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• Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease • Retirement Reality • Volunteering • Retirement Homes • Medicare


Tuesday, January 21, 2014



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Improving Heart Health Need Not Be Difficult Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, ischaemic heart disease, in which blood supply to the heart is reduced, is the leading cause of death in middle- and high-income countries and the fourthleading cause of death in low-income countries. Perhaps the most troubling fact about the prevalence of heart disease is that it can be largely preventable. The American Heart Association notes that there are several ways to easily improve heart health and avoid becoming one of the millions of people to succumb to heart disease. * Embrace aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is essential to cardiovascular health. Daily aerobic exercise, which can be as simple as walking around the neighborhood, can help men and women lower their blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and lower their bad cholesterol, which can cir-

culate in the blood and cause blockages that can lead to heart attack. * Adopt a low-sodium diet that’s also low in cholesterol. Diet can be a friend or foe with regards to heart disease. A heart-friendly diet that’s low in sodium and cholesterol can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels as well as a healthy blood pressure. * Monitor your blood pressure. A blood pressure reading is a staple of many doctor visits, but men and women should monitor their blood pressure even when they aren’t visiting their physicians. High blood pressure does not always produce symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t potentially deadly. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and can contribute to heart and kidney disease. So be sure to monitor your blood pressure and discuss with your physician ways to lower high blood pressure.


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Make Early Retirement a Reality Retirement is a goal for nearly every working adult. Long considered a time to enjoy the fruits of a life’s worth of labors, retirement has become something else entirely over the last several years, when the struggling economy has convinced many aging workers that their opportunity to safely retire may never present itself. But retirement does not have to feel like a wild goose chase with the end goal nowhere in sight. In fact, many men and women who develop a plan early on can retire early, reaping the rewards of their success at an age when many people are still wondering if they can retire at all, much less retire early. * Conduct an immediate audit of your finances. The road to early retirement begins, quite frankly, very early. If your retirement goal is to retire early, conduct an audit of your financial situation as soon as possible, even if you are a relative newcomer to the professional sector. Examine all of your debts and other liabilities, as well as your income and your potential earnings. It may be difficult to forecast potential earnings, but paint a realistic forecast with regard to your earning potential, and then use that to determine your standard of living and

how much money you will need to maintain that standard upon retirement. This should give you an idea of how close or how far you are from early retirement and what you need to start doing now so early retirement can be a reality later on. * Don’t sell savings short. Men and women who retire at the traditional retirement age can count on certain benefits that early retirees aren’t eligible for. Senior discounts can decrease the cost of living for typical retirees, who can also access retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA without paying a penalty. Younger retirees are not eligible for senior discounts, and accessing a retirement account before a certain age can result in a substantial penalty. So men and women whose goal is to retire early should not underestimate the value of a healthy savings account. Retiring early will require a more robust savings account than if you were to retire at a more typical age, so calculate how much more you will need to save in order to retire early. Once you have calculated that figure, ask yourself if it’s realistic that you can save that money and what effect this increased

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emphasis on savings may have on your quality of life between now and the day you’ve targeted for early retirement? If you cannot realistically save enough money or if you have to sacrifice too much to make early retirement happen, then you might want to reconsider this goal. * Accept sacrifices. Making sacrifices with an end goal of early retirement may be easier for younger men and women who have yet to grow accustomed to a certain standard of living. Regardless of their age, however, those who hope to retire early will need to accept that they will have to make certain sacrifices to achieve their goals. These sacrifices can be considerable, such as downgrading to a smaller home, or relatively minor, such as cancelling a cable television subscription, but for the average worker they will be necessary to make early retirement happen. The earlier you can make these sacrifices the easier they will be, as it won’t be as hard to sacrifice something you’re not used to having. In addition, the earlier you make these sacrifices the quicker you will be on the road to early retirement. * Periodically reassess how it’s going. The road to early retirement will have its peaks and valleys, so periodically reassess how your plan is going and if you need to alter the plan in any way to make early retirement a reality. This reassessment should be conducted annually, and you must be completely honest with yourself. If the plan is going off course, determine the

cause and if there’s anything you can do to catch up or if you need to change your targeted retirement date. Early retirement is a goal for many people. And despite the uneasiness many people feel with regard to retirement, early retirement can become a reality for diligent men and women who develop a plan and stick to that plan in the years to come.

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Financial Considerations For Those Nearing Retirement Retirement can simultaneously excite and distress men and women as they approach the day when they end their careers. Anticipating the freedom can be exciting, while concerns about maintaining financial independence can be stressful. Though there are no guarantees that men and women who prioritize retirement planning will not outlive their finances, those who do arrange their priorities in such a manner are far more likely to enjoy a comfortable retirement without worrying

about their finances. As men and women approach retirement age, certain steps with regard to preparing for retirement can put them in position to enjoy their golden years to the fullest. * Assess your resources. An honest assessment of your assets will help you determine a retirement lifestyle you can afford. Assets can include any property you own, investments, savings, and retirement accounts. Your property may be your biggest financial asset, but unless you plan to

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and the same, then you did a great job planning for retirement. If they are slightly or significantly different, then look for ways to close that gap. If necessary, consult with a financial planner, who might be able to help turn your dream retirement into a reality. Closing the gap between your dream retirement and the one you can afford to live may require you to work an extra year or two, so be prepared to make that decision if need be. * Plan on continuing to grow your money. Just because you’re retiring does not mean your money has to stop working as well. You will still need to combat inflation during your golden years, so plan on continuing to grow your money even after you retire. Though it’s best to reduce investment risks as you age, many retirees still need to keep a toe in the investment waters. Find a balance you’re comfortable with so your money continues to grow, but be conservative at the same time. As you grow older, continue to reduce your risk. While conventional wisdom long suggested retirees should completely eliminate risk from their portfolios, today’s retirees are living longer than ever before, so you likely can’t afford to follow the advice of yesteryear. As retirement draws closer, men and women must start making important financial decisions to ensure their nest eggs can support the lifestyles they want to live throughout their golden years.

