retirement plan

The Safest/Practical Places To Store Your Will

A Will can be stored in your home in a personal safe, a locked filing cabinet, or in another safe location. If you store your Will in a location that requires a combination, password, or key for entry, be sure to share that information with someone you trust, such as your spouse, your adult children, or your attorney.

Storing Your Will With An Attorney

Many estate attorneys and personal attorneys are able to store your Will in a secure location in his or her office.  If you choose to store it with your attorney, be sure to tell your family that you’ve done so.  Hugg & Associates, PLLC

Safe Deposit Box

Unless the box is jointly managed (and your survivors are authorized to access the safe deposit box), likely a bank requires a court order to access the box.  There is nothing wrong with this, however, there may be an extra step or two in the probate process.

Informing People Where Your Will Is Stored

Wherever you store your Will, make sure that important people you trust—your spouse, adult children, attorney, etc…—know where it’s located so that they can easily locate and access the document when the time comes.

Hopefully you already have your comprehensive plan covering finances, legal, housing and care stored in place.  If you don’t have a comprehensive plan yet, this is the time to get started.  Do some homework and seek out professional assistance.

Will

retirement plan

Facebook Could Be Associated With a Longer Life

Over the past decade there’s been a lot of hand-wringing over what all the screen time on Facebook and other social media might be doing to our health.  But according to a new paper, time spent on social media could be associated with a longer life.  The paper, published in the journal PNAS on Monday, asserts that the health effects of active online social lives largely mirror the benefits of busy offline social lives.  “We find that people with more friends online are less likely to die than their disconnected counterparts,” the paper says.  “This evidence contradicts assertions that social media have had a net-negative impact on health.”  The study’s methods are detailed at length in the paper, and it was approved by three university and state review boards.

But skeptics will note that Facebook itself was closely involved with the paper.  William Hobbs, 29, a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University, worked at Facebook as a research intern in 2013. Another of the paper’s authors, Moira Burke, worked on it in her capacity as a research scientist at Facebook.  Mr. Hobbs, who conducted the research while he was a doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, said Facebook had not interfered with the results of the paper.

The study was based on 12 million social media profiles made available to the researchers by Facebook, as well as records from the California Department of Health.  It found that “moderate use” of Facebook was associated with the lowest mortality rate, and that receiving friend requests correlated with reduced mortality, but that sending friend requests did not.

So if you find yourself spending hours on Facebook, you no longer need to feel unproductive because you could be extending the length of your life.  If you would like to visit our Facebook page, click here Hugg & Associates.

retirement plan

New Lawsuit Threatens Nursing Home Patients

In late September, nursing home patients and their families got a legal leg up when a federal agency finalized a rule that would assist them in suing nursing facilities when things go wrong.  Now nursing homes and assisted living providers are fighting back.

Industry lobby groups American Health Care Association and the Mississippi Health Care Association, along with four other nursing home and assisted living service providers, filed a class action lawsuit on Monday in Mississippi federal court, challenging the new rule rolled out at the end of September by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The final rule, which is set to go into effect in November, would ban nursing homes and assisted living facilities from forcing patients and their families into private arbitration to resolve disputes — a practice that keeps such conflicts out of the court system.  The long-awaited rule would only apply to new contracts, and only to facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid — although that is nearly all of them.  Although the rule would bar nursing homes from using forced arbitration clauses, it does leave the door open for facilities and consumers to enter into voluntary arbitration agreements.

Monday’s lawsuit claims that in rolling out the rule, two federal regulators — Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Andrew M. Slavitt, the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — overstepped their authority.

The industry groups claim that neither organization has the power to regulate alternative dispute resolution procedures, and that the rule runs afoul of the Federal Arbitration Act.  “Long-term care facilities and their residents and residents’ families should not be deprived of the ability to choose arbitration, a valuable form of dispute resolution,” according to the lawsuit.

We’ll have to see how all this plays out in court.  However, just know that many contracts will have an arbitration provision in them and you should understand the full impact of the provision.

retirement plan

Loneliness May Signal Alzheimer’s

SubtAlzheimer'sle feelings of loneliness might warn of impending Alzheimer’s disease in older folks, a new study suggests.

Healthy seniors with elevated brain levels of amyloid — a type of protein fragment associated with Alzheimer’s disease — seem more likely to feel lonely than people with lower levels of amyloid, researchers found.

“For people who have high levels of amyloid — the people truly at high risk for Alzheimer’s — they were 7.5 times more likely to be lonely than non-lonely,” said lead researcher Dr. Nancy Donovan. She’s director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Studies have long shown that people who remain socially active are less likely to develop dementia, Donovan said.

But the results of the new study suggest that that relationship may work the other way around, as well — that people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s might be more apt to feel lonely, or socially detached.

“People who are starting to accumulate amyloid may not be as well-functioning in terms of perceiving, understanding or responding to social stimuli or interactions,” Donovan said. “This could be an early social signal of mental change.”

If this is proven, then doctors might be able to screen for Alzheimer’s by paying closer attention to patients’ emotional health, she suggested.

To examine the relationship between late-life loneliness and Alzheimer’s risk, Donovan and her colleagues examined 43 women and 36 men, average age 76.  All were healthy, with no signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.  The investigators particularly focused on amyloid levels in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perception and thought.  People with high levels of amyloid in the cortex were 7.5 times more likely to be classified as feeling lonely, even after researchers accounted for how socially active they were and whether they suffered from depression or anxiety.

By taking into account the extent of the person’s social network, Donovan’s team showed that seniors who feel isolated or socially detached even when surrounded by friends or family could be at elevated risk for Alzheimer’s.

However, the study doesn’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

If this is substantiated by other larger studies, then a logical question would be, what kind of intervention would result?  If you can impact on this loneliness by creating interventions where people were taken out of their loneliness and engaged in social events, would there be less likelihood of dementia?

retirement plan

Low Investment Returns Require More Savings

The odds of making a 5% return on traditional investments in the next 10 years appears slim, according to a new report from investment advisory firm Research Affiliates.  For most people in or approaching retirement this means one of two things:  save more or live on less.

The company looked at the default settings of 11 retirement calculators, robo-advisers, and surveys of institutional investors.  The average annualized long-term return people seem to expect is 6.2%.  Just over one and half percent would shaved off for inflation.  So the after-inflation return drops to roughly 4.6%.  That’s before taxes.

Over the next decade, according to the report, the ubiquitous 60/40 U.S. portfolio (60% stocks/40% bonds) has a 0% probability of achieving a 5% or greater annualized real return.

One message that John West, head of client strategies at Research Affiliates and a co-author of the report, hopes people will take away is to expect lower returns in the future.

“If the retirement calculators say we’ll make 6 percent or 7 percent, and people saved based on that but only make 3 percent, they’re going to have a massive shortfall,” he said. “They’ll have to work longer or retire with a substantially different standard of living than they thought they would have.”  One reason for this is most people are not equipped to alter their investment mix.  They are either afraid to reallocate funds into different, potentially higher yielding, assets, or they are uninformed as to such options, or both.

Moral of the story:  Since most people’s risk tolerance isn’t likely to change dramatically, the amount you save may have to.