Senior Law Day

Don’t Miss Senior Law Day in Jefferson County, Colorado

Saturday, June 3, 2017

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Mile Hi Church
9077 W. Alameda Avenue
Lakewood, CO  80226

“The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office is hosting its 7th Annual Senior Law Day on June 3, offering educational seminars for seniors and for others who may be facing challenges with their aging parents.

Eighteen valuable workshops include topics such as:  Medicare Issues; Investment Fraud; Wills/Trusts; End of Life Issues; Powers-of-Attorney, Conservatorship and Guardianship; Tips for Probate; and Identity Theft.  Attorneys and representatives from a variety of community resources will be available to answer individual questions.  Free 15-minute consultation are available through the Ask-an-Attorney segment.

‘Our population is aging and older adults will be facing complicated issues,’ says District Attorney Peter Weir, ‘This information can change the quality of life for seniors and their adult children.’

Registration is $10 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and the new Colorado Senior Law Handbook, a publication of the Colorado Bar Association.”

For more information, or to register, contact Cary Johnson at 303-271-6970 or csjohnso@jeffco.us

Registration Form

You don’t have to live in Jefferson County, Colorado to attend.

Considering an annuity for your portfolio?

annuitiesAnnuities are complex investments. Here are 10 questions to ask to protect yourself.

Consider who is selling to you and how they are compensated

By Wendi Strom, The Denver Post

May 28, 2017

“Annuities can be complex and at times are aggressively sold. As a result, many buyers may sign on the dotted line before truly understanding what they are getting into. Since they also can come with hefty price tags and restrictions on withdrawals, knowledge is power. It’s important to arm yourself with the right questions to ask if you’re considering an annuity purchase.

With the help of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (which has an informational page on annuities at www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/node/102771), I’ve created a list. Though it’s not exhaustive, it will give you a good start of things to consider and questions to ask any financial professional recommending an annuity purchase:

  • Who is selling this annuity to you, how did you find this person and what do you know about them?
  • What are the fees you’ll be paying?
  • If you decide you need some of this invested money back in the next couple years, how much can you get without paying an additional fee?
  • What are the risks?
  • What kind of protection, if any is provided to you in this product? And if so, how much are you paying for that protection?

…If used correctly, annuities can be a meaningful component to a broader financial plan. Though they are not the easiest investment to understand, they may fill an important void. You owe it to yourself to understand the features of the product, take the steps to identify if you truly need this in your financial picture, and more importantly be aware of the potential pitfalls so you can protect yourself today and in the years to come.”

Read the entire article about annuities

Wendi Strom is a certified financial planner at Lotus Financial Partners in Denver.  A lifelong champion for women’s financial security, she serves as the president of the Financial Planning Association of Colorado. 

Underfunded pensions – Do you have one?

This morning my friend Sharon and I were talking and the subject of pensions came up.  We both receive a pension from the Public Employees Retirement Account (PERA), a Colorado teacher’s retirement fund.  I asked her if she knew if it was in good standing.  She said she thought it had gotten better than in years past.

This evening while reading the Denver Post, I read an article by Terry Savage titled, “Pensions at risk, group finds.” After checking out the website mentioned, it appears the Colorado PERA account gets a grade of D.  The School Division Trust Fund of PERA (Sharon’s and my pension fund) had unfunded benefits of -$15.30 billion in 2015! That’s a negative in front of the number!

underfunded pensions
biswa.net

Check out your city or state pension fund to see if you have an underfunded pension after you read this article:

Don’t Count on that Government Pension

by Terry Savage, The Savage Truth

April 23, 2017

“Millions of Americans are expecting to receive a pension from the city or state that employs them. Many will be in for a terrible surprise, according to the nonprofit organization Truth in Accounting.

It surveyed 237 municipal pension plans across the country, using newly required reporting data about pension underfunding. Although it has taken decades for many of these pension funds to get into such bad shape, only now are the details being revealed, says Sheila Weinberg, president of Truth in Accounting and a CPA who has dedicated her life to requiring full and useful disclosure of federal, state and local debt obligations. (I am a board member of Truth in Accounting.)

