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More than half of all small business owners are age 50+

The world might be asking baby boomers about their retirement plans, but an increasing number of boomers are opting to start their own small businesses instead, according to a survey from small business financing company Guidant Financial. The company surveyed more than 2,600 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide and found 54 percent of business owners were over the age of 50, a 10 percent increase from the year before.

Highlighted findings in the Baby Boomer 2018 Small Business Trends survey include: Trends

The survey also yielded valuable trend information on baby boomers in business. Highlights include:

  • Demographics – 33 percent of all respondents were in their fifties, followed 17 percent in their sixties, and 4 percent at age 70 or above.
  • Geography – California topped the list in terms of the highest volume of boomer entrepreneurs, followed by Florida, Texas, New York and North Carolina.
  • Sector – The most popular business industries for baby boomers were business services, followed by food/restaurant, general retail, health/beauty/fitness and automotive.
Reason

Data showed that most baby boomers started businesses for positive reasons: “Ready to be my own boss” at 43 percent ranked as the top reason respondents over the age of 50 pursued business ownership, while “wanted to pursue my passion” at 42 percent nearly tied that choice. Thirty-six percent reported opportunity presented itself, 22 percent dissatisfied with corporate American and 15 percent laid off/outsourced.

Outlook

While the majority of boomer business owners rated their confidence in the political state of small business as neutral seven out of 10, 76 percent of these business owners rated their happiness level as an eight or above on a scale of 10. In fact, the majority of boomer business owners were trying to grow or expand their business, while only 6 percent were looking to sell.

Challenges

The survey also included those who have not yet started a business but hope to. The biggest hurdles among baby boomers looking to start a business were the inability to find funding (reported by nearly half the respondents) at 61 percent, not identifying the right opportunity and not being sure where to begin. Just under half 47 percent reported not having enough cash for a loan down payment, and about the same number reported a lack of knowledge about financing options as challenges to obtaining business funding.

Financing

Fifty-five percent of baby boomers typically fund their businesses using cash, followed by 25 percent using 401(k) business financing [formally known as Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS)]. ROBS funding allows anyone with pre-tax retirement funds to fund a business using some or all of that money without incurring tax penalties. With the only requirement being a $50,000 minimum in a rollable retirement account, ROBS is often much easier funding to obtain without credit score or collateral requirements.

Of Interest: Baby boomers use ROBS financing at a rate that is 28 percent higher than the national average.

While lack of capital/cash flow remains a top challenge for boomer small business owners, 67 percent report that their business is currently profitable. More than two-thirds are also looking to grow their business while only 6 percent were trying to sell.  

“Those who decide to start businesses later in life have several advantages over their younger counterparts,” said David Nilssen, CEO of Guidant Financial. “Baby boomers often have larger professional networks and years of business experience, and we’re seeing an increasing amount who are leveraging those benefits to launch and grow their own ventures.”

An accompanying infographic and more information can be found at https://www.guidantfinancial.com/learning-center/infographics/2018-baby-boomers-in-business/.

Methodology

Between November 28, 2017 and December 1, 2017, Guidant Financial conducted an email survey of more than 2,600 male and female small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. Ages of respondents ranged from 18 to over 70.

Guidant Financial is a small business financing experts committed to making access to capital seamless. They’ve helped over 16,000 individuals secured over $4.2 billion in small business financing.

The post Ready To Be My Own Boss Leads In Guidant Financial’s Report On Baby Boomers in Business appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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JE JEC Outreach Climate Change Poll Copy

Is Climate Change Real? We Asked 800 Americans—What They Said May Surprise You

The results are in: 70 percent of Americans polled believe that climate change is real. This finding tracks almost exactly with the 2016 Yale Climate Opinion Maps survey, which found that 69 percent of respondents answered: “yes, global warming is happening.”

But there’s more to opinions about climate change than its inevitability and what we discovered may shock you. Read on to discover everything from how many Millennials believe climate change will affect their future to how folks prioritize climate change in relation to other global issues.

6 Surprising Findings about How Americans See Climate Change
  1. Millennials Are Less Likely to Believe in Climate Change

Q: What best describes your belief about climate change?

At 68.63%, Millennials are the least likely generation to select climate change is “real and happening now,” in spite of having come of age “during the hottest 10-year period in the last 100 years.”

