Why Fall Is A Good Time To Talk About Falling?

Why Fall Is A Good Time To Talk About Falling?

Falling is a threat millions of aging Americans face, especially those 65 and up. At least one in four elderly people will suffer a fall each year. The CDC analyzed data from a 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey and found that suffering one fall doubles an elderly person’s chance of having a repeat fall. The survey also showed that only half of the falls that occur each year are discussed with a health care provider. 

Falls Are Costly And Can Result In Serious Injury 
From head injuries to broken bones, it’s estimated that one in five falls result in serious injury. Some statistics: 
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that over 300,000 elderly people are hospitalized each year for hip fractures. 
According to the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, fall injuries account for over 800,000 hospitalizations and 2.8 million emergency room visits each year.
A fall study published in SafetyLit found that 90% of hip fractures are the result of a fall. 
Another study published in Academic Emergency Medicine found that the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries seen in U.S. emergency rooms is due to falls. The second leading cause was motor vehicle accidents. 
As to the cost of falls, a study published by the Journal of Safety Research found that there were over 24,000 fatal and 3.2 million non-fatal, treated falls in 2012 for 616.5 million the fatal falls and over 30 billion non-fatal, treated falls. 

What Can Happen After a Fall?
While not all falls cause injury, those that do often result in serious injuries, like head trauma or broken bones, which often compromises the person’s ability to perform activities of daily living or even live independently. 
It’s often this very fear of loss of independence that causes elderly persons not to report falls. However, medical help must be sought immediately after a fall that produces an injury, especially if the person takes certain medications, like blood thinners, which can complicate the injury. 
OALib Journal study found many people become afraid of falling again following a fall, even if the first fall didn’t result in injury, and that this fear often results in the person becoming less active. Ironically, inactivity weakens bones and can thereby increase an elderly person’s fall risk. 

What Conditions Make You More Likely to Fall?
Risk factors are conditions that contribute to a person’s likelihood to fall. Some common risk factors include: 
• Vitamin D deficiency.• Gait difficulty – balance and how a person walks.• Lower extremity and hip weakness. • Impaired vision. • Any medication that impairs gait, such as sedatives or antidepressants. • Any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, with side effects that impair motor function. • Foot issues, such as pain or neuropathy. • Ill-fitting footwear. • Environmental hazards, such as steps that need repair, rugs that aren’t secured, clutter, and other trip hazards. 
The more risk factors a person has, the more likely they are to suffer a fall. 

How Can You Prevent Falls? 
The good news is that many falls are preventable. Risk factors can be modified to reduce the risk of a fall. Here’s how: 

  • Make A Safer Environment 
    • Look for trip hazards and either remove or secure them. 
    • Add grab bars and a shower seat to your bathroom. 
    • If you live in a multi-story home, consider converting to a downstairs bedroom and putting railings on both sides of all stairs. 
    • Increase lighting around and within the home. 
    • Make water-prone areas within and around the home slip-resistant. 
  • Retirement often means a fixed income. If possible, it is best to start planning for some of the more costly modifications, such as outdoor lighting, before retirement. 
  • Talk With Your Healthcare Team 
    • Your primary care physician can evaluate your risk of a fall and provide you with materials and resources to lessen your risk. 
    • Speak to any specialists you might see, such as a rheumatologist, to determine how the disease impacts your fall risk. Certain progressive diseases allow for some planning ahead. 
    • Ask your pharmacist to review all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take concerning fall risk. 
  • Make An Appointment With A Vision Specialist 
    • The eyes can change rapidly, especially for those retirement ages, make sure that you see a vision specialist once a year and as soon as you sense any change in your vision. They may recommend two sets of glasses if you need bifocal or progressive lenses; you may want a distance-only pair of glasses for outdoor activities since bifocal and progressive lenses can often make judging distance outdoors difficult. 
  • Start A Strength Training And Balance Exercise Regiment 
    • Tai chi is a great example of the type of exercise that will strengthen the lower extremities and improve balance. Again, speak with your healthcare provider to see what may work for you and you’re specific medical history.

Does your plan meet all your retirement needs? Schedule an appointment now with one of our advisors for a complimentary review of your retirement plan.

