Retirement Planning Strategies - February 2020

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An Act of Kindness Can Go a Long Way IT JUST NEEDS THE OPPORTUNITY

been paid for by the person in the car in front of me.

On February 17, wake up with the intention to perform one random act of kindness for someone that day. Just one. Take a look around and ask yourself: Who can I help? How can I make things better? What can I do that I’d like someone to do for me? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It can be as simple as buying someone a soda. If you slow down and really try, then I guarantee you’ll find dozens of acts you’re able to perform. Let February 17 be the first day of this new habit. After that, wake up with the intention to perform one random act of kindness every day. Soon, you won’t have to think about it. It’ll happen naturally. The beauty of this holiday is that you have no idea the impact you might make because you never know how someone might be feeling. Rough days are not uncommon. But your act of kindness has the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s day. The kinder we are, the harder it is to see the world as a bad place. And when fewer of us see the world as a bad place, there’s more potential for good to grow. I think we can all agree that this makes it a holiday worth celebrating.

I know it doesn’t sound like much — it was just one little soda, after all — but here I am five years later, and I remember every detail of that moment and how it made me feel. That’s because the driver of the car in front of me, whoever they were, took a moment out of their day to perform a random act of kindness for a complete stranger. It was such a simple gesture, but it has had a lasting impact to this day. National Random Act of Kindness Day is about taking time to realize that living with kindness can make life a lot happier for everyone. We tend to get wrapped up in our own fast pace, and we develop a sort of “scarcity survival” because of it. There’s so much happening so quickly in the world around us that our natural instinct is to focus only on ourselves. We live in a pretty abundant world, and there’s a lot for us to indulge in. But that also means we have plenty of ways to indulge others. In the last newsletter, I talked about getting into the practice of writing down something you want every single day and making a habit of it. We should all approach acts of kindness the same way.

Thanks to Valentine’s Day and how ingrained it has become in our culture, February is often focused on love and relationships. While there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the loved ones in our lives, I think there’s a way we can take things a step further when it comes to compassion. That’s because there’s another wonderful holiday this month that doesn’t get nearly as much exposure as it should. February 17 is National Random Act of Kindness Day. Five years ago, I was out running around and feeling the midday drag that hits when the morning coffee wears off. So, I jumped in line for the drive-thru at a Wendy’s down the road to grab myself a soda and get a quick boost of caffeine. I put in my order and patiently waited for my turn, but when I got to the window, the server informed me that my order had already

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Meet Matt Forrest


Colorado calls to many because its natural beauty is desirable for those who love being outdoors. That’s exactly what brought Matt Forrest here in September 2019, and we’re lucky it did because we were able to add him to our team in December. Matt previously worked for several years as a financial advisor with a large investment company, so he knows the ropes when it comes to figuring out the best ways to save money and the best ways

reminiscing on his earliest days with Retirement Planning Strategies. “The people I work with are really top-tier. That goes for my coworkers and our clients. They’re genuine, caring, and all-around high-quality people who made the transition into a new job easy.” As one of our specialists for new business and licensing, Matt spends a lot of one-on-one time with our clients, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I enjoy getting to know people through their stories. It makes helping them through the whole process, which can often be overwhelming, that much more productive and enjoyable for everyone.” The time Matt spends with our clients helps him learn about their aspirations and the best ways to achieve them. But Matt never forgets what brought him to our state in the first place: his love of the outdoors. Outside of work, he hikes, camps, golfs, plays tennis, and does just about any other outdoor activity Colorado has to offer. But he doesn’t venture outdoors alone. That’s because just a few short weeks ago, Matt adopted Kemba, a 3-month-old Labrador-Collie mix. “I think he’s going to be a really good dog. I can already tell he’s smart, and we’ve only had a few accidents! We’ve got a lot of growing to do together, but I can’t wait.” Funny, we feel the same way about having Matt on the Retirement Planning Strategies team. currently living in the U.S. is roughly 187,000. Some famous leaplings include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and singer Mark Foster of Foster the People. However, the most famous leapling is probably Superman. When you invent a super-being, you might as well give him a super-birthday. WHERE Anthony, Texas/New Mexico (a single town that straddles the two states’ borders), claims the title “Leap Year Capital of the World.” The city throws one massive birthday party for all leaplings but invites everyone to join the celebration. Two leapling neighbors from Anthony began the tradition in 1988, and it’s blossomed into a festival with thousands of participants every four years. It includes banquets, hot air balloon rides, a carnival, concerts, parades, and more. When you have four years to plan in between each shindig, there’s time to go big. Celebrate this leap year by doing something unusual or new. It’s a special day that doesn’t occur often, so make the most of it by doing something you’ll talk about for another four years. TAGLINE Facts About the Leap Year Title

to spend it. Prior to working in finance, Matt was a sales manager for a national brewery. These experiences make him both valuable and a lot of fun to work with. “When I first came in and met the team here, I was just completely blown away by everyone and everything they do. The firm they’ve built is so impressive, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it,” Matt says,


Like the Olympics and presidential elections, leap years only occur once every four years, which is why many people look forward to February 29. But there’s a lot that you might not know about this quirk on the calendar. WHY To keep the calendar in sync with Earth’s orbit around the sun an extra day is added to it every four years. Earth takes exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun. Those extra hours add up over time, so another calendar day becomes necessary. But a leap year doesn’t occur every four years. Adding that extra day still doesn’t quite keep Earth on track, so the calendar skips leap years that occur during century years not divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be. WHO The odds of being born on February 29 are 1 in 1,461. That means that of the roughly seven billion people in the world, only about five million of them are “leaplings.” The number of leaplings

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Don’t Let Scammers Get You Down

DID YOU PAY? Another prevalent rip-off is the invoice scam. Again, AIG reports that about 57% of people aged 65-plus aren’t familiar with this sham. In most cases, the victim receives a phone call or email from a representative of a local company, who says they still owe money for a bill or service. For example, the scammer may tell the victim they owe an overdue $50 for their power bill. If the victim says they’ve already paid, the scammer might respond, “Your payment didn’t process correctly.” The crook’s job is to get the victim to relent and pay up. Then, once they’ve been paid, usually via credit card number or wire transfer, the scammer once again vanishes along with a significant portion of someone’s bank account. Scammers want your money, but if you are aware of today’s hustles, you can better protect yourself and your assets. Luckily, AIG also found that nearly 92% of the 65-plus crowd now ignores phone calls, texts, and emails that request personal information, and 89% of these folks say they avoid clicking links from unknown senders. Be vigilant and remember that if someone calls you and demands personal information over the phone or asks you to wire money, there’s a very good chance it’s a scam. PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR MONEY

According to a recent survey by the American International Group (AIG), a majority of Americans over the age of 65 don’t know much about the myriad financial scams circling the globe. Reports show that ignorance of these scams has proven costly for the 65-plus crowd, who are the most frequently targeted demographic. IS IT LOVE? One common shakedown taking seniors and retirees for a ride is the online romance scam. As part of it, a person poses as a potential date or romantic partner and engages in a fake relationship with the victim. The scam usually starts with an online or web-based dating service and progresses to texting or talking over the phone, but it always stops short of an in-person meeting. Instead, after the scammer has gained the trust of their victim, they’ll claim there’s been some kind of emergency for which they need money fast. The clueless victim usually offers to wire them the money. In many cases, the scammer will continue asking for money for as long as they can get away with it. Then, once the victim figures they’ve been bamboozled and try to retaliate, the scammers vanish — off to find their next target.

Train Your


Easy Shrimp Scampi


Inspired by The Blond Cook

• 1/2 cup dry white wine • 1/4 cup lemon juice • 8 oz cooked linguine • 1/4 cup parsley

• 4 tbsp butter • 4 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp minced garlic • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined • 1/2 tsp oregano


1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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issue INSIDE THIS National Random Act of Kindness Day PAGE 1

Spotlight on Matt Forrest PAGE 2 Learn All About Leap Year PAGE 2

Don’t Let These Scammers Steal Your Money PAGE 3

Your Epic Adventure Awaits PAGE 4 CREATE YOUR OWN ODYSSEY Mythical Adventures Await in the Mediterranean

One of the oldest stories in Western literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While his travels were fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places Odysseus visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own. SICILY, ITALY One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food. GOZO, MALTA While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia,

home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern-day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ġgantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures. ITHACA, GREECE If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca! With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

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