Giving Thanks Safely

Women Helping Women: Giving Thanks Safely 

 

As Covid-19 cases are on the rise, having a happy Thanksgiving this year may look a lot different than years past. We know that even in a crazy year like this one, there is much to be thankful for. So, we created this quick article to offer a few ideas to help you stay safe, while still having a meaningful celebration. 

If you must gather, keep it small

While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for gathering with family and friends, the CDC is currently recommending that to be the safest, you should only celebrate with the people that you live with. 

If you have your heart set on an in-person celebration, they offer the following guidance:

  • Keep the celebration to 10 people or fewer
  • Eat outside if possible and, if not, try to keep doors or windows open
  • Mix only with one other family
  • Wear masks when not eating and try to maintain your distance
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid going in and out of the kitchen unless you are the person preparing the food
  • Use paper and plastic or request guests to bring their own
  • Have only one person serving all the food
  • And you can even consider having guests bring their own food 

Zoom with your loved ones

You could also set up a Zoom to celebrate with your family and friends. You can even make it fun by creating one menu with recipes from each family, so you’re all enjoying the same foods at the same times. Even through social distance, you can still go around the tables and say what you’re thankful for or play other games together too. 

Start a new tradition

Another idea may be to start a new Thanksgiving tradition this year. If it’s just going to be you and your nuclear family, for example, maybe you want to splurge a little. You could consider eating out if there’s a restaurant you feel comfortable with. Or you could consider ordering the whole dinner in from a restaurant, caterer or somewhere like Whole Foods. This may feel a bit odd, but can be a good way to relax and truly enjoy this holiday in a new way. 

We know that these ideas may not sound like as much fun as a typical year, but they’re designed to help you stay safe—because the health of you and those you love, is one of the most important things to be thankful for. 

At Gasber Financial, we are thankful for clients like you and hope that however you decide to celebrate, you will stay safe and healthy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Achieving Retirement Security - 3 Items for woman to consider

 

You may not have realized it, but last week was National Retirement Security Week. To honor it, I wanted to take a little time to talk about retirement income and what you need to do to get and stay on track. 

Here are three key things to consider when it comes to planning for and living in retirement…and they may not be exactly what you expect. 

  1. The money matters

First, of course, the money does matter. It’s important to develop a realistic understanding of what your income and expenses will truly be in retirement. As you know, there are actually many pieces of the retirement income pie, including savings, Social Security and any pension or retirement plan assets. And, there are many other considerations as well. Working together, we can look at: 

  • What your assets look like now and what they could grow to in the future
  • What sources of income you have now and may have later (it’s common to overestimate the value and duration of alimony, for example)
  • How much Social Security you are likely to receive
  • How much Medicare and other health care might cost (we have an expert that can help you understand the choices you may need to make)
  • What your living expenses and other liabilities may be
  • What your tax situation may be (it’s common to underestimate your future tax bite)
  • And more

 

But when it comes to retirement, there’s far more than just the money to consider. 

  1. Envision the future

To get a true idea of what your retirement will be like, you should envision how you want to spend each day. Volunteering, working out and going to the theatre sound great, but can you really do that each day? You may want to consider the following questions: 

Will you still work? If so, will you stay in your career or try a new job (see the next installment)? Take some time to imagine how you might feel if you were not doing your current career anymore. How tied to your career is your identity? Will you be happy if you are not doing that job anymore? It’s important to consider these things to help ensure you will truly be happy in retirement. 

Now, if you will be going from full-time work to part-time, or to not working at all, consider how you will spend the rest of your time each day. If you dream of gardening, horseback riding, knitting, reading or other things, try to be realistic about how much time you will actually want to spend doing these things each day. It may not be as much as you think, so you will want to consider what else you will do each day. 

If you plan to volunteer, consider which groups you will want to volunteer with and how much time you plan to volunteer each week or month. 

Will you work out? If you worked out near your place of business, will you still go to that gym or will you need to find a new one? In fact, if you do a lot of things near your job, like shopping, socializing and more, you may want to think about where you will do things once you retire. You may no longer be willing to commute to do these things. And, if there are no facilities near you, or if you feel your home will be too remote once you retire, you may want to consider moving.

 

Another thing to consider is who you will socialize with. Where do your friends and family live? Are they close to you or far away? If you are going to be home more, perhaps you want to consider a community that is designed to be more social. 

  1. Make a plan

Whatever you envision for your retirement and however many assets you may have, the bottom line is that you need a plan. Yes, things can change over time. The markets may go down, the tax laws may change, and you may make decisions that change the trajectory of your path. We believe that the key to successfully planning for and living in a secure retirement is to: 

  • Have a plan and regularly review that plan
  • Have a professional you rely on to help you along the way
  • Continue making decisions that keep you on track toward your goals 

At Gasber Financial, we believe strongly in the power of planning and positive thinking. We can help you build and review a plan to help you achieve a secure retirement.

Why Your Should Review Your Medicare Options

 The current pandemic has thrown everyone some curve balls. Regardless of your age, wealth, health, relationship status or working status, each of us has had to make some adjustments. And in doing so, we may have let a few things fall through the cracks. I want to make sure that your health care, or that of your loved one, isn’t one of those things. 

Medicare sign ups start now

From October 15th through December 7th, you and your loved ones have the opportunity to elect (if you didn’t at age 65) or change your Medicare coverage. And while you may not think it matters, Medicare is an important benefit with a number of options that can make a significant difference in the care you can receive. 

And since your needs can change from year to year—and may have changed significantly during the pandemic—it’s important to review what you currently have and the other options available to you. Below are a few items to review, but there are also many others.

