Financial Planning

Gorgeous Grandma Day

In this week’s edition of Monday Morning Quarter-Buck, we honor our #GorgeousGrandmas. I remember talking to my grandma when I was a little girl - she had so much wisdom and a wealth of knowledge! We hope you enjoy this edition and we’d love to hear your #GorgeousGrandma stories!

By: Kim Anderson, CPA
Fargo, North Dakota

July 23, 2019 is National Gorgeous Grandma Day, so let the world know how gorgeous your Grandma truly is by posting pictures of you two having a blast. Be sure to tag the photo with #GorgeousGrandma.

My gorgeous Grandma was born in 1910 in Lone Rock, Iowa and passed away in 2006. She lost my grandpa in 1977 which means she spent the next 29 years as a widow. Her Social Security checks were around $400 per month so she didn’t have much in the way of liquid assets, though she did own a house, 360 acres of land, and some farm machinery. She would occasionally receive phone calls from people she thought were up to no good, but she knew enough to hang up the phone before they could speak more than two words. Because of her sound mind and ability to hear well up until she moved into a nursing home, she kept a skeptical mind when strangers called or came to visit.  To the best of my knowledge, no stranger was ever able to exploit or otherwise take advantage of her. She was the best Grandma anyone could ask for (and she was really smart too)!

For some of us, our #GorgeousGrandma family members are not so fortunate. The U.S. Department of Justice has an “Elder Justice Initiative” page which gives information on Senior Scam Alerts and provides an Elder Abuse Resource Roadmap. There is also a section listing ways that we can get involved to help our #Gorgeous Grandma from becoming a victim. The National Council on Aging (www.ncoa.org) has a list of the Top 10 Financial Scams Targeting Seniors that is worth reading and  www.SeniorLiving.org has an abundance of information on the topic of Elder Fraud & Abuse.

We’d like to think that our Grandma is “smart enough” not to fall for any scam but if you have a Grandma like mine who is thoughtful and kind, it’s hard to say “NO”. A favorite scam of scammers is when someone calls your Grandma and tells them he/she is their grandchild, is stranded far away from home, and could Grandma please wire money so the “grandchild” can get home. How can thoughtful and kind Grandma say “no” to such a desperate request? When I was working as a Bank Examiner, an employee at a bank we visited stopped the financial exploitation of an elderly woman by noticing the unusual activity in her bank account then talking to the woman’s son about what may be going on.

It’s important that each of us do our part to protect our #GorgeousGrandma, but because scammers, fraudsters, and close relatives (yes, even they can take advantage of your Grandma) are always coming up with new and innovative ways of financial exploitation, we need the help of law enforcement. On June 13, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. Prior to the announcement of the strike force, the DOJ conducted massive elder fraud sweeps in 2018 and 2019. The historic elder fraud sweeps revealed useful information about the types of foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors. As a consequence, the new strike force will focus on the following three types of elder fraud schemes:  mass-mailing fraud, tech-support fraud and telemarketing fraud.

If you are concerned about the cognitive ability of your #GorgeousGrandma (or your Handsome Grandpa), Rooted Planning Group offers a Whealthcare Financial Caretaking assessment wherein we can help you monitor the reasoning abilities of your living treasures so that they don’t end up a victim of scammers.  Contact us and we will help you determine if this assessment is right for you.

Since we are celebrating Gorgeous Grandma Day, help keep her safe and sound by learning the basics of elder fraud & financial exploitation and keep a keen eye out for red flags. And don’t forget – post that picture of you two having fun!



Monday Morning Quarter-Buck: “Improvements” to Retirement Planning

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck: “Improvements” to Retirement Planning

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the “Secure Act” legislation and it’s widely expected to move forward in the Senate.  In part, the legislation’s purpose is to make it easier for employers to offer 401ks to their employees and to let workers guarantee how much income their retirement savings will produce by using their assets to purchase annuities.  It removes the IRA age limitation and increases the RMD age to 72.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck: The Boston Marathon and Money by Kerrie Beene

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Happy Tax Day!  While we find this day to be one of the most stressful overall days of the year with last minute decisions and actions, the team made a commitment this year to make sure we managed our stress with healthy behaviors like exercise and eating right.  What does this have to do with finances? Read below as Financial Planner Kerrie Beene shares her experience on this journey. We also want to wish all of the Boston Marathon runners the best of luck today!!

