May is a wonderful month as we celebrate and honor our mothers during this month and throughout the year. Kahil Gibran said, “Mother: the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.” We wish you all a very Happy and Joyful Mother’s Day!
We also honor and pay tribute to our fallen heroes this month on Memorial Day. Established in 1868, Memorial Day serves as a day to remember those that died while serving our nation. The official moment of remembrance is at 3:00pm, when all Americans can reflect upon the sacrifices and true purpose of this day. Let us remember and thank those who have served our nation and those who still do. It may have been a time of many uncertainties; however, it is also a time of realizations where we can focus on the things that matter most in our lives.
Let us keep our eyes on our health, things that we can control, and surround ourselves with the people and causes we care about deeply.
Best wishes, Marilyn and Ora
I have a had a lot of time to think about my lifestyle and my Financial House these past 22+ months. While I am grateful to be healthy and thriving despite this pandemic, I want to be as sure that I am taking my key steps that support my ideal lifestyle now and in the future. You can call these 2022 New Year’s resolutions. Ready, set go… and stay tuned for more next month.
1. Do That One Thing That Is Always On Your List
Whether it be your daily or your weekly lists, most of us have at least one list at any given time. We often put off grocery shopping until the last possible minute and put the easiest tasks at the top of the list. On any list, there are always those one or two items that we keep inventing ways to delay doing. Take time to make that commonly avoided task the top item on your list and check it off! Whether it’s a health checkup, reviewing your wills and trusts, or updating your resume to look for that new life-changing job opportunity. Do it now! You’ll be surprised how happy finishing it will make you feel. Then list your next new item!
2. Your Health is Your Wealth
As you review 2021, take note of your overall health. It’s up to you to decide if you want to make changes to improve your health, whether that be at gym time, your eating habits, or some combination thereof. We all know many people who say, “I wish I took better care of my health when I was younger.” It’s easy to get caught up when we’re busy working and taking care of our family and loved ones. Don’t forget that it’s just as important to make time for yourself and walk, work out, or do an exercise of your choice to keep your body and mind active and alert.
Aside from taking care of yourself at home, go see your physician for annual check-ups. Understanding and checking on your health will help find problems before they become dire and will help you live a full and healthy life. Remember, your health is the first source of your wealth. So, invest in what is, by far, the most important investment you can contribute to – your health.
Whether through inertia or trepidation, investors who put off important investment decisions might consider the admonition offered by motivational speaker Brian Tracy, “Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.”1 This investment inaction is played out in many ways, often silently, invisibly and with potential consequence to an individual’s future financial security. Let’s review some of the forms this takes.
Your 401(k) PlanThe worst indecision may be the failure to enroll. Not only do nonparticipants sacrifice one of the best ways to save for their eventual retirement, but they also forfeit the money that any employer matching contributions represents. Not participating holds the potential to be one of the most costly indecisions one can make. The other way individuals let indecision get the best of them is by not selecting the investments for the contributions they make to the 401(k) plan. When a participant fails to make an investment selection, the plan may have provisions for automatically investing that money. And that investment selection may not be consistent with the individual’s time horizon, risk tolerance, and goals. Under the SECURE Act, in most circumstances, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from your 401(k) or other defined contribution plan in the year you turn 72. Withdrawals from your 401(k) or other defined contribution plans are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10 percent federal income tax penalty.
Non-Retirement Plan InvestmentsFor homeowners, “stuff” just seems to accumulate over time. The same may be true for investors. Some buy investments based on articles they have read or based on the recommendations of a family member. Others may have investments held in a previous employer’s 401(k) plan.
Over time, we can end up with a collection of investments that may have no connection to our investment objectives. Because of the dynamics of the markets, an investment that may have once made good sense at one time may no longer be advantageous today. By not periodically reviewing what we own, which would allow us to cull inappropriate investments – or even determining if the portfolio reflects our current investment objectives – we are making a default decision to own investments that may be inappropriate.
Whatever your situation, your retirement investments require careful attention and may benefit from deliberate, thoughtful decision-making. Your retired self will be grateful that you invested the time … today.
1. Brainy Quote, 2021
I retired early from a successful high-tech marketing and sales career to raise my two adopted daughters. Being a full time Mom was my goal. However, I found that at my middle age, I needed more creativity in my life and frankly more action. Loved my daughters immensely, but I needed more. So, I launched my 2nd Act, which many of you are doing post full-time corporate careers. I was able to build my business at age 50 knowing in my heart that the balance I long for goes beyond being a mom to two beautiful children and that I can extend myself and encourage other women and men that life’s possibilities are limitless. So, I took that challenge to shift careers, opened my heart and my world to a different environment and have not stopped since.
If your heart, your mind and your soul are aligned, you will do your best work.” - Marilyn Suey
For many, this balance may look like a different picture. As a baby, balance had to do with staying on two feet for longer than 30 seconds. As a child, balance was how far we could walk along the curb without falling off. As teenagers it was how much we could fight with mom or dad before facing the consequences. As an adult, balance has become a constantly changing point between work, family, and leisure.