  1. Women Are More Likely to Believe that Climate Change Is Caused by Human Activity

Q: Based on your understanding of climate change, do you believe it is caused by human activity?

Women polled are about 7% more likely than their male counterparts to believe that climate change is caused by human activity.

  1. Folks with Less Education Typically Prioritize Government Corruption over Climate Change

Q: Please rank the following global issues according to how you would personally prioritize them.

Surprisingly, government corruption jumps to #1 when we control for education (high school and below), gender (men), or generational age groups (Gen Xers and Boomers).

  1. Men Are More Confident in their Understanding of Climate Change

Q: Rate your understanding of climate change.

Even though more women believe that climate change is caused by human activity, men, by and large, are more confident in their understanding of it.

  1. Boomers Are More Likely to Think Climate Change Is out of Our Control

Q: Based on your understanding of climate change, what are the top 3 causes of climate change?

Perhaps most troubling about this finding is that a lot of environmental factors are well within our control—like methane emissions from animals (i.e. meat and dairy production), which “accounted for about 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.”

  1. Millennials Are Also More Likely to Believe that Climate Change Will Not Affect Them

Q: How likely is it that you are or will be personally affected by climate change?

Aren’t Gen Xers supposed to be the apathetic generation? Maybe not. 19% of Millennials think it is “less likely” that climate change will affect their future—more than any other generation.

Our Methodology

This analysis is based on a compilation of 800 completed surveys from Americans 14 and older. Just Energy (JE) asked participants to respond to 10 questions with a variety of answers, from whether they believed in climate change at all and what their understanding is of the subject to who they think is responsible and why.

JE broke down results data by generation, gender, and education.

The post Is Climate Change Real? We Asked 800 Americans appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Menopause and Painful Sex

What You Need to Know

By 

Barbara Dehn, NP

HealthyWomen Health Advisory Council Member 

Did you know that painful sex is a common symptom of menopause? It’s not surprising if you didn’t. Information from a recent survey titled What Do You Know About Your Sexual Health After Menopause? has provided insights on one of the most common and troubling symptoms of menopause. 

The HealthyWomen survey, sponsored by women’s health company Duchesnay USA,  found that the majority of women surveyed (62%) reported experiencing painful sex, but only half recognized that this pain could be a symptom related to menopause

Unlike other symptoms of menopause, including sleeping issues and hot flashes, painful sex will not go away on its own and may worsen if left untreated. These findings underscore the need for improved communication between women and their healthcare professionals as well as general education and treatment options. 

69% of women surveyed did not know that treatment options exist for painful sex due to menopause. However, there are prescription options indicated to treat this condition, including a once daily, hormone-free oral pill. If you experience moderate to severe pain during intercourse, talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options. For more, please visit healthywomen.org/painfulsex.

The post Menopause and Painful Sex: What You Need to Know appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Mexico Real Estate: 3 Myths Debunked—Internationalliving.com

Mexico has long been a top choice for North Americans buying property overseas, but there are misconceptions surrounding Mexican real estate. A new report from the editors at International Living sets the record straight.

Source: Internationalliving.com

As many as 1 million U.S. and Canadian citizens already call Mexico home, with more joining them all the time. Thanks to Mexico’s large size, varied geography, and affordable real estate, prospective residents are spoiled for choice among silver-mining towns, fishing villages, beach retreats, and cosmopolitan cities.

“At IL, we quite frequently hear myths about buying Mexican Real Estate,” says International Living Executive Editor, Jennifer Stevens. “It’s a shame because people’s misperceptions create a wholly inaccurate picture of what’s going on there. In truth, Mexico offers great weather, beautiful scenery, and authentic Latin American culture—plus good- value real estate options for North Americans looking to retire on a modest budget. And just to be clear: It’s absolutely possible—and legal—to own property in Mexico. Our new report walks the reader through the specifics.”

