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How to Finally Do What You Love … In Retirement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 08:44
Don’t Leave Your Fate in the Hands of Uncle Sam or the Wolves of Wall Street, Says Financial Advisor

Just about everyone has a dream about who they really want to be: a professional athlete, the next great American novelist, a celebrated fashion designer, a beloved philanthropist. Sadly, many of us do not realize that dream in our lifetimes.

But you have a real shot of making at least some of your dreams come true in retirement, says Andrew McNair, a money expert who realized his dream of helping others with their finances at a young age.

“I started my radio show at 22; I was always good with numbers and I was blessed with the opportunity to apply my passion while young, but not everyone is so lucky,” says McNair, founder and CEO of SWAN Capital, (, and author of “Don’t be Penny Wise & Dollar Foolish.”

“With so many baby boomers retiring – 10,000 every day, according to Pew Research – we are at a point in history where an unprecedented number of individuals may really begin realizing their dreams.”

It’s not unheard of, for instance, to become a professional golfer in middle age or later, McNair points out, but it can’t happen if you have to spend time in low-level jobs to make ends meet in retirement.

McNair offers tips on how to achieve financial independence in retirement.

• Design a lifetime income plan now! Simply attaining a minimum figure in savings probably won’t work; such figures do not account for family emergencies, inflation, etc. Social Security does not cover what it used to, and its future is uncertain at best. You need to establish a laddered, inflation-adjusted income using safe and dependable accounts that will provide a check every month. This should be informed by a plan that maps out your lifetime income needs to ensure you do not outlive your money. For example, if you need $3,000 a month now, at a 4 percent inflation rate you will need $3,649.96 in five years. In 10 years you will need almost $4,500 per month.

• Is retirement still a few years away? Determine which 401(k) works best for you. Employer-based retirement plans are dominated by 401(k) plans, but a Roth 401(k), for example, may serve you better than a traditional 401(k) if you think you’ll be in a higher tax bracket and/or have fewer tax deductions during retirement. But if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket during retirement, then deferring taxes by investing in a traditional 401(k) may be the answer for you.

• Worried about loss? Start with the “age 100” rule. When entering retirement, you are moving from the accumulation phase of life to the preservation phase. This requires that you begin allocating more money to safe, income-producing assets, such as property, and taking some of the risk off the table. Try using this simple calculation: Subtract your age from 100, and use the answer as the absolute maximum percentage of your assets that should be in risky investments. Your age, then, indicates the percentage that should be allocated in safe investments. This is only a guideline; if income is needed from your investments, you will need a more in-depth investment risk assessment.

“For most people, financial planning does not come naturally but neither does performing surgery on yourself! Do your research or seek trusted counsel,” McNair says. “This is the first step to attaining your dream while in retirement.”

About Andrew McNair

Andrew McNair is founder and CEO of SWAN Capital, specializing in Wealth Management and Retirement Income. After earning a degree in business administration/finance and with two books on his financial strategies already published, McNair launched SWAN later that year. At 22, he was hosting a radio show, What Your Money Would Say, which provides financial guidance to retirees. McNair is also the founder and CEO of the Veteran Benefit Project, which works with veterans and their families at no charge to ensure they receive all of the benefits to which they’re entitled.

March is National Ideas Month PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 10:29

4 Ways to Come Up with Brilliant Ideas When the Pressure’s On
National Ideas Month Shines a Light on Creativity

March is National Ideas Month.  Hey, whose bright idea was that?

Here’s an intriguing idea from New York Times best-selling author and writing coach Michael Levin,: “Creativity is a muscle; use it or lose it.”

Levin, whose new Books Are My Babies YouTube channel ( offers 160-plus free tutorials for writers, says anyone can grow their creativity, just like any other muscle.

“I define creativity as ‘the ability to develop great ideas while under pressure,’ ” he says. “Pressure creates diamonds, so why shouldn’t it also create great ideas?”

But sometimes, pressure paralyzes creativity.

“I’ve experienced it when writing under deadline pressure and writing under the pressure of my own high expectations,” Levin says. “Over time, I’ve developed several tricks to stimulate my creative muscle and help me come up with great ideas for whatever challenge I face – whether it’s writing or figuring out how to arrange a busy family weekend schedule so that everyone’s needs are met.”

