02-08-2018 Letters and Commentary

FIRST TUESDAY OF THE WEEK WREAKED HAVOC… Ever have one of those days? You start out thinking Monday is Tuesday and even when you realize it is really Monday, you are not really sure. Pick any day of the week or date and the confusion continues. My mom would say, “You got out on the wrong side of the bed.” That was also her rational if you came downstairs grouchy. Back to Tuesday (really Monday), it took me to lunchtime to get on the right day. By that time, I had already asked Kristy why Press Box was late and called Jon about his flu feature. I also wrote my FIRST draft of this Karl’s Kolumn. When I came back from lunch I wondered where Amy was, (she works all day on Tuesday and half day on Monday). If you are following any of this, I was back on track when I returned from lunch. I did my Monday afternoon stuff, mainly working on new ad copy, reading the mail, and sizing photos for this week’s issue. Monday evening I finished the photo work and created an ad to note the 60th wedding anniversary of Greta and Judd DeYoung (congratulations folks). Come the real Tuesday morning, I was on my Tuesday morning schedule, which included reading the overnight emails, reading the (real) mail, and finishing this column. This column is filed every week in a special place on my computer. This week’s missive is filed as kk-02-08-2018. When I opened kk-02-08-2018 on the real Tuesday morning, the page was blank. There was not a word on the greatest Super Bowl of all time… #52 (no roman numerals here). Not a word on the greatest 4th down touchdown of all time, nor the exciting finish of the game with the Eagles scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the last two minutes of the game. And who would have guessed the Patriots came back to win it with 2 seconds on the clock? They didn’t. The greatest quarterback of all time (maybe) brought his team within 2 seconds of history only to have his Hail Mary pass broken up in the end zone. The rest is history… as is a pretty good Karl’s Kolumn lost forever to the digital demons.

Reaching retirement age? Here’s what you need to know Every birthday deserves celebration, but some seem a little more special than others. Think of a baby’s first birthday, Sweet 16, the “Big 4-0.” Then, before you know it, along comes 65, a milestone especially important to retirees. For nearly half a century, American workers looked to 65 as the age at which they could stop working and finally reap their full retirement benefits under the Social Security Act of 1935. Today, however, the full retirement age is increasing based on your year of birth. In 1983, Congress changed the law to increase the retirement age over a 22-year period, citing improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy. To find out your full retirement age, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/ageincrease.html. Of course, if you’re insured for retirement benefits, you still can claim them as early as age 62 but your monthly payments are permanently reduced for each month that you file prior to your full retirement age. For help in deciding which age is right for you to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, read “When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf. We have also made applying for benefits easier than ever. You can do it online! To apply for benefits, please go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits. That said age 65 should still factor in prominently as you prepare for retirement and a stable financial future because that’s when most American workers first become eligible for Medicare health insurance coverage. To see if you’ve earned enough credits through work to qualify for Medicare at age 65, view your Social Security Statement online using your personal my Social Security account. Create or log on to your account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, we’ll automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (supplemental medical insurance) effective the first day of the month you turn 65. Watch your mailbox a few months before your birthday for your Medicare card. Otherwise, three months before your 65th birthday, you can apply for Medicare Parts A and B online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits. Your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare starts three months before your 65th birthday month and continues for three months after. To learn more about Medicare enrollment and coverage, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare. To learn more about Medicare coverage, visit www.medicare.gov. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You