Work-life balance or work-life integration, is a measure spoken about by every employer, though not often encouraged in practice. There will never be the ‘right’ amount of time to take off or the exact number of days to give off for personal enjoyment. Everyone has a different point of balance, and this point will shift in different periods of a person’s life. Finding the right balance is critical in living a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Beyond work, balance is necessary through all aspects of life. It is what keeps us in check, productive, and energized to continue. Without balance, it is easy to be consumed by outside pressures or demands and lose yourself and your goals in the process. As mentioned before, there is no number dictating a perfect 50-50 balance or a point that is the ‘right’ balance. This must be something each person strives to find and live up to; not only for themselves, but for those around them as well.
If you feel out of balance, change that! Do something to reset yourself and cut yourself a break. Go on a walk, take some time for yourself, do something that makes you happy. Try to find a balance in how you act and what you do and remember that this is no perfect number, no dependable feeling. Finding balance is a personal journey of discovery and introspection that changes for everyone. So, it is time to find your balance. Good luck!
Addressing the potential risks of extended term care expenses may be one of the biggest financial challenges for individuals who are developing a retirement strategy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of people over age 65 can expect to need extended care services at some point in their lives. So understanding the various types of extended care services – and what those services may cost – is critical as you consider your retirement approach.1
What Is Long Term Care?Extended care is not a single activity. It refers to a variety of medical and non–medical services needed by those who have a chronic illness or disability – most commonly associated with aging.
Extended care can include everything from assistance with activities of daily living – help dressing, bathing, using the bathroom, or even driving to the store – to more intensive therapeutic and medical care requiring the services of skilled medical personnel.
Extended care may be provided at home, at a community center, in an assisted living facility, or in a skilled nursing home. And extended care is not exclusively for the elderly; it is possible to need extended care at any age.
How Much Does Long Term Care Cost?Extended care costs vary state by state and region by region. The 2020 national average for care in a skilled care facility (single occupancy in a nursing home) was $105,850 a year. The national average for care in an assisted living center (single occupancy) was $51,600 a year. Home health aides cost a median $24 per hour, but that rate may increase when a licensed nurse is required.2
What Are the Payment Choices?Often, extended care is provided by family and friends. Providing care can be a burden, however, and the need for assistance tends to increase with age.3
Individuals who would rather not burden their family and friends have two main choices for covering the cost of extended care: they can choose to self-insure or they can purchase extended care insurance.
Many self-insure by default – simply because they haven’t made other arrangements. Those who self-insure may depend on personal savings and investments to fund any extended care needs. The other approach is to consider purchasing extended care insurance, which can cover all levels of care, from skilled care to custodial care to in-home assistance.
When it comes to addressing your extended care needs, many look to select a strategy that may help them protect assets, preserve dignity, and maintain independence. If those concepts are important to you, consider your approach for extended care.
Sources: 1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20202. GenWorth.com, 20213. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020
SauceFresh fillets of haddock are coated with smoky paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme before they get a quick sear to develop a delicious crust. They are then sandwiched between toasted brioche buns smeared with a strong, tangy tartar sauce laced with refreshingly piquant horseradish. If your fish fillets are thicker than 3/4 inch, butterfly them by carefully cutting through the center of the fillet (parallel to the work surface), leaving 1/2 inch of the meat attached at the side so it can be opened like a book.
Tartar Sauce¼ cup mayonnaise¼ cup sour cream3 tablespoons minced shallot (from 1 medium shallot)2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley1 ½ tablespoons drained prepared horseradish1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 ½ tablespoons minced cornichons (about 4 small cornichons)1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped¼ teaspoon kosher salt¼ teaspoon black pepper
Sandwiches1 teaspoon hot paprika1 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme1 teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon black pepper4 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless haddock fillets (about 3/4 inch thick)¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided4 brioche hamburger buns, split1 tablespoon canola oilButter lettuce leaves, for serving
Make the tartar sauce:Step 1Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, shallot, parsley, horseradish, lemon juice, cornichons, capers, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the sandwiches:Step 1Stir together paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish fillets. Set aside.
Step 2Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high. Spread 1 teaspoon butter over cut side of each bun half. Place buns, buttered side down, in hot skillet; cook until well toasted and browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a work surface. Do not wipe skillet clean.
Step 3Add oil and remaining 2 tablespoons butter to skillet; cook over high until butter is melted. Add fish fillets; cook until blackened on bottoms, about 3 minutes. Flip fillets; cook until blackened on other sides and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer fish to a plate.
Spread 1 tablespoon tartar sauce over toasted side of each bun half. Arrange fish and lettuce evenly on bottom bun halves. Cover with top bun halves, toasted side down. Serve alongside remaining 1/2 cup tartar sauce at the table.
Suggested PairingLightly spicy Rhône-style white: Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc