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By Donna M. Phelan

Although it is improving, there is an economic cost to being a woman that reverberates into retirement. It results from multiple long-term socio-economic conditions.
The first is that women have consistently earned less than men, and real wages have stagnated.  Currently women earn about one-fourth less than men.  The disparities are even greater for black women, who earn about 30 percent less and Hispanic women, who earn about 40 percent less (census.gov). The Center for American Progress calculates that over a forty-year career life, that difference may add up to $300,000 for lower earners, $431,000 for average earners and $723,000 for higher earners.
Women are also less likely than men to start their careers in, or get promoted to management positions.  A March 2010 Catalyst article in the Harvard Business Review reports that “women continue to lag men at every single career stage, right from their first professional jobs.”  Women comprise only 5 percent of CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies.  A 2014 Grant Thornton International Business Report survey, featured in the March 6, 2014 issue of Forbes, found that the number of women in senior management has “stagnated” at 24 percent since 2007. This means that most women miss out on the majority of lucrative executive benefits that may help secure their retirement.
An August 14, 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal, quoted an Aon Hewitt study, which said that the 401(k) gender gap is even bigger than the gender pay gap. The study showed that the average man’s 401(k) savings was $100,000 dollars.  The average woman’s 401(k) retirement saving’s was $59,300 dollars– a full 40 percent less.
Women are more likely to leave the workforce for childcare and eldercare.  This redirects their resources of time, money and energy away from retirement saving.  It also hinders career progress.  Studies by Claudia Goldin of Harvard show that when women reenter the workforce, they permanently lag behind in pay and promotions.
Women who leave the workforce for caregiving also incur consequences for Social Security. Women receive about one-fourth less than men in Social Security benefits, $13,236 versus $17,004. Nearly 30 percent of women over age 65 rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income, a rate that increases with age. The percent of women older than 65 living below the poverty level of $11,670 was 11 percent versus 6.6 percent for men, and 18.9 percent versus 11.9 percent for those living alone.  Women who turn on Social Security early for financial reasons permanently lock in a lower lifetime benefit in what may be their only pension.
Women also tend to work in industries that don’t offer retirement plans, so they miss the opportunity for wealth building through an employer match. With women’s average income hovering around $38,345, it is difficult to see how women would have any discretionary income left over for retirement saving.
Marital status is also a factor. Married women fare best, divorced and widowed women next best. Never-married single women incur the most cautious outlook for retirement.
The longevity gap between men and women is narrowing, but women still outlive men, and end up living out their later years alone.  Greater longevity is accompanied by larger risk of diminished purchasing power due to inflation.
The many socioeconomic issues facing women and retirement raise concern. What if the old method of trying to save enough for retirement doesn’t work for women?
New strategies are needed if women are going to thrive in retirement. Women should consider working longer in their careers, and part-time in retirement.  Women should also consider non-traditional residence sharing – renting out empty bedrooms, getting a roommate, and downsizing.  With the savings from reduced housing expenses, women could make financial investments in income-producing vehicles. Women could also turn their hobbies – for which they already have the skills, tools and materials – into profitable home-based businesses.
Women need to understand the role they play in their own retirement and take responsibility. They need to become financially literate and realize they will need income for life.  Women need to create stackable income streams to empower their retirement security and meet their monthly spending needs.
Women should also start talking to other women about retirement planning.  What are their friends doing to prepare for retirement? What if they got together once a month over coffee to start a conversation about women and retirement? They might discover that they have ideas, talents and resources to share with other women, which might enhance the retirement planning experience and success of a larger scope of women.
Donna M. Phelan has spent more than 18 years at some of Wall Street’s largest and most prestigious investment firms. She holds an MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut, and provides personal financial advice to clients coast to coast. The author of “Women, Money and Prosperity: A Sister’s Perspective on How to Retire Well,” (www.donnamphelan.com), she has lectured at conferences nationwide on a broad range of financial topics and has published numerous articles on investments, retirement and financial planning. Phelan was formerly president of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Connecticut state chapter and was active in the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) in New York.

Mercy Ranks 122 on Forbes List of Top American Employers

Mercy ranks 122 on Forbes’ inaugural “America’s Best Employers” list.
The list of 500 employers spans 25 industries in the U.S. Forbes partnered with Statista.com in asking more than 20,000 American workers one question: on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend your employer to someone else?
Mercy, one of only 25 in the health care category, is in good company; Mayo Clinic ranks 74th overall, followed closely by Kaiser Permanente at 81. Google leads the list, with Facebook coming in at 15 and Apple at 55.
“It’s truly an amazing time to be with Mercy,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy, the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. “Earlier this spring, we fulfilled a promise to thousands of co-workers in Joplin with a newly rebuilt hospital. Later this year, Mercy will open the world’s first virtual care center, powered by hundreds of the nation’s best telehealth professionals.”

Presidential candidates, will you accept this rose?

