Blizzard 1

First Snow

The Boston area had been experiencing an especially mild winter until last Friday’s storm, which dropped around 7 inches of very heavy snow on the North Shore. We ended up losing the only tree in our front yard and another adjacent to the driveway. It’s heartbreaking to think that I planted those trees, while in the prime of my life, 20 years ago. We’re also expecting up to a foot of snow Monday. Hopefully, this recent burst in precipitation is not going to mirror last year’s winter. The good news is that I’ll probably lose a few kilos snow blowing my driveway Tuesday morning. For those of you who may not recall the winter of 2015, let me refresh your memory. We were...
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Will Running or Walking Make You Live Longer? (Which Will Cost You More?)

I recently asked an orthopedist: “What is better for your health, walking or running?” Without any hesitation, he smiled and said, “Running. It’s putting my kids through college.” My wife, Marea, runs three to five miles most days, while I briskly walk 3.5 miles around the neighborhood in slightly less than an hour.  So, “medically speaking,” who is really better off? According to a recent article in Prevention, a brisk daily walk will lower a person’s overall risk of death by 25%. A similar sentiment was echoed in The Guardian, which reported that a daily walk can increase a person’s lifespan by three to seven years and reduce the likelihood of having a...

In Golf and Stocks, Anything Can Happen

Last weekend, I went on a three-day “golfing vacation” with seven friends and let’s face it, you never know what can happen. Four of us were scheduled to leave on Friday afternoon at 4:40, but we actually took off at around 10:15 in the evening, so we had five mind-numbing hours of male bonding. Not surprisingly, other than complaining about the guy who booked the flights (me), we really didn’t have any meaningful conversations. (My wife is always surprised that guys don’t use times like these to share deep personal feelings.) After more than three hours in the air, we had landed in Fort Lauderdale and gathered our luggage. Things were looking up, but not for...
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A Nasty January Surprise

This has been a very tough week, both for investors and Powerball enthusiasts. In fact, it was the worst opening week in market history. Stocks plummeted approximately 6%, and the estimated Powerball jackpot ballooned to a whopping $1.3 billion. My wife, Marea, has even caught the bug and told me that she was going out to purchase 10 tickets. I laughed and said, “All you’re doing is increasing our odds of winning from 1 in 292 million to 10 in 292 million. Statistically, we have a better chance of experiencing one of the following events than winning the Powerball jackpot: Become an American billionaire Be killed by an asteroid Be struck by lightning while...
Back To The Future Delorean

Happy 2016! Now, Back to the Future

Back to reality. That’s what the first week of January feels like. And, didn’t the equity markets give us a healthy taste of reality on Monday! Back to work (although most of us probably never really stopped working) and Back to the Future, but not in a DeLorean. I’m not talking about the film, although it is hard to believe that it is now 30 years old. DeLorean himself has since passed away, and we obviously don’t see too many DMC-12 time-machines on the road. No, I’m thinking, “back to looking toward the future,” which is essentially the business of the retirement industry. Our goal is always to come up with innovative new ways to help people have a better...
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So Long 2015, Hello 2016!

Like many of you, I can’t quite believe that the holiday season is already upon us. This is my last blog of the year, so I’ll keep it short and let you get back to thinking about last minute shopping and drinking eggnog… I would first like to announce our 2016 Retirement Health Care Cost Data Report, which will be published early in 2016. In this report, we will address the changes to Social Security filing strategies, COLAs, Medicare Surcharges, and health care inflation. Now, 2015 was an important year for the retirement planning industry. The fed’s announcement that rising interest rates have moved us out of the financial crisis, changes to Social Security filing...
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An update on the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule

The upcoming Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule has been all anyone's been talking about, (if they’re not talking about Social Security, that is). To recap, according to the current proposal, financial professionals will be legally obligated to disclose any fees and/or conflicts of interest associated with investments products they recommend for their clients. The Obama administration is staunchly supportive of the rule, which purports to protect investors from hidden plan fees that may benefit the advisor more than the client. Apart from the Obama administration, a handful of advocates inside and outside of Washington have also pushed for the measure. Several...
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Social Security Rule Changes: A New Challenge for Women

  Woke up, fell out of bed. Dragged the comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup. And looking up…   Well, actually, I found my way downstairs, looked to the floor, and almost cried. There was our new dog, Lucky, wagging her tail to bid me good morning, a sure sign of wrongdoing.  Glancing around the kitchen in disbelief, I noticed that Lucky had vomited all over the place.  I mean all over the place. I had never seen anything like it.  On top of this, my sick pup also decided to consume one of our finely upholstered chairs. What a good girl. I hope the upholstery settled her stomach. There was no way I was going to tackle this...
Medicare On Money

How Medicare Surcharges Can Cost You Over $80,000 Annually

When saving for retirement, it is critically important to factor health care costs into projections and plans. Due to upcoming changes in Medicare, this will be even more important. Medicare’s coverage is separated into four Parts: A, B, C, and D. The changes will primarily affect Part B, which covers doctor appointments, emergency room visits, and tests, and is paid for by premiums based on the beneficiary’s income. The higher the earner, the greater the cost, according to what's known as Medicare Means Testing. Medicare Means Testing is broken down into brackets, which establish different income amounts as the thresholds for premium surcharges. However, only certain types of...
Retirement Health Care Costs And Income Replacement Ratios

Retirement Health Care Costs and Income Replacement Ratios Summary

Last week, we published a white paper that focuses on income replacement ratios (IRRs), health care inflation rates, and strategies to bridge the savings gap caused by unplanned retirement health care costs. Today, I will highlight some of the paper’s major points. First, readers must understand that financial advisors use IRRs – a percentage of an individual’s pre-retirement income – to project the amount of annual income a person will need to fund his/her retirement. The general rate for IRR calculations is usually between 75-85%, but over the past several years, 80% has evolved to become the favored industry standard. Our current research indicates that because of...
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