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June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

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Posts Tagged ‘retirement planning’

Can You Leave Life Insurance to a Family Trust?

Q. You did a tale concerning leaving life insurance to an estate. What occurs if it’s left to a family members trust fund?
— Wondering

A. Let’s have a look at how life insurance policy is dealt with.

Your gross estate consists of all home that you have. This would certainly consist of any type of plan guaranteeing your life if you’re the proprietor of the policy.

As long as you have “occurrences of possession,” the policy would be included in your taxable estate, claimed Betty Thomas, a monetary organizer with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.

” Events of ownership” enables you to obtain versus a policy, appoint or cancel, withdraw a project, name or transform a beneficiary, Thomas said.

When a person dies and also has a possession interest in the life insurance policy plan, the worth of the policy will be included in the deceased individual’s estate, Thomas claimed.

This may enhance the value of the estate to the point where either federal or state estate or estate tax could be owed, she stated.

If the ownership of the policy is altered to the trust fund, then all “events of ownership” have been waived, Thomas said.

The difference below is the possession of the life insurance policy plan, she said.

” By changing hands to an unalterable trust fund, you have actually essentially made a gift to the trust fund and also the gift can not be revoked,” she stated. “The policy is after that removed from your taxed estate.”

If the recipient classification of the plan explicitly states that the estate obtains the earnings, then the proceeds will certainly be included in the estate, Thomas claimed.

If this was to take place, not just would the profits be consisted of in the estate, possibly raising the estate value, yet they could also go through the insurance claims of lenders, she stated.

” If no recipient is called, the proceeds will certainly go into the trust fund as well as the trust fund’s beneficiaries will certainly rule, or if the plan recipients are beyond the trust fund, there is no effect on the estate,” she claimed. “Bear in mind if existing policies are moved to an irreversible depend on and you die within three years of the transfer, the policies are drawn back into the estate.”

If the taxed estate is excused from the government estate taxes, it’s still crucial to recognize your state’s inheritance tax legislation.

For New Jersey, the estate tax boosted from $675,000 to $2 million for 2017 and it will be removed in 2018, Thomas claimed.

And also keep in mind New Jersey likewise has an estate tax. A successor in New Jersey could pay as much as 16 percent inheritance tax relying on their category, yet life insurance policy that goes to a named beneficiary would certainly not go through the tax obligation.

The bottom line is you must ensure you speak with an estate attorney to be sure the trust fund document is written to ensure that it will do exactly what you want. Additionally make sure the recipient designations are assessed.

The Grandparent Scam

American senior citizens have become the target of vicious scammers who pretend to be their grandchildren. One such victim is an elderly man named Sam (not his real name), who was called by a fraudster through his workplace landline. The scammer started politely by greeting the elderly gentleman, referring to him as grandfather’. Sam was unable to recognize the voice and asked the caller to identify himself. The scammer said that he was the gentleman’s grandson Rick, who resided in San Antonio with Sam’s granddaughter Sally. The fraudster offered to inform Sam of a secret that Sam was not to share with anyone. Of course, this was meant to captivate Sam the more.

 

What Sam had not realized so far was that he was a victim of a well-choreographed financial scam that targeted many grandparents across the country. According to the FTC, nearly 11,000 elderly citizens were targeted in 2015 alone. The authority noted that sadly, the actual amount in dollars lost to the scammers may not be fully appreciated as most of the victims do not report their ordeal to the relevant state or federal authorities.

 

Keen to listen to the purported grandson’, Sam lent his ears to the caller. The narrative that followed was one that many grandparents have unfortunately known only too well. The scammer informed Sam that the previous night, as he and Sally were driving to a hotel from a trip; they had been stopped by the police. In the ensuing encounter, the fraudster continued, the police officer had discovered a stash of cannabis in the trunk of their taxi. They were therefore arrested and detained at the local precinct. The fraudster informed Sam that he had recruited the services of an attorney to sort out the matter. Of course, the fraudster knew that mentioning an authority figure like an attorney would lend credence to his narrative.

 

By this time, Sam was not only stunned by the narrative, but he had also been fully absorbed. However, the elderly gentleman realized was that if Sally owned a home, then what was his grandson’ and his sister doing going to a hotel? He became suspicious.

 

Totally confounded, Sam asked the youngster whether they actually had the drugs in the car. He was informed that the drugs belonged to the taxi driver, and that he (the conman) had been asked by the authorities to remain in San Antonio for the following four to six weeks; awaiting the completion of the taxi driver’s trial. He continued to say that the police had agreed to release them on a bond of $2,000 – as surety that they would present themselves for the duration of the trial.

 

Sam knew very well that both Sally and Ken were college students, who were due to resume their academic courses in two days’ time. The fraudster used this to create urgency in his plea.

 

The fake grandson asked Sam to talk to his lawyer, who he said was right beside him. Of course, the ploy was designed in way that the fraudster had a standby henchman to help him in his scheme. Fortunately, caution got the better of Sam, and he was quick to note that the background noise was very much uncharacteristic of a typical police station.

 

Being doubtful of the caller’s identity, Sam asked the scammer to contact their relatives in San Antonio, as Sam himself was too far away. To press his point home, Sam asked the caller to state his exact address. Feeling cornered, the fraudster disconnected the call.

 

Sam was unable to identify the scammer as his phone did not have a caller ID. It is conceivable that the call could have been from anywhere. According to FTC, such calls could originate from anywhere – even overseas.

 

The scariest part of this ordeal is the fact that the fraudster will refer to you by your own name, the names of your children and grandchildren, and other such personal details. Sam was scared by the fact that the fraudster actually knew where his granddaughter was living. FTC claims that the fraudsters buy or steal such information. We also inadvertently give away the information when we include intimate details about our life on commonly accessible social media platforms. Fraudsters will often frequent Twitter, Facebook and other platforms in hunt for personal data on their victims.

 

When the conman hung up, Sam sent out a group email to all his family members to alert them about the scammer. Surprisingly, he discovered that two other elderly gentlemen in his family had been victims of similar scams. In fact, one of them in Kentucky had been quick enough to discredit the fraudster, and when he threated to call the police, the scammer promptly hung up.

 

The other one was a resident of California. He received a call from a purported grandson, who claimed that he had been imprisoned for having been involved in a drunken brawl; and that he required $1,500 to post as bail. The fraudster said that his voice had changed as he had broken his nose in the fight. The scammer was able to convince the elderly man to send the money via Western Union, a branch of which was located near his home.

 

According to government sources, the fraudsters aim at making you so distressed that you forget to reason logically. After sending the money and getting back to the house, the grandpa received another call from the fraudster. He claimed that the first amount was not enough. That is when the elderly man realized that he was a victim of a scam, and hung up the phone. He called his wife and alerted her of what had happened. They also notified the police.

 

It has been noted that fraudsters will often call numbers randomly until they get that of a senior citizen, whom they consider as soft targets. They often paint a picture of a grandchild in trouble who needs financial help.

The lesson of the above narrative is clear. If you ever get a call from anyone saying that they are your grandchild and in need of urgent cash, do not be quick to act on that request. Tell them that you need to consult with other family members, ask for their phone number and address, and then hang up the phone. Then, go ahead to confirm if the situation is as depicted by the caller. That action could very easily save your money, and prevent you from becoming a victim yourself.

 

Have other questions about how to protect your finances and to take care of your loved ones in meaningful ways? Be sure to reach out to us for ideas on how we can help you.

Keeping Active as a Senior

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – As we get older our bodies begin to slow down as well as obtain stiffer, so exercise can obtain harder. However, staying energetic is very important to keeping us healthy.

Research reveals that workout improves our cognitive feature along with our physical feature.

For older grownups it is very important to get an excellent mix of exercise in various classifications: adaptability, cardiovascular workout, stamina, and also balance.

Adaptability: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and also the American Heart Organization (AHM) suggest older adults stretch three or four times a week for a minimum of 10 minutes. They need to try to extend the upper body, shoulders and elbow joints, rear of the upper legs and also knees, calves front of the wrists as well as hands, and also low back and neck.