President Obama may no longer be a candidate for public office, but you’d never know it judging by the recent White House schedule.
Yes, it’s tradition to trade zingers with other politicians, as Obama did at the recent Gridiron Club banquet in Washington. But, prior to that, perhaps in an effort to refine his comedic timing, the Commander in Chief popped up on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to participate in “Mean Tweets,” the talk show host’s popular segment where celebrities stare at their (hopefully secure) cell phones and read insulting, condescending comments composed by Twitter users. The funniest? “A 30-rack of Coors Light is now $23 at Sun Stop. Thanks Obama.”
As the lines of politics and entertainment become even more blurred, one can only wonder what the 2016 crops of presidential hopefuls will resort to as they campaign for the nation’s highest office. Seeing how easy it was for Kimmel to insert Obama into a wacky segment, it seems only a matter of time before other popular shows enter the fray. Oh heck, let’s just abandon our nation’s tried-and-true electoral process right now and choose a president using components from television’s highest rated reality shows.
We’ll begin in Iowa, a state still trying to explain what a “caucus” is and why its winners usually flame out faster than Paris Hilton’s movie career. Just ask Tom Harkin (winner 1992) and Richard Gephardt (1988). In 2016, the caucus will be renamed the Iowa Rose Ceremony; the top five vote getters from each party accept flowers in a Cedar Rapids barn while losing candidates weep, roll their eyes and make condescending comments about the winners, the state of Iowa and the entire political process before driving away on tractors, signaling their withdrawals from the race.
Remaining candidates are immediately whisked to a remote island and divided into two tribes … BUT WITH A TWIST! Each tribe contains members of both parties in an effort to see how they will work together. Tempers flare when Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul can’t agree on how to build a fire. Dr. Ben Carson withdraws from the competition, fearing that spending 40 days on an island could make him gay.
Once a single member from each party is crowned champion, the two select running mates. Potential vice presidents stand on a dimly lit stage and are given 90 seconds to state why they should be chosen. The presidential candidates sit in high-backed chairs listening to, but not seeing, the speeches. If they hear an intriguing idea, or even a well formed sentence or two, they push a large red button. Their chair swivels around and they come face to face with possible holders of the nation’s second highest office.
Network news anchors are given election night off. There are no exit polls, vote tallies nor predictions that it will all come down to Florida. Instead, both candidates sit on opposite sides of Maury Povich. At precisely midnight, Povich turns to the losing candidate and boldly exclaims, “You are NOT the president!”
The newly elected free world leader immediately flies to Los Angeles to compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” Meanwhile, all other candidates assemble in front of a live studio audience for C-SPAN’s highest rated show:
“After the Election: Losers Tell All.”
(c) 2015 GREG SCHWEM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC

 

The INTEGRIS James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit and the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum are hosting a private reception and presentation in remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
With the recent expansion of the Memorial, guests will enjoy private tours, wine, hors d’oeuvres and music followed by a presentation from the Center’s Murali Krishna, M.D.  Krishna, president and chief operating officer of INTEGRIS Mental Health and president and co-founder of the James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, was on the front lines that day and days that followed. “I have seen it with my own eyes,” recalls Krishna. “Oklahomans are the kindest people on earth. I have seen acts of kindness, acts of compassion – nowhere could top it. I have seen Oklahoma City rise to vibrancy following the acts of terror on April 19, 1995.”
In honor and service of the Oklahoma Standard, Krishna will share his insights and recognize our city for the resilience and growth it has demonstrated during the last 20 years.
The event will take place Thursday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey in Oklahoma City.
Ticket cost is $50.00 per person, $500.00 per sponsorship. Victims, family members, survivors and rescue workers are invited to Krishna’s presentation free of charge. Reservations are required. For more information, please contact the INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit at 405-713-9950.

