The Lazy Days of Summer

Well, we are officially entering the hottest part of summer.  These long, sultry days are commonly referred to as the  "Dog Days of Summer", a period marked by lethargy, inactivity and plenty of air conditioning.

While it's not the best time for physical activity, unless you are at the beach or the mountains, it's a great time for mental activity, such as planning for your retirement.  Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
  • Are you knowledgeable about all of your financial assets?  The more you know, the more empowered you will be.
  • Are you prepared to handle a personal crisis such as, a major health issue, loss of a job, death of a spouse, or divorce?
  • Have you thought about your long term care needs?  Who will take care of you and how will you pay for it?
  • Do you have enough money to last throughout your retirement, and allow you to live the lifestyle your are accustomed to?
Don't be  lazy about your retirement planning!  If you are feeling confused or unsure, I can help provide clarity on the plans and strategies you need to have in place to secure your future.

Please call or email me anytime.

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Upcoming Event

Salem College
"Courses for Community"
Women, Wisdom & Wealth: Living a Successful Retirement Lifestyle

Instructor:  Debra Mackie
If you are retired or nearing retirement, don't miss this personal enrichment course created specifically for women and their financial concerns.  
Topics include: 
  • Fundamental principles for making your money last
  • Understanding and managing your investments to increase your monthly income
  • Basic tax reduction strategies
  • Ways to protect your life saving from investment mistakes
  • How to avoid unnecessary estate taxes
  • Maximizing your Social Security benefits
  • Planning for a health care catastrophe
  • How to pass your life's savings to your heirs with minimal probate, tax and legal costs


Course Schedule:

September 12, 19 and 26;  6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Cost:  $30 
For more information please call 336.659.7060 or
Call Salem College to register at
**Spouses and Partners welcome**

Long-Term Care Planning Is Important for Women

The prospect of needing long-term care is an important, yet sometimes overlooked, part of financial and retirement planning. Yet it may be especially vital for women to consider as they often face the need for long-term care as both a caregiver and recipient.

Women as caregivers
While you may think most long-term care is received in a nursing home setting, the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information (National Clearinghouse)
estimates that about 80% of care is provided at home by informal (unpaid) family caregivers. Of those caregivers, about 60% are women (

In many instances, the care provided for chronically disabled older adults is quite intensive and time-consuming. Women who act as family caregivers of older people with high levels of personal-care needs may face considerable financial, emotional, and physical strain. For instance, caregivers may face financial challenges due to lost wages from reduced work hours, time out of the workforce, extended family leave, or early retirement. Reduced work hours or extended time out of work may also affect the ability to contribute toward retirement savings, potentially resulting in a loss of retirement income.

Caregivers also may face emotional strains and poor health related to their caregiving responsibilities. This may be especially true for older women caregivers and younger women who may be caring for an older family member in addition to managing their own household.

Women are more likely than men to face the need for long-term care without the help of their spouse. According to the United States Administration on Aging, 42% of older women were widows in 2010 and half of the women over age 75 lived alone ( And the Centers for Disease Control reports that over 70% of nursing home residents are women (

Women as long-term care recipients
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women outlive men by an average of 6 years ( Because they tend to live longer, women are at a higher risk than men of needing long-term care (source: National Clearinghouse). And the National Clearinghouse reports that women, on average, need care over a longer time than men (3.7 years vs. 2.2 years). With a longer life expectancy and a greater likelihood of needing long-term care, women often must confront their long-term care needs without the help of their spouse or other family members.

Paying for long-term care
Long-term care can be expensive. An important part of planning is deciding how to pay for these services.

Buying long-term care (LTC) insurance is an option. Many LTC insurance policies pay for the cost of care provided in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, or at home, but the premium paid generally depends on the age of the insured and the policy benefits and options purchased. And premiums can increase if the insurer raises its overall rates. Even with LTC insurance, you still may have some out-of-pocket contributions in addition to premium payments. For example:
  • Not all policies provide coverage for care in your home, even though that's where most care is provided. While the cost of in-home care may be less than the cost of care provided in a nursing home, it can still be quite expensive.
  • Most policies allow for the selection of an elimination period of between 10 days and 1 year, during which time the insured is responsible for payment of care.
  • The LTC insurance benefit is often paid based on a daily or monthly maximum amount, which may not be enough to cover all of the costs of care.
  • While lifetime coverage may be selected, it can increase the premium cost significantly, and some policies may not offer that option. Most common LTC insurance benefit periods last from 1 year to 5 years, after which time the insurance coverage generally ends regardless of whether care is still being provided.
Government benefits provided primarily through a state's Medicaid program may be used to pay for long-term care. To qualify for Medicaid, however, assets and income must fall below certain limits, which vary from state to state. Often, this requires spending down assets, which may mean using savings to pay for care before qualifying for Medicaid.

