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Offered by: Jennifer Bell – Bell Benefits, LLC

Happy New Year everyone! I hope this new year brings in a BUNCH of wonderful things for each and every one of you. With a New Year comes new changes to Medicare. Of course the basic format remains the same. Medicare is still Medicare with its same structure. The changes come by way of money.

Every year Medicare adjusts its premium (what you pay each month to have Medicare) and its out-of-pocket costs. If you are among the average income earner, your Medicare Part B premium will be $148.50/month in 2021 (up $3.90 from 2020).  is may automatically change in your Social Security deduction or it will be reflected on your invoice if you pay via direct bill.

Medicare has also changed its deductibles and copays/coinsurance amounts with slight increases.

Medicare has also made adjustments throughout 2020 in the way we can do things. In the past, we were unable to apply for Medicare Part B online, but now we can.  ey also added the option to pay your monthly premium online with a credit card. If you pay via direct bill rather than Social Security deduction, all you need to do is log in to MyMedicare.gov to set that up.

They also extended their hours and I’m not sure if this will stick but they have been open 24/7.  This is great because you can call 1-800-MEDICARE at anytime that is convenient for you when you need help with your Medicare account.

This is just a highlight of some of the changes Medicare has made. I am always happy to help answer your specific questions about Medicare. Just give me a call or shoot me a text: 720-626-6524

Jennifer Bell | Bell Benefits

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Offered by: Tim Roberts – Edward Jones

Many of us probably felt that 2020 lasted a very long time. But now that 2021 is upon us, we can make a fresh start – and one way to do that is to make some New Year’s resolutions. Of course, you can make these resolutions for all parts of your life – physical, emotional, intellectual – but have you ever considered some  financial resolutions?

Here are a few such resolutions to consider:

Don’t overreact to events. When the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-February, the financial markets took a big hit. Many people, convinced that we were in for a prolonged slump, decided to take a “time out” and headed to the investment sidelines. But it didn’t take long for the markets to rally, rewarding those patient investors who stayed the course. Nothing is a certainty in the investment world, but the events of 2020 followed a familiar historical pattern: major crisis followed by market drop followed by strong recovery.  e lesson for investors? Don’t overreact to today’s news – because tomorrow may look quite different.

Be prepared. At the beginning of 2020, nobody was anticipating a worldwide pandemic and its terrible consequences, both to individuals’ health and to their economic well-being. None of us can foretell the future, either, but we can be prepared, and one way to do so is by building an emergency fund. Ideally, such a fund should be kept in liquid, low-risk vehicles and contain at least six months’ worth of living expenses.

Focus on moves you can control. In response to pandemic-related economic pressures, some employers cut their matching contributions to 401(k) plans in 2020. Will some future event cause another such reduction? No one knows – and even if it happens, there’s probably nothing you can do about it. Instead of worrying about things you can’t control, focus on those you can. When it comes to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, put in as much as you can afford this year, and if your salary goes up, increase your contribution.

Recognize your ability to build savings. During the pandemic, the personal savings rate shot up, hitting a record of 33% in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economy Analysis. It fell over the next several months, but still remained about twice as high as the rate of the past few years. Of course, much of this surge in Americans’ proclivity to save money was due to our lack of options for spending it, as the coronavirus caused either complete or partial shutdowns in physical retail establishments, as well as dining and entertainment venues. But if you did manage to boost your own personal savings when your spending was constrained, is it possible to remain a good saver when restrictions are lifted? Probably. And the greater your savings, the greater your financial freedoms – including the freedom to invest and freedom from excessive debt. When we reach a post-pandemic world, see if you can continue saving more than you did in previous years – and use your savings wisely.

These aren’t the only  financial resolutions you can make – but following them may help you develop habits that could benefit you in 2021 and beyond.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

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Offered by: T. Lloyd Worth

In the past, boomers and generation Xers often held on to jobs for 10 or more years. Some professionals stayed with the same company for most of their working lives. The Great Recession changed this for many. Now, people have become more comfortable moving from job to job. Millennials are especially adept at this.  They change jobs three times more often than other generations.¹

Changing jobs introduces a new dilemma for people, regardless of why or how often they do so: what to do with the 401(k) account they had with their former employer. Should they consider taking the cash distribution, or could there be a better choice?

