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Little puppy is dying covered in mud and laid on the side of the road while people drove passed him

We all want a colorful retirement with opportunities to travel, visit grand kids, start a hobby, golf, read a book, or just relax in the front porch rocking chair.

But before we get too cozy, we have to make certain we have prepared for the three threats to retirement. There are other threats to be sure, but these three are "normal" and "expected," and if not planned for, then there is a strong chance we could outlive our money!

• Inflation
• Real Rates of Return
• Life Expectancy


The most significant reason for planning your finances is to ensure that your money stays even with, and hopefully outpaces inflation. Inflation is the silent killer of the purchasing power of money. Prices tend to go up over time. Your plan has to cover these increases.

Financially, you have to at least keep your purchasing power to stay even with inflation. If you put all your money in the bank and delay creating a plan, you are indeed making a decision and starting a plan.

Inflation is the increase of the cost of goods and services. We recognize that things may cost more next year than now. This is expected for a strong economy that continually has increasing growth. Inflation has been very low in the last decade when compared to historical numbers but is likely to increase again.

Real Rates of Return

Not all investment choices will keep you even with or ahead of inflation. You have to invest to beat inflation and the impact of taxes. The real rate of return that I am talking about is (a) the growth of your money after you consider your tax bracket and (b) the increasing cost of goods and services (inflation). Remember, purchasing power is measured from your take-home money and its ability to purchase goods after the impact of inflation. You have to keep taxes and inflation in mind when you calculate the real rate of return. Historically, the "easy" investments of CDs and other bank deposit accounts don't keep you even with inflation. You have to "grow" some of your money to outpace inflation.

Life Expectancy

The final reason why creating your financial plan is so important is that the average life expectancy is getting longer and longer. You have to create a financial plan that anticipates your increasing longevity.

I have said it before and will say it again: "You don't want to be an old lady on a fixed income." You have to create a growth plan for life! If you have only traditional bank deposits (CDs, checking, savings, money market accounts), you are on a fixed income.

If you look at life expectancy chart, a sixty-year-old woman's "expectancy" is 24.37 more years. This means there is a 50 percent chance she will live longer than 24.37 more years. If she invests money in bank deposit accounts, she will quickly lose purchasing power and be in trouble in years to come.

How much do you think a stamp, or car, or home, or that rocking chair will cost in 24 more years?

Whether it is through death, divorce, or choosing to remain single, women have up to a ninety percent chance at some point in their lives of having to be solely responsible for their finances. Even in strong healthy marriages, many women need to take a greater interest in the household finances. Now, with the baby boomers moving toward retirement, the number of women who will find themselves financially alone is predicted to dramatically increase.

Why bother to create a Plan? Because if you don't, these three threats will likely impact your colorful retirement.

Excerpts from "A Woman's Guide To Financial Planning: The Seven Essential Ingredients For Your Best Financial Recipe"

He’s covered in mud and laid on the side of the road while people drove passed him, some even almost running over him!!! He has been too weak to get up! He is currently dying at the finders house needing urgent medical help!! Please help network him for rescue and foster!!! He will not make it through the night like this!!! Please pledge to attract rescue!! Its so late at night I doubt he will find help.

Rio Grande Valley Texas

Transport available

if you or someone you know is interested in rescue please contact Leslie Hennings

STATUS : - read comment for update from crossposter
I loved living in Africa. I still love the wild spaces and the live-and-let-live culture. I'll retire there for sure... my 150-year-old seaside cottage is ready and waiting.

But in my younger days, Africa came with a cost: I was far from loved ones. A round-trip ticket to the U.S. cost an entire month's salary.

But sometimes I thought it worth it... such as when my dear grandma entered long-term care late in her life.

She was a lovely person; kind and gentle, but with a keen eye for saving a penny.

Luckily for her, when she needed round-the-clock care, a combination of sound financial planning and good timing - health care was a lot cheaper then, and Medicare had good benefits - meant she was well-provided for.

Those days, however, are over... are you ready?

Long-Term Care: It'll Cost You

Consider these numbers:

The median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $250 to $350 per day, or about $91,000 to $128,000 per year.
The median cost of assisted living is $3,628 per month - more than $43,500 per year.
A home health aide for eight hours per day costs more than $40,000 per year.
Most people prepare for long-term care by calculating how much of the cost they could handle with retirement income and savings, then looking to insurance to fill any gap.
But long-term care insurance premiums have skyrocketed in recent years.

People are living longer with chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, like Grandma. And insurers didn't anticipate an extended period of low interest rates, which have hit their investment returns on which they depend to pay future claims.

Consequently, premiums on long-term care insurance have soared.

In 2000, you could pay $880 per year for a $70 daily benefit, a 50-day waiting period, 5% compound inflation protection and lifetime benefits. Today a similar policy - but with a five-year maximum benefit period - would cost $2,944 per year.

Long-term care policyholders face a tough decision: Pay the increased premiums - cutting into your retirement savings! - reduce coverage, or let the policy lapse and lose the benefits.

Get Smart Instead

Fortunately, there are strategies you can adopt to cope with these rising insurance costs. Here are some of the easiest to implement:

Buy a combined long-term care and life policy. These pay out whether you need care or not, and the premiums are fixed. A 55-year-old man who pays $10,000 per year for 10 years could get a monthly long-term care benefit of $5,500 for up to six years, growing at 3% compounded per year. If he didn't need long-term care, his heirs would receive a $130,000 death benefit, or he could cash in the policy and get back 80% of his premiums.
Add a chronic-care rider to a permanent life insurance policy when you buy it, which lets you use up to 2% of the death benefit per month for long-term care, with a $360 daily maximum. This rider tends to add 10% to 12% to the premiums
The average long-term care claim is just less than three years. That gives you scope to adjust your policy and save on premiums:
Cut inflation protection. Cutting back from 5% to 3% can reduce your premiums significantly. The older you are now, the better this option will be. Someone in his or her 70s, for example, may have already built up a big enough daily benefit at 5% inflation protection that reducing the rate to 3% or lower will be enough in the future.

Reduce the coverage term. If you have lifetime benefits, you can usually reduce coverage to three to five years, which covers the average claim period. But be aware that the reduced term may fall short of what you need if you develop a chronic disease.

Look for a "paid up" option. Regulators in some states require insurers to offer this option to policyholders who drop their insurance. Instead of losing all the coverage you paid for, you'd get a benefit based on the premiums paid.

Of course, there are other ways to reduce your health care costs, now and in the future, such as offshore health care and health savings accounts.

Don't Set It and Forget It

Most people react quickly to changes in the investment environment. They seize opportunities and adjust their portfolios accordingly as asset values change.

Unfortunately, the same isn't always true for insurance. There's a tendency to buy it and let it ride. Don't make that mistake.

If you don't have long-term care insurance, consider getting it.

If you do, review your coverage and see whether it makes more sense to reduce it and divert some of the savings into your retirement kitty, where it might earn better returns.

After all, the future of U.S. health care is more uncertain than ever... and that's a worry you don't need.