A BETTER BRAIN!

FAD:  Omega-3 Supplements

We’ve been hearing about the seeming magical powers of these essential fatty acids for a while now.  But the science is complicated: Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those called EPA and DHA, are essential for normal brain function.  But dietary supplements aren’t a quick fix. “It takes two and a half years to build up an adequate supply of omega-3s in your brain cells.  You may need to take them before symptoms of memory loss begin,” says Richard Isaacson, M.D., founder of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  “And you can’t just go and buy a bottle of fish oil and call it good. For age-related memory loss, you need 900 milligrams daily of DHA.”

 

FAILS:  Nootropics or “Smart Drugs”

The brain-health supplement market is poised to top$11.6 billion by 2024.  One of the hottest categories is nootropics, or “smart drugs,” aimed at older adults.  An example is Prevagen, a dietary supplement derived from a protein in jellyfish, often advertised on TV as a memory enhancer.  The New York state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued the manufacturers and charged the company with fraud.  Experts say that supplements like these can have adverse side effects and bad reactions with prescription medicines.

BRAIN STIMULATION:   What if you could zap your brain with an electrical current to improve your memory, learn to play piano or master a foreign language?  You can try commercial headset devices such as Halo and Foc.us—but don’t get your hopes up. A study published in Experimental Brain Research in 2016 found that people who got such treatments performed worse on cognitive tests than those getting fake treatments.  And possible negative side effects include dizziness, as well as altered sight, hearing or taste.

 

FIXES:  Cocoa Flavonols

To flavor your coffee, swirl in a tablespoon of pure dark cocoa powder.  One study published in Nature Neuroscience found that taking high doses (900 mg) of cocoa flavonols daily for three months improved brain function.  Sixty-year-olds then performed pattern recognition tests as well as people half their age.

 

CURCUMIN

We have new insight into why older adults in India have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease:  The secret is in the (curry) sauce. Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory substance that gives curry its vibrant hue, improves brain health.  Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found memory and attention improvements in adults ages 51 to 84 who consumed 90 mg of curcumin twice daily for 18 months.  PET scans showed healthier brains, too. “When you cook with it,” Isaacson says, “you can absorb it and have a lot of it over your lifetime—and it probably protects the brain.” Don’t want to eat curry every day?  You can also try a highly absorbable supplement such as Theracurmin, which was taken by subjects in the UCLA study and, Isaacson says, is likely even more effective than curcumin.

(As written in the AARP Bulletin, May 2018)

BODY & MIND HEALTH COACH

MYTH:  YOU SHOULD STICK TO FEWER THAN 1,200 CALORIES.

TRUTH:  THERE’S NO MAGIC NUMBER THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE—BUT 1,200 IS ALMOST ALWAYS TOO LOW.

 

Your body needs fuel (food!) to burn fat, but how much depends on a number of factors, like your age and your weight.  Fad diets—with their big promises—can make you feel like you have to eat as little as possible to shed pounds, but they’re called fads for a reason.  One thing that’s always true: Eating a very low-calorie diet can quickly cause your body to feel starved, slowing your metabolism. Instead, use a tool like our app Transform or a fitness wearable to determine the number of calories your body uses per day and aim to eat 150 to 250 calories less than that number.  Or, find your sweet spot for weight loss with my rough guide below:

 

YOUR WEIGHT LOSS CHEAT SHEET:

IF YOU WEIGH:   100 – 150 pounds

TRY:  Eating 1,500 calories

IF YOU WEIGH:    151-180 pounds

TRY:  Adding a zero to your weight—that’s your daily calorie count

IF YOU WEIGH:  181 pounds or more

TRY:  Adding a zero to your weight, then multiplying that number by 0.9

 

MYTH:  YOU MUST MAKE TIME FOR THE GYM

TRUTH:  YOU’LL SLIM DOWN FASTER WITH SHORT WORKOUTS THAT CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE.