Consider All Options

Here are some reasonable options to consider whether it’s to cash out, or retain the tax-deferred benefits attached to your assets:

  1. Take the Cash: When people make financial decisions they may choose to do so based on interest rates and cash in hand. But another important factor to consider is taxes. When you take cash distributions from your 401(k) account, you may pay a lot of money in taxes and fees. This includes a 20% federal withholding tax and then another 10% penalty for people who are under the age of 59 and a half years old.²
  2. Directly Roll the Money Into an IRA: An individual retirement account is much like a 401(k), but it can remain independent of any employer. You may want to consider this option if you change jobs often or if a new employer does not offer retirement plans.
  3. Use the New Employer’s Plan: Some professionals prefer to keep rolling their 401(k) savings forward. You may want to consider this option if you mostly work corporate jobs with good 401(k) plans. Rolling the money over directly from one employer to the next may also help to eliminate any fees from the IRS. Note that even if you are not yet eligible to contribute to your new employer’s retirement plan, you should be able to roll over your money.
  4. Keep the Old Plan: If you have at least $5,000 in your old retirement account, your employer must allow you to retain your 401(k) account if you want to.³ You can no longer make contributions to the account, but you can make decisions regarding the investment of your assets. You may want to consider this option if you leave your job to start a business, or want to add some diversity to your retirement holdings.

 The Importance of Research

The right approach depends on a number of factors. Aside from those mentioned above, you should consider the rules at your company as well as longevity. Is the company in financial trouble? What happens to your retirement plan if it goes under? Some employers may also set lower thresholds to allow former employees to leave their retirement accounts behind. Speak directly with the human resources department to get some answers.

Another good source of reputable information is  financial professionals. At Worth Wealth Management, our team helps clients to navigate these and other important decisions that impact their economic future. Start working with us today.

T. Lloyd Worth can be reached at
303-558-0214, or Lloyd.Worth@LPL.com

Sources
¹ https://www.gallup.com/workplace/231587/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx
² https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/06/think-twice-before-taking-early-withdrawals-from-retirement-savings.html
³ https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-termination-of-employment

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.

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Offered by: Thollot Jewelers

The coronavirus pandemic is continuing its assault on the U.S. economy, forcing businesses to close, lay off workers, or reduce their hours. Many find themselves in need of fast cash, beyond what can be generated by strict budgeting. There are several potential avenues to access emergency money in a pinch but where best to turn? Accessing the value locked in precious metals and unwanted or broken jewelry offers a standout option for those that want to avoid loans that come with crushing fees and interest. Gold has seen a price surge in the last year with a rise in the price of an ounce increasing over $400. That means that the items at the bottom of your jewelry box, your inherited jewelry and other precious metals are worth a whole lot more than most people think. Thollot & Co. pays top dollar for gold and estate jewelry, can cut a check to you on the spot, and is currently offering a 20% bonus to the value of your precious metals through the end of January when taken as store credit. Then shop their impressive selection of jewelry or make something original by working with their custom jewelry designers.

The bottom line is that it may require being a little creative. Turn your precious metals and unwanted jewelry into an heirloom gift for someone special (maybe yourself?) and free up budget you traditionally allocate for that purpose, or walk away with fast cash without taking on any additional debt and payments.

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Offered by: Susan Kline – The Brighton Buzz

Susan Kline

We’re entering 2021 with a somewhat less dewy-eyed approach to the new year’s possibilities. We know what a year with massive shoe dropping feels like…in fact a whole closet full! However we can now turn the page on 2020, and that’s a really good thing.

Contrast is always uplifting! Let’s take stock of some things we may want to add to our 2021 “To Do” List:

  1. Get Vaccinated for Covid-19.
  2. Look Forward To Children Going Back to School.
  3. Safely Hug Loved Ones.
  4. Shop in Stores Leisurely.
  5. Dining-In At Your Favorite Restaurant.
  6. Watch Spectators (Or Be One) At A Sporting Event.
  7. Make Travel Plans For A Vacation.
  8. Safely Use Modes of Transportation.
  9. Attend A Play or Concert.
  10. Bring Our Businesses Back To More Normal Times

While many of these things were taken for granted this time last year, we now have an appreciation for what we’ve missed. We might not be able to accomplish all of our “To Do’s” right away, but as these things become more possible, we can truly cherish the blessings we’ve had in our lives, and, hopefully, re-live them.

I, for one, am looking toward the New Year with hope and anticipation of building a much Happier New Year!

Wishing you The Best in 2021!

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Offered by: Scott and Lora Nordby – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

The Denver metro real estate market hasn’t had any signs of slowing this year. Earlier in the year, when most of the state was under a stay-at-home order, demand continued to grow.  is resulted in a fast-moving summer and autumn for real estate that has continued into the last few months. Next year is set up to continue this trend, so if you’re considering buying a new home, check out these tips before you start home shopping.

Know Your Limits
It’s important to get pre-approved and consider what monthly payment you’re comfortable with, so you can stay in the range that meets your budget before you begin looking at homes.

Wiggle Room
Consider looking at homes on the lower end of your budget.  This gives you wiggle room to make quick counter offers in a bidding war.

The 80/20 Rule
If you look at a home that meets 80% of your requirements, make an offer. When homes are only staying on the market for days and not weeks, it’s important that you be quick to get your o er on the table. Remember, someone else looked at the home yesterday that you want to make a decision on tomorrow.

The Letter
In a hot market, some real estate professionals will help you write “The Buyers Letter”.  This short and sweet note to the sellers helps them put a story with the offer, which can set you apart from other bidders. Lean on your REALTOR® for help with this, as there are thing’s you’ll want to emphasize and things to avoid saying.

Get a Champ in Your Corner
When houses are bought and sold quickly, it’s important to work with someone who knows the market, knows the neighborhood, and is invested in helping you reach your real estate goals. Be sure to work with a REALTOR® who is full-time, so they are available to negotiate on your behalf when you  find a house that you’re ready to make an offer on!

If you’re ready to buy a new home, call us at 303-905-8850. We can make sure you know the process, have all your questions answered, and are set up to find the home of your dreams.

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 The City of Brighton’s Tree Program is returning in 2021 with seven species of trees available for purchase.  The species of trees available are selected specifically for Brighton’s water demands and soil conditions.  The tree program is intended to encourage tree planting, species diversity and water conservation within the City.

Trees available for purchase include Discovery Elm, English Oak, Bur Oak, Chanticleer Pear, Hackberry, Catalpa and Hotwings Maple.

To place an order, go to brightontreeprogram.com. Trees are $75 each (payments are non-refundable) and are limited to two per household.  This program is for residents living within Brighton city limits. Trees will be available for purchase until they are sold out.

Tree pick-up will be in the Spring of 2021. Due to the evolving nature of COVID-19, safety guidelines will apply to distribution. Details of the distribution will be released at a later date on the City’s website and social media channels.

All trees purchased through the City’s tree program must be planted within city limits, on public right-of-way or on private property.

If you have questions, please contact Adam Rhodebeck, City of Brighton Forester, at arhodebeck@brightonco.gov or 303-655-2048.

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Offered by: Anneli Berube, Ag Innovation Specialist

The City of Brighton and Adams County, with the expertise of the Conservation Fund, have successfully preserved 79 acres of prime farmland in Historic Splendid Valley, the vibrant agricultural area south of Brighton and within the Greater Denver Metropolitan area. This partnership, along with grants from the Adams County Open Space Sales Tax program and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), have enabled a conservation easement to be placed on this property to allow farming to continue while ensuring the land will not be subdivided or developed. The farmland is located south of Brighton along 144th Avenue and Sable Boulevard, adjacent to other preserved farms to the north and west. The preservation of this area furthers the mission of Historic Splendid Valley to protect one of the state’s last remaining areas of urban agricultural land with available water rights to ensure that food production can continue for the benefit of the local community and the region.

“This is a story of local community pride in a city with such rich agricultural heritage,” said Greg Mills, Mayor of the City of Brighton. “This is a critical piece of the area’s identity and will now be preserved for future generations to come.”

“The Historic Splendid Valley project benets Colorado’s local food security, agricultural heritage and water conservation. It protects resources in an area identified as the single best place left in the greater Denver Metro area for growing, processing and distributing local food crops, as well as water rights from one of Colorado’s oldest ditches,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “Thanks to the foresight and commitment of the Morimitsu family, the prime soils and water essential to farming this land are being preserved, helping sustain one of Colorado’s most established agricultural operations.”

“Preserving these local farmland properties provides many immediate and long-term benets to our community,” said Emma Pinter, Adams County Commissioner and Board Chair. “e fresh fruits and vegetables grown on these farms are distributed locally and regionally, including supplying our local food bank and pantries, and help sustain the history and heritage of the area, while supporting our local economy.”

The Conservation Fund, a national environmental nonprot focused on conserving land and water in ways that make both environmental and economic sense, acquired the property when it came up for sale and brought the multiple partners together for an outcome that benets the community and the local food economy. Grants awarded to this project from Adams County and GOCO were combined to complete the conservation easement permanently protecting the property’s irreplaceable soils, water rights, and open space resources. More than 80 percent of Adams County residents recently voted to make the County’s Open Space Sales Tax program permanent, showing the popularity of this critical funding source for preserving important open space and agricultural lands and creating, improving and maintaining parks, trails and recreation facilities.

“With stiff competition from developers for these farmlands and water rights on Brighton’s edge, the urgency and threats are as high here as anywhere in the State,” said Christine Quinlan of The Conservation Fund. “Adding the Morimitsu family’s historic farm to the conservation effort in Historic Splendid Valley boosts the community’s economy and retains its agricultural heritage.”

“We’re proud to invest Colorado Lottery proceeds in the conservation of farmland for the production of local crops as well as a scenic buffer of land for people in cars and on bikes cruising by to enjoy,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian. “And we’re especially grateful to the Morimitsu family who made the permanent protection of the land possible.”

About the farm
Prior to this land being homesteaded, it was used by indigenous Arapaho and Cheyenne people who would camp near the South Platte River while following buffalo herds across the plains. e farmland was homesteaded in 1879 by Richard and Olive Talbot both of whom constructed many of the structures on the property. After leasing the land from the Talbots for six years, Suekichi “George” and Toi Morimitsu purchased it in 1939. The Morimitsu family owned the property for the next 80 years. George and Toi raised 12 children on the farm. They grew vegetables like onions, corn and beans to sell to the local pickling company, Kuners. Members of the Morimitsu family recall stories of the kids hoeing the rows of crops on their way to and from Pleasant Plains School on 144th Avenue and Potomac Street, including a trip back and forth for lunch each day. e family’s long tenure on the property saw them through World War II, in which three of the Morimitsu sons fought, while the second son, Kiyoshi, stayed home to tend to the farm. When George passed away in 1963, operations were turned over to his son Hayato, who went by Henry. Henry and his wife Taeko farmed the property, continuing to grow a variety of vegetables until Henry retired in 1986. They also raised three children on the farm. Following Henry’s retirement the property was leased to Petrocco Farms, which still farms it to this day.

“Our family is honored to be given the opportunity to leave a legacy in Historic Splendid Valley. It was a long and sometimes dicult process to bring all parties together to sell our farm to e Conservation Fund, but in the end we feel that it was worth the work to see this prime farmland preserved for the benefit of future generations,” shared Amy Bokn, daughter of Henry Morimitsu.

With the conservation easement in place, the parcel was recently purchased by Petrocco Farms, a local farm with deep roots in the area. The
Petrocco family has been farming since the early 1900s and in Splendid Valley since 1960. Headquartered near Brighton, today their operation
comprises over 3,000 acres in Adams and Weld Counties. Petrocco grows a variety of vegetables, from cabbage and onions to leafy greens and sweet corn. These crops are largely distributed from the Petrocco Farms processing facility, located approximately one mile as the crow ies from the Morimitsu Farm property. This abundant variety of vegetables can be found in many of Colorado’s largest food chains and food service outlets. The farm also donates thousands of pounds of produce to food banks throughout Colorado, including Food Bank of the Rockies and Colorado Care & Share, and to local events like Welby Days and Mt. Carmel Summer Festival.