Cardiovascular Workout: The ACSM and also AHM advise older grownups do 150 mins of moderately paced aerobic task every week. That’s about HALF AN HOUR a day, 5 times a week. Procedure of activity in 10-15 min increments spaced throughout the day are likewise efficient.

Stength: The ACSM as well as AHM suggest older grownups do toughness training two or 3 times a week enabling muscle mass teams to rest between sessions. The muscle groups to target are the core (abdominals/back), upper legs, butts, and back of the arms.

Balance: The ACSM recommends older adults balance train 2 or three times a week. It entails targeting stance control as well as sensory systems.

When you are working to stay healthy and balanced, here are some points to keep in mind:

Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist

Discover a workout program or exercise that is enjoyable, obtainable and also sustainable so it could become regular

Attempt to integrate physical activity right into your everyday routine. March in place while you brush your teeth!

Difficulty on your own to try something new, discover new motion pattern. Great for body and also mind!

Look into offerings at local recreation center as well as gyms. West Michigan has numerous sources available for walking clubs as well as team exercise classes developed for the older grownup.

To compliment your fitness routine, consume healthy as well as stay hydrated.

How to Keep Yourself Safe From Fraud

Your house is your castle and it is the number one target for fraudsters. Your house is one of the most important asset you own since it is your biggest investment. So it is an attractive target for a con artists. Why? Because these fraudsters know that when it comes to your house, you are willing to take additional care and invest more money to maintain and protect its worth.

If you are a retired person, fraudsters will consider you as a very easy target since you are more likely to respond to “pitches” in person, via the phone, or mail.

There are various schemes. Below, you’ll find examples of some more notorious house scams that have been turning up nationwide. We’ll also discuss how can you protect yourself from being a victim of these scams.

Power Plays

* Did you ever come across any person demanding money for unpaid bill? They try to scare you by saying that if you do not clear your unpaid bills, your utilities will be turned off. Always remember that these kinds of notifications, if true, usually comes through mail. And be mindful that NO authority sends their representatives to collect money in-person without giving any notice about it through mail or phone call.

* There are many instances where fake specialists go inside a home unannounced, saying there is an emergency and that your house needs to be checked. These are generally burglars with fake identity cards and leased uniforms.

* The most recent rip-off: Fake representatives from cable firms promising to give discounts if you pay a few months of your bill in advance with pre-paid debit cards.

Burglar Blockage

A home security and safety system is effective in combating some crime. However, home security systems can attract other fraudsters too.

* Some fraudsters pose as certified technicians from the security and safety firms. They say they are here to fix the security system of your house. Then they get inside your house and deactivate your theft security system, so that later they can rob your house when you are sleeping or not in home.

* Other people claiming to be from the security company try to sell you much more expensive services. You must remember that any reputable company do not work in this way.

Contract Disadvantage

Be careful if a person tells you that he is a contractor who happens to be working in your neighborhood and wanted to know if you too need home repair service. Most of the time, these people are fraudsters. They will take some money from you for buying materials in advance. Needless to say that they will vanish after taking your money. There are others who insist on doing some unneeded extra repair work and then leave after doing a shoddy job. One of the favourite scams is resealing your driveway by spreading used motor oil on it. Always be sure to work with licensed contractors and actually verify the license with your state’s licensing authority before agreeing to work.

Fraud at Your Front Door

Whether it is a appeal for a charity, specialty home items, limited time offers, vacations, or overpriced magazine subscriptions, be on your guard. The best way to protect yourself: Don’t give your bank card to the person at the front door.

How can we help?

As a senior citizen you are a target for some of the worst schemes. We’re on your side and are here to help you navigate financial complexities. If you have any questions about protecting yourself from financial risk, please be sure to reach out to us.

If You Are Older, A Little Extra Fat Can be a Good Thing

Yes, it’s true. There are buffets that can cause the most disciplined dieter to succumb to temptation. They entice us to overeat. They tempt us with calorically dense foods and deserts that are rich and tasty.

Of course, few of us eat at buffets every day. Yet most of us have lifestyles that could be improved.

And we know that being obese can cause heart disease and is linked to some cancers, osteoarthritis, and yes, type-2 diabetes.