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sell that property or take out a reverse mortgage, then you won’t be able to rely on that property to fund your lifestyle. When assessing resources, keep in mind that you might have to pay potentially steep taxes when attempting to access any retirement accounts, such as a 401(k). Factor in any such taxes when assessing your retirement resources. * Make a list of your monthly expenses. Once you have assessed your resources, make a list of your monthly bills. Mortgage payments, healthcare costs, taxes, and food are among the essentials, while additional expenses like travel and entertainment will need to be factored in as well. When considering monthly expenses, keep in mind that some of those expenses, including mortgage payments and commuting costs, will likely disappear, while others, including healthcare costs, are likely to increase significantly. Once you have assessed your resources and expenses, you can then begin to paint a picture of the retirement lifestyle you can afford to live. * Compare the lifestyle you want to live versus the one you can afford to live. Considering your finances several years before you retire affords you the opportunity to make changes if you determine the retirement you can afford does not exactly match up with the retirement you want to live. After you have figured out what you can afford, compare that lifestyle to the one you hope to live. If they are one

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Volunteering Opportunities for Retirees Today’s retirees recognize that an active retirement tends to be more rewarding than simply sitting around the house, and that attitude is reflected in the vast number of retirees who volunteer with various nonprofit organizations and other programs across the globe. The following are a handful of volunteering opportunities for those retirees who want to give back and make the most of their retirements. Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds and repairs homes for people in need. It has a program titled “Care-A-Vanners” in which volunteers typically spend two weeks traveling around the United States and Canada in rented RVs (retirees who own RVs may be able to drive their own vehicles) building and restoring homes. Volunteers must pay their own way and bring along their own supplies, such as work shoes, gloves, tool belts, and some tools (power tools are typically provided by the local Habitat for Humanity chapter), and free or low-cost RV parking is provided by Habitat for Humanity. Adventurous retirees who enjoy hitting the open road may find “Care-AVanners” matches their love of travel with their desire to give back. Work with children Many retirees, especially those without grandchildren or who live far away from their grandchildren, find volunteering with children to be especially rewarding. The opportunities to work with kids are numerous, and retirees can choose a volunteering

opportunity where their own life experiences come in handy. For example, retirees who worked in the medical field might want to volunteer their time at a local children’s hospital, where they can assist families as they cope with a child’s illness and spend time with the children themselves, whether’s it’s tutoring sick children, reading them stories or helping them understand their illnesses. Retirees with considerable experience in the business world may want to work with a mentoring program that matches them up with career-minded youngsters.

Meals on Wheels Retirees tend to have their mornings and afternoons free, making them ideal candidates to volunteer with programs such as Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit organization devoted to delivering nutritious meals to those with limited mobility who are unable to prepare their own meals.

These pioneers learned how to use objects that are now an integral part of our

daily lives: microwave ovens, disposable razors, Velcro, scanners, bar codes, chip cards, fiber optics, computers, GPS, and the Internet. Boomers saw the conquest of space and the first human steps on the moon, the appearance of the contraceptive pill and in vitro fertilization, and the first successful heart transplant operation. Baby boomers were there when television become a fixture of life; they watched it go from black and white to color and from analogue to digital and from huge cabinets to small flat screens—and don’t forget the advent of the now-ubiquitous remote control! Boomers saw film go to video recorders to digital recorders and they saw music go from radio to compact discs and then to MP3 players. They saw rotary telephones become smart phones. Who knows what they will witness next!

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Developments have changed the way we communicate, travel, and entertain ourselves. Progress in agriculture and food production, as well as in science and medicine, has given us a longer lifespan and made daily living easier and more comfortable. All of this has taken place under the guidance of the endlessly curious and high-performing baby boomer generation.

Disaster relief Disaster relief programs may be less predictable than more routine volunteer programs, but retirees often make great volunteers at disaster relief sites. Unlike work-

ing professionals who cannot travel to disaster relief sites without ample planning ahead of time, retirees often find the flexibility of retirement allows them to pitch in when an unforesee natural disaster strikes and volunteers are needed seemingly overnight. Many disaster relief programs need volunteers who are certified in CPR or have other unique lifesaving skills, but even retirees without such skills can help by handling supplies or by comforting and assisting survivors of natural disasters.

Service vacations Retirement is often seen as a time to travel and see the world, and many retirees have started to combine that love of travel with service opportunities. Globe Aware, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, develops short-term volunteer programs in international environments. Each activity aims to promote cultural awareness and promote sustainability in needy communities. Volunteers work to address issues identified by the host communities as particularly pressing, interacting with the local residents in ways that are often impossible on more traditional vacations.

