The Balancing Act Lifetime Interviews Athene Annuity & Life Assurance

The Balancing Act Lifetime

The Balancing Act Lifetime

As part of the Family Health Series on The Balancing Act Lifetime, we’re going to explore new areas of interest – Your financial health.  Are you saving money?  Are you financially ready for retirement?  It is the single biggest challenge facing Americans right now; and to get as pointed in the right direction, we’re pleased to be joined this morning by Chris Grady, Executive Vice President at Athene Annuity & Life Assurance. 

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Hey Chris, good morning to you.

Chris Grady: Hi there. How are you?

The Balancing Act Lifetime: I’m good.  So, let’s start off by acknowledging that subject we’re going to discuss can be uncomfortable or confusing for some.  But, I think we should just delve into this. In these tough times, it is hard for a lot of people to save.  Especially for retirement.  What do you suggest, for people who would like to prepare themselves?

Chris Grady: Yes, retirement is critical; because many people are going to spend more time retired than working.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: That’s a great point.

Chris Grady: If you don’t prepare and get ready for retirement, that amount of gap that you’re going to have when you do retire, is going to be a big problem.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Such a great point.

Chris Grady: One way to handle retirement is to treat it like you were going to budget for a car.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Ok.

Chris Grady: Let’s say you were going to save for your retirement.  Pretend that you’re trying to buy a car; and instead, put aside $200 per month.  Just save your money like it’s a budget.  Another great key is to think about retirement is to treat it as not just an accumulation of money; but, rather, how much money you’re going to need to pay your bills.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: I think those are great points.  Here’s another thought that I’d like your input on:  More Americans, are living longer than ever before; therefore, we can assume that one may be alive longer in retirement, than ever before.   What are the methods that people typically use for saving?

Most people say to themselves, “Oh, I have Social Security” and then “I might have a little retirement plan at work”.  Well, if you think about Social Security for the average American, Social Security will only replace 20 to 25 percent of your earned income.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: That’s it?

Chris Grady: That’s it.  And then you have your retirement and that might replace 5 or 10 percent.  So, the person that’s making $50,000 a year from their employer plan or from the government plan, you might only get half of that.  And if I asked anybody how would you like a 50 percent cut in pay?  And continue to live, it’s not easy.  So we think that filling that gap is critical.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: So let me ask you this, then.  How do we know if we are saving enough money to retire the way we want, to kind of live at the same lifestyle we did when we were working?

Chris Grady: Everybody’s needs, goals, and wants are different.  So, this is what’s critical.  You have to evaluate what’s really a “need”.  For example, your mortgage payment or your health care bill.  And then determine what your “wants” are.  Do you want to pay for your grandchild’s college?  Or do you want to donate money to charity.  So you’ve got to add the 2 up.  You’ve got to figure out how much that is going to be a month and then you’ve got to prepare for having a solution that’s going to provide that income.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: I want to get into the tax issue, here, right now; because, how does that affect the way people are preparing and saving for retirement?

Chris Grady: Many people save for retirement with what I would call “incorrect products”.  In other words, the government has already created incentives for annuities and they actually give benefits to annuities and 401k tax benefits.  And these products are designed for retirement solutions.  Many other products are more designed for “Oh, I’ll pay for college with that money.”  Or, “I’ll pay for a new house or a vacation with that money.”  That’s not what the retirement money is for.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Ok.  So let me ask you this, then.  What is the biggest tip you would give to people who are tuning in, if you had to summarize everything into just one?

Chris Grady: Take control of your retirement.  That’s what i would say.  Evaluate it and treat it like it’s an important bill.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: And would you also say the earlier the better?

Chris Grady: The earlier the better.  It’s never too early to start.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Never too late either – huh?

Chris Grady: And it’s never too late.  So the key is there are solutions for everybody, regardless of where you are in the life cycle.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Well, great information.  It was great to meet you.

Chris Grady: Oh great to meet you.

The Balancing Act Lifetime: Such great information on how we can make smart decisions for our retirement and our finances.  And to learn more about retirement income planning go to and be sure to click into the consumer education section as well, a lot of great information there.

Now in its fifth year, The Balancing Act Lifetime endures in enabling women, in all aspects of their lives. The aim at The Balancing Act Lifetime is simple – It strives to benefit today’s contemporary woman “balance it all”, by bringing them outstanding resolutions to everyday issues.  Viewers can watch America’s foremost morning show The Balancing Act Lifetime weekday mornings on Lifetime television at 7 am (ET/PT).


Weight Loss Secrets Revealed in BrandStar Entertainment Interview

BrandStar Entertainment

BrandStar Entertainment

Weight Loss. It’s a topic and concern women take seriously, and why not? We want to look and feel our very best, right ladies? But where do you turn when the battle to lose extra pounds and inches becomes a losing one? BrandStar Entertainment ® spoke with a guest who knows a four-hundred year old weight loss secret she wants to share with us. Her name is Julia Lundstrom, CEO of Okuma Nutritionals.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: Good morning.

