Simple Debt Managing Strategies For Seniors

As seniors near their retirement years, it is important to have more financial freedom in order to have a worry-free retirement. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many especially with the current state of the economy. There are a significant amount of seniors who are currently struggling with all types of debt that turns retirement into a concern rather than something to look forward to. As most would agree, this is a period in one’s life that should be enjoyable and stress-free.

Here are simple strategies to help you save more and owe less:

1. Live within your means. Do not spend on non-essential items if you can’t afford it. The reason why a lot people are in debt is that most people live beyond their means. Some are even spending their money even before receiving it.

2. Higher priority on higher interest rate credit cards. Be sure to prioritize paying off your credit card balances, starting with the one with the highest interest rate. Even though the balance is relatively small, all the interest will add-up and you might end up paying more on interest than your original balance.

3. Pay more than the minimum. Credit card companies will require you to pay only the minimum amount due. If you follow this, it will not only take you a longer time to pay-off the entire balance, but you will also end up paying a large amount in interest.

4. Reverse Mortgage. If your age is 62 years or older, you might want to consider this type of mortgage rather than using a standard home loan or a home equity line of credit. For seniors, incurring more debt with a conventional loan may not be the best option, as you one will be required to make payments to the bank every month.

A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan that allows seniors to convert a portion of the equity of their home into cash. As a result, you will you have the option of getting the money monthly or in lump sum without having to repay the loan. The debt will be paid upon death or when you sell or move to another house. To learn more about this, read 10 Things to Know About Reverse Mortgage. We highly suggest that you talk to your Financial Adviser or a Reverse Mortgage specialist for more information.

5. Downsize. This can be another realistic option. You can sell your current house and move to a smaller house that is less expensive. This will also allow you to use the money from the sale of your current home to pay off your debts.

You might also be interested to read Downsizing Tips for Seniors.

6. Life Insurance Settlement. If you are in financial distress and seriously need money, you might want to consider a Life Insurance Settlement. It is a financial transaction, which allows you, the insured, to receive an immediate payout higher than the cash surrender value offered by your life insurance company. You can do this by selling your life insurance policy to a third party at fair market value. To explore this option, please be sure to talk to your financial advisor that has a good understanding of life insurance policy options.

7. Use Generic Drugs. As we all know, prescription drugs are not cheap and the prices have been increasing significantly over the past years. You will be surprised that you can actually save anywhere from 30 to 60 percent compared to buying brand name drugs. To learn more about Generic Drugs, read 10 Things to Know About Generic Drugs. Click here to check generic drug approvals.

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Using Drugs to Quit Smoking

It has been established by the medical fraternity the world over that nicotine dependency is detrimental to your health, and this is the foremost reason that many smokers want to quit smoking. Quitting isn’t easy for most people and often they make several attempts before they finally kicking the smoking habit, but many fail even after repeated attempts.

There are a wide range of strategies and products available to help you quit smoking, but there is no fixed ‘cure’ that works for everyone. While some people manage to quit using behavioural modification therapy, some use nicotine replacements (such as chewing gum, lozenges, sprays, patches, etc.), and some manage to quit without the use of any products or techniques, commonly referred to as going ‘cold turkey’.

There also been a plethora of medical products that have become available to help smokers wean off the habit. Of course none of the drugs guarantee that you will quit smoking, but they can help increase the possibility. For people who’ve been unsuccessful using other methods, stop smoking drugs such as ‘Zyban’ or ‘Chantix’ could be the answer.

The Role of Dopamine in Smoking Addiction:
Nicotine is known to activate a similar ‘reward system’ associated with other drugs such as amphetamine or cocaine, albeit as a lesser level. According to research, nicotine works by increasing dopamine levels (a chemical in the brain which is responsible for ‘well-being’ and ‘pleasure’ feelings), and since the nicotinic effect wears off quite soon, a smoker feels the urge to smoke again. Varenicline Tartrate works by blocking nicotine from activating the nicotine receptors, thereby preventing dopamine stimulation. Bupropion Hydrochloride inhibits the reuptake of dopamine (amongst other chemicals found in the brain), and this results in the availability of more dopamine in the system.

Varenicline Tartrate (Chantix):
Chantix has received the American FDA’s approval and is made available to adults who want to quit smoking, although one needs a prescription for this drug that was introduced into the market by Pfizer Inc. Chantix has no nicotine, but is known to act upon the brain receptors which come into play when nicotine enters the system. The use of Chantix starts a week before the smoker stops smoking, and the general course runs for about twelve weeks. It can have a relatively high cost, but of course the cost of Chantix pales in comparison to the savings that would result if you do manage to successfully kick the smoking habit.

Effects of the Chantix Drug:
Chantix is known to stimulate areas in the brain referred to as ‘nicotinic acetylcholine receptors’ which are influenced by nicotine. This, in turn, produces an effect similar to that produced by nicotine. Additionally, Chantix can also help override the effects produced by nicotine when a smoker smokes after being on this medication. Since Chantix is designed to activate a smoker’s nicotine receptors partially, it can help in reducing the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that are generally linked with quitting smoking. And since it also brings down the sense of satisfaction that smoking produces, it can also help prevent chances of a relapse. A large number of Chantix users are of the opinion that while on Chantix smoking is nowhere near as pleasurable as it used to be.

