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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Credit: Thinkstock

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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Resident recalls days as KU yell leader

Yell LeaderModern cheerleading is a sport of its own, with breathtaking acrobatics and sophisticated choreography. But when Pete Anderson was a yell leader at the University of Kansas, it was a simpler job. They cheered on the Jayhawks and got the crowd going, too.

Pete tried out for the squad because he knew how much his Phi Psi fraternity brother Ken Gray enjoyed it. “I always thought it would be fun, but it was a hell of a lot of work!” said Pete, who now lives at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.

Back then, squad members paid for most of their own expenses, including travel. They were supplied with letter jackets — which had to be returned at the end of the year — and heavy red wool sweaters. They provided their own white pants and saddle shoes. Pete wrote recently on the KU Spirit Squad Alumni Facebook page: “We all thought we were hot stuff at that first football game. We soon learned how HOT the heavy wool sweaters could be.”

At the beginning of the 1958-59 school year, the head cheerleader brought them 10 megaphones. Pete proudly painted each one white, then stenciled “KANSAS” in red and painted each squad member’s name on the back.

Pete’s KU connections run deep. His family moved to Lawrence from Minnesota in 1948 for his father’s new job teaching at the university. Pete was 10.

“I’ve lived here ever since. I never left. I never wanted to,” Pete said.
His father became dean of the college of education through the early ’70s. “The campus used to look so small,” Pete recalled. “When my dad had his office in Bailey Hall, you could walk all over. Now it’s almost at the back door of the manor.”

Pete majored in design and art history, but after graduation in 1960 he went to work for Maupintour, an international group travel firm based in Lawrence. Over his 30-year career, Pete played a big role in developing Maupintour’s first domestic tours. His work took him throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Pete and his wife, Joan, have two sons and two granddaughters. (His sons didn’t go to KU, but their daughters are both attending now.)

The Andersons moved to Presbyterian Manor three years ago, and Pete said it was comfortable right away: his mother also lived here for 24 years. “A lot of her friends are still here, so it’s like old home,” Pete said. “And some other residents were contemporaries of my parents at KU.”
He appreciates the sense of community here and the freedom to do as much or as little as you want. “When you start aging, you want to be where you’re secure, and that’s what Presbyterian Manor provides. It’s a very friendly, warm place,” he said.

When Pete and Joan were sorting through their belongings before their move, he discovered his red yell leader sweater, mothballed in a bag. It was in perfect condition. So he donated the memento to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics museum at Allen Field House, to stir up nostalgia for other Jayhawk alumni and fans.

Speaker shares ‘What Seniors Need to Know’

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Making the decision to move into a senior living community isn’t easy. Can I afford it? Will my house sell? Will I lose my independence? In January, Lawrence Presbyterian Manor hosted speaker Rick Hunsicker to help people in the Lawrence community answer these questions. About 35 area residents joined us for this informative session on “What Seniors Need to Know Today.”

Rick, the founder of Hunsicker Senior Living Services, has more than 30 years of experience in senior living options and real estate. Rick explored the current choices available to older adults, including staying in their own homes or moving in with their children, home health care, and retirement communities. He emphasized the benefits of community living, such as security, socialization and access to continuing care in the future if your needs change.

He also shared research that shows how senior living can improve quality of life and life expectancy. According to a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, “Statistics show that residents have a life-expectancy which is 1½ to 2 years longer than other elderly individuals. It has also been found that they reduce the risk of disease and disability and improve the health and functioning of their residents. Although little research has been done on what exactly causes these noticeable health benefits, many have attributed it to the more active approach that they take towards health care.”

The seminar also investigated the pros and cons of maintaining a private home, even one that is paid off. There are ongoing costs of taxes and insurance, maintenance and repairs, utilities, housekeeping, and more. And while a home seems like a good investment, Rick said many seniors may be losing out on other investment income by tying up equity in a house that is not increasing in value.

To learn more, Rick recommends the book “Aging in the Right Place” by Stephen M. Golant. The book explores how explores the many pathways to thriving while aging in several settings. The book argues that older persons in poor health, with disabilities, or unfavorable demographics are not precluded from aging successfully, if they make the right living choices.
To find out more about living and care options at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor, contact Marketing Director Angela Fonseca at 785-841-4262 or afonseca@pmma.org.