health care http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1472/all en-US 7 Things You Need to Know About Pet Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-pet-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-pet-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/This_is_not_a_chew_toy.jpg" alt="This isn&#039;t a chew toy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you need pet insurance? That depends. It can mean life or death for your pet if they experience a major medical issue &mdash; especially an expensive one that requires hospitalization or emergency surgery &mdash; but it can seem like an unnecessary monthly expense if you're paying into the plan and not using it. To make a decision whether pet insurance is right for you, here are a few things you should know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>1. There are three types of pet health coverage</h2> <p>Most pet insurance companies break down coverage into three categories. The lowest tier is an accident-only plan, which only covers accidents and emergencies, like if your dog gets hurt by another dog at the park. This coverage does not include any hereditary issues or serious health conditions. Conversely, there's a wellness plan, which doesn't include anything that the accident-only plan includes, but rather focuses on wellness and routine care, like annual exams, dental cleanings, and routine medications, like heartworm and flea-and-tick prevention.</p> <p>Two plans that don't overlap anywhere kind of force pet parents into the all-encompassing third option, and that's where the more expensive, major medical plans come in.</p> <p>More than 90 percent of all pet insurance plans purchased are in this category, according to PetInsuranceQuotes.com, which helps users compare coverage and prices among leading providers. It's likely major medical plans are so popular because they cover everything <em>except</em> wellness and routine care. Accidents, illnesses, cancer, orthopedic issues, hereditary conditions, and prescription meds are under the veil of these plans, the price of which is mostly determined by the breed of pet you have.</p> <h2>2. Pet insurance can help you avoid major debt</h2> <p>For many pet parents, putting an animal down when an expensive health issue strikes just isn't an option. They'll use any means possible to come up with the money to keep their pet alive. Using money from your emergency fund if it's readily available is one thing, but putting the bill on a credit card when money is already tight just isn't smart.</p> <p>Pet insurance, however, can eliminate that issue altogether. You'll pay a small amount each month so you don't have to experience even greater stress about your finances when your pet is in the hospital. The premium is probably worth the peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pet-costs-you-dont-see-coming?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Pet Costs You Don't See Coming</a>)</p> <h2>3. Having coverage could mean saving your pet's life</h2> <p>When I first moved to Manhattan, barely able to pay my bills, my husband wanted a dog. I was dead-set against it, but his continued pleas caused me to cave, and before I knew it, we had a rambunctious puppy.</p> <p>Fast forward to a year-and-a-half later, still struggling to make ends meet, and our dog Jaxon is rushed to the hospital with a respiratory infection that cost about $8,000. There was a brief period of time when we weren't sure if our pet insurance would cover the cost of treatment &mdash; or how much we would have to spend out-of-pocket &mdash; and we had to make a tough decision. It was a quick decision. We could afford up to $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and nothing more; otherwise we would have to say our goodbyes. Thankfully we didn't have to, because the little bugger is still my best bud. Pet insurance saved Jaxon's life that day, and it could very well save your pet's life, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pet-expenses-you-should-never-skip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Pet Expenses You Should Never Skip</a>)</p> <h2>4. Age plays an important part in the coverage you'll get</h2> <p>It's important to enroll your pet while they're young and healthy enough to get the best coverage at the lowest price. No pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions, which makes getting coverage as the pet ages tougher and more expensive, if possible at all.</p> <p>&quot;If your pet is a senior and/or has pre-existing conditions, you may want to consider the accident-only plan,&quot; says Chris Middleton, president of Pets Best, a leading pet insurance provider. &quot;Or get the accident-only plan and add routine care to it.&quot;</p> <p>I decided to end major medical coverage on Jaxon because he doesn't go anywhere that he'll get hurt and he hasn't had any major medical issues for years; that level of insurance was becoming an expense that wasn't worth it. He's also getting up there in age, and at some point I have to let nature take its course. For now, he's happy, healthy, and we're enjoying life together.</p> <h2>5. Your pet's breed will influence coverage and cost</h2> <p>Some pet breeds are more prone to hereditary conditions and medical issues than others, which will affect the price you'll pay for pet insurance right off the bat. For example, you can expect to pay an average of $45 a month for a Labrador retriever versus $53 a month for an English bulldog, according to PetInsuranceQuotes.com. Both of these breeds come with their own set of hereditary issues that can be expensive to treat, which affect prices. If you know you want pet insurance but haven't found the perfect pet yet, it's worth researching insurance premiums based on breed; it may inform your decision on what breeds to focus on and which to avoid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</a>)</p> <h2>6. Find the coverage that works best for your pet and your wallet</h2> <p>To get the most for your pet insurance price, look for a provider that covers the largest portion of your veterinary bill, coverage for congenital and hereditary conditions, and has no limits to the amount they will pay out.</p> <p>&quot;Choose a deductible that fits your budget and how they are applied,&quot; adds pet insurance provider Trupanion. &quot;Deductibles can help you control your premiums while making sure you see coverage before you hit your budget limit.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Pet insurance usually works on a reimbursement model</h2> <p>Pet insurance is a reimbursement model, meaning the pet owner pays their bill at the veterinarian (and often you must pay it in full before your pet is allowed to leave the facility), then submit the proof of payment to the provider for reimbursement. You should research the company's options for submitting claims before choosing a provider, advises Middleton.</p> <p>&quot;Since pet insurance is a reimbursement model, getting your money back quickly is one of the most important features,&quot; Middleton says. &quot;It's also important to look at how they will reimburse you. Some companies will only cut a check to pay your claim; so you have to factor in the time to cut the check, get it mailed to you, then deposit it.&quot;</p> <p>Direct-deposit reimbursement also is available at some providers.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-you-need-to-know-about-pet-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Things%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Pet%2520Insurance.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Pet%20Insurance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Pet%20Insurance.jpg" alt="7 Things You Need to Know About Pet Insurance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-pet-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pet-expenses-you-should-never-skip">6 Pet Expenses You Should Never Skip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-tips-for-animal-lovers">7 Personal Finance Tips for Animal Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-dog-costs-you-should-prepare-for-now">5 Unexpected Dog Costs You Should Prepare for Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty cats dogs health care pet care pet insurance pet owner pets vet bills veterinary bills Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 2020340 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/united_states_treasury_government_check.jpg" alt="United States Treasury government check" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average retired worker earns a monthly Social Security check of $1,360, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. And for most retirees, Social Security benefits are just one source of income, with many supplementing their checks with money that they've saved in 401(k) plans, IRAs, and other savings vehicles.</p> <p>This doesn't mean, though, that these Social Security dollars aren't important. The administration says that Social Security benefits represent about 34 percent of the income of the elderly. That's why it's so important for retirees to create a budget for their Social Security benefits and determine the best way to spend such a significant portion of their monthly earnings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>There's always a need for a budget</h2> <p>The first step in determining how to best spend Social Security benefits is to calculate your monthly income from all sources. Then, determine how much of this income comes from Social Security benefits alone. If Social Security accounts for 70 percent of your monthly income, you'll have to be especially careful how you spend it. If it accounts for just 20 percent, you'll have a bit more leeway.</p> <p>Once you determine how important your benefits are to your monthly income stream, it's time to calculate how much of your Social Security check you should devote to each of your main expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll enter retirement without a mortgage payment. But that doesn't always happen. You might choose to rent during your retirement years. Or, maybe you'll spend your retirement years in assisted living.</p> <p>Housing often remains a significant expense for retirees, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting in March 2016 that seniors age 55 and older spend an average $16,219 a year on housing. Seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $15,838.</p> <p>If you receive the average Social Security check of $1,360 a month, you'll receive $16,320 a year. This means that the average amount that retirees spend on housing would consume most of your Social Security income each year.</p> <p>It might make sense to devote a set percentage of every Social Security check to help cover your housing expenses. How much that percentage is will depend on how much you are spending on housing. If you live in a home with a mortgage that's been paid off, you obviously won't need to spend as much of your checks on housing as you would if you were still paying a mortgage. If housing is a significant expense, though, you might consider devoting 60 percent or more of your Social Security check to covering it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $6,303 a year on food. This makes sense: You have to eat, whether you're working or not. Make sure, then, to reserve part of your Social Security check for groceries and meals out.</p> <p>You do have control over this expense, of course. You can eat out less often and cook at home more, which would reduce your food expenses. But setting aside 20 percent or so of your monthly Social Security check for food should suffice.</p> <h2>Medical expenses</h2> <p>Depending on your health, medical costs could be a significant expense as you age. The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bear this out. According to the Bureau, adults from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $5,956 a year for medical care. The Bureau says that adults 74 and older spend an average $5,708 a year on health care. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Health expenses are one cost you have little control over. Sure, you can exercise and eat well. But you might still suffer health setbacks. It's important to reserve at least some of your Social Security check to cover these sometimes unexpected costs.</p> <p>Consider saving an additional 20 percent of your Social Security benefits for medical spending.