Archive for December, 2010

Baby boomers near 65 with retirements in jeopardy

In this photo taken Wednesday, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2010, Michael Vanatta walks the beach near where he takes a photo each day of the sun rise in Vero Beach, Fla. for one of his blogs. Vanatta, 61, is paying the price for being a baby boomer who enjoyed life without saving for the future. He put a daughter through college, but he also spent plenty of money on indulgences like dining out and the latest electronic gadgets. Vanatta was laid off last January from his $100,000-a-year job as a sales executive for a turf company. And with savings of just $5,000, he’s on a budget for the first time. In April, he will start taking Social Security at age 62.  (AP Photo/J Pat CarterCHICAGO (AP) —

 Through a combination of procrastination and bad timing, many baby boomers are facing a personal finance disaster just as they’re hoping to retire. Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years.

The boomers, who in their youth revolutionized everything from music to race relations, are set to redefine retirement. But a generation that made its mark in the tumultuous 1960s now faces a crisis as it hits its own mid-60s.

“The situation is extremely serious because baby boomers have not saved very effectively for retirement and are still retiring too early,” says Olivia Mitchell, director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

There are several reasons to be concerned:

— The traditional pension plan is disappearing. In 1980, some 39 percent of private-sector workers had a pension that guaranteed a steady payout during retirement. Today that number stands closer to 15 percent, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C.

— Reliance on stocks in retirement plans is greater than ever; 42 percent of those workers now have 401(k)s. But the past decade has been a lost one for stocks, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index posting total returns of just 4 percent since the beginning of 2000.

— Many retirees banked on their homes as their retirement fund. But the crash in housing prices has slashed almost a third of a typical home’s value. Now 22 percent of homeowners, or nearly 11 million people, owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. Many are boomers.

Michael Vanatta, 61, of Vero Beach, Fla., is paying the price for being a boomer who enjoyed life without saving for the future. He put a daughter through college, but he also spent plenty of money on indulgences like dining out and the latest electronic gadgets.

Vanatta was laid off last January from his $100,000-a-year job as a sales executive for a turf company. And with savings of just $5,000, he’s on a budget for the first time. In April, he will start taking Social Security at age 62.

“If I’d been smarter and planned and had the bucks, I’d wait until 70,” says Vanatta, who is divorced and rents an apartment. “It’s my fault. For years I was making plenty of money and spending plenty of money.”

Vanatta is in the majority. Some 51 percent of early boomer households, headed by those ages 55 to 64, face a retirement with lower living standards, according to a 2009 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Too many boomers have ignored or underestimated the worsening outlook for their finances, says Jean Setzfand, director of financial security for AARP, the group that represents Americans over age 50. By far the greatest shortcoming has been a failure to save. The personal savings rate — the amount of disposable income unspent — averaged close to 10 percent in the 1970s and `80s. By late 2007, the rate had sunk to negative 1 percent.

The recession has helped improve the savings rate — it’s now back above 5 percent. Yet typical boomers are still woefully short on retirement savings. Even those in their 50s and 60s with a 401(k) for at least six years had an average balance of less than $150,000 at the end of 2009, according to the EBRI.

Signs of coming trouble are visible on several other fronts, too:

— Mortgage Debt. Nearly two in three people age 55 to 64 had a mortgage in 2007, with a median debt of $85,000.

— Social Security. Nearly 3 out of 4 people file to claim Social Security benefits as soon as they’re eligible at age 62. That locks them in at a much lower amount than they would get if they waited.

The monthly checks are about 25 percent less if you retire at 62 instead of full retirement age, which is 66 for those born from 1943 to 1954. If you wait until 70, your check can be 75 to 80 percent more than at 62. So, a boomer who claimed a $1,200 monthly benefit in 2008 at age 62 could have received about $2,000 by holding off until 70.

— Medical Costs. Health care expenses are soaring, and the availability of retiree benefits is declining.

“People cannot fathom how much money will be needed to simply cover out-of-pocket medical care costs,” says Mitchell of the University of Pennsylvania.