Boomers Watched the World Evolve Today it seems like a ridiculous fantasy, but not so long ago we thought we’d be flying in our cars by the twenty-first century. Not all of our predictions were so wild and premature, though. Baby boomers have had the good fortune to be witness to a continual parade of discoveries, inventions, and technological advances which have changed our daily lives forever. And it’s not over yet!

The program delivers more than one million meals per day across the United States, and Canada has its own meal delivery programs as well. Many Meals on Wheels volunteers are retirees, who can decide their level of involvement upon volunteering.


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These Are Not Your Grandmother’s Retirement Homes As the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement age, there has been an increased demand for services that meet the needs of this segment of the population. Amenities such as active-living communities that boast top-of-the-line features typically are the first things individuals seek. Age-restricted, 55-plus communities cater to what the name implies -- people who are age 55 and older. However, these home developments are a far cry from what they used to be. Now they rival some of the best resorts in their features and are designed entirely around the needs of a group of active, amenity driven people. Plus, considering there now are more Americans age 65 and older than in any other point in history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, developers understand the benefits of catering to this group of people. Therefore, there are more highend active-living communities now than ever before. There are many choices with regard to active adult retirement communities. Many of these developments boast everything from detached, single-family homes to villas to condominiums. These residences are built with the active adult in mind. Here are some of the benefits that these communities boast. Community companionship Due to the age-restricted nature of active-adult-home-developments, the residents are all in a similar age range, and may have similar interests. At a time in life

when friendships from work may waver due to retirement, and older children may be busy with their own lives, these communities can help foster new friendships. Whether through community-sponsored activities or just through home proximity, residents can enjoy one another’s company and never worry about feeling lonely into their retirement years. Low- or no-maintenance living One of the biggest attractions to activeadult living is that these homes are built to provide worry-free living. Included in the home ownership fees are provisions to take care of much of the interior and exterior maintenance. That means should a pipe leak or the lawn needs mowing, maintenance staff rather than the homeowner will handle the problem. This peace of mind enables residents to pursue interests rather than worry about the upkeep on their homes. Many times the community is expertly manicured, helping to create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

built are often created with recreation in mind. There can be walking paths or areas for cycling. Pools and spas are often part of the living package as well. Security Individuals who are no longer bogged down with work requirements may be more likely to take vacations or go visiting. In a traditional home, there may be worries about leaving the home unattended for a period of time. However, in 55-plus residences, homes may be in gated communities or have security patrols. Also, the sheer number of homes in a townhouse-style building can camouflage homes that are currently vacant, easing the minds of those who are planning on going away.

Concierge services Some of the more exclusive communities may have staff who can help with everything from booking vacations to helping with moving details. There also are developments that offer transitional homes, and someone may be available to help with the transition from an active-style home to one that has nursing staff or assisted living offerings at that time in life when it is needed. Active-living communities offer many of the features that recently retired people seek in homes that do not compromise on amenities. Individuals who are looking for comfortable, maintenance-free homes often seek out these developments for the convenience and services they offer.

A ctivity-based fu n Many communities build activities into the living plan. Therefore, there may be a workout room, the game center, exercise classes, movie nights, and many other attractions to keep residents busy. Activeadult communities may be similar to allinclusive vacations and cruises in that they have their own activities coordinator on staff. Should residents prefer solo activities, the property on which these homes are

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Historical Scrapbooks Can Honor Older Relatives There are so many different and creative ways for families to showcase their heritage and honor a grandparent or other special senior. Scrapbooks are one such way to share the life of a special person and indirectly tell the tale of your family history. Very often personal history projects are a part of elementary school curricula, so you may already have the makings of a family tree or a family diary in your home. All it takes is a little more research and some planning to design a scrapbook that can be gifted or kept for generations to enjoy. Begin by making an outline of what you would like to cover in the scrapbook. Perhaps there is a specific event in a grandparent’s life that is worth highlighting, like a military tour of duty or a brief stint in show business. Maybe you would like to present different snapshots in time during his or her life. Either way, planning out the content of the scrapbook will make it easier to gather the necessary elements. Once you’ve settled on a theme, begin your research by interviewing the eventual recipient (he or she doesn’t have to know the reason behind the inquiry). During the interview, take note of key dates and try to establish the mood of the era with supporting materials. For example, you may be able to find samples of advertisements from a correlating period in history or newspaper clippings that can be used to fluff up the content of the book. In the meantime, gather photos that can be used in the scrapbook, which may take some hunting. Prints can be scanned and copied via a desktop scanner at home, or loaded onto a CD or thumb drive and brought to a pharmacy photo kiosk. Some specialty shops can even scan slides or convert stills from film into images. Make sure to make copies of all original prints and be careful not to lose or damage the originals.

Scrapbooks can be made manually with materials purchased anywhere from craft and hobby stores to stationery shops. There are a variety of paper-cutting tools, adhesives, stickers, labels, and stencils that can be used to enhance the look of the scrapbook. There also are computer software programs or online tools through photosharing sites that enable you to upload images and text and design photo books entirely online. Then the finished product can be printed out in a variety of finishes. This method may actually be preferable for those who plan to save the scrapbook or anticipate it being such a big hit that others will want their own copies. Create a digital file of all of your information and copies of images. This way if you ever want to add to the scrapbook or reproduce information in the future you will have all of the information at your fingertips. The scrapbook also will serve as a good source material down the line should future generations want to learn about their ancestors. Scrapbooking is more than just detailing baby’s first birthday or a vacation. This popular pastime can help document the life of a special senior.





The Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks neurons and essentially robs people of their memory and language skills. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are therapies that can slow its neurological impact. Recognizing the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s can encourage people to begin treatments that can stave off some of the more debilitating symptoms of this disease. Though it’s most common among the elderly, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The Mayo Clinic says that the reasons behind the inception and progression of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown. It is believed damage starts a decade or more before problems become evident. Abnormal deposits of proteins begin to form the amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and these formations are the hallmarks of the disease. Oncehealthy neurons gradually begin to lose their efficiency and ability to function and communicate with one another. As more neurons die, entire areas of the brain shrink. The hippocampus, which is the area of the brain essential in forming memories, may soon become compromised. Millions of people in North America are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease and many others will be diagnosed. The following are the most common early signs and symptoms of the disease. * Memory loss: According to the

Alzheimer’s Organization, early memory loss can include forgetting important dates or repeatedly asking for the same information. Forgetting recently learned information and having to rely increasingly on memory aids is another potential indicator of Alzheimer’s. * Declining cognition: Impaired reasoning or judgment, trouble finding the right words and visual and spatial issues also may be early indicators of Alzheimer’s. * Difficulty completing familiar tasks: Those with Alzheimer’s sometimes have trouble driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules to a favorite game. People who were once good with numbers may now have difficulty balancing their checkbooks, while those who love to cook may have trouble following recipes. * Time confusion: Another indicator of Alzheimer’s disease is losing track of time. One may have trouble understanding something that isn’t happening in the present. Alzheimer’s sufferers often forget where they are and how they got there. * Misplacing items: Everyone loses something at a point in time, but those with Alzheimer’s may put items in unusual places. They may sometimes accuse others of stealing when they cannot retrace their steps and find items. * Decreased judgment: Decisionmaking abilities may be compromised. A person with Alzheimer’s may take unnecessary risks or give away sums of money. * Mood changes: People with

Alzheimer’s may suffer from confusion, suspicious feelings, depression and anxiety. A person may upset easily or become anxious outside of his or her comfort zones. Age and family history of Alzheimer’s disease are the biggest risk factors. The liklihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65, says the Alzheimer’s Organization. In addition, those with a parent, child or sibling who

have developed Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease than people with no such family history. A physical and neurological exam, which may include blood tests and brain imaging, will be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals can learn more by making appointments with their doctors.

Baby Boomers Are in Better Shape Than Ever Their legs may not run quite as fast as when they were young, but many seniors are in as good a shape now as they were in their twenties and thirties. That can’t be said about all generations! Baby boomers are invading gyms in increasing numbers, motivated by the intention to add a few years to their lives — and to add life to those years. Zumba, spinning, muscle toning, yoga, Pilates, and other physical activities are extremely popular with this clientele, who are equally passionate about walking, swimming, hik-

Do you know someone aged 50 or more who is in good shape and does some form of physical activity several times a week? Why not ask them to be your health mentor or, even better, your sports partner? Your age difference will foster healthy competition and the partnership can help you reach your objectives. You’ll also benefit from their advice as tried and true sports enthusiasts. They can help you stay motivated, avoid injury, dress appropriately, and eat and drink properly. Soon, you’ll see that getting older can be a real pleasure.

ing, cycling, snowshoeing, and the list goes on. Busy young adults often look at these active seniors with surprise and wonder: what on earth has gotten into these enthusiastic athletes who seem to knock over all the stereotypes about old people? Maybe the answer lies in their quest for good health or the feeling of well-being that physical activity brings. Perhaps it’s just that they now have time to pursue such things at their leisure.

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Medicare is The Best Care if You Are Age 65 or Older By Kim Ehlers Social Security Management Support Specialist in Norfolk, Nebraska

B, C, and D. Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it was earned by working and paying Social Security taxes. Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Most people pay a premium for Part B. Part C (Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization. These plans include all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage as part of the plan, and may include extra benefits and services for an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on your state, private insurer, and whether you select a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization. Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for extra help from Social Security to pay the premium and deductible. To see if you qualify for extra help visit

If you are age 65 or older and haven’t signed up for Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), now is the time to consider doing so. The general enrollment period for Medicare Part B runs from January 1 through March 31 each year. Before you make a decision about general enrollment, we want to share some important information. Remember: Most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B when they become eligible. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you first become eligible, you may have to wait until the general enrollment period, which is January 1 through March 31 of each year. At that time, you may have to pay a higher Medicare Part B premium. What is Medicare? Medicare is health insurance for people receiving Social Security who are age 65 or older or those who have received Social Security disability benefits for more than two years. Some people are covered only by one of the four parts of Medicare; others opt to pay extra for more coverage. Understanding Medicare can save you money; here are the facts. The four parts of Medicare are parts A,

Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65, and there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. In 2014, the premium for most people is $104.90, the same as it was in 2013. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. Your Medicare Part B premium also can be higher if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, also known as your initial enrollment period. There also is a Medicare Part B deductible of $147 in 2014. You can delay your Medicare Part B enrollment without having to pay higher premiums if you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member. You can sign up for Medicare Part B without paying higher premiums: In any month you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member; or Within eight months after your employment or group health plan coverage ends, whichever comes first.