However, when it comes to buying Mexican real estate, the truth doesn’t always prevail. Here are three myths debunked by International Living:

Myth #1: Foreigners Can’t Buy Property in Mexico

It’s perfectly legal for foreigners to own land in Mexico. Foreigners can hold the direct deed to property with the same rights and responsibilities as Mexican nationals, as long as the property is outside the so-called restricted zones—50 kilometers (about 31 miles) from shorelines and 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) from international borders. Inside the restricted zones, foreigners can control land through fideicomisos—bank trust agreements—again with the same rights and responsibilities as Mexican nationals. Alternatively, foreigners can hold land in these areas through a Mexican corporation. (However, if it’s a residential property that the foreigner plans to use personally, rather than as an investment, it should be held in a fideicomiso.)

To break it down in plain English: If you’re not Mexican, the title to property within the restricted zones must be held within a bank trust or a Mexican corporation—not directly. But understand: That trust is easily transferable when an owner is ready to sell. This is a safe, legal, and extremely common vehicle for foreign ownership in Mexico. And, again, this restriction only applies close to shorelines and international borders. Outside the restricted zones, foreigners can own directly as an individual.

Myth #2: It’s Best to Hold Title in Your Own Name

An article in the Mexican Constitution of 1917 states that no foreigner can own property in Mexico’s restricted zones. In 1973, however, the government saw the economic wisdom of allowing foreign investment in the restricted zones and established the fideicomiso, or bank trust, as an instrument to allow such investment in a residential real estate.

Since 1973, most foreigners who have bought residential property in restricted zones have therefore done so through a fideicomiso. This sort of bank trust grants the title for a piece of property to the bank (the trustee), which in turn is obliged to follow any instructions given by the trust’s beneficiary—you, the foreign owner. You retain use and control of the trust and make all investment decisions regarding the property: that is, to sell it, rent it, build on it, live on it, or pass it down to your heirs.

Owning property through a trust deed offers several advantages (listed here). These include the ability to list more than one person as beneficiaries. Or you can list an “heir”— this is a very desirable option for unmarried couples, friends who own a property jointly, or couples in a second marriage with different children.

All this is important because it allows the simple and easy transfer of control over the property and avoids the messiness of sorting out ownership in the Mexican courts. It is also a method of bypassing inheritance taxes. Trusts are issued for renewable 50-year periods. If you are buying property currently held in a trust, you can either establish a new trust for the next 50-year period or take over the existing trust deed.

Myth #3: The Mexican Government Can Seize Your Land

This is simply untrue. No property controlled by foreigners through a properly constituted fideicomiso bank trust—the instrument used by foreigners to hold beachfront residential property in Mexico—has ever been repossessed by the Mexican government.

“Yes, there have been cases—such as in Baja California a number of years ago—when the Mexican government has ‘repossessed’ property from foreigners,” says International Living Mexico Editor, Glynna Prentice. “But in these instances, the property titles these expats held didn’t hold up to scrutiny—they were essentially fraudulent. These expats were defrauded, but not by the government; the government was simply correcting the fraud, applying the law, and returning title to the rightful owners.

“But cases like these are good reminders that you need a competent, honest lawyer protecting your interests in a real estate deal…someone who can make sure a property title is legal, clear, and unencumbered. But if there is a problem, you are protected as fully under the law as a Mexican citizen would be. Mexico’s legal system does work, despite bureaucracy and the occasional corruption. There is a saying in Spanish, ‘The mills of justice grind slowly, but very, very fine.’ This pretty much sums up Mexico’s legal system.”

Learn more about buying real estate in Mexico, here: Can Foreigners Own Property in Mexico?

The post International Living Mexico Real Estate 3 Myths Debunked appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Enjoy Life Like You Should

By Dr. Raj Gupta

Stress is part of life, but life after 50 should not be filled with large daily doses of it that knock you down for the count.

After all, the years are more precious to you now. You want to spend as much time as possible enjoying life, not worrying away the day.

Still, stress can’t be avoided completely; things come up, some fires have to be put out. So how do you stay cool on the inside and outside?

In learning how to better manage stress and to not let it throw your otherwise tranquil day way off course like a sailboat snagged in a sudden storm at sea, you first must ask yourself some basic but important questions. Do the smallest things set you off? Do you feel like you are constantly under pressure? Are you losing sleep and not eating properly?

The main point of dealing more effectively with stress is protecting your health. Stress causes headaches, ulcers, heart disease, heart attacks, and numerous other illnesses. It attacks the areas of your body that are weak due to previous injury or where you are genetically predisposed.

When our bodies are confronted with stress, the “fight or flight” response of our nervous systems is activated. The hypothalamus signals the adrenal glands to produce the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Muscles contract and are put on alert, and pupils dilate to improve vision. Also during this process, the liver releases some of its stored glucose to increase the body’s energy, and sweat is produced to cool the body.

Long-time chronic stress comes from coping with draining situations like divorce or work pressures. This results in immune system exhaustion and causes illness. And when this happens, the nervous system senses continued stress and pressure and pumps out extra stress hormones over an extended period of time. The top reason for adrenal gland malfunction and exhaustion comes from too much stress, as well as from too much coffee.

So how do you combat stress on a daily and long-term basis? I call it the DREAM sequence – a five-pronged list of stress-reducing life habits.

First is diet.

Bad food contributes significantly to stress. I see this every day with my two kids. Grandma will feed them tons of sugar and then I come home to find the girls either bouncing off the walls or miserably cranky after crashing from their sugar high. Good, wholesome food foods that are not processed or refined and are free from trans fats prevent our energy levels from peaking and crashing throughout the day.

Next is rest.

Getting enough sleep helps you keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. Most of your healing and repair takes place when you are sleeping. This is when the body recharges its battery. If you continue to deprive your body of sleep, your immune system breaks down and you get sick. It’s recommended that individuals get six to eight hours of sleep per night.

Next is exercise.

This is the greatest stress-buster. Regular exercise can change your life. A study conducted at Harvard University concluded that brisk walking at least 30 minutes a day could reduce the incidence of breast cancer by as much as 70 percent. Further, a California State University study found that a 10-minute walk is enough to increase energy, alter mood, and provide a positive outlook on life for up to two hours. Exercise also helps regulate your mood, helps you sleep more soundly, and helps erase the little mistakes in our diet.

The fourth prong is chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractors locate and remove the pressure put on your nerves. The immune system fixes problems throughout the body using the spinal cord as a telephone system between your brain and the rest of your body. Chiropractic adjustments to the spinal column relieve the pressure of choked or pinched nerves caused by rotated vertebra. Essentially, chiropractic adjustments provide an increase in vitality.

The fifth part is a mental attitude.

Stress is like a snowball: If you let it roll, it will gain speed, momentum and weight, and soon you are overreacting, making even small difficulties seem like major crises. So counter a stressful situation with a calming action. Example: when rush-hour traffic is irritating, listen to a self-improvement audio. Some things we can’t control, but we can control our response to them.  

In sum, stress can cause all sorts of health problems. It affects all ages, but it can be dealt with, and doing so consistently can help you to pass any kind of stress test – and to enjoy your 50-plus years even more.

About Dr. Raj Gupta

Dr. Raj Gupta (www.drrajgupta.com), who has more than 20 years experience as a chiropractor, is the founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center. He also is the author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives. He has a doctorate in chiropractic from Life University.

The post How To Dream Away Your Stress And Enjoy Life Like You Should appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Want to Help Your Grandkids Pay for College? Get Educated First!

By Jack Schacht, My College Planning Team

So, you want to help your grandckids fund his or her college tuition? What a great gift! After all, paying for college is the second largest expense most families will ever tackle, as tuition continues to increase at twice the rate of inflation.  

Case in point: this year, according to CollegeData.com, the average cost of an in-state public college is $24,610. The average cost at a private college is $49,320. Meanwhile, the outstanding student loan debt is approaching a mind-boggling $1.4 trillion.

No wonder so many grands want to help their grandchildren out. According to a survey by Fidelity Investments, more than half of American grandparents are either helping to fund their grandkids’ tuition or planning to do so down the road.

However, it’s not nearly as simple as writing your grandchild a nice big check. A monetary gift to your grandchild may result in a tax event on your end or interfere with financial aid eligibility on theirs. In order to avoid such financial perils and pitfalls, grandparents need to do some research and planning.   

Have a Family Discussion First

While surprises are usually great fun, this is one situation when surprises can backfire in a big way. Let your grandchild and his or her parents know your intent upfront, so you can coordinate funding together.