</p> <h2>Other costs</h2> <p>If you've been keeping track, those three expenses might eat up your entire Social Security check. Again, this depends on how much Social Security income you receive each month and how much you actually spend on housing, health care, and food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>If you find that these three big expenses do swallow most or all of your expenses, you'll have to dip into your retirement savings and other income vehicles to cover costs such as travel, transportation, entertainment, and any other monthly bills.</p> <p>Budgeting your Social Security check highlights just how important it is to have multiple income sources at your disposal after retirement. As you can see, Social Security doesn't go that far when it comes to covering the basic living expenses of many seniors.</p> <p>You do have options, of course. You can scale back your retirement plans, perhaps choosing to travel less and eat in more often. You can also take on a part-time job. That extra income could come in handy to cover the smaller, unexpected expenses that tend to come up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520You%2520Should%2520Budget%2520Your%2520Social%2520Security%2520Checks.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks.jpg" alt="Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Retirement beneficiaries benefits expenses food costs health care housing income medical costs social security Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2007581 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515605374.jpg" alt="Choosing the best health care plan based on one question" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health insurance: That term alone may be enough to give you a headache, considering all of its confusing language, acronyms, high costs, and pages upon pages of fine print. If you're feeling lost, you aren't alone &mdash; and I'm here to help.</p> <p>As someone who has purchased their own insurance from health care marketplaces in several states, and worked professionally for a health insurance company, I've learned quite a bit about buying health insurance. Here are the main points you need to know to choose the best insurance plan for you and your family.</p> <h2>The two main health care costs</h2> <p>Health care costs are broken down into two main categories: fixed monthly costs and variable service costs.</p> <h3>1. Fixed monthly costs</h3> <p>Your health care bill is a fixed monthly cost that you pay in order to keep your insurance in good standing. Your bill is often referred to as your &quot;premium&quot; or &quot;monthly premium.&quot; It may change from year to year, but within a given calendar year, it's the same every month provided you don't have any life changes such as adding a new dependent to your plan.</p> <p>It's critically important that you pay this monthly charge every month when it's due. If you miss a payment or multiple payments, the insurance company could cancel your coverage or charge you a late fee. If you're having trouble paying your monthly premium, ask for help. Call your insurance company. There are often programs and payment options to help you manage your payments and keep your insurance active.</p> <h3>2. Variable service costs</h3> <p>These are costs that you will pay when you receive medical services such as doctor visits, prescriptions, visits to the emergency room or hospitalizations, and lab tests, just to name a few. The costs to you for these services depend upon your insurance and the provider of those services such as the doctor or pharmacy you use. When you pay these costs, they count against something called your deductible.</p> <p>Your deductible is the amount of money set by your insurance plan that <em>you </em>must pay before insurance contributes money to your medical costs.</p> <p>Your copay is the amount of money you must pay upfront to a service provider before you can receive care, medication, or tests.</p> <h2>An example of how all of these costs work together</h2> <p>Let's say you sign up with ABC health insurance company. These are the terms of the plan:</p> <ul> <li>Monthly premium: $100.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Variable costs: $25 copay for a visit to your doctor (often called your primary care physician or PCP), $200 copay for a visit to the ER, $10 copay for prescriptions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deductible: $1,000 in-network, $2,000 out-of-network. In-network means that a provider is approved by the insurance company. As a general rule, you should check to see if all of your providers are in-network with your insurance company, because in-network providers will be cheaper for you than out-of-network providers.</li> </ul> <p>Every month, you must pay the $100 premium, whether or not you receive any medical care that month.</p> <p>Now let's say you get a bad cold. You go to the doctor and they write you a prescription for some medicine to help you manage the congestion in your nose and chest. They're also a little concerned that this is more than just a cold, so they recommend a few tests from an in-network lab. Since you are feeling very sick, you agree to the lab tests. You pay the $25 copay to the doctor for the visit, and the $10 copay at your pharmacy for the prescription. Total variable costs so far are $35.</p> <p>The lab tests come back and it turns out you have an infection and need a second prescription. You pay another $10 copay to your pharmacist for the second medication, and the lab that ran the tests sends you a bill for $50. Total variable costs are now a total of $95.</p> <p>Now what about the deductible? Copays usually do not count toward your deductible, but billed costs do. Let's say this is the first time you're seeing a doctor this year. You can count your $50 lab cost against your $1,000 in-network deductible because the lab that ran the tests is in-network.</p> <p>Because you haven't yet hit the $1,000 in-network deductible of medical expenses, you must pay the lab the $50 for your lab tests. Your insurance doesn't cover any of that cost so long as your total billed in-network provider costs for the year (not counting copays) are below $1,000. Insurance does not cover any of your copays &mdash; you are responsible for those costs as well.</p> <h2>The one question you need to answer to choose the right plan</h2> <p>Health care is a complicated industry. There is one main question you need to answer to choose the right plan for you on the exchange: Would you rather pay a higher fixed monthly premium and pay lower costs for a serious illness or injury, or would you rather have a lower monthly premium and pay higher costs for a serious illness or injury?</p> <p>Once you answer that question, you significantly narrow down your choices and the decision becomes much simpler.</p> <h2>Narrowing down your choices</h2> <p>If you need some help answering the question above, here is a way to break it down into two smaller questions.</p> <h3>1. What is your risk tolerance?</h3> <p>You have to be able to sleep at night. If you are worried about a high monthly premium and not too worried about your potential for getting sick or having some kind of accident, then you could choose a higher-deductible plan with a lower monthly fee and higher service fees. If you would rather have the peace of mind of a lower-deductible plan with higher monthly fees and lower service fees, then a high monthly premium plan may be better for you. That is a very personal choice and there are no right or wrong answers.</p> <h3>2. How much financial flexibility do you have if you get sick or injured?</h3> <p>Another point to consider is your financial flexibility. In the event that you become sick or have an accident, do you have a substantial enough savings to cover high medical costs? If so, then you may be just fine with a plan that is cheaper on a monthly basis and has higher fees and a higher deductible. If you don't have significant savings for services, but you do have money to cover a higher monthly premium, then a more expensive plan upfront may be better for you.</p> <h2>What's covered in every plan (for now)</h2> <p>For now, the Affordable Care Act (commonly called the ACA or &quot;Obamacare&quot;) is the law of the land. When it was passed in 2010, it included a required set of services that all health insurance plans on the marketplace (also called &quot;the exchange&quot;) must include.</p> <p>That means that all of these services must be offered by all plans that wish to be a part of the marketplace. It does not mean that these services are free of charge. It just means that they have to be offered as part of the bundle of services, and there can be costs to you associated with them.</p> <p>The mandatory services, as long as the ACA is in effect, are:</p> <ul> <li>Ambulatory patient services. This includes any service outside of a hospital such as visits to a doctor's office, a clinic, or urgent care center.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Chronic disease treatment. Chronic conditions are illnesses that must be consistently treated to prevent or slow their progression, but may never be fully cured. These include conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Emergency services.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hospitalization.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Laboratory services. Lab services include all tests that help doctors diagnose your illness or condition. Blood work is an example of a lab service.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maternity and newborn care.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mental health services and addiction treatment. This includes services in which you go for an office visit to a therapist as well as services that require you to check in to a facility for multiple days of treatment (known as inpatient services).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rehabilitative services and devices. This includes services that help you to recover from a mental or physical illness, injury, disability, or chronic condition. It may be inpatient or outpatient depending upon the recommendation by your physician.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pediatric services. This includes checkups, vaccines and immunizations, dental care, and vision care.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prescription drugs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Preventive and wellness services. This includes physicals, immunizations, and screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies that are meant to prevent and/or detect certain medical conditions that would need treatment. For women, this also includes annual visits to a gynecologist. Many times these services are included in the insurance plan with no extra fee other than a copay provided you go to a service provider who is in-network.</li> </ul> <p>Remember, no matter which plan you choose on the exchange, it must include some provision for these services though the costs to you for providing them may vary significantly from plan to plan.</p> <h2>The main drivers of your health insurance costs</h2> <p>There are several factors that determine your monthly charge from the insurance company.</p> <ul> <li>Your age.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your home address. Where you live makes a difference in cost, for now, so you must go to the marketplace that is associated with the state in which you live. <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/" target="_blank">HealthCare.gov</a> will tell you which exchange is yours based on the ZIP code you enter. You will then be able to see the plans available to you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How many dependents you want to cover, if any.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whether or not you smoke. Some states have an extra charge if you are a smoker.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The insurance company you choose. Exchanges can have more than one insurance company in the marketplace.</li> </ul> <p>The health care exchanges do an excellent job of giving you side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparisons between different plans. If it's too much for you to figure out online, call your state exchange directly. They have excellent customer service representatives who are very knowledgeable and will help you through the online application. Be well.