Category Archives: Money

“The soaring cost of US child care, in 5 charts” – The Conversation

childcare costs“Children can get quite expensive. silentalex88/Shutterstock.com”

by Heidi Steinhour

“The cost of having children in the U.S. has climbed exponentially since the 1960s. So it’s no wonder the growing crop of Democratic presidential candidates have been proposing waysto address or bring down the costs tied to raising a family.

“Most recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she wants to provide universal access to child care. According to her proposal, the U.S. would partner with local governments and other organizations to provide various child care options, paying for it with revenue from her wealth tax.

“Whether or not Warren’s proposal becomes law, the data show a worsening problem. In 2015, American parents spent, on average, US$233,610 on child costs from birth until the age of 17, not including college.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety at The Conversation.

“Have you caught a catfish? Online dating can be deceptive” – The Conversation

Lest you think this cannot happen here in the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Counties area, do not be deluded. Romance scams do happen here and we have evidence that some people have lost lots of money in the pursuit of companionship. The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns about “Romance Scams | Online Imposters Break Hearts and Bank Accounts.”

 

catfishing

“On the internet, you can become anyone you want to – at least for a while. And though deception doesn’t fit well with lasting romance, people lie all the time: Fewer than a third of people in one survey claimed they were always honest in online interactions, and nearly nobody expected others to be truthful. Much of the time, lies are meant to make the person telling them seem better somehow – more attractive, more engaging or otherwise worth getting to know.

“‘Catfishing’ is a more advanced effort of digital deception. Named in a 2010 movie that later expanded into an MTV reality series, a catfish is a person who sets up an intentionally fake profile on one or more social network sites, often with the purpose of defrauding or deceiving other users.

“It happens more than people might think – and to more people than might believe it. Many times in my own personal life when I was seeking to meet people online, I found that someone was being deceptive. In one case, I did a Google image search and found a man’s profile picture featured on a site called ‘Romance Scams.’ ”

You can read this article in its entirety at The Conversation, click here.

“Why the US has higher drug prices than other countries” – The Conversation

Rx sales 2

“Spending on pharmaceuticals is on the rise worldwide. And it well should be. Today, we are able to cure some diseases like hepatitis C that were virtual death sentences just a few years ago. This progress required significant investments by governments and private companies alike. Unquestionably, the world is better off for it.

“Unfortunately, as President Trump pointed out in the State of the Union address, the United States has borne a significant amount of the negative effects associated with this development. For one, its regulatory apparatus has focused largely on drug safety, yet regulators have failed to emphasize cost-effectiveness when it comes to both new and existing drugs.

“At the same time, the United States also pays significantly higher prices than the rest of the developed world when it comes to prescription drugs, due primarily to limited competition among drug companies.”

Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.


Read this related article: “Paying for Prescription Drugs Around the World: Why Is the U.S. an Outlier?” The Commonwealth Fund

“The Out-of-Pocket Cost Burden for Specialty Drugs in Medicare Part D in 2019” – Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

“Medicare Part D has helped to make prescription drugs more affordable for people with Medicare, yet many beneficiaries continue to face high out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Specialty tier drugs—defined by Medicare as drugs that cost more than $670 per month in 2019—are a particular concern for Part D enrollees in this context. Part D plans are allowed to charge between 25 percent and 33 percent coinsurance for specialty tier drugs before enrollees reach the coverage gap, where they pay 25 percent for all brands, followed by 5 percent coinsurance when total out-of-pocket spending exceeds an annual threshold ($5,100 in 2019). While specialty tier drugs are taken by a relatively small share of enrollees, spending on these drugs has increased over time and now accounts for over 20 percent of total Part D spending, up from about 6 to 7 percent before 2010.”

medicare part d

“Figure 1: Medicare Part D beneficiaries can pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for specialty tier drugs, with the majority of costs for many drugs above the catastrophic threshold.”

Continue reading this article, click here.

 

“The unrealistic expectations of retirement behavior” – BBC

“Many people believe they have a plan for retirement – but there is a big gap between expectation and reality.”

retirement savings

by Brian O’Connor

“How much do I need for retirement?

“For many, it’s a question that ranks far down the list of more urgent priorities, like buying groceries, paying rent or student loans. But chances are, it’s more than you’d think – due to a number of reasons that reveal how our expectations of our later years don’t match up with the realities of living on a fixed income.

“Outsize expectations

“Take the US, for example.

“Fewer than half of American baby boomers have more than $100,000 in retirement funds, even though one estimate puts healthcare costs in retirement for the average couple at $280,000. One Merrill Lynch report suggests that one in five Americans don’t know how much money they’ll need in retirement and that most under-save by nearly 20%.”

Read this article in its entirety at the BBC, click here.

 

“Coping with the Cost of Care: Often-Overlooked Tax Deductions and Tips for Seniors and Their Families” – taxact.com

aging caregiving taxes

“As you get older, you may find you face more and more medical bills. No matter how great your insurance coverage is or if you are on Medicare, the out-of-pocket costs due to medical needs can add up. And if you or a loved one have a serious medical condition or disability, your costs can quickly get overwhelming.

“The average medical care cost for seniors retiring today is around $280,000. The average cost of long-term care needs for seniors and disabled individuals is around $4,000-$7,000 per month. Clearly, these expenses add up quickly and can drain the resources of those who need care most. That’s why individuals and their caregivers need to understand all of the potential tax benefits they qualify for to ensure they are taking all possible deductions.

