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Monday, March 23, 2020

Boosting Immunity in the Age of COVID-19

There are several things you can do to help your body fight off exposure to any virus or bacteria, including the coronavirus.

We all know to wash hands for at least 20 seconds and practice social distancing (cabin fever, anyone?). But you may not be aware that there are ways to help keep our bodies in shape to fight off the microscopic particles that spread disease. Hopefully, you will never have to test your defense against coronavirus. But it is always a good idea for older adults and anyone else to maintain a strong immune system for whatever comes our way.

Eat right. A study by researchers at Cambridge University recorded that immunocompromised people improved their immune response by eating more fruit and vegetables. The higher their intake, the better the response. The Cleveland Clinic adds that Vitamin C, B6 and E are the most important for immune function. While you can take a supplement, the body absorbs them best when eaten in foods that are rich in the nutrients. Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, vegetables including soy beans contain Vitamin B6, and sunflower seeds and almonds deliver Vitamin E.

"Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut, so when it is healthy, we tend to be able to fight off infections faster and better,” says Yufang Lin, M.D., of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. She recommends a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. A 2018 study of adults aged 65 to 79 who followed a Mediterranean-style diet with the addition of 400 IU of vitamin D in a daily supplement boosted disease-fighting cells.

Lin also notes that fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and kefir, are beneficial because they boost healthy bacteria in the gut. Meat intake should be limited, especially processed meats such as salami and bacon, and all fried foods.

Organic produce, particularly when it is eaten raw, can also improve gut health since it has a more diverse bacteria population than food grown with pesticides and herbicides, according to Dr. Jenna Macciochi, lecturer in immunology. She also says that while making a single lifestyle change may have a small effect, strengthening your immunity is best achieved by combining several different approaches.

Beware of Fake Products That “Protect” Against COVID-19

As of March 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had already issued warning letters about fraudulent products to seven companies that were selling products promising to treat, cure, or prevent the infection.

“The medical profession still does not know exactly how to influence the immune system, despite what supplement products may claim,” says Julie Stefanski, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. And there is a danger with accidental overdoses. For example, adults who take vitamins such as Occuvite should not take additional zinc, which would put them at risk of a toxic dose.

There has not been time to study if any products may work specifically to enhance protection against the new virus, although multiple studies in China are ongoing. Unlike pharmaceutical medications, new supplements can come on the market in the U.S. without the manufacturer having to prove safety or efficacy. It is only after consumers or healthcare professionals complain that the FDA and FTC can act to take a product off of store shelves.

“Let your healthcare professional advise you on sorting reliable information from questionable information,” is the recommendation from the FDA.

Get your sleep. Your immune system needs down time, meaning sleep. When your body is sleep-deprived, it produces stress hormones such as cortisol just to keep alert. Cortisol can suppress your immune system. In one 2015 study, people who got at least seven hours of sleep per night were four times less likely to catch a cold than the participants who managed only six or less.

A single night of poor sleep can result in a 70% decrease in so-called “killer cells,” a type of white blood cell that play a major role in fighting both cancer and viruses.

Move. A strong immune system is highly correlated with fitness, according to several studies. While suddenly stressing your body by running a marathon if you are not in shape to run one can actually suppress your immune system while you recover, moderate exercise can build immunity.

Amazingly, those killer cells can increase tenfold after a single exercise session, according to research. And did you know that exercising for just a few minutes before a getting a vaccination can improve the protection it provides?

A walk outside can do more than just alleviate the boredom of being cooped up at home. Country air contains beneficial bacteria along with soil and plant organisms that are good for you as well, according to Macciochi. Just breathing it can boost your immunity. If you are a city dweller, try spending time in a garden or park.

Supplements may help. Many Americans are low in Vitamin D, which was found to offer protective benefits in a 2017 review of 25 studies published in the British Medical Journal. An easy way to make sure you are getting enough is to walk in sunshine for 10-15 minutes several times a week. Mushrooms also contain the vitamin, which is best consumed with fats or oils to boost absorption.

Probiotics are live micro-organisms that are linked to a reduced chance of getting colds and reducing the duration when you do get one. They can also improve immunity and make nutrients in the food we eat more available. However, they may not be useful for everyone, and there are a wide variety of strains that may, or may not, work.

If you want to keep inflammation in check, Lin advises cooking with herbs such as garlic, ginger, rosemary, oregano and turmeric. “When my patients ask me about taking supplements to enhance their immune system, I always go back to food, food, food,” she says. “Food is medicine."

Alternative immune boosters. For those souls who are a little more willing to suffer for health or try something that is out of the norm, a couple other preventative measures may be worth a look. A growing, although limited, body of evidence points to cold exposure for stress reduction, which leads to better immunity. Anyone for a cold shower? Those that take them on a regular basis are 30% less likely to call in sick, according to research. Brrrr!

A handful of recent studies show acupuncture has anti-inflammatory effects. Tiny needles are inserted at specific body points to provide stimulation in this ancient Chinese practice. "The point of acupuncture is to strengthen the immune system by balancing and fortifying certain organic systems,” says Joanie Stewart, an acupuncturist and health professional. "One of the things acupuncture does is fortify the lungs and the kidneys, which are also very important in boosting immunity."

All in all, we should be eating well and exercising no matter what health threats are in the news or what age we are. We may all need to get out and walk for our mental health right now as much as our physical well-being. So it certainly wouldn’t hurt to adopt some of the strategies listed above to make sure we all stay in tip-top condition while we wait for the urgency of quarantines and self-distancing to abate. Now and years later, we will be glad we did.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2020 Senior Spirit

Money – What To Do about Retirement In a Bear Market


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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What To Do about Retirement In a Bear Market

Stock market investors have taken a big hit in recent weeks, with recent retirees hit hardest. But there are still options on the table. 

Investors have been stunned with recent portfolio losses as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has racked up eight of its worst 10 days of falls in its history, and the volatility index has soared. Even in the boom leading up to the fall, more retirees (61%) feared outliving their money more than dying (39%), according to an Allianz Life survey. The hit has been particularly hard for those planning to retire soon and recent retirees.

Sequence of Return

This is due to sequence-of-return risk, a concept which is important to understand if you’re among those  affected. The problem arises when a market drops substantially when an investor has just entered retirement, or right before. The base of assets which will have to last for potentially decades is substantially lowered.

For example, someone who retired in 1982 before a long market rise, and with assets divided evenly between stocks and bonds, could have safely taken out almost 10% annually for 30 years. But someone who retired in 1966, before a down market, could only draw down 4% with the same portfolio allocation over the same three decades.

“With a downturn early you get in a hole for a portfolio that it’s hard to ever recover from,” says Wade Pfau, a professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services.

Some people in the know are even pessimistic about that 4% number. Stock valuations are still elevated from a historic standpoint, and interest rates have fallen through the floor. A person retiring today can only safely withdraw 3% annually, according to Bill Bernstein, author of The Investor’s Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between. That means a $1 million portfolio can only safely generate $30,000 per year, adjusted for inflation annually.

Fund ROTHs Now

There is a significant silver lining to the recent market selloff: it’s a great time to fund a ROTH account. ROTHs are taxable going into the account, but then grow tax-free. So let’s compare. If you bought 10 shares of Amazon at the market high in February for your ROTH account, it cost $21,702.20. But if you waited to the market low on March 12, those same shares would have set you back only $16,766.10. It’s not only a great deal on the stock, but you would be taxed on $4,936.10 less. Double win!

No one can time the market perfectly, but a down market offers opportunities. If you have a traditional IRA, it’s also a fantastic time to consider a ROTH conversion. A conversion can potentially be much larger than your annual contribution, so it offers greater tax savings. Check out this ROTH conversion calculator to see if a conversion might work for you.

Potential Remedies

Fortunately, there are things investors can do to alleviate the problem. Following are some ideas to consider:

Delay Social Security. It may be wise to wait until age 70 to begin taking Social Security payments. Bernstein recommends this tactic, adding that “effectively, you’re buying the world’s best annuity.” Monthly benefits rise 8% every year after full retirement age.

However, this is not the best strategy for everyone. It may be better to take the money earlier and invest it, especially if you think the market will rise. Spouses need to consider the impact on their partner. And many divorced earners won’t see any gain if their own earnings would qualify them for a smaller payout than half of their former spouse’s benefit, which is available at full retirement age. Find your current Social Security benefit estimate here.

