Care Costs in Retirement – Controlling Your Health

It’s no secret that health care becomes a bigger concern for most of us as we grow older. More ailments are likely to develop, which means more money spent to visit health professionals and buy medication. Even if you remain healthy through your later years, the costs of preventative care and preparing for potential unexpected health situations are rising.

Health-related expenses will likely be one of the biggest components of your retirement budget. You need to be prepared to pay for comprehensive insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Here are three strategies to help you manage this critical expense in retirement.

Understand how Medicare works

The good news for Americans age 65 and older is that you qualify for Medicare. That makes increased dependence on health care services more affordable. At age 65, most people automatically qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, which primarily provides coverage for hospital stays and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B must be purchased (approximately $109 per month in 2017 for most retirees). Part B covers the costs of visiting a physician, but with some deductibles. Many people purchase additional coverage to use for out-of-pocket expenses, such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

With Medicare, timing is important. Signing up when you first qualify for coverage will keep costs at the lowest level. If you maintain insurance through your employer after turning 65, you can delay Medicare enrollment without risking late penalties.

If you retire prior to age 65, you will need to purchase insurance on the open market to cover health-related expenses until you become eligible for Medicare. Individual coverage tends to get more expensive as you grow older, so work the cost into your retirement budget. Some employers offer retiree health insurance as a benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if this option is available to you.

Allocate sufficient funds for health care costs

As you develop your retirement income strategy, make sure you have money set aside for health expenses that will be your responsibility. By one estimate, the average 66-year-old couple will need to tap more than half of their lifetime pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Most people will likely have to rely, in part, on their own savings to help offset some medical expenses.

Along with other retirement savings, you may want to establish a health savings account (HSA) during your working years. HSAs are designed to help build tax-advantaged savings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur during your working years. However, any leftover funds can be applied to health expenses later in life, including premiums for Medicare and long-term care insurance. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to open an HSA.

Focus on your own health

One way to potentially keep health care costs under control in retirement is to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today, such as eating right or prioritizing sleep, could reduce the likelihood that medical issues will impact you later in life. Being physically active may also benefit your finances in retirement – according to the American Heart Association, it could potentially help you save $500 a year today on health-related expenses.

Having a plan doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid heath issues, but you may find comfort in knowing how you can tackle health care costs in retirement.

Grow Your Facebook Fans Easily

Social media is so interesting because many of the popular channels come and go. However, there are also some social media channels that have been strong since their inception and they are even stronger than ever now. Facebook is one of those. It started out in a much more limited way than it is now and it is still extremely important to grow your Facebook fans for the benefit of your business and of your brand.

The challenges of Facebook
If you have a Facebook profile and you recognize your need to grow the number of fans that you have, that is challenging enough. On the other hand, if you have created a new page (for example, a new page for your brand), it can be even more challenging. In the past, it may have seemed easier to acquire new fans pretty easily and quickly. The reason that you might have had that perception is because it was easier.

Nowadays, on the other hand, it is much more difficult. The reason for that is, simply put, the volume of your competition. The fact is that if you want to grow your fans (it is safe to assume that you are looking for top-quality, relevant fans), it will take more effort and time on your part than it would have in the past. Of course, it goes without saying that you want to engage your Facebook fans as well. At this point, you may be asking yourself how you go about accomplishing that.

Identify your target audience first: The reality is that before you can do anything, you need to identify exactly who your target audience is and what they want and need. This needs to happen even before you start to use your Facebook profile to increase your number of fans. Of course, you don’t want or need everyone who is on Facebook to be one of the members of your target audience. It is very important that you understand that you must be able to solve the issues that your target audience members are experiencing. If you can’t do that, they are not truly your target audience members.

Use the most appropriate voice: Once you have figured out exactly who are your target audience members, the next thing that you have to do is to establish a connection with them. If you don’t start to interact with your target audience members, you will not be able to establish a relationship with them. As you are probably well aware, the relationship is at the heart of your ability to succeed. When it comes to your content, you need to write with your target audience members in mind. Your content needs to resonate with your target audience. That is how you establish an emotional/human connection.

Engage with your target audience members: When you are considering how to write your content, you also need to consider your environment. In other words, you need to think about how your content will affect people once it is housed in your particular Facebook page. You will notice that some of your content works more effectively than other content. If you have posted content and you see that very few (or no) people have read it, you understand that you should not be posting that type of content because it isn’t working for you. There are several different things that you can post and you will achieve positive results. Some of them are questions (thought-provoking), interesting photos, statements in which the target audience member needs to fill in the blank, and contests in which they would like to participate.

You need to stay with it for the long-term: Although you may not need to invest a large amount of money in your Facebook efforts, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to invest anything. Your investment is in the form of time and effort. If you wish, you can also invest money (in the form of paid advertisements); however, it is not necessary and, in many cases, you will find that you have invested money and those advertisements don’t yield anything. How frustrating is that?

Stay focused and breathe: As you are growing your fans, you must always remember to stay grounded. If you have any chance of relating to your target audience, you will only accomplish that by connecting with them as one human to another. Your ultimate goal (as is the case for everyone) is to sell your product and/or service. However, you can’t be pushy about it. You need to develop the relationship with the other person, fortify it over time, build trust and credibility, and then, eventually, the other person will probably want to buy what you are selling.

