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Monday, July 29, 2019

Medicare for All, Explained

What are Medicare for All and Medicare for America, and how would these concepts change health care?

As the 2020 presidential race heats up, voters are hearing more and more about Medicare for All. Yet, many of us aren’t sure exactly what that means. While Americans may fear letting go of the health care they currently have, they yearn for something better. What are the new proposals, and how would they affect citizens with different health care plans?

First, let’s define a term that often trips up those of us who aren’t in the health care industry. We’ve taken the description from Wikipedia, which expounds on meaning beyond a dictionary definition.

Single-payer health care is a type of universal health care financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential health care for all residents, with costs covered by a single public system. The system may contract for health care services from private organizations (as is the case in Canada) or may own and employ health care resources and personnel (as in the United Kingdom). “Single-payer” describes the mechanism by which health care is paid for by a single public authority, not the type of delivery or for whom physicians work, which may be public, private or a mix of both.

In the United States, the current single-payer insurance component is Medicare, which can include private insurance plans in Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid. Medicare covers all adults starting at age 65, but also provides benefits for those with specific disabilities and anyone with end-stage renal disease.

So what is the difference between a single-payer system and Medicare for All? They’re largely the same. But if you call a rose by any other name, it may not smell as sweet to the public. Kaiser Permanente went looking for opinions in a 2017 poll, and 48 percent of Americans gave a thumbs-up to single-payer health care. When Kaiser asked a question in the same poll about Medicare for All, approval went up to 62 percent.

Medicare for All

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders included Medicare for All as part of his campaign platform in 2018. Paired with the slogan “Health care is a right,” the concept appeals to many voters in spite of practical and political questions surrounding the issue. America is a health care paradox: despite having some of the world’s top hospitals, it is the only large, rich country without universal health coverage. In America, even if a health condition doesn’t kill you, it may leave you destitute.

Health care spending accounts for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s economy. As with any new proposal, it’s unknown exactly how taxes to support the system would balance against savings on premiums and care. However, there are plenty of prototypes of similar systems operating in other countries to offer guidance.

Sanders’ plan proposes a single program that would cover everyone who lives in the U.S. In the bill he introduced in 2017, nursing home and related care expand. Every medically necessary service, from annual doctor exams to mental health care to prescription drugs, would be covered. Dental and vision care would be paid for as well.

In spite of its moniker, the plan as described would expand benefits beyond those currently in Medicare. There would be no costs for individuals: no copays, no deductibles and no coinsurance. Certain drugs could require out-of-pocket payments of up to $200 per year, and long-term care might not be free. Every year, the government would set rates for services, drugs and medical equipment.

Medicare for All would replace all other health insurance, excluding that for elective surgery. Insurance provided by employers, Medicaid and ultimately Medicare would eventually disappear.

Paying for the plan requires increased revenue. Sanders proposed leaving taxes the same for those who earn less than $250,000, and increasing incrementally for incomes over this amount, with up to a 52 percent marginal rate on income over 10 million. Skeptics say this may not be enough. “No other developed nation has zero out-of-pocket costs,” according to analyst Drew Altman, who heads the Kaiser Family Foundation. Altman speculates that free coverage will drive an unsustainable increase in the use of the medical system. Picture someone with a stubbed toe showing up at the ER, or half of America in therapy.

Still, costs are going up no matter what. Government projections for our current system indicate combined health care spending by private and public sectors will near $45 trillion by 2026.

Many of the 2020 candidates are taking a more nuanced approach to health care. In spite of democratic countries such as Canada and England, which have single-payer systems, political conservatives will prefer to frame such health care policies under a “socialist” narrative. It’s an easy sell to many among the majority who are satisfied with the health care plans they get through their workplace. On the other side of the equation, the approximately one-quarter of Americans who have insurance and protections through the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid worry these will be stripped away as those on the right assault the plan.

“The ACA is popular at the 50 percent level, but it’s not energetic. It doesn’t get people who really like it,” says Bob Blendon, a political analyst at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “What they’re looking for is something that is exciting but isn’t threatening.”

Medicare for America

Enter “Medicare for America,” which lays out an incremental approach that avoids many of the political, budgetary and legal questions surrounding the Sanders plan. Medicare for America distances itself from many unknown pitfalls while answering the ever-louder call for health reform. First introduced as a bill in 2018, it was largely ignored until former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke endorsed the plan. Other presidential candidates have indicated approval of the measure without making official endorsements.