A 55-year-old man with typical drug expenses needs to have about $187,000 just to cover future medical costs. That’s if he wants to be 90 percent certain to have enough money to supplement Medicare coverage in retirement, the EBRI said. Because of greater longevity, a 65-year-old woman would need even more to cover her health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses: an estimated $213,000.

— Employment. Boomers both need and want to work longer than previous generations. But unemployment is near 10 percent, and many have lost their jobs.

The average unemployment period for those 55 and older was 45 weeks in November. That’s 12 weeks longer than for younger job-seekers. It’s also more than double the 20-week period this group faced at the beginning of the recession in December 2007.

If financial neglect turns out to be many boomers’ undoing, challenging circumstances are stymieing others.

Linda Reaves of Silver Spring, Md., never had much opportunity to save as a single mother raising two sons and a daughter. After holding a variety of positions over the years — hotel office manager, research analyst for a mortgage company, hospital mental health counselor — she was still living paycheck to paycheck. Then she was laid off in 2007 at the age of 57.

She entered a training program to learn new skills, but all she has found since is a string of temporary jobs. In her daily quest for clerical or administrative work, she competes against much younger applicants.

Reaves, who turns 60 this month, plans to work until she’s at least 70 and then wants to travel, even if she doesn’t know where the money will come from.

“I just keep going. I don’t really worry about it,” she says.

Add this all up, and there’s a “slow-burning” retirement crisis for boomers, says Anthony Webb, a research economist at the Center for Retirement Research.

“If you have a crisis where the adverse consequences are immediately clear, then people understand that they have to do something,” Webb says. “When the consequences will be felt 20 or 30 years in the future, the temptation is that we kick the can down the road.”

As a result, he believes many won’t change their behavior.

For less affluent boomers, it won’t take that long to feel the pain of poor planning. Concerns about financial trouble will hang over many of those 65th birthday celebrations in 2011.

Many seem to view their plight through rose-colored granny glasses. An AARP survey last month of boomers turning 65 next year found that they worry no more about money than they did at age 60 — before the recession or the collapse of home prices. But in an acknowledgement of reality, 40 percent said they plan to work “until I drop.”

Blog Source:  AP Personal Finance


Want to stay well? Wash your hands

We’re getting better about it, but we’re not great yet: A new observational study shows that about 85% of adults wash their hands after using public restrooms. That’s up from 77% in 2007, and it’s the most since the American Society of Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute started the studies almost 15 years ago.


But more than 60% responded in a telephone survey that they don’t wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. That’s bad, experts say, because many cases of the cold, flu and other respiratory ailments are spread by a cough or sneeze or when dirty, contaminated hands touch the eyes, nose or mouth.

So remember: Washing your hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid getting sick.

Blog Source:  usaweekend

What are your genes saying about you?

Locked within your genes is the key to maintaining optimal health.  I recently had my Gene Snp DNA Analysis done with just a simple quick cheek swab taken from inside the cheek for a DNA sample.  I then sent the sample to our accredited laboratory and submitted a comprehensive customer profile online.  The results were combined and analyzed to create my personalized action plan based on my unique DNA and online customer profile.  I was amazed at the Health Action Plan  was put together which featured lifestyle refinement suggestions, diet and exercise options and nutritional supplementation formulated to help enhance and maintain optimal health.

Since no two people have the same DNA, our genetic variations are unique identifiers which make us different from every other person.

Do you really know what your bodies needs are to maintain optimal health?

Calcium plus vitamin D effectively boost bone mineral density.

