Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 17, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page A:9

Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 17, 2021 9 Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 17, 2021 9 

Dear Savvy Senior:
I’m 58 years old and working on a plan for my retirement. 
I’ve read that I need to check my Social Security 
statement every year to validate its accuracy. How do 
I go about doing this? Planning Ahead 

Dear Planning:
Checking your official Social Security statement every year is smart move to make sure your posted 
earnings are correct, which will ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to. But most Americans 
don’t do it. In fact, most U.S workers have never even created a digital “my Social Security 
account” so they can access their statement information. Here’s what you should know. 

Online Statements 
In 2017, as a cost cutting measure, the Social Security Administration stopped mailing paper Social 
Security statements to everyone under age 60. 

The only people who still get statements in the mail are those over age 60 who aren’t yet getting 
benefits and who haven’t set up an online account. (Paper statements, however, are still available 
to anyone on request by submitting form SSA-7004.) 

If you haven’t done so, you should create a “my Social Security account” which will give you instant 
access to your personal Social Security statement so you can check your earning record and get 
estimates of your future retirement benefits at full retirement age, as well as at age 62 and age 70. 
Your statement will also let you know how much you would qualify for if you become disabled, 
and how much your family members will receive in survivors benefits if you die. 

How to Create an Account? 
To create a “my Social Security account,” go to When you open the account, 
you’ll be asked to enter your Social Security number and birth date, and you’ll also be prompted 
to answer a series of multiple-choice questions that might include inquiries about financial products 
you own and previous addresses to confirm your identity. Then you’ll receive a code by either 
email or text, which you will enter online to complete the process. 

If you have a problem creating an online account, call 800-772-1213. After you establish an account, 
you’ll get an annual email reminder to log on and review your statement. 

If you have a security freeze on your credit report to help ward off fraud, you must lift it temporarily 
to set up your online Social Security account. Specifically, you’ll need to thaw the freeze at 
Equifax, the company the administration currently uses to help verify users’ identities. 

Creating an online account is also a good idea to prevent someone else from fraudulently creating 
one first and using it to steal benefit payments in the future. Given the number of security breaches 
in recent years, it’s possible someone may be able to illegally obtain your sensitive personal information, 
like your Social Security number, and use it to set up an account in your name. 

Once you get access to your statement, compare the earnings listed on your statement with your 
own tax records or W-2 statements. You have to correct errors within 3 years, 3 months and 15 
days following the year of the mistake. If you happen to spot a discrepancy within that time limit, 
call 800-772-1213 to report the error. Some corrections can be made over the phone, or you may 
need to schedule an appointment and go in with copies of your W-2 forms or tax returns to prove 
the mistake, or you can mail it in.

 Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” 



Since the age of 16, when 

expense that can result when you leave control over 
she burst onto the charts 

your life in the hands of the court like Britney did. 

with her debut single, “...

Hit Me Baby One More 

Planning For Incapacity: Where to Start 
Time,” Britney Spears has 

When planning for your potential incapacity, the 
been one of the world’s 

first thing to ask yourself is, “If I’m ever incapacitated 
most famous pop stars. Yet despite her massive fame 

and unable to care for myself, who would I want to 
and fortune, Britney, who is now 39, has never truly had 

make decisions on my behalf?” Specifically, you’ll be 
full control over her own life. 

selecting the person, or persons, you want to make your 
As most familiar with pop culture know by now, 

healthcare, financial, and legal decisions for you until 
Britney has been living under a conservatorship for 

you either recover or pass away. 
the past 13 years. Also known as “adult guardianship,” 

 The most important thing to remember is that you 
a conservatorship is a legal structure in which the 

must choose someone. Like we’ve seen with Britney, if 
court granted Britney’s father, Jaime Spears, and other 

you don’t legally name someone to make these decisions 
individuals nearly complete control over her legal, 

during your incapacity, the court will choose someone 
financial, and personal decisions. The conservatorship 

for you. And this is where things can get extremely 
was initially established in February 2008 after Britney 

difficult for you and your loved ones. 

suffered a mental breakdown, which resulted in her 

being briefly hospitalized. 