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20One%20Question%20You%20Need%20to%20Answer%20to%20Choose%20the%20Best%20Plan%20on%20the%20Health%20Care%20Marketplace.jpg" alt="The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/signing-up-for-obamacare-in-2015-heres-whats-new">Signing Up for Obamacare in 2015? Here&#039;s What&#039;s New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense">The One Time Short-Term Health Insurance Makes Sense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance ACA affordable care act copays costs deductibles doctors health care networks obamacare the exchange Tue, 08 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 1994456 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Climate Change Could Affect Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-586087414.jpg" alt="Learning how climate change could affect your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As our planet steadily warms and the climate changes, one thing is for certain &mdash; it is incredibly hard to predict what the long-term future holds.</p> <p>There is a ton of data that shows Earth's climate is warming, but the change is occurring so rapidly that the existing data doesn't necessarily provide scientists with a way to make 100 percent accurate predictions. Plus, we can hardly get weather predictions right for the next week, so imagine trying to make accurate predictions for decades into the future.</p> <p>All of that said, there are six predictions that we can generally make regarding the future of our planet and our money.</p> <h2>1. Water will cost more</h2> <p>Water is, hands down, our most precious resource on this planet. Scientists predict that potable water may become increasingly rare in the next 50 years &mdash; at least, based on our current climate models and methods for collecting and storing water. At least half the world's population relies on groundwater for personal consumption (with urban demand expected to grow by 55 percent by 2050, according to National Geographic), and groundwater is supplied by precipitation.</p> <p>Global warming is expected to increase downpours, so one might expect that our groundwater supply should be in good shape. However, that's not the case. Groundwater builds up slowly over time, through melting snowpack and steady precipitation. If climate forecast models are accurate, then it's possible that the next 100 years will see northern hemisphere snowfall amounts decline dramatically (between 10 percent and 30 percent, according to National Geographic). Increased precipitation, when it comes in the form of monsoon-like deluges that are too voluminous to be absorbed, simply causes flooding.</p> <p>In addition, warmer global temperatures will contribute to problems with water quality, according to both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Rising seawater in low-lying coastal areas can contaminate freshwater reserves. In areas of drought, on the other hand, concentrations of freshwater contaminants are expected to increase, which can lead to potential health concerns for humans.</p> <p>Precipitation deluges can also cost municipalities millions if excess stormwater floods damage sewage treatment plants (as happened in Seattle in February 2017). This can lead to a costly backup &mdash; or in the case of the Seattle treatment plant, millions of gallons of raw sewage pouring into Puget Sound. All of this makes it extremely likely that the cost of potable water will get much higher in the next 50 years or so.</p> <h2>2. Energy will cost more</h2> <p>North America has enjoyed a boom in cheap oil and natural gas in recent years, thanks to fracking, a means of extracting oil and gas from rock shale using pressurized water. But as climate change causes freshwater supplies to dwindle and water costs to rise, expect to see either a falloff in fracking-related production of fossil fuels or a drop in demand.</p> <p>Other means of power generation may come under threat, too. Many of the country's rivers may actually see less water flow due to shifting precipitation patterns and accelerated evaporation rates. Less water flowing in our rivers will mean less water to power hydroelectric dams. Did you know that water is used to cool coal and nuclear power plants, too? Without access to that water, power brownouts are a possibility in many areas, especially during times of peak power usage.</p> <p>Fortunately, advancements in green technologies like solar and wind energy production (coupled with new efforts to manufacture batteries for home storage of electricity) promise possible relief. These technologies, along with microgrids &mdash; local energy grids that can disconnect from main power grids and run autonomously &mdash; can also help alleviate problems that arise from the aging of the already hopelessly outdated U.S. utilities infrastructure.</p> <h2>3. Food may cost a lot more</h2> <p>A warming climate is a mixed blessing when it comes to food production. Warmer weather and higher levels of carbon dioxide can mean happier crops and larger yields, but that's assuming that new diseases and pests don't also thrive on the warming conditions. Because the cost of food depends on so much more than crop yields, it's very difficult to say how food prices may rise in the future.</p> <p>According to National Geographic, some crops' yields will increase<a href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/how-to-live-with-it/crops.html">,</a> while others may see a significant drop. Among the predictions scientists are making:</p> <ul> <li>Corn yield may decline by as much as 20 percent in the Midwestern United States, and 16 percent in Brazil. And if the cost of corn and other basic cereals rises along with the cost of water, the cost of meat production will also rise.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Potato farmers in northern Europe may expect an increase in production, whereas farms farther south will become increasingly drought-prone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>West and East Africa may support more industrial agriculture, but China and India are expected to experience massive losses of arable land.</li> </ul> <p>As the climate continues warming, Americans may see a serious shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables, causing price hikes. California produces the vast majority of the fresh produce eaten in the United States, including citrus fruit, artichokes, broccoli, nuts, plums, and tomatoes. The state's vast farmlands are expected to suffer from more frequent droughts and heat waves as the climate continues warming.</p> <p>Seafood is also likely to become rarer and pricier as rising carbon dioxide levels cause oceans to acidify and harm or kill off species like salmon.</p> <h2>4. Flood prone real estate may lose value</h2> <p>Temperamental weather is one thing, but the warming atmosphere and oceans are also giving rise to more intense and numerous hurricanes and other ocean-centered storms.</p> <p>The tempests, combined with rising sea levels, are expected to devalue coastal property significantly over the next 50 to 100 years. According to the National Ocean Service, in 2010, 39 percent of the U.S. population lived in counties directly on the shoreline, with another 8 percent expected to join them by 2020. Consumers who own properties right up against the coast face not only physical dangers from rising sea levels, but also increasing costs, particularly for homeowners and flood insurance. You can expect to see premiums and deductibles rise in areas affected by climate change-related flooding.</p> <p>It has taken some time for the U.S. real estate world to react to the predictions about climate change, perhaps because North America hasn't experienced as much climate change-related damage as initially predicted (or perhaps because 60 percent of Americans don't believe that climate change will affect them personally, according to research from Yale University's Program on Climate Change Communication). However, changes are taking place. New York Times data shows home sales have dropped about 7.6 percent in high-risk flood areas of Miami-Dade County, even though home sales have increased 2.6 percent nationally.</p> <h2>5. Homeownership will cost more</h2> <p>Real estate agents like to say that there are three factors to consider when buying a home: location, location, location. Well, it's more true now than ever. While homeowners previously considered issues like neighborhood safety, the quality of the local school district, or local amenities, now homebuyers will also have to factor in issues like: Will my home be swept away in a freak flood? Are forest fires becoming a possibility in this area? The answers could point to significant dangers or at the very least, higher costs.</p> <p>Buying a home in an area that is negatively affected by climate change will affect more than your mortgage options and your insurance: You may also pay a fee just to live dangerously. Homes built in unincorporated fire-prone areas, for instance, may be charged an annual fee to help pay for firefighting efforts. This has already been proposed in Washington State.</p> <h2>6. Health care costs will continue to grow</h2> <p>Anyone who has been to Beijing or Bangkok knows how terrible air pollution can affect your health. From asthma to emphysema, a more polluted atmosphere (which is currently a huge contributor to our warming climate) can mean a host of new health issues.</p> <p>Warmer weather, combined with higher levels of carbon dioxide, can also cause plants to vigorously produce more pollen &mdash; meaning worsening symptoms for people with allergies.</p> <p>And a wetter, warmer climate encourages the spread of insects like mosquitoes, which carry deadly diseases. Speaking of insects, the bark beetle that is killing off vast swathes of forest in the Western United States and Canada is creating so much dead wood that it's contributing to larger, deadlier forest fires in the dry summer months. Those, in turn, further hurt asthmatics and people with other pulmonary issues.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Climate%2520Change%2520Could%2520Affect%2520Your%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Climate%20Change%20Could%20Affect%20Your%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Climate%20Change%20Could%20Affect%20Your%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Ways Climate Change Could Affect Your Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-climate-change-could-affect-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/there-are-cheaper-ways-to-return-to-a-greener-earth">There are Cheaper Ways to Return to a Greener Earth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Green Living agriculture climate change environment food costs global warming health care homeownership sea levels water Thu, 03 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Andrea Karim 1992116 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Boomers and Millennials Are Creating Winners on the Stock Market http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_with_adult_daughter_in_park_together.jpg" alt="Mother With Adult Daughter In Park Together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may not seem like millennials and baby boomers have a lot in common, aside from the fact that they make up a huge chunk of the U.S. population. But the two generations do share some similar traits when it comes to spending and investing. This is already having a significant impact on the economy and the stock market, and will continue to do so.</p> <p>Here are some key ways that baby boomers and millennials are impacting business and the markets.</p> <h2>Health care will be huge</h2> <p>There's a lot of noise related to the Affordable Care Act and a possible replacement. How things will shake out on Capitol Hill is anyone's guess, but there's no doubt that Americans will be spending more on health care. Baby boomers make up an increasing percentage of the U.S. population, and will require more medical attention as they age. This means big profits for pharmaceutical firms, but also biotech companies, hospitals, and manufacturers of medical equipment. The S&amp;P 500 Health Care Index has seen annualized returns of more than 16 percent over the last five years, and is up nearly 12 percent in 2017. Expect the upward trend to continue.