Here are four of Levin’s no-fail tips for generating creative ideas under pressure:

1. Ask yourself, “What’s the most dangerous, expensive and illegal way to solve this problem?” We usually take the same approach to solving problems every time with the resources we have at hand. “This doesn’t exactly translate into breathtaking creativity,” Levin says.  So imagine that you have no limits — legal, moral, financial, whatever. You can do literally anything to solve the problem. The way-out ideas you develop may not be practical, but they’ll lead you to new ways of thinking about your problem. And then you can find a non-life-threatening, legal way to solve it!

2.  Hide. We live in a world of constant, thin-sliced demands. Unanswered texts and emails. People waiting for you to say something, do something, read something, decide something. Run and hide. Lock yourself in your car or hunker down in a bathroom stall. Slow down and get your brain back.

It’s all but impossible for your creative brain to operate when you’re responding to endless external stimuli. The best ideas often come when you run from your responsibilities.

3. Count to 20. Go somewhere where you can be undisturbed, bring a yellow pad and a pen, turn off your phone, and sit there until you come up with 20 ideas for solving your problem. This requires discipline, because most of us are so happy when we have one answer to a problem that we want to move to the next agenda item. Not every idea you invent will be a great one, but that’s okay.  It may be idea number 17 that’s truly brilliant, but you’d never get there if you ran back to your desk after you came up with one, two or even five ideas. If you do this daily, you’ll develop 100 new ideas a week. Imagine how strong your idea muscle will be!

4. Give up. Cardiologists recommend to heart patients that they visit nature, go to a museum, or attend a classical concert. Why? It slows them down and allows them to appreciate beauty instead of seeing life as a constant battle.  Surrender your own siege mentality. Life isn’t war, thank goodness. Take a major step away, even for a couple of hours, from whatever battles you’re facing, contemplate the greatness of the human spirit or the wonder of nature, and reawaken the creative energy that our fight-minded world suppresses.

So there you have it, four ways to generate great ideas under pressure. Where’s your next big idea coming from? From your mind at peace, that’s where!

About Michael Levin

New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin runs the “Books Are My Babies” YouTube channel,, a free resource of tutorial videos for writers. Levin has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became “Model Behavior,” an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week.

Gov. Branstad announces appointees to Iowa’s Boards and Commissions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 10:01

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced appointments to fill Iowa’s boards and commissions.

The following appointees’ term begins on May 1, 2014, unless otherwise noted, and are subject to Senate confirmation.

Accountancy Examining

Mr. Dale Leibfreed, Dubuque

Mrs. Shelley Laracuente, Ankeny

Commission on the State of African Americans

Mr. Madai Taylor, Fort Dodge

Ms. Veronica Sutton, Dubuque


Alcoholic Beverages Commission

Mr. Darin Beck, Cedar Falls

Mr.  Steve Larson, Johnston (Board Administrator)