 

Research suggests that just four minutes of high-intensity intervals can improve fitness levels and burn fat more effectively than slogging through an hour of running or climbing hills on a stationary bike.  So try doing just one exercise—like sit-ups, air squats, or burpees—as intensely as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, and repeat eight times total. If you can, try another exercise for four minutes after that, then another.  You’ll spend at most 16 minutes on this, and the payoff is huge.

 

MYTH:  NEVER EAT IN THE EVENING

TRUTH:  IF YOU STILL NEED ENERGY AFTER DARK, YOU STILL NEED FOOD.

 

Your metabolism doesn’t clock out when the workday is over, and neigher do you, so there’s no need to skip meals.  I think it’s smart to eat five small meals a day, every three hours; for instance, if you eat breakfast at 7 am, your last meal would be around 7 pm.  That should keep you going until you wind down for bed. (You still don’t want to have a big meal super close to bedtime, because digestion works better when you’re up and about.)  For dinner, stick with lean proteins, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich vegetables—veggies are carbs, but their fiber will help curb your cravings for the sugary, processed kind. My go-to meal is 4 oz cooked and shredded chicken and ½ avocado, sliced, served on a bed of greens and veggies, with low-fat dressing.

 

MYTH:  ABS ARE MADE AT THE GYM

TRUTH:  ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN

 

You can do all the crunches and planks in the world and never see a six-pack.  Here’s why: Abdominal exercises can help build the bricks below the surface, but they won’t do anything to reduce the fat on top.  To lose that, you need to eat well and exercise. The two food rules below will give you results!

 

EAT MORE PROTEIN.Protein is the building block of muscle.  A simple rule of thumb for healthy adults: Calculate 80% of your body weight—that’s how much plant-based and lean protein I recommend you eat each day, in grams.

 

….AND LESS SODIUM……Even if those bricks are there, and even if your body fat is low enough to show them, too much sodium can leave a layer of water on your belly.  Aim to keep your intake under 2,300 mg per day—that’s good for your heart too.

WHAT’S YOUR TROUBLE SPOT?

BACK:  Pain here affects women at a greater rate than it does men.  It’s not just that we’re constantly lifting babies, laptops, and groceries—after all, guys do that too—or that we carry two things men don’t:  pregnant bellies and breasts. It’s that our bones’ strength peaks earlier, around age 30, putting us at higher risk for osteoporosis, compression fractures, and more, explains Kimberly Sackheim, D.O., clinical assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation.  You can help shore up your bones at any age by eating a calcium-rich diet and doing weight-bearing exercise such as running and dancing, which forces the bones to repair themselves, making them stronger. With rest, back pain should get better in six weeks, but if yours last longer or you develop weakness, numbness, or tingling or have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder—which could be a sign of nerve compression—check with a doctor.

 

WRIST:  Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome simply because of the way we’re built.  The median nerve runs from the forearm to the palm of your hand, passing through a tunnel of ligaments and bones.  A slender wrist can allow it to become compressed more easily, causing numbness, itchiness, or pain in your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers and down your arm.  Eventually, it may be difficult to text or grip a pen. To help your wrist heal faster, try to avoid repetitive movements, like scrubbing the tub (let someone else take a turn!).  You can also ease the pain with ibuprofen or topical gels and patches and a simple wrist brace from your local drugstore. “Wear the brace while you’re sleeping and when you’re being very active,”  Sackheim says.

 

THYROID:  Women are up to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.  Your thyroid produces two hormones that together control a wide array of things than can make you feel A-OK or totally rotten.  If it either trickles to a half or goes into overdrive, you might feel cold or overheated, be constipated or have diarrhea, feel listless or be anxious.  Fortunately, the treatments—replacing the hormones you’re missing with synthetic ones, or tamping down overproduction with medication or, in some cases, surgery—are usually effective, says Antonio Bianco, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  Ask your M.D. for a simple blood test.

