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Six ways to start getting mentally prepared for retirement

“Retirement is when you stop living at work and start working at living.” — Unknown I started thinking about retirement long before my boss did. I mentally prepared myself a few years for the big day. Now, I enjoy waking up and not having to go to work. So I do it several times a day. The only drawback is never getting a day off. Seriously, retirement can be looked at as an ending, but it can also be a new beginning as long as we retire from work and not from life. Retiring unprepared can discourage more people than working ever did. Are you preparing now for this life changing transition? Many of us have grand ideas of trips we’ll take, clubs we’ll join, projects we’ll tackle or new hobbies we’ll take on. Retirement is the time to finally do all the things we've always hoped to do but never had time. We daydream what retirement will be like, but are we mentally prepared? It’s not just about finances. It’s not just a change of daily routine. It is a total life change. Preparing mentally can be just as important as how much we have in our 401(k). Contemplating leaving a job can create a lot of anxiety. We may love our work and enjoy being busy. When we leave all that to retire, we have to establish new routines, new relationships and a new way of seeing the world and ourselves. Studies show that some people spend years preparing mentally for retirement while others don't think about it until the day they quit. For those who are not mentally prepared beforehand, approaching retirement can be a difficult transition. Based on interviews with more than 150 retirees, Nancy Schlossberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, identified the following ways that people approach retirement: • Continuers — Modify their skills, interests and activities to fit retirement. • Adventurers — Make daring changes in their lives. • Searchers — Explore new options through trial and error. • Easy gliders — Enjoy unscheduled time letting each day unfold. • Involved spectators — Continue engaging in life, yet in less-active ways. • Retreaters — Take a long time out or disengage from life altogether. Ask this question: “Am I retiring to something, or from something?” If the answer is the latter, you are probably not ready and may find yourself in the “retreaters” category if you’re not careful. Here are a few other things to consider before retiring: 1. Start making a plan. Set personal and professional goals for your retirement years. Always wanted to run a marathon? Never visited the Grand Canyon? Write down everything you want to do — no matter how grand or small. When the time comes, you’ll have a huge “bucket list” to help you get off to a running start. 2. Start a gradual transition. Don’t jump into retirement without having thought about it. Research suggests that a gradual transition to retirement is better than going cold turkey. People who ease into retirement with some type of transitional approach have better retirement experiences. 3. Start reinventing yourself. Losing the self-identity you had working can be traumatic, particularly if you had a high profile or very important job. Once you retire, no one will care if you were a corporate big shot. Find something else that will be fulfilling and give you a new sense of identity and purpose. 4. Start talking to your spouse. When you retire, you switch bosses — from the one who hired you to the one who married you. You have to adjust to being around each other a lot more. Both of you should clarify what you want to do and negotiate new ground rules to make retirement a positive experience. 5. Start building relationships. When you leave work, you often lose touch with people from you’re workplace. You need to start developing new relationships and communities. Connect with people that you can share your retirement years with. Reach out to family and friends that you haven’t had time to see in a while. 6. Start a legacy. Give back to your community. Plan how you could leave a legacy by giving the gift of your time, knowledge, wisdom or money to local schools, community centers or charitable organizations that are close to your heart. Volunteering helps stave off depression, hypertension, and dementia. Nobody said a great retirement magically happens — it takes planning. Even if it seems a long way off, you can start now to prepare for an easier transition. Life can really start at retirement if you’re ready. Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from northern Utah. He can be reached at

Utah AAA Membership Service Center

700-job AAA call center opening Wednesday in Clearfield

CLEARFIELD — AAA will open its new Member Service Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Clearfield, adding 700 jobs to the local economy. AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah is hosting a grand opening at 11:30 a.m. at the center, 888 S. 2000 East. Company leaders and officials from the city and state governments and the Davis Chamber of Commerce will be there for a ribbon-cutting. ▪ RELATED: Call center to bring 700 jobs to north Davis The company said in a press release the new operation will help it better serve AAA members, ensuring that every call is answered, whether for road service and dispatching assistance or insurance and travel needs. The center will take more than 4 million emergency road service calls each year from AAA members in Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as from Montana, Wyoming and Alaska, the company said. [gmap=41.100696, -111.990608] The call center is in the old Northrop-Grumman building just off University Park Boulevard. In July, AAA officials said hourly wages at the call center would range from $13.03 to $15.95 per hour to start, with workers able to receive more than $21 per hour depending on production. A few sales agents are making $60,000 per year, they said.  