</p> <h2>Health consciousness is also big</h2> <p>Millennials are aware of the obesity problem in America, and many of them are making lifestyle choices to counteract that. We've seen a push for more natural and organic food items, and a desire for less sugar and fat. This also means a continued expansion of fast-casual restaurants that offer healthier options, perhaps at the expense of traditional fast food chains. Baby boomers will help fuel this push to health as well simply by following doctor's orders to eat healthy as they age.</p> <h2>Investing costs will go down</h2> <p>Boomers have no interest in seeing their retirement savings cut down by high expense ratios and commissions, and millennials are becoming more savvy about the impact these costs have on their portfolios. These two demographics have led the charge against fees, and we've seen some brokerages respond. In February, Charles Schwab and Fidelity cut their online trade commissions to a mere $4.95, and many brokerage firms have expanded their offerings of commission-free exchange-traded funds (ETFs).</p> <p>Meanwhile, investing in low-cost index funds has ballooned; nearly half of all assets placed in mutual funds and ETFs are indexed rather than in actively-managed accounts, according to Morningstar.</p> <h2>Investing in individual stocks will decline</h2> <p>Aging baby boomers can be expected to withdraw their investments or at least shift their portfolios to more conservative investments like bonds and cash. Meanwhile, millennials are wary of the markets in general after living through the stock market declines of the early 2000s and 2008. Millennials have also learned that trying to beat the market by investing in individual stocks is generally a fool's game. This shying away from individual stocks could impact the overall returns in the stock market over time.</p> <h2>Popular brands aren't a sure thing</h2> <p>There has long been a common thought among investors that big, popular brands will always be surefire investments. Investors have long banked on the notion of brand loyalty as a driver of investment returns. But there have been several recent reports that millennials are not as brand-loyal as their predecessor generations. Millennials will go for value and quality, and aren't going to stick with a single brand out of stubbornness. This may have implications for stocks that have performed well over the years in part due to brand recognition.</p> <h2>Brick-and-mortar retail will go south</h2> <p>We're already seeing retail chains struggling, with H.G. Gregg, Gymboree, Rue 21, and several other brick-and-mortar outlets declaring bankruptcy in recent months. Meanwhile, online retailing giant Amazon just reported a 23 percent increase in sales, to $35.7 billion. Millennials don't mind shopping online, and baby boomers are less likely to go out on long shopping trips as they get older.</p> <h2>Experiences over objects</h2> <p>Millennials don't really care about owning things. Instead, they get satisfaction from experiences like fitness classes, travel, or eating well. To the extent that they need items such as music or movies, they prefer to obtain them through streaming services such as Netflix (one of the hottest tech stocks in America) or Spotify. Meanwhile, baby boomers are getting older and aren't in the habit of acquiring more &quot;stuff,&quot; either.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520Boomers%2520and%2520Millennials%2520Are%2520Creating%2520Winners%2520on%2520the%2520Stock%2520Market.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20How%20Boomers%20and%20Millennials%20Are%20Creating%20Winners%20on%20the%20Stock%20Market"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20Boomers%20and%20Millennials%20Are%20Creating%20Winners%20on%20the%20Stock%20Market.jpg" alt="Here's How Boomers and Millennials Are Creating Winners on the Stock Market" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-boomers-and-millennials-are-creating-winners-on-the-stock-market">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment baby boomers brand loyalty eating well Food Health health care millennials retail stock market Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1986883 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Retirement Planning Changes When You're Single http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-retirement-planning-changes-when-youre-single <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-retirement-planning-changes-when-youre-single" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_woman_relaxing.jpg" alt="Senior woman relaxing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can sometimes feel like everything is created with couples in mind &mdash; including retirement planning. When every article, tip, and suggestion for retirement starts with the assumption that you are married, you might be forgiven for assuming that retiring solo is just a matter of cutting retirement planning advice in half.</p> <p>But there are specific challenges and concerns (not to mention benefits!) that single retirees need to prepare for before they hang up their careers. Here are seven ways that preparing for retirement is different for singles.</p> <h2>1. You need to have adequate disability insurance</h2> <p>Relying on no one but yourself can feel pretty liberating. Not only do you answer to no one but yourself, but you also get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor without having to compromise.</p> <p>The downside to this, however, is figuring how you will protect yourself in case your income runs dry. While anyone who relies on income from their job should carry adequate disability insurance, this is even more important for single workers who may not have another safety net to catch them if a disability makes it impossible to work. You need to protect yourself, your income, and your assets from the possibility you may be unable to work, even before you start the nitty-gritty of retirement planning.</p> <p>Even if you have disability insurance through work, that may not be adequate to protect you from a loss of income. Make sure you know exactly how much your work insurance covers and for how long, so that you are not left without an income if it's not enough. Also, don't assume that you are immune to potential disabilities just because the most strenuous thing you do at work is operate the copy machine. Illness is behind the majority of long-term absences from work &mdash; and anyone can get sick at any time.</p> <h2>2. Prepare for your health care needs</h2> <p>Health care costs are a major concern for all retirees, since this is one aspect of your retirement budget that you may not have control over. According to a 2016 Fidelity study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 would need $260,000 for health care to cover their medical and health care needs for the rest of their lives.</p> <p>That dollar figure is frightening no matter your marital status, and it's important that single people recognize that their costs may be higher than just half of a couple's health care costs. That's because many married couples can help each other to remain independent in ways that single retirees would need to pay for. For instance, you may need to pay for someone to help you at home or for entry into a retirement community sooner than a married couple would need those things.</p> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" target="_blank">long-term care insurance</a> has often been touted as a method of mitigating these expenses for both married and single retirees, the cost of this kind of insurance has become prohibitive. To prepare for the possibility of bad health in retirement, singles should also explore creative solutions to long-term health issues. For instance, taking in a rent-free roommate who helps with daily tasks is not only money-saving, but also offers social support. Planning ahead for potential solutions to health and mobility issues can provide you with some imaginative solutions that money can't buy.</p> <h2>3. Assign a power of attorney</h2> <p>It's easy to assume that you can skip the whole issue of legal planning if you are single and childless, but that's not necessarily true. For instance, do you know who will take care of your health care or financial decisions if you should become incapacitated? You need to assign a power of attorney to make sure that your wishes are followed if you cannot make your own decisions.</p> <p>Your power of attorney also needs to know where to find your important papers and should be kept apprised of any changes in your life or directives. This is the person who will pay your bills and handle your advanced directive if you fall ill. You can either pick someone in your life whom you trust, or hire a professional whom you trust to fill that role.</p> <h2>4. Invest in tax-deferred retirement vehicles during your career</h2> <p>Single workers miss out on a number of tax breaks that are offered to married couples. According to Jane Hodges writing for <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>, &quot;Without child tax credits, a spouse exemption, and no one with whom to realize the benefits of filing jointly, singles can take a pretty big tax punch during peak earning years.&quot;</p> <p>For this reason, single workers have a particular need to invest in tax-advantaged retirement vehicles, such as 401(k) and traditional IRA accounts. These vehicles allow you to make pretax contributions, which lowers your taxable income while also helping you prepare financially for retirement.</p> <h2>5. Consider rolling over into a Roth IRA before age 70&frac12;</h2> <p>Of course, Uncle Sam will still want his cut of the income you put in tax-deferred retirement accounts, which can cause a nasty tax surprise for singles post-retirement. That's because withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement accounts are taxed as ordinary income, and single retirees still do not have access to the tax breaks offered to married couples.</p> <p>This can become a serious problem for some single retirees as of age 70&frac12; because of the required minimum distributions on tax-deferred accounts. Traditional IRAs and 401(k)s require that retirees begin withdrawing a minimum distribution (based on a percentage of total assets) at age 70&frac12;, which means you might be facing a surprisingly high tax bracket upon reaching age 70&frac12;. You may also be forced to take more money from your accounts than you want or need because of the required minimum distribution.</p> <p>To protect yourself from this potentially painful tax bite, consider rolling over a portion of your assets from tax-deferred funds to a Roth IRA account before age 70&frac12;. Since Roth accounts are funded with after-tax dollars, you will have to pay ordinary income tax on your rollover. However, this will allow you to decide when you will pay those taxes and give you more freedom to keep your money invested if you don't need it.</p> <h2>6. Hold off on Social Security for as long as you can</h2> <p>Options for optimizing Social Security benefits are much simpler for singles. Basically, the only way to get a higher monthly benefit if you are single is to wait. The longer you can wait to receive your benefits between age 62 (the earliest you can take benefits) and 70 (when the benefits stop growing), the more money you will see with every monthly check. Even if you cannot wait until age 70, or your full retirement age (currently age 66), know that each month you delay taking your Social Security retirement benefits means a little more money in your checks.</p> <p>It's also important to remember that the federal government does not necessarily define single the same way you do. If you are divorced but were married for at least 10 years, then you are eligible for spousal benefits based on your ex's income record. However, you will collect your spousal benefits concurrently with your retirement benefits, so you will only see an increased benefit if your ex-spouse made a lot more money than you did.</p> <h2>7. Embrace the opportunities</h2> <p>While the IRS and Social Security Administration may both make marriage look like the better option &mdash; at least financially &mdash; it's important for singles to remember how many more opportunities they have available to them than do married couples. That's because a footloose and fancy-free retiree has far fewer obstacles to retirement than does a married couple.</p> <p>For instance, retiring abroad can be a very economical (not to mention fun) choice, and it is much easier for a single retiree to pull up roots than it is for a couple. Similarly, traveling in retirement can be much cheaper for one, since you do not have to compromise on where you are willing to save money.