But it turns out that as we age, having some body fat can offer some advantages as a Senior.

Offset Illness

It’s pretty common for older individuals to lose weight later in life. A little extra body fat can help offset this. Also, individuals fighting cancer often lose weight so some body fat reserves can help during treatment.

Better Absorb Vitamins

Certain vitamins are absorbed by fat tissue. These are called “fat-soluble” vitamins and include A, D, E, and K. People who have minimal body fat often lack those vitamins. Fortified milk, avocados, cold-water fish, and other foods contain helpful fats that can help keep your skin healthy, reduce inflammation, and strengthen bones.

Keep Nice And Warm

Fat helps to keep a core temperature. It works as an insulator. It protects from extreme cold. Adding a few pounds in the Winter is the body’s natural way of keeping warm.

Protects Your Insides

Some fat around your body organs offers protective cushioning. This can be really helpful in situations like falling.

The key to this is moderation. If you are too skinny you could be at risk. And with more than 60% of Americans being obese, you may in fact be too heavy.

So take note. This is not an endorsement of obesity. Rather it is an acknowledgement that some fat on an otherwise healthy Senior body can have positive health benefits. So, If you have a few extra pounds, there’s no reason to feel shame. Simply recognize that a little bit of extra weight is a natural part of the aging process and a way for the body to help protect you.

Just be sure you watch out for rapid weight gain or loss as these can be signs of other underlying conditions. And always consult with a medical professional if you have any concerns about your weight.

Easy Workout Tips for The Young at Heart

Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” spends about 2 hours a day, six days a week just at the gym. That doesn’t include other physical activities! But it’s not easy for most folks to get to the gym on a daily basis, let alone spending 60 to 90 minutes once you get there.

While it may be a great goal to invest time in tougher workouts, folks who have been largely inactive will likely need to take smaller steps to help build habits that will last. This is especially true as you age.

Still you can find some clever ways to get active. Here are some fun ideas:

Stretch while watching TV.

The key is to work on perfecting your form and holding your poses for about 10 seconds.

Perform sit-ups while watching TV.

A simple sit-up can help you strengthen your core as well as tone and trim.

Do counter-top pushups while waiting for something in the microwave.

It could be you are re-heating some pasta or popping a bag of popcorn. No matter! Use the time to perform simple countertop push-ups to help tone your arms, shoulders, and chest.

Do mini-squats instead…

If you are tired of pushups, switch to mini-squats while you are waiting for the microwave to finish. Or perhaps while your coffee is brewing.

The goal is to be as creative as possible both with your time as well as your space.

Having great form and being careful is what’s important. And be sure you’ve talked with your doctor about ANY exercise program before starting one.

So while you may never look like Hercules, taking simple steps can help you feel stronger, leaner, and ready to take on whatever that day might bring to you.

For videos on how to perform these and other exercises, visit AARP.

Easy Workout Tips for The Young at Heart

Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” spends about 2 hours a day, six days a week just at the gym. That doesn’t include other physical activities! But it’s not easy for most folks to get to the gym on a daily basis, let alone spending 60 to 90 minutes once you get there.

While it may be a great goal to invest time in tougher workouts, folks who have been largely inactive will likely need to take smaller steps to help build habits that will last. This is especially true as you age.

Still you can find some clever ways to get active. Here are some fun ideas:

Stretch while watching TV.

The key is to work on perfecting your form and holding your poses for about 10 seconds.

Perform sit-ups while watching TV.

A simple sit-up can help you strengthen your core as well as tone and trim.

Do counter-top pushups while waiting for something in the microwave.

It could be you are re-heating some pasta or popping a bag of popcorn. No matter! Use the time to perform simple countertop push-ups to help tone your arms, shoulders, and chest.

Do mini-squats instead…

If you are tired of pushups, switch to mini-squats while you are waiting for the microwave to finish. Or perhaps while your coffee is brewing.

The goal is to be as creative as possible both with your time as well as your space.

Having great form and being careful is what’s important. And be sure you’ve talked with your doctor about ANY exercise program before starting one.

So while you may never look like Hercules, taking simple steps can help you feel stronger, leaner, and ready to take on whatever that day might bring to you.

For videos on how to perform these and other exercises, visit AARP.

Ten of The Biggest Medicare Mistakes You Can Make

Ten of The Biggest Medicare Mistakes You Can Make

Medicare can be difficult to navigate for folks who are new to the system. More than 10,000 individuals find their way into the program each day. If you are going to be one of them soon or just recently turned 65, invest a few minutes here to make sure you’re properly protected
First, get acquainted with the Medicare Rights Center. This is a consumer advocacy group that represents folks on Medicare. They offer a lot of valuable resources regarding protecting your Medicare Rights.

 

So what are the 10 biggest mistakes you can make with Medicare? Here goes…

 

  1. Assuming you don’t qualify.

 

Medicare Part A requires 40 “credits” to get Part A services without having to pay premiums. A “credit” is simply a quarter of a year, so 40 credits is about 10 years worth of work in total. You can qualify for Part B without work credits. And Part D simply requires that you be 65 years or older and a citizen or legal resident who’s lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years.

  1. Failing to register for Part B coverage when you should.

 

If you fail to register at the correct time you risk penalties in the form of surcharges that will be added to your Part B premiums. There is an exception. Do you have health insurance beyond 65 from an employer where you (or your spouse) are actively working? Does the company have 20 or more employees? If so, you can put off Part B registration without facing a penalty until you or your spouse are no longer working for that firm. Otherwise, if you plan to have Part B protection, you must enroll in Part B coverage when you turn 65. (You can register up to 3 months before turning 65 and 3 months after.)

  1. If you have COBRA benefits, you still must register for Medicare Part B.

While Part B coverage is optional, you should talk with your insurance professional / financial advisor about your options. COBRA allows you to continue on your employer’s health plan after you retire for about 18 months. But if you need Medicare Part B, COBRA doesn’t give you a reason to put off getting Medicare Part B coverage. So if you are on COBRA and just turned 65, you need to be sure to get on Part B coverage if you plan to enroll in it.

  1. Thinking you need to reach complete retirement age before registering for Medicare

 

The retirement age is creeping up. (It’s 67 for folks born after 1959.) But to avoid late penalties, you still need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. (Again, if you or your spouse are still actively employed with health protection, you can wait.) They key here is that you don’t need to wait to start receiving Social Security benefits to enroll in Medicare and waiting to do so could cost you.

  1. Avoiding Part D if you currently aren’t taking medications.

 

Part D offers protection against the high cost of drugs such as cancer treatment. But like all insurance, you can’t wait until you need the insurance to sign up for it. You need to have Part D coverage even if you are 100% healthy currently. Otherwise, you could face substantial late charges that will be incorporated into your Part D premiums. But if you are retired, your income is typically more limited. So, a little bit of forethought could help make life much easier for you by keeping your premiums low.

  1. Misunderstanding registration periods

 

You might have read about “open registration” and gotten the idea that this is the only time you can register for Medicare. Not so! In Medicare, open enrollment (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year) is simply for individuals who are already in the program. That’s the time they can alter their protection for the following year. If you are new to Medicare, your enrollment period is around the time you turn 65. (3 months before & 3 months after.) You also have up to 8 months after your health insurance ends with your employer if you’ve already turned 65. Either way, waiting for “open enrollment” could be a costly mistake.

  1. Selecting Part D drug coverage because of premium costs, brand name, rather than the protection it offers.

 

Part D protection varies quite a bit. Not all plans have standard amounts for what drugs they include and what they charge for co-pays. The best thing to do is to compare costs base on the actual drugs you currently take. You can call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 for further details or talk with your insurance professional.

  1. Being late to purchase Medigap.

Medigap supplemental insurance offers extra protection that you can opt to buy. It covers some or the majority of your out-of-pocket expenditures in standard Medicare. This can include deductibles and copays. To get the complete federal protections, you need to purchase it when you turn 65. The rules that govern getting Medigap insurance can be complex. So we highly recommend you seek advice if you are thinking about putting off getting protected when you turn 65.