Under Medicare for America, health care would not be free. The out-of-pocket limit for individuals would be $3,500; a family would have a $5,000 limit. Premiums would be capped at 10 percent of a household’s income. Medicare Advantage plans operated by private insurers would remain. Currently, Medicare Advantage covers about a third of the program’s beneficiaries.

Employers would have to offer plans that matched or exceeded the generosity of the government program, or direct employees to Medicare and pay a Medicare payroll tax.

“Before policies get defined, what you see is people endorsing a plan that is a little, perhaps, less subject to early attack,” says Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. “A lot of candidates feel if they endorse a plan that leaves some private insurance, they get more time to say what their ideas are about.”

Opposition Remains

Medicare for America would doubtless change during the process to become a law. Even during the 2018 midterm election campaigns, candidates played with allowing people older than 55 to join Medicare, or letting those below 65 buy into it (the “public option” for Medicare). One thing that’s sure is a bloated health care industry would raise enormous opposition to Medicare expansion.

On the left, cost sharing is a concern. Fixed out-of-pocket costs hit those with lower incomes the hardest. Critics also question the government’s ability to negotiate reduced prices when the plan embraces most private insurance.

Conservatives say that the plan would be too expensive for the government, and too disruptive to the massively profitable health care system. This includes doctors, hospitals and insurers, who have lobbied hard to fight Medicare for All. They lose revenue under expanded Medicare.

Much of the determination for the future of health care will come down to voters, who must elect a Congress that favors expanded Medicare enough to overcome what would certainly be a filibuster in the current Senate. Thus far, the plan lacks bipartisan support. That could change depending on how well Republicans holding power in purple states will fare during the next election cycle.

Click below for the other articles in the July 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Has the Government Abandoned Retirement Security?

Workers who thought pensions would fund their retirements are getting an unwelcome surprise as Uncle Sam looks the other way.

Having a pension used to be the retirement gold standard. A defined benefit plan meant workers could count on payments for as long as they lived, without ever worrying the money would run out. But all that’s changed, and the government says it’s OK.

The number of workplace pensions has gone down in recent years as companies opt for defined contribution, rather than defined benefit, plans. However, pensions are still a significant factor in retirement budgets. A 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that 23 percent of private-industry, state and local government workers were participating in a pension plan. When state and local government workers are separated out, the number participating in a pension plan shoots up to a whopping 74 percent.

Substitute Payments

Recently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury declared that it’s acceptable for companies to replace a worker’s pension with a lump-sum payment worth less than the expected pension. The U.S. Department of Labor kept mum on the issue. And this isn’t the first time that Treasury and Labor, the government entities responsible for shaping the retirements of millions of Americans, have let companies off the hook for pensions they committed to.

Employer-backed pensions used to be the default retirement plan for American workers. In 1974, Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to support the pension system, but it had the opposite effect. ERISA outlined strict fiduciary responsibilities for private corporations, which started looking for alternatives. Companies figured out that instead of having to commit to lifetime specified benefits, they could instead offer a 401(k) that requires employee funding. At most the company would only be responsible for a limited amount of matching funds during a worker’s employment. With that, companies wanted out of previous pension commitments, and Treasury complied by granting the option to pay those employees receiving a pension a single upfront payment.

The lump-sum payment is tempting for anyone. Depositing a fat check gives brains a shot of dopamine and eases worries over credit card payments, hospital bills, education for children and a plethora of financial ills. The problem is, that money has to last for the rest of that person’s life. It’s impossible to know how long you’ll live, and miscalculations are ugly.

Union Pensions Reduced

The 2008 recession pulled the floor out from under many a pension plan. Returns on investments shrank drastically in the years following due to a severe reduction in core funds. Congress reacted in 2014. The Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act is a bipartisan law that allows certain underfunded pension plans to temporarily or permanently reduce benefits owed to participants. Multiemployer pension plans are those arrived at through collective bargaining agreements between labor unions and at least two unrelated employers. Under the law, trustees may reduce retirees’ benefits more than those of workers.