Buy an Annuity. This may not be the time to sell stocks. But if a retiree has bonds or cash on hand, an annuity can provide guaranteed returns going forward. “A lot of people have an extreme bias versus annuities,” says Hayden McCoy, a financial planner in Georgetown, Texas. “But for the right person, they can be the perfect fit.”

When McCoy’s mother divorced, the financial planner chose a $725,000 variable annuity when her mom became nervous about stock market returns. The deferred annuity tracks the S&P 500, but with a guaranteed 6% annual return. “We’ve removed the market risk, and she has the peace of mind that she’s not going to run out of money,” McCoy said. And if the value of the principal rises above the initial amount, so will the payout. The caveat is that annuities are comparatively expensive versus, say, investing directly in the market.

Increase stock holdings. If retirees have excess cash, they may want to put it back into the market. This may seem counter-intuitive, but when a bear market hits, stocks are on sale. It’s like you were shopping and saw a sign for 25% off.

Bear markets typically don’t last as long as people may think. According to data from Ned Davis Research, it has taken an average of 3.2 years for the 36 bear markets from 1900 to now to make it back to the previous recorded high, taking dividends and inflation into account. The median recovery time (half recovered sooner, half took longer) is 1.9 years.

However, to reduce risk on your new purchase, consider an index fund, or look for companies that have plenty of cash and a high likelihood of emerging from the downturn in good shape.

Reduce bond holdings. With returns at historical lows, it may be time to reassess bond allocations. Many investors fail to tally home equity, pension benefits and Social Security in their total investment outlook. However, many investment professionals believe these assets should count as conservative investments or income streams. Someone with a 50-50 goal of stocks to bonds would be able to allocate a greater chunk to stocks when considering these sources of income, and not just cash holdings.

Refinance. Whether it’s a home or rental property, interest rates are low. If retirees haven’t paid off a property, they should make a few calls to see if current rates could improve cash flow. It’s fine to start with the current lender, but calling other banks and credit unions (many require a nominal $5 to join) to compare rates can save a lot of money over the life of the loan.

Reconsider certificates of deposit. Many retirees keep cash in a “ladder” of certificates of deposit (CDs). But with interest rates so low they don’t cover inflation, it’s worth considering alternatives for at least some of that nest egg. Investors with a margin of higher risk tolerance may consider buying dividend stocks. When stock prices plummet, dividend percentage payouts increase, so there are many attractive opportunities in a bear market. Look for companies with cash to survive the downturn, a long history of payouts, and that are likely to remain profitable during the downturn. Certain real estate investment trusts (REITs) may provide an answer, with dividends hovering around 12.9%.

Another place for retirees to sock away money may be in crowd-funded real estate. While the risk is certainly higher than with CDs, many companies allow investors to choose projects (and accompanying rates of return) with minimum $1,000 investments. Typical returns are in the 8-10% range. The downside? Money is generally tied up for a specified duration, and there are no tax benefits as with a traditional real estate purchase. Obviously, risk is greater than with a CD.


In these uncertain times, taking a direct hit to the portfolio adds insult to injury. There is an abundance of worry about jobs, health and the economy. Retirees with a pounded portfolio can be forgiven for hunkering down and waiting for normalcy to return. But we should be using this time to our benefit, evaluating changes we can make to improve out position going forward. Schedule a call with your financial professional to see if any of the options above can benefit you.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2020 Senior Spirit

Health – Boosting Immunity in the Age of COVID-19


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Job Hunting in the Age of the Coronavirus

In the face of COVID-19, workers of all ages are getting laid off or facing business losses in huge numbers. Where can older adults turn for work?

A lot of older adults work well past traditional retirement age to have enough money to pay the bills. Social Security is not designed to cover all expenses, but research shows that many Americans have no nest egg to help get them through. Some older adults are stretching out careers in jobs that never paid enough to tuck money away for later. Wealth inequality charts show that there are millions of these people living on the edge of a financial precipice, and now, in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, some are falling off the edge.

Wealth distribution by percentile
Chart from Wikipedia

The global pandemic is slashing jobs by the day. “The job market is in free fall,” says one economist. “Businesses have no choice but to reduce payrolls.” Some experts anticipate job losses in the millions before the epidemic has been contained, as more than 14 million jobs in leisure and hospitality alone are at risk. What can you do if you are a bellhop, a concierge, a maid, an Uber or Lyft driver, an AirBnB host, a waitress, a bartender, a hair stylist, a retail clerk, an airline employee, or any one of a thousand other workers who will take a tremendous hit?