  • Is your Primary Care Physician still included in the network?
  • Have you added or stopped using any medications?
  • Are the medications you take still part of the formulary?
  • Does your Medi-gap policy still meet your needs?

If not, it may be time to consider making some changes. 

Navigating your choices

Most of the choices you will want to review are related to parts D, C and Medigap—which are all offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare and may cover things Medicare typically does not. As a refresher on the different parts of Medicare and what they generally cover, we’ve included this table. 

What it is

What it covers

Part A—Hospital insurance

·         Hospitalization (benefits vary depending on length of stay)

·         Some nursing facilities (given qualifications)

·         Some home-based and hospice care (not long term)

Part B—Medical insurance

·         Doctor’s visits, services and tests

·         Medical equipment

·         Outpatient services

·         Preventive medical care

Part D—Prescription drug coverage

·         Prescription coverage (varies by plan)

Part C—Medicare Advantage

·         Comprehensive plans that typically cover everything in Parts A and B and typically part D

·         May also cover things Medicare doesn’t, like hearing, dental and vision treatment

Medigap—Medicare supplemental insurance

·         It can help pay for the portions of Parts A and B that you might otherwise be responsible for yourself (benefits vary by plan)

 

 

Reviewing Medicare options for yourself and your loved ones now can help keep you all prepared for whatever the future holds. Gasber Financial has an expert on retainer to help you navigate the confusing options surrounding Medicare and can help guide you on all of your healthcare planning needs.

 

Women Helping Women: The Boomerang Strategy

I have a friend whose father used to joke about having boomerang children. He would say “I keep trying to get rid of them…I send them to college, but they keep coming back.” We used to laugh because it was true—all four of the kids had gone to school and then moved back home for a few years before truly going out on their own. He was apparently ahead of his time, however, as today being a “boomerang” is actually a strategy that many families are using for a number of reasons. 

If it’s good enough for TV

Consider that, if nighttime soap operas like “Dallas” and “Dynasty” are to be believed, wealthy families often have multiple generations living together in either one very big home, or on a compound with multiple homes. And while these families may not have been doing so for financial reasons, it has become far more common today for these reasons and more. 

For decades, having an older loved one who requires caregiving live with you has become fairly common. And there have always been some families with a set of grandparents living with them in a multifamily home. Today, however, the opposite is happening more frequently—as young couples or families move back “home” with their parents. 

A new, old-school method

Remember that there are many generations who grew up living next door or down the street from their cousins or grandparents. Rising costs of living in general and the pandemic specifically have sped up a return to this type of close-knit family for many. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Pew research found that “64 million people—20% of the U.S. population—were living in households with at least two generations in 2016.” And in a survey in June 2020, Pew found that “22% of respondents had moved due to the pandemic or knew someone who had…and most of those were now cohabitating with family.” 

And while there are many financial benefits of this type of arrangement, there can be some emotional ones too. For example, families and couples using this strategy may be able to: 

  • Save money, so they are not financially stressed and will be able to afford college or retirement
  • Receive help caring for their children and with remote learning
  • Enjoy stronger family bonds and gain more emotional support
  • Lower their expenses if one or both have been laid off
  • Spend time with family without fear of spreading COVID 

Of course, there can be drawbacks, like losing some privacy and needing your own space. In many instances, however, the benefits can outweigh the negatives—and it’s certainly a strategy worth considering whether families are struggling or not. 

Gasber Financial is here to help you even in the most stressful of life’s situations. We’re here to help you find the right path for yourself and your loved ones. Call us to talk about your accounts, the markets, the strategies that may be best for you—or even just to chat about life.

Socially Distant, but Social

 Humans are fairly social creatures. And the pandemic has put a big chink in the armor that helps keep us connected to each other and helps keep us from feeling alone. Even those of us who are introverted tend to enjoy—and very much currently miss—even the small social interactions that take place when grabbing a morning coffee, seeing co-workers in the hallway and more. 

Perhaps you had a number of Zoom “happy hours” with friends or family in the beginning of the pandemic, but if you’re like me, maybe you haven’t done this for a while. As time wears on and people get back to some semblance of normal—or get more depressed—some of these things have fallen away. But it’s important to take time to be social, not only for your mental health, but for your physical health as well. Here are some ways to get back into the swing of being social in a safe way: 

  • Gather together outside—you can set up chairs on your lawn or in your driveway (6 feet apart) and invite a few friends, neighbors or family to hang out live.
  • Celebrate via Zoom—birthday parties, trivia parties and “happy hours” are fun ways to remain connected. It’s easy to book a room via Zoom, Ring Central, Microsoft Teams or Google Meets to enable a family or friend get together. And there are many ways to make it a fun, engaging experience for all (Kahoot, for example, is a fun app where you can create your own trivia quizzes, invite friends and family and play together with your phones and a computer).
  • Get creative—wine stores, sip and paint places, sign making places and many other creative businesses have switched from in-person to online options where you and some friends can each buy “kits” and then can enjoy a wine tasting, painting a beautiful picture, creating a sign or tray, and more together online.
  • Get physical—take a socially-distanced walk, standing 6-feet apart or wearing masks so you can still talk, while getting out and about.
    • There are also many on-line workout classes where you can take a live class online with your friends, family or with a lot of other people who just want to get in better shape.
    • From yoga to HIIT and everything in between, some workout places are starting to offer outside, socially distanced workouts in new spaces, in their parking lots or in local parks too. 

The truth is there are many ways to remain connected and to feel less isolated. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own worlds and forget to reach out, but it is truly an important thing to do. 

Gasber Financial is here to help you even in the most stressful of life’s situations. We’re here to talk about your accounts, the markets, or just shoot the breeze. And we’d love to hear your ideas for staying safely connected during these times.