“As farmers, we are the stewards of this land,” said Dave Petrocco, Sr. “We take great pride in our growing practices and the vegetables we grow. Preserving this farm, which is central to our operation, helps ensure that high quality food can continue to be grown in this area for many years to come.”

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Offered by: Carrie Albert-Martin MD

With the first cases of the flu (influenza) virus being reported in Colorado this season, it’s more important than ever to get the vaccine for you and your children. Read on for some quick facts about the vaccine.

  1. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months.
  2. There are two options for the flu vaccine: the inactivated vaccine, given as a shot, or the live-attenuated vaccine, given as a nasal spray. These are considered equally effective. The nasal spray is approved for children over age 2.
  3.  This year, the flu vaccine covers four influenza strains: two influenza A and two influenza B strains.
  4. Children between 6 months and 8 years old who have never received the flu vaccine require two doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart.
  5. The flu vaccine is especially important for children under the age of 5 or with chronic health issues such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, as they are at higher risk for complications from the flu.
  6. It is safe to receive the flu vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.
  7. Children with egg allergies can receive the flu vaccine.
  8. Children with COVID-19 can still get a flu vaccine after they have recovered from their illness.
  9. The flu vaccine does not cause the flu.
  10. Side effects from the flu vaccine include fever, fatigue, and redness or soreness at the site of injection.

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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

While I have met many people who wished they had worn good hearing protection, I have never met anyone who wished they had not. Over the last 13 years I have seen many patients suffering with hearing loss, tinnitus, or both, after being exposed to loud noises in a singular incident. These incidents have included exposure to loud noises from airbag explosions, blasts from firearms, hammering on metal, musical performances, and using power tools in an enclosed space. Others have come in with the same symptoms after years of exposure to loud or moderately loud sounds in settings that include everything from dental offices, to construction, to factories, to hairdressing, to woodworking hobbies, to orchestras, to rock concerts.

Just last week a patient called and explained an incident occurred where they were exposed to a loud noise and were now struggling to hear. They had been wearing hearing protection, noise reducing ear muffs, but had taken them off to speak with a family member. After conversing they returned to the area where the loud noise had been happening, which was now quiet, and did not put their hearing protection back on. Immediately upon returning to the area, a loud noise occurred and they instantly realized they had lost a significant amount of hearing. A hearing test confirmed they had suffered significant hearing loss compared to a test just a few months prior.

When it comes to noise induced hearing loss, damage is a function of time and intensity. This means extremely loud sounds can do permanent damage in a very short period of time, while sounds that seem safe, if listened to for extended period of time, can do the same amount and type of damage. For example, a singular gunshot in an enclosed space can do similar damage to repeatedly working in a factory for eight hours a day. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released specifics regarding noise level and exposure times and when hearing protection is required to be worn.

Custom hearing protection offers a level of safety that may not be found using over-the-counter options. For many, listed NRR (noise reduction rating) of foam plugs may not be achievable in an individual’s ear given the size and shape of the ear canal. Unless the plugs fit snugly, they will not prevent sound energy from reaching the eardrum. For this reason, I always recommend wearing protective muffs in addition to one-size-fits-some foam plugs. While multiple layers ensure a greater level of protection, muffs are not always suitable. In order for muffs to work, they must completely seal around the ear.

Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus center carries multiple brands of hearing protection, including SoundGear. SoundGear comes in multiple styles including solid ear plugs, filtered earplugs, and electronic plugs suitable for everything from dental offices to military applications. Custom filtered and electronic hearing protection allows individuals to hear environmental and speech sounds while protecting hearing. The newly released Phantom now allows the wearer to stay protected, whether they want to speak to others, listen to music or need to speak on the phone, all in a custom rechargeable device.