Hopefully, you’ll have a job waiting for you when the world begins to return to normal. But many may have to pivot to a completely new line of work for sustenance. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to try and keep a check coming in.

Your first line of defense is to file for unemployment. Expect that to be a harrowing experience, as offices were overwhelmed with five times the usual number of applicants by mid-March. Many people report that they are unable to contact their local office either online or by phone. Looking at this in another way, here is an opportunity to check if they are hiring. If you have to go to the office to file, be sure and ask if they need help (yes!) and present your resume on the spot.

Second, take that resume around to local stores that are hiring. As of this writing, those include:

Kroger and other grocery stores
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
2020 Census
Trader Joe’s
Workforce Solutions

Every store that sells groceries is booming right now, so go to where the money flows. More people are getting groceries delivered. Those who have been drivers in the gig economy may be able to transition to transporting groceries.

Tool for Gig Workers

If you are already working in the gig economy, you may want to use a tool developed by a pair of workers in the gig Workers Collective. “Between the lack of financial security (no sick leave), the number of workers living week to week, and the inability for some workers to take time off due to low income, gig workers are some of the most vulnerable dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak,” the site states.

Workers can connect with each other, help run errands or offer each other emotional support. They can assist each other in filing for benefits, or discuss a pay cut. Access a state-by-state list of resources from the Gig Workers Collective here for links to everything from help with energy bills to food stamps and medications.

State Assistance

For information on what your state is doing to assist civilians, check the National Governor’s Association site.  It has information on helpful programs, as well as travel and other restrictions, school closures, limits on gatherings, etc.

Federal Assistance

Keep tabs on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak here. The site has links to information for older adults on how to deal with the virus, travel advisories, etc. As for federal relief programs, the bills are coming through weekly, sometimes daily.

Small Business Programs (Useful for Individuals too)

Forbes is keeping a list of COVID-19 epidemic relief programs for small business owners. With a comprehensive list of local, state, and federal programs. Check it to find out about tax filing and payment extensions, disaster-area loans, eviction moratoriums and more. The format explains the program, covers who is eligible, and gives directions on how/where to apply.

Plenty of people have limited transportation, health concerns, family members who need them and a host of other barriers to changing jobs. A sudden, massive influx of unemployed people will be looking to change jobs or temporarily fill in while their place of employment is shuttered. It is going to be rough for a while, and no one knows when the economic onslaught will be over for sure. But we can look to success stories in places like China for encouragement that it will abate. Help your neighbor, keep yourself safe and we will get through these very difficult times.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2020 Senior Spirit

Health – Boosting Immunity in the Age of COVID-19


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Are COVID-19 Antivirals Almost Here?

Several treatments for coronavirus are in testing or have been used on patients, but drawbacks remain. 

Coronavirus won’t go away now that it’s here. High-risk people including older adults and those with underlying diseases, especially those involving the heart and lungs, are particularly anxious to hear that there is more than Tylenol and Gatorade to alleviate symptoms. Thus far, no drugs or vaccines are approved to treat the coronavirus. A worldwide effort is underway to find something that stops the disease. Here are a few possible candidates:

Favipiravir (Avigan). This Japanese drug, already in use to treat the flu, appears somewhat effective at mitigating coronavirus as well. It was used on 340 people in Wuhan and Shenzhen, says Zhang Xinmin, of China’s science and technology ministry. “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang reports.

The results are encouraging. Patients given the drug got a negative virus test a median of four days later, instead of 11 days later for a group not given the drug. In the same group, 91% of patients taking the drug demonstrated improved lung conditions on X-rays, compared with only 62% of those not on the drug. Additionally, the drug seemed to shorten the course of the disease, from 4.2 days for those who didn’t take it to 2.5 days for those who did. The Chinese trial was non peer-reviewed.

The antiviral drug is manufactured in China (like many American pharmaceuticals) for developer Fujifilm Toyama Chemical. It got approval as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 back in February.

However, there is a drawback. Patients with severe symptoms don’t respond as well as those with milder signs of the disease."We've given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn't seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied," says a source from the Japanese Health Ministry on background to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. No results are yet available from ongoing trials in Japan.