part of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, your Medicare benefits are not changing. You do not need to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. For more information about the Marketplace, visit For more information about Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, visit Or read our publication on Medicare at

If you are disabled and working (or you have coverage from a working family member), the same rules apply. It’s important to note that people who have Medicare coverage are not affected by the Affordable Care Act. Medicare is not a

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft Many people become victims of identity theft every year. More than 17,000 people lost $13 million due to this type of crime in 2011 alone. It is impossible to prevent identity theft completely, but we can reduce the risks. Swindlers use the telephone, e-mail, fax, and even the regular mail to achieve their goals. Be on your guard any time you are asked for personal information, such as your name, birthdate, address, social insurance number, credit card number, or any other private information. Be cautious, ask



Your personal identification number (PIN) should never be divulged for any reason. Think about changing the PIN for your credit or debit card on a regular basis. Above all, don’t use your date of birth for your PIN. And all documents containing personal or financial information, such as bills and bank and credit card statements, should be thoroughly shredded before they are put in the garbage or recycling.

Social networks are particularly attractive to swindlers. Your new “friends” may not be as they appear. The fewer details you give about your private life, the better. Never give your telephone number or address through a social network. If you have to give personal information on the Internet, such as for the purchase of something, ensure that the site is secure. Verify that the “https://” is still present in the URL and look for the padlock icons that promise a secure Internet transaction.

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Gary L. Emory

Norfolk, NE Office: 402-379-4264 Toll-Free: 866-201-3265




What You Can Do to Speed up Your Disability Application By Mike McWilliams Operations Supervisor in Norfolk If your disabling condition is preventing you from continuing to work, you may want to apply for disability benefits through Social Security. In most cases, doing so involves a thorough process of determining your eligibility, medical condition, and ability to work. Because we look carefully at so many cases — more than three million each year — it can take us three to five months to determine whether you are eligible. Processing times on that initial claim can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on: the nature of your disability; how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor and other medical sources; and whether we need to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim. There are things you can do to help speed up the process. The more information you provide up front, the less time it will take us to obtain the evidence we need — and the faster your claim may be processed. What type of information do we need? •Any medical records or documentation you have is helpful. We can make copies of the records you have and return your originals; •The names, addresses, and phone numbers for any doctors, medical facilities, treatment centers, or providers related to your disabling condition; •The names, addresses, and phone numbers for previous employers and the dates worked for each employer; •Workers’ compensation information, including the settlement agreement, date of injury, claim number, and proof of other disability benefits awarded; •Names and dates of birth of your minor children and your spouse; •Dates of marriages and divorces (if any); •Checking or savings account number, and the bank’s 9-digit routing number, so we

can deposit your payment electronically; and •Name, address, and phone number of a person we can contact if we are unable to get in touch with you. If this disability application is for a child, we need the name, address, phone number of the schools attended and any school records you can provide. In addition, provide the name, address and phone number of an additional responsible adult who can assist in the claim process for the child in case you are unavailable or unreachable. We also ask you to sign release forms that give us permission to obtain the information needed from third parties to make a decision on your claim. The best place to start is online at, select Disability tab. There, you’ll find more information. You can apply online for disability benefits (the easiest method), or you can make an appointment by phone or in a Social Security office. The choice is yours. (For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you cannot apply online, but you still can complete the Disability Report to prepare for the interview and speed-up the processing time.) If you’re considering an application for disability benefits, the place to go is If you are still disabled when you reach your full retirement age, we will convert your disability benefits to a retirement benefit at the same amount. You are eligible to receive Medicare after you have received disability benefits for 24 months. SSA reviews your case at regular intervals to make sure you are still disabled?

Direct Deposit

With direct deposit, you can depend on your payment arriving in your account on time, every time. If you do not already have direct deposit, there are good reasons to sign up. For one, less money and time spent driving to the bank to cash your check helps you save. Second, fewer paper checks, envelopes, and stamps, and less fuel to deliver the checks mean less waste and pollution for the environment. With direct deposit, you know your payment will be in your account on time no matter what. When on vacation, direct deposit ensures payments will be deposited into your account on time, so there is no reason to worry about the safety of your benefit or to ask a neighbor to look out for your check when you are away. To learn more about Direct Deposit of your benefit payments and to sign up, visit our website at

Receive Updates by email

Social Security periodically changes the content and look of the website to better serve you and keep you informed on developments regarding: Emergency information Disability Research Press Releases Social Security News and more You can sign up to receive free emails that let you know when your favorite web pages have been updated. You can tell us how often you wish to be notified (immediately, daily, weekly, or monthly). Email updates are a free service from Your email address will only be used to register you for email notifications and allow you to access your account.