Possible Side Effects of Using Chantix:
The side effects associated with the use of Chantix can include a change in dreaming patterns, constipation, gas, nausea, and vomiting. Chantix is not recommended to people who suffer from any chronic medical condition and isn’t recommended for women who are either pregnant or breast-feeding.

Bupropion Hydrochloride (Zyban, Wellbutrin)
Commonly referred to as Bupropion Zyban and Bupropion Wellbutrin, this is a drug that is generally used to treat depression. However, this drug has also been successfully used by people trying to quit smoking. Often referred to as generic ‘Zyban’ and ‘Wellbutrin’, these are actually brand names of the generic drug Bupropion Hydrochloride. Also, while this drug is not recommended to all smokers who need help in quitting smoking, it can help in reducing the discomforts that are linked with the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine dependency. At times, it is prescribed to people who have failed in their previous quit smoking attempts.

When this drug is used to quit smoking, a 150 mg dose is taken once a day for around three days, and if the patient is able to tolerate the dose, then the dosage is subsequently increased. After being on this drug for two weeks, the patient is asked to discontinue smoking. And even though one can buy Zyban online, seeking a doctor’s advice before walking this path is always suggested.

Contraindications:
The use of this drug is not suggested to people who suffer from eating disorders (anorexia & bulimia), to people who suffer from epilepsy, to people who use MAO inhibitors (psychosis drugs), and to people who have recently stopped using ethanol and/or sedatives such as Valium and Xanax. It should be used with particular care (and preferably under medical supervision) in people who use drugs to minimize the risk of seizures (these include all drugs under the phenothiazine class, as well as chlorpromazine and prochlorperazine). Using this drug is not recommended if you have just stopped drinking as well.

Zyban/Wellbutrin Side Effects:
The side effects associated with the use of Zyban/Wellbutrin include headaches, insomnia, dizziness, dry mouth, agitation, as well as change in dietary patterns. Seizures, although uncommon, can also occur.

Conclusion:
In a recent study conducted by experts at ‘Consumer Reports’ which involved more than a thousand subjects, three different quit smoking methods were studied. These included the use of Varenicline Tartrate, Bupropion Hydrochloride, and lastly, a placebo. While the use of Varenicline Tartrate showed success in 23% of the subjects, Bupropion Hydrochloride was successful with 14% of the subjects, and the placebo helped 10% of the subjects in quitting smoking.

This only goes to show that guaranteed success cannot be expected by any quit smoking method, and one needs to figure out which method will work in each individual case. Also important to note is that experts opine that Varenicline Tartrate (Chantix) and Bupropion Hydrochloride (Zyban and Wellbutrin) should not be used together to increase the possibility of quitting smoking as this combination could be quite dangerous. And if you do intend to use either of these drugs, seeking professional medical advice at the onset in advised.

The Brands That Are Considered Generic Brand Drugs Will Be Checked by the FDA

Generic drugs are medications that are manufactured and distributed without a patent. The generic version can carry a patent on the constitution, but not the active ingredient. The history of generic drugs products began during the 1970s when Al Williams left his job as a label lines manager and began his own business called Keynote Marketing.

He manufactured 20 ‘no name’ generic drugs under an ordinary white label and sold them to grocery chains in the USA. Shortly after, the major chain stores followed suit and began introducing their own ‘white label’ products, which were made by various manufacturers.

When it comes to medication, the main criterion is that the generic must contain the exact active ingredient as the branded formula. The FDA insists that generics are compliant with the bioequivalent range of the branded version with regards to pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties. This basically means that a generic drug must be identical in its strength, intended use, method of administration, dose, safety and efficacy.

Generic medications are made available when the patent acquired by the original company has expired. When they become available to the public, competition in the market place leads to substantially cheaper prices for the generic and the original branded product. In America, it usually takes 20 years for a patent to expire.

Generics save insurance companies and patients a lot of money. As already mentioned, this is due to stiff competition among drug producers. Because there are fewer expenses in making the generic version, companies can pass these savings onto the consumer while still making a healthy profit.

Third world and other developing countries are even able to afford generics because they are so cheap. Thailand recently imported millions of blood-thinning generic tablets at a cost of only 3 (USA) cents per pill. This included shipping from the manufacturer in India.

Generic companies are able to take advantage of any preceding marketing strategies and campaigns devised for the branded drug. This will include advertising promotions, giving away free samples, and drug presentations. There are hundreds of generic drugs that have been in use for more than 10 years.

Some people are still suspicious about generics. Claims have been made that they are manufactured in sub-standard facilities, and that they are inferior to the branded versions. Neither of these statements is true. The FDA demands exactly the same requirements of all drug manufacturers, irrespective of whether they make branded products or generics.

In fact, numerous manufacturers make both generic and branded versions of drugs. According to the FDA, half of all generics are made by brand-name companies. And yet claims are still made that generics are inferior. This cannot be so because the FDA tests generics to ensure they are as effective and work just as quickly as the original brand.