</p> <p>Single retirees can also explore alternative living options, like living with several friends &mdash; there's an excellent reason why all the Golden Girls were single, after all &mdash; or taking in a younger boarder or roommate, or even moving to a cheaper state. Making these decisions solo means you can find the living situation or opportunity that best fits your needs, wants, and temperament.</p> <!--<h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20Retirement%20Planning%20Changes%20When%20Youre%20Single.jpg" alt="7 Ways Retirement Planning Changes When You're Single" width="250" height="374" /></p> </div>--><!--<h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20Retirement%20Planning%20Changes%20When%20Youre%20Single.jpg" alt="7 Ways Retirement Planning Changes When You're Single" width="250" height="374" /></p> </div>--><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-retirement-planning-changes-when-youre-single">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you">Choosing a Retirement Account: What&#039;s Available, and What’s Best for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) advice disability insurance health care IRA loss of income not married power of attorney retirement planning singles Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:01:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1982441 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/male_medicine_doctor_wearing_blue_tie_holding_piggybank.jpg" alt="Male medicine doctor wearing blue tie holding piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I put off signing up for an HSA for years because it was confusing and seemed to have a lot of rules and restrictions. You need to have an HDHP (high deductible health plan) in order to get an HSA. HSA funds can only be spent on qualified medical expenses &mdash; or else you can be hit with a 20 percent penalty and have to pay income tax on the withdrawal. I was hesitant to contribute funds into an account when I was worried it would be complicated to get the money back out.</p> <p>But participating in an HSA turned out to be a lot easier than I expected, and it has saved me a lot of money. If you do not anticipate having a lot of health care expenses, a high deductible health plan plus an HSA may be a good move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Convenient access to HSA funds</h2> <p>You can conveniently access your HSA funds using a credit card tied to the HSA account at the doctor's office or pharmacy. You can also pay medical expenses with a check or credit card, and then withdraw funds from your HSA account to put back into your checking account.</p> <h2>2. Use HSA funds for a variety of medical expenses</h2> <p>HSA spending is not limited to only doctor and hospital bills &mdash; you can also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover" target="_blank">use HSA funds</a> for medication, eye care, dental care, and other health-related expenses including bandages and prescription sunglasses. The IRS offers a complete list of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf" target="_blank">qualified medical expenses</a>.</p> <h2>3. HSAs offer plenty of tax advantages</h2> <p>You'll contribute pretax dollars to an HSA from every paycheck, without paying income tax on those contributions. This means you can save around 25 to 30 percent on health care expenses, depending on your tax rate. In addition, you can earn interest on the funds in your HSA account. With some HSA providers, you can even invest your HSA funds for more potential growth. Gains on HSA funds are tax-free.</p> <p>For qualified medical expenses, you can also withdraw funds from your HSA tax-free.</p> <h2>4. HSA funds roll over from one year to the next</h2> <p>One of my concerns with putting money into an HSA was the fear that it was a &quot;use it or lose it&quot; proposition like some flexible spending accounts I have previously used for health expenses. But funds in an HSA roll over from one year to the next, so you never lose your money if you don't spend it.</p> <h2>5. An HSA builds funds for future medical costs</h2> <p>An HSA is not only a way to pay for current medical expenses, it is also an ideal vehicle to build savings for future medical expenses. You can deposit money on a pretax basis, enjoy growth on invested HSA funds without paying taxes, and then withdraw funds years later when medical expenses arise with no tax obligation. No other investment vehicle provides this combination of benefits to grow savings for medical costs.</p> <h2>6. You can use your HSA as an IRA at age 65</h2> <p>When you reach age 65, you can continue to draw funds for qualified medical expenses tax-free. Or, you can use your HSA funds for any purpose you wish, without penalty (but you will pay income taxes if it's for non-health spending). An HSA effectively functions as an individual retirement account (IRA) when you reach 65, with the added benefit of tax-free dollars for medical expenses.</p> <h2>7. Your HSA is portable</h2> <p>When you move from one employer to another, or even opt to pursue freelance work, you get to keep your HSA and all of your funds.</p> <h2>8. Free HSA funding</h2> <p>Some employers contribute funds to employees' HSA accounts as a benefit. If you don't have an HSA, you might be missing out on free money!</p> <h2>9. You don't need an employer to have a HSA</h2> <p>Although the easiest way to take advantage of an HSA is to simply sign up for a program offered by your employer, you can open your own HSA if you are self-employed. You will need to find your own HSA provider such as a bank, credit union, insurance company, or investment broker. Look for an HSA provider with low fees, that provides access to HSA funds via a credit card, and that provides investment options for HSA funds.</p> <h2>10. Significant tax savings</h2> <p>The maximum annual HSA contribution amount is $3,350 for individuals, or $6,750 for families. Let's say your federal plus state income tax rate is 25 percent. Since contributions are tax-free, if you contribute the maximum to your HSA, you would save $837.50 for an individual or $1687.50 for a family on taxes on current or future qualified medical expenses.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Reasons%2520an%2520HSA%2520Is%2520Actually%2520Worth%2520Having.jpg&amp;description=10%20Reasons%20an%20HSA%20Is%20Actually%20Worth%20Having"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Reasons%20an%20HSA%20Is%20Actually%20Worth%20Having.jpg" alt="10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">How an HSA Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty Taxes contributions health care health spending account HSA IRA medical expenses saving money tax advantages tax-free Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1974217 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_money_jar_filled_with_american_currency.jpg" alt="Emergency fund money jar filled with American currency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You need an emergency fund: You've probably been told this plenty of times before, and you maybe haven't taken it as seriously as you should have.</p> <p>Well, some fresh data from 2017 proves that &hellip; yes, you really do need an emergency fund! If you've delayed stashing that money away, now is the time to start.</p> <h2>1. Potentially higher health care costs under AHCA</h2> <p>Let's start with a big-ticket item: health care. Under the current administration, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is adjusting several items from its predecessor, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.</p> <p>Depending on several factors, including your age, and income level, and where you live, you may end up paying more or less under the AHCA than you did under the ACA. Those who are older, have a lower income, and live in an area with higher premiums are likely to pay more under the AHCA. For example, while a 40-year-old resident of Cherry County, Nebraska making $50,000 per year would pay 21 percent more in health premiums under the AHCA, a 27-year-old resident of Tulare County, California would pay 26 percent <em>less</em>.</p> <p>To get an idea of how much you would in pay under the AHCA, use this <a href="http://kff.org/interactive/tax-credits-under-the-affordable-care-act-vs-replacement-proposal-interactive-map/" target="_blank">predictor tool</a> from the Kaiser Family Foundation and get more information from your current health plan provider. Having an emergency fund would allow you to be ready to cover not only medical emergencies, but also the potential hike in those health care premiums.</p> <h2>2. Worrying about finances makes you less productive at work</h2> <p>According to recent data from the Employment Benefit Research Institute, three in 10 American workers claim they worry about personal finance at their workplace. Even worse, over 50 percent of those workers believe that time spent fretting about money is making them less productive for their employers.</p> <p>If you belong to this group of workers, then you would regain peace of mind at work with an emergency fund. By knowing that you could cover your necessities for three to six months if you were to lose your job, you would be able to focus on performing better and increasing your chance of a raise.</p> <h2>3. Average credit card APR is on the rise</h2> <p>What do you do when you don't have money to cover surprise expenses, such as the water heater breaking or the car going on the fritz? Most people without an emergency fund turn to a credit card.</p> <p>Well, here is some bad news: A CreditCards.com survey found that the average credit card APR had reached a record 15.89 percent as of June 14, 2017. If your credit score is less than perfect, you can expect to pay an interest rate even higher than that average.</p> <p>Remember, the whole point of having an emergency fund is to lower your financial risk. By using a credit card as an emergency fund, you're only adding risk to your personal finances.</p> <h2>4. Opportunity only comes around so often</h2> <p>Many people think of an emergency fund as a &quot;rainy day fund.&quot; However, others think of it as an &quot;opportunity fund&quot; &mdash; a way to never miss out on a great opportunity for want of cash. And while an emergency fund should never be thought of as play money, if you have enough saved, you can use some of that cash to fund a special opportunity that may not come again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a>)</p> <p>Here are some examples:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You have the chance to refinance your mortgage to a lower rate (and lower your monthly payment!), but you don't have any savings to cover the necessary $2,000 to $3,000 closing costs. Luckily, there's enough in your emergency fund to help you go through with the refi.</p> </li> <li> <p>You've had a lifelong dream of taking a two-week trip around Europe, but the tour company that you like is a little out of your price range. They offer a limited-time discount, and you pull some money from your emergency fund to take that trip of a lifetime.</p> </li> <li> <p>The refrigerator that you've had since college has been jacking up your electricity bill for years. You discover that you could slash your monthly bill by 40 percent <em>and </em>get an energy rebate from the state government if you were to buy a more energy-efficient model. You don't have the money upfront, and the rebate expires next month &hellip; but there's enough in your emergency fund.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The list goes on. An emergency fund is usually a building block to achieve financial security, but it could also allow you to gain financial freedom. Once you gain the discipline to save enough to cover your necessities in case of an emergency, you may be able to continue to save in case of a seizable opportunity &mdash; or even a lifelong dream.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520New%2520Reasons%2520You%2520Need%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20New%20Reasons%20You%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund.jpg" alt="4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-check-out-medical-care-for-the-uninsured">5 Places to Check out Medical Care for the Uninsured</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance APR emergency fund expenses health care interest rates job loss opportunity fund rainy day fund saving money stress surprises Thu, 29 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1973594 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Questions You Need To Answer Before Relocating in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-you-need-to-answer-before-relocating-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-questions-you-need-to-answer-before-relocating-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_hugging_over_living_house_background.jpg" alt="Senior couple hugging over living house background" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do your post-career plans include a change of address? If so, you're not alone. A 2015 Bankrate survey found that one in five Americans age 65 or older would consider moving to a different city or state for retirement.</p> <p>If a change of scenery in your later years sounds appealing, the most important question to consider is, &quot;Why?&quot; It's easy to romanticize the benefits of living in a different city. So, before you start packing boxes, here are four key questions that'll help make sure you're relocating for all the right reasons. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-exciting-affordable-american-cities-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Exciting, Affordable American Cities to Retire In</a>)</p> <h2>How would a move impact your finances?</h2> <p>Many people who move in retirement do so for financial reasons. In fact, nearly 75 percent of people age 65 or older said finding a lower cost of living was &quot;extremely important&quot; when thinking about where to retire, according to Bankrate.</p> <p>Moving for monetary reasons can make sense as long as you look at all sides of the equation. If your retirement account isn't as fully stocked as you'd like it to be, selling a home that you own outright or have a lot of equity in and buying one that costs less may be wise. Just be sure to factor in other ongoing costs in the town you're thinking of moving to, such as property taxes, insurance, sales taxes, and more.</p> <p>You can get a feel for how your cost-of-living may change by using an online calculator, and the <a href="https://taxfoundation.org/state-and-local-sales-tax-rates-2016/" target="_blank">Tax Foundation</a> has information about state and local taxes. But do some additional checking. Talk with a realtor to ask about property taxes, and call an insurance agent to see how your homeowners and vehicle insurance costs may change.</p> <h2>How would a move impact your extended family?</h2> <p>A couple of years ago, an older couple I know sold the home they've owned for many years and moved closer to two of their adult children and their families. They're enjoying spending more time with their grandchildren, attending various school and sports events. And, when the woman in the couple had to be hospitalized recently, their adult children didn't have to fly across the country to be there for her.</p> <p>On the other hand, my in-laws live about five hours away. When my father-in-law recently became ill and eventually passed away, it was very challenging for my wife and our whole family to be there as much as we would have liked.</p> <p>Relocating to be closer to family is generally a good idea. However, there are also some risks. For example, the adult children you move to be closer to could end up moving because of career or other reasons.</p> <p>Be sure to manage everyone's expectations as well by having a conversation with your adult children before you move. How often will you get together? How available will you be to baby-sit your grandkids? And how much help might your adult children provide if and when your health declines?</p> <h2>How would a move impact your friendships?</h2> <p>When considering a move, it's easy to make the mistake of overstating the importance of some factors while underestimating others. For example, Midwesterners are especially open to the idea of relocating for retirement, according to Bankrate, mostly because of their desire for better weather. However, weather is something people tend to get acclimated to fairly quickly, whereas it takes time to develop true friendships. Don't be too quick to move away from close friends.</p> <h2>How would a move impact your future medical care?</h2> <p>Our quality of life is largely dictated by the quality of our health, and as we age, our health is likely to become more fragile. That makes easy access to high quality health care an especially important factor in where we live during our later years. How is the health care in the town you're thinking of moving to? Here are some resources that can help answer that question.</p> <p>Medicare's <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html" target="_blank">Hospital Compare</a> database keeps tabs on hospitals throughout the country, monitoring their 30-day readmissions and deaths by surgical procedure, patient ratings, and more.</p> <p>The <a href="https://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/state/select" target="_blank">Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality</a> provides state health score cards that look at how the health care in each state compares to national benchmarks.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2013/09/national-directory.html" target="_blank">Robert Wood Johnson Foundation</a> maintains a database of health care reports, rating hospitals in each state on a wide variety of measures.</p> <h2>Take your move for a test drive</h2> <p>One final idea: If you're thinking about relocating in retirement, before you pull up stakes and hire movers, consider taking an extended vacation to the area you're considering. That'll help you figure out if it's just a nice place to visit, or you would actually want to live there.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-questions-you-need-to-answer-before-relocating-in-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Questions%2520You%2520Need%2520To%2520Answer%2520Before%2520Relocating%2520in%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=4%20Questions%20You%20Need%20To%20Answer%20Before%20Relocating%20in%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Questions%20You%20Need%20To%20Answer%20Before%20Relocating%20in%20Retirement.jpg" alt="4 Questions You Need To Answer Before Relocating in Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-you-need-to-answer-before-relocating-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-retirement-planning-changes-when-youre-single">7 Ways Retirement Planning Changes When You&#039;re Single</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement considerations family friendships health care hospitals moving pros and cons relocation Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Matt Bell 1970115 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why a Late Retirement May Be a Bad Idea http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gold_and_golden_nest_egg_with_time_clock_on_background.jpg" alt="Gold and Golden Nest Egg with time clock on background" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to managing finances, many people struggle to keep up with expenses like rent, utilities, credit cards, and student loans. With so many obligations, saving for retirement becomes less of a priority. In fact, according to a 2016 GoBankingRates survey, one in three Americans have no retirement savings at all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <p>If you haven't started saving yet, or your retirement account isn't enough to provide for you, you may be thinking of an alternative strategy. Many people plan on working well into their 60s or 70s rather than depending on their retirement accounts for income.</p> <p>However, while many people expect to work at least part-time through their retirement, it doesn't always go according to plan.</p> <h2>Health issues</h2> <p>While you may expect to be strong and healthy well into your 70s, the reality can be quite different. Your health may deteriorate suddenly, requiring medical attention and rest. Or, you may experience an accident which limits your mobility. You may be physically unable to work, even on a part-time basis. If you relied on working into your retirement to fund your lifestyle, a health emergency can leave you destitute.</p> <p>When it comes to retirement, you should save with the idea that you may not be able to work at all later in life. If you are healthy in your golden years and <em>are</em> able to work, that can be an added bonus which can help you pursue your passions. But it shouldn't be the focal point of your retirement strategy.</p> <h2>Difficulty finding work</h2> <p>Even if you're capable of working, finding a job when you're older isn't always easy. Unemployed workers over the age of 55 can have a difficult time finding a new job.</p> <p>In addition, the modern workforce is changing dramatically and rapidly. There's new technology, and some roles are becoming outdated. Work that you may have done for years may no longer be needed, and you may be untrained to handle new ways of doing business.</p> <p>You may have to go back to school or take on new training, which can be an added expense. And you might be competing against people half your age with the same skills, which can make for a challenging job search.</p> <h2>You become a caregiver</h2> <p>Even if you're healthy and your skills are in demand, you still may not be able to work. If your partner or loved one becomes ill, you may have to dedicate yourself full-time to becoming a caregiver. Your relative's needs may prevent you from going to work.</p> <p>That means both of you may be unable to work, which will be a huge drain on your finances. If you did not save appropriately for the worst case scenario, you both could be in a dire situation.</p> <h2>Your interests may change</h2> <p>When you're in the early stages of your career, you may not be able to fathom the idea of not working. You may think you'd be bored. However, that can change after 30 or 40 years in the workforce. When you reach retirement age, you may realize that you just want to enjoy your golden years without the stress of going into the office. If you do not have your finances in order, that can make your retirement very difficult.</p> <p>While planning to work later can be beneficial for your savings, it's not a reliable retirement strategy. Many things can change before you retire, so it's important to prioritize saving <em>now </em>and prepare for the different possibilities.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-late-retirement-may-be-a-bad-idea">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-daily-latte-wont-sink-your-retirement-savings">Why Your Daily Latte Won&#039;t Sink Your Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement health care interests job hunting late retirement long term care saving money working late Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Kat Tretina 1966195 at http://www.wisebread.com How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hsa_theme_with_stethoscope_and_a_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="HSA theme with stethoscope and a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're worried about medical expenses during your retirement, you're not alone. According to the latest Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 45 percent of American workers don't feel confident that they will have enough money to take care of their medical expenses when they retire.</p> <p>The good news is that you may be able to do something on top of socking away money into your 401(k) or IRA to plan ahead for your medical bills during retirement. Let's review what a health savings account (HSA) is and how it can help your retirement planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>What is an HSA?</h2> <p>An HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available only to people who are enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). An HDHP is health insurance that has a lower monthly premium, but a high deductible. A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for medical expenses before your health insurance kicks in.</p> <p>An HSA helps you pay for qualified medical expenses such as doctors' visits and prescriptions that are not reimbursed by your HDHP. The beauty of an HSA is that you can contribute to it with pretax dollars by setting aside a portion of every paycheck, allowing you to reduce your taxable income. Depending on where you set up your HSA, you may be able to invest the money in mutual funds or other investments to help the funds grow faster. Whatever money you don't use during the year rolls over into the following year, meaning you could have a nice amount built up by the time you retire.</p> <p>For your insurance plan to qualify as an HDHP &mdash; one that allows you to use an HSA &mdash; the HDHP must have a deductible of at least $1,300 for self-coverage or $2,600 for family coverage (as of May 2017). You can only use the money in the account for qualified medical expenses, and if you withdraw money from your HSA to use for other purposes before you reach age 65, you'll have to pay a 20 percent tax penalty.</p> <p>To qualify for an employer-sponsored HSA, you can't be listed as a dependent on somebody else's tax return or enrolled in Medicare.</p> <h2>How an HSA can help your retirement</h2> <p>Here's how an HSA can give your nest egg a boost during your retirement years.</p> <h3>1. Avoid taxes on approved medical expenses</h3> <p>Without an HSA, if you took out $1,000 from your 401(k) to cover a medical bill during retirement, you'd pay applicable income taxes on the money you withdrew. And if you were to retire before age 59 &frac12;, you would pay an additional 10 percent penalty tax for that 401(k) withdrawal. With an HSA, however, you never pay taxes when using funds for approved medical expenses.</p> <h3>2. Avoid the early withdrawal penalty on nonmedical distributions after age 65</h3> <p>The longer you hold an HSA, the more flexibility you'll gain to use your funds. Once you reach age 65, you can withdraw money from the account for <em>nonmedical</em> expenses without triggering that 20 percent tax penalty. Note that you'll still pay income tax on the distribution.</p> <h3>3. Gain access to more investment options</h3> <p>If your employer-sponsored retirement account gives you access to only a few investment options, an HSA may be a way to broaden your options for retirement investments. While some HSA providers limit investment options to an FDIC-insured savings account, many others offer the option to put money in a separate HSA investment account with several fund options, including mutual funds and low-cost index funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a>)</p> <h3>4. Increase annual contribution limits for your retirement savings</h3> <p>In 2017, a single tax filer can save up to $18,000 in a 401(k) and up to $5,500 in a Roth IRA (with catch-up contributions for those 50 and older of $6,000 and $1,000, respectively). With an HSA, that same tax filer can save up to an additional $3,400 to cover medical expenses during retirement, with a $1,000 per year catch-up contribution allowed for those aged 55 and over.</p> <h2>Take a look at HSAs</h2> <p>If you don't have a good employer-sponsored health plan, you could give your retirement plan a much-needed boost with an HSA, assuming you're eligible for one. The premiums on an HDHP can be higher than those of other health plans, so it's important to take a look at all of your alternatives. Since there are many considerations to keep track of, including taxes, medical expenses, and investment decisions, consider seeking the advice of a professional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <p>The health insurance decisions you make now could help you have a more comfortable retirement.</p> <p><em>[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article noted that withdrawals after age 65 for nonmedical expenses are tax free. This is incorrect, and the article has been corrected to reflect that.]</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">How an HSA Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement distributions expenses health care health savings account HSA investments medical costs pretax dollars Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:01:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1969193 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-466332486.jpg" alt="Learning how to handle a surprise medical bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Have you noticed that your neck appears swollen?&quot; That's what the nurse practitioner asked about halfway through what I had assumed was a routine office visit.</p> <p>Soon after, I was swiftly catapulted into a long series of office visits that were anything but routine. There were ultrasounds, biopsies, consults with specialists, an invasive surgery, an overnight stay in the hospital, and eventually, the ok from my docs to go about living a normal life.</p> <p>That's when the medical bills started rolling in.</p> <p>Turns out I could kick thyroid cancer to the curb, but it wouldn't be cheap. Medical care is expensive, not just for me, but also for the one in four American adults under age 65 who have past-due medical bills, according to a recent study released by the Urban Institute.</p> <p>Still, knowledge is power. At least, it is according to the same Urban Institute study, which reported, &quot;Adults with greater financial knowledge are less likely to have <a href="http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/why-do-larger-share-millennials-and-gen-x-have-past-due-medical-debt-older-americans?utm_source=twitter&amp;amp;utm_campaign=organic&amp;amp;utm_medium=social&amp;amp;utm_term=millennial_genx_medical_debt&amp;amp;utm_content=urban_" target="_blank">past-due medical debt</a>.&quot;</p> <p>That's good news for Wise Bread readers, who are keenly interested in the fate of their financial futures. Even so, a surprise bill, particularly a large one, can take even the most educated saver by surprise. The silver lining here is that there are several specific steps you can take to help minimize the pain that often comes with the arrival of an unexpected medical expense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Hit With a Huge Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>1. Scrutinize your bill</h2> <p>According to various sources, as many as eight in 10 medical bills contain some sort of error &mdash; sometimes even multiple errors. I'm not surprised. Mine sure did.</p> <p>When that first hospital bill arrived, it was for more than my annual deductible. A lot more. After suffering what felt like a small panic attack, I called my insurance company. As it turned out, they hadn't received a bill from the hospital. Instead, the hospital had billed me directly.</p> <p>It took a few frustrating phone calls, but the hospital ultimately fixed the mistake. Still, had the bill been for a less egregious amount, I may have overlooked the error and just paid it. I mean, how many of us scour the line items of those bills?</p> <p>Turns out, we should.</p> <p>&quot;Sometimes, insurance companies or doctors' offices make mistakes that they don't realize,&quot; says financial coach Maggie Germano. &quot;They may have simply miscoded something. It's up to you to follow up and make sure they aren't charging you when they shouldn't be.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Negotiate with your health care provider</h2> <p>Looking over an itemized hospital bill is not for the weak of heart. Mine included shocking over-the-top expenses, like $27,000 for three hours in the operating room, $15,000 for an overnight stay in a recovery room, and $108 for a single dose of calcium.</p> <p>Those inflated fees are all part of an elaborate dance between health care providers and insurance giants. Insurance companies don't often pay the amount that gets printed on those statements. Instead, they use it as a jumping off point for reimbursement negotiations. Sadly, it's those without health care coverage who often get stuck in this line of medical bill crossfire.</p> <p>&quot;Hospitals are always complaining that they're not reimbursed enough money from the health insurance companies, and therefore increase fees as high as possible,&quot; says Adria Gross, founder of MedWise Insurance Advocacy.</p> <p>Uninsured or underinsured patients typically don't have anyone behind the scenes who can negotiate those fees on their behalf. Instead, they have to advocate for themselves.</p> <p>According to money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, health care providers are not likely to negotiate costs if you have health insurance. But if you're uninsured, you may be able to talk your bill down by 10 to 20 percent. That's why it never hurts to get connected with the customer service department &mdash; no matter how long the wait or arduous the phone tree &mdash; and ask for a break. Woroch notes that some centers will even give a discount if you offer to pay in cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-negotiate-medical-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get smart about the actual cost of your procedure</h2> <p>Still, negotiating a medical bill isn't as easy as &quot;ask and ye shall receive.&quot; It helps to come to the table prepared with &quot;the usual, reasonable, and customary charges&quot; for your particular medical procedure, says Gross. The first step is to track down the procedure code for the service you've been billed for. A quick internet search should do the trick. Then, check out an online database to start searching for the fair fee associated with your procedure. (Gross recommends <a href="https://fairhealthconsumer.org/" target="_blank">Fair Health Consumer</a> and <a href="https://healthcarebluebook.com/" target="_blank">Healthcare Bluebook</a>.)</p> <p>Gross says that finding that number &mdash; before you call &mdash; can help you determine whether you've been overbilled so you can fight to correct the charges.</p> <h2>4. Request a payment plan</h2> <p>If you still can't afford the bill, Germano suggests asking your doctor to set up a payment plan. &quot;Most medical centers just want to get paid eventually, so they should work with you to make it easier for you to pay,&quot; she says.</p> <p>The key to this strategy is figuring out how much of the bill you can afford to pay each month. You'll likely be paying it for a while, so make sure you can commit to this amount for the long-term.</p> <p>&quot;Get the agreement in writing, and make sure they send you a confirmation email or letter whenever you make a payment,&quot; warns Germano. Then, keep careful track of your payments along the way. &quot;That will prevent them from accusing you of not paying what you owe,&quot; she adds.</p> <p>It will also ensure that the bill doesn't get sent to collections, which will damage your credit score.</p> <h2>5. Plan for the future</h2> <p>Medical surprises happen, no matter how healthy you think you are. (Trust me on this one. No one was more surprised by my diagnosis than me.) Keeping a stash of cash on reserve in your Health Savings Account (HSA) or emergency savings may just save your future self from a couple of missed mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <p>As Ben Franklin once wisely said, &quot;An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.&quot; That adage applies to your health, but also to what's in your pocketbook.</p> <p>Start planning now, so you'll be prepared when the unexpected strikes. And if it doesn't? Well, it never hurts to have a few extra bucks in the bank.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-heart-my-high-deductible-health-insurance-plan">Why I (Heart) My High Deductible Health Insurance Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-negotiate-medical-bills">7 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty doctors health care health insurance medical bills negotiating payment plans surprise bills unexpected costs Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1938309 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487618753.jpg" alt="Couple traveling during retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling and retirement is a great combination, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Read on for how travel can lead to a healthier, more enjoyable time after you leave the workforce.</p> <h2>1. More excitement</h2> <p>Being bored is a valid concern for those considering retirement. People wonder: How will I fill up the long hours that I used to spend in the office, where I was valued and useful?</p> <p>Incorporating travel into your retirement is a foolproof way of keeping things fresh and new. In fact, the routine of going to the office every day is arguably much less interesting than being able to experience new places, cultures, and people, as you can do when you're on the road.