Let's Get Heart Smart: How To Practice Health to Your Heart's Content


The Windsor of Venice

Posted on

Apr 01, 2022


Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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By the time you read this, the reported deaths from COVID-19 and its variants in the U.S. will be close to 900,000. As staggering as that statistic is, its 400,000 short of the number of Americans killed by Heart Disease in the same time period. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups.
Lets not allow the topic to overwhelm the fact there's a miracle inside your chest. Weighing about as much as a grapefruit, the heart is a powerful pump that drives five to six quarts of blood to every microscopic part of your body every second. And if it fails for even a second, the body is very unforgiving. Even though its the one piece of machinery driven by the brain, we tend to treat the heart like a kitchen appliance that we take for granted. Rarely serviced, rarely cleaned, and overworked until it burns out. Although heart bypass and transplant have become routine since the pioneering operations in the 1960s, its not like replacing the coffee maker you neglected too long.

One Thing at a Time
The better way to treat your heart with the respect it deserves is to start with changing just small habits. That way, you'll avoid the relapse from trying to change everything at once and falling back to unhealthy heart habits inside of a month. The most obvious: if youre a smoker or heavy drinker, work on that first. Imagine a small team of remodelers arriving at your heart to do a makeover. The first thing they're going to say is, Well, we cant do anything with the plumbing until we clear the smoke.

Look for Help During Heart Month
Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol is never easy, but this is probably as good a time as any during the year to start a cessation program with help. February is American Heart Month, so you're likely to be reminded frequently of heart health and offered tips on modifying your routine to help your heart and prolong a happy life. If you only look to one place, trust the American Heart Association www.heart.org.

Prediabetes and Heart Disease
What's your blood sugar level? If you don't know, you should find out from your doctor if you're not already monitoring it yourself. You could be pre-diabetic without knowing it or showing any symptoms. There's a good chance you could avoid becoming diabetic and reverse your pre-diabetic blood sugar to normal with relatively little change to your diet and a slight increase in
your activity. Diabetes has long been linked to heart disease, but recent studies suggest that reversing prediabetes is also linked to fewer heart attacks and strokes. [Reversing Prediabetes linked to fewer heart attacks, strokes, heart.org, Jan. 26, 2021.]
While you're at it, get your cholesterol tested and routinely monitor your blood pressure.
If your'e worried you might be at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to perform a simple cholesterol test to let you know if you're at risk and should adjust your diet. Home blood pressure monitors are not expensive, they're digital, and they're easy to use. Blood pressure stations are common in supermarkets now, and you can also check your weight and pulse.

Women's Heart Health
Why the emphasis on women's heart health? The American Heart Association tells us that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year about one woman every minute. They devote an entire website to womens heart health: Go Red for Women (www.goredforwomen.org). Here are just a few of the common misconceptions about womens heart health:
Myth: Heart disease is for men, and cancer is the real threat for women
Fact :Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men and is more deadly than all cancer forms combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease is the cause of one out of every three deaths.
Myth: Heart disease is for old people
Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. Heart defects are more common than you might think: 1.3 million Americans alive today have some form of congenital heart defect and at least nine of every 1,000 infants born each year have a heart defect. Even if you live a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.
Myth: I run marathons no way I could be at risk.
Fact: Factors like cholesterol, eating habits, and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association says to start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20. Earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease.

Age and Heart Health
Many things, like wine and most people, grow better with age. The heart, however, takes more tending than a glass of fine wine. Avoid things that weaken your heart beyond the normal aging process. These are the usual suspects: smoking and tobacco use, lack of exercise, diet, alcohol, overeating, and stress. Some preexisting conditions you cant control: irregular heartbeat, congenital (inherited) heart defects, sleep apnea (although this may be a product of obesity or alcohol consumption).
Viruses and Myocarditis
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle mostly caused by a virus, including COVID-19, and can lead to left-sided heart failure. The left ventricle of the heart is the part that pumps oxygen-rich blood back to the body. This valve tends to stiffen with age. Thats one of the many reasons why age combined with a preexisting condition puts you at greater risk of death from COVID-19. Even survivors of the novel coronavirus infection can sustain permanent heart damage. All people must protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by observing precautions, not just because of its immediate lethality but also because of its impact on the heart, known and unknown.