Since Kline-Miller was enacted, the number of participants in plans that have applied to cut benefits is a whopping 520,247, or more than half a million workers, according to data from the Pension Rights Center.  That number could soar higher as more and more trustees apply to the Department of the Treasury. While receiving a reduced pension is certainly better than no pension at all, how could companies have so grossly miscalculated pension fund needs?

Fiduciary Prudence

The prudence standard, or the level of care a fiduciary must demonstrate when managing a pension fund, is an important aspect applied to trustees. Most states use the “prudent person” standard, while others have adopted the “prudent investor” standard. Generally, the former demands the prudence exercised by an ordinary citizen putting money into his own account, and the latter requires that of an investment professional.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently looked at how many states complied with the fiduciary provisions in the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Management of Public Employee Retirement Systems (UMPERSA), a model law seeking to improve and bring uniformity to existing fiduciary provisions for pension trustees. Here’s what they found:

State Overview of Select Fiduciary Provisions
Fiduciary Element
States Adopting
Prudence requirement 
Solely in the interest of participants 
Diversification of investments
Exclusive purpose of providing benefits
Reasonable administrative expenses
Economically targeted investments, first prudent

Although all states have a prudence requirement, there is a failure to adopt basic rules of investing, such as diversification and with the goal of producing income for beneficiaries, in almost half of the states. Furthermore, less than half require “reasonable administrative expenses” that won’t eat up fund profits. Even if pensions stay solvent, many states are not running them in the best interests of the people they’re meant to benefit. 

Public Pensions

Public pensions are in no better shape, yet the average retired public servant is not living like a king. Census data analyzed by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that the average annual benefit was $27,415 for state and local pensioners in 2016. Compensation varied widely among states, with a low of $16,441 in West Virginia to a high of $37,934 in Connecticut. Most state and local employees are not eligible for Social Security.

Furthermore, most of that income is not supplied by taxpayers, instead coming from investment earnings. And these have been paltry. In an era when market returns have been bountiful, the median public pension plan’s investments returned about 1 percent in 2016, contrasted with assumptions of 7.5 percent. For comparison, the S&P index (based on 500 large companies that trade on American exchanges) returned 9.84 percent in 2016, or 12.25 percent including dividends. Even the 10-year U.S. government bond, which hit all-time lows in July 2016, had better results than the median pension fund with a 1.36 percent yield, according to Factset.

“Using a fair market valuation,” according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, “State Budget Solutions, (a project of the ALEC Foundation) estimates that America’s state pensions are in a collective $4.7 trillion hole — far deeper than official government accounting standards would suggest.”

Not every state is struggling. New York, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Dakota have enough assets to pay greater than 90 percent of liabilities. But states with problems have only to look at lawmakers to find the root of the problem.

Overestimating and Underfunding

“States that have funding problems most often can blame it on lawmakers failing to make the required contributions and then they fall way behind,” says Kelly Kenneally, spokeswoman for the National Institute on Retirement Security. According to a 2017 report, only 32 states in fiscal year 2015 sufficiently contributed to the pension fund to diminish accrued unfunded liabilities.

But the issue runs much deeper than a lack of contributions. Public pension plans were never subject to the strict fiduciary duties laid out in ERISA. Instead, for fiduciary requirements, states look to multiple sources, including constitutions, judicial opinions, statures and pension board bylaws. Further, state requirements are often much less rigorous than private requirements.

Pension Reform

Ideas to solve the pension crisis abound. Alaska, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah are states that have enacted reforms to combat pension shortfalls. Many more municipalities are turning off the pension spigot, or slowing it to a trickle. Often, health care benefits are the first thing to go.

A bipartisan bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 23, 2019 echoes the call for more defined contribution plans. The Secure Act simplifies the process for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans and removes the maximum age limit of 70 1/2 to make individual retirement account (IRA) contributions. It would also mandate retirement account offerings for part-time workers who have been with a company long-term.

Retirement plans such as 401(k)s are sometimes limited in investment offerings and can carry hefty expense ratios. Like IRAs, they do have the benefit of tax-deferred compounding. And IRAs can be invested in a wide range of stocks, bonds, real estate and other vehicles, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which many advisors favor. However, the individual worker must still choose the investment, make withdrawals and hope it lasts.