Research has proven there is a clear link between vitamin D blood levels and bone mineral density (BMD). In many people, but especially in the elderly, vitamin D deficiency is common. In the elderly this deficiency often occurs due to reduced exposure to sunlight, as well as a reduced ability to synthesize vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D is necessary for the intestinal absorption of calcium. When levels are low, less calcium enters the body and is therefore unavailable for bone mineralization and support. This overall depletion leads to reduced bone structure and strength, which is often more prevalent in older women. A recent study published in Osteoporosis International (March 2010), reported a positive increase in BMD in postmenopausal women after daily supplementation with vitamin D and calcium. The Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention- Fracture Prevention Study (OSTPRE-FPS) followed 593 women, the average age being 68.5 years, either receiving daily supplementation or none at all, over a three year period. Supplementation consisted of vitamin D 400 IU and calcium 500 mg, twice daily. Study results showed a significant total body BMD increase in those receiving supplementation when compared to those not supplemented. This study, as do other studies, supports the need for vitamin D and calcium supplementation for strengthening and retaining skeletal health.

To read more on this study:

Blog Source:  Market America Blog

PetHealth™ OPC Formula with Glucosamine

PetHealth™ OPC is a food supplement made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine, pine bark extracts, citrus extract bioflavonoids, and glucosamine, designed to promote healthy joints and provide a strong antioxidant defense. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to your pet’s body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. PetHealth OPC Formula with Glucosamine offers a unique, great-tasting powder that is sprinkled over your pet’s regular food. It represents the latest technology available today in naturally based pet food supplements. PetHealth OPC Formula is available in a tasty beef flavor that your pets will love – and youll love knowing that youre doing all you can to help your pets stay healthy and live long, healthy lives

An OPC3 Success Story

Hi, My name is Sharon, and I’d like to share my story of my success with the product OPC3 from Market America. I have been a waitress for alot of years and my knees have really taken alot of abuse from being on my feet for many hours at a time. Being that I am my sole provider, I was really concerned about how I was going to be able to continue providing for myself, because of all the pain that I was in, well, along came a very good friend of mine from the past and she had seen how I was limping along, while trying to do my job. I was in misery, trust me!!
After several weeks of her suggesting that I get on the OPC3 I finally succumbed to her suggestion, I was ready to give anything a try, I had tried many other alternative methods to alleviate the pain but nothing touched it.
She told me how to take it and how much to take and I did exactly as she said only I tripled up on it, I wanted to get enough of this stuff into my system because it was either going to kill it or cure it. Well, it did take a couple of weeks before I did see any change, but I’ll tell you right now, I do not go a day without my OPC3 or alot of the other products, I am a walking testimony, I feel better now than I did 5 years ago and I do attribute it to our isotonic products, they have literally saved my life. I am 65 now and I feel better now  than I did at 55 and I have my good friend to thank for that.
 That’s what we’re all here for is to help others if possible, and if people are willing to listen and have an open mind about alternative methods, that’s all that matters.
Thank you for letting me share my story

Study: Yo-yo dieting may permanently influence responses to stress

One in every three Americans is obese.  While proper nutrition is a crucial part of preventing the advancement of this epidemic, some people may be doing more harm than good by falling victim to what is known as “yo-yo dieting.”

Yo-yo dieting is the repeated loss and gain of weight,  the physical effects of which have long been scrutinized.  Earlier this year, CNN Health discussed how yo-yo diets can lead to cardiovascular conditions, and has listed the outcomes of yo-yo dieting to include a weakened immune system, weight gain and psychological problems.  Recent studies at the University of Pennsylvania have shed light on yet another possible effect of yo-yo dieting, focusing on how it may influence how the brain responds to stress.

Dr. Tracy Bale, PhD, and a team of researchers observed the activity of mice living on restricted diets.  After three weeks of consuming fewer calories, the mice lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, experienced an increase in levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and showed “depression-like behavior.” Moreover, when placed in high-stress situations, the mice that had been on limited diets were more likely to consume fattier foods than the other mice, demonstrating a possible link between yo-yo diets and stress- and eating-related genes.

According to Bale, “These results suggest that [Yo-yo] dieting not only increases stress, making successful dieting more difficult, but it may actually ‘reprogram’ how the brain responds to future stress and emotional drives for food.” Thus, the weight cycling caused by yo-yo dieting may lead to problems that outweigh the benefits of temporarily dropping a few pounds.

Blog source: Market America Blog via CNN Health

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