How to Start with Your Heart
The factors involved in heart health and the onset of heart disease are many, varied, and complicated. But the common preventions (listed here, from the Mayo Clinic) are simple. You probably already know them by heart, so to speak:

Not smoking
Controlling certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Staying physically active
Eating healthy foods
Maintaining a healthy weight
Reducing and managing stress

Those may seem like six significant challenges, especially if you take on all six. But you should notice something else about them. Almost every one of them can affect the other five. So, if you pick one, you'll find it easier to take on the next one. People who quit smoking usually discover that they have more energy within the first week, and exercise becomes easier. A little exercise and switching out one unhealthy food will help with weight, stress, blood pressure, and diabetes. Easy does it, especially if you're 65 and older. You've spent a whole life learning one way. You can take your time. Learn to enjoy your healthier heart. But start today.
First, Get a Checkup!
Most of the questions this article has raised in your mind (What's my blood sugar level? What's my blood pressure? I used to smoke am I at risk?) can all be answered in a single doctors visit with simple lab work done a few days before. Schedule it now, before you start a program of exercise and diet. And schedule a regular exam per your doctors recommendation. Relieving the stress of not knowing will be a good start on your way to a healthier heart.

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Time for tax-loss harvesting?

As you know, the gig economy has been booming over the past several years. If youre thinking of using your skills to take on a side gig, what should you do with the money youll make?Theres no one right answer for everyone, and the decisions you make should be based on your individual situation. And of course, you may simply need the extra income to support your lifestyle and pay the bills. But if you already have your cash flow in good shape, and you have some freedom with your gig money, consider these suggestions: Contribute more to your IRA. If you couldnt afford to contribute the maximum amount to your IRA, you may find it easier to do so when you have additional money coming in from a side gig. For the 2023 tax year, you can put in up to $6,500 to a traditional or Roth IRA, or $7,500 if youre 50 or older. (Starting in 2024, this extra $1,000 catch-up contribution amount may be indexed for inflation.) The amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA is reduced, and eventually eliminated, at certain income levels. Look for new investment opportunities. If youre already maxing out your IRA, you might be able to find other investment possibilities for your side gig money. For example, if you have young children, perhaps you could use some of the money to invest in a 529 education savings plan. A 529 plan offers potential tax advantages and can be used for college, qualified trade school programs, and possibly some K-12 expenses. Please keep in mind that potential tax advantages will vary from state to state. Build an emergency fund. Life is full of unexpected events and some can be quite expensive. What if you needed a major car repair or required a medical procedure that wasnt totally covered by your health insurance? Would you have the cash available to pay these bills? If not, would you be forced to dip into your IRA or 401(k)? This might not be a good move, as it could incur taxes and penalties, and deprive you of resources you might eventually need for retirement. Thats why you might want to use your gig earnings to help fund an emergency fund containing several months worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. To avoid being tempted to dip into your emergency fund, you may want to keep it separate from your daily spending accounts.   Pay down debts. Most of us will always carry some debts, but we can usually find ways to include the bigger ones mortgage, car payments and so on into our monthly budgets. Its often the smaller debt payments, frequently associated with high-interest-rate credit cards, that cause us the most trouble, in terms of affecting our cash flow. If you can use some of your side gig money to pay down these types of debts, you could possibly ease some of the financial stress you might be feeling. And instead of directing money to pay for things you purchased in the past, you could use the funds to invest for your future.As weve seen, your side gig money could open several promising windows of opportunity so take a look through all of them. Chad Choate III, AAMS828 3rd Avenue WestBradenton, FL  34205941-462-2445chad.chaote@edwardjones.com This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Time for tax-loss harvesting?