Hybrid pension plans combine elements of traditional defined benefit plans with a retirement savings account. By bringing together a smaller pension element with a defined contribution plan, systems can be more financially stable over time. Burdens are shared between employer and employee in these “side-by-side” plans.

What does seem clear is that the age of company pensions may be drawing to a close. Retirement funds have taken a decided swing toward defined contribution plans, shifting the burden to workers. Individuals will likely rely more heavily on the finance industry, including robot-advisors, to guide retirement investing decisions.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

How to Camp Over 60

Older adults can enjoy camping like never before with modern gear that optimizes comfort.

The term “camping” covers a wide range of experiences nowadays. Older adults can choose to sleep in the back of their car, pitch a tent, haul a trailer with a pop-up tent, use an RV or go glamping for the ultimate in luxury.


Not everyone wants to rough it when they enter the great outdoors. If you have deep pockets and a taste for luxury, consider glamping. Yes, glamping is when you combine glamour and camping, and it can result in some incredibly posh accommodations whose only relationship with camping is that they’re in the outdoors. Think beds in treehouses, heated cabins with fireplaces, swanky yurts and ecolodges.

Glamping is a movement that covers the world, offering an “authentic” experience without sacrificing any of the little luxuries you crave. These may include delivered gourmet meals, fur bedspreads or personal guides for your adventures. Check out some of the experiences offered at the official glamping site or explore individual experiences available at other sites.

There are many good reasons to get outside as we get older. Breaking up our routine, taking in the awe of a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, contemplating the stars while watching satellites orbit the earth … all are meaningful. Another great motivator is spending time with grandchildren. Kids love to be outdoors, and camping can be a special activity shared with grandparents that grandkids will never forget.

If you don’t have an RV but would like to see if it’s the life for you, try renting a vehicle. Search the options in your area, or go here and enter your location to find RVs for rent nearby. The site also has a guide for comparing RVs and an article about how much you can expect to spend. Traveling in an RV is a lot like bringing home with you, with room indoors for cooking, sleeping and hanging out.

However, some may still prefer to get back to basics with a real tent and sleeping bag. If you last went camping a few decades ago, you’d be shocked at how much easier “roughing it” is today. It’s hard to find a tent that takes more than 15 minutes to assemble, and the slim aluminum poles and nylon fabric are a lot lighter than the old canvas monsters of our youth. Car camping is even easier, with your bed in the back of an SUV, hatchback or wagon.

However, age can bring some new considerations to camping gear that we didn’t need to think about in our younger days. Luckily, there are ways to deal with a host of issues we may need to acknowledge as we get older. Following are some ideas on how to camp happily into our later decades:

National Parks Pass

You have a golden opportunity to fall in love with every corner of the United States. At age 62, you can buy an America the Beautiful senior pass for $80 that will let you and a carload of buddies (including grandchildren) into every national park for the rest of your life. There’s just no better deal than that, with some parks now charging $30 for a single day’s admission.

There are 58 national parks in America, every one of them worth visiting. In addition, the pass will grant entrance to fee areas run by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As icing on the cake, senior pass holders usually get half off the camping fee at national parks, which normally runs from $15 to $25. If you stay a week and the pass has covered the park entrance fee and saved about $70 in camping fees, it has paid for itself in one trip.

