Minnesotans Give To The Max

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It’s official. Minnesotans are the most charitable people in the country.

WalletHub recently ranked Minnesota as the nation’s most charitable state for 2018 using a methodology based on 18 different metrics. More specifically, we were ranked #1 in the nation for “Volunteering & Service” and #4 for “Charitable Giving”.

Way to go Minnesota!

You can learn more about WalletHub’s research by clicking here.

Medicare Open Enrollment

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Open enrollment season for Medicare is well underway and runs through December 7.

This open enrollment period provides Medicare users an opportunity to re-shop their healthcare and drug coverage choices, and consider other options for the year ahead.

If you’re enrolled in Medicare you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from your plan provider by the end of every September. Review this information carefully because any changes to co-pays, premiums, deductibles, drug costs or network providers will be listed in these documents.

If you’re happy with the coverage you have, you don’t need to do anything and your policy will simply auto-renew.

Changes to your existing plan or changes to your health may make another plan a better option for you. Take some time now to determine if you should switch and then do so before the open enrollment period ends.

Click here to visit the Medicare website for more information: medicare.gov.  

If you would like help reviewing your plan and the available options, let me know and I will be happy to refer you to a specialist.

5 Frightful Facts About Paying For College

Halloween 2010

When my kids were little we looked forward to Halloween. Every year they would dress up in their scariest costumes and we would walk them through the neighborhood as they bashfully went up to each house to trick or treat.

Our biggest fears at the time were that they would eat too much candy or stay up too late on a school night.

Today my girls are high school age. Their trick-or-treat days are behind them and college is just around the corner. Now we worry about how to pay for college and the financial impact their choices will have as their lives unfold. (Among other things).

Their college years are likely to be some of the best of their life. Nevertheless, we are parents. So, we worry.

Try not to be too scared as you read these 5 frightful facts about paying for college …

My Morning With The Butt Man

As a financial planner I help clients plan and prepare for retirement. We talk a lot about how long their money needs to last, what rate of return they need to get, and ways to reduce market risk.

Numbers are important, but lately I’ve become much more interested in what makes for a successful retirement. One that is happy, healthy, rewarding and meaningful.

Being financially secure is just part of the equation.

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, has studied this issue for a long time. His research shows that the major contributors to quality of life as we age include the need to remain physically active, to be socially engaged, and to have a sense of purpose.

You can learn more about The Blue Zones and Dan’s research by watching his TED talk here.

Since learning of Dan Buettner and his work, I have been intrigued by the whole idea of what makes for a “successful” retirement. Hint: it takes more than just money.

I want to see for myself if Mr. Buettner’s ideas have merit. I want to know what happy, successful retirees actually do to remain physically active, socially engaged and filled with purpose.

So, whenever I can I like to get a peek into the lives of successful retirees and how they live their life in retirement.

This is the first in what I hope will be an ongoing series. If you know someone who is living an extraordinary life in retirement, let me know.

Introducing the Butt Man

I have a client named Roger who is known as the “Butt Man of Lake Phalen”. Every morning he walks the trails circling Lake Phalen, picking up cigarette butts he finds along the way.

I have known about Roger’s peculiar pastime for several years, mulling about the idea of joining him on his morning ritual. Recently, I had the opportunity to tag along.

So far, Roger has collected and disposed of over 635,000 cigarette butts found wedged into sidewalk cracks, underneath park benches and scattered among nearby parking lots near his beloved lake.

He should know. Since 2009, Roger has taken meticulous notes documenting his daily haul. Today we added 58 more to the tally.

His dedication has caught the attention of local media. KARE 11’s Boyd Hupert recenty did a story on him. If you haven’t seen it, watch it by clicking here.

Retirement riches

Roger is happy, healthy and, from what I can see, lives a very rewarding and meaningful life in retirement. He confided to me on our walk that the real secret to a happy retirement, of course, is to have a wife like his. If you know his wife, Anu, you will find it hard to disagree.

Lake Phalen has a little over three miles of rolling trails that Roger says “remind you that you are doing something”. Along the way we ran into several friends, people that Roger regularly says hello to and often chats with even though neither party knows the other’s name.

And of course, there is a clear purpose. “If I live long enough, I hope to pick more than a million butts.”

His words, not mine.

World Food Day 2019

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This morning for breakfast I had cereal with soymilk (I don’t do so well with dairy) topped off with fruit and raisins. Sometimes I have oatmeal, eggs or maybe a tasty pastry from my favorite bakery.

And, of course, coffee. Always coffee.

For most Americans our food options are unlimited, and we eat well. Sometimes too well. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone; even here in the U.S.

Wednesday, October 16, is World Food Day, a day that recognizes the importance a healthy meal, and goes beyond the challenge of ending global hunger to address issues like obesity, sustainability and access to healthy food options.