Its been a bumpy year for the financial markets which means that some of your investments may have underperformed or lost value. Can you use these losses to your advantage?Its possible. If you have some investments that have lost value, you could sell them to offset taxable capital gains from other investments. If your losses exceed gains for the year, you could use the remaining losses to offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income. And any amount over $3,000 can be carried forward to offset gains in future years. This tax-loss harvesting can be advantageous if you plan to sell investments that youve held in taxable accounts for years and that have grown significantly in value. And you might receive some gains even if you take no action yourself. For example, when you own mutual funds, the fund manager can decide to sell stocks or other investments within the funds portfolio and then pay you a portion of the proceeds. These payments, known as capital gains distributions, are taxable to you whether you take them as cash or reinvest them back into the fund. Still, despite the possible tax benefits of selling investments whose price has fallen, you need to consider carefully whether such a move is in your best interest. If an investment has a clear place in your holdings, and it offers good business fundamentals and favorable prospects, you might not want to sell it just because its value has dropped. On the other hand, if the investments youre thinking of selling are quite similar to others you own, it might make sense to sell, take the tax loss and then use the proceeds of the sale to purchase new investments that can help fill any gaps in your portfolio. If you do sell an investment and reinvest the funds, youll want to be sure your new investment is different in nature from the one you sold. Otherwise, you could risk triggering the wash sale rule, which states that if you sell an investment at a loss and buy the same or a substantially identical investment within 30 days before or after the sale, the loss is generally disallowed for income tax purposes.Heres one more point to keep in mind about tax-loss harvesting: Youll need to take into account just how long youve held the investments youre considering selling. Thats because long-term losses are first applied against long-term gains, while short-term losses are first applied against short-term gains. (Long-term is defined as more than a year; short-term is one year or less.) If you have excess losses in one category, you can then apply them to gains of either type. Long-term capital gains are taxed at 0%, 15% or 20%, depending on your income, while short-term gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. So, from a tax perspective, taking short-term losses could provide greater benefits if your tax rate is higher than the highest capital gains rate.Youll want to contact your tax advisor to determine whether tax-loss harvesting is appropriate for your situation  and youll need to do it soon because the deadline is Dec. 31. But whether you pursue this technique this year or not, you may want to keep it in mind for the future because youll always have investment tax issues to consider.   Chad Choate III, AAMS828 3rd Avenue WestBradenton, FL  34205941-462-2445chad.chaote@edwardjones.com  This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Do your investments match your goals?

As you go through life, youll have various financial goals and to achieve them, youll need to invest. But just recognizing the need to invest is not as useful as matching specific types of accounts or investments with specific goals. How can you make these connections?Lets look at some common goals and how they could possibly be met with appropriate accounts and investments: Saving for a down payment on a house  When youre saving for a down payment, you want a certain amount of money available at a certain time so, for this goal, you wont want to take too much risk. Consequently, you might consider investing in certificates of deposit (CDs), which will pay you regular interest payments and return your principal when the CDs mature. CDs are issued in a range of maturities, from one month to 10 years. Other vehicles you might consider are money market accounts or other cash equivalents.   Saving for a childs education  If you have children, and youd like to help them pay for some form of higher education, you may want to consider a 529 education savings plan. Any earnings growth in a 529 plan is federally tax free, provided the withdrawals are used for qualified education expenses, and you may also receive state tax benefits. A 529 plan can be used for college, approved trade school programs, student loan repayments and some K-12 costs. And if the child youve named as a beneficiary chooses not to continue their education, and doesnt need the money in a 529 plan, you can generally switch beneficiaries to another immediate family member.  Saving for retirement  This is the one goal that will remain consistent throughout your working years  after all, you could spend two or even three decades in retirement, so youll need to accumulate as many financial resources as you can to pay for those years. Fortunately, you likely have access to several good retirement-savings vehicles. If you work for a business, you might have a 401(k) plan, which offers you the chance to put away money on a tax-deferred basis. (If you have a Roth option in your 401(k), your withdrawals can be tax free, although, unlike a traditional 401(k), your contributions wont lower your taxable income.) If you work for a public school or a nonprofit organization, you may be able to participate in a 403(b) plan, which is quite similar to a 401(k), and the same is true if you work for a state or local government, where you might have a 457(b) plan. And even if you invest in any of these plans, you can probably also contribute to an IRA, which gives you another chance to invest on a tax-deferred basis (or tax-free basis, if youre eligible for a Roth IRA). Try to take full advantage of whatever retirement plans are available to you.Here's one final point to keep in mind: While some investments and accounts are appropriate for certain goals, they may not necessarily be suitable for your individual situation  so keep all your options in mind and take the steps that are right for you.  Chad Choate III, AAMS828 3rd Avenue WestBradenton, FL  34205941-462-2445chad.chaote@edwardjones.com This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC 

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The Windsor of Venice

Memory Care 1600 Center Rd., Venice, Florida, 34292

The Windsor of Venice has been providing an exceptional quality of services and environment to our residents for over nine years and awarded "Best of the Best" each year. We are owned and operated by a pioneer in assisted living and were recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the best places to work in senior living. Our tenured team was recognized by a national survey company as scoring in the top 10% in satisfaction survey ratings nationwide. We urge you to visit us prior to making a decision to find out more about what makes us different and special.

The Windsor of Venice

Assisted Living 1600 Center Rd., Venice, Florida, 34292

The Windsor of Venice has been providing an exceptional quality of services and environment to our residents for over nine years and awarded "Best of the Best" each year. We are owned and operated by a pioneer in assisted living and were recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the best places to work in senior living. Our tenured team was recognized by a national survey company as scoring in the top 10% in satisfaction survey ratings nationwide. We urge you to visit us prior to making a decision to find out more about what makes us different and special.