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Last chance to timely file 2014 tax return

April 15 is the due date for individual tax returns as well as partnerships and trusts. Extension request of six months had to be submitted by April 15. These extensions gave an additional amount of time to file the 2014 tax return in order to avoid a penalty. However, partnerships and trusts are given only five months and must file tax returns by September 15 to be considered a timely filed return. Individuals are given until October 15. What exactly does an extension provide? An extension is only for additional time to file the tax return. It does not provide an extension to pay any tax liability. If a taxpayer believes that there will be a tax liability, this amount must be sent in when the extension is filed. If when finally filing the tax return an amount is owed, a penalty will be added to the tax liability. This penalty goes back to April 15. The failure to pay penalty is one-half of one percent for each month, or part of a month, up to a maximum of 25 percent on the amount of tax that remains as unpaid from the due date of the return until paid in full. If the taxpayer fails to file the tax return by the extension date of October 15, an additional penalty is assessed, a failure to file penalty.The failure to file penalty is usually 5 percent of the tax owed for each month, or part of a month that your return is late, up to five months. If your return is over 60 days late, there is also a minimum penalty for late filing; it is the lesser of $135 or 100 percent of the tax owed unless you had reasonable cause and acted in good faith. There are no additional extensions past October 15. It is important for the taxpayer to file the tax return even if they are unable to pay the tax liability. The taxpayer should request a payment agreement with the IRS if they are unable to pay any tax liability. This will lessen the failure to pay penalty to one-quarter of one percent for any month in which a payment agreement has been established. It will also avoid the failure to file penalty. If the taxpayer does not pay the tax liability and the IRS issues a notice of intent to levy property, the one-half of one percent increases to one percent if the tax remains unpaid 10 days after the notice has been issued. An accepted payment arrangement with the IRS avoids additional collection efforts such as a levy of wages or bank accounts. Failing to file a tax return on time, which includes extensions, not only adds penalties to the tax return, it can also cause a taxpayer who is currently on a payment agreement with the IRS to be removed from the payment agreement and allow the IRS to begin aggressive measures to collect the tax liability from the taxpayer. Failing to file a tax return will also hinder a taxpayer who is trying to settle with the IRS through an offer in compromise from being able to submit the offer for consideration to the IRS. In summary, if a taxpayer hasn’t filed the 2014 tax return, the deadline is fast approaching. It is best to file the return by the due date and if a tax liability is owed, arrange for a payment agreement (installment agreement) to settle the debt. Failing to file only leads to penalties and obstacles for the taxpayer. Tracy Bunner is an enrolled agent and tax preparer with an office in Harrisville. She can be reached at 801-686-1995 or at


Gas prices dip in Utah; where are the best deals?

Have you done a happy double take at the gas pump in the past few days? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below where you're finding the cheapest gas locally. It's as low as $2.43 in Ogden and Brigham City, according to It’s $2.45 in Layton. AAA said in a press release Monday, Oct. 5, the current average price in Utah is $2.80. But Utah’s average price continues to rank among the highest in the nation, No. 5 in the lower 48 states. Only motorists in California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington pay more at the pumps than Utahns. The national average price is $2.39, AAA said.

National Business

BZ 111914 Smiths Opening 10-7

Kaysville Smith's Marketplace to open Wednesday

KAYSVILLE — There’s a new grocery store in town. RELATED: New Smith's store a big deal in North Ogden A Smith’s Marketplace, 1370 W. 200 North, will open Wednesday, Oct. 7.  [gmap=41.0383676, -111.9632705] The store cost $19 million to build and is 123,000 square feet.  The Kaysville development came about not without controversy. Its opening comes almost a year after a Smith’s Marketplace opened in North Ogden on Nov. 19, 2014. Smith’s also is building a Marketplace in West Point.

