12-28-2017 Letters and Commentary

2018 – time to reinvent yourself

 Focusing on positive possibilities is empowering, and setting goals is the beginning of accomplishment. Goals define the “what” we want to accomplish. Even before we clearly define the “what,” however, we must define the “why” – our motivating reason to go forward. Otherwise obstacles which we will inevitably encounter are likely to stop us. The “why” gives us our reason to go on.

A part of encouragement for future possibilities includes remembering past accomplishments and discoveries – our past experiences that we bring to the table. Psalm 3 is an example of David looking at his life with its many challenges, but also looking at God’s past faithfulness in hearing his appeals for help. Based on those experiences, David decides he can trust God for even more in the future. Listen to what he says in Psalm 3:4-6. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.”

David wasn’t the only one who discovered that God’s plans are much bigger than our own. Moses found out God was not limited (Numbers 11:18-23). Joshua obediently went forward with a bizarre plan he could not have dreamed up himself (Joshua 5&6). Gideon discovered he could accomplish much more by boldly following God’s guidance in new directions (Judges 7). Abraham found empowering rejuvenation in God’s promises (Genesis 18:1-14).

These all had success, and we can as well if we adopt the motto, “There is no limit to what God can do. I choose to trust Him.”

What does God have for you this new year – and beyond? Why not ask Him. And then seek Godly wisdom in boldly going forward.

4 questions to ask yourself as you plan for retirement

 Deciding when to start receiving your retirement benefits from Social Security is a decision that only you can make. There are a lot of important questions to answer.

Should you claim benefits earlier and get a smaller monthly payment for more years? Or should you wait and get a bigger monthly amount over a shorter period?

There is no right or wrong answers, but we encourage you to consider these four important questions as you plan for your financially secure retirement:

How much money will I need to live comfortably in retirement?

Anticipate what your expenses will be in retirement, including things like mortgage payments or rent, utilities, healthcare insurance and related costs, food, personal care, car payments and maintenance, entertainment, hobbies, travel, and credit card or other debt.

What will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit be?

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2018 is $1,404 (up from $1,377 in 2017). The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2018 is $1,197 (up from $1,173 in 2017). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about 10 years of work).

Will I have other income to supplement my Social Security benefits?

Secure your financial future with a retirement portfolio that inclu