Healthcare Workers At Greater Risk for COVID-19

During the 2002 SARS epidemic, a fifth of all cases were in healthcare workers. The nature of their jobs puts these professionals at more risk than the rest of the population. Already, a handful of nurses went into quarantine in New York after exposure to a patient being treated there, and more than two dozen health care workers were forced to go under observation after interacting with patients who were not diagnosed with coronavirus until after their death. Three healthcare workers have already tested positive in Northern California, while dozens more went under observation.

That’s why it’s so critical that patients with symptoms of the disease are tested, and that healthcare professionals have access to masks, gloves, and gowns. The CDC recommends N95 masks that have filters to protect workers from others. Doctors, nurses and other personnel have to be healthy to treat patients. “During major disasters and outbreaks, we have massive patient surges that affect the medical system. We need as many healthcare workers as possible. If they’re ill, they contribute to that patient surge without being able to contribute as responding personnel,” says Terri Rebmann, a nurse researcher and director of the Institute for Biosecurity at Saint Louis University. “It’s an issue of a numbers game.”

Kevzara. Already approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Kevzara is being evaluating its use on severe cases of coronavirus. New York drugmaker Regeneron is heading up trials of the drug in the U.S., while France-based Sanofi is leading trials outside the U.S., including in Italy. In a statement, the drugmakers say they hope to find the drug calms the overactive immune response in the lungs of critically ill patients. They also hope to find decreased death rates and a reduction in the need for mechanical ventilation, supplemental oxygen and hospitalization.

The drug was used on 21 patients ill with coronavirus in China with positive results. However, there is currently no peer-reviewed literature to assess. Regeneron and Sanofi are working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to obtain quick, documented results.

The two companies are simultaneously working on a number of other experimental therapies, including potential vaccines.

Remdesivir. The furthest along in development of any potential anti-viral drug that will work on the coronavirus, Remdesivir has a decade-long history. Born in the lab as one of many compounds created by American drug behemoth Gilead, the molecule was for years known as “3a”. That was until it showed potential to fight a global pandemic: Ebola.

“Drug discovery and development is usually a very long and tedious process and you could have many failures on the path to an approved product,” notes Tomas Cihlar, Gilead’s vice president of virology.

He’s had  plenty of experience. Remdesivir was included in a landmark trial of four therapies to fight Ebola. A pair of other treatments dramatically reduced deaths while Remdesivir showed less promising results.

Currently, the drug is not only involved in five COVID-19 trials, but has also been made available to some patients in the U.S. It was given to the first American patient as part of a compassionate use program. When the man, who had visited relatives in Wuhan, took a turn for the worse, Gilead overnighted the drug to the hospital in Washington state. An intravenous drip was started and the man began to improve the next day.

However, there’s a dark cloud on the horizon. Three patients treated with the medication had elevated liver enzymes, according to an unpublished paper “circulating ahead of an official peer review,” according to journalist Cory Renauer. Although the patients all recovered from COVID-19, they reported significant gastrointestinal distress as well.

These and other organizations, including university medical centers, are scrambling for antivirals and possible vaccine candidates. With a huge payout in the offing as potentially every human on the planet would clamor for immunity to the new disease, old therapies are being dusted off and given a second look.

Drug companies expect antivirals to be on the shelves in a matter of months, while a vaccine is at least a year away, according to experts.

Click below for the other articles in the March 2020 Senior Spirit

Health – Boosting Immunity in the Age of COVID-19
Money – What To Do about Retirement In a Bear Market


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Find Free Money!

State coffers are full of money belonging to citizens. It’s simple to check if some of it is yours.  

With all the worry and unease these days, we thought we’d write about something that could be both fun and lucrative. Right this minute, states are sitting on nearly $100 billion in unclaimed assets that they want to disperse to the rightful owners. You can go on a treasure hunt and see if any of it is yours!

Unclaimed property can be any kind of an asset: pension checks, rebates, tax refunds, long-forgotten bank accounts, dividends, security deposits, and more. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) keeps track of the money and says that over $14.86 billion was paid out between 2013 and 2017 alone. And there’s plenty more waiting to be claimed.

Anyone with access to a computer can quickly run a search to claim money and confirm their identity. States really do want the rightful owner to have the money.

