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Thoughts on Aging In Place

About nine out of 10 people over age 50 say they would prefer to remain living at home throughout their retirement, and some geriatric experts observe that doing so can help seniors stay mentally and physically fit.1

And yet, planning to “age in place” is more complex than it may first appear. You need to carefully consider factors such as how to pay for age-related renovations for things like getting in and out of the bathtub or navigating hallways and doorways if you need a wheelchair.2

You’ll also need to consider the cost of caregivers, which can be much more expensive than living in a senior community where this cost is shared. While retirement planning can be uplifting and exciting, planning for old age is not. However, it’s even more important that you do have a plan for some level of incapacitation, such as a sudden stroke, memory decline or even the loss of a spouse. We all dream of taking care of each other when we get older, but that’s not always practical. By age 65, it’s a good idea to consider how (and if) aging in place will work for you if you eventually need extra care.3 If you’d like to discuss ways to position your current assets to help pay for a long-term care plan should it become necessary, please contact us.

Recognize that while you may start as an active retiree, at some point, you will find yourself slowing down. It’s important to think ahead and have a plan for activities that will help keep your mind and body responsive once you can no longer swing a golf club or play tennis. In fact, starting these more sedentary hobbies while you’re active will make them more appealing to you later.

One of the perks of staying in place is having a local support network of friends and family. As you get older, you’ll have people available to help out when needed and provide social and emotional support, especially if you’re aging alone. Your home offers a wealth of routine and familiarity, which is particularly important when memory begins to fail. And lastly, it’s a good idea to maintain continuity with your same medical providers as you get older. On the other hand, if you don’t have family members that live near you, this may be a good reason to consider moving closer to them at some point during retirement. The sooner you make such an adjustment, the sooner you can begin establishing relationships with new friends and health care professionals. It is much more difficult to make this transition past a certain age.4

It’s also a lot more difficult to maintain a large home once you get older. Chores like replacing air filters and removing carpet stains are a lot easier with healthy knees and joints. It’s important to have a handyman or someone else you trust to conduct everyday chores before they get out of hand. Eventually, you may need someone to drive you to doctor’s appointments or to the grocery store — or do the shopping for you. These common tasks are easier if you have available children or friends to help out; otherwise, you need to be able to pay for home aid assistance. Caregiving assistance is not only expensive, but it’s also hard to find these days in light of the pandemic and the labor shortage.5

If you do end up with mobility problems, living at home can be both difficult and isolating. If you instead consider moving into a community for seniors, many of your basic needs, such as maintenance and food preparation, will be provided. But perhaps more importantly, there will be people around for you to engage with. This may not seem like a perk when you’re 70, but it could be critical when you’re 90.6

Rachel Hartman. U.S. News & World Report. Oct. 13, 2021. “Costs to Consider When Aging in Place.” https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/aging/articles/costs-to-consider-when-aging-in-place. Accessed Nov. 15, 2021. Justin Goldman. Renofi. July 26, 2021. “Aging in Place: Home Improvements for Seniors.” https://www.renofi.com/guides/home-improvements-aging-in-place/?utm_campaign=14568944577&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=548390077120&utm_term=aging%20in%20place&gclid=CjwKCAiAp8iMBhAqEiwAJb94zx7dlE43CWmQFKKc-rlE5rvFGeidAeHUlUTEwVtjCEomFi9whGqdWBoC2cUQAvD_BwE. Accessed Nov. 15, 2021. Acts Retirement-Life Communities. Nov. 11, 2019. “Pros and Cons of Aging in Place.” https://www.actsretirement.org/latest-retirement-news/blog/2019/11/11/pros-and-cons-of-aging-in-place/. Accessed Nov. 15, 2021. Cathy Dyson. Culpeper Star Exponent. Nov. 13, 2021. “‘Helping field’ of caregivers particularly hard hit by staff shortages.” https://starexponent.com/news/helping-field-of-caregivers-particularly-hard-hit-by-staff-shortages/article_147a750d-b6f6-5b67-a140-f1a39b8d07d4.html. Accessed Nov. 19, 2021. Amy Fontinelle. Investopedia. Sept. 5, 2021. “Staying at Home vs. Moving to a Retirement Community.” https://www.investopedia.com/staying-at-home-vs-moving-to-a-retirement-community-5089910. Accessed Nov. 15, 2021.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.
The information contained in this material is 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.
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The State of Real Estate

In late November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that home sales could reach a 15-year high in 2021, in excess of 6 million existing homes sold. And despite rising interest rates on mortgage loans, the activity does not look ready to recede yet. In all the major regions of the U.S., homebuyers continue to write contracts undeterred by high home prices.1

Remember that even if you are not interested in selling your home, the equity that has built up recently is an asset, and one you can tap if you ever need it. Owning your own home provides a sense of security, the same as having insurance does. You may never need it, but having an insurance asset to back up your income is a prudent way to shore up your long-term financial security. If you’re looking for ways to do this, we have ideas. Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

The past two years have been a bit of a seesaw. On one hand, we have experienced the first global pandemic since the early 1900s, accompanied by a swift economic decline. But on the other hand, the U.S. has enjoyed robust market performance and unprecedented growth in home values. In fact, the pandemic has actually reshaped the housing market to reflect new homeowner preferences that are expected to endure.2

For example, did you know that most U.S. homeowners are middle-aged and married with at least some college, and more than a third of homeowners (38%) live in the South? Today, only 13% of homeowners are in their 30s, and only 17% are in their 40s.3

The typical home is over 1,700 square feet and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Just under half (44%) of homeowners live in the first home they bought, while a quarter are in their second home. The majority of homebuyers who already own a home say they’re looking for more upgrades or a different neighborhood. A large number — 78% — say they want to move for family reasons. However, some homeowners are hesitant to put their homes up for sale because they don’t think they’ll be able to find another one.4 After all, if you sell your home now to take advantage of high market prices, where will you live then?

Real estate experts do not expect the typical seasonal slowdown to occur this winter. Particularly in more affordable areas of the country, such as the Midwest and the South, there is an unusual amount of activity in home-showing traffic for this time of year.5

As for new trends in residential real estate, it’s not surprising that homebuyers are looking for a dedicated office or workspace as part of their criteria. The good news is that today’s remote worker no longer needs a large space for storage and filing needs, now that most documents are paperless and cloud-based. That means an office can be tucked into a nook in a spare bedroom, the living room or even the dining area.6

However, many work-from-home employees are conscious of an appropriate background for their video conference calls. The ideal “Zoom room” should be a quiet space with a background that is both reasonably neat and professional but with enough personal items to demonstrate character and relatability. After all, with fewer people interacting in the office, it’s important to establish amiable working relationships from a distance.7

Other trends in real estate include the growing popularity of solar panels or modules that convert sunlight into electricity and even conserve energy through battery storage. Solar heating was first discovered back in the 1950s by researchers at Bell Laboratories. But over the past decade, solar power has grown by an average of 50% per year and is likely to increase exponentially. Some areas have mandates for renewable energy; for example, California has passed legislation that will require developers to include solar power and battery storage in new commercial and high-rise residential projects starting in January 2023.8

For context, note that the return on a solar investment may be pretty good for homeowners. It typically costs between $15,000 and $25,000 for equipment and installation for a residential solar panel system. If paid out of pocket, that could take up to 10 years of power savings to get a return on your investment. However, homeowners can lease a system for less and save on the upfront investment. In terms of residential sales, homes with solar systems already installed tend to sell faster than those without.9

1 Realtor Magazine. Nov. 29, 2021. “Home Buyers Eager to Act Sooner Rather Than Later.” https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2021/11/29/home-buyers-eager-to-act-sooner-rather-than-later. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. 2 Manny Garcia. Zillow. July 7, 2021. “Homeowners: Results from the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report 2021.” https://www.zillow.com/research/homeowners-consumer-housing-trends-report-2021-29736/?twclid=11465464374986956817. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Realtor Magazine. Nov. 29, 2021. “Showings Aren’t Following Typical Seasonal Slowdown.” https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2021/11/29/showings-aren-t-following-typical-seasonal-slowdown. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. 6 Dave Adams. National Association of Realtors. Nov. 29, 2021. “6 Home Office Trends to Watch.” https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/styled-staged-sold/6-home-office-trends-to-watch. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. 7 Ibid. 8 Barbara Ballinger. National Association of Realtors. Sept. 30, 2021. “What Homeowners Should Know About Solar Panels.” https://magazine.realtor/home-and-design/feature/article/2021/09/what-homeowners-should-know-about-solar-panels. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. 9 Ibid.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.
The information contained in this material is 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.
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What’s Up with Inflation?

Inflation was already on the rise before we learned about the omicron variant. Now on top of supply-chain shortages and transportation disruptions, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently observed that a resurgence of COVID-19 cases could reduce the consumer-driven boom we’ve enjoyed for the past few months. Concerns about safety could result in more workers being sent back home to work and small businesses needing to cut back staff after the holidays, further slowing economic progress.1

To date, much of the blame for higher inflation has been attributed to supply disruption. In the past, when inflation reared its ugly head, the Fed could douse rising prices by reducing interest rates.2 Unfortunately, supply shortages and COVID-influenced employment rates are not easily resolved by adjusting interest rates.

Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn from these trying times is that we can’t always rely on the government, employers or the stock market to resolve our financial troubles. The best we can do is create a plan based on our wants, needs and long- and short-term goals, and stick with it. That can be tough to do whenever the market drops on news of a newly identified variant or soars when a vaccine is announced. While these events may create opportunities, just remember that few people ever get rich by timing the market. If you’d like us to take a look at your financial plan and make recommendations to keep you positioned to meet your goals, please feel free to contact us.

Alas, it is important to recognize that rising inflation isn’t just a domestic issue; it’s happening all over the world. Countries in Eastern Europe are experiencing some of the highest inflation rates in recent years, and in many cases, people are struggling to buy food or fuel their cars. With another surge of infections during the winter season, we may see more countries close or tighten their borders, further hampering global economic recovery. As supply chains get cut off, we can expect higher inflation here in the U.S.3

There is also some debate as to whether companies are taking advantage of rising inflation to boost their profit margins. In fact, nearly two out of three of the largest U.S. corporations have reported higher profits this year than pre-pandemic. And yet, perhaps due to increased consolidation and the power that gives large companies to set prices, inflation continues to rise.4

In recent months, the Biden administration has attempted to address inflation through various means, from negotiating changes with ports and container companies, to improving government benefit programs, to launching investigations into price gouging. One tactic he has yet to implement is easing the current tariffs on goods imported from China, which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says could have a “disinflationary” effect.5

Thomas Franck. NBC News. Nov. 29, 2021. “Omicron variant means ‘increased uncertainty for inflation,’ Fed Chair Powell says.” https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/omicron-variant-means-increased-uncertainty-inflation-fed-chair-powell-rcna7004. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. Kimberly Amadeo. The Balance. Nov. 11, 2021. “How the Federal Reserve Controls Inflation.” https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-being-done-to-control-inflation-3306095. Accessed Dec. 10, 2021. Justin Spike, Paul Wiseman and Vanessa Gera. AP News. Nov. 29, 2021. “Food, gas prices pinch families as inflation surges globally.” https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-lifestyle-health-business-poland-f559465c6a822d12b2dd513f122d5a31. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. Dominick Reuter and Andy Kiersz. Business Insider. Nov. 16, 2021. “Corporations are using inflation as an excuse to raise prices and make fatter profits — and it’s making the problem worse.” https://www.businessinsider.com/corporations-using-inflation-as-excuse-to-reap-fatter-profits-reich-2021-11. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021. Reuters. Nov. 19, 2021. “Factbox: To battle inflation, Biden targets supply chains, gas, meat packers.” https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/battle-inflation-biden-targets-supply-chains-gas-meat-packers-2021-11-19/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2021.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance and investment products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
The information contained in this material is 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. 
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How Failure Can Lead to Success

