February 25, 2017

Understanding Medicare Choices

Medicare is a wonderful health insurance program for Americans 65 and older but making wise choices is a challenge. A great resource for helping choose between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans is "making Medicare work for you" by Katie Young and Jessica Dickler. Whether you are new to Medicare or long-time user, check out this clear, concise explanation: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/15/making-medicare-work-for-you.html.
Each year one should review their needs and consider whether they should stick with their current plan or choose a new one.

February 23, 2017

Now is a great time to revisit your resolutions

How to help ensure  you keep your New Year's resolutions and/or reach your financial goals?   
Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, provides these suggestions: 
"One option is to make it into a public commitment and use the people around you to push yourself get into better behavior." 
"Another option is to frame the New Year’s Resolution as a thing to do for 6 weeks and give it your best for this shorter duration with the hope that a shorter commitment is more doable and that by the time you will end the six weeks that you will have a new habit."

Participate in professor Ariely's research on New Year's resolutions: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3260941/New-Years-Resolutions

Tax time is the time to act on retirement savings!

It's time to feed your "Financial Freedom Fund." The federal government (under previous administrations... not sure how long this great deal will last....) offers a tax credit to help workers boost their retirement accounts.
"The Retirement Savings Contribution Credit, aka the Saver’s Credit, is a tax credit that may be applied to the first $2,000 of voluntary contributions that an eligible worker makes to a 401(k), 403(b) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, or to an IRA or myRA. The maximum credit is $1,000 for single filers or individuals and $2,000 for married couples," according to Steve Vernon at CBS Money Watch. Get the details at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dont-pass-up-free-retirement-money-from-uncle-sam/

Now is the time to plan for your financial security in later life!

February 21, 2017

Vehicle Smog Ratings & Idling

Did you know that your car has a “smog rating”? This number (1-10) reflects vehicle tailpipe emissions that contribute to local and regional air pollution.
A smog rating of 10 is the cleanest. You can find a vehicle’s smog rating on the window sticker of new cars or on fueleconomy.gov. Once you’ve decided on the type of car you want to purchase, you can compare models based on smog ratings and choose the cleanest model that fits your family’s needs. this website also has plenty of information on how to improve the fuel economy of your current vehicle and 10 Top misconceptions about Fuel Economy: http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/topten.jsp?action=Myths
Among the top myths: it's more fuel efficient to let your vehicle idle than to turn it off and on again. WRONG!  Don't idle! It wastes fuel and money and causes air pollution.
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