How to Nurture, Grow and Protect Your Retirement Savings

shutterstock_70550545After working for decades, you are finally ready to retire. While you are looking forward to having your days to yourself and having the time to tackle all of those projects you have put off for years, you are understandably a bit concerned about your finances. You’ve worked hard to create a nice nest egg for your golden years, but you want to be sure that you are getting the most out of your money and that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Fortunately, by implementing some money-related strategies, being aware of some common scams and signing up for an identity protection program, you and your retirement savings will flourish rather than flounder in the years to come.

Diversify Your Approach

Fidelity suggests using a diversified income strategy to grow your retirement savings. This includes fixed-income annuities, variable annuities and an investment portfolio to make your savings work for you. The fixed income and variable annuities help transform a portion of your savings and any income you receive from Social Security and pensions into a steady source of money. Meanwhile, the investments help grow the money into an account you can tap into for hobbies or emergencies. If you are not comfortable with any of these options, you can certainly stick with just one or two, but, in general, this three-pronged approach is an effective way to grow your retirement funds.

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Know Your Medicare Options to Enjoy Retirement

By Jim Merklinghaus

When turning 65, we’re faced with a health care choice, and it comes down to your desired “flavor” of Medicare. Making things harder, there are myths out there clouding the situation.

Medicare as it’s traditionally known includes Parts A and B. Part A is “brick and mortar” coverage, meaning visits to medical facilities, and is financed by taxpayer money via the government. Part B covers medical procedures and tests, and is also taxpayer-financed. There are other parts of Medicare, but these two form the foundation.

The big choice comes down to understanding the insurance policies supplementing your base Medicare coverage. You only need one supplement. In essence, do you want Medicare and a supplemental policy known as Medigap, or do you want one comprehensive Medicare Advantage plan?

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95% of Seniors Would Use Technology to Monitor Health if Doctor-Recommended

iTOK Releases Findings from Heart Health Technology Survey

iTOK, a US-based technology advisory company that helps older adults get the most from their computers and devices, has announced the results of its Healthy Heart Survey, a survey which asked aging adults about their technology usage in regards to monitoring heart health. The results come right in time to celebrate American Heart Month, an annual reminder of the importance of heart health.

iTOK surveyed more than 130 participants from its member base, primarily aged 55 and older, between January 30 and February 5, 2015. Answers revealed the heart health conditions of respondents, how seniors currently are using technology to manage their heart health, and whether or not they would use technology if recommended by doctors or insurance plans. Some key findings include:

  • 30% currently use technology to monitor their heart health.
  • 95% would use technology to manage heart health if recommend by doctors.
  • 91% would use technology to manage heart health if it lowered insurance costs.
  • Most common technology currently used is a heart rate monitor / Pacemaker (28%).

“Despite the common perception that aging adults have a skeptical attitude towards technology, the survey results show them to be extremely responsive to engaging with it,” said Seth Bailey, CEO of iTOK. “We’ve seen a plethora of new health-related technologies and devices enter the market within the last year, and that will continue to increase as Baby Boomers grow older. These results should be encouraging to medical professionals and healthcare technology companies as they develop new products targeted to our aging population.”

More information about the survey can be found at iTOK’s blog:

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How to Properly Rest and Recover After Working Out

shutterstock_184393751You already know you need to engage in some type of physical activity on a regular basis to maintain a healthy weight and enjoy good health. What most guys do not realize is that it’s just as important to rest and recover afterward as it is to work out. Working out causes muscle trauma, and by giving your body time to rest in between workouts, you allow your muscles to repair and rebuild and be ready for the next time.

Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in physiology to understand the basics of after-exercise recovery. By combining some basic knowledge and common sense, you can be sure that you are allowing your body to repair any damaged muscles and tissues as well as replenish your supply of energy. Consider the following steps:

Step 1: Cool Down

When you are done with your workout, don’t just abruptly stop what you are doing and then for the couch or showers. Instead, spend anywhere from five to 15 minutes doing some type of low-key, cool-down exercise. If you were jogging, spend the final part of your workout walking. If you were swimming laps, take five minutes to paddle back and forth across the pool slower than you were before. Doing this will help your heart rate gradually slow down and prevent your muscles from getting stiff.

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Golden Glee: 3 Tips to Maintain Your Lifestyle After Retirement

shutterstock_208005757The National Retirement Risk Index at the Boston College Center For Retirement Research determined that 53 percent of American households are at risk of not having enough savings to maintain their standard of living after retirement. That’s up from only 31 percent in 1983—and, it represents the first time in modern history that younger generations will have it worse at retirement than their parents and grandparents. Workers approaching 60 need to take an honest look at their financial situation and make some important decisions to ensure the most relaxing, comfortable lifestyle after they retire.

Maximize Social Security

The average age of retirees today is 62, according to a Gallup poll released in April. This is also the age at which you first become eligible to start collecting Social Security payments. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, and that couldn’t be more true as it pertains to Social Security.

Full retirement age for those born after 1960 is 67 years old. That means you are eligible to start collecting Social Security at age 62, but the monthly benefit will be reduced incrementally the earlier you start. For instance, the payments are decreased by 30 percent if you start at age 62, 25 percent at 63, 20 percent at 64, etc.

Able-bodied individuals should continue working for as long as possible, particularly if your job is fulfilling. The maximum Social Security benefit for those at full retirement age is $2,642 per month in 2014. That number would be $1,849 if you retired at 62.

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Planning a Vacation? Escorted Group Tours Remove the Stress, Hassle and Planning of Travel

Greg Geronemus photoBy Greg Geronemus

Seniors and boomers love to travel. They’re fortunate to have the time and interest to see the world.

One popular way to plan and book vacations is going online and using Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Kayak, Expedia, and Orbitz. And while they can be helpful finding you deals, the process takes a lot of time, effort and too often a lot of hassle. And once you get to your destination and a problem occurs, then what?

While OTA’s let you purchase flights, book hotels, cruises, rental cars, and even sightseeing activities, you do all the planning! When you consider the time, effort, stress and hassle that goes into planning the complexity of an international vacation, there has to be a better way. And there is.

Escorted group tours are a sensible alternative. Group travel offers seniors many benefits: reduced stress, safety, social camaraderie, low pricing, expert tour guides and last but not least, superior value.

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Many Reasons for “Ouch, My Aching Back”

dr-kaixuan-liu-md-phdBy Kaixuan Liu

If you’re like 80% of American adults, you’ll suffer from lower back pain at some point in your lifetime. Depressing thought? Only if you consider yourself helpless to prevent the problem – which isn’t necessarily true. According to Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, founder and president of Atlantic Spine Center, the most common causes of lower back pain include both avoidable lifestyle choices and some other factors that aren’t as easy to dodge.

Much lower back pain is caused by so-called “mechanical injury” such as a strain or sprain resulting from injured muscles or tendons, Dr. Liu says, or damage to the tissue where the spine’s bony vertebrae connects to joints.

“Although lower back pain can result from the normal aging process, our lifestyle can sometimes trigger it or make it worse,” explains Dr. Liu, who is fellowship-trained in minimally invasive spine surgery. “Many everyday activities we do without thinking can make a huge difference to our lower spine health.”

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