Women may have to confront particular challenges when planning for long-term care. A financial professional can help with some of the complex issues you may face when preparing for the possibility of long-term care, both as a caregiver and a receiver of care.

Source:  360degrees of Financial Literacy


1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and    family will.
5. Don't buy stuff you don't need.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye... But don't worry; God         never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to be happy.  But it's all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose Life.
28. Forgive but don't forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

You're Awake Between 3-5 In The Morning? Some Supernatural Power Is Trying To Tell You Something!


  BUSTED: 5 Myths About Loneliness After 50

Loneliness is a taboo subject. In fact, most of us would rather admit to having an affair or carrying too much credit card debt than to admit that we are feeling lonely. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps we see loneliness as a personal failing. Or, maybe we just don't want to be associated with the images that are connected to loneliness in the media. The truth is that loneliness is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, everyone experiences loneliness at some point.

Unfortunately, since loneliness is such a taboo subject, there are many misconceptions and myths floating around. These myths prevent us from having an informed conversation about loneliness and may even lead to mistakes when it comes to helping others. Let's look at some of the most common myths about loneliness after 50.

Myth: Loneliness is the Same as Social Isolation

Being alone does not necessarily mean you feel lonely. The opposite is also true. Sometimes we are surrounded by people, but, feel like we have no one who really understands us. One of the things that became clear as I reviewed the results of our Sixty and Me loneliness survey was that baby boomers don't want more contacts - they want meaningful connections. We want to connect with people who share our interests, vision, values and priorities.

This has important implications for addressing the problem of loneliness. Many of the programs and initiatives that exist today focus on giving older people someone to talk with. Unfortunately, helplines and councilors are only part of the solution. They can act as a lifeline for people who are experiencing extreme loneliness and depression. But, they can't help us to make new friends who value us on a personal level. When it comes to loneliness, we need more tools to help people help themselves.

Myth: Loneliness is a Personal Problem that Doesn't Impact Society

It's natural and convenient to think about loneliness as being somebody else's problem. After all, isn't loneliness, by definition, a personal experience? The truth is that loneliness has major implications for society at large. 
For starters, people who are suffering from loneliness are more likely to develop certain health problems. According to a meta-analysis of several studies, the negative health impacts of loneliness are comparable with those of smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.

When it comes to developing policies and programs to address loneliness, some countries are moving more quickly than others. For example, in the U.K. there are several organizations, including Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness. These initiatives are a great start, but, we need to do more.

Beyond public initiatives, there is also a significant opportunity for private companies to make a difference. For example, my own company, Sixty and Me, is in the process of developing 
Boomerly, a service that will help baby boomers to discover and make friends with like-minded people. 
I hope that this encourages other companies to launch their own programs and initiatives.

Myth: Lonely People Should Just "Get Out There and Meet People"

I can guarantee that very few people who have experienced loneliness themselves would ever give the advice to "just get out there and meet people." Loneliness is a complex problem - one that cannot be solved with overly simplistic advice or generalities.

Many people who are struggling with loneliness are also experiencing changing family circumstances. Others are dealing with anxiety, depression or poor health. Still others are simply shy or out of practice when it comes to interacting with the world.

Life after 50 is a time of significant transitions.  Our children have left the house and are building their own lives, taking with them many of the family-based social circles that we used to enjoy.

Many people in their 50s and 60s are re-evaluating their romantic relationships, resulting in one of the highest divorce rates of any age group. Our bodies are changing, forcing us to either double-down on exercise and healthy habits or accept our new physical reality.

In talking with hundreds of baby boomers, I am convinced that loneliness can only be addressed through a combination of activities - physical, mental and social. So, if you really want to help someone who is suffering from loneliness, take the time to understand them as an individual. You will probably find that their feelings of loneliness are about more than just having more social contact.

Myth: Having More Contacts Makes You Less Lonely

On the surface, you might expect that access to social media would be at least a partial solution of the problem of loneliness. Based on the results of our Sixty and Me loneliness survey, I'm not convinced. Most of the people in our community have dozens if not hundreds of "friends" on Facebook. In fact, baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook. But, many of them still feel lonely.

What is clear from my own research is that baby boomers, and most likely people in other age groups too, want supportive people in their lives, not more acquaintances. In other words, we don't want more people in our lives; we want the right people in our lives!

Myth: Loneliness is Rare Among People in their 50s and 60s

When you think about the kind of person who is likely to suffer from loneliness, you probably imagine someone in their 70s or 80s. This is certainly how loneliness is presented in the media. The truth is that, while people in this age group do suffer from loneliness, they are not alone. In fact, several studies, including this one by AARP, have shown that about 1/3 of people in their 50s identify themselves as being lonely. According to the same study, people in their 70s were actually less likely to identify themselves as lonely as people in their 50s and 60s.

