Understanding anxiety and finding help when you need it


United Healthcare- Glenn Quinn

Posted on

Jul 28, 2023


Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Have you ever felt your muscles tense and your heart suddenly start to race? Do you ever feel a bit shaky or overwhelmed by worry that simply won’t subside?

It’s possible you’re dealing with anxiety.

It’s the most prevalent mental health concern in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults every year. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating – so how do you know where you fall on the spectrum — and how can you get help?

First, let’s define anxiety.

“Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes,” said Dr. Donald Tavakoli, UnitedHealthcare national medical director for behavioral health. “Occasional worrying is part of being human, but sometimes that worrying can worsen and transform into an anxiety disorder.”

There are several types of anxiety disorders; some of the most common include:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

  • Excessive, ongoing worry that is difficult to control and often interferes with everyday activities
  • Some symptoms of GAD may include:
    • Restlessness
    • Being on-edge
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating

Panic disorder

  • An anxiety disorder which causes frequent panic attacks, or sudden time limited feelings of intense fear or terror without the presence of clear danger
  • Some symptoms of a panic attack may include:
    • Elevated heartbeat
    • Chest pain
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Dizziness

Social anxiety disorder

  • Everyday interactions with people can cause severe anxiety, embarrassment or self-consciousness, due to fear you’re being judged or scrutinized by others.
  • Social anxiety can affect relationships, daily routines and disrupt your life, if left untreated.
  • Some symptoms may include:
    • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
    • Anxiety in anticipation of an event or activity
    • Avoidance of doing things or speaking to people
    • Analysis of your performance or perceived flaws

Various phobia-related disorders

  • A strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.
  • Examples of these phobias may include heights, agoraphobia (public places), claustrophobia, highway driving, flying, animals, water, etc.
  • Some symptoms may include:
    • Strong desire to flee
    • Immediate intense panic
    • Rapid heartbeat, sweating, tight chest
    • Being aware that fears are irrational but feeling powerless

Whether you have anxious feelings or a clinical anxiety disorder, accessing resources can help.

Finding help

If you are feeling anxiety of any kind, remember you are not alone. There are many resources out there that can help you feel better and take control of your life. This may include:

1. Self-care apps

Self-care techniques, coping tools, meditations and more may be available through a self-care app. Some health insurers, including UnitedHealthcare, provide members access to phone and mobile app services at no additional cost. These tools should not replace treatment by a health care professional, but evidence suggests they can help complement your care plan.

2. Virtual visits for support

If you’ve noticed your anxiety has evolved from normal to nuisance and is beginning to affect your everyday life, it might be time to explore working with a specialist. Something like Virtual Behavioral Coaching may provide additional support outside a self-care app – leveraging a dedicated coach to help you get a handle on your anxiety or stress. Virtual options aren’t always a stand-alone replacement to appropriate treatment, but it can conveniently bring in a trusted relationship to help with practical problem solving.

3. In-person or virtual mental health providers

If your anxiety is impacting your ability to function andyour quality of life or if you simply feel you need an assessment to understand your symptoms and treatment options, consider consulting with your primary care physician to align on next steps. Alternatively, you can also visit your insurance provider’s website or contact them via the number on the back of your card to help find a mental health provider in your network. If you have access to an Employee Assistance Program, you may be eligible for counseling at no additional cost.

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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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United Healthcare- Glenn Quinn

Medicare Insurance 5208 65th Terrace East, Ellenton, Florida, 34222

Im here to personally help you find the UnitedHealthcare plan that is the best fit for you. I know the local area and know the plans that are available to you very well. I would be happy to talk with you in person or by phone. We can look at your needs, explore your choices and decide on a plan with confidence. I look forward to serving you.About MeResident of EllentonGraduate of Howard UniversityCurrently serving more than 600 UnitedHealthcare membersLicensed In: AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, LA, MI, MS, NC, OH, PA, TX, WVMilitary ServiceUnited States Navy VeteranCommunity InvolvementMeals on WheelsBethlehem Baptist Church