Reimer Law Office P.C., L.L.O. Representing claimants who have been denied on claims for Social Security Disability and SSI. NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN. 128 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk 101378

Warren L. Reimer

402-371-5640 • 800-686-4479

Kimberly F. Long



Aging Can Impair Driving Ability The number of drivers 70 and over is predicted to triple in North America over the next 20 years. Research indicates that the older a person is, the higher the risk of driver accident or fatality. The risk posed by older drivers and the inevitable increase in older drivers on the road over the next two decades has sparked debate as to whether or not such drivers should be reexamined to ensure safety on the road? In 2003, an 86-year-old man unintentionally killed 10 people and injured more than 70 when he drove his car through a crowded farmer’s market in Santa Monica, Calif. In 2010, a 72-year-old Connecticut man faced vehicular manslaughter charges for allegedly striking and killing a motorcyclist. In 2012, an elderly man in Buffalo, N.Y. caused an accident resulting in three fatalities when he traveled in the wrong direction on the New York State Thruway. Very frequently the local news is peppered with reports of elderly drivers causing serious accidents. Some wonder if more strin-

gent requirements for elderly drivers would help the situation. Thirty-three states presently have legislation in place to ensure drivers can retain driving privileges once they reach a certain age. It’s important to note that, according to the National Safety Council, drivers over the age of 75 account for only 3.3 percent of accidents in the United States. Drivers age 25 to 34 account for the largest number of accidents, at nearly 20 percent. Some argue that these findings do not paint an accurate picture because senior drivers spend far less time behind the wheel and log fewer miles than younger drivers, reducing the chance for accidents. Though the debate about older drivers figures to remain a hot topic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that aging can affect drivers in a number of ways. The physical and mental changes that accompany aging can have a profound impact on a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Reaction

Staying Viable In The Workplace Hiring expert Ira Wolfe says that never before have so many generations worked side by side. Sharing cubicles and staff rooms across the country are what he refers to as Generation Y (under age 30), Generation X (30-46), Baby Boomers (4664), and the Veterans (born before 1946). Seen optimistically, the combination is synergistic, bringing a complementary collection of views and values to industry and services. On the down side, those same values cause friction and can be counterproductive. The reality is that the veteran and baby boomer cohorts are staying at work longer, because the doldrums of retirement repel them or because a longer lifespan means they need to keep revenue coming in for longer. Either way, the lightning fast development of technology means the digitalized workplace can leave the older genera-

tions feeling out of the loop and passed over when it comes to exciting job challenges. And as more jobs become automated or redundant, the pressure is on to keep up with the times and justify one’s relevance on the labor scene.

times may be slower, hearing and vision loss may affect driver awareness, loss of muscle strength and flexibility can make steering more difficult and medication can impair focus and/or concentration. Many senior centers and organizations offer programs that allow elderly drivers to brush up on their skills behind the wheel. Drivers also can contact their insurance companies to see if there are any sponsored classes they can take to reassess their skills and possibly lower their insurance premiums. AAA offers a Driver Improvement

There are three ways for boomers to keep up with things, according to Wolfe. Older people can help themselves by finding a youthful and savvy technology mentor, for one. They can continue their skills development through on-the-job training opportunities and online or classroom courses. And they can rework their CVs to highlight any technology aspects that show they are ready to integrate into the fast moving digital workplace. It is selfdefeating, he says, to pretend that life experience alone is enough to make a case for relevance on the job.

course and suggests seniors find a car they can safely and comfortably operate. AAA also offers Roadwise Rx, a free online tool that provides confidential, individualized feedback about medication side effects and how these drugs may impact drivers on the road. AARP also offers a Driver Safety course. It also is important that senior drivers and their families familiarize themselves with local legislation to determine if driver refresher courses or retesting are necessary for older drivers to remain behind the wheel.

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Seniors are Targets of Charitable Fraud Donating money to charity is one of the most selfless things a person can do. Unfortunately, criminals can easily prey on these selfless acts, using a person’s desire to help the less fortunate for their own personal gain. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, seniors should be especially mindful of fraud schemes. That’s because seniors are considered easy targets for criminals for a number of reasons. The FBI notes that seniors are most likely to have a nest egg and an exceptional credit rating, making them very attractive to criminals. What’s more, seniors are more likely to be ashamed if they feel they have been victimized and therefore are less prone to report the fraud. But seniors should know that con artists don’t discriminate when it comes to their victims, and people of all ages are victimized each and every year, particularly during the holiday season when men and women most commonly donate. Before donating to charity this year, older donors should take the following precautions to reduce their risk of being victimized by con artists posing as charities. * Get off the phone. Seniors are commonly victimized by con artists over the phone. No reputable charity will want you to donate over the telephone. Instead, the charity will want you to familiarize

yourself with their mission and history and then make a donation based on your research. If a caller wants you to donate over the phone, simply request they mail you information about the charity and then hang up. If they’re a reputable charity, this should not be a problem. If the caller continues to pressure you for a donation over the phone, just hang up. A caller soliciting a donation might be a con artist, an employee of a for-profit fundraiser or an employee of the charity itself. Ultimately, if you decide to make a donation, don’t do so over the phone. Instead, send that donation directly to the charity to ensure the charity receives the entire donation, instead of a portion going toward a fundraiser. * Don’t feel pressured. No reputable charity pressures prospective donors into making contributions. That’s because they don’t need to. A reputable charity can afford to keep its lights on and its programs running with or without your donation. If a caller or a letter is pressuring you to donate, don’t succumb to that pressure and kindly decline to donate. * Don’t let “gifts” pressure you. Another tool employed by con artists or even less reputable charities is to send “gifts” to prospective donors. These can include

