Controlling Your Health Care Costs in Retirement

It’s no secret that health care becomes a bigger concern for most of us as we grow older. More ailments are likely to develop, which means more money spent to visit health professionals and buy medication. Even if you remain healthy through your later years, the costs of preventative care and preparing for potential unexpected health situations are rising.

Health-related expenses will likely be one of the biggest components of your retirement budget. You need to be prepared to pay for comprehensive insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Here are three strategies to help you manage this critical expense in retirement.

Understand how Medicare works

The good news for Americans age 65 and older is that you qualify for Medicare. That makes increased dependence on health care services more affordable. At age 65, most people automatically qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, which primarily provides coverage for hospital stays and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B must be purchased (approximately $109 per month in 2017 for most retirees). Part B covers the costs of visiting a physician, but with some deductibles. Many people purchase additional coverage to use for out-of-pocket expenses, such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

With Medicare, timing is important. Signing up when you first qualify for coverage will keep costs at the lowest level. If you maintain insurance through your employer after turning 65, you can delay Medicare enrollment without risking late penalties.

If you retire prior to age 65, you will need to purchase insurance on the open market to cover health-related expenses until you become eligible for Medicare. Individual coverage tends to get more expensive as you grow older, so work the cost into your retirement budget. Some employers offer retiree health insurance as a benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if this option is available to you.

Allocate sufficient funds for health care costs

As you develop your retirement income strategy, make sure you have money set aside for health expenses that will be your responsibility. By one estimate, the average 66-year-old couple will need to tap more than half of their lifetime pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Most people will likely have to rely, in part, on their own savings to help offset some medical expenses.

Along with other retirement savings, you may want to establish a health savings account (HSA) during your working years. HSAs are designed to help build tax-advantaged savings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur during your working years. However, any leftover funds can be applied to health expenses later in life, including premiums for Medicare and long-term care insurance. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to open an HSA.

Focus on your own health

One way to potentially keep health care costs under control in retirement is to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today, such as eating right or prioritizing sleep, could reduce the likelihood that medical issues will impact you later in life. Being physically active may also benefit your finances in retirement – according to the American Heart Association, it could potentially help you save $500 a year today on health-related expenses.

Having a plan doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid heath issues, but you may find comfort in knowing how you can tackle health care costs in retirement.

Scott D. Serfass, CFP®, CRPC®, CDFA™, CLU®, ChFC® is a financial advisor and senior partner of Serfass, Phillips & Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. His team specializes in helping people retire confidently and develop a plan to effectively share wealth across multiple generations. Throughout his career, he has witnessed many families continue to grow despite global and economic turmoil. This experience and research paved the way for his book, Family Success.

Proper Nutrition and Good Health With Mineral Supplements

The value of getting an adequate amount of minerals to our body to maintain our overall health cannot be stressed enough. Having enough mineral levels in our body provides a wide variety of health benefits while having mineral deficiencies results to a wide variety of conditions including death in severe cases. Minerals take part in nerve transmission, muscle contraction, cell permeability, tissue structure, blood formation, acid-base balance, fluid regulation, blood pressure control, protein metabolism and energy production. With the decrease of mineral levels on the food we eat and increase on pollutions and vices now more than ever we need supplements.

Minerals are key components of our body it is a major factor on maintaining good health and preventing various health problems. What most people don’t understand is that minerals have an effect on almost every capability in our body we need them for all chemical process that goes on inside us. Minerals offer a great number of health benefits to our body which it needs to ensure optimal health.

Minerals are inorganic nutrients, which mean that the body cannot make them. Instead, they can only be supplied to the body through selection of foods such as:

Meat, cereals
Fish
Milk and dairy foods
Vegetables
Fruit (especially dried fruit)
Nuts
As well as through mineral supplements.

Health Supplements that our body needs

Mineral Deficiency occurs when there is lack or low levels of minerals which are important for our bodies growth and health and fitness. The most significant minerals that our body needs are calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc without the proper amount of these minerals our body will have difficulty performing its daily functions.

Examples on how mineral supplements will be able to help you with.

The human body needs Calcium more than any other mineral this is because of the many important functions performed by Calcium in the human body. Calcium supplements will help work the hormones and glands better, prevent you from being overweight and keep your blood pressure in check.

Potassium is the major positive ion (cation) found inside of cells. Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia) is commonly caused by inadequate potassium intake and heavy fluid losses that “flush” potassium out of the body. Feeling fatigued, rhythm disturbances and palpitations of the heart and problems in digesting are just one of the most common symptoms. Potassium Mineral Supplements will help your body regain or raise the potassium level in your body.

Magnesium is a mineral substance in our body that contributes in absorption of calcium and building healthy bones and teeth. People suffering from osteoporosis are instructed by health experts to increase the magnesium levels in their body by eating foods with magnesium content and by taking mineral supplements to increase it.

Men needs to increase their zinc levels more than women, due to the very high concentration of zinc in sperm their zinc levels are depleted every time they have sex.

With busy work life and tempting fast foods it’s hard to keep up with what our body needs this is why more and more people are taking supplements to meet the daily required amounts of minerals in their body. Again I would urge you to consult with a doctor and/or a dietitian before proceeding to taking mineral supplements over dosage can create a lot more health problems for you and this is more common than you think, so know your proper dosage and find out what mineral supplements your body needs.

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Rice

Rice has a number of health benefits, which are often overlooked. When we think about rice the first thing that comes to our mind is that it is loaded with carbohydrates. But rice is not just carbohydrates; it is an essential source of vitamin B1 too. It can provide fast and instant energy, normalize and improve bowel movements, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Ask any body builder and he would recommend eating rice over wheat-based rotis. This is because rice can increase the metabolism and help digestion.

It can also give a boost to your skin health, aid weight loss, reduce high blood pressure, improve the immune system and provide protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dysentery.

Rice is inexpensive and is a staple diet in many counties. There are 40,000 varieties of rice available throughout the world. The two main categories are white rice and whole grain rice.

Here are some of the nutrition facts and health benefits of rice.

Great source of energy: Carbohydrates acts as a fuel for the body, and rice is rich in carbohydrates. It aids in the normal functioning of the brain.

Cholesterol free: Rice is devoid of cholesterol, harmful fats, or sodium. It forms an integral part of a balanced diet. It also helps reduce obesity and is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world.

Blood pressure management: It is low in sodium and can lower blood pressure. Sodium can cause veins and arteries to tighten, increasing the stress and strain on the cardiovascular system as the blood pressure increases. It can lead to heart attacks, and strokes.

Cancer prevention: To prevent cancer, eat brown rice or wholegrain rice. They are rich in insoluble fibre that can guard against different types of cancer, especially intestinal cancer. Besides fibre, rice also has natural antioxidants like flavonoid compounds, vitamin C, phenolic and vitamin-A.

Skin care: Research shows that powdered rice can cure certain skin ailments. It has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is also good for redness and any type of skin irritation. To reduce wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing, make rice a daily part of your diet. This is because rice is rich in antioxidants and can give a beauty boost to your skin.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Brown rice contains nutrients in high level that aids the growth of neuro-protective enzymes in the brain and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Diuretic and digestive qualities: Rice significantly improves appetite, and lessens all problems related to the digestive system. Rice husk, being a diuretic, can help eliminate toxins from the body, and even aid weight loss. It increases bowel movement regularity as it is rich in fibre content and guards against various types of cancer.

Rich in vitamins: It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, niacin, fibre, calcium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine. These vitamins are essential to prevent diseases and boost our immune system. They are also essential for body metabolism, and general functioning of the organ systems.

How Sleep Affects Mental Health and Wellness

There is still much to be known about the link between mental health and sleep, but sleep being a basic foundation of well-being means it can have a certain degree of impact on your mental wellness and capability. A good night’s sleep – just like a healthful diet and lifestyle – is deemed crucial in fostering mental and emotional resilience, with chronic sleep issues feared to set the stage for negative mood and thinking, anxiety, and depression.

Think about it: you absorb new information every day of your life. With sleep, you are able to have the luxury of “down time” to process all these different bits and pieces of information, and then store it in your memory bank. This way they are all available when you need them. Sleep is therefore creative for improving not just concentration but also learning and creativity.

What happens to the mental aspect when you are faced with chronic sleeplessness or insomnia? Here are some of the potential adverse effects:

Your mind may slow down – Did you know that just one night of having inadequate sleep can massively impact your attention span, alertness, concentration, and ability to solve problems? Those who regularly find it hard to sleep could have impaired intelligence and mental development.
Your memory may be less optimal – While you sleep, the things you have learned and experienced during the day are thoughts to be organized or “filed” in your mind properly for future use and access. Now, if you are not getting enough sleep you would have trouble remembering what you go through today.
You may become depressed – Insomnia has been associated with the development of depression. According to some studies, people who regularly reported being unable to sleep were five times more likely to show depression symptoms. It remains unclear, again, where depression was the byproduct of sleeplessness or vice versa. Regardless of this, getting an optimal amount of sleep is considered important in treating this disorder.
You may become less smart – If you don’t get enough sleep, your performance in tasks that use the brain – such as tests or complex projects at work – may suffer. A full night’s sleep, the vital piece of the mental health puzzle that it is, organizes and makes connections within your mind to the information you obtained during the day. Without it, you may have a hard time retrieving those details for school or work the next day.
Your happiness levels may be affected – Sleep lets your brain have the time it needs to properly get into balance the chemicals and hormones affecting mental clarity, emotions, and mood – the bigger context that makes it possible for you to be relaxed, calm, and happy.

There are different ways you may achieve improved sleep. You need to tweak your sleep habits first, following a regular bedtime and waking time schedule and routine, as well as avoiding stimulants like blue light from gadgets and unnecessary noise. If you feel you are in need of greater intervention, it is best to talk to your doctor, sleep psychologist, or an expert who can get to the bottom of your sleeplessness and recommended effective natural sleep remedies.