For example, according to IRS guidelines on gift exclusions, you can give up to $14,000 a year to your child or grandchild without paying gift tax. However, that monetary gift to your grandchild will count as untaxed income, which may reduce his or her aid eligibility on their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Ditto if you want to pay your grandchild’s college tuition directly. The IRS may not count it as a gift from you, but depending on the college, your payment may negatively impact your student’s eligibility for aid.

This may not matter, of course, if your grandchild isn’t eligible for needs-based aid in the first place. But you may not know unless you first determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) which is determined by family income and who in the family earns the income .It is also determined by assets, who owns those assets and in which accounts the  assets are held.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Tax-Advantaged 529 Plans

For many grandparents, a 529 savings plan offers many advantages. The existence of a grandparent-owned 529 isn’t factored in on the FAFSA. Earnings on your investments are tax-free, and 33 states also offer tax breaks on contributions. Furthermore, withdrawals aren’t taxed if the funds are used for qualified educational costs.

However—and it’s a big however—once funds are withdrawn to pay for tuition, distribution is considered income on your student’s FAFSA for the next two years. Once again, eligibility for financial aid may suffer.

As a result, some experts suggest holding off making contributions from your 529 plan until students are college juniors and have filed their last FAFSA.   

And be aware: 529 plans vary by state, and you do have the option of setting up an out-of-state plan that may offer more attractive features. Even once you decide to pursue a 529 plan, there is still plenty to learn and consider.   

Know Your Options

While the 529 plan is a very popular college funding choice for parents and grandparents, it’s certainly not the only option. For example, you can also consider a Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) account. These typically offer more investment options than 529 plans, but involve turning control of the account over to the student when they reach a specific age. Another big problem with these accounts is that they are assessed as a child asset on the FAFSA and those assets are assessed at a much higher rate than those held by a parent.

In addition, there are Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which offer a whole different set of pros and cons. The upshot: take the time to learn what all your options are before you make a decision.

It Takes Some Homework to Fund an Education!

Helping your grandchild fund their college education is truly a gift that will last a lifetime. But in order to make the most of it, you need to do your homework. Talk to your grandchild and/or their parents about their goals and plans. Do your research as a family. And by all means, take advantage of the many resources and experts that are available to you. Together, you can ace this!  

Jack Schacht is the founder of MyCollegePlanningTeam.com, a Naperville, Illinois based organization that brings together experts from both the academic and financial services communities who work in coordination to help families find the right college for the right price.  Contact him at 630.871.3300 or Jack@mycollegeplanningteam.com.

Grandparents who plan to help pay for college are also encouraged to attend one of our free workshops that are presented each year throughout the Chicago area.

The post How to Help Your Grandkids Pay for College appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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By Marty Fogarty, Heartland Law Firm

If you’re not familiar with the VA Pension program, you’re not alone. Even most veterans don’t know it exists. But if you served in the Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War or World War II—or if your spouse did—you may be eligible to collect up to $2,127 per month.

Called the “VA Improved Pension,” the program was created to help ailing, low-income veterans and their spouses, widows and widowers. It provides a tax-free monthly benefit to vets with smaller incomes and large medical expenses. And it’s not tied to service-related injuries. 

 Are You Eligible? 

In order to qualify, veterans must have served at least one day during a war period, served at least 90 days of active duty, and received a better than dishonorable discharge.

 Claimants must be over age 65 or permanently or totally disabled. They must need help with some of their daily living requirements, and their monthly medical expenses must exceed their monthly income. Surviving spouses of veterans who didn’t remarry are eligible, too.

The Department of Veterans Affairs encourages potential applicants to work with attorneys who assist families through the application process. 

Understanding the Benefits

There are three levels of benefits. These depend on medical needs and the level of assistance needed. They are:

 A Basic Improved Pension
  • Pension with Housebound Benefit– provides an additional monetary benefit for shut-ins. 
  • Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit – provides an additional monetary benefit for those who need help with everyday personal activities, are bedridden, or are receiving care in a nursing home. 

 For 2017, the monthly Basic Improved Pension benefit is $721 for a widow, $1,077 for a single veteran, and $1,408 for a veteran and spouse. The monthly Housebound benefit is $881 for a widow, $1,314 for a single veteran, and $1794 for a veteran and spouse. And the monthly Aid and Attendance benefit is $1,153 for a widow, $1,794 for a single veteran, and $2,127 for a veteran and spouse.  

 How to Apply

This is not a do-it-yourself / learn-on-the-job activity!  Work with an Attorney who knows the process and can determine how the VA pension will affect a person’s Medicare/Medicaid benefits, income tax, etc. so that the Veteran and family get the certainty of an increased income with no bad surprises.

There is no fee for completing an application.   Working with an attorney gives you an advisor who has a Fiduciary Duty to you.  This is the highest level of care a professional can have toward their client.  Higher than financial advisors and higher than CPA’s.  A good attorney will show you their process up front and take you under their wing – setting your expectations at each step of the process. 

Is It Worth Your While?

The VA Pension benefit has been around for 65 years, but few veterans—not to mention VA employees—know this valuable benefit exists.

Your cost to determine if you qualify takes a few minutes of your time. Just think: veterans receiving VA Pension benefits are collecting up to $25,524 this year alone!   

Marty Fogarty is a holistic elder care attorney dedicated to helping seniors and their families prepare for life’s transitions. He is the founder of the Heartland Law Firm (www.HeartlandLawFirm.com)  in Glenview, Illinois and also the founder of ElderSmart, a 501(c)(3) organization in Glenview, Illinois that provides elder care planning solutions, information and resources (www.Eldersmart.net).  For a free review of your eligibility for the VA benefit, phone him at 847-729-3300.

The post A Valuable Benefit Most Veterans Never Heard of: The VA Pension Program appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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By Teri Dreher, RN, CCRN, iRNPA

It goes without saying that the doctor/patient relationship is key to good health. It’s important we believe that our physicians are competent and compassionate. When patients trust their doctors, it benefits their well-being.

But what happens when you lose faith in your doctor?

If you consistently feel that you’re rushed through your appointments or that your concerns are routinely dismissed, you’re right to think about making a change. At the least, it’s time to have an honest discussion about it.

And if your medical needs have changed—which can happen as we age—or your doctor’s practice is headed in a different direction, you may truly need a better fit. For example, if you have age-related health conditions, perhaps it’s time for a specialist like a geriatrician.

Change can be stressful, but that’s no reason to settle when it comes to your health.  

How to Find a Quality Doctor

When you’re searching for a new doctor, never pick one blindly out of a phonebook or provider directory. Third-party recommendations are the way to go, provided you do it right. For example:    

  • Ask people who you know and trust for referrals. Pay attention to those two or three names that keep cropping up—they’re the doctors worth further investigation.
  • Take physician search websites like HealthGrades.com and ZocDoc.com with a grain of salt. Some physicians have marketing people who monitor these closely and work to ensure only rave reviews come up on top. Be aware: a doctor’s friends or relatives may pepper these sites with bogus referrals.
  • Medical professionals are an excellent source for quality recommendations. In particular, everyone has a friend or neighbor or friend-of-a-friend who’s a nurse. Hospital nurses typically have the real skinny when it comes to local physicians.
  • Switching doctors while you’re hospitalized can be tricky. If you are truly dissatisfied with an assigned doctor, let the nurse manager or hospital advocate know why, but be tactful.  Other doctors might be reluctant to take on your care if you’re seen as a difficult patient.
Do You Tell Your Old Physician?

Once you choose a new doctor, he or she will need to request your medical records from your old doctor, who will then know you left. While you aren’t required to tell your old doctor why you’re unhappy with them, physicians can certainly benefit from your feedback. A polite but honest letter might help your doctor improve his/her customer service practices.

Get Off on the Right Foot with Your New Doctor

Having a great doctor/patient relationship is a two-way street. Prepare in advance for your appointments: write down your questions, take careful notes. Be open and honest with your doctor—they’re not mind-readers—but stick to the topic at hand: your health.    

Make a point of showing respect and gratitude in the doctor’s office. Medical professionals are people, too—ones who often hear more complaints than thanks. Remember, they deal with people who are in pain, afraid and facing serious medical challenges on a daily basis. Presenting yourself as a polite, pleasant, compliant patient will hold you in good stead.  

And once you find a great doctor, nurture and protect that valuable relationship. Pay it forward and refer other patients to him or her—it’s the highest compliment you can give.

Teri Dreher, RN, CCRN, iRNPA, is an award-winning RN patient advocate and a pioneer in the growing field of private patient advocacy. A critical care nurse for more than 30 years, today she is owner/founder of NShore Patient Advocates, the largest advocacy company in the Chicago area. She was awarded her industry’s highest honor, The APHA H. Kenneth Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award. Her book, “Patient Advocacy Matters,” is now in its second printing.

The post How and When to Switch Doctors appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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Investing in Comic Books Can Be a Blast in More Ways than One

Comic book investments can be highly profitable—and of course, it’s major fun. But if your primarily goal is to turn a profit, you need to treat it like a business.

There’s Real Money in Comic Book Investing

Fueled by the prevalence of top-grossing movies featuring comic book superheroes, interest in comic books is on the rise. In 2017, five of the 10 highest-grossing movies were superhero stories and the popularity of comic conventions continues to grow. Case in point: last year’s New York Comic Con set a new record for attendance for a pop culture event in North America.

Everyone’s heard stories of someone cleaning out an attic who found vintage comic books worth thousands of dollars. When a comic that once sold for 10 cents fetches $3.2 million at auction—like the first Superman comic book, Action Comics  #1, did not long ago—it’s hard to argue with that kind of success.  

And it’s not just the older books that are valuable. Even comics from the last 20 years are becoming collectible. Some have jumped in value from a few dollars just five years ago to $50-$100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off this trend, but only if they treat it like any serious investment.

Step One – Talk to Comic Book Investors

Like any other investment, the first step is to learn everything you can. Talk to experts. Follow auctions to see what’s selling and for how much. Study the trends, such as a surge in popularity due to a character appearing in a new movie.

By all means, know your superheroes. Comic books are about more than the “blue chip” characters: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Flash, Green Lantern, The Avengers, Thor and X-Men. Expanding beyond the big names will make you a wiser investor. For example, some heroes from the Golden Age (1930s-1950s), including Catman, Black Terror, The Destroyer and Phantom Lady, are very popular today, despite the fact that they’re no longer in publication.

Step Two – Set a Budget

The next step in investing is to decide on your budget. There is room in the market for small and large investors alike. That means anything from $10 to $3 million and up.

Consider how many comic books you want to buy per year and how long you plan to hold onto them. Determine whether you want to invest for the long or short term. Long-term investors should select comics that have traditionally shown slow, steady growth.  For them, pre-1985 books are the best choice. In 2010, people who bought a $3,000 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), which marked the first appearance of Spider-Man, could see that same comic book worth $10,000 today.  

For short-term investors, it’s all about timing. Try to buy books when they just start to get hot, with the intention of selling them before interest wanes. There are comics that have been out for just a few months that are selling from $50 to $100. But remember, the short-term market can be very volatile. For example, speculators who bought Green Lantern #7 a year before the Green Lantern movie came out (2011) saw huge profits…but only if they sold within a few months. If they waited until too close to the premiere of the movie, they probably ended up losing money. The movie was a flop.

Investment Rules To Keep in Mind

Whether investing in new or older comics, there are a few general rules you can follow that will help determine whether a comic will increase in value. First and foremost, issues that feature a character’s first appearance or death are more likely to be good investments down the road. So are those that represent an artist or writer’s first professional publication.

Individual pages from when Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1—the so-called Holy Grail of comics—have sold for thousands of dollars. But it’s not just the big names that can prove valuable. It’s just as possible that the first appearance of a character in a low-grade comic will provide substantial returns one day. It’s a gamble, but one that could pay off.

Remember though, it’s not just a comic book’s significance that determines its value. Condition and rarity also have an impact, but nothing is set in stone. If there is one copy of a book in near-mint condition, but five more are found a year later, the value of that issue could drop.

One of the exciting aspects of comic book investments is that anything can happen. Right now, for example, a number of Baby Boomers are selling off their collections. As a result of this trend, all kinds of rarities are appearing on the market for the first time in decades, presenting new opportunities for savvy investors.    

And by all mean, keep an eye on upcoming movies. The success of the Black Panther movie (now the third-highest grossing film in history), led Fantastic Four #53—which marked the character’s first appearance—to soar in value. Even more recently, since Steven Spielberg announced he’ll be producing a Blackhawk movie (Blackhawk was a 1941 WW II comic series), values of the once D-list series are skyrocketing.   