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mailing labels or cards. The hope is that recipients will feel pressured into donating once they receive a gift. However, a charity that is worth a donation does not need to resort to such tactics, which are a waste of resources as well as a dishonest way to solicit donations. Seniors should not feel compelled to donate because they received free mailing labels. * Verify all information. Con artists are especially good at impersonating a reputable charity, sending e-mails with a well known charity’s logo but a link that directs donors to a different Web site entirely. Never make a donation without first verifying a charity’s information, including how your donation will be used and how much of the charity’s budget goes toward the services and programs it provides. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping givers make smart donating decisions, recommends donors give to charities that direct at least 75 percent of their budget on programs and services related to their mission. To avoid donating to a fraudulent or unworthy charity, research the charity and make sure your money will be going where you intend it to go. * Save all records of donations. It’s important to save records of any donations

for tax purposes, but it’s also important for seniors to keep records to avoid fraud. Many con artists prey on seniors by pretending to represent charities seniors have donated to in the past. By keeping records of all past donations, seniors can easily verify if they have donated to a specific charity in the past and whether or not the person on the phone or the author of an e-mail or letter is telling the truth.

Financial Planning:

Is It Different for Women and Men? The average woman has a career and is financially independent. She keeps informed of her personal financial situation and knows how to take charge if things begin to slip out of control. Women often do their own planning and don’t hesitate to explore new ways to make investments, such as online investing. However, women’s financial goals often differ to those of men. Generally speaking, their risk tolerance is lower. That is partly because of scarcity: a woman’s average salary is still only equivalent to about 80 percent of a man’s average salary. Coupled with maternity leave and the need to miss more work days because of family responsibilities, they accumulate fewer savings

than men during their active working lives. In fact, because of absences from the workforce, women accumulate ten years’ less salary than men! They also tend to live longer than men, which increases their need for retirement savings. And emergency funds are particularly important for women who may have need of extra reserves when required to be absent from the workplace. All this means that women, in general, tend to be more careful with the resources that they have. It also means that it is in the best interest of women to plan their retirements earlier and more carefully than men do.






How to Properly Store Personal Records Certain personal and financial documents need to be kept for security and other purposes, while some documents can be discarded immediately. Documents that must be kept often include sensitive information, which means they shouldn’t be stored haphazardly. Options for maintaining important records continue to evolve, but caution still must reign supreme when storing potentially sensitive documents. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly 10 million people have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft occurs when criminals use another person’s personal information, such as his or her name, credit card numbers or social security number, without permission. Sensitive information can be lifted from personal effects stored in a person’s home

or from items delivered to a mailbox. Here are some ways to keep information private and out of the hands of potential thieves. * Sort your documents. When sorting documents, which should be done regularly, determine which include sensitive information and move them aside. Bills and other papers that do not reveal much may be stored in a regular filing system, but documents that contain sensitive information should be kept in more secure locations. * Invest in a durable, fireproof safe. Store sensitive documents, including social security cards, marriage certificates, birth certificates, travel documents, life insurance policies, and mortgage paperwork, in a durable, fireproof safe. If you prefer to keep these items off-premises, keep them under

How Long to Store Certain Documents * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bank statements - One year, unless needed to support tax filings Birth certificates - Forever Contracts - Until updated Credit card records - Until paid, unless needed to support tax filings Education documents - Forever Home records - As long as you own the property Investment certificates - Until sold or cashed in Life insurance records - Forever Military service records - Forever Tax records - Seven years from filing date Vehicle titles - Until the vehicle is sold Will - Until the will is updated

Pre-Planning Your Funeral Arrangements

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lock and key in a bank safety deposit box. * Organize your documents and maintain that organization. Be sure to carefully label all boxes or cabinets in which important documents are stored. Create a filing system that works for your needs. You may want to organize the papers by date, type of document or your own coding method. Think about cross-referencing your tangible files with a master list so you’ll know the exact location of certain documents when you need them. * Consider digital storage. Various programs that work with a scanner or camera can now capture images of important paperwork and then convert these images into digital files that can be tagged and categorized. The information is then stored digitally on a computer and can be

retrieved with a few clicks of the mouse. Computers that are used to store personal information should be password-protected. Never share potentially sensitive documents via email or through nonencrypted communication methods. Otherwise you risk information being stolen by hackers. When documents are stored digitally, make sure you keep backup versions. These can be kept on external hard drives or uploaded to secure servers. Should anything happen to your computer, you will have the backup version of your important files. * Shred documents when the time comes. Every file does not have to be kept forever. When discarding documents, put them through a paper shredder before recycling or putting them in the trash.

Preparing the Path to Our Final Resting Place Whether it’s to mourn the death of a loved one or to celebrate their life, funeral rites are becoming more and more numerous and diversified. How can we know a person’s last wishes for their final journey? In order to prevent the people we leave behind having to go through the long and painful task of organizing everything, why not plan ahead and prearrange your own funeral? Prearranged funerals are contracts and are, therefore, governed by rules and regulations. For that reason, it is important to take your time and shop around before signing anything. In this way, you are sure of receiving the best possible service at the best possible price. A prearranged funeral contract includes the funeral service, the burial or the cremation, the purchase of a casket or an urn, the purchase of a headstone, any other

details of the ceremony including instructions as to how it will unfold (viewing of the body or not, open or closed casket, religious or civil ceremony, etc), and the transportation of the casket to the church. The purchase and the upkeep of the final resting place, that’s to say the place where the body or the ashes will be placed, whether it’s in a cemetery, a columbarium or a mausoleum, are part of the burial service contract which should accompany the prearranged funeral contract. It is also important to know that this contract can be modified, if necessary, once it has been signed but that most changes will entail additional costs. Remember that the funeral service is an opportunity for your next of kin to celebrate your life on Earth and to say their final goodbyes. These rituals should therefore be in your image and respect your final wishes.