 

HEART:  Though men develop heart disease just as frequently, women’s cases are often more complicated.  “In women, heart disease tends to be more diffuse, occurring throughout the arteries rather than in one spot, making it more of a challenge to fix,” says cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., spokeswoman for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women.  Catching heart disease before it lands you in the ER is crucial.  Have your doctor check your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, BMI, and waist circumference annually, and go over your family history of heart disease.

 

BELLY:  Irritable bowel syndrome is a mysterious disease—experts aren’t sure what causes it or why twice as many women as men are diagnosed with it, though there are a few theories, says Elana Maser, M.D., director of the Mount Sinai Women’s Gastrointestinal Center in New York City.  IBS in women is likely a nerve issue, much like migraines or fibromyalgia, she explains, and bouts might also be driven by hormones during your period or pregnancy. If you’ve had cramps along with constipation or diarrhea (or, if you hit the IBS jackpot, both!) for at least three months, you should see help.  A doctor can help you identify your triggers and prescribe medications to help ease the symptoms.

 

KNEES:  You don’t have to be doing any crazy marathon training to be more prone to knee injury than a guy.  You can thank the estrogen-fueled laxity in our joints, and our wider-set hips, which create a sharp angle where the leg bones meet.  The first step to saving your knees is simple: “If you’re doing an exercise that hurts your knees, don’t do it,” Sackheim says. (Squats, got it.)   Your next move is to strengthen your quads and hamstrings—they’ll support your leg so you don’t put as much pressure on your knee.

 

(Written by Marisa Cohen for Redbookmag.com, April 2018)

ARE YOU THE BOSS OF YOUR MONEY?

All the tools you need to feel less stressed and more confident about your finances are right here—but first, you have to be totally honest in this quiz from money expert Nicole Lapin.  Then follow her perfectly tailored advice: Financial Security Awaits!

 

DO YOU SPEND MONEY ON YOURSELF?     A) Of course! I deserve it.

  1.                                                                            B) Oh, no, I can’t do that.
  2.                                                                            C) Of course! I deserve it and I can afford it.

 

ARE YOU PAID WHAT YOU DESERVE?         A) I wish. But who is, amirite?

  1.                                                             B) I guess my salary is fair, but let me tell you the 10

                                                                  don’t think I can get more money right now.

  1.                                                             C) Yep, with benefits and perks.

                                  

WHEN IT COMES TO MY MONTHLY BUDGET, I…..

  1. Budget? I don’t really have an “official” one, but I’m ballparking
  2. Stick to it about half the time, but it’s not always practical.
  3. Set it at the beginning of the month based on my salary, making sure to allow for fun spending.

 

DO YOU WANT TO RETIRE SOMEDAY, AND HAVE A PLAN TO GET THERE?

  1. Retirement is not something I can think about right now.
  2. I’m trying: I’ve got a little extra money stashed away in a  Savings Account
  3. I’m maxing out my 401(k) contributions, have an IRA, and am feeling prepared…provided there are no zombies, of course.

 

Give yourself 1 point for every A

2 points for every B

3 points for every C

 

4-6 POINTS

 

JUST STARTING OUT:  You do deserve to spend money on yourself—I like your spirit!  But let’s expand your notion of what it means to do that.

YOUR BUDGET:  I know a budget sounds like a horrible diet where you only eat grapefruit.  But think of it as your “spending plan,” and you’ll realize it’s not about deprivation at all.  Write down the money you having coming in every month and where it’s going. Next, bundle your expenditures into “Essentials,” “Endgame” (15% toward savings and retirement), and “Extras” (15% for lattes, yoga, pedis, whatever).  Then stick to this plan: Being broke is worse than budgeting!

YOUR RETIREMENT:  If you’re burying your head in the sand about this, I’m not going to try to guilt you into doing better (though you know I could).  Instead, think about something amazing: the $1 million—plus you’ll have if you put $5,000 into a 401(k) or IRA for 40 years. Compound interest is your BFF because you earn interest on the interest, which is basically free money.  Doesn’t that make you want to start saving?!