Check this travel site for more about the America the Beautiful Senior Pass.
  • Campsite. Research the area you’ll be visiting, the particular campground and even the specific site you’ll occupy. What are likely weather conditions? Are there hiking trails in your ability range, or do you have a stash of books to pass the time? What will you do if it rains? Does your site have cell connection? Electricity? A fire ring? Are ranger programs available? Is there a town nearby for forgotten supplies? Are showers available? Is there somewhere to do laundry? Naturally, some of these may not be needed if you’re just camping for the weekend. 
  • Tents. Today’s tents have aluminum poles that snap easily together with the help of interior elastic strings. The tents are simple to put up and take down, lightweight and practically rip-proof to boot. However, you need to be aware that a two-man tent is literally big enough for two sleeping bags. Gear can be stowed outside under the rain fly, but many campers prefer to have extra space inside so that your nose isn’t always six inches from your partner or the side of the tent. A three-man tent can afford an extra level of roominess that you’ll appreciate. Peruse a variety of quality tents
  • Bags. Sleeping bags basically come in down fill or poly fill. Down is the gold standard: warm, lightweight and super-soft. Poly fill insulates even when it’s wet. Choose a bag that is plenty warm. In areas where nights are cool, a bag rated about 20 degrees is ideal for most camping. You can always unzip if it’s too warm, but it’s miserable to be cold all night. Mummy bags are heat efficient but can feel confining. 
  • Beds. Nobody sleeps on the ground these days; small, inflatable pads accompany even backpackers. Arthritis can make our need for a comfortable bed more important as we age, and there are a variety of answers out there.
  • Extras. Without going crazy, you need to bring everything that you’ll need. Sunscreen, bug repellent and sunglasses should make the list. Bring enough medications to cover you while you travel, and prescriptions in case any get misplaced. A camp chair is invaluable, and can be purchased at many grocery or discount stores. Wood for a campfire is always nice if fires are allowed, and a lantern and flashlight will help you locate restrooms at night. Hot meals are a nice extra, and easy to fix on a gas camp stove. 
  • Clothing. Don’t go overboard. No one will notice if you wear the same pants for a few days; when you’re camping, everyone is a little dirty. It is important to pack layers that you can put on and take off as the weather changes. Even in the summer, wool insulates better than cotton and is best for cool climates. Dry socks are a must, so pack a pair for every day you’ll be out. Bring a variety of warm clothing, and a blanket for the evening. If you’ll be in chilly weather, a set of wool long johns can make or break the trip.
Don’t be afraid to get out of Dodge and into the country. City folks may have forgotten how bright the stars are, what the ground smells like after a good rain or how satisfying it can be to watch clouds pass by overhead. You may even come to appreciate the way that a lack of cell service can transfer your concentration to what’s around you, and what you’re doing in the moment. Feel the ground under your feet, smell the pine trees, watch shadows pass over the landscape. That’s exactly what camping is for, no matter your age.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Foldable Phones Are Here … or Are They?

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The bigger screen you’ve always wanted was almost in the palm of your hand. When will it come back?

Samsung broke hearts all over America. It announced a real, big-screen foldable phone. The company put out a release date, teased us with marketing images and slapped on a price that many would pay for the revolutionary gadget. Older adults thought that finally someone was paying attention to their blurry eyesight and inability to tap out text on keyboards tinier than their thumbs.

With rollout only days away, foldable phones were sent out to reviewers across the country. And they broke, and flickered, and sprouted curious bumps. Samsung called a halt to the release.

What happened?

Samsung is the world’s biggest phone maker. The company nails it when it’s improving iterations of other developers’ phones, but this isn’t its first flop trying to unveil a first generation product of its own. Anyone remember the Galaxy Note 7 that could spontaneously burst into flames? At least the Galaxy Fold hasn’t hurt anyone.

The Fold has hard glass halves that close like a book to protect an inner 7.3” plastic display inside. The clamshell device comes with a hard-shell case to protect the exterior of the $1,980 gadget, a price tag that dwarfs even Apple’s latest iteration of the popular iPhone. It’s the first bendable phone to (almost) come to market.

But it does appear to be a “piece of junk” with “shoddy workmanship and horrible build quality,” according to reviewer Zach Epstein. First came the mysterious film covering the inner screen. Several reviewers noted that it looked just like the thin film that often covers the glass of new phones as a screen protector and peeled it off. Mistake. Their phones immediately went dead, even the one where the user lifted off just an inch or two.

The phone of CNBC’s Todd Haselton began flickering on the left side of the inner screen. Reviewer Dieter Bohn of The Verge noticed a bulge beneath the screen of his model, and YouTube reviewer Michael “Mr. Mobile” Fisher found a bump under his Fold screen.

Fixes Coming

Samsung has made it clear that fixes are coming. After indefinitely postponing the device’s relaunch, it has issued messages advising customers that preorders would be automatically cancelled unless customers resubscribed.

To prevent future users from peeling off the inner layer, Samsung has promised that packaging will include bold warnings that were missing from reviewers’ boxes, which came without any instructions.

"We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display, including the protective layer, so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold,” Samsung said in a statement.

The unusual film that confused some reviewers is actually a protective layer for the 7.3-inch inner screen that is integral to its function. While the outside screen is made of Gorilla Glass just like other Galaxy phones, the inside is a plastic polymer. Dubbed the Infinity Flex Display, it’s made to take thousands upon thousands of folding and unfolding motions. To prevent damage from this movement, Samsung integrated the screen protector into the material below … just not enough to make it impossible to notice or remove.

It’s likely only a matter of time before Samsung can fix the Fold. Certainly, Google doesn’t have any doubts that foldable phones are coming. Support for Android foldable units is ongoing. Google’s Senior Android Director, Stephanie Saad, says foldable phones "open up a complete new category which, though early, might just change the future of mobile computing."

The upcoming refresh of Google’s mobile operating system will concentrate on app continuity, the sort of software that stimulates quick orientation transitions from one screen to another. It’s just the sort of responsiveness demanded by a foldable device to transfer images back and forth from the smaller outside screen to the larger inner one.

Other Foldables Coming?

It’s hard to say when you’ll be able to get your hands on a Galaxy Fold, even if you don’t mind shelling out the big bucks. But it does appear that other folding products are on the way, according to an article in Korean-language industry news site The Bell.

Samsung appears to be working on another foldable phone and what is likely a foldable tablet, judging by the reported 8-inch and 13-inch sizes. The smaller device has a “G type” folding screen, which features wings to either side that fold into the middle of a larger center screen. The larger device is rumored to have an “S type” screen that makes a fold like the letter “s.”

Maybe by the time these new products are released, Samsung will have finessed foldable devices. And we can all hope that as emerging technology, the units will start to come down in price.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Coffee Break - Networking: CSA Conference in Portland

The value of networking is understood by those at the top of their field; improve your life and work by heading to Portland in August.

The CSA Conference is just a month away, taking place August 28-30 in Portland, Oregon. It can be easy to think that you’re needed at your business and can’t leave, or you may wonder if it is worth the time, cost and hassle to attend. Apart from earning 12 continuing education credits for CSA recertification (which is reason enough to go), the experience can dramatically impact your business and life satisfaction.

The key is to network with others you’ll meet at the conference in your profession nationwide and your local community. While you will learn much to bring back and improve your business if you sit in a corner at every session and simply listen to the many speakers addressing the challenges of our time in the aging industry, you will get, and give, increased value by networking.

What Can I Give?

Networking is not so much about you, but about the person you’re connecting with. “The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the ‘other’ person,” according to influencer Bob Burg. Author and entrepreneur Keith Ferrazzi puts it another way, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”

The CSA conference is an opportunity to share what and who you know with others who can be helped by that information. Everyone has something to give, even if you may not realize it. Seasoned professionals have years of client and professional interactions to draw from, but younger counterparts may be able to recommend management software or have recent university contacts.

Consider what renowned motivational speaker Zig Zigler has to say about networking: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Yes, we can help our clients achieve their goals, but it’s also crucial to reach out to colleagues with professional assistance.

Going to conference puts you face-to-face with hundreds of other aging industry professionals. It’s not hard to strike up a conversation with someone else you noticed in your session on family information management or fiduciary litigation; you already share an interest. Perhaps you can introduce that person to a colleague, or offer to be a resource for a problem she’s dealing with in her practice. Try approaching every new contact with “How can I help?” instead of “What can she offer me?” See how changing your mindset changes your outcomes.

The conference has four tracks:

  • Financial and Insurance
  • Healthcare and Home Care
  • Legal and Public Policy
  • Social Interest and Lifestyle

These tracks can help you find others in your field or a complementary one, but don’t stop there. Check around for CSAs from your city and consider starting a local group for exchanging information and reaching out to your community.

Local Group, Big Impact

Jay Kweskin, the owner/operator of senior care advisor company KwesCare in St. Louis, did exactly that. He met one other hometown CSA at his first conference and they started the St. Louis CSA Leaders Network when they returned home. After contacting local CSAs, the group began with meetings where members would speak about their profession, then began inviting guest speakers and traveling to meet with other CSAs and professionals.

The group began outreach in the St. Louis area, such as visiting a boxing gym that works with people who have Parkinson’s disease. Now, members are invited to sit on university panels and organize seminars. You can read about Jay’s leadership group in an upcoming issue of the CSA Journal. Better yet, head to the conference and meet Jay at a leadership session or the leadership booth. You can email Jay for more information.