Stay committed to your schedule: People love a schedule that they can count on. That means that if you commit to posting your content twice a week on certain days and at certain times, you need to stick with that. Human beings are creatures of habit and they rely on being able to read your content when they expect it to appear online. That isn’t so much to ask (from their perspective) and it will not require a great deal of effort on your part either.

Pay attention to the analytics: Analytics and metrics are extremely important for your business because they give you a clear indication of how you are doing and how you can improve upon what you are doing. You will want to pay attention to specific things and if those things are not working or don’t seem relevant, you will need to refocus your attention elsewhere.

Conclusion
Growing your Facebook fans is very important for your professional success. As is always the case with social media, you will need to make sure that you surround yourself with relevant, top-quality connections with whom you can share a mutually beneficial relationship. If you make the appropriate online connections and you connect with those people on a human level, you can successfully grow your fans without allowing it to hurt your budget too much. However, it is important to understand that it is not enough to simply create a Facebook page and then sit back and wait for people to become fans. You will need to work it. You will then start to see the positive results that you have caused to happen.

Six Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

If you are thinking about the holidays right now and frowning, smooth your face, square your shoulders and take a cleansing breath. A little positive thinking can go a long way in helping you to enjoy the holidays this year instead of agonizing over all the little details. These 6 tips for a stress-free holiday season will start you off on the right foot.

1. Plan ahead. Print out return address labels for cards (I’m really doing it this year – bad hand cramping), update your address book, make room in your front hall closet for guest coats instead of piling them on a bed like usual, and prepare guest rooms ahead of time. Tackling a few of these tasks before you get really busy can make a world of difference.

2. Rethink your gift giving. Cut down on the mad shopping rush and stress of finding exactly what everyone wants this year – consider giving experiences instead of material gifts, and maybe even implement The Four Gift Rule. My extreme-gift-giving mom is actually trying it this year. Thanks, Mom!

3. Keep things simple with food and décor. Stick to your favourite recipes instead of trying something complicated and new, and a simple homemade centrepiece is all you need on your table. Please don’t belittle yourself for not having matching napkins and candleholders! Focus more on the family and friends you are gathering with rather than stressing over too many fussy preparations.

4. Have a few extra gifts on hand. A small stash of thoughtfully wrapped gifts is perfect for unannounced friends or last-minute invites. Choose items that have universal appeal and can be used by you and your family if they are still around come January. Think locally-made condiments, soy candles, handmade chocolates, wine and preserves.

5. Be choosy when it comes to events. This can be tough for social butterflies (my husband) and people who have trouble saying no (me). Only accept invitations to gatherings that are pertinent to the holiday and meaningful to your family. When planning your own event, keep it small and intimate with just a few close friends and relatives. We used to have a big Christmas open house but after a few years, we realized it was too chaotic as we spent most of our time greeting and seeing friends out, refilling glasses and snack bowls, and making sure little ones didn’t trash our house (even if they were adorable). Choose to host big parties at a different time of the year, when there is less going on and you are not so taxed.

6. Live in the now. As you trim the tree or make cookies with your kids, don’t forget to pause and really live in the moment. Don’t worry about what’s still on your to-do list (there’s always something), because before you know it the holiday will be over and you’ll be disappointed that you didn’t make the most of it. Also, carve out some time to do something just for you – take a walk, read your book, have a hot bath – it will go a long way in helping you to keep your sanity during the holidays.

Why Your Company Needs Cyber Privacy Insurance

The universe in which we live in is so very different than how it used to be. Home and personal life has been drastically improved.The general difference in our present lives is particular evident in the manner in which business conducts activities. Technology has taken over virtually every aspect of commercial performance in all industries – worldwide!

With the advancement, however, there remains serious cyber and privacy breach liability. Companies that protect themselves with Cyber and Privacy Insurance can rest assured that they have the necessary coverage in the event of a data breach.

Privacy Claims Instances that Could Very Well Occur to any Business:

• A large healthcare provider partnered with a national merchant to help with its office move. In middle of relocating, the healthcare provider learned there were a number of laptop computers missing. The laptops all contained personal data of members. After consulting with a lawyer and forensic vendors affected parties were notified and offered credit monitoring services. The healthcare provider was investigated and became the defendant in a class action lawsuit. Data breach costs reached $7,000,000 and privacy liability costs came to $2,000,000.

• An online retail shop was hacked and shoppers experienced fraudulent credit card charges. The shop’s tech support employees asked the host web-company to review the stored server data. The web-company discovered a virus and removed it. However, the breach compromised privacy of almost a million records, plus fraudulent usage of 50 credit cards. Besides this, the online shop acquired fines and penalties as a result of not being Payment Card Industry. Data breach costs amounted to $750,000 and privacy liability costs came to $500,000.

• Two employees of a $100 mil retail outlet stole credit card info from a client and fraudulently utilized it for personal shopping. The workers was caught in the act and legal action was taken against them. The retail outlet shop provided credit card monitoring services to its customer (the victimized credit card owner) and provided compensation to her for any related damages. Privacy liability costs amounted to $75,000.

• A $50 million business servicing corporation organized a mailing project for a client and accidentally sent out about 60,000 envelopes displaying account numbers. Data breach costs amounted to $320,000.

• A neighborhood municipality mistakenly posted tax licenses on its website, leading to improper release of personal data. The municipality used forensics services as well as the services of an attorney’s and a public relations company. The municipality also notified affected people and offered credit monitoring services. Data breach costs reached $150,000.