The Boston Marathon and Money

By Financial Planner Kerrie Beene

Rooted Planning Group

April 15th is Tax Day but even more exciting than that, it is Boston Marathon Day.  A marathon is 26.2 Miles. There are around 570 marathons held each year in the United States.  Around 24% of runners have run a marathon, which accounts for 0.5% of the U.S. population.

The Boston Marathon is one of the World Marathon Majors - these are the top six annual marathons run in major cities around the globe.  The other five are held in New York City, Chicago, Berlin, London, and Tokyo.

The first Boston Marathon was ran in 1897.  It is always held on the 3rd Monday in April, also Patriot’s Day.  The day is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine and all local offices and schools are closed.  

Every year since 1903, the Boston Red Sox, play a game the morning of the marathon.  After the game, spectators head to Kenmore Square and cheer on the runners. There are other fun traditions held each year, such as, the scream tunnel and Greek inspired wreaths for winners.  Unfortunately, in 2013, was the Boston Marathon bombing where explosives killed three people and injured hundreds.

The Boston Marathon attracts around 500,000 spectators each year to watch the 30,000 qualifying runners.  The Boston Marathon has a serious registration process that begins in September the year before you would like to race.

To begin the registration process you have to be 18 years old and already ran a marathon with the International Association of Athletics Association within the last 18 months.  Eighty percent of entries are reserved for the fastest qualifying times. Unfortunately, even if you qualify that does not mean you will get to run. For the 2019 race, more than 7,000 entries were not accepted.  

Example of Qualifying Standard:

  • 40 Year Old Male - Qualifying Time - 3 Hours and 10 Minutes (Under 8 minutes per mile)

  • 40 Year Old Female - Qualifying Time - 3 Hours and 40 Minutes (Under 9 minutes per mile)

  • 20 Year Old Male - Qualifying Time - 3 Hours (Under 7 minutes per mile)

  • 20 Year Old Female - Qualifying Time - 3 Hours and 30 Minutes (Around 8 minutes per mile)

Male and Female Winners of the Boston Marathon receive:

  • $150,000 for 1st Place

  • $75,000 for 2nd Place

  • $40,000 for 3rd Place

Reading about the history of the marathon and the associated facts is fun.  However, I do not foresee myself running a marathon anytime soon.

Most people, including myself, jump on and off the exercise bandwagon many times throughout our adult lives. I have been exercising for a while now and see myself continuing.  I have created a habit and enjoy the endorphins. I do it for my health and so should everyone, but could it also make us wealthier?

The answer is yes!  Some of the answer comes from personal experience and some of it comes from facts.  My experience has taught me that when I do one positive activity, it encourages me to do another positive activity.  For example, I notice when I exercise I am naturally attracted to healthier foods and vice versa. When I do not exercise, I warm up a honey bun after dinner and then binge watch Netflix.  Well, I watch Netflix regardless, but I feel less guilty if I am not eating a honey bun. The other thing that I have noticed is that when I exercise, my house is cleaner and I don’t mind cooking at home.  On the days I exercise, my endorphins keep me moving and I come home and am in the mood to get to cooking or even pickup my house and then cook. I also look forward to doing things outside, like yard work and cleaning outside.  While, this is not formal research, it is real and I see the results.

More formal research shows that one cost saving advantage of exercising is our medical bills.  We all know the multiple health reasons to exercise but The Lancet states that, just walking 150 minutes per week will result in $2,500 less per year on Healthcare.  

The FI Introvert website shows other ways fitness can also save you money by simply eliminating one behavior for a healthier, more enjoyable behavior:

  • Walking and biking rather than driving saves on car maintenance and gas

  • Hiking and taking in nature’s scenery rather than scenes from a movie saves on sedentary entertainment expenses

  • Buying fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed meat rather than expensive and nutritionally weak processed meals saves on food costs

  • Drinking water is less expensive than sugary soda and other drinks

  • Going out and playing sports saves money on mindless cable TV consumption

  • Save on alcohol and cigarettes by not wanting to negate the gains from your investment in your health

So, at the end of the day, maybe the Boston Marathon is not on your bucket list, but exercising should become a daily habit…. It will make you healthier and wealthier.

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