“It used to be, if someone comes and finds it, great,” says Mark Bracken, president of NAUPA. “But now, absolutely 100%, from all 50 states, the attitude is, ‘We are just custodians of the money. We’re here to safeguard the money, but more importantly, to return it.’”

Some states are taking the unusual step of reaching out to potential claimants. For instance, Illinois is able to match names of taxpayers with unclaimed-property holders to reunite them to assets under $2,000. The state has an up-to-date address, and can send a check in the mail. “That cleaned up a lot of the smaller amounts that people weren’t claiming or weren’t aware of,” says Michael Frerichs, Illinois state treasurer.

Most states keep the money in a trust or general fund, and only disperse it when someone makes a claim. Is there a problem with identity theft, you might wonder? “We don’t really run into … identity-theft issues. We are more likely to run into family members trying to convince us that other family members say it’s OK for us to give them the person’s money,” says Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois State Treasurer. Most sites list only a name, an address, a cryptic explanation of the asset and if the value is above or below a certain level. The claimant needs to fill in birthdate, Social Security number, address and phone number. If the claimant is an heir or has power of attorney, documents must verify the information.

I tried it out on a lark and found a decades-old bank account sum and two small amounts owed my deceased father. Not a goldmine, but free money nonetheless.

If you’re ready to go mining, check into the databases on or People, businesses and nonprofits can all run searches directly on either site. Some states, such as California, are not affiliated with NAUPA but the websites have direct links to the state treasurer’s office for unclaimed property.

Good luck!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Famous and 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

March 19 - Bruce Willis, Actor

Who can forget Willis opposite Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting (he beat out 3,000 other actors to get the role)? How about his star portrayal of John McClane in the Die Hard movies, or his role in Pulp Fiction? Yet the German-born son of blue-collar workers battled a persistent stutter in high school. Nicknamed “Buck-Buck,” Willis went on to become student council president.

But fame didn’t come right away. Willis worked as a security guard, then drove work crews around at a factory in New Jersey and was a private investigator when he finally turned to acting.  Supporting himself as a bartender while living in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, he finally got a part as an extra. After a move to California, his career began to take off, and he’s had a monumentally prolific career over the decades.

On a personal level, Willis is remembered for his marriage to actress Demi Moore in 1987 that produced three daughters before ending in 2000. They have stayed close. He attended her marriage to Ashton Kutcher, and that couple came to his wedding, to model Emma Heming, in 2009.

March 21 - Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

Bolsonaro served in his country’s artillery and parachuting units before heading to politics. Elected and re-elected (six times!) to the lower chamber of Congress, he became known for his strong brand of conservatism, and is a vocal opponent of both same-sex marriage, affirmative action and other left-wing social policies.

He staked his 2018 campaign on family values with a retired general as his running mate. Although he was stabbed during a campaign event, he survived to win both the first round of voting and the top office.

Of Italian descent, Bolsonaro’s superior officers in his paratrooper group described him as “aggressive” with an “excessive ambition to get financial and economical gain.” Bolsonaro first gained national attention when he decried low salaries in the military and exposed the High Command for firing officers due to budget constraints and not for poor conduct, as they were telling the press.

March 28 - Reba McEntire, Country Singer

Reba McEntire was a sophomore in college when country artist Red Steagall heard her sing the National Anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City. He brought her to Nashville and the rest, as they say, is history. McEntire released her first album in 1975 and hasn’t stopped performing. Dubbed the “Queen of Country,” McEntire has sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

She was born in Oklahoma, the daughter of a champion steer roper and teacher mom who had wanted a career in country music. When driving to and from rodeos, her mother taught the kids to sing, and Reba learned how to play the guitar. Three of the four kids formed the “Singing McEntires” and sang at rodeos, with Reba writing all the songs.

McEntire’s long career has featured traditional country, a move toward pop, and another switch toward gospel. She also acted in film and television, and even starred in a Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, to critical acclaim. Her personal life includes two marriages, first to champion steer wrestler Charlie Battles, and then to her manager, Narvel Blackstock. Although their 20+ year marriage ended, McEntire is close to her three Blackstock stepchildren, the siblings of her son Shelby. McEntire’s stepson Brandon Blackstock is married to a singer you may have heard of: Kelly Clarkson.


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors