Topics

Topics

A Retirement Checklist: 8 Steps to Take Now

We all know people who dive head-first into retirement with seemingly little thought to whether or not it's the best time for them to stop working. Simply put, they haven't done their homework. Don't be like them. Consider these suggestions before taking the big step into retirement. ...
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Boom! Look Familiar? That’s Because It Is

Boom

Pop Culture Chronicles

A couple weeks back, I got a surprise when I heard about plans by two ’70s bands that swore they would never reunite.

ABBA flat-out refused to revive their act for many years and even declined an invitation to perform when it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turns out the band has just secretly recorded two new songs. Is this a big deal? Again, the respect thing. CSNY’s David Crosby described their music as “dog poop,” but their stuff has been covered by everyone from Culture Club to U2’s Bono.

When Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham died in 1980 after drinking 40 shots of vodka, the rest of the band said Zeppelin was done. The band did perform at the induction and later at a tribute show for Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, but since then, zilch. Now there’s word that Zeppelin is talking about a possible reunion gig to mark the band’s 50th anniversary. The past is roaring back.

 

LPs and TV, Too

With so many people downloading music and stores dropping compact discs, long-playing vinyl records are showing increased sales, and it’s the same for live music. I was at the Streetsboro Family Days in July and the entertainment included Mr. Speed (a classic KISS tribute), Rubix Cubed (’80s music), Disco Inferno and Michael Weber, a guitar phenom who was born 25 years after some of the music he plays was written.

Look at your TV. Reboots of “Magnum P.I.,” “Hawaii Five-0,” ”Alf,” “Will & Grace” and “Dynasty” are all on the schedule, and Norman Lear is talking about re-imagining “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons.” Nostalgia is big business, and not just on the entertainment front.

My wife, Janice, and I were walking through the Heinen’s in downtown Cleveland.

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Giving with a Plan

By Michael Freeman

The Salvation Army NEO

America is a generous country. Over 67 percent of American households give to charity.

While some people give for tax reasons, many — if not the majority — open their wallets because they are convinced that the work of their favorite charity is vital.

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, the philanthropic community is standing back to see if this is true. Do Americans give for personal tax savings or from a place of true charity?

 

New Rules

The new tax law has doubled the standard deduction — the preset amount all taxpayers are allowed to lop off their taxable income — from $6,500 to $12,000. This will reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions on their tax return from 47 million to 19 million. Simply put, very few of us will now deduct our charitable contributions.

Options remain, however, that can make us tax-savvy stewards. Consider this: Rather than cash, donate appreciated stocks. With the fervor of the current market, your investment may have seen handsome growth.

Here’s the catch: When you sell that stock, you are responsible to pay a capital gain tax. If however, you have owned that stock for over a year, it can be donated to charity and the gift passes to the charity without any tax due. For itemizers, the full amount of the stock’s value on the day it was donated qualifies as a charitable deduction.

For future “planned giving” — which means giving after you have died — there is a plethora of ideas that enable you to make an impact from beyond the grave. My father had a friend who had been financially successful in the trucking business. At his death, I asked my dad how much the man had left behind.

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Stuffing Traditions for a Happy Holiday

’Tis the season of fuzzy memories and sharp expectations. My mind runs a loop captured from images in old 8 mm home movies: Thanksgiving dinners with great-aunts in dressed-up softness passing mashed potatoes in china bowls. Choppy Christmas mornings of sleepy kids in matching pajamas stumbling into a roomful of Santa surprises. ...
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Missing Teeth? New Materials, Techniques Make a Difference

By Dr. Steve Marsh

Many of our parents and their generation thought that over their lifetime it was “natural” to lose some teeth — even all of them. And when they did, they would either get a partial denture or a full denture, or go toothless.

The partial denture replaced the teeth that were missing, with artificial teeth held in by metal wires or clasps. The full denture was all teeth and plastic, with the upper one covering the palate and the lower sitting on the lower ridge, if there were any bone remaining. The upper denture fit fairly well due to suction, but the lower was nearly always a problem — often ending up in a Kleenex or on the nightstand. So where are we today?

Options

We now know that it’s not natural to lose your teeth; they can and should last for a lifetime. With good home care and regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist, our teeth should serve us into our 80s and beyond. Home care involves both flossing and brushing (we recommend a baking soda/peroxide toothpaste with fluoride), especially after meals. Dental visits should occur three to four times a year.

But what if we’ve already lost some teeth, due to periodontal or gum disease, tooth decay or cavities, or fracturing of old fillings or tooth structure? Today’s partial dentures can be made out of a flexible plastic without any metal. They are comfortable and function well, and they have no unsightly metal clasps.

Bridges, made up of all porcelain/Zirconium, also have no unsightly metal collars and are made up of a series of crowns that go on the teeth adjacent to the space caused by the missing teeth. In addition to filling in space, they may help strengthen the abutments.

The other solution is the dental implant or implants.

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Get as Much as You Give with Volunteering

 

Volunteering your time and energy helps strengthen your community and helps others. Plus, researchers are finding definitive links between volunteerism and important emotional and physical benefits.

Why Do It?

Volunteering decreases the risk of depression and dementia for both the volunteer and the recipient. It provides increased social interactions and a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment for both. The National Institute on Aging reported that participating in volunteer activities lowers the risk of dementia and other health problems.

Successful aging requires physical activity. Helping with a local sports team or walking as a companion to help another promotes physical and mental fitness. Older volunteers experience greater life satisfaction and increased perceived health.

The anti-depression effects and physical activity also can help reduce stress. This can help boost the immune system, promote better health and cut the risk of disease.

Giving your time to others also can make you feel like you have more time to give. A Wharton College study found that volunteers felt more capable, confident and useful. This feeling boosts self-esteem and makes you feel like you can accomplish even more. Plus, folks who volunteer by giving not only time but also money can feel wealthier, again boosting mental health.

 

Face Time

Social isolation is a major problem for older adults, and volunteerism can help you make new friends and strengthen existing relationships. A strong social network can aid in practicing social skills and aging successfully.

Studies also point out the benefits of intergenerational relationships. Many high school students are encouraged to volunteer to bolster college applications. Seniors who volunteer can engage with this younger generation of volunteers, creating lasting friendships and shared experiences.

Retirement can be difficult for seniors, especially when someone is forced out at a relatively young age. Starting a new “career” by volunteering fills the void left by not having a workplace to go to every day.

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NEO Grandparent – Giving the Giving Gene

School-aged children can become “Book Buddies” (family-to-family.org) with a child living in poverty. You will receive the name of a child, their age and reading level, so you and your grandchild can choose a book each month for a year to send to the child, along with a letter. ...
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Finances: Don’t Let Them Down

 

By Danny Smith

 

It’s easy to find classic rock tunes about parents and parenting. A few that come to mind are:

“Papa was a Rolling Stone” — The Temptations

“Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” — Three Dog Night

“Shop Around” — Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

“Let It Be” — The Beatles

“Memphis” — Chuck Berry

The list goes on and on. When it comes to rock tunes about grandparenting, excluding “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” the list becomes much smaller.

Perhaps the most iconic classic tune on the topic is The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Penned by Paul McCartney in the band’s early years, it remained unrecorded until it appeared on what is arguably the greatest LP of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The story goes that McCartney added the “Grandchildren on your knee Vera, Chuck, and Dave” lyrics around the time Sgt. Pepper was recorded because his dad recently turned 64.

You may be wondering, “Why did Danny do an article about grandparenting? I thought he was a financial adviser.” The following is a true story taken from my book that answers that question:

A couple who had consulted me came into my office and said, “Danny, we want to take our whole family to Hawaii, but we’re not sure we can afford it.”

I had been telling them for the longest time that they should do something like that. They had the assets, but if they kept putting it off, I was concerned that they might eventually run out of time. So I helped them plan their trip. I even introduced them to a good friend and travel agent who set it all up for them.

Before they left, however, I made them promise me that after arriving in Hawaii, they would spend that first night together as a family.

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