Facts about Medicare Open Enrollment

Posted by on Nov 17, 2019 in Boomers. Millenials, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Life Stages, Medicare Planning, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, social security | 0 comments

How much do you know about the different coverage options?   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Medicare’s open enrollment period runs through December 7. If you are enrolling in Medicare for the first time, you will discover that it is much more complex than an employer-sponsored group health plan.1 When you are enrolled in Medicare, you pay multiple premiums for multiple types of coverage (Parts A and B as well as the Part D prescription drug plan), and unlike a group health plan, there are no caps on out-of-pocket costs and a risk that you might have to pay a hospital insurance deductible more than once per year. Original Medicare also does not cover some costs that many seniors would like to cover, such as dental and vision care expenses.2,3 This is why so many retirees decide to buy Medigap policies or enroll in comprehensive Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans – they recognize the shortcomings of original Medicare. The downside of Part C plans is that you are restricted to the doctors in their networks. Original Medicare allows you to choose any doctor that accepts Medicare (though it is smart to have a Medigap policy as well).1,3 You can freely switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another in the open enrollment period; you can also enroll in one without having to go through underwriting. If you want to move from a Part C plan back into original Medicare, you may not be able to supplement Parts A and B with a Medigap plan right away because underwriting will be required.3,4   Whether you are enrolling in Medicare for the first time or considering a change in coverage, it is vital to understand these matters. If you have questions, visit Medicare.gov or ssa.gov/medicare for more information. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-7913831 or Frederick2@gmx.us. www.moneymattersusa.net and www.wealthensure.com This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any...

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Insurance Needs for Empty Nesters and Retirees

Posted by on Nov 3, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

Thinking about coverage as you enter a new phase.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   With the children now out of the house, financial priorities become more focused on preparing for retirement. At this stage, you may very likely be at the height of your earning power and fast approaching peak savings as you lay the groundwork for retirement. During this final leg to retirement – and throughout your retirement period – wealth protection is critical. The preservation of your assets will not be solely a function of your investment strategy but will include a comprehensive insurance approach to protect you against an array of financial risks, most especially health care. In addition to wealth protection, you may also now be seriously contemplating a few important estate and legacy objectives. Home. Even though your mortgage may be paid off – thus, releasing you from the lender’s requirement to have homeowner’s insurance – it remains important to consider coverage against property loss and exposure to personal liability. Now is an ideal time to review your policy as the cost of replacing your home and belongings contained therein may have grown over the years. Also, consider an umbrella policy, which is designed to help protect against the financial risk of personal liability. Health. There are several key health insurance issues facing empty nesters and retirees. If you retire prior to age 65 when Medicare coverage is set to begin, you will need coverage to bridge the gap between when you retire and when you turn 65. If your spouse continues to work, you may want to consider getting yourself added to their plan; though, you may need to wait until the employer’s annual enrollment period. Alternatively, you may also purchase coverage through a private insurer or HealthCare.gov (or your state’s program). Once you enroll in Medicare, you should consider purchasing Part D of Medicare, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which can help you save money on prescriptions. Additionally, you may want to consider other Medigap insurance, which is designed to pay for medical care not covered by Medicare. Medigap plans are bought through private insurance companies and best purchased within the first six months of turning age 65 since no health exam is required during this period. Disability. This coverage may continue until you retire. When you stop working, you should consider canceling your disability insurance as the need for it has expired.1 Life. The financial obligations that drove your life insurance needs while you were raising a family may have evaporated. However, you may find new needs arising from estate issues, such as liquidity, creating a legacy, etc. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance,...

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Annual Financial to-Do List

Posted by on Sep 29, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

Things you can do for your future as the year unfolds.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.                         What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for the coming year? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to managing your taxes. You have plenty of choices. Here are a few ideas to consider:  Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2020, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) remains at $6,000 ($7,000 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA: singles and heads of household with MAGI above $139,000 and joint filers with MAGI above $206,000 cannot make 2020 Roth contributions.1  Before making any changes, remember that withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½. Make a charitable gift. You can claim the deduction on your tax return, provided you itemize your deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail is important here. If you give cash, you need to document it. Even small contributions need to be demonstrated by a bank record, payroll deduction record, credit card statement, or written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) does not equate a pledge with a donation. If you pledge $2,000 to a charity this year, but only end up gifting $500, you can only deduct $500.1 These are hypothetical examples and are not a replacement for real-life advice. Make certain to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional before modifying your strategy. See if you can take a home office deduction for your small business. If you are a small-business owner, you may want to investigate this. You may be able to legitimately write off expenses linked to the portion of your home used to exclusively conduct your business. Using your home office as a business expense involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward, consider working with a professional who is familiar with homebased businesses.3  Open an HSA. A Health Savings Account (HSA) works a bit like your workplace retirement account. There are also some HSA rules and limitations to consider. You are limited to a $3,550 contribution for 2020, if you are single; $7,100, if you have a spouse or...

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THAT FIRST RMD FROM YOUR IRA

Posted by on Sep 23, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement planning, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

What you need to know.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   When you reach age 70½, the Internal Revenue Service instructs you to start making withdrawals from your traditional IRA(s). These withdrawals are also called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). You will make them, annually, from now on.1 If you fail to take your annual RMD or take out less than the required amount, the I.R.S. will notice. You will not only owe income taxes on the amount not withdrawn; you will owe 50% more. (The 50% penalty can be waived if you can show the I.R.S. that the shortfall resulted from a “reasonable error” instead of negligence.)1 Many IRA owners have questions about the rules related to their initial RMDs, so let’s answer a few. How does the I.R.S. define age 70½? Its definition is straightforward. If your 70th birthday occurs in the first half of a year, you turn 70½ within that calendar year. If your 70th birthday occurs in the second half of a year, you turn 70½ during the subsequent calendar year.2 Your initial RMD must be taken by April 1 of the year after you turn 70½. All the RMDs you take in subsequent years must be taken by December 31 of each year.1 So, if you turned 70 during the first six months of 2020, then you will be 70½ by the end of 2020, and you must take your first RMD by April 1, 2021. If you turn 70 in the second half of 2020, then you will be 70½ in 2021, and you won’t need to take that initial RMD until April 1, 2022.1 Is waiting until April 1 of the following year to take my first RMD a bad idea? The I.R.S. allows you three extra months to take your first RMD, but it isn’t necessarily doing you a favor. Your initial RMD is taxable in the year that it is taken. If you postpone it into the following year, then the taxable portions of both your first RMD and your second RMD must be reported as income on your federal tax return for that following year.2 An example: James and his wife Stephanie file jointly, and they earn $78,950 in 2019 (the upper limit of the 22% federal tax bracket). James turns 70½ in 2019, but he decides to put off his first RMD until April 1, 2020. Bad idea: this means that he will have to take two RMDs before 2020 ends. So, his taxable income jumps in 2020 as a result of the dual RMDs, and it pushes the pair into a higher tax bracket for 2020 as well. The lesson: if you will be 70½ by...

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Retirement Wellness

Posted by on Sep 16, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security | 0 comments

Staying healthy could save you some money.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   How healthy a retirement do you think you will have? If you can stay active as a senior and curb or avoid certain habits, you could potentially reduce one type of retirement expense. Each year, Fidelity Investments presents an analysis of retiree health care costs. In 2019, Fidelity projected that the average 65-year-old couple would spend around $285,000 on health care during retirement, including about $11,000 in the first year. Both projections took Medicare benefits into account.1,2 Could healthy behaviors help you save retirement dollars? Maybe. From another point of view, ceasing unhealthy habits certainly would. For example, the average pack of cigarettes now costs $6.28, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That adds up to $2,292 annually. A decade of pack-a-day smoking therefore projects to $22,920 in expenses (and that does not even consider inflation or the possibility of new state or local cigarette taxes). If you could invest $2,292 a year for 20 years and realize a 7% annual return on that money, your sustained investment would grow to more than $100,000.  Think about joining a senior wellness program. Some communities offer classes developed through the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging. (NCOA is a nonprofit senior advocacy organization founded in the 1950s.) These physical activity programs are evidence based; the exercise curriculum has been shown to provide discernible health benefits to their participants. Often, they are low cost or free and low impact as well.3  Be sure to use your Medicare benefits. Medicare entitles you to an annual free wellness visit with a primary care physician. In this visit, you can have your blood pressure, weight, and overall health checked, and the doctor can also run a check for the possibility of dementia. You can also get free screening for diabetes, certain kinds of cancers, hepatitis B and C, and heart disease under Medicare if your physician classifies you as “at risk” for these conditions. Medicare may even pick up the tab for smoking cessation counseling and obesity counseling for certain people.4 If you stay healthy well into your retirement, there could be a nice financial side effect: an exemption, for the present, from expenses that some of your peers could be dealing with. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us www.moneymattersusa.net and www.wealthensure.com This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged...

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Inventorying Your Possessions

Posted by on Sep 8, 2019 in 401k, 403b, atuos, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

It is helpful for insurance purposes.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   It’s great to have insurance against damage and loss, but if you can’t show proof of your possessions, it may result in a protracted settlement process with your insurance company.1 Four Tips for Creating an Inventory. Creating an inventory may take a bit of upfront work, but it can pay future benefits in smoothing the claims settlement process with your insurer as well as increase the potential of receiving the maximum payment possible.  Tip #1 – Make a Video of Your Possessions. A visual record of your possessions is the best proof of ownership. When videoing your home contents, make sure you are methodical and thorough in going through all your rooms and storage spaces. Speak while you are taping to describe each item; include any relevant information (e.g., “this is a signed first edition of “Moby Dick.”).  Tip #2 – Document Value of Your Items. Scan or video receipts of the items in your home. Indicate the make and model where appropriate. If you have artwork or antiques, consider creating a record of any appraisal you may have received on your collectibles.  Tip #3 – Secure Your Inventory. An inventory doesn’t help much if you keep it in the house and your home burns to the ground. If your video is digital (highly recommended), consider storing the file in a “cloud” account rather than on your computer, or alternately, on a USB stick stored in a safety deposit box.  Tip #4 – Keep Your Inventory Updated. Failure to regularly update your inventory may mean unintentionally leaving off expensive new purchases. Get started by asking your insurance agent if they have an inventory checklist, which may help you remember to include items that you might otherwise overlook. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us www.wealthensure.com and www.moneymattersusa.net   This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are...

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