A Comprehensive Incapacity PlanFortunately, such turmoil can be easily avoided through 

proper estate planning. Determining which estate 
The court appointed Britney’s father and attorney 

A Total Loss of Control 

planning strategies you should use to grant and guide 
Andrew Wallet as her co-conservators, deeming Britney 

this decision-making authority depends entirely on 
mentally unfit to care for herself. The arrangement was 

your personal circumstances. There are several options 
only meant to be temporary, but in October of that year, 

available but choosing what’s best for you is something 
the conservatorship was made long-term, and her father 

you should ultimately decide after consulting with 
has remained in nearly complete control of Britney’s life 

an experienced lawyer because there are many 
ever since. 

considerations beyond simply whether to “pull the 
Under the conservatorship, Britney’s father has the 

plug”, including how to handle such matters in the event 
power to restrict her visitors; he oversees arranging and 

of a pregnancy, whether to keep providing hydration 
approving her visits with her own children; he has the 

and nutrition (and, if so, what kind), and even how 
authority to make her medical decisions; and he has the 

to determine incapacity in the first place. These, and 
final say in all her business deals, including when she 

other factors, are not typically addressed in a standard 
works, and complete authority over all of her financial 

advance health care directive. 
As it stands now, Britney’s current mental-health status 

Timing Is Everything 
remains unclear, and we can’t be sure whether or not she 

Keep in mind that your incapacity plan must be created 
still requires someone to help her manage her financial 

well before you become incapacitated. You must be able 
and business affairs. But what is abundantly clear is 

to clearly express your wishes and consent for your 
that given the chance, Britney would have undoubtedly 

planning documents to be valid, and even slight levels 
preferred to have some say in not only who should be 

of mental illness or dementia could get them thrown out 
in charge of making decisions on her behalf during 

of court. 
her incapacity, but also how those decisions should be 

 Plus, as mentioned earlier, an unforeseen accident or 

illness could strike at any time no matter your age, so 
Yet because Britney did not create legal documents 

don’t wait to get your incapacity plan started. 

indicating who should make decisions for her if she 

could not make decisions for herself, a judge decided 

Finally, it’s vital that you regularly review and update 
for her—and this has resulted in immense trauma for 

your plan to keep pace with changes to your life, 
Britney and destroyed her relationship with her father. 

family dynamics, and the law. If any of the individuals 
you’ve named becomes unable or unwilling to serve 

Let Britney’s Story Be a Lesson 

for whatever reason, you’ll need to revise your plan 
Although Britney’s story is certainly tragic and we don’t 


know how it will ultimately play out, her case has at least 

shined a spotlight on the potential for abuse that exists 

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission 
within the conservatorship and guardianship system. 

to help parents protect what they love most. Schedule 
Whether it’s mental illness, age-related dementia, or 

an appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring 
a serious accident, we are all powerless to prevent the 

a legacy of love and financial security for your family 
potential for incapacity. However, with the proper estate 

by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for 
planning, you can at least have control over how your 

more information. 

life, healthcare, and assets will be managed if something 

does happen. Moreover, such planning can also prevent 

your family from enduring the bitter conflict and 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …July Birthdays*

V,Nina Bartolai, Mary Lou Caldwell, Louise Neiby, Betty Hansen, Christine 
Durfort, Shahrzad Azrani, Jeanne Borgedahl, Janet Cox, Dorothy Montgomery, Bess 
Pancoska, Janet Swanson, Linda Thunes, Barbara Watson, Pat Alcorn, Karma Bell, 
Alice Clark, Dorothy Jerneycic, and Betty Dos Remedios

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required 


Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 amChair yoga with Paul is coming back! Class be held in the Covered Pavilion in Memorial 
Park in front of the Senior Center. Please join us for some gentle stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall 
relaxation. Classes will maintain a distance of 6 ft between participants. ALL participants must be wearing 
masks for the duration of the class. All equipment used will be sanitized after each use before it is stored. Each 
participant is responsible for providing their own water, masks and needed equipment or supplies for each class. 
Class size is limited so please call 264-8923 to reserve your spot. 


If you are in need of assistance with your 2020 taxes please know that help is a phone call away. Don Brunner, Tax 
Saver, is not accepting in person consultations at the moment but available for a phone or email consult. Please 
call him at 626-447-8829 or email 


Have you ever thought about trying your hand at writing? Do you have an idea for a book and no idea how to 
begin? This program may be for you! Katy Nishimoto, Senior Editor with Random House, has graciously volunteered 
her time to lead this incredible writers workshop for seniors. Program participants will be given a prompt, 
a 10 minute writing task and a group reading. Discussions, readings and feedback to help guide your creative 
thinking into creative writing. If you have interest in writing nonfiction, a memoir, fiction or poetry then please 
call or email today to reserve your spot. Class will be limited to 10 participants. No writing skills or experience is 
required. Call Lawren Heinz at 626-355-7394 to reserve your spot and receive class information. 


Tuesday, May 18 at 11:00 am Join Lawren in making a delightful, colorful and artistic nail polish marbled mug! 
All supplies will be provided for you and we will meet in the Hart Park House patio. Please wear clothes you don’t 
mind getting nail polish on. To reserve your spot or ask questions please call Lawren Heinz at (626) 355-7394 or 
send an email to 


 Do you have any ideas for programming? Is there a class or club you would like to see in our Senior Commu

nity? Please call or email Lawren Heinz with ideas or questions. 626-355-5278 x 704 lheinz@cityofsierramadre. 


 City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engage

ment and interfacing less with the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media re

sponses are being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner. If at any time additional information 

is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a 

– 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate per-son. For messages that may trickle in 
otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the Community Services Department, 
(626) 355-5278 x702. 

The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of COVID-19 

and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. City staff are 

monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement and practic

ing social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses are 

being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner.

If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 

355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate 


For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the 

Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.

Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging com

munity members.

If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, and 

to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included on an email 

group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members: Lawren Heinz Lheinz@ and Clarissa Lowe
City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include updates 
as details becomes available. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


When it comes to flowers, I am 

"See," I heard her say very lovingly, "I told you that it 
the epitome of naivety. I have no 

wouldn't hurt. So now you're going to look a lot more 
expertise whatsoever in the plant 

world. All I see are red, blue and 

At the time, I did not want to know what in the world 


was going on. I could not even imagine who she was 
Don't get me wrong here; I enjoy flowers. However, 

talking to and what was going on. 
when it comes to names, I am off the planet. I don't 

My dilemma was, shall I walk away and pretend I 

need to know the name of a flower to really enjoy that 

haven’t heard anything? Or, should I go out and find 

flower. Instead, I enjoy the fragrance and the optics of 

out for myself what was going on? 

a row of flowers. 
I have the philosophy that once you step into a puddle 

If I had to take care of flowers, they wouldn't last 

of water, you can never unstep. 

more than 24 hours. Just because you like something 
doesn't mean you know how to take care of 

Then I heard, “Don’t worry, little friend, I’ll get to you 

On the other side of this marital relationship, the Gra-

At this point, I've had enough. No matter what it cost 
cious Mistress of the Parsonage is quite the expert 

me, I was going to find out what was going on. 
when it comes to plant life and developing flowers. 

I opened the door and stepped out on to the porch, 

She grew up on a farm, and her father was a farmer, so 

and said, "Who are you talking to?" 

she understands how to take care of plants. 
She looked at me, gave me one of her contagious 

Being the gracious husband that I am, I give her plen

smiles, and said, "I'm talking to my flowers. Aren't 

ty of space in this area. However, I know what I should 

they beautiful?" 

stay away from, and this is one of them. 
Being a husband for as long as I have been, I know 

I know that if one of her flowers wasn't going the way 

what it's like to be in a position where you don't know 

she wanted it to, she would not be a happy planter. So, 

what to say. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. 

to encourage her in this realm, I stay away from the 
flowers. Instead, I admire them from afar and comple-

For anybody to talk to flowers was pretty silly as far as 
ment my wife on their beauty. That gives me a few ku-

I was concerned. 
dos, and I need as many as I can get. 

After a short pause, I responded, "Do they ever talk 
A couple of weeks ago, as I passed the glass door that 

goes out into the porch area, I heard my wife talking. 

Laughing for a moment, she replied, "Silly boy, they're 

Not wanting to interfere, I assumed she was talking to 

flowers, and flowers don't talk." 

our neighbors. That happens quite a bit. I'm not saying 
it's in the area of "gossip," but it comes very close. 

She then went back to her flowers, and I could hear 
her still talking to them. Evidently, her talking to 

I just wrote that off and continued my day. The next 

them was working out because all of the flowers were 

day I heard the same thing, but I couldn't un-derstand 

blooming quite beautifully. 

what she was saying; I just assumed she was, again, 
talking with our neighbor. 

I went back to my office and began reflecting on this. 
I can understand talking to a dog or a cat or even a 

This happened quite a few times and I, being of the 

horse. But when you talk to a flower, it just doesn't 

curiosity strain of humanity, wanted to know who she 

make sense to me. 

was talking to and what they were talking about. 
On further reflection, if talking to flowers is beneficial 

I don’t gossip, but I sure do like to hear gossip to know 

to their growth, who in the world am I to question 

what in the world is going on. 

that. The end result is the flower, and that's what we 
Trying to listen, I heard her say, "Oh, you look so 

beautiful today." 

As I was pondering this, I decided to look up some 
That caught my attention. I've never heard the neigh-

Scripture along this line, and I found one that blessed 
bors talk about being beautiful. So I just shrugged it 

my heart. "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of 
off as neighborhood nonsense. 

the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle 
is heard in our land” (Song of Solomon 2:12). 

A day later, as I was passing the door, I heard her say, 
"Don't you worry about the rain. I'll take care of you." 

I guess from my wife’s point of view, the delicacy and 
fragrance of a blossoming flower are in the voice that 

Then she said something curious, "I'll be careful, and 

comforts it. When God speaks to me, I also blossom. 

promise this will not hurt; it is something that I need 
to do." 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 
1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 

Then I heard, clip, clip, clip. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: