Wednesday, April 10, 2013

101 Chicken Recipes for Baby Boomers on Social Security

The administration has put into play a change that will affect all baby boomers headed toward an inflation protected retirement.  The budget released Wednesday backs replacing the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) to a variant known as the “Chained CPI.”  This is reported to slow the growth of the social security benefits to present and future beneficiaries.  The administration says that it is a more accurate measure than the current formula, put in place in 1974, to offset the effects of inflation on the benefits.  They claim that the CPI-W is not a good measure and the revised “Chained CPI” would take into account price increases of goods, and peoples behavior toward purchasing lower priced goods, or less of them.   This bi-partisan conversation over the past few years should put Baby Boomers and Seniors on notice that your benefits are going to be reduced over time.  It is hard to predict how a behavior based index could perform, as it has no history.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported, according to the labor department, that the “Chained CPI” would follow the pattern on the historic CPI-W, but in back-testing, falls about 5% less in benefits from 2002-2012.  Does not seem like a lot, until you take the compounding effect into consideration for those that will live past age 85.  The administration is estimating that it will reduce benefits $180 billion over a decade. 
Why do you need 101 Chicken recipes?  The “Chained CPI” is set up to assume that when a consumer is faced with the choice of a high priced item, or a item that has increased in price, they will always choose the lower priced good or service.  So, on your trip to MegaMarket in 5 years, when you see a prime rib selling for $14.99 per pound, to combat the effects of inflation, you are going to bypass that delicious aged prime rib, and opt for the split breast of chicken selling for $3.99 per pound!  Always.  Every-time, every-day!  I expect the Perdue family is pretty excited at this new proposal, and at least for the consideration should be handing out a thick recipe book to all baby boomers heading to claim social security!  The effect on your retirement plan?  You need to make certain that you understand and outpace the rate of inflation.  Historically, the rate averages about 2.8% per year.  Or better understood, a dollar next year only purchases, $0.97 of product and services.  Ten years from now, that dollar buys $0.80 of goods, and twenty years from now, $0.60 of goods.  If we are tied to a “chained CPI” estimated to reduce the inflation rate index by 5% , twenty years from now you have $0.58 of buying power.  If you cannot change this, at least understand it and plan for it. 
I agree with the position of the AARP, telling administrators and congress that Social security cuts are not, and should not be the focus of deficit reduction.  The oldest and poorest Americans will feel the full effects of a “Chained CPI.” 

I cannot advise baby boomers enough about the fight for CPI, and at least understand CPI as it relates to planning for a healthy and happy retirement. 

And if you do not want to listen, I have a recipe for you.  This is my favorite “ Superfood” chicken recipe that includes Apples, Goji Berry, Kale, Olive Oil!  Stay Healthy! Stay Organic!


·                                 1 cup apple, such as Gala or Golden Delicious, cored, peeled, and chopped
·                                 1/4 cup goji berries or cranberry (goji can be found at Wegmans and Whole foods)
·                                 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
·                                 2 tablespoons brown sugar
·                                 2 tablespoons cider vinegar – pure organic
·                                 1/8 teaspoon salt
·                                 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
·                                 4 slices prosciutto, trimmed of excess fat
·                                 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
·                                 1 large bunch kale (about 10 ounces), chopped


In a small saucepan, place the apple, goji berries, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and a thick chutney starts to form. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

Heat the over to 400° F. Wrap each chicken breast in one slice of prosciutto. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and cook 1 minute, turning once to brown the prosciutto. Transfer to the over and bake 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 

In a second large, oven-safe skillet, warm the remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Add the kale and cook 1 to 2 minutes, turning often, until the kale starts to soften. Slide the skillet into the over and bake 5 minutes, or until the kale starts to crisp. Remove both skillets from the oven and place the chicken and kale on plates. Top with chutney and serve immediately.

ENJOY and STAY INFORMED!  Only 100 more recipes to find!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 Retirement Survey - Bracing for A Retirement Crisis

The annual EBRI retirement report was published this week and it has trends that are pointing to a retirement crisis in this country.  Even as the equity markets in the US are hitting all time high levels, the survey is reporting that Americans are just not prepared for the golden years.  The survey highlights that 28% of Americans have no confidence that they will have enough money to retire comfortably.  This is the highest level of non confidence that the survey has reported in its history.

Why is retirement confidence hitting all-time lows?

  • Americans are living longer.
  • Employment worries and delayed retirements.
  • Worries about Social Security and Medicare Benefits and Costs.
  • Lack of growth in Retirement Accounts.
The report is trending toward a delay in workers retirement date, citing the economy (22%) and lack of faith in Social Security and Government (19%) as the top reasons.  The trend is heading back to the all time high, as seen in 2009 after the credit crisis.  A downturn in the stock market could again force soon-to-be retirees into a holding pattern.  The report does not address the current low yield environment but does point out that  only 42% of retirees feel confident that their retirement account will grow.  

Expenses, Expenses, Expenses.....

The baby boomers are leaving the workforce in record numbers, estimated at 10,000 per day.  The EBRI report is pointing out that many have not identified the true cost in retirement.  The survey indicated that only 67% now feel they can confidently meet basic expenses in retirement, down from 80% last year.  The numbers are similar in the estimation of covering the cost of medical expenses, down 4% from the high of 71% in 2012.  Long term care cost seem to be the elephant in the room, with only 44% confident they have this problem covered in retirement.  

Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail
Only 23 percent of workers and 28 percent of retirees report they have obtained advise from a professional advisor who was paid through fees or commissions. Of these workers, 27% followed all of the advise, but more disregard some of it and followed most (41%) or some(27%).  If this pattern was similar to following the advise of a doctor, retirement income would not be a big issue for most.  Take the time to consult professional advisors. Baby boomers have to plan for 25-30 years of guaranteed income, most not having defined benefit (pension) plan, debt free home, and inflation protected savings. 

To RetireSmart!:
  • 45- 55 year old workers should be creating a supplemental income to Social Security, remember 2033 is coming and it is YOUR problem. 
  • 55-60 year old workers should have an expense and income plan in place and in conservative investment or annuity programs.  
  • 60-66 year old pre- retirees should have a housing plan, health care plan, income plan, Social Security Plan, LTC plan, tax plan, transition plan, and the important distribution plan.
  • 66 plus - Follow the plan, if any questions, follow the plan!  Enjoy!

Call us today at 484-881-8899 and request our guide, "10 Things to Know about Planning YOUR Retirement"  Check our event schedule for a workshop in your area HERE.