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

“You always pass failure on your way to success.” – Mickey Rooney

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce1

“Failure is success in progress.” – Albert Einstein2

“Success consists of going from failure to failure with enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill3

Research shows that 90% of startup companies fail, as do 75% of venture-backed startups — so not having adequate capital isn’t always the reason. Problems can range from a poor marketing strategy to a bad partnership to not adequately understanding regulatory hurdles to some miscalculation with the product itself.4

Many successful entrepreneurs — arguably the backbone of American ingenuity — will tell you that success was a long-term goal achieved after a series of short-term failures. Indeed, failures offer new opportunities to pivot to a new direction and often serve as a reminder to trust your own instincts about why or how you initially began pursuing the goal.

When it comes to financial security, it’s important to have a plan — even when it fails, it’s better than having no plan at all. One of the best backstops for financial security is insurance. We buy it for our homes, our vehicles and our health to offset large financial losses. It is just as important to purchase insurance to help ensure adequate retirement income and to help stabilize the financial future of surviving loved ones. After all, these scenarios are just as important as a house or automobile and failing to plan for these outcomes could prove disastrous. Please contact us for an insurance review to help ensure that your plan for financial security succeeds.

Up to one-third of America’s small businesses have closed — temporarily if not permanently — during this pandemic.5 Many of those firms may have been thriving businesses that simply could not survive going months without minimum revenues. Some may have even purchased business interruption insurance for just this type of unforeseen scenario. Unfortunately, most of these types of policies require some form of direct physical loss or damage to the business property — which means they don’t pay claims for business loss due to government mandates to restrict or close nonessential business operations.6 This is an example of a plan failing through no fault of the business owner. Even the insurance industry has not adequately established products to address this type of crisis. As we move forward, this is likely to change.

Writers, athletes, scientists and politicians generally recognize that we learn from our mistakes and our inability to foretell the future. We are often driven off course by not enough advice or too much information. Whatever the reason, it is our failures that frequently provide the path to success. Once the pain of failure subsides, we can objectively reflect on what happened, what we can do differently on the next try and how we might change our approach or mindset. 

Success. July 17, 2019. “13 Inspiring Quotes About Failure.” https://www.success.com/13-inspiring-quotes-about-failure/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2021. Steve Murphy. Entrepreneur. Feb. 3, 2021. “Why Failure is Necessary in Order to Succeed as an Entrepreneur.” https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/362205. Accessed Dec. 3, 2021. Nilgin Yusuf. Harper’s Bazaar. July 13, 2021. “Why losing can be good for us.” https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/a37009171/why-losing-can-be-good-for-us/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2021. Saemoon Yoon. World Economic Forum. Nov. 30, 2021. “Why failing can help build business – Lessons from 9 entrepreneurs.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/why-failure-is-important-for-entrepreneurs-lessons-from-9-founders/. Accessed Dec. 3, 2021. Chris Nichols. Austin-American Statesman. June 8, 2021. “Fact-check: Have one-third of US small businesses closed during pandemic?” https://www.statesman.com/story/news/politics/politifact/2021/06/08/kamala-harris-small-business-closures-covid-fact-check/7602531002/. Accessed Dec. 4, 2021. The National Law Review. Oct. 15, 2021. “The Pandemic vs. the Policyholder: COVID-19 and Business Interruption Coverage Claims.” https://www.natlawreview.com/article/pandemic-vs-policyholder-covid-19-and-business-interruption-coverage-claims. Accessed Dec. 4, 2021.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.
 The information contained in this material is 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.
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