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From the financial planner in the kitchen to the happiest retirees

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Every so often, it’s fun to share some odds and ends from the world of insurance news. Here we go!

Know anyone who needs a job? Here are two interesting positions that need to be filled soon.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to hire a chief executive officer as well as a technology leader to handle the health insurance overhaul, Associated Press reported.

The technology expert will have a lot to accomplish in a very short window of time. The next health care open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act begins on Nov. 15, and the last thing that HHS needs is to have a repeat of last year’s problematic launch of the Healthcare​.gov website on Oct. 1. Even though the website managed to be working reasonably well by the end of November, management consultant Jeff Zients and his website “rescue” team said they found hundreds of software bugs and insufficient computing equipment. Zients also blamed “inadequate management oversight” that got in the way of identifying and fixing problems.

Don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight? If you are a client of financial planner Joe Clark, you don’t need to call out for pizza — he will prepare a meal for you in your home.

Clark, managing partner of Financial Enhancement Group in Anderson, Ind., has become somewhat of a celebrity for cooking dinner in clients’ homes once or twice a month. As he rustles up his signature dish – chicken marsala with fettuccine – he answers clients’ questions and gets to know them better. His unusual approach to client relationships has been the subject of a Wall Street Journal article. Clark describes putting together a successful retirement strategy as having much in common with creating a delicious meal.

Begin with the end in mind, envisioning how the final result will look (and taste), then take the steps necessary to get there. If you make a mistake, you either have to make adjustments or deal with the consequences. But the consequences of bad retirement planning are much more serious than those of a meal gone bad, Clark pointed out.

“You can throw away a bad meal and order pizza,” he said. “You only get one shot at retirement.”

And, speaking of retirement, here’s the answer to the question: “Which people are really the happiest in retirement?”

Financial advisor Wes Koss, author of You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees, told USA Today that happy retirees have a few key characteristics in common.

Happy retirees retire early, at age 62 or earlier if they can afford it. Meanwhile, they have managed to get their debt under control, particularly getting their mortgage paid off. Happy retirees also have multiple income sources – at least three, including Social Security, pension, part-time work, rental income, other government benefits and investment income. Finally, a happy retiree doesn’t have only one hobby; the happiest retirees have an average of 3.6 core pursuits, which Koss described as “hobbies on steroids.” (Think of any activity that you can describe with the word “avid,” such as avid golfing, avid running…even avid quilting.)

Managing three or more multiple income sources? Getting that mortgage paid off early? Pursuing more than three avid hobbies? Sounds like that “happy retirement” could be a lot of work!

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Susan Rupe is assistant editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Connect with Susan →

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