YOUR PAY:  Do you know what the market rate for your job and industry is?  You should. Glassdoor.com and the ladders.com can help, but also ask trusted friends or colleagues what they make.  Then prepare a killer presentation on why you should get a raise. Showcase yourself: I’m talking full-on charts and graphs.  If you work for yourself, the same goes for getting a great rate from clients. There are people who are paid what they deserve, and you should be one of them.  

 

7-9 POINTS

 

BOSS-IN-TRAINING:  A lot of busy women thin, I’ll figure out all that money stuff when I have more time/cash/knowledge.  No!  You’ll have more time/cash/knowledge when you figure out the money stuff.

YOUR BUDGET:  If yours isn’t working for you, I have two solutions.  One is to make sure you’re figuring in everything, not just your mortgage and utility bills, but your Netflix and all those Amazon purchases.  You’ve got to make space for fun extras—just be sure the ones you’re spending money on are worth it. My other idea is to ramp up your savings a bit—that might give you the peace of mind you need to stick to the rest of the budget.  Don’t forget how even 1% to 2% more each month adds up over time thanks to our BFF, compound interest!

YOUR RETIREMENT:  I want you to be carefree Betty White, not the little old lady out looking for a job.  If your employer offers a matching 401(k), max out those contributions. If you already have, consider opening a Roth or traditional IRA too (nobody gets rich with their eggs in one basket).  I like the Roth because you pay taxes on your contributions now—I’m betting you you’ll be making more money by the time your retire, putting you in a higher tax bracket. So pay the tax now when it won’t be as much.

YOUR PAY:  I have two words for you: no excuses.  Don’t just think of a raise as a little bump that’s not worth the stress and headache to ask for.  That bump can grow if you invest it, and it can help you make more money at your next job. So stop with your reasons why not and plan to ask for more; if you don’t, the answer is always no.

10-12 POINTS

 

BOSSDOM:  Oh, hey, boss, hey!  As a fellow boss, I know you’ll always be looking for ways to maintain and improve your status.

YOUR BUDGET:  You probably have down what I call the “3 E’s” of your spending plan (Essentials, Endgame, and Extras).  Now, look closely at your goals for the 3 F’s: family, finance, and fun. Look at your one-, three-, five-, seven-, and 10-year goals (smaller chunks are easier to digest)  in all aspects of your life. What’s on your family plan? Another kid? A second home? What about your life plan? Want to take time off to travel? Switch careers? Expand your spending plan to include these things now.

YOUR RETIREMENT:  If you’re regularly maxing out your 401(k) and Roth IRA and you have some savings on the side, start contributing to a health savings account (HSA).  They money doesn’t get taxed and you can use it for out-of-pocket health expenses. That means your contact lens solution is tax-free. Then, check out apps and sites like Digit, Acorns, and Aspiration to help you save even more without changing your habits.  

YOUR PAY:  If inflation is growing at, say, 3%, then you need to make that much more a a year just to maintain the same lifestyle.  How about thinking about a side gig? What do you love that could bring in some cash? What are people always saying you’re so good at?  Start charging for it, sister! That’s being a boss!

 

(written by Nicole Lapin for April 2018 of Redbook Magazine)

Sensational Sirloin Kabobs

“After a wild night marinating in a slightly sweet soy sauce and lemon-lime mixture, sirloin steak chunks are skewered with veggies and grilled. You’ll want to make these again and again!”

 

Prep:  15 minutes

Cook:  15 minutes

Ready in: 8 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
  • 4 fluid ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
  • 2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • skewers
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and cubed

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, light brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, garlic powder, seasoned salt, garlic pepper seasoning, and lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage. Reserve about 1/2 cup of this marinade for basting. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag. Cover with the remaining marinade, and seal. Refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add green peppers, and cook for 1 minute, just to blanch. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Preheat grill for high heat. Thread steak, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pineapple onto skewers in an alternating fashion. Discard marinade and the bag.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook kabobs on the prepared grill for 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. Baste frequently with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2018 Allrecipes.com
Printed From Allrecipes.com 7/24/2018

Listen UP!