It’s Not Too Late for Retirement Resolutions

It’s Not Too Late for Retirement Resolutions

At the beginning of each New Year, individuals commonly take stock of various aspects of their lives. One of the frequently reviewed primary areas is personal finance. If you are thinking about retiring within the next few years or longer, you may want to create a resolution or two so that you can better plan for your non-working years. However, some people believe that it is simply too late for any type of plan to be effective or beneficial. While it is better to start preparing for non-working years early in your adult years, starting now is better than not making any preparations. These are some of the areas that you can resolve to address shortly.

Set Retirement Goals
Everyone has some dream about what their life may be like after they stopped working in a full-time position. For some, the goal is to continue working on a part-time basis. Others want to travel, and some may just want to be closer to family. A primary resolution should be to define your goals. Without specific goals, it is not possible to properly plan for the future. After all, maintaining your lifestyle if you travel frequently may be much more expensive than being closer to home.

Eliminate Debt
Another resolution should involve eliminating debt. Debt cannot usually be paid off quickly, so resolve to create a feasible debt reduction plan. When you pay debts off now, you can reduce the amount of income you need after you retire. For example, if you pay off your mortgage, car loans and credit card balances, you may be able to live on several thousand dollars less each month. By reducing the income that is required to live comfortably, you can feasibly retire with less money saved up. 

Prepare a Budget for Retirement
In addition to making a plan to eliminate debt from your life over the next few months or years, you also need to prepare a budget for your non-working years. This budget will include estimated income from all sources after you quit working. It also will include reasonable estimates for expenses. Your planning should focus on cost-of-living adjustments related to inflation. If you plan to relocate to a new town after you retire, your budget should be realistic for that specific area. 

Update Insurance Coverage
Many people who are preparing for the future fail to consider changing insurance needs after leaving the workforce. As you get closer to retiring, determine if you will continue to need life insurance. Analyze your needs for different types of medical insurance and long-term care insurance. Each retiree is in a different position, so there is no catch-all rule regarding how much or what types of insurance you need to have. Remember to update your budget with the premiums for these various insurance products. It is also wise to take into account deductibles that are associated with each policy when determining how much money you will need.

Some people are so discouraged by their late start at planning for this stage of life that they simply throw in the towel. However, you can see that your initial efforts in each of these areas can help you to get on the right path. Even though you think that you may be far behind others of your age, you may be in a better position than you appear to be at first glance. When you make these important resolutions and start acting on them quickly, you can move forward with a confident footing as you approach your non-working years.


Does your plan meet all your retirement needs? Schedule an appointment now with one of our advisors for a complimentary review of your retirement plan.

Medical Debt and Your Retirement

Medical Debt and Your Retirement

How To Get Rid Of Your Accumulated Medical Debt In A Few Easy Steps

Retirement planning and medical debt often go hand-in-hand. We try our best to save up money to use during our golden years. A nice little nest egg when we turn 65 and older sounds nice to lean back on. Unfortunately, our medical debt sometimes gets in the way. We sometimes forgo the care we need because we do not want to touch our retirement savings. We spend our whole lives planning, only to have it taken away from us in one split second. 

We feel guilty and ashamed of our debt. We look at our debt as our inability to be responsible and pay what we owe. Luckily, there are ways you can fight this situation. 

  1. You need to check for errors in your files. Depending on the source you look at, 7% to 90% of patient files have at least one error. Many factors make it difficult to get an accurate percentage, but you can be sure doctors do get their information wrong every so often. They convince you to get unnecessary treatments. These treatments add $1,000 to your debt each time you have one done. 
    You can ask for a copy of your hospital bills and compare them to the ones you got in the mail. Bills do contain errors. Why did you get charged for their errors? Most healthcare providers are not in the business of taking responsibility for their actions. They assume most patients will not look, so they get away with it. 

    You should speak with your insurance company too. Insurance companies have a pattern of not paying bills they promise to pay. Insurance companies are cheap. They do not want to put out any additional money they do not need to. You need to go over your records and the insurance records. Did you find any errors? Call them up and speak to someone. 

  2. You should try to negotiate your bill. Some of the charges might be unfair. Call up your representative and talk to them. If you have shown good faith payments in the past, they might be willing to work with you. You can try asking for a discount. You pay a large amount right away and they give you a 25% discount. A plan like that may or may not work. You should give it a try at least. 

