Your plain English guide to investment jargon

Definitions of 5 stock market terms you’ll want to know

By Jack Fehr for Next Avenue

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As the stock market continues its gyrations, now is a good time to buy an investment with a favorable NAV and alpha that keeps on giving while reducing beta.

Got that?

If not, don’t be embarrassed. Investment companies and financial advisers love to load up their materials with this kind of jargon. Too bad they don’t just say something like this (a plain-English translation of the first sentence in this article): “You might want to buy an investment that is likely to grow faster and experience less risk than alternatives.”

Well, some actually do, but many still don’t. If companies aren’t willing to talk to you in a language you understand, it’s up to you to decipher their financial-speak.


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Do you really need that knee surgery?

Experts disagree on whether it’s worth going under the knife

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

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You felt it on your last walk when you stepped off a curb the wrong way: a sudden pain and feeling as if your knee were about to give out. Swelling and more pain followed, along with worries that you may need knee surgery.

But would it even help?

A recent Danish review of studies published in the British Medical Journal revealed that people in their 50s and older who get arthroscopic surgery for knee pain show no lasting benefits.


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Achieving your dreams after 60

The authors of ‘Senior Wonders’ on the 3 P’s for Triumphant Aging

By Karen L. Pepkin and Wendell C. Taylor for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Thinkstock

The media abounds with negative views about the impact of aging on physical, cognitive, and financial well-being. In fact, there are entire industries that have emerged to counteract the effects of aging — nutritional supplements, hormone treatments, surgical improvements, lotions, potions, and the like. They all seem to underscore Bette Davis’ famous quote, “Old age is no place for sissies.”

What if there were another point of view? What if aging brought about, not decline but our greatest accomplishments? What if we looked at aging as Dr. Christiane Northrup does? She tells us that “getting older is inevitable, but aging isn’t.”


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Sorry, nobody wants your parents’ stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.


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Don’t let fear stop you from end-of-life planning

It’s natural to procrastinate, but make this a priority for your loved ones

By Debbie Reslock for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

When I was in my early 20s, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. It felt like a one-two punch, since my dad had died unexpectedly a few years earlier. Although Mom tried chemotherapy, the results seemed to suggest that this was going to end badly, which it did — less than six months later.

During that time, her life became a mere shadow of what it once was. And yet no one, including her doctors, myself or my mom, ever talked about what was happening.

Only in the last few days did her doctor suggest to me, not her, that we were reaching the end of this painful road. And then he asked if I thought she’d be more comfortable at home or in the hospital. I remember how angry I was, unprepared to make this decision and wanting to scream, “Why are you asking me?” But of course when I got older, I realized the real question was why hadn’t any of us asked her?


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8 ways to give your investments a spring cleaning

Tax time is an ideal time to declutter your portfolio

By Kerry Hannon for Next Avenue

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Credit: Getty Images

Where I live in Washington, D.C., the pink magnolia trees are blooming, and the daffodils are intensely yellow and screaming springtime — just in time for the first day of spring, Sunday March 20.

It’s time to get out in the backyard to tackle garden cleanup… right after I finish my taxes this weekend. Which brings me to a more prosaic chore: Spring-cleaning is also time to clear out the clutter in my financial life, particularly my investments. And I think you should, too. (I’ll tell you how shortly.)

When I’m doing spring-cleaning for my portfolio, I check to see if I need to consolidate and sell extraneous and underperforming funds and stocks. I also do a goals checkup and tune-up to rebalance my investments, so I have the right asset allocation of stocks to bonds to provide the oomph needed to last a potentially long life.


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5 ways tech products will help us age better

A visit to CES 2017 turned up caregiving robots and vital sign ‘tattoos’

By Jim Pagliarini for Next Avenue

Tech-To-Age-Well-web

Caption: One of the many helpful robot prototypes at CES using voice recognition to assist humans with daily tasks.

It is the year 2025 and I have just celebrated my 85th birthday. I still live at home. This afternoon, I got into my self-driving car and went to my great granddaughter’s house for a visit. She introduced me to a group of her friends over lunch and I heard every word they said. I was a part of the conversation.  

Two weeks ago, I fell in the bathroom and within minutes, my son’s voice came over my watch to ask me if everything was ok. Last night, I sat in my massage chair, and asked “Alexa” to play the top musical hits from when I met my wife in college. I closed my eyes and it brought back wonderful memories.  

And although I technically live alone, I have one of the greatest companions I have ever had in my life — Tina, my personal assistant robot. Life ain’t bad.

Back to 2017 now: I recently returned from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas — the largest, electronics show in the world where the most innovative cutting-edge technology products are introduced each year. Nearly 200,000 people attended and wandered through some 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space.


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Are you getting enough protein? Too much?

How obsessing over protein could be harmful to your health

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

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If you’re like me, you often find yourself confused by how many health headlines contradict one another. Lately, I’ve found this to be true where protein is concerned, particularly the protein needs of adults aged 50 and over.

In one study, published Jan. 1, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology’s Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists split 20 adults aged 52 to 75 into one group that consumed the U.S. RDA recommended level of protein, and another group that consumed double that amount, measuring levels of whole body protein at the beginning and end of the trial. While both groups maintained a positive protein balance (their bodies synthesized more protein than they broke down), the higher protein group ended up with a higher overall protein balance than the lower protein group. The news media jumped all over this, proclaiming that older adults should double their protein intake if they want to live long, healthy lives.


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Annual fundraiser set for Presbyterian Manor

shutterstock_112614593Farmington Presbyterian Manor’s annual Chicken and Dumplings Dinner and Silent Auction will be 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, March 23, to benefit Presbyterian Manor residents who have outlived their financial resources.

The event will be at Farmington Presbyterian Church, 403 W. Columbia. Meals are $8 each in advance or for carry-out, or $9 each at the door. A group of 10 or more are $7 each.

The Good Samaritan Program depends solely on donations from friends and supporters to care for seniors living at Presbyterian Manor who have outlived their financial resources through no fault of their own. Each year, Farmington Presbyterian Manor has a fundraiser to support the local Good Samaritan Program. Last year’s dinner raised more than $14,000.

“This event is truly a blessing to those in need, and so is everyone who participates,” said Executive Director Jane Hull. “The Farmington community provides tremendous support for this event and throughout the year. We look forward to a big crowd March 23.”

For more information about Farmington Presbyterian Manor, 500 Cayce St., Farmington, contact Heidi Beyer at 573-756-6768 or hbeyer@pmma.org.

Youth is an asset for social services director

R. Campbell-2March is Social Work Month — “an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society,” according to the National Association of Social Workers.

At Farmington Presbyterian Manor, our own director of social services has the distinction of being the youngest member of our leadership team. Rachel Campbell says her age is something of an advantage when it comes to working with older adults.

“I am younger, so I think a lot of the residents think of me like their grandkids,” Rachel said. “They look at me as family and not just a worker, and that makes it feel more like home.”
In February, Rachel celebrated her first anniversary on staff at Presbyterian Manor. When she joined us, she had just earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and was planning to start on her master of social work degree right away.
Throughout school, Rachel had worked for Belgrade State Bank, and it would have been easy to stay on there, she said. “I was torn, because I knew I still needed my master’s and the bank was flexible. But I was ready to be done with that chapter in my life,” she said.

She applied for social work openings at Presbyterian Manor and one other employer. “I couldn’t even see myself at the other place now. It all fell into place.” Not only has she been able to go to grad school after all, Rachel also received a scholarship from the Emily Huff Gantner Memorial Scholarship Fund for Presbyterian Manor employees.

Rachel said she was initially interested in the field of psychology and behavioral health. Social work, however, seemed like a more marketable degree – but she also discovered it had a lot of the same appeal to her as psychology. She especially likes finding alternatives to medication for residents such as counseling or calming routines. “Some people do need medication, but I really like the idea that we can help them in other ways,” she said.

In long term care, the social worker is also responsible for handling resident concerns, together with the ombudsman. Sometimes she is just making sure that residents’ basic needs are met.
“I have excellent people. They are so nice and lovely, they are like grandmas and grandpas to me. I think the most appealing thing about working in a nursing home is the residents. It’s like a little family,” Rachel said.