To be clear, I'm not saying that we shouldn't focus on solving loneliness for all age groups, including the elderly. I'm simply saying that we shouldn't forget about people in their 50s and 60s.

Loneliness is a major issue that is only going to grow in importance in the coming decades. We need to take a stand. Let's work together to end loneliness.

Let's support organizations like Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness. Let's launch projects like Boomerly. Most of all, let's bring the topic into the light and fight the stigma of loneliness!

Source: Manning
The Health Benefits of Astragalus

Astragalus is an essential herb for your immune system and is well known to help fight viral & bacteria infections, inflammation, and even cancer. It quickly and effectively strengthens the immune system and increases white blood count which makes it highly beneficial for warding off and reducing the effects of colds, flu, respiratory ailments, herpes, shingles, and immune system disorders. 

Astragalus is also excellent at promoting circulation and helping to reduce chest pains, lower high blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular problems such as arrhythmia and heart disease. Astragalus is great for managing diabetes and helping to lower blood sugar. It is highly beneficial for the liver and kidneys and has been shown to help those suffering from hepatitis, chronic nephritis, jaundice, and renal disease. 

It can also help to lower stomach acidity which helps those suffering from ulcers and indigestion. It helps to prevent fats from being absorbed from the intestines which promotes healthy waste elimination. Astragalus has also been found to help boost metabolism and increase energy and endurance levels which ultimately can lead to substantial weight loss.
Astragalus works well with conventional treatments and has even shown to be an effective complement to those undergoing chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS treatments. It has long been used as an anti-aging and longevity tonic that enhances all the systems of the body and promotes overall health and balance. Astragalus is commonly found online or at your local health food store in tincture, extract, capsule, or tea form. 

Source:  Medical Medium Blog

Grilled Shrimp with Melon & Pineapple Salsa

Grilled shrimp is perfectly accented by this light, summery pineapple-melon salsa. The flavors are bright and fresh, just right for a hot day. Use just one melon or any combination of melons-including watermelon-for the versatile salsa. For best flavor marinate the shrimp overnigh t.


  • 1 pound raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño, divided
  • 2 cups finely diced firm ripe melon
  • 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large lettuce leaves, such as Boston, romaine or iceberg
  • 4 lime wedges

1.Combine shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeno in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.


2. Combine melon, pineapple, red and green bell pepper, onion, vinegar, chopped mint and salt in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon jalapeno. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.


3. About 20 minutes before serving, preheat grill to high.


4. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, piercing each twice, once through the tail end and once near the head end. Grill the shrimp until pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. When cool enough to handle, slide the shrimp off the skewers.


5. To serve, arrange one large lettuce leaf on each dinner plate. Spoon salsa onto the lettuce and top with shrimp. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge and a mint sprig, if using


  • Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the shrimp (Step 1) for up to 24 hours. Cover and refrigerate the salsa (Step 2) for up to 4 hours.
  • Equipment: Four 8- to 10-inch skewers
  • Note: To devein shrimp, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Under running water, remove the tract with the knife tip.


Pet Owners Have Healthier Hearts

A furry (or scaly or feathery) friend offers an extra health boost for people living with chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure - by strengthening their tickers.

Pet owners have yet another reason to appreciate their animal companions - and kids everywhere can add one more point to their pitches for their families to get one: Pets are good for the heart, even among those whose hearts aren't particularly healthy.

Researchers studied 191 patients (aged from early sixties to late seventies, on average), all of whom had lifestyle-related conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. They concluded that participants who owned pets had higher heart rate variability than those who didn't, which means their hearts coped better to the body's changes by, for example, beating faster during a stressful situation. Low heart rate variability can heighten one's risk of dying from heart disease.

"Among patients with coronary artery disease, pet owners exhibit a greater one-year survival rate than nonowners," wrote lead author Naoko Aiba, MS, from Kitasato University in Kanagawa, near Tokyo.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, participants wore heart-rate monitors so researchers could observe them at home, something which makes these findings especially important in further connecting the dots between owning a pet and protecting heart health.

"Here we're moving into people's daily lives, and that's what's so exciting ... it really goes beyond what happens in a 10-minute period in the lab," Erika Friedmann, PhD, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, who wasn't involved in this research, told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the researchers couldn't say whether or not the pets directly influenced their owners' heart rate variability results, or if there may be some other trait common among people who decide to get a pet, or among those who shun the pet store altogether.

Still, science has shown that owning a pet is healthy in a number of other ways, from reducing stress and keeping blood pressure in check to keeping us active (read: in shape) and feeling less lonely. For people struggling with more serious conditions such blindness or epilepsy, a dog can be a life-saving addition to the family.

While owning a pet doesn't give you a pass to go to town on fries and other bad-for-your-cholesterol foods, next time your kids come begging for a dog, cat, or lizard, this might just be your reason to say yes.

Source: Everyday Health