Unlike some conditions, heart failure must be managed by patients taking prescriptions for the rest of their lives. Individuals who do not take their heart medication as prescribed have increased risks of mortality and hospitalization and higher health care costs. Numerous interventions have been designed to increase patients’ adherence to medications; yet, no research has determined what intervention techniques are most effective. Now, a University of Missouri researcher found that interventions to encourage patients to take their medications as prescribed were most effective when focused on changing the behavior of patients rather than the behavior of health care providers.
“Previous research has shown that 50 percent of patients who take medications long term do not take them as prescribed,” said Todd Ruppar, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “This study helps identify aspects of different interventions that contribute to better patient outcomes so that more effective interventions can be developed.”
Ruppar and his colleagues compared characteristics of 29 medication adherence interventions for individuals who were not taking their heart medication as prescribed. The researchers found that interventions directed at health care providers or education-based interventions that focused on teaching individuals about their medications were less effective than interventions that focused on changing the behavior of patients.
“These findings reinforce the need for health care professionals to maintain a patient-centered focus when developing strategies to improve heart failure medication adherence,” Ruppar said. “Medication adherence has to be a team effort. Many different reasons exist to explain why individuals are not taking their medications as prescribed; health providers must consider all of these reasons.”
Health providers also must improve their skills for addressing non-adherence to medications with their patients, Ruppar said.
“Heart disease is a consistent top-killer in the U.S. and medication is essential to managing individuals’ conditions and controlling their risks for problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease,” Ruppar said. “Medication adherence is essential to reducing the risks associated with this disease.”
Ruppar says individuals who skip medication doses, take more or less than what is prescribed, or stop taking their medications too soon experience the side effects and costs of their medications without receiving the health benefits.
Ruppar suggests individuals who struggle to take their medications consistently should try associating taking their medication with an already established routine such as brushing their teeth. Ruppar says seven-day pill organizers can also help patients ensure that they have taken their medications for the day.
The study, “Medication adherence interventions for heart failure patients: A meta-analysis,” was published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma is pleased to announce it has received a $4,000 grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Services for Elderly iFund grant program. The grant will be used to assist in funding ballroom and line dancing classes at The Salvation Army’s senior centers, which will strengthen the physical and cognitive abilities of the senior participants.
“We are always looking for ways to keep our seniors active,” said Lisa Sydnor, senior programs manager at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma. “We are so grateful the Oklahoma City Community Foundation chose our program. I know that this will bring such joy to our seniors.”
The grant will fund dance classes once a week at The Salvation Army’s senior centers with styles including the salsa, waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha and line dancing. At the end of the three to six month program, the seniors will come together for a dance recital where they can showcase their amazing talent.
The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma operates five senior centers throughout the Oklahoma City metro. The centers are open every weekday to seniors ages 55 and older. Seniors have the opportunity to socialize, enjoy lunch and participate in numerous activities that include Bible study, exercise classes, crafts, dancing and much more.
Approximately 139,000 Oklahomans receive assistance from The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information on the programs and services at The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma, please visit www.salvationarmyokcac.org.
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation works with donors and organizations to create endowments that address needs and opportunities within the community. The Services for Elderly iFund grant program represents a compilation of contributions from donors who want to support grants to help keep senior citizens safe and living independently in their own homes. For more information on the iFund grant program, please visit www.ifundokc.org. For more information on the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, please visit www.occf.org.

April & May AARP Drivers Safety Classes Offered

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor

Apr 25/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 258-5002/ Brase          Thompson Insurance – 121 W. 10th St.
May 6/ Wednesday/ Mustang/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 376-1297/ Edwards Mustang Senior Center – 1201 N. Mustang Rd.
May 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Palinsky  Intergis 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline
May 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
May 9/ Saturday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Palinsky  Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main
May 12/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 440-8802/ Palinsky  Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter
May 12/Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
May 19/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky Rose State – Tom Steed Bldg. – 6191 Tinker Diagonal
The prices for the classes are:  $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

 

On April 24, 2015 the Trinity Redeemer Health Alliance will present a seminar for senior adults and their family members.  Some of the topics are: “Dementia and Memory Loss”, “Engaging the Mind and Body”, “Sexuality and Aging”, and “Low Impact Exercises”. These topics will be presented by professionals from the community.   The seminar will be held in the auditorium of the Oklahoma City-County Regional Wellness Campus located at 2600 NE 63rd Street in Oklahoma City (between NE Martin Luther King and I-35).  Health screenings will be available by OKC-County Health Department Community Liaisons.   Individuals can register on the day of the seminar beginning at 8:30 AM, the program will begin at 9:00 AM and will end at approximately 1:30 PM.  A light continental breakfast and heart healthy lunch will be served.  There is no cost to attend the seminar and pre-registration is not required. For additional information contact Norma Goff at normagoff06@gmail.com or at (405) 672-7345.

The Edmond Art Association Spring Art Show & Sale will be held Saturday, May 9th from 9:00am to 5:00pm at Spring Creek Plaza, 15th & Bryant in Edmond.
A variety of art will be ready for viewing and for purchase at this Outdoor Art Show. Come stroll the wide veranda style sidewalks of Spring Creek Plaza. The PUBLIC IS INVITED to this one day event. For more information visit: www.edmondart.org

St. Anthony started one of the first hospital volunteer leagues in Oklahoma City.  With a volunteen and adult program, sixty years later the volunteer department is still thriving, as men and women of all ages seek the opportunity to give back to their community.
“When I was a teenager I was a volunteen at St. Anthony, and I loved it.  I helped various departments with clerical duties, and visited with patients and family members,” said Martin Villafana, MSN, RN, Care Manager at St. Anthony Hospital.  “Looking back at my volunteen time, it ended up being a network of family I have never been exposed to.  A lot of the employees at St. Anthony saw me as a child in the halls, to now being an employee today.”
Villafana volunteered at St. Anthony during his teen years and later returned as an employee.  “St. Anthony helped me achieve my educational goals,” he stated.  While working at the hospital he continued his education, receiving a scholarship from St. Anthony as well as participating in the student reimbursement program.  Today Villafana has been with the hospital for ten years.
This month St. Anthony will be celebrating a family of volunteers that continues to grow.  From volunteens to volunteers, these are exceptional people who have made a difference by their mission to serve.
St. Anthony volunteers assist at the main campus in Midtown Oklahoma City, St. Anthony South, and all four of the St. Anthony Healthplex campuses.  If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity, please call 405-272-6266, or go to saintsok.com for more information.

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