  1. Failing to read your Annual Notice of Change.

 

Each year you are sent a document in September if you are enrolled in Medicare or have Part D coverage. This document details the changes the plan will be making in the protections it offers and in what that protection will cost. If the changes aren’t to your liking, it’s time to consider what changes you may need to make in your plans during open enrollment.

  1. Not recognizing that you may qualify for assistance to reduce your costs.

There are a lot of costs to Medicare. You pay premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Many retired folks find it difficult to keep up with the payments. If you are in that situation, there are two programs that can help you if you qualify.
The first is called a Medicare Savings Program. With this program your state pays the Part B premiums and may cover additional costs.
The second is called the Federal Extra Help program and can help you obtain affordable Part D drug coverage.
To see if you can be approved for either program you need to call the state’s health insurance program and find out what options are available. You can go to https://shiptacenter.org, select your state, and find the right phone number to call.
Final Thoughts on Medicare

Medicare is complex. And like all insurance, it’s best to talk with folks who understand the options available in the market as well as your personal situation. This way you can know that you have the protection you need at a price that will be affordable to you.

Ten of The Biggest Medicare Mistakes You Can Make

Medicare can be difficult to navigate for folks who are new to the system. More than 10,000 individuals find their way into the program each day. If you are going to be one of them soon or just recently turned 65, invest a few minutes here to make sure you’re properly protected
First, get acquainted with the Medicare Rights Center. This is a consumer advocacy group that represents folks on Medicare. They offer a lot of valuable resources regarding protecting your Medicare Rights.

 

So what are the 10 biggest mistakes you can make with Medicare? Here goes…

 

  1. Assuming you don’t qualify.

 

Medicare Part A requires 40 “credits” to get Part A services without having to pay premiums. A “credit” is simply a quarter of a year, so 40 credits is about 10 years worth of work in total. You can qualify for Part B without work credits. And Part D simply requires that you be 65 years or older and a citizen or legal resident who’s lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years.

  1. Failing to register for Part B coverage when you should.

 

If you fail to register at the correct time you risk penalties in the form of surcharges that will be added to your Part B premiums. There is an exception. Do you have health insurance beyond 65 from an employer where you (or your spouse) are actively working? Does the company have 20 or more employees? If so, you can put off Part B registration without facing a penalty until you or your spouse are no longer working for that firm. Otherwise, if you plan to have Part B protection, you must enroll in Part B coverage when you turn 65. (You can register up to 3 months before turning 65 and 3 months after.)

  1. If you have COBRA benefits, you still must register for Medicare Part B.

While Part B coverage is optional, you should talk with your insurance professional / financial advisor about your options. COBRA allows you to continue on your employer’s health plan after you retire for about 18 months. But if you need Medicare Part B, COBRA doesn’t give you a reason to put off getting Medicare Part B coverage. So if you are on COBRA and just turned 65, you need to be sure to get on Part B coverage if you plan to enroll in it.

  1. Thinking you need to reach complete retirement age before registering for Medicare

 

The retirement age is creeping up. (It’s 67 for folks born after 1959.) But to avoid late penalties, you still need to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65. (Again, if you or your spouse are still actively employed with health protection, you can wait.) They key here is that you don’t need to wait to start receiving Social Security benefits to enroll in Medicare and waiting to do so could cost you.

  1. Avoiding Part D if you currently aren’t taking medications.

 

Part D offers protection against the high cost of drugs such as cancer treatment. But like all insurance, you can’t wait until you need the insurance to sign up for it. You need to have Part D coverage even if you are 100% healthy currently. Otherwise, you could face substantial late charges that will be incorporated into your Part D premiums. But if you are retired, your income is typically more limited. So, a little bit of forethought could help make life much easier for you by keeping your premiums low.

  1. Misunderstanding registration periods

 

You might have read about “open registration” and gotten the idea that this is the only time you can register for Medicare. Not so! In Medicare, open enrollment (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year) is simply for individuals who are already in the program. That’s the time they can alter their protection for the following year. If you are new to Medicare, your enrollment period is around the time you turn 65. (3 months before & 3 months after.) You also have up to 8 months after your health insurance ends with your employer if you’ve already turned 65. Either way, waiting for “open enrollment” could be a costly mistake.

