Financial Matters

How Much Do You Really Know About Long-Term Care?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2018 in blog page | Comments Off on How Much Do You Really Know About Long-Term Care?

Separating some eldercare facts from some eldercare myths.

 

How much does eldercare cost, and how do you arrange it when it is needed? The average person might have difficulty answering those two questions, for the answers are not widely known. For clarification, here are some facts to dispel some myths.

 

True or false: Medicare will pay for your mom or dad’s nursing home care.

FALSE, because Medicare is not long-term care insurance.1

Part A of Medicare will pay the bill for up to 20 days of skilled nursing facility care – but after that, you or your parents may have to pay some costs out-of-pocket. After 100 days, Medicare will not pay a penny of nursing home costs – it will all have to be paid out-of-pocket, unless the patient can somehow go without skilled nursing care for 60 days or 30 days including a 3-day hospital stay. In those instances, Medicare’s “clock” resets.2 (more…)

The Major 2018 Federal Tax Changes

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in blog page | Comments Off on The Major 2018 Federal Tax Changes

Comparing the old rules with the new.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made dramatic changes to federal tax law. It is worth reviewing some of these changes as 2019 approaches and households and businesses refine their income tax strategies.

Income tax brackets have changed. The old 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6% brackets have been restructured to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. These new percentages are slated to apply through 2025. Here are the thresholds for these brackets in 2018.1,2 (more…)

Keeping This Correction in Perspective

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in blog page | Comments Off on Keeping This Correction in Perspective

After 20 months of relative calm, this volatility needs to be taken in stride.

 

Are you upset by what is happening on Wall Street? It may help to see this pullback within a big-picture context. Corrections have become so rare as of late that when one occurs, emotion threatens to influence investment decisions.

So far, February has been a rough month for equities. At the close on February 8, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was officially in correction territory after a slide occurred, which included two 1,000-point descents within four days. Additionally, nearly every U.S. equity index had lost 7% or more in the past five trading sessions.1,2

This drop is troubling, yes – but not as unsettling as it may first seem. The market has been up for so long that it is easy to dismiss the reality of its occasional downs. Last year’s quiet trading climate could legitimately be characterized as “abnormal.” (more…)

The Importance of a Life Insurance Audit

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The Importance of a Life Insurance Audit

Is it time to review your policy?

Life insurance is hard. It’s hard to know if you have the right kind. It’s hard to know if you have enough. And it’s hard to know if you need any at all.

The insurance companies have made it even harder by coming up with bewildering names: whole life, term life, universal life. Some life insurance policies have a cash value, while others do not. Some invest that cash value in the stock market, while others pay a fixed rate of interest.  Some insurance policies combine all of these ideas.

A recent study by life insurance advocacy group LIMRA discovered that 80% of Americans overestimate the cost of affordable term life insurance – especially millennials, some of whom think the premiums are 200% higher than they really are. How much would a healthy 30-year-old pay per year to keep up a 20-year, $250,000 term life policy? When LIMRA posed that question to consumers, the median response was $400. In reality, the annual premiums are commonly less than $200.1,2 (more…)

Refrain from Tapping Your Retirement Funds

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Refrain from Tapping Your Retirement Funds

Resist the temptation. Your future self will thank you.  

Retirement accounts are not bank accounts. Nor should they be treated as such. When retirement funds are drawn down, they impede the progress of retirement planning, even if the money is later restored.

In a financial crush, a retirement account may seem like a great source of funds. It is often much larger than a savings account; it is technically not a liquid asset, but it can easily be mistaken for one.

The central problem is this: when you take a loan or an early distribution from an IRA or a workplace retirement plan, you are borrowing from your future self. In fact, you may effectively be borrowing more money from your future than you think. Even if you put every dollar you take out back into the account, you are robbing those dollars you removed of the tax-deferred growth and compounding they could have realized while invested. (more…)

Avoiding the Cybercrooks

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Avoiding the Cybercrooks

How can you protect yourself against ransomware, phishing, and other tactics? 

Imagine finding out that your computer has been hacked. The hackers leave you a message: if you want your data back, you must pay them $300 in bitcoin. This was what happened to hundreds of thousands of PC users in May 2017 when they were attacked by the WannaCry malware, which exploited security flaws in Windows.

How can you plan to avoid cyberattacks and other attempts to take your money over the Internet? Be wary, and if attacked, respond quickly. (more…)

Life Insurance Products with Long Term Care Riders

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Life Insurance Products with Long Term Care Riders

Are they worthwhile alternatives to traditional LTC policies?

 

The price of long-term care insurance has really gone up. If you are a baby boomer and you have kept your eye on it for a few years, chances are you have noticed this. Last year, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) noted that married 60-year-olds would pay between $2,000-3,500 annually in premiums for a standalone LTC policy.1

Changing demographics and low interest rates have prompted major insurers to stop offering LTC coverage. As the AALTCI notes, the number of LTC policies sold in this country fell from 750,000 in 2000 to 105,000 in 2015. Not all insurers offer these policies. The demand for the coverage remains, however – and in response, insurance providers have introduced new options.1,2 (more…)

A Primer for Estate Planning

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on A Primer for Estate Planning

Things to check and double-check.                                                                                                              

Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning.

Create a will if you don’t have one. Many people never get around to creating a will, not even buying a will-in-a-box at a stationery store or setting one up online. (more…)

General Information on 401(k) Plans for Employees

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on General Information on 401(k) Plans for Employees

This may be one of the best things you can do for your financial health.

If you had a chance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time at no great cost to your lifestyle or your monthly budget, would you take it? An easy-to-use retirement savings option that might go a long way to giving your retirement savings a boost? Look at what the standard 401(k) can offer you.

Tax-deferred growth. The money you save and invest in a traditional 401(k) grows without being taxed. You only pay taxes on it when it is withdrawn.1

Compounding. As the years go by, your untaxed, invested savings have the potential to grow exponentially. If you contribute $5,000 to a 401(k) for 35 straight years and your account earns 9% a year, you could wind up with almost $1.1 million at the end of that 35-year period.1 (more…)

The Real Cost of College

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The Real Cost of College

It may not be what you think. 

How much will your family end up paying for college? Your household’s income may have less influence than you think – and some private colleges may be cheaper than you assume.

Private schools sometimes extend the best aid offers. Yes – it is true that the more money you earn and the more assets you have in a tax-advantaged college savings plan, the harder it becomes to qualify for financial aid. Merit aid is another matter, however; most private colleges and universities that boast major endowment funds that support healthy merit-based aid packages. (more…)