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Gmail — when it's time to clean out or start paying

Google offers a pretty generous storage plan that includes 15GB of data for free, but you might find yourself approaching the limit as time passes and your Gmail account fills up, along with documents and photos in Google Drive. You could opt for one of Google's monthly plans that start at $1.99 for 100GB — a reasonable deal — or you could do some serious cleaning out and save yourself a few dollars. Every time you write an email or create a document, Google stores it in Drive. Most of these files require only a tiny bit of storage space, and documents you create with Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides do not count against the limit. But there are plenty of other files that do. Your rate of email production will determine how quickly you reach the free storage limit, along with other files you store, but eventually, we all get there. The same holds true for Microsoft Outlook and Office users. Starting with Windows 8.1, all documents are automatically stored to OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud service. Like with Google, Microsoft offers 15GB of free cloud storage for Outlook, Office docs (not counted against storage limit) and photos, and charges $1.99 per month for 100GB. Keeping your email and cloud service free of clutter will do more for you than just saving money. You'll also save time by locating correspondence and other documents more quickly. And it will be less time consuming to de-clutter your files regularly than waiting until you near the limit. Here's how to keep your data storage within the free limit: First, you need to know how much storage you are using. (These instructions are for Google, but you can easily adapt them to your Microsoft services.) In Gmail, look at the bottom of your inbox list to see the amount of storage used out of the 15GB allotted. Click on the "Manage" link to see the details. Hover over the pie chart to see a breakdown for Drive, Gmail and Google Photos. Currently, I have used 10.51GB and none of that is for photos. On a side note, neither Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive are an affordable place to store high resolution images. Try Flickr where you will get 1000GB of photo and video storage for free. Having said that, Google does offer an alternative storage option for photos that does not count against your limit. If you take photos with your phone, using Google's "High Quality" option in Google Photos' settings will be fine, since phone photos are typically less than 16 megapixels. However, if you're taking photos with a DSLR camera and want to store them online, head to Flickr or use an external drive. Choosing the "High Quality" option will compress the photos and you will lose the original image. With the data-heavy files out of the way, it's time to clean out Gmail. You should be organizing your inbox with Google categories. For instance, you can have Google automatically sort your email into Primary (email from your contacts), Social (news from your social media accounts), Updates (things like Google Alerts you've set up for news topics you're following, bills, receipts and confirmations), Promotions (newsletters and other bulk email you've subscribed to) and Forums (messages from online groups). To set up these tabs in Gmail, open the gear icon and select "configure inbox." Once your email is organized by category, de-cluttering is much easier. Start by deleting all emails in Promotions and Social. To do this quickly, click on the small box next to the refresh button at the top of your email list. This will select all emails on the page. Note that an alert appears and confirms you have selected all 50 emails on the page. Click the link next to that message to select all in this category and then click the trashcan. Scan the list of email in Forum and star any you want to keep. Starring an email moves it to your Primary inbox. Do the same for Updates. Once you've moved the keepers, delete the rest. You can skip emptying your Spam and Trash folders. Google automatically deletes these emails after 30 days. You'll want to take greater care with email in your Primary inbox. Start by looking for really big emails — they are the ones with big attachments. You can do this quickly using the search bar. Find the tiny arrow and click to open the Gmail search window. You may enter criteria such as find all files over a certain size, such as 20MB. Deleting these large files — assuming you no longer need them — is a great way to free up space. Leslie Meredith has been writing about and reviewing personal technology for the past six years. She has designed and manages several international websites. As a mom of four, value, usefulness and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at