  1. Selecting Part D drug coverage because of premium costs, brand name, rather than the protection it offers.

 

Part D protection varies quite a bit. Not all plans have standard amounts for what drugs they include and what they charge for co-pays. The best thing to do is to compare costs base on the actual drugs you currently take. You can call Medicare at (800) 633-4227 for further details or talk with your insurance professional.

  1. Being late to purchase Medigap.

Medigap supplemental insurance offers extra protection that you can opt to buy. It covers some or the majority of your out-of-pocket expenditures in standard Medicare. This can include deductibles and copays. To get the complete federal protections, you need to purchase it when you turn 65. The rules that govern getting Medigap insurance can be complex. So we highly recommend you seek advice if you are thinking about putting off getting protected when you turn 65.

  1. Failing to read your Annual Notice of Change.

 

Each year you are sent a document in September if you are enrolled in Medicare or have Part D coverage. This document details the changes the plan will be making in the protections it offers and in what that protection will cost. If the changes aren’t to your liking, it’s time to consider what changes you may need to make in your plans during open enrollment.

  1. Not recognizing that you may qualify for assistance to reduce your costs.

There are a lot of costs to Medicare. You pay premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Many retired folks find it difficult to keep up with the payments. If you are in that situation, there are two programs that can help you if you qualify.
The first is called a Medicare Savings Program. With this program your state pays the Part B premiums and may cover additional costs.
The second is called the Federal Extra Help program and can help you obtain affordable Part D drug coverage.
To see if you can be approved for either program you need to call the state’s health insurance program and find out what options are available. You can go to https://shiptacenter.org, select your state, and find the right phone number to call.
Final Thoughts on Medicare

Medicare is complex. And like all insurance, it’s best to talk with folks who understand the options available in the market as well as your personal situation. This way you can know that you have the protection you need at a price that will be affordable to you.

Best of 2016: Four Ways to Get More Enjoyment Out of Your Retirement

Four Ways to Get More Enjoyment Out of Your Retirement

Less than half of retired Americans are very satisfied in their retirement according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Only 48.6 percent currently report that their retirement has been “very satisfying” (down from 60.5 percent in 1998), while those reporting their experience as “not at all satisfying” has increased to 10.5 percent (from 7.9).

While this downward trend was seen in every economic group, higher retirement satisfaction was still positively correlated with net worth and good health. If you’d like to be among the most satisfied in your golden years, you’ll need an aggressive savings plan as well as a willingness to explore a few of these adventurous suggestions to get more enjoyment out of your retirement.

Make your own excitement. Imagine all the things you can do once you’re no longer obligated to punch a time clock every workday. Forty hours a week is more than enough to write a book, learn a new language, take up an instrument, mentor young professionals, help those less fortunate or pursue any other passions you’ve previously ignored for lack of time.

Reconnect with old friends. Busy lives naturally create distance in all but the closest relationships, and chances are good that you’ve lost touch with a few friends over the years. Now that you’re retired, it’s time to reach out and reestablish those connections. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools for locating old chums. If you don’t know how these sites work, your grandkids will probably enjoy showing you how to use them.

Build a few new friendships as well.Research has shown that a strong network of friendships can help ward off depression, improve health and lead to a longer life. You can meet potential new friends while volunteering for charity, working a part time job, taking a class, exercising at the gym, hiking the local trails, walking in the park or attending community events. Look for senior meet ups all over the world here, or find interesting volunteer opportunities in your area here.

Don’t get too attached to a routine. We all tend to be creatures of habit, and it’s far too easy to exchange the daily work grind for a repetitive post-retirement routine. Unfortunately, doing the same things over and over again, day after day and week after week, can lead to boredom and a decline in overall happiness and satisfaction. Spontaneity is the antidote. You can inject a bit of it into your everyday life by trying out new hobbies, checking out new restaurants, visiting new cities, traveling to new countries, or even doing something as simple as taking a different route home from the grocery store.

Whether you’re still years away from retirement or have already collected your last paycheck, it’s never too late to improve your retirement savings plan. We’re here to help you review investments, explore options, and make certain you get as much satisfaction out of your senior years as possible.