Have you met your local AARP or Alzheimer’s Association professional? Have you personally toured venues in your area or state that offer innovative programs to benefit older adults? Forming a local group can facilitate these relationships to the benefit of all involved.

Finally, let’s consider a quote by famed author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki. You may have read his book, “Rich Man, Poor Man” about the power of owning your own business. Here’s what he thinks about creating contacts:

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.”

Now, sign up for the 2019 CSA Conference to make new relationships, build on ones you have, and get the most out of your professional career and life.

Click below for the other articles in the July 2019 Senior Spirit


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

July 6 - Willie Randolph, MLB second baseman and manager

This baseball phenomenon was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent 13 of his 18 seasons as a player with the New York Yankees. Randolph got selected to six All-Star teams over his career, most often batting as the number 2 hitter where he could use his bunting skills. He was a patient hitter who managed to draw more than 80 walks seven times over his career. At the end of his long career as second baseman, Randolph ranked fifth in games at second base with 2,152, ninth in putouts (4,859), and third in double plays with 1,547.

Randolph’s managing career started after 11 seasons as base and bench coach for the Yankees. He got the call in 2004 to become the Mets manager for the 2005 season, in spite of having no management experience at any level of the game. He managed the Mets to a tie for third place in the National League East in his first year at the helm. The next year, 2006, Randolph’s team had a league-best 97-65 record that was good enough to give hand the team the NL East Division title, their first since 1988. The team went on to lose a heartbreaker seventh game of the NL Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, who went on to garner the title of world champions. Randolph came in second place in voting for Manager of the Year, and was the first manager in the history of the major leagues to improve his team’s record by at least 12 games in each of his first two seasons.

Randolph was riding high with a three-year, $5.65 million contract extension. But what goes up must eventually come down. After managing the team to seven-game lead with a mere 17 more games to play in 2007, they imploded spectacularly with a 5-12 finish and lost the division. Randolph was fired in 2008, going on to be bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers 2008-2010, and then for the Baltimore Orioles in 2011.

Since retiring from the major leagues, Randolph appeared on ESPN as a baseball analyst and provided updates on network telecasts. He is married with four children and lives with his wife in New Jersey.

July 10 - Andre Dawson, MLB outfielder

Fans knew him as “The Hawk” or “Awesome Dawson” throughout his 21-year career. Dawson played for four teams before his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The majority of his long career was with the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs. He was a star hitter, garnering Rookie of the Year honors in 1977 with a .282 average, 19 homers and 65 runs batted in. Ten years later, he was given the Most Valuable Player Award after 49 home run hits and 137 runs batted in.

Dawson won eight Gold Glove Awards for his fielding expertise. He started as a center fielder, but knee problems worsened on the artificial turf at Olympic Stadium, so he first moved to right field and then to a team, the Florida Marlins, that played on grass.

At the end of his career, Dawson had racked up some impressive stats. National League totals of 409 homers and 962 extra base hits were good enough to earn him tenth-place rankings. He also achieved seventh place in league history with 2,303 games as an outfielder, as well as sixth in outfield putouts and total chances.

July 17 - Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Described by many as the most powerful woman in the world, Merkel is the unnamed leader of the European Union and Chancellor of Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse. The child of a Lutheran minister father and a Polish mother who taught English and Latin, Merkel is no cerebral slouch, having earned a doctorate in quantum chemistry and learned fluent Russian (the better to overhear all those whispered conversations of Putin). She achieved her position as Chancellor in 2000 after a donations scandal took down her predecessor.

Merkel has navigated treacherous waters with fortitude throughout her tenure, and is known as “the decider.” She played an important role in Europe’s management of the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. Health care reform, energy development and her country’s approach to the increasing migrant influx have been major efforts during her tenure. Merkel is the senior G7 leader and holds the record as the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the EU. However, she has let it be known that she will not run for Chancellor in 2021.

The impetus for Merkel’s foray into politics was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The event stimulated her involvement in a growing movement for democracy. Merkel had moved with her parents to East Germany at the age of three months, and she knew the workings of the communist system growing up.

Merkel is married to fellow quantum chemist Joachim Sauer after an earlier union ended in divorce. She has no children of her own, but Sauer has two adult sons. 

Click below for the other articles in the July 2019 Senior Spirit


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