Julia Lundstrom: Good morning.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: It’s nice to have you here.

Julia Lundstrom: Thank you for having me.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: Ok, whenever I hear the word, “secret”, I’m all ears. Our ladies out there all want to know – what is the secret to slim down?

Julia Lundstrom: Very, very appealing, always, these secrets.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: Yes.

Julia Lundstrom: This one actually has been around for probably more than four hundred years and a billion people know it, just not here in the United States. It is tea. Tea is a weight loss secret and they drink it in China. They’ve been drinking it for thousands of years; but recently, we have discovered that tea actually can help you lose weight.

BrandStar Entertainment ®:  When I go to the market, there are just so many teas to choose from. Which is the best one for you – you know – that consistently help you lose weight and burn fat?

Julia Lundstrom: Actually, there are only three real types of tea. Most people don’t know this. All the other teas that you see out there are herbs or they’re a spin-off of these three types of teas. You have your black teas, your green teas and what most people have never heard of in this country – “Oolong” or “Wu-long” tea. Wu-long is the tea that is specific for weight loss.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: We hear a lot of the health benefits when it comes to green tea. Wu-long: Is it better for burning fat and losing inches?

Julia Lundstrom: It absolutely is. Because we only have three main types of tea, they all come from one tea leaf. That one tea leaf is fermented in different ways. You have black tea, which is fully fermented. The second, green tea, is non-fermented. Oolong is a semi-fermented tea. That fermentation process brings out a couple different compounds that help raise your metabolism and help you lose weight.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: A lot of my friends tell me I have problems with my metabolism – that I can’t get it going.

Julia Lundstrom: That’s what Oolong tea does. It raises your metabolism, up to 12 percent higher in twenty four hours. Think how many calories you’ll burn, raising your metabolism that much.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: A lot of women suffer from “Yo-Yo dieting”. They lose weight and then they gain some back. They keep going up and down that roller coaster. Does Wu-long help stop that ride?

Julia Lundstrom: There is no such thing as a magic pill; we don’t claim that this is a magic pill. What we do encourage people is that this is a great addition to any diet and exercise program. If you’re on a program where you’re going to lose a few pounds, this will help accelerate that loss. Don’t forget, it did take a long time to put those pounds on. It will take a long time to take them off. This is such a great benefit, not only for the weight loss, but for a variety of antioxidant effects. Wu-long helps your skin look better as well as strengthening your teeth.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: While we continue to talk, I’m going to pour us both a cup of tea, since you brought the tea bags with you. Is there a time that you suggest our viewers for having the tea? Is it better to having in the morning or at night?

Julia Lundstrom: The English drink tea in the afternoons, but we suggest taking the tea fifteen minutes before breakfast and lunch. What that will do is help satiate your appetite. It will fill you up and boost your metabolism at the same time. By the time you actually eat, that food is going to go through your system faster.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: You know, everyone in this country drinks coffee. Does coffee actually speed up your metabolism?

Julia Lundstrom: Absolutely. Caffeine will speed up your metabolism, but the problem with caffeine is you get that instant jolt and soon after, you crash. Like I said, only one cup of Oolong can actually boost your metabolism all the way through a twenty-four hour period of time. If you think about it: who really drinks just a black cup of coffee? Do you put sugar in your coffee?

BrandStar Entertainment ®: You have no idea! I put cream, sugar and everything else in my coffee.

Julia Lundstrom: Exactly. So, some of those coffee drinks can contain up to six hundred calories. That should be a third of your calorie intake in a day. So, we encourage and challenge viewers at home to take a look at their coffee intake.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: What do you suggest doing, instead?

Julia Lundstrom: We encourage everyone to swap out their coffee for our Oolong tea for at least thirty days. If you accept the challenge, tell us how you feel and how much weight you’ve lost. We want you to really get on board with this because we are going to give twenty percent off to everyone who orders today.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: Did you hear that? Viewers at home can use the promo code provided and save twenty percent off of the entire order. And if you’re not a tea drinker and are not crazy about tea, in general, Julia has great little capsules that’ll do the same thing. Can you tell our viewers about it?

Julia Lundstrom: Sure. We have taken our tea and created a concentrated capsule form. There are no additives; nothing but tea. You will actually get almost four hundred percent more of the compound to lose weight. It’s a very convenience way to get your dose of Oolong. If you don’t like tea or you are on the go, the capsules are a great alternative to have on hand.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: I would love to try them as well. Can I?

Julia Lundstrom: Absolutely.

BrandStar Entertainment ®: We appreciate it, Julia. If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of Wu-Long Tea for better health, including slimming down and shaping up, visit

BrandStar Entertainment ® produces shows that offer a fresh approach to current topics and give a new spin on morning television. BrandStar Entertainment ® is the first production company to earn the WomenCertified® Seal. If you would like to learn more about BrandStar Entertainment ®, visit