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For the Health of Marriage

Turns out marriage can do more for your heart than fill it with love. A recent study found that, among other health benefits, married people have a higher probability of surviving a stroke.1

They are also more likely to survive major surgery, have fewer heart attacks, be less likely to have advanced cancer when diagnosed and more likely to survive it longer, have a lower chance of becoming depressed and, generally, live longer than those who remain single. Scientists have put forth various reasons for these health benefits, ranging from stronger immune systems to taking fewer risks to living a healthier lifestyle.2

Financial health can also be impacted by the dynamics within a marriage. If a husband doesn’t pay the household bills, he may not appreciate how much it costs every time he leaves the hose running after he washes the car. A wife, on the other hand, may not know where the couple’s financial accounts are held or who to consult for emergency cash should her husband become incapacitated.

That’s why we believe it’s best for both spouses to be a part of the conversation when meeting with a financial advisor. It’s important to build a relationship of trust, and that can be difficult to do if one spouse is left out of meetings and annual reviews.

While marriage is often about sharing, it may also be a good idea for each spouse to establish his and her own credit history, even if they share a credit card account, as it is likely one spouse will pass before the other.3

In this situation, the deceased spouse should be removed from any jointly owned credit cards. This is one reason it can be a good idea to have individual credit histories, so the surviving spouse isn’t impacted by the loss of the deceased spouse’s credit history. An additional advantage is that a surviving spouse generally is not liable for the outstanding debt of a deceased spouse’s solo accounts.4

In the case of second and third marriages, establishing a financial relationship between both spouses is important. For example, if one spouse moves into the home of the other, it may be a good idea to get both names put on the deed.5

Health, credit and housing aside, both spouses need to understand their investments and the household net worth. It’s not enough for wives to pay the bills while husbands manage the investments, or vice versa. Ninety percent of women are responsible for managing their finances by themselves at some point in their life6 – which is particularly unfortunate if they’re forced to take on this task during retirement without a clear understanding of how to do it. 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications. 

1 Nicholas Bakalar. The New York Times. Dec. 27, 2016. “Marriage May Help You Survive a Stroke.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/well/family/marriage-may-help-you-survive-a-stroke.html?_r=0. Accessed Dec. 27, 2016.

Robert H. Shmerling. Harvard Health. Nov. 30, 2016. “The health advantages of marriage.” http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-health-advantages-of-marriage-2016113010667. Accessed Dec. 27, 2016.

3 Lucy Lazarony. Credit.com. Nov. 9, 2016. “Credit Matters After the Death of a Spouse.” https://www.credit.com/credit-reports/death-of-spouse-and-credit/. Accessed Dec. 27, 2016.

4 Ibid.

5 Quentin Fottrell. MarketWatch. Dec. 7, 2016. “My husband won’t put me on the deed to the family home.” http://www.marketwatch.com/story/will-i-inherit-everything-from-my-husband-without-a-will-2016-06-24. Accessed Dec. 27, 2016.

6 Fidelity. March 23, 2016. “Women & money: How to take charge.” https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/women-manage-money. Accessed Dec. 27, 2016.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance and investment products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. All investments are subject to risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

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Looking Through the Glass Ceiling

The Women’s Rights Movement began in 1848 to enable women to have representation in decisions impacting their social, civil and religious rights.1

While Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential candidate from a major party, was not elected this year, women take their right to vote very seriously. In every presidential election since 1964 (2016 results not yet available), the number of women who voted exceeded that of men.2

Another area where women have made up ground, but are still working to pull even, is the wage difference between genders. This gap can also be a hindrance for women when it comes to saving for retirement. For example, while women are more likely than men to work for employers that offer retirement plans, far less are eligible to participate in those plans because they work part-time or for a shorter time span. As a result, nearly 12 percent of baby boomer women who have participated in the workforce end up retiring in poverty.3

From paying bills to participating in large-scale financial decisions, it is important for women to take an active role in their own retirement planning. One thing to consider may be setting up separate retirement income streams for each spouse to ensure household income is not significantly reduced should one spouse die or become incapacitated.

Self-employment is one area that might seem free of glass ceilings, but new research reveals a lack of capital funding available for women. Reasons cited for this include not having enough collateral necessary to secure a loan, gender discrimination or simply that women tend to be more risk averse when it comes to borrowing large sums of money.4

In a recent speech, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, pointed out that if women participated in the U.S. labor force to the same extent as men, our national income could increase by 5 percent.5

Lagarde also gave an example of women breaking the glass ceiling, but ultimately not achieving complete parity. Iceland elected its first female president back in 1980, but women’s wages there still trail men’s by 14 to 18 percent. Interestingly, Icelandic working women recently protested lower wages with a job walk-out at precisely 2:38 p.m. — the time of day when they stop being paid (relative to men’s pay).6

The Women’s Rights Movement is now about 168 years old. According to the IMF, at the current rate of progression globally, women should achieve parity with men’s wages in another 170 years7 — so we’re almost halfway there. Baby steps.


Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Bonnie Eisenberg and Mary Ruthsdotter. National Women’s History Project. “History of the Women’s Rights Movement.” http://www.nwhp.org/resources/womens-rights-movement/history-of-the-womens-rights-movement/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2016.

2 Center for American Women and Politics. “Gender Differences in Voter Turnout.” http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/genderdiff.pdf. Accessed Nov. 29, 2016.

3 Jennifer Erin Brown, Nari Rhee, Joelle Saad-Lessler and Diane Oakley. UC Berkeley Labor Center. March 1, 2016. “Shortchanged in Retirement: Continuing Challenges to Women’s Financial Future.” http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/shortchanged-in-retirement-continuing-challenges-to-womens-financial-future/. Accessed Nov. 29, 2016.

4 Robert M. Sauer. World Economic Forum. Sept. 28, 2016. “The self-employed glass ceiling isn’t getting the attention it deserves.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/the-self-employed-glass-ceiling-isnt-getting-the-attention-it-deserves. Accessed Nov. 29, 2016.

5 Christine Lagarde. The International Monetary Fund. Nov. 14, 2016. “Women’s Empowerment: An Economic Game Changer.” https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2016/11/14/SP111416-Womens-Empowerment-An-Economic-Game-Changer. Accessed Nov. 14, 2016.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. 

 

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference. 

 
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What it Means to be Disenfranchised

Disenfranchised people are those who feel deprived of a legal right or privilege. The number of people disenfranchised within the United States is part of the reason Donald Trump, a candidate without a history in politics, was elected to office. While much of the country is recovering from the Great Recession, there continues to be a lag for many disenfranchised Americans.1

For some, there’s a feeling that they can’t afford anything anymore. One poll found that a large swath of middle-class Americans long for quality jobs, affordable health care and child care and both economic and financial security.2

Over the past three decades, America’s economy has moved from manufacturing-based jobs to service-based jobs. This gradual process transformed the job market. Even with today’s low unemployment rate, there are jobs available, but in many cases, those who need the job may not have the skills and experience that the position requires or it may not pay the wages they are looking for.3

Americans dissatisfied with the health care initiatives introduced by Barack Obama reported a variety of motives for voting Trump. A common complaint was that premiums seemed to increase every year. Others went deeper, saying Trump’s proposals would promote personal responsibility rather than guarantee health care for those who are “lazy and entitled.” Sixty-six percent of Trump supporters said the economy is “rigged for people receiving government assistance.”4

The combination of expensive health care options, a difficult job market and overwhelming debt, and it’s easy to see why some have become so disenfranchised. How many Americans are we talking about?

Leading up to the election, a Gallup poll found only 27 percent were satisfied with the current state of the country.5 A post-election poll in December found a similar overall result, with Democrats still feeling slightly better than Republicans despite the presidential election results.6

Dissatisfaction can take on different forms. Many people have their concerns about the future of the country, but perhaps more importantly, are focused more on their own personal situation. The fact is, contentment has a lot to do with feeling confident, or at least hopeful, about your future.

One way to work toward this confidence is to insure a portion of your retirement assets. That’s where we come in. We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss ways to develop more confidence about your ability to provide income throughout retirement.

 

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Bob Rapoza. The Hill. Dec. 9, 2016. “Rural America demands the nation’s attention.” http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/309735-rural-america-demands-the-nations-attention. Accessed Dec 9, 2016.

2 The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Nov. 15, 2016. “The Needs of Working Folks.” http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/the-needs-of-working-folks/. Accessed Dec 20, 2016.

3 Ibid.

4 Olga Khazan. The Atlantic. Dec. 20, 2016. “If Not Obamacare, Then What?”

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/12/if-not-obamacare-then-what/511130/. Accessed Dec 20, 2016.

5 Gallup. Oct. 13, 2016. “U.S. Satisfaction Remains Low Leading Up to Election.” http://www.gallup.com/poll/196388/satisfaction-remains-low-leading-election.aspx. Accessed Dec 20, 2016.

6 Clark Mindock. International Business Times. Dec. 16, 2016. “Are Americans Happy With The US? Election, Economy, Wars Have Most Dissatisfied, New Poll Finds.” http://www.ibtimes.com/are-americans-happy-us-election-economy-wars-have-most-dissatisfied-new-poll-finds-2461644. Accessed Dec 20, 2016.

 

This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.


The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.