Architectural Examining Board

Mr. Tyler Kamerman, Des Moines

Ms. Tandi Dausener, Iowa City

Mr. Jerry Purdy, Adel


Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs Commission

Ms. Michele Yoshimura, West Des Moines

Ms. Karlai Thornburg, Ames

Mr. George Youi Sayavong, Sioux City

Board of  Athletic Training

Dr. Josh Hamann, Storm Lake

Dr. Pamela Davis, Bettendorf

Ms. Susan Theisen, Dyersville

Iowa Autism Council

Dr. Rachel Heiss, West Des Moines

Mrs. Jan Turbes, Sioux City

Mrs. Angela Logsdon, Urbandale

Mr. Jeffrey Jennings, Ankeny


Board of Barbering

Mr. John Anderson, Nevada

Board of Behavioral Science

Dr. Jeff Kerber, Johnston

Dr. Donald Gilbert, Bondurant

Ms. Sherill Whisenand, Des Moines


Commission of the Blind

Ms. Peggy Elliott, Grinnell

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board

Ms. Lynne Rush, Victor

Mr. Thomas Dye, Norwalk

Mr. Frank Ballantini, Ankeny


Capital Investment Board, Iowa

Mr. Keith Wiggins, Cedar Rapids

Child Advocacy Board

Mr. Gerald Magee, Charles City

Mr. Micheal Steele, Mt. Pleasant

Mr. Mark Hargrafen, Grimes

Ms. Beth Meyers, Garner


Board of Chiropractic

Dr. Rex Jones, Spencer

Ms. Lorraine May, Des Moines

Dr. Nancy Netolicky, Cedar Rapids


City Development Board

Ms. Sarah Beatty, Sigourney

Mr. Dennis Plautz, Fort Dodge


Commission on Community Action Agencies

Ms. Mary Whisenand, Des Moines

Ms. Anna Brown, De Witt

Mr. Tom Quiner, Des Moines


Board of Corrections

Dr.  Mary  Chapman, Des Moines

Board of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences

Mrs. Lois Leytem, Dubuque

Mrs. Jacquelyn Hein, Monticello

Ms. Nicole Schultz, West Des Moines

Ms. Mary Clausen, Webster City

Mr. Jeffrey Porter, Davenport


Credit Union Review Board

Ms. Janet Pepper, Des Moines

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Advisory Council

Mrs. Michelle Leonard, Dallas Center

Mr. Thomas Walton, Waukee

Mr. John Spinks, Windsor Heights

Ms. Mardi Allen, Spirit Lake

Mrs. Mary Kovacevich, Osceola

Sheriff Tony Thompson, Waterloo

Ms. Mary Ingham, Clear Lake


Commission on Deaf Services

Mrs. Martha Meyer, Pleasant Hill

Board of Dentistry

Dr. Steven Fuller, Bondurant

Ms. Mary Kelly Grief, Des Moines

Mrs. Diane Meier, Iowa Falls

Board of Dietetics

Ms. Stacey Loftus, Missouri Valley

Mr. Daniel Deutschman, Pella

Iowa  Drug Policy Advisory Council

Mr. Jason Sandholt, Knoxville

Mr. Matthew Harkin, Norwalk

Early Childhood Iowa State Board

Mr. James Christensen, Waterloo

Mr. David Arens, Windsor Heights

Dr. Donald Doundna, Johnston


Economic Development Authority

Ms. Linda Crookham-Hansen, Oskaloosa

Ms. Dawn Ainger, Hiawatha

Mr. Pete Brownell, Grinell

Mr. Christian Murray, Ankeny


State Board of Education

Mrs. Angela English, Dyersville

Ms. Mary Ellen Miller, Corydon

Mr. Michael Bearden, Gladbrook

Ms. Brooke Miller, Des Moines


State Board of Educational Examiners

Mrs. Laura Stevens, Milford

Mrs. Sara Arnold, Vinton

Electrical Examining Board

Mr. Jeffrey Quigle, West Des Moines

Elevator Safety Board

Mr. Justin Carleton, Ankeny

Mr. Jeremy Musil, Des Moines

Employment Appeal Board

Mr. Kim Schmett, Clive

Mrs. Jennifer Wallace, Urbandale (fills vacancy)

Engineering and Land Surveying Examining Board

Ms. Rita Perea, Des Moines

Mr. Robert Fairfax, Norwalk

Mr. Jerry Shellberg, Red Oak


Flood Mitigation Board

Dr. Amy Kaleita, Ames

Mr. Ronald Herrig, Dubuque

Grain Indemnity Fund Board

Mrs. Debra Keller, Clarion

Mrs. Lori Goetzinger, Carroll


Great Places Advisory Board

Mr. Nick Glew, Marion

Mr. Brent Matthias, Waverly

Mr. Jared McGovern, Peosta

Mrs. Ruth Haus, Urbandale

HAWK-I Board

Mr. Joseph Hutter, Bettendorf

Dr. Mary Mincer Hansen, Panora

Board of Hearing Aid Dispensers

Dr. Catherine Dangelser, Ames

Mr. Jon McAvoy, Adel


Higher Education Loan Authority

Dr. Marianne Mickelson, West Des Moines

Council on Human Services

Ms. Alexa Heffernan, Cedar Falls

Interior Design Examining Board

Dr. Dorothy Fowles, Iowa City

Mr. Scott Hafield, West Des Moines


State Judicial Nominating Commission

Mr. Steve Berger, Wellman

Mrs. Patricia Roberts, Carroll

Mr. Lance Horbach, Tama


Landscape Architectural Examining Board

Mr. Jonathan Martin, Norwalk

Latino Affairs Commission

Ms. Elle Victoria-Gray, Lisbon

Mr. Ramon Rodriguez, Pleasant Hill

Mr. Alejandro Pino, Cedar Rapids

Mrs. Gloria Rodriguez, Denison


Law Enforcement Academy Council

Mr. Ricardo Martinez, Nevada

Ms. Lisa Campbell, Waterloo

Mr. Patrick Jackson, Burlington


Lottery Authority Board of Directors

Ms. Ying Sa, Des Moines

Mr. Michael Klappholz, Cedar Rapids


Board of Massage Therapy

Mrs. Jill Ellsworth, Grimes

Mr. David Edwards, Des Moines

Mr. Robert Johnson, Mason City

Mr. Bruce Bockoven, Chariton


Board of Medicine

Ms. Diane Cortese, Urbandale

Dr. Hamed Tewfik, Iowa City

Ms. Diane Clark, Lake Mills

Dr. Ronald Cheney, Carroll


Mental Health and Disability Services Commission

Ms. Lynn Grobe, Oakland

Mr. Thomas Bouska, Council Bluffs

Ms. Marsha Edgington, Osceola

Mr. Geoffrey Lauer, Iowa City

Mr. Michael Polich, Windsor Heights

Mr. Chet Hollingshead, Ogden

Ms. Kathryn Johnson, Cedar Rapids


Mental Health Risk Pool Board

Mrs. Peggy Rice, Dakota City

Mr. Shane Walter, Orange City

Ms. Teresa Kanning, Atlantic


Board of Mortuary Science

Mr. Todd Kale, Osceola

Mr. Martin Mitchell, Marshalltown

Mr. Carl Linge, Cedar Rapids

Ms. Rebecca Ervin, Urbandale


Board of Nursing Home Administrator

Mr. Michael Jenison, Ankeny

Mr. Daniel Boor, Des Moines

Board of Nursing

Mrs. Debra Larson, Marion

Dr. LeRoy Strohman, Algona

Mrs. Gwen Suntken, Meservey


Board of Optometry

Dr. Michael Portz, Red Oak

Dr. Scott Ihrke, Le Mars

Mrs. Jackie Pullen, West Des Moines


Board of Parole

Mr.  Jason  Carlstrom, West Des Moines

Mr.  John Hodges, Bondurant

Peace Officers Retirement, Accident and Disability Systems Trustee

Mr. Chris Mayer, Waukee

Commission of Persons with Disabilities

Mr. Gary Schriver, Mason City

Mrs. Michelle Ray-Michalec, Cedar Rapids

Mr. David Bert, Perry

Ms. Laura Herrity, West Des Moines


Board of Pharmacy

Ms. LaDonna Gratias, Clive

Mr. Edward Maier, Mapleton

Mr. James Miller, Dubuque


Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy

Mr. Bradley Earp, West Des Moines

Ms. Melinda Shetler, North Liberty

Ms. Rachel Judisch, Lake View

Mr. Craig Newton, Winterset

Board of Physicians Assistants

Dr. Jon Ahrendsen, Clarion

Mr. Gary Nystrom, Boone

Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board

Mr. Ken Thornton, Polk City

Mrs. Carol Crane, Knoxville

Mr. Jim Cooper, Urbandale

Board of Podiatry

Mr. John Bennett, West Des Moines

Mr. Gerald Edgar, Garner


Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council

Mr. Gary McDermott, Clinton

Mr. Craig Cretsinger, Spencer


Board of Psychology

Dr. Heidi Vermeer-Quist, Urbandale

Mrs. Sarah Henderson, Cedar Rapids

Mr. Ralph Scott, Cedar Falls

Mr. Adam Kurth, Des Moines


Public Employment Relations Board

Mr. Mike Cormack, Des Moines

Mr. James Van Fossen, Davenport


Public Information Board

Mr. William Monroe, Johnston

Ms. Jo Martin, Spirit Lake

Mr. Anthony Gaughan, West Des Moines

Mr. Gary Mohr, Bettendorf

Ms. Suzan Stewart, Sioux City


Racing and Gaming Commission

Mr. Jeffrey Lamberti, Ankeny

Dr. Carl Heinrich, Council Bluffs


Real Estate Appraiser Examining Board

Mr. Gene Nelsen, Johnston

Mrs. Caryl Swaim, West Des Moines


Real Estate Commission

Ms. Janet DeMott, Bedford

Mr. Michael Telford, Dallas Center

Mr. John Goede, Spencer

Mrs. Helen Kimes, Osceola

Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Board

Mr. Kenneth Pangburn, Corning

Mr. Randy Olson, Story City

Mr. Brian Wiegert, Winterset


Board of Respiratory Care

Dr. Gregory Hicklin, Urbandale

Mr. Erik Olesen, Mingo

Lt. Governor Simon honors teens working to end teen dating violence PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Annie Thompson   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:15

MOLINE – Feb. 28, 2014. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon was today joined by representatives of Verizon and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) to name four Moline High School students the first place winners of the “NO MORE Dating Abuse” video challenge. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

“It is important that young people can recognize signs of an unhealthy relationship and know how to get out,” said Simon, a former prosecutor who founded Virtual Legal Clinics to aid abuse survivors in underserved areas of the state. “These students produced strong messages to help their peers identify the signs of unhealthy relationships and showed that it’s never too late to seek help or speak up when you see a friend in trouble.”

Now in its second year, this challenge is the first of its kind in Illinois and is coordinated by the ICADV and the Lt. Governor’s office, and sponsored by Verizon. Last September, all high schools throughout the state were encouraged to invite their students to submit a video that called for the end of teen dating violence and promoted healthy relationships. Moline High School received $1,000 for submitting the winning entries, and students on the winning team received iPads.

“Two primary components are highlighted by this project: the public and private partnerships with Verizon and the Lt. Governor’s Office, and the enthusiasm and engagement of the youth all working together to help end domestic violence in Illinois,” said ICADV Chief Executive Officer Vickie Smith.

“The unique perspective that teens bring to these videos is so important in helping to increase their understanding, awareness and communication on the topic of healthy relationships and domestic violence,” said Verizon Wireless Region President Brian Pascoe. “We are proud of their work and appreciate the opportunity to support this program with the Lt. Governor.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), almost 10 percent of high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. About one in five women and nearly one in seven men who have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age, the CDCP reports.

The winning videographers at Moline High School are: Gabrielle Pinc, Travis Meier, Elane Edwards and J.J. Schrick. Their nearly one-minute video shows teens how to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship, how victims can get help, and urges teens to support healthy relationships. The second and third place teams are from South Elgin High School Beacon Academy and Eastland Junior/Senior High School in Lanark, IL, respectively. To view the top three winning videos, please visit


Civil Air Patrol inducts Senator Harkin into Hall of Honor PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Cox   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:13

WASHINGTON – Longtime U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is the newest member of Civil Air Patrol’s Hall of Honor.

Harkin – a former Navy fighter pilot who commands CAP’s Congressional Squadron – became the 34th person inducted into the Hall of Honor during a congressional reception Thursday in the Senate’s Russell Office Building. In addition to members of Congress, CAP’s 52 wing commanders, visiting Capitol Hill for CAP’s annual Legislative Day, attended the induction ceremony.

“This is Civil Air Patrol’s highest honor, our way of thanking Senator Harkin for his 30 years of CAP service,” said National Commander Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr. “He has been a staunch supporter of CAP’s missions for America.”

Soon after joining Civil Air Patrol in 1984, Harkin worked on the first full appropriations bill for CAP and has touted CAP’s volunteer missions and programs to his Senate and House colleagues ever since. To do this he often reached across the aisle to work with his Republican colleagues on CAP issues and missions vital to the nation and thousands of communities. He has also repeatedly promoted the cost effectiveness of CAP with government agencies such as the Air Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Harkin has been a rated CAP mission pilot and flown a number of training and actual missions, including counterdrug flights off the southern tip of Florida. He also has served as an adviser to CAP’s national commanders, providing valuable insight on how CAP can best address some of its budget and operational challenges. Most recently, he introduced Congressional Gold Medal legislation honoring the unusual service of CAP’s founding members during World War II, which quickly passed the Senate under unanimous consent and with 83 co-sponsors. A similar bill is awaiting a final vote in the House.

As the newest CAP Hall of Honor inductee, Harkin joins CAP’s most prestigious body. Previous inductees have included Gill Robb Wilson, who served as the first director of Civil Air Patrol, and World War II-era Gen. Carl A. “Tooey” Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the Air Force.

Harkin is only the second member of Congress in the Hall of Honor, joining former New York Congressman and fellow CAP Col. Lester Wolff, who was inducted in 1985.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 60,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs about 85 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 71lives annually. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 25,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 72 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. Visit or for more information.

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