Longevity & Aging

No doubt about it: at some point we’re neither semi-retired, findependent or fully retired. We’re out there in a retirement community or retirement home, and maybe for a few years near the end of this incarnation, some time to reflect on it all in a nursing home. Our Longevity & Aging category features our own unique blog posts, as well as blog feeds from Mark Venning’s ChangeRangers.com and other experts.

Time to stop following the Retirement herd

We are all social animals: we crave interaction and generally don’t like being alone. We crave that feeling of togetherness and being part of something bigger,  the added comfort and safety that comes with being part of a group or a  herd.

The herd protects individuals from being singled out, and in the animal kingdom provides safety from being killed by a predator.

Many people have developed a “herd” mentality in life deriving comfort by going with the flow and if everyone else is going in one direction they must know something that we don’t. It is easier not to complicate things by forging our own path based on what we learn or believe. What happens if we are wrong and the herd is right?

When it comes to retirement the “herd” has been doing this retirement thing for a long time. So they must be right, right?

I used to be a follower, part of the herd if you will. I was willing to put my fate in the hands of others and follow along blindly. Then I realized the retirement herd was heading in the wrong direction, and this wasn’t going to work for me. Let me explain.

Retirement worked when life expectancy was much lower

When the concept of retirement was created just over a hundred years ago, it worked.  The reason it worked was because life expectancy was much lower and if you were one of the lucky ones to reach the retirement finish line, you could expect to enjoy a couple of years in the proverbial “rocking chair,” watching the world go by.

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Can I afford to Retire?

The following is the second excerpt from Create the Retirement You Really Want: And Retire Smarter, Richer and Happier

By Clay Gillespie

Special the Financial Independence Hub

It was a beautiful May morning when I next saw Rachel and Mike. Rachel was carrying a large gift-wrapped box.

“This is for you,” she said, smiling and handing the box to me.

“Thank you,” I said, pleasantly surprised. “Most of my clients wait until they see how their portfolio performs before expressing their appreciation.”

“Shall we take it back then?”

“No, no! I’ll keep it,” I said, smiling, as I began to slide off the ribbon and remove the wrapping.

I opened the lid, looked inside and grinned with pleasure. “Much appreciated,” I said, looking proudly at a genuine leather soccer ball with my daughter’s name custom-printed on the top panel. “Sarah’s going to love it!”

“We wanted to give you a memento of our first meeting,” Rachel said.

“How very appropriate. Well, I don’t have a soccer ball for you,” I said, putting the ball down. “But hopefully I have an equally useful gift.”

“One that will last a lifetime?” Rachel asked.

“Yes. You might say it’s a gift that keeps on giving,” I said, grinning and handing them each a file folder.

“Our retirement numbers?” Mike asked.

“Yes. These are your illustrations.”

“Will we need to eat cat food?” Mike asked with a smile.

“No.” I laughed. “My goal is to help you maximize your retirement income, not minimize it.”

“And we won’t outlive our money?” Mike asked, more serious now.

“You should have plenty left for your children, unless you live to be Methuselah’s age.”

“Methuselah lived to be 969 years old,” Rachel said. “So I think the odds of that happening to us are slim,” she said pointedly.

“Right. My mistake,” I admitted. “I’ve taken the liberty of including a life expectancy table in your retirement illustration, so you’ll know the odds.”

“The odds of us dying at a certain age? I’m not sure I’m ready to see that!” Mike said uneasily.

“Don’t be such a worrywart, Mike,” Rachel said, chiding him gently. “It’s not as if you’re going to see the exact date and time of your death.” Suddenly, she frowned and looked at me. “Are we?”

“No,” I said smiling. “The actuaries aren’t that good, at least not yet. The life expectancies I’ve included are estimates based on a number of factors including your current age, your diet, exercise frequency, stress, body fat, genetics and the quality of health care.We’ll get to those in a moment. What you’re about to see is a financial illustration. It’s designed to give you an initial picture of your retirement situation for planning purposes. But first, we need to review your finances together so we’re all on the same page. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” they said together.

“Good. Here’s a quick snapshot of your current finances. As we go through it, I want you to let me know if anything is amiss.”

This is what they saw:

“As you can see, your gross income is $170,000 per year, while your combined income after tax is approximately $125,000.” “We work hard for our income,” Rachel said defensively.