Hearing Loss —America’s silent and growing epidemic

Hearing loss is America’s silent epidemic.  It can have a more negative impact on the quality of life than obesity, diabetes, strokes or even cancer.  Yet according to an AARP survey, more people report having gotten colonoscopies than hearing tests.

Hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia, falls and depression.  It is also a serious contributing factor to social isolation and loneliness, and has been linked to poorer job performance and lower salaries, as well.

Why are people so reluctant to get their hearing checked or to treat hearing disorders?  Because unlike many serious and potentially fatal ailments, hearing loss carries with it the stigma of being old.  It’s true that hearing diminishes with age. Nearly 30 percent of people in their 50s suffer from hearing loss. For people in their 60s, it’s 45 percent.  And for those in their 70s, more than two-thirds have significant hearing loss.

But it doesn’t only affect older people.  The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss.  And that number is increasing. Boomers had their rock concerts, and millennials have their earbuds. So the impact of hearing damage will likely grow.

Because of the stigma of hearing loss, the average older adult waits seven to 10 years to get a hearing device.  Moreover, only 20 to 30 percent of all adults who could benefit from a hearing solution end up getting one. This only makes the problem worse because the longer a person has uncorrected hearing loss, the greater the risk to the brain of losing the ability to translate the sound of someone talking into comprehensible speech.  

The good news is that hearing loss is a solvable health issue.  When Medicare was passed in 1965, the assumption was that hearing loss was an inevitable part of the normal aging process, so hearing aids and associated services were excluded from coverage.  This is very difficult to change legislatively. But the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has recommended regulatory changes to make hearing solutions more accessible and affordable, and similar proposals were made by the President’s Counceil of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2015.  Last year Congress passed legislation requiring the Food and Drug Administration to regulate over-the-counter hearing aids within three years.

We have also seen in recent years a rapid growth and increased interest among consumer-electronics companies (from small start-ups to global giants like Apple, Samsung and Bose) in the development of devices that are suited to a wide variety of hearing deficits and a broad range of lifestyle preferences.

At AARP, as part of our effort to disrupt aging, we’re working to end the ageist stigma of hearing loss and use of hearing aids and other devices.  We’re advocating for better access and more affordable coverage of hearing testing and devices. We’re working with companies to spark innovative hearing solutions, and we’re providing consumers with information, guides and other tools to help raise awareness of this serious issue and to help them navigate their way through the advances in technology and their understanding of how hearing loss affects their lives.

By addressing the issues associated with hearing loss, both individually and as a society, we have so much to gain—better social connections, better health and a  better life. Let’s end America’s silent epidemic.

(by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP in AARP Bulletin, May 2018)

Boomers Give the Most of Any Generation to Charity

A new survey of 1,339 donors finds that boomers give the most to charities, accounting
for 41 percent of all contributions in 2017.
The poll, conducted by Edge Research on behalf of the Blackbaud Institute for
Philanthropic Impact, estimated that boomer contributors gave $58.6 billion to nonprofits
last year, with the average boomer benefactor giving $1,061. Boomer donors on
average contribute to four charities.
Boomer giving has fallen slightly in recent years, from an average $1,212 in 2013, when
the generation accounted for 43 percent of charitable donations. But 60 percent of
boomer donors said their level of giving will stay the same next year, while another 12
percent said it will increase.
The Institute’s report notes that the average American charitable donor is age 64, which
suggests that boomers will remain the biggest source of charitable dollars for the next
few years.
Thirty-five percent of boomers make contributions through charity websites. Some 27
percent give by mail, while 11 percent use social media websites to make contributions.
Three percent give via text messaging.
Fifty-two percent of boomers think they make their biggest positive impact on worthy
causes by giving money, while others see volunteering (19 percent) and raising visibility
through word of mouth (8 percent) as the way to make the biggest difference.
Though fewer in number, the older Silent Generation remains a significant force
incharitable giving, contributing an estimated $29 billion last year, an average of
$1,235. That amounted to 20 percent of all charitable donations.