Finally, once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Use professional appraisers. Consider purchasing insurance for your collection. Vintage comic books may have been originally intended for kids, but they deserve to be treated like any other tangible investment—with respect and care.

Vincent Zurzolo is co-owner of the New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world’s largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect.com, the largest online vintage comic auction house. He and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold. www.ComicCollect.com

The post Taking Comic Books Seriously Can Lead to Serious Money for Investors appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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In this episode of “Boomer TV: Embrace Age, Empower Dreams Embrace Life,” Andy Asher, editor of BloomerBoomer.com visits with Heidi Schauster, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S EMBRACE EMBODIED EATING AND LIVING I am a nutrition therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of eating disorders and emotional eating issues. I am a writer, consultant, and certified eating disorders registered dietitian and supervisor, based in the Greater Boston area. I am also the author of Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self. My book is available here on my website and through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In my work, I feel called to assist my clients and readers in improving their relationships with food and their bodies. There is so much conflicting information about nutrition. I work with my clients to sort through it all, and to use their own inner wisdom to develop a style of eating that works for their unique body and lifestyle. My training includes nutrition science, psychology, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based and insight-oriented meditation, and elements of yoga therapeutics and dance. I hold a holistic view of nutrition, the body, and my clients. I completed my dietetic internship and masters degree at Tufts University and began my career at Children’s Hospital, Boston. After completing an Adolescent Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, I worked as Clinical Dietitian Specialist for Inpatient Psychiatry and the Outpatient Adolescent Clinic. Since leaving Children’s in 1999, I have maintained a full-time private practice and am the founder of Nourishing Words Nutrition Therapy. In addition to counseling, I have consulted with schools, universities, and professional groups, and lectured widely on the topic of disordered eating. I also provide individual and group clinical supervision for my colleagues in the nutrition field who work with emotional eating issues. I am an Adjunct Faculty at Plymouth State University in their graduate level Eating Disorders Institute. I teach a nutrition education and counseling course that is part of a unique training program for professionals in the health and mental health fields who want to obtain special training in eating disorders. One of my favorite parts of my work is facilitating the No Diet Book Clubs, therapeutic book clubs that become little recovery support communities. I am a professional member of the International Association for Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP), the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA), the International Federation for Eating Disorder Dietitians (IFEDD), and the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). I am also an Approved Supervisor for those registered dietitians working towards certification with IAEDP as CEDRDs. I’m also a professional stilt performer for balance. (Really!) Personally, I live in Arlington and I am a proud mama of two teenage daughters. I enjoy dancing, gardening, exploring the outdoors, studying herbalism, and writing. I love to write about things I feel passionate about. My clients constantly inspire me to write about their healing so that I might inspire others on their journeys. Please check out my blog! I have also recovered from bulimia, food restriction, and binge-eating, which I struggled with in my late teens and early twenties. I was a dancer who was confused about how to feed my active, developing body. With love and some help from others, I worked hard on my recovery. I eventually studied nutrition in college because I wanted to help others to be less in the dark about how to feed themselves, and (at first) to do the last bit of healing of my own relationship with food. Now that I am approaching 50 and have been eating-disorder-free for over two decades, I love being in my body and in my life. I am passionate about helping others to get past obsessions with food, self-criticism, and negative body image. I enjoy eating, cooking, gardening, and being a nutritionist; but even for a born “foodie,” eating is still only one way that I nourish myself. You will see a lot of photos of natural beauty on my website and on my social media. Spending time in the natural world is one of the ways that I refuel. I do this work because I want to help my clients find their own ways to nourish body, mind, and spirit. Many clients ask what my personal eating style is like. I don’t follow any particular “way” of eating and strive to listen to my body and eat according to my own internal wisdom. I find that my eating naturally shifts seasonally and during changes in my body and lifestyle, and I strive to be present and listen. I write about how to work towards this way of eating in my book Nourish. I most enjoy food that is lovingly and consciously prepared, followed by a dish-washing dance party.

The post Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body and Self — Heidi Schauster | BloomerBoomer appeared first on BloomerBoomer.

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