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Why Baby Boomers should stay on top of Medical Device Recalls

By Cher Zevala

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Today, there are nearly 80 million Americans over age 65 — and that number is expected to double within the next 30 years.

Such an increase in the number of older adults, many of whom have more active lifestyles than previous generations, along with advances in technology, means that the medical device market has grown exponentially along with the population. More people than ever before are relying on medical devices, such as artificial joints, cardiac devices, and other advances to stay healthy and active longer than they otherwise might have.

With the expansion of the medical device market among older adults, though, there is also some concern. Although the overall number of medical device recalls is down almost 30 per cent since 2014, recalls are still something to be concerned about. Class I recalls, in which there is a high risk of the device causing serious injury or death, are thankfully the rarest, but the most common type of recall, Class II, still carries some risk. A Class II recall is issued when a device has a chance of causing a serious health problem or injury, but can be fixed. Class III recalls are only for those devices that have no chance of causing injury or death, and are also quite rare.

Of course, judging by some of the headlines and television commercials that we see all the time, it seems like medical device recalls are quite common — and that anyone who has ever used certain devices, some of which are very common among Baby Boomers, is not only at risk of imminent death, but also entitled to significant compensation. There are certainly cases in which compensation is warranted, but before it gets to that point, it’s important for individuals to stay abreast of recalls to protect themselves.

The Trouble with Recalls

In most cases, recalls are issued voluntarily by medical device manufacturers; rarely does the FDA order a company to issue a recall. When the decision to recall is made, the company needs to notify affected individuals. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

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Money strategies for the sandwich generation

By Scott Evans

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

If you’re busy raising kids and supporting your parents too, you’re not alone. Statistics Canada reports that over 700,000 Canadians aged 45 to 64 are splitting their time and money caring for their children and parents. If you belong to this sandwich generation, it can be a difficult balancing act.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and your priorities will reflect that. Maybe you have a young family, a mortgage and parents nearby who require occasional assistance. You might be saving for your children’s education, paying down debt and setting aside a few hours each week to help your parents.

Or, perhaps you’re close to being debt-free, but have parents living far away with little saved and have just had an adult child move back in. You’ll likely be directing some of your income to parental care and asking your child to chip in at home.

Whatever your situation is, planning ahead can go a long way to easing emotional and financial strain.

Helping out your parents

Understanding your parents’ needs and resources is the first step to managing a sandwich situation. Here are some topics to explore with them:

Financial inventory

Gain an understanding of your parents’ assets, income sources, living expenses and debts. If they have pension income, substantial home equity and are otherwise debt-free, the options might be quite different than if you have to support them financially. Also, know where important documents are kept so you can access them if necessary.

Living arrangements

Some people look forward to downsizing when they retire, while others want to stay put. Either way, there are ways to unlock home equity to fund living and care expenses, or invest for income. Continue Reading…

Looking under the hood of a Guaranteed Universal Life Policy

By Jessica Walter

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Though it can be morbid and upsetting to think about, it’s important that seniors have life insurance in place so that their families don’t have to worry.

Despite this, 54% of Americans say they are unlikely to purchase life insurance. As well as this, according to research organization LIMRA, 51% of all households say they would rely on life insurance payouts to pay bills and maintain their lifestyle, in the event of the main breadwinner passing away. That’s why it’s so important to choose a life insurance policy that works for you, and brings you the best benefits and flexibility.

Understanding the different types of available insurance policies is vital, as it could make a big difference to the amount you pay in premiums, as well as how much the family will receive in the event of a death.

What Is a Guaranteed Universal Life Policy?

A guaranteed universal life policy is one of the best ways for seniors to get coverage for life, for the lowest possible cost. Whether you qualify will depend on your health, and your age. The main positive of a GUL plan is its ability to meet a wide range of budgets.

This type of plan is similar to a whole life insurance policy, but is made more affordable by gaining cash value in the initial years. This value is then used to offset an increase in premiums in the future. This is in contrast to a whole life insurance policy, which would continue to gain cash value, but requires higher premiums to be paid. A guaranteed life insurance policy is one of the most popular around, and will meet the needs of the majority of healthy people, but it isn’t the only insurance policy available.

The Benefits of a Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Policy

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