5 Keys to Smart Charitable Giving
by Jeff Yeager, Updated December 2010
If you haven’t got charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
–Bob Hope
Anytime is a good time to get out your checkbook to support the worthy charitable
causes of your choice.

As I’ve said all along, being smart about money and living a more frugal lifestyle isn’t
about being greedy, dishonest, or stingy toward others. Ultimately, it’s about choosing to
spend wisely and to consume less ourselves so that we have more—of both treasure
and time—to share with those we love and those who need our help.
For a new book I’m writing, I recently surveyed hundreds of fellow—as
I’ve defined that term. I’ve discovered that on average, cheapskates give significantly
more to charities (about 5 percent of their income) than the national average most of
Americans (less than 3 percent). What isn’t surprising is that when most cheapskates
donate to charity, they want to do it the smart way and get the most bang for their
donated bucks.
Here’s how they do it:
Check out the charity first: View charitable giving as investing in social good, and
exercise due diligence just as you would before making any other investment. Web sites
such asCharitynavigator.org andGuidestar.org provide a wealth of information on
thousands of charitable organizations. They can help you evaluate a charity’s financial
stability, funding, governance and ethical practices, and even the fairness of the CEO’s
compensation. In the end, the decision of which organizations you support is up to you,
but do your homework first.
Double your donation with a matching gift: Many companies match donations made by
their employees to qualified nonprofit organizations, dollar for dollar, up to a specified
limit. Charities occasionally have a source of matching funds (for instance, a matching
grant or a generous individual donor), which can also allow you to effortlessly double
your support. Of course, you can also truly and be the source of a
matching gift yourself by offering to match the gifts of others to a charity of your choice.
This is a great way to leverage the spirit of giving and your donation.
Consider making an unrestricted donation: Many people want to be assured that their
donation to a charity will be used for a specific purpose or program and not for
other general purposes. While this is understandable from a donor’s
perspective, it often hamstrings the organization; in the end, the restriction doesn’t allow
the best use of the limited financial resources available to most nonprofit groups. Once
you’re satisfied the organization is a good steward of its funds, trust it to do what is best
with your donation. Consider giving an unrestricted gift to support the breadth of an
organization’s good work.
Volunteer for a firsthand look: During the 25 years I managed nonprofit organizations,
supporters often asked me whether I’d prefer they make a financial donation or
volunteer their time. My answer was always the same: “Most charitable
organizations depend on donations of both money and time—in the form of volunteer
labor—to carry out their important work. Not only can volunteering be fun and

rewarding, but it’s also one of the best ways to get a true feel for a charitable
organization, to evaluate whether or not it also deserves your financial support.
Know the tax implications: Generally speaking, donations of cash and property to
qualified nonprofit organizations are tax-deductible, although IRS regulations regarding
the tax implications of charitable giving are complicated. Consult a tax professional and
IRS Publication 526 regarding your individual financial situation.
Donations should be made no later than Dec. 31 of the year in which the deduction is
claimed.
According to the IRS Web site, "To claim a deduction for contributions of cash or
property equaling $250 or more, you must obtain a written acknowledgment from the
qualified organization showing the amount of the cash and a description of any property
contributed, and whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange
for the gift."
And finally it’s easier than ever before to make a donation on behalf of someone else
and to let them choose which organization they wish to support:
SeeCharitychecks.us andNetworkforgood.org for flexible giving programs that allow
you to instill charity in the hearts of others.

