“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.”
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“Many people believe they have a plan for retirement – but there is a big gap between expectation and reality.”
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.
“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%.”
“Coping with the Cost of Care: Often-Overlooked Tax Deductions and Tips for Seniors and Their Families” – taxact.com
“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.
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.
Click here to read this insightful and intriguing report.
“A study on savings regrets offers a big takeaway for all of us”
SOURCE: 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.