“Thankfully, there are many tax deductions you can take for medical bills or the medical bills of someone in your care. In fact, around 9 million Americans currently claim tax deductions to help them lower their tax liability and pay for their medical care. But almost just as many taxpayers fail to take those deductions because they are simply uninformed.

“This guide is designed to give you all of the information you need to claim the deductions you are due. Whether for yourself or for someone you love and care for, here is what you need to know about tax deductions for medical care.”

Keep reading this article at taxact.com, click here.

“The Future of Retirement” – AgeWave

Age Wave conducted nine recent study reports in collaboration with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the future of retirement. These reports were created by reviewing thousands of papers and datasets, conducting over 140 expert interviews and 43 focus groups, and surveying 50,000+ respondents. The nine reports cover a variety of topics regarding retirement, including family, health, leisure, and finances. All nine reports are followed by sample media coverage.

future of retirement

Click here to read this insightful and intriguing report.

 

“Misconceptions About Health Costs When You’re Older” – The New York Times

“End-of-life spending may seem wasteful, but it turns out it’s hard to predict when someone will die.”

end-of-life medical costsTraditional Medicare has substantial gaps, leaving Americans on the hook for a lot more than they might expect.” Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

by Austin Frakt

“Some significant expenses decline as we age: Most mortgages are eventually paid off, and ideally children grow up and become self-supporting.

“But health care is one area in which costs are almost certain to rise. After all, one of the original justifications for Medicare — which kicks in at age 65 — is that older people have much higher health care needs and expenses.

“But there are a few common misunderstandings about health costs when people are older, including the idea that money can easily be saved by reducing wasteful end-of-life spending.

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

“The Surprising Reason People Say They Haven’t Saved More” – next avenue

“A study on savings regrets offers a big takeaway for all of us”

not saved moreSOURCE: nextavenue (Credit: Adobe Stock)

by Richard Eisenberg

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, But then again, too few to mention” — My Way

“It seems like every day, there’s a new survey showing how little Americans have saved. Recently, the Certified Financial Board of Standards polled 1,000 people and found that two thirds had less than $100,000 saved. MassMutual learned that 52 percent of U.S. families with income of at least $50,000 have less than three months’ worth of living expenses in emergency savings; about 8 percent had nothing at all.

“Why don’t people save more and, more to the point, why do people regret not saving more?”

Read this article at next avenue in its entirety, click here.

Financial Planning When you Have a Disability (or Love Someone Who Does)

disability articleImage via Pixabay

by Ed Carter

There are almost as many types of disabilities as there are individuals. Disabilities can range from a physical impairment, such as severe scoliosis, to issues relating to cognitive decline. An individual may be born with a disability, or it may be due to an accident as is the case with many veterans injured in action. One thing remains the same, however, regardless of the disability or reason behind it: an uncertain financial future.

Medicare a Good Start

When you reach 65, regardless of your disability status, you become eligible for Medicare. This government-run program offers seniors access to quality medical care and provides a collection of health tests and wellness visits with no out-of-pocket costs. Depending on whether you currently receive Social Security benefits, you will either be automatically enrolled or must manually enroll. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 until December 7.

If you have yet to reach Medicare age, you may be eligible for Social Security disability or supplemental security income, the latter of which is only available for low-income individuals.

Veterans and Caregivers

If you are a veteran, you’ll have special access to benefits through the VA that can help you select and pay for home and community-based care. You are also entitled to care provided in a skilled nursing facility if and when you are no longer able to remain at home. The VA offers help with advanced care planning and programs that promote well-being regardless of your age or disability. The VA’s guide to long-term services and support offers extensive information on how to stay healthy and locate necessary services to accommodate your physical condition.

In some instances, you may be eligible for veteran directed home and community-based services programs, which provide provisions to compensate home caregivers. Your local Veterans Affairs office can help you and your caregivers determine your eligibility. This is an invaluable program for caregivers who wish to play a hands-on role in your care but cannot afford to completely lose their income to do so.

Saving for the Future

No matter your age, it’s never too late to start saving and planning for the future. Caregivers may have the option of setting up a family special needs trust or a pooled trust. According to FreeAdvice.com, a pooled trust must be established by a registered non-profit agency but comes with the benefit of allowing friends, family, and the beneficiary to contribute.

Investments are also an option and, when done responsibly, can provide a high rate of return to help you or your disabled loved one pay for comfort and care now and down the road. Investments range from low-risk savings bonds and money market accounts to more high-risk options, including aggressive stocks. Many lending experts advocate low- to medium-risk investments, including peer-to-peer lending and treasury inflation-protected securities.

Perhaps one of the best financial plans, however, is purchasing real estate for personal use. Real estate tends to appreciate, meaning a home purchased today will likely be worth significantly more 10 years from now. In order to reap the most financial benefits, pay the least interest and ensure available equity is to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible.

Having a disability makes the future feel uncertain. However, through federal and community programs, smart investing, and utilizing your current assets, you or your loved one can enjoy financial stability, medical care, and all the comforts that go along with both.

SOURCE: submitted


Author: Over the years, Ed Carter has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities. Regardless of their nature or how long they’ve affected someone, physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Many people are unaware of just how many options they have when it comes to financial assistance and planning, so Ed created AbleFutures.org to help people with disabilities prepare for a secure and stable financial future.