Job Market

7 encouraging and scary snapshots of the US job market

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. job market no longer looks quite so robust. Employers added a meager 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. And the average job gain for each of the past three months — 167,000 — is well below the 231,000 average for the previous three. All of which renews doubts about a job market in which steady hiring and the consumer spending it drives were expected to fuel continued healthy economic growth. But JPMorgan Chase now estimates that the economy grew at a mere 1.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. The economy occupies a sensitive spot as the Federal Reserve considers whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Vulnerabilities in U.S. manufacturing reflect a struggling global economy. Wages still aren’t growing much. Still, some signs of strength remain. Unemployment is just 5.1 percent, down steeply from the 10 percent it reached after the Great Recession. The construction and sale of new homes have advanced this year, supporting evidence of solid consumer confidence. Here are seven factors that explain the state of the job market: GLOBAL SQUEEZE TIGHTENS For months, the U.S. job market cruised as the rest of the world struggled. Not so much anymore. Employers appear to be responding to some of the fears gripping the rest of the globe. Demand for energy and commodities has slid as China’s growth prospects have dimmed. Europe is struggling to sustain its growth. Emerging economies like Brazil are slumping. Fears of a worldwide slowdown, which shook the U.S. stock market in August, appear to have now spilled into the job market. Oil prices have plunged, leading energy companies to cut jobs. The mining sector, which includes energy drillers, cut 10,300 jobs last month. Refiners of coal and petroleum lost 1,100. The dollar has also risen in value against foreign currencies, thereby making U.S. goods costlier overseas and hurting U.S. manufacturers. Producers of metal products, machinery and computers — all key drivers of exports — shed a combined 10,800 jobs in September. Global pressures infected other sectors last month, too, with job losses in wholesale trade and transportation. SOLID GAINS FOR COLLEGE GRADS The numbers show that employers want people with college degrees. The demand is part of a larger shift in the composition of the workforce: Nearly 35 percent of jobs now belong to college grads, up from 30 percent right before the recession began in December 2007 — an increase of 8.6 million jobs for the college educated. College grads also enjoy a scant unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, less than half the overall 5.1 percent rate. LOSSES FOR THE LESS EDUCATED It’s a brutal job market for people with only a high school diploma or no diploma at all. Employers have cut these workers over the past year. Unemployment for high school dropouts rose last month to 7.9 percent, putting it substantially above the overall rate. And the percentage of high school graduates who either have a job or are looking for one — their labor force participation rate — is at just 56.9 percent. The participation rate for Americans as a whole is 62.4 percent, the lowest since 1977. The exodus of less educated workers — due either to retirement or discouragement — accounts for much of that drop. JOB GROWTH SLOWS A hot streak in hiring appears to have ended. Friday’s report downgraded estimated job growth for July and August by a combined 59,000. The July-August-September average gain of 167,000 compares with 324,333 in the final three months of 2014. Some economists note that a decline in the pace of job growth was inevitable because it had been exceeding population growth. “The question is whether wage growth can pick up the baton,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. Macroeconomics at Oxford Economics. WEAK INCOMES Pay growth has been close to stalling. A result is that many consumers are hesitant to spend more of their paychecks, thereby preventing the economy from accelerating. The pattern of tepid earnings growth defies what should normally happen when unemployment falls. Lower unemployment tends to reflect a competitive job market, and companies must usually raise pay to draw enough qualified workers. RELATED: Ogden-Clearfield area has one of the smallest wage gaps in the country. Here’s why. But average hourly wages have risen a subpar 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. In September, workers earned an average of $25.09 an hour. “The bottom line is you’ve got less spending power from the American consumer,” said John Silvia, chief economist at the bank Wells Fargo.   FEW LAYOFFS Despite high-profile layoff announcements by Caterpillar and Wal-Mart, most employers aren’t panicking by slashing jobs. Applications for unemployment benefits — which reflect the pace of layoffs — totaled just 277,000 last week. That level remains near historic lows, evidence that many businesses expect their customer demand to remain stable and the U.S. economy to expand for a seventh straight year. MORE FULL-TIME WORKERS All the net job growth over the past 12 months came from full-time workers. Their ranks have swelled by 2.8 million. Conversely, there are 630,000 fewer part-time employees now. The decline in the proportion of part-time jobs has occurred because more Americans have managed to work 35 hours or more each week, meeting the definition of a full-time employee. The additional full-time workers represent a source of strength because they have more income to spend. The rise in their ranks is helping mend some of the lingering damage from the Great Recession, which forced a historically high proportion of workers into part-time positions.