Now Is The Time To Prepare For Tax Season By Mike McWilliams Social Security District Manager in Norfolk, Nebraska Wise taxpayers may want to take advantage of winter months indoors to prepare for tax filing season this spring. Whether you are a small business owner, a retiree, or a new parent, here are some Social Security tax tips that may help you. Are Social Security benefits taxable? Yes, for some people with higher incomes. About one third of those receiving Social Security benefits must pay taxes on some of their Social Security benefits, depending on the amount of their taxable income. Learn more at taxes.htm. Will I get a tax form for my Social Security benefits? Yes. Beneficiaries should receive their Social Security Benefit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2013 on or before January 31, 2014. If you receive Social Security and don’t receive your 1099 by the end of January, you can request one online at We had a baby in 2013. Does our child need a Social Security number? Yes. Most people apply for their baby’s Social Security number while they’re still in the hospital at the same time they register for the birth certificate. But if you didn’t, you’ll need to apply for your child’s Social Security number before you file your tax return in order to claim the child as a dependent. You’ll also need it if you ever apply for government benefits on behalf of your child or your family. Learn more

about Social Security cards and numbers at I changed my name when I got married last year. Do I need to report it to Social Security? Yes. If you’ve legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order, or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security, as well as with your employer. If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded and you may not get all the benefits you are entitled to when you become eligible for Social Security in the future. Failing to change your name on your Social Security record could also cause a delay in your receipt of any federal income tax refund. You can learn more about your Social Security number and how to change your name at I own a small business. Can I report my employees’ W-2s to Social Security electronically? Yes, and we encourage you to do just that at Filing your W-2s electronically is free, fast, and secure! Plus there’s an added bonus: when you file electronically, you receive an extra month to file because electronically filed W-2s aren’t due until March 31. You’ll also receive an electronic receipt. And when you enter your W-2 information online, you can simultaneously print out the W-2s for your employees. Learn more at Does Social Security have any tips at this time of year for those filing their taxes?

Yes. We encourage you to carefully check: your name, Social Security number, and all data on your W-2s; your online Social Security Statement; and your Social Security card to make sure they all match. If you don’t have access to your card or Statement but know your Social Security number, make sure the number and information is correct on your W-2s. A mismatch could delay your tax refund and

cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future. Such errors are much easier to fix early on. If you do notice an error, contact Social Security at 1-800-7721213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or if the information on the W-2 is incorrect, notify your employer. For more information about Social Security, visit us at

Finance, Taxes and Insurance

Ingredients for a Worry-free Financial Life! Are you one of those people who are easily worried about their finances? With the present economic situation, it’s becoming more and more complex and difficult to efficiently manage our finances, our estate and our investments. This can be a real headache, a task which some people can lose sleep over. There is no magic formula to transform the management of our finances into an easy and foolproof undertaking. But consulting competent professionals can certainly help to simplify things and make them less onerous. What kind of professionals are we talking about? Perhaps a good financial advisor or planner can help you sort out your financial situation and take the necessary

measures either to correct a difficult situation or to help you achieve your objectives. An efficient accountant will assist you in the sensible management of your affairs while limiting the amount of income taxes to be paid. A reputable financial institution will be able to meet your credit needs, offering the right product for your particular situation. Other resources could also be of use: a good insurance broker to give you the protection you need as well as a real estate agent who can advise and help you during the purchase or the sale of your home. Together, all these people, all these resources, can provide you with a valuable support system and can greatly simplify the management of your finances. This is the road to take to avoid problems... and to get a good night’s sleep.

Dreaming Up

the Ideal Retirement Is Your Job. Helping You Get There Is Ours. It’s simple, really. How well you retire depends on how well you plan today. Whether retirement is down the road or just around the corner, the more you work toward your goals now, the better prepared you can be. Preparing for retirement means taking a long-term perspective. We recommend buying quality investments and holding them because we believe that’s the soundest way we can help you work toward your goals. At Edward Jones, we spend time getting to know your retirement goals so we can help you reach them.

To learn more about why Edward Jones makes sense for you, call or visit today.

Tonya Bousquet, AAMS 2100 Market Lane Suite 300 Norfolk, NE 68701 Phone 402-371-9072 877-371-9072


Brad Pflueger, AAMS 434 Norfolk Ave. P.O. Box 39 Norfolk, NE 68702 Phone 402-371-1703 877-379-1703

Paula Pflueger, AAMS 434 Norfolk Ave. P.O. Box 39 Norfolk, NE 68702 Phone 402-371-1703 877-379-1703

Jon R. Hansen 2501 Lakeridge Dr. Suite A Norfolk, NE 68701 Phone 402-371-9761 888-371-9772

Chase Pflueger, AAMS 1317 W. Pasewalk Ave. Suite 100 Norfolk, NE 68701 Phone 402-379-7913 855-379-7913

Kent Friedrich, AAMS 1103 Riverside Blvd. Norfolk, NE 68701 Phone 402-379-0243 877-379-0243

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Generations 2014  

Living Well is What It's All About