(NewsUSA) - Ten thousand Americans a day are turning 65, including a couple we'll call Stu and Helen. In excellent health, Stu and Helen could be facing a retirement of 30 years -- or even longer. One of their biggest fears about their impending retirement is their potential longevity -- and running out of money to not only pay their bills, but enjoy their free time.
Stu and Helen participated in their companies' 401(k) plans. Like many workers, neither has a traditional pension, so they are solely responsible for their own retirement security.
Fortunately, couples like Stu and Helen have options for creating a "personal pension." By using some of their savings to purchase an annuity, they can guarantee a steady stream of income for life.
With an immediate annuity, they can make a lump-sum payment to a life insurance company, and the company will send them their choice of monthly, quarterly or annual payments. They can choose to receive the income payments over a specified number of years or as a guaranteed stream of income they can never outlive.
They could also consider purchasing a deferred annuity, which allows savings to grow tax-deferred during an accumulation phase until they decide when payouts begin. People who are years away from retirement -- or who are retired but don't need income right away -- might choose this type of annuity.
With a deferred annuity they decide how their money grows during the accumulation phase. A fixed annuity earns interest at a guaranteed rate. An index annuity is tied to a market index like the S&P 500 stock price index. In a variable annuity, savings are placed in subaccounts that are invested in stocks and bonds.
Another option is a special type of deferred annuity, often called longevity insurance, which will provide them with a guaranteed stream of income once they reach a certain age, usually around 85.
Surveys show that 90 percent of annuity owners think annuities are an effective way to save for retirement. And annuities are among the most regulated financial products in the marketplace. From product development to advertising to sales, life insurers must comply with state and federal laws and rules that help prevent fraud and protect consumers. In addition, most states provide a "free look" period allowing customers to return annuities to the insurance company for a full or partial refund.
Planning for retirement can be stressful. But for retirees like Stu and Helen, the guaranteed income from annuities can provide peace-of-mind for a lifetime.
For more information on annuities, visit www.acli.com.
(NewsUSA) - Sunny summer days are meant for outdoor fun, but few things ruin time outside more quickly than bites from pests. Insect bites can result in consequences that range from minor, yet aggravating, irritation to extreme pain and even potentially fatal illnesses. If you are on the receiving end of a bite, it is important to detect which pest inflicted it so you can determine the best course of treatment, as well as investigate whether there is a pest problem on your property that warrants a call to your local pest control company.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers the following information on how to identify the culprits of three common summertime bites:
A mosquito bite typically results in a red, itchy bump on the skin. Despite the temptation to scratch, doing so agitates the venom and increases the itchiness of the bite. All bites should be washed with soap and water, and the best remedies are antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. Anyone experiencing fever, head or body aches, skin rashes or swollen lymph glands following a bite could have been infected with potentially fatal West Nile virus and should seek medical attention.
Because of their small size, blacklegged deer tick bites frequently go unnoticed. However, these tiny pests are vectors of Lyme disease, and the earlier you can identify a bite from a Lyme-infected tick, the sooner you can begin the necessary antibiotic treatments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a circular bulls-eye rash appears within 3-30 days of the bite in approximately 70-80 percent of infected persons. Anyone who develops this characteristic rash should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Red imported fire ants are an aggressive species capable of stinging and injecting venom with their bites, causing an intense burning sensation. Red bumps form at the sting, and within a day or two they become white fluid-filled pustules. While the bites and stings are often excruciating, medical attention is typically only necessary for those who are severely allergic to the venom.
If you are repeatedly experiencing issues with these pests on your property or are concerned for the health and safety of your family, contact a local pest control company to evaluate the problem and determine the best course of treatment. Find a qualified pest control professional at PestWorld.org.
(NewsUSA) - The past 18 months shook up state education communities preparing students to earn a high school equivalency certificate. With some states dropping the old test for new ones, states choosing to have multiple options, and the implementation of College and Career Ready (CCR) standards, the landscape drastically changed in a short period of time.
Here's what educators and those looking to achieve this educational milestone should know about the past year and a half.
1: 2014 marked the first year in U.S. history that alternative tests were used by states.
Twenty states administered alternative tests after choosing to either drop the GED test within their state or offer multiple tests for students to choose from. The HiSET exam developed by Educational Testing Service and the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion by CTB/McGraw Hill allow those who haven't completed high school the opportunity to earn their high school equivalencies.
Introducing numerous branded tests broke conventional terms and understanding of how people actually go about earning a high school credential.
2: People are learning you don't "get a GED."
Employers, education administrations and institutions of higher education incorrectly ask whether an applicant has his or her "GED." Having proof of a high school credential is essential for many careers and postsecondary education opportunities. However, the GED is a test -- not something earned.
HiSET, GED and TASC scores are mobile, meaning they can be used for employment and college applications throughout the United States. Test takers now have a choice as to what test they choose to take based on various categories such as price or whether the test is available in paper- and/or computer-delivered formats.
3: The results are the same.
All three tests measure high school equivalent skills, and each has implemented CCR standards. Whether one takes the HiSET, GED or TASC test, the end result when passing these tests is the individual earning a state-issued credential. For example, in California, a student can take either test and earn the California High School Equivalency Certificate when passing each test's subject areas.
The trend toward alternative testing shows no signs of slowing as more states consider new test options and vendors in the near future. Options in how one earns a high school credential have changed, but the outcomes are the same -- increasing one's ability to achieve a more secure future by reaching this education milestone.