This newly collected data should be frightening to those counting on a state or municipal pension. The latest numbers are available at http://www.statedatalab.org/pension_database. There you can search by state to find both state and local pension statistics. The report for each city and state includes the amount of pension plan assets, the amount of plan promises, and the dollar amount and percentage of pension underfunding. Every plan also receives a letter grade, from A to F.

Of the 237 cities studied, 29 received an ‘F’ grade, reflecting a funding ratio of less than 35 percent. Those plans cover many thousands of workers who cannot possibly be paid their full promised pensions, absent a huge tax increase (which would also come out of their pockets as workers).”

Read more about underfunded pensions

Register yourself or a loved one in a check-in program

check-in programs
Photo by Adobe

Local police departments restore peace of mind by phoning senior citizens once a day

By Jenni Bergal, Stateline and PBS Newshour

March 21, 2017

“Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know.

That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day.

Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone.

And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of mind.”

Read more about check-in programs

Organize and simplify your finances

Managing Your Money in Old Age

Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and drain your nest egg.

simplify your finances
iStockphoto

By ELEANOR LAISE, Senior Editor
From Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, April 2017

“After Robyn Downing moved in with her ailing father in 2010, she gradually uncovered a financial quagmire. She found he had eight different checking accounts at four different banks. ‘He was writing a whole bunch of checks’ to charities he’d never supported before, she says, and he hadn’t kept a checkbook register in two years. He owned several rental units, and one of his tenants hadn’t paid any rent in nine months, says Downing, a retired children’s theater director in Gladstone, Mo.

‘He was really being taken advantage of financially,’ says Downing, age 62, who estimates that her father lost roughly $50,000 before she stepped in to help. During the four years prior to her father’s death at age 91 in 2014, Downing consolidated his accounts at one bank, organized the bookkeeping for his rental units and discouraged his habit of giving his credit card number to anyone who called on the phone. ‘What a pain it was to try to straighten things out,’ she says.

Financial capacity—the ability to manage your finances in your own best interest—involves everything from paying bills to reading a brokerage statement and weighing an investment’s potential risks and rewards. And preparing for the potential decline of that capacity is as important as planning for long-term-care expenses or keeping your estate plan up to date. Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation, drain your nest egg, and place heavy burdens on your loved ones.”

Read more to organize and simplify your finances

Vitamin D supplements – Do you need them?

Vitamin D only strengthens bone in those with significant vit D deficiencyVitamin D supplements

May 16, 2017

“An international study of older adults has found that mass, untargeted provision of vitamin D supplements provides little clinical benefit to many when it comes to the common bone disease,  osteoporosis. Instead, the study recommends targeting vitamin D supplements at individuals whose levels of this vitamin are markedly reduced.

The results of the study – carried out by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA – were announced today by Professor Ian R. Reid at ECTS 2017, the 44th European Calcified Tissue Society Congress being held in Salzburg, Austria.

Professor Reid said: ‘We know that severe vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, yet trials in the community have not consistently shown that vitamin D supplements improve older adults’ bone density or reduce the risk of fracture. So we set out to determine whether a higher dose of vitamin D influences bone density or whether benefit is dependent on the level of vitamin D already present in the individual.'”

Read more

Wine, olive oil, and afternoon naps…

secret of long lifeThe secret to a long life? It’s all Greek to me

By Diane Carman, The Denver Post

May 12, 2017

“A few years ago, I read about the island of Ikaria in Greece where people ‘forget to die.‘ They routinely live into their 90s, making people all over the world wonder exactly what is their secret.

Most on Ikaria say they stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning. Unemployment is high, so there’s not much pressure to set the alarm clock.

They enjoy a glass of wine with lunch, followed by a lovely nap. They eat lots of fruits and vegetables from their gardens, all dressed with fresh local olive oil, and they shy away from dairy products, except for milk from the neighborhood goats.

In Greece, the secret to a long, healthy life appears simple: wine, olive oil and afternoon naps.

In the U.S., it’s money.

A study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday identified three Colorado counties — Summit, Pitkin and Eagle — as having the highest life expectancies in the country.

The lowest life expectancies were in Oglala Lakota County, home of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and one of the poorest counties in America.

So what is it about the lifestyles of the rich that makes them live longer?”

Read more about the secret of a long life

 

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