Sunday, August 31, 2014

CBS 60 Minutes: "Living to 90 and Beyond": surprising finds about dementia for those in their 90s


Sunday, Aug 31, CBS 60 Minutes aired “Living to 90 and Beyond”, link here

The program started out by debunking the myth that if you reach 90 without dementia, you’ll never get it.  

My own mother’s history proves that.

The report indicated that some people in their 90s have plaques but without the disabling memory and cognition loss of Alzheimer’s.  On the other hand, some people in their 90s have dementia but not the plaques, but instead display a history of multiple mini-strokes.  That seemed to be the case with my mother (who lived to 97), who had very mild plaques but did have a significant stroke 19 months before her passing. 

Another finding was surprising indeed. At age over 90, low blood pressure is often associated with dementia.  That is true even though throughout most of life, high blood pressure is a bad thing.  When my mother took medication to reduce fluid in the lungs, her blood pressure dropped.  Ironically, the day before her final lapse into coma, her medical examination was relatively normal.

Today, there was another announcement om CNN, of a new medication for congestive heart failure, which may well reduce dementia further.  

Friday, August 08, 2014

Federal Reserve survey shows that 1 in 5 people have zero savings as they approach retirement


A study released by the Federal Reserve on August 7 showed that 20% of workers have zero savings as they approach retirement.  The Fed’s own story is here.  Jonnelle Marte has a story on this item in the Washington Post Wonkblog on Friday, link here.  The results came from a survey of 4100 people.  The biggest source of income for such workers will be Social Security.  One third said they had delayed their retirement during or after the 2008 financial crisis.  Only 18% envisioned a traditional retirement.  Many people wind up going into commission sales jobs that turn out to be manipulative or cheesy.  But a few companies have done a good job of hiring seniors as valued help, like Home Depot.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

You can accumulated wealth with a 401(k): just do the math


A website called “Personal Capital” has a useful chart showing how much your “low end” and “high end” wealth balances vary according to a 401(k) savings plan and how long you stay in it.  It assumes you start working at age 22 (I started at 26 – we had a draft then, for one thing).  The link is here.  The article is useful in challenging some assumptions that, if retired and you have some wealth, you should start spending it because you can’t take it with you.  You may live longer than you think.
  
It is critical that the employer provide some match. 
  
Only you can save yourself, the libertarian-oriented article suggests.
   
Another issue, of course, is the stability of the entire financial system, and whether “entitlement” programs remain stable, or become more means-tested.