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Governor was appropriately rebuked in Planned Parenthood case

Unsurprisingly the response to my column last week was split right down the middle, half chastising me and half thanking me. (And to the commentor on the site predicting the demise of my column — Howdy, I’m still here.) What is surprising is that all I really did was recount how the law has stood throughout the United States for over 40 years, as well as some of the philosophical underpinnings for why the law is the way it is. In the last paragraph, I stated my personal belief that the law was probably not the best way to resolve the issue of abortion, but rather education and contraceptive accessibility could continue the downward spiral of the abortion rate. Today, the abortion rate stands at about the same as before Roe v. Wade passed attesting to the wisdom of that approach if you really oppose abortion and value life. Yet, the readership and society remains sharply divided on this issue. This Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert found himself in federal court with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah over Governor Herbert’s unilateral decision to cut off federal grants that had already been awarded to Planned Parenthood. The federal district court found in favor of Planned Parenthood and ordered Governor Herbert to continue to provide the funding. A hearing is scheduled for October 15 to decide whether the court’s order will become permanent. • RELATED Planned Parenthood scores win in court In understanding the Utah case, you must first understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. While abortion was the excuse Governor Herbert cited for cutting off funding, no federal or state funding is given to Planned Parenthood for abortions. Why abortion entered into the debate over Planned Parenthood funding for education and testing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies is a non sequitur by the governor (an act that does not logically follow the given reason.) Cutting off Planned Parenthood’s funding would have zero impact on abortions in Utah at best, and possibly increase abortions at worst. The lack of any nexus between the governor’s reason and the actions he took caused Judge Clark Waddoups to find there was a “substantial likelihood” that Planned Parenthood would prevail in the underlying lawsuit. One sentence from the Judge’s ruling bears reading by everyone concerned about this issue. For clarity, I’m substituting actual names of the parties for plaintiff and defendant, but otherwise, this is Judge Waddoups ruling: “The court also concludes that public interest favors Planned Parenthood. The programs carried out by Planned Parenthood target at-risk individuals and the reduction of communicable diseases. These are strong public interests that outweigh the Governor’s stated interests in defunding Planned Parenthood.” What are the strong public interests that Planned Parenthood was protecting with the federal funding? Two educational programs would have been defunded by the governor’s action, one was the “Utah Abstinence Education Program” to promote abstinence among young people and the other was “Personal Responsibility Education Program” which focused on abstinence, contraception to prevent pregnancy and STDs, and promoting healthy relationships. I’m more than a little dumbfounded by the logic of wanting to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions by defunding educating our youth. The other program prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases through education and monitoring. The governor’s action would also have stopped reimbursing Planned Parenthood for pregnancy and STD testing for victims of rape and sexual assault. Not only was the governor’s action not in the citizens of Utah’s best interest, but he is acting contrary to fundamental constitutional concepts of justice. He attacked the local, Utah branch of Planned Parenthood without any evidence. His actions had nothing to do with the other organizations that had been accused of misconduct. This is roughly the equivalent of attacking the Utah Education Association for some teacher union misbehavior in Wisconsin. We don’t accuse or punish groups or organizations for the misconduct of others. I’m basing my critique of Governor Herbert on a ruling of a federal judge that there is a substantial likelihood that the governor acted unconstitutionally, but he will still have his day in court. Critique in the press or on the stump is one thing, but the law doesn’t punish or take away rights without due process and without proof. This is why we are still funding Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. E. Kent Winward is an Ogden attorney. He can be reached at 801-392-8200 or