  3. You need to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Talk to a negotiator who works in the healthcare field or billing department. You can try signing up for a plan where you make small monthly payments. 

Speak with an advisor. An Advisor is skilled in that area. They will know what to look for. You should also try the American Fair Credit Council. They help people get out of debt and put money back in their savings every day. 


Does your plan meet all your retirement needs? Schedule an appointment now with one of our advisors for a complimentary review of your retirement plan.

Working While Receiving Social Security Benefits

Working While Receiving Social Security Benefits

Retirement is something most people look forward to in the United States. This is because it offers them the opportunity to travel, spend time with their families and essentially relax. All that is possible because most people are going to qualify for Social Security benefits. However, some individuals, especially those who used to run their own business, may find retirement to be a little too dull for their liking. As a result, many will often go looking for part-time work to either have something to do or supplement their monthly income. But how much does this affect your Social Security benefits? Read on to learn about this very important topic. 

How Your Social Security May Change 
As stated above, beginning to work full or even part-time can drastically affect your Social Security benefits. Although there are various factors that the government will take into consideration before making any changes, it is still good to know the potential changes that may benefit you. Below are a few of those potential changes: 

  • Your benefits will vary depending on your age
  • Your Social Security benefits may be reduced depending on your new income.
  • The types of benefits may be eliminated or altered to account for your new income.

Understanding Full Retirement Age
One of the most common terms you will hear when considering opting in for Social Security is “Full Retirement Age.” This is because although you can certainly accept Social Security at 62, your benefits may be reduced depending on your birth year. What this means is that depending on the year you were born and the laws during that time, your “full retirement age” will matter greatly in terms of how much you get. For example, someone born in 1937 or earlier will reach full retirement age of 65 rather than today’s 62. Why does this matter so much? It matters because if you are legally at full retirement age, you can work and earn as much as you want without being penalized by the government. 

Working Before Full Retirement Age
If, unfortunately, your birth year law states that you are not considered to be at “full retirement age” just yet, you will have to be careful about how much you earn each month. According to the Social Security department, individuals who are not at full retirement age and are currently working full or part-time can only make $1,580 per month or $18,960 per year. If you go beyond that limit, your benefits will decrease by one dollar for every two dollars earned over the limit. That is why it is highly recommended to keep a detailed record of how much you are earning through regular wages and yearly bonuses, as they will also be considered part of your income. 

Social Security Earnings Limit for 2021
Earlier, we spoke about the fact that those who are at full retirement age can earn as much as they want without fearing a reduction in their benefits. However, things are going to be very different if you are reaching full retirement age within the year 2021. This is because now there will be an earnings limit imposed amongst many other changes. The new earnings limit for individuals who will be reaching full retirement age and receiving Social Security will be $4,210 per month or $50,520 a year. After every one dollar that is earned, three dollars will be reduced from your monthly Social Security check. 

As you can see from the information above, several factors must be taken into consideration when deciding to return to the workforce. Although each person’s circumstance & experience will dictate how much or how little of their benefits are changed, much of the rules imposed by the Social Security department are universal.

Does your plan meet all your retirement needs? Schedule an appointment now with one of our advisors for a complimentary review of your retirement plan.

3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Retire

3 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Retire

Retiring is the goal of every worker who dreams of  leisurely breakfasts and time in the garden. However,  getting to retirement takes some financial effort and  strategic planning. The reality of having no job means  that you’re on your own when it comes to every facet  of your financial life. Before you send in that letter of  resignation, get familiar with the top questions that you  need to ask yourself before retiring. You’ll have less  stress as a result of these well-answered questions. 

What’s Your Plan For Healthcare? 

When you’re working, your employer’s coverage keeps  you healthy with reasonably affordable policies. All of  that changes when you retire, however. Ask yourself if  you have a plan for healthcare coverage. Ironically, the  time of your life when you really need healthcare  coincides with the lack of an employer’s policy.  

Luckily, the federal government offers Medicare. From  the moment that you turn 65 years of age, you can  take advantage of this program. It covers the bulk of  your medical needs, and there are supplemental  programs for options that you care to invest in.  