</p> <p>To really get to know a place and its people, you may want to stay several weeks. In that case, you may be more comfortable in accommodations you can find through short-term home rental websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Or, you could list your own place on Home Exchange and swap with someone who has a home in another country that you're interested in visiting. Signing up for Home Exchange costs around $100 but then you can find free accommodations around the globe. Any of these options allow you to experience the excitement of being in a new place with the comfort of living in a home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a>)</p> <h2>2. Constant learning</h2> <p>Traveling during retirement is a wonderful opportunity to learn new things. Reading up on the history and natural environment of the place you're visiting, spending time in museums and at other points of interest, and talking with locals are all learning opportunities.</p> <p>Visiting a foreign country can be the perfect opportunity to pick up a new language that you've always wanted to learn, too. Learning languages is not only fun, it helps keep your mind sharp. You can take up a language through any number of immersion courses, some aimed specifically at seniors and retirees. Or, you could polish your language skills simply by engaging in conversations with locals you meet.</p> <p>Cooking classes can be another great way to learn about a new place. Often, cooking classes abroad are very affordable, and they're a fun way to experience a new culture and meet new people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">One Surprising Skill That Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>3. Better climates<strong> </strong></h2> <p>With the freedom to travel whenever you want, you can hop from place to place to chase your ideal climate. Leave behind cold, snowy winters and travel to a warm, sunny place. Find a tropical paradise any time of year. You might even fall in love with one particular city and decide to stay there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>4. Money-saving opportunities</h2> <p>Those willing to stay overseas for extended periods of time, or indefinitely, may be able to save big on living costs. Often you can make your retirement savings go much further abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>This can be helpful in lessening anxiety about having enough money saved for retirement, and it may even allow you a large enough margin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">retire sooner than you thought</a>. You may choose to rent out your U.S. home, or sell it if you're moving permanently. Either option could help you feather your nest egg while you're staying in cheaper accommodations elsewhere.</p> <p>What's more, senior citizens are eligible for discounts on many travel expenses. All of the major U.S. airlines offer senior discounts on at least some routes, but usually you need to call the airline's reservations department, as the fares are not visible online. Most major American hotel chains also offer discounts for seniors or AARP members.</p> <h2>5. Volunteer opportunities</h2> <p>Volunteering can be the perfect way to create meaningful connections with people wherever you go and find fulfillment in giving back to the communities you are visiting. You can teach English, or offer health, law, or other professional services that you may have expertise in. Often, international volunteer organizations will place you with a host family while you are in the country, giving you an excellent opportunity to get to know locals and see the way they live.</p> <p>A working holiday is another great way to save on accommodations while getting to meet people and spend time in another culture. Websites such as <a href="http://www.helpx.net/" target="_blank">HelpX.net</a> list farms, ranches, lodges, and even sailboats that invite volunteers to help them in exchange for room and board.</p> <h2>6. Health</h2> <p>Traveling can promote a healthy retirement as well as it can facilitate an active lifestyle, with plenty of new physical and mental stimulus in the places you will be visiting.</p> <p>Not to mention that some foreign countries have both more affordable <em>and </em>more accessible health care. In Colombia for instance, even with prices that have been rising, a visit to a doctor will cost you around $25 and you may be able to get in for a visit much faster than you would in the United States.</p> <h2>Live the retirement of your dreams</h2> <p>Often people have worked hard their entire lives with hopes of being able to travel, experience other cultures, and take in the natural beauty of exotic locales. Now is the time to make those dreams a reality and cross destinations off your bucket list.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Travel%2520in%2520Retirement%2520Keeps%2520You%2520Young_0.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young_0.jpg" alt="6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel expats health care learning language saving money seeing the world tourism trips vacation volunteering Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:30:21 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1917661 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One's Long-Term Care http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-179165125.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As we get older, so do our parents and other loved ones. In some cases, that may mean they'll require long-term care, especially if they fall ill. When this happens, families are faced with a tough decision: hand over the reins to a nursing facility, or manage their care from the comfort of their homes. There's no shame in either decision. But there are several important things to consider when planning for long-term care.</p> <h2>Weigh Your Options Well Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Perhaps the most vital part of planning for long-term care is that you're well prepared. Making hasty decisions on how to provide your loved one with the care they'll need when they're no longer able to care for themselves will not only be stressful for you, but also for them. You'll want to make sure your loved one is provided with the quality of life they deserve. Certainly, ailments can befall your loved one unexpectedly that will require quick decision making, but if you can help it at all, it's best to investigate your options before you're faced with a crisis. That way, you can enter the situation with a clear head, prepared to make the right choices.</p> <h2>Discuss Insurance Options With Your Loved One<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Talking about long-term care with your loved one, especially a parent, is not an easy conversation. But as difficult as it may be, it's necessary. There are financial implications to consider, which will be somewhat lessened (hopefully) with insurance.</p> <p>Jeff Salter is the CEO and founder of Caring Senior Service, a national in-home care service, and he suggests planning a discussion about insurance options, including what your loved one may already have, and what you both may need moving forward.</p> <p>Long-term care insurance can still be expensive in and of itself, and costs only increase with age. Many advise that people purchase a plan in their 50s before any major medical issues arise &mdash; and even then, it's not cheap. For example, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates an insurance policy offering $164,000 in immediate coverage would cost a healthy, 55-year-old male approximately $1,060 a year. A healthy female of the same age could expect to pay approximately $1,390 a year for the same coverage. The sooner you can lock into one of these policies, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>Find Alternative Ways to Pay Without Insurance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In the worst-case scenario, you don't have the option of long-term care insurance. This can be a daunting prospect, but it's not the end of the world. Salter suggests two solutions that will provide monthly income that can go toward the cost of care.</p> <p>The first is cash value for life insurance, which is essentially the cash amount offered to the policy owner by the issuing life carrier upon cancellation of the contract.</p> <p>The second is taking out a reverse mortgage on the elderly family member's house.</p> <p>&quot;With [the second] option, seniors can remain at home while receiving monthly income that goes toward all of the healthcare-related expenses,&quot; he says. &quot;There are no ongoing costs, and seniors cannot be forced to leave their homes should they outlive the payments from the loan.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>4. Consider the Cost of Home Modification<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When your loved one falls ill, it may limit their ability to function as they once did. This could mean that they're confined to a single floor in the home. Third-party care facilities take these safety measures into account for limited-mobility patients, but if you're providing long-term care in your own residence, you may need to outfit the home so it's more elderly-friendly.</p> <p>&quot;If the decision is to have the long-term care in the current residence, the family might need to plan for modifications to the home for either specialized medical equipment or for access issues around bathrooms, kitchens, and getting in and out of the house,&quot; explains John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, which specializes in digital home management. &quot;These could be things like ramps for wheelchairs, bathtubs with access doors, nonslip flooring, and other modifications, depending on the occupant's specific needs.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Factor in Home Maintenance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If the care of your loved one takes place in their own residence &mdash; whether by you, another loved one, or hired help &mdash; it's keen to remember that someone will be tasked with maintaining the property for hygiene, safety, and resale value reasons.</p> <p>&quot;Things like cleaning leaves from gutters, replacing smoke detector batteries, and changing air filters are simple tasks, but usually require ladders. It's not suitable for people with long-term medical issues to handle these tasks,&quot; Bodrozic says.</p> <p>You may be able to handle these tasks on your own, but if these are projects that you plan to farm out to hired help, you'll need to include the costs in your monthly care budget.</p> <h2>6. Let a Professional Help You<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If you don't know what you're doing with regards to long-term care, don't freak out &mdash; you're not alone. Most people who are faced with this situation are first-timers are who overwhelmed with not only accepting the fate of a loved one, but trying to accommodate them as best as possible so they can live out their days in comfort.</p> <p>Daniel Sagal is a senior living adviser at Los Angeles-based Total Senior, which focuses on health care planning and services for seniors. If you don't think you're equipped to make the best decision, or you're having trouble coming to grips with it all, he suggests consulting someone who can help you through it, like a senior care adviser or care manager. Some services are free while others require fees, he says, but both will typically help families navigate the options for senior care.</p> <h2>7. Beware of Scams<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Like a lot of industries, there are people out there gunning to take advantage of you, and it's not terribly hard to become a victim of a scam when your emotions are already on the fritz.</p> <p>Sagal explains.</p> <p>&quot;...Before providing your information or allowing someone to guide you to senior care options, be sure to do your research. Look at their online reviews, make sure they have a credible website with real information/content, ask for references, and check around with health care professionals.&quot;</p> <p>Doing your due diligence now can ensure a more comfortable situation for everyone later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-steps-to-take-when-your-aging-parents-move-in">6 Financial Steps to Take When Your Aging Parents Move In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advisers caregivers elderly health care home care life insurance long-term care nursing homes parents relatives seniors Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1889845 at http://www.wisebread.com