Category Archives: Money

“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.

 

Freezing your credit is free in all states under a new law following the Equifax breach – USA Today

credit freezePHOTO SOURCE: USA Today

“One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is now free.

“As of Sept. 21, a new federal law allows people to freeze and unfreeze their credit at the three major credit bureaus without being charged. Before, it cost consumers in almost half the states $3 to $12 per bureau to freeze or unfreeze their credit reports.”

Read this article at USA Today in its entirety here.

New Credit Law FAQs

Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information news release.

Check Your Mail: Changes to the 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Period Mailings – MyMedicareMatters

medicare

by The My Medicare Matters Team

“It’s time a year again! Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is almost here, starting October 15th and ending December 7th. If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare plan this is the time of year where you can re-evaluate your coverage to make sure you are still enrolled in the best plan for your needs.

“Over the next few weeks, leading up to and during the Medicare OEP you’ll receive notices from your current Medicare plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and advertisements from other Medicare companies claiming to offer the best plans. All this information can be overwhelming and as tempting as it may be to lump is with the junk mail and throw it away, that may not be the best idea. There are a lot of changes occurring with Medicare this year and to stay informed you need to review all the notices provided by your insurance company and CMS.

“One of the most immediate changes impacts the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan notification policies.”

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

“What Would You Pay For Mobility?” – Tech50Plus

wheelchair-mobility.jpg

by Gary Kaye

“According to the website Pants Up Easy, which tracks disabilities, some 3.6 million Americans over the age of 15 use a wheelchair for mobility. Perhaps that seems kind of low, but it doesn’t include all the folks using a cane, crutches or a walker (11.6 million). Overall 20 percent of women in the U.S have disabilities and 17 percent of all men. Those are staggering numbers that will only go higher as baby boomers age. Earlier this year, I became disabled as a result of cascading medical problems.

“The disabled population pays a huge price, one which American society largely ignores. Let’s start off with medical devices from stairlifts to wheelchairs, from ramps to commodes.

wheelchair-

“Some of these are covered by either private insurance or Medicare Part B, but many are not. You will need a doctor’s prescription and a prior authorization which will only be granted if the device is deemed a medical necessity. Many of the electric powered personal mobility devices such as scooters are not approved medical devices.”

Continue reading this Tech50Plus article, click here.

“Elderly Lose Their Rights | Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.” – The New Yorker

elderly guardian.pngIllustration by Anna Parini”

“After a stranger became their guardian, Rudy and Rennie North were moved to a nursing home and their property was sold.”

by Rachel Aviv

“For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “’Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,’ he wrote on one notepad. On another, ‘Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.’

“Rennie, his wife of fifty-seven years, was slower to rise. She was recovering from lymphoma and suffered from neuropathy so severe that her legs felt like sausages. Each morning, she spent nearly an hour in the bathroom applying makeup and lotions, the same brands she’d used for forty years. She always emerged wearing pale-pink lipstick. Rudy, who was prone to grandiosity, liked to refer to her as ‘my amour.’

“On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an ‘active adult’ community in Las Vegas.”

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

 

“‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans” – The New York Times

oldandbroke-Lawrence Sedita, a 74-year-old former carpenter, said he lost his health insurance about two years ago after his union changed the eligibility requirements. He and his wife filed for bankruptcy after living off of their credit cards for a time. Their financial difficulty ‘has drained everything out of me,’ he said.” Credit: Roger Kisby for The New York Times

by Tara Siegel Bernard

“For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.

“The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.

Driving the surge, the study suggests, is a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals, who are bearing an ever-greater responsibility for their own financial well-being as the social safety net shrinks.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.