatedly ask the same questions.

10) Your mother recently passed away. You’re having trouble sorting through all of the papers.

Quiz Results:

If you answered YES to questions 2,4,6, 8 or 10, you are either showing signs of normal memory loss due to aging or another factor (stress, grief, lack of sleep) may be affecting it.

If you answered YES to questions 1,3,5, 7 or 9, trouble recognizing everyday objects, putting common things in unusual places or repeating the same question within an hour, these may be the warning signs of some serious memory loss. Family members are often the first to notice symptoms, so be open and listen to their concerns. And talk to your doctor about having your memory checked.

If you answered NO to all questions? That is amazing. Whatever you are doing is contributing to great brain health. Keep it up!