MOVES TO MAKE WHEN STOCKS ARE JUMPY

Don’t let the up-and-down market derail your retirement

 

Is the stock market making you jittery about your retirement security?  No wonder. After behaving placidly throughout 2017, stocks started jumping around this year like an enchanted pogo stick.  By early March, the broad-market S&P 500 index had closed up or down 1 percent or more on 17 separate days—double the number for all of last year.  And on Feb 5, it dropped more than 4 percent—a one-day downward swing not seen since the summer of 2011.

The standard advice at times like this is to do nothing and stay the course.  And while it’s good advice, sometimes you need more than that abbreviated answer.  So here are tips from top personal finance gurus on what to do in an unsettled market.  

  • Stick to paper statements.  Many of the worst decisions investors make in an unstable market result from keeping too close an eye on their portfolio.  Some people—particularly retirees with lots of time on their hands—can end up checking their investments a dozen or more times a day.  This nonstop online access typically causes panic that dovetails with short-term thinking, says Eric Tyson, coauthor of Personal Finance After 50 for Dummies.  He advises older investors to greatly reduce, if not eliminate, their online access and to simply review the quarterly statements mailed directly to them.  “In a declining market, people go online and think the world is ending, then sell,” he says. “The reverse is what you should be doing.”
  • Inspect your holdings.  While sitting tight and patiently waiting for the market to recover isn’t a bad idea, Tyson says you shouldn’t completely ignore what you own.  Instead, he says, look at your entire portfolio and ask yourself this critical question: If all my holding were suddenly 100 percent cash, would I buy the same stocks and bonds that I have today?  In other words, are my investments the best they can be? If the answer is no, Tyson says, it’s probably time to make changes and swap some out.
  • Get a second opinion.  Let’s say your portfolio stagnated when the market was up, or perhaps slipped more than others during the recent downturn.  If you’re using a financial adviser, this is a good time to show your portfolio to three other advisers, Tyson says. Each, of course, will find something to quibble with.  But if all three make similar suggestions, you may want to ask your adviser about what they have proposed—and listen hard for answers.
  • Save more, risk less.  If you’re in your 50s but still have little savings, avoid the temptation of jumping into stocks now in the hopes of riding a comeback to retirement security, says Ben Carlson, director of institutional asset management at Ritholtz Wealth Management.  Immediately raising your savings rate—say, from 10 percent of income to 20 percent—is a far better strategy than suddenly increasing the percentage of your investments devoted to stocks, he says. “If the kids are out of the house, this is your chance to put some money aside.”
  • Talk to your spouse.  Any time a couple are dependent on the same financial resources, it’s important for both of them to fully understand their investments.  But shared knowledge is even more important in times of uncertainty. If you’re the spouse who takes the lead on investments—and typically one spouse does—then talking about your portfolio can relieve the lonely burden of keeping all your worries to yourself.  You’ll also be doing yourselves a favor by getting a second opinion about your situation. Says Tyson, “Your spouse might think of things that you didn’t.”
  • Look elsewhere for money.  If you’ve been pinning all your hopes for retirement security on the stock market’s performance, generating other sources of income will ease the pressure you place on your investments—and the anxiety they create for you.  One option is returning to work. While that may not have been part of your original retirement dream, studies indicate that part-time jobs probably improve retirees’ health, and definitely improve their social network. Consider starting your own consulting business, says Mitch Levin, MD., author of Smart Choices for Serious Money: How to protect, Preserve, and Thrive in Uncertain Economic Times.  Most retirees have an expertise, he says:  “There are people who will pay to learn what your know.”

(Written by Bruce Horovitz for AARP Bulletin, April 2018)

Key West Chicken

Prep:  15 min   Cook: 15 min   Ready in: 1 hour

 

“This recipe from the Florida Keys has been given to almost everyone I know. It is the best marinade for chicken, and it only takes 30 minutes from prep till you can grill! It’s a great blend of flavors with honey, soy sauce, and lime juice. If you have time, try marinating overnight for the fullest flavor.”

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Directions

  1. In a shallow container, blend soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic. Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade, and grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

 

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Printed From Allrecipes.com 6/22/2018