COBRA insurance coverage is possible between your  employment period and signing up for Medicare, but it  only lasts for up to 18 months. It can also be very  expensive because the employer isn’t paying for part of  the cost. Ideally, you’ll want to rely solely on Medicare  while looking for supplemental programs to cover  speciality items, such as vision.

What Will Your Income Include? 

On average, Social Security will cover about 40 percent  of your income in the golden years. You can start  payouts as early as age 67, but many retirees choose  age 70 because there’s a higher monthly payout as a  result of waiting. Your retirement savings must cover  the bulk of the remaining shortage. 

Many financial experts teach the concept of the 4- percent rule. In essence, you can take 4 percent of  your funds from a retiring account each year, and you  should still have enough money to cover your  remaining years. There are other calculations to  consider, such as understanding how much money  you’ll need each month in these relaxing years.  Although some experts believe that you can live off of  70 or 80 percent of your previous earnings, it’s ideal to  shoot for a comparable income as earned during your  working days. With this tabulation, you have extra  funds for hobbies and traveling. 

Do You Have Plans For Your Time Off? 

Planning for your golden years also means that you  need to fill the time that is now open to you. Isolating  yourself from your social network at work can be  detrimental to your health. Make rough plans for your  golden years because filling the time can be a  rewarding prospect. Volunteer with charities, help out  the family or get a part-time job. Working as a  consultant with your previous employer might be an  option that keeps you connected while still enjoying the  spoils of retiring in your 60s. 

It’s natural to try new things, but then you’re not too  thrilled with them. Continue to explore as you grow  older because you might find a hobby or talent that  sparks creativity in your mind. Many retirees find  themselves starting a business as they learn how to  offer a product or service that counts in the  neighborhood. 

Stay updated with your retirement plan by logging into  your funds regularly. By knowing how much you have  and where it will be allocated gives you a clear view of  your retirement pathway. Retire with confidence that  your plans will stand the test of time as opportunities  spread out ahead of you.

Does your plan meet all your retirement needs? Schedule an appointment now with one of our advisors for a complimentary review of your retirement plan.

The Good and Bad of Retiring Early

The Good and Bad of Retiring Early

This year has forced some to think about retiring early. When it comes to retiring early, some of the benefits are obvious! You get to live your life without the constraints of work, and you are able to pursue your own interests. But there are other good reasons for retiring early, and there are some reasons why retiring early is not the greatest idea.

Your Dedication is Gone
One of the good reasons to retire early is that you are simply not dedicated to working anymore. When you are no longer emotionally interested in working, your performance deteriorates and your company suffers.

Working Took its Toll
In some professions, such as construction and law enforcement, the physical and emotional demands of the job can become too much over time. After a few years in a high risk profession, your body and mind have simply had enough and it is time to go home and rest.

Your Finances Become More Flexible
Most people do not realize how expensive it is to work until they are no longer working. When you work any job, you incur expenses such as wear and tear on your car, transportation expenses such as gas or bus passes, work clothing costs, daycare and miscellaneous medical costs for work-related injuries. If you have planned your finances to allow yourself to retire early, then you will find that your money goes much further when you are not working.

Your Health Could Suffer
For some people, retiring early means abandoning the daily physical activity working required and giving up a big piece of their identity. Retiring early can cause physical and mental problems that could become very serious over time.

You Lose Your Social Circle
After years of working, you tend to take for granted the notion that you will see most of your friends at work five days out of the week. Even people who think that the people they work with are only acquaintances suddenly find that the loss of the social circle they developed at work is devastating.

You Didn’t Plan Well
When you retire before the age of 65, you run the risk of losing out on health insurance. Medicare automatically kicks in for every American when they turn 65, but what would you do until that age? Did you plan your retirement finances right, or will you run out of money? Many people forget to take inflation into account when they plan their retirement, and that makes retiring early financially dangerous.

There are two sides to every story, and that includes the story that goes with retiring early. The idea of walking away from work before the age of 65 can sound appealing, but there are plenty of variables to consider before you make that decision. If you do want to retire early, then talk about it with your family and ask your financial adviser if you have structured your savings properly to be able to live without a paycheck for the rest of your life.

Doug Ybema- Grand Rapids Office https://go.oncehub.com/DougYbema

Randy Knapp- Okemos Office https://go.oncehub.com/IntegrityFinancial