Tips on saving for retirement, help for those dealing with an illness while working, spring gardening advice

Good Day Alabama: May 12, 2015

Here's what you saw:

MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joined us with four tips for saving for retirement! Recent research suggests that a full one-third of working Americans have no retirement savings. Another third have saved under $50,000. Thirty percent had saved more but fall far short of being on track to fully funding retirement based on their current lifestyle. Only about 4% were on or above track to accumulate enough wealth to allow them to retire with enough money to replace their work income. Stewart says with healthcare today and what he suspects will be significant improvements in healthcare in the future, large numbers of us will live well into our nineties and perhaps past age one hundred. He finds people generally fall into one of two broad categories:

Group A: "I have plenty of 'today' problems…I'll worry about retirement tomorrow." Unfortunately, today's problems tend to morph into a new set of problems tomorrow so 'getting to retirement planning' never seems to come. This defines the 96% who never save enough money.

Group B: "I have plenty of 'today' problems…but I'll add retirement planning to the list and start working on it now!" For the few that have this attitude here are some tips to help speed you along the way:

1. Know your number. It's hard to solve a problem without understanding the magnitude of the problem. How much exactly do you need to accumulate for retirement? Start with your net annual income - the total of net paychecks you deposit in the bank over one year. That's what you're spending now so let's assume you'll need that in retirement also. Subtract from this number any sources of income you reasonably expect at retirement such as Social Security or a company pension. Divide this number by 0.04 to determine the amount of capital you'll need to accumulate to replace your earned income during retirement. You should use this as a quick estimate only. Commit to having a detailed analysis completed with a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner.

2. Track your spending for 30 days. People always tell Stewart they don't have money left over for savings but he has never met a person or couple who isn't wasting a lot of money. Buy an inexpensive small notebook and write down every penny you spend for thirty days then evaluate your spending. Could you divert 10% or 20% to retirement savings without dramatically affecting your lifestyle? We often find substantial saving in reducing property & casualty, life and other insurance products costs.

3. Save smarter. If your company has a matching 401k plan, be sure to invest enough to capture the match. If not invest in a tax deductible IRA. If you're in a low income tax bracket, invest in a Roth IRA. Two easy ways to increase your savings is to commit one-half of all raises or bonuses to your retirement savings program. You can also raise cash and de-clutter by selling your junk - rarely used clothes, garage and household items.

4. Invest smarter. Rates of return of fixed income investments - money market accounts, CDs and bonds - will not get you where you have to go. Be willing to be a long-term investor in the stock market. Yes, in the short term it will be very volatile but long term returns have exceeded 7% or more annually. You'll need a majority of your money invested in the stock market.

You may have a better idea for retirement saving. If so, do that! If not, start here but please don't wait until tomorrow! For more ideas, visit

BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with her Research Roundup! She says to save your money on Green Tea supplements! Makers of Green Tea supplements tout green tea supplements for weight loss. But you're probably wasting your money! While early lab studies may have shown that certain components -catechins- of green tea may speed up metabolism, it doesn't translate in humans in the real world. The latest study on this confirms that lack of effect. Researchers randomized 60 normal and overweight men and women to either take green tea extract supplements or a placebo. Over 12 weeks, the researchers found that the green tea supplements did not increase metabolism or decrease fat absorption or weight . They also did not change body fat levels. So save your money if you're buying green tea supplements for weight loss. If you want to drink green tea, there still could be other health benefits and it's a lot cheaper than supplements!

Here's something that could help with weight loss! A shopping list! When researchers surveyed almost 1400 low income people about their shopping habits and their weight, they found that those who shopped with a shopping list weighed about 5 pounds less than those who reported that they did not shop with a list. Take this finding with some caution – this was an observational study – one of those "circumstantial evidence" kinds of studies. So we can't say that using a shopping list will cause you to lose weight – but this is definitely one that couldn't hurt trying. Most of the people in this study were overweight but they tended to weigh less if they used a list.

For better blood sugar control, just add exercise! Researchers randomly assigned 52 overweight men and women to lose weight either by dieting alone, exercising alone , or doing both – exercising and dieting. All three groups lost about the same amount of weight - 6-8% of their body weight. But the group who dieted and exercised has twice as much improvement in their body's sensitivity to insulin. Insulin helps you control your blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes become less responsive to insulin which makes their blood sugar go up. So even though you may not lose more weight by exercising, you may be lowering your chances of getting diabetes even more! so just diet OR exercise. For the best blood sugar control, do both!

CANCER PARTNERSHIP - Regions Bank is partnering with the American Cancer Society to provide financial education workshops to health care professions who work directly with cancer patients and their families. Beyond the medical diagnosis itself, money management is one of the biggest challenges for patients and their families. The Regions Bank training equips those directly working with cancer patients with useful tools and information to help. One of the most important things we can do is help patients take control of their finances. People may need help planning how to handle daily expenses, like groceries, and big expenses like medical bills. The partnership between Regions and the American Cancer Society is the first of its kind: A unique effort to provide financial stability resources to cancer patients and an example of how the American Cancer Society is engaging community partners to provide practical resources that can make a difference for patients and their families. The financial education workshops are set up in a "train the trainer" model designed to provide healthcare professionals, healthcare navigators, ACS staff and volunteers, with useful financial planning information to share with cancer patients and their families. This is an effective way to reach more patients by delivering financial information and guidance through a known and trusted advisor involved in their care - also, HIPPA is a consideration. The American Cancer Society Hope Lodges offer cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city, away from home. There are 31 Hope Lodge locations across the country, including Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham. Last year all the Hope Lodges saved 44,000 patients and caregivers $36 million in lodging costs. The local Hope Lodge celebrates its 15th birthday this year. For more information about our Regions Corporate Social Responsibility, please visit For any cancer-related questions and information, visit or call 1-800-227-2345.

FINAL IDOL SEASON - The upcoming season of "American Idol" will be the fifteenth and last.. "American Idol" hit the airwaves back in 2002 forever changing the landscape of network TV. The show launched a whole new category of shows mimicked on other networks. but after more than a decade, FOX Network officials say it's the right time to close the door on that chapter. Season 15 will see the return of judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as host Ryan Seacrest. The final season kicks off in January 2016. Mike talked with Dr. Eric Weisbard, Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama, about the impact the show had on the music industry, tv, and society.

GARDENING - Janice talks with Jimmy Rockett about spring time flowers for your landscape! Jimmy says the flowers he is showing today love sun and are very easy to care for as long as you provide them water at first. Angelionia are spiked flower plants that will last all thru out the hot summer. They come in pink, white and purple. Speaking of purple, you can try Lantana flowers. There is new gold yellow and variegated yellow, too. Jimmy says they come in a wide variety of summer colors. Once established they will bloom through the hot summer. Portulaca flower is very hot worthy. Again, once they get established, they will provide loads of color for any sunny situation. Also, there are sun loving new guinea inpatients. You can have these in hanging baskets or it in your favorite container for an instant effect. All these flowers today love the organic sanctuary 3.3.4 and the Hastagro liquid fertilizer that some garden centers carry. For more information, call Jimmy at (205) 981-1151, email him at, or visit

JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from the Kappa Fraternity Facility in Titusville where he finds out about the Kappa Kids at Hemphill School & Proposed Kappa Knight Programs. He talked with Melvin Love about the Hemphill Program and Marlon King, Valton Johnson & CJ Mosley about their visit with students at Hemphill. Former school administrator Leon Harris and Arrington Middle School Principal Anthony Moss discussed launching the Kappa Knights Program Fall 2015 and how this program will bridge the current void between elementary school, middle school and high school and how this will allow continuity of students having access to Kappa mentors throughout school, post secondary and professional careers with the expectation that they will aspire to pledge as Kappa's and help to perpetuate the work of Guide Right's premise. Birmingham City Schools Coach Floyd Smith talked about how much mentoring works in the schools.

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, we help you clear our with another Shred-a-thon! The doctor takes your questions about your health! We show you the tools you need to keep your garden looking its best this summer! Mickey's hanging out with some of his tallest friends at the Birmingham Zoo! Jeh Jeh catches up with some of the celebrities at the Regions Tradition Pro-Am! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama!