health care http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1472/all en-US 8 Myths About Health Savings Accounts — Debunked! http://www.wisebread.com/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/preparation_for_future_and_financial_concept.jpg" alt="Preparation for future and financial concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health savings accounts (HSAs) provide a tax-advantaged way to save and pay for health care costs. If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can contribute pretax income into an HSA and use the money to pay for qualified medical expenses.</p> <p>The rules and requirements for participating in an HSA can be a little confusing. As a result, misinformation has given rise to several myths that deter people from taking advantage of HSAs. Let's take a look at some of the most common ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <h2>1. HSA funds are lost if you don't spend the money by the end of the year</h2> <p>This is a point of confusion that tends to scare people away from participating in a health savings account. It's not true. Funds leftover in your HSA are not lost at the end of the year, they are yours until you spend the funds. The prevalence of this myth comes from a different health program, the flexible spending account (FSA). You <em>do</em> lose funds in an FSA if you do not use them by the end of the year.</p> <h2>2. You can only earn low interest on your HSA funds</h2> <p>Actually, you don't have to leave your HSA funds in a low-interest savings account. You can invest HSA funds in stocks and other investments for higher growth potential. This is especially beneficial if you don't plan to spend your HSA funds any time soon and can take advantage of tax-free growth for as long as possible. Investment options vary by HSA provider, and some require a minimum balance (such as $1,000) before you can put your HSA funds in investment options.</p> <h2>3. HSA funds can only be used for hospital bills and major medical expenses</h2> <p>Health savings accounts are not only for major medical costs. The IRS identifies a long list of health-related expenses that HSA funds can be used to cover, including smaller expenses that may surprise you. A few examples include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Acupuncture</p> </li> <li> <p>Bandages</p> </li> <li> <p>Chiropractic treatment</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact lenses</p> </li> <li> <p>Dental care</p> </li> <li> <p>Eyeglasses</p> </li> <li> <p>Hearing aids</p> </li> <li> <p>Prescription drugs</p> </li> <li> <p>Physical exams</p> </li> <li> <p>X-rays</p> </li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a>)</p> <h2>4. You can't get an HSA if you are self-employed</h2> <p>Many employers offer HSA programs as a benefit. Some even kick free money into HSA accounts for employees. However, you don't need to have an employer to open a health savings account. If you sign up for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can fund an HSA through an HSA provider and get all of the same tax benefits.</p> <h2>5. If you never have health expenses, you'll never be able to use your HSA funds</h2> <p>Most people can expect to have significant medical expenses at some point in their lives, especially as they get older. But what would happen to your HSA funds if you stayed healthy and never had any health care expenses? Beginning at age 65, you can withdraw your HSA funds for <em>any </em>reason without penalty, only paying income tax on funds you draw. This feature means that your HSA effectively turns into a traditional IRA when you hit 65, with the added benefit that if you do have qualified health expenses, you can access your HSA funds tax-free for those costs.</p> <h2>6. High-deductible health plans only benefit healthy people with low health care costs</h2> <p>If you have a lot of medical costs, you may decide that it doesn't make sense to sign up for a high-deductible health plan when a low-deductible plan will step in earlier to pay for your care. This isn't looking at the whole picture. The advantages of using an HSA can turn out to be a smart choice for many individuals and families. The higher potential out-of-pocket health care costs with an HDHP can be offset by the lower premiums and tax benefits of a health savings account. You can use an <a href="https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/hsa_calculator/" target="_blank">HSA vs. traditional health plan calculator</a> to help you decide which is best based on your anticipated health expenses.</p> <h2>7. HSAs are a hassle to use</h2> <p>This is one of the myths that stopped me from signing up for an HSA at first. I worried that it would be too difficult to get funds out of my HSA when I had medical expenses. However, I found that it is actually easy to access HSA funds. These are some of the features that make an HSA so easy to use:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You can get an HSA debit card to use when paying for health care expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>You can write a check to pay for medical expenses, then transfer money from your HSA into your bank account to cover it.</p> </li> <li> <p>Health savings accounts typically have online tools you can access from your computer or phone to check your balance and see a record of your transactions.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>8. If you lose your job or change employers, you lose your HSA funds</h2> <p>Not true! HSA funds are portable from one employer to another, and you get to keep your HSA funds even if you stop working altogether. If you want, you can even change your HSA provider without changing employers.</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/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked">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/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</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/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</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-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care 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/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">How an HSA Saves You Money</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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Insurance health care health savings accounts high deductible health plan HSA medical expenses savings Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:01:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2106614 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_business_lady_at_paperwork.jpg" alt="Modern business lady at paperwork" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt about it, being a freelancer is hard. From serving clients to staying on top of your money game, there's no shortage of work to do. Sometimes, things may be overlooked or set on the back burner while you tackle pressing business matters. However, there is one major thing that just can't be ignored &mdash; taxes.</p> <p>As your own chief financial officer you'll need to be aware of major tax missteps that could ultimately ruin your business. Ideally, you'll engage the help of an experienced small business accountant who knows the ins and outs of tax strategies for freelance business owners. However, you've got to have your ducks in a row to double and triple check their suggestions and advice, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes</a>)</p> <p>These are the top tax mistakes freelancers really need to stop making.</p> <h2>1. Not paying self-employment tax</h2> <p>As a freelancer, you probably have a number of clients that pay you without deducting any taxes. Because you are a contractor, you are responsible for any and all taxes on your income.</p> <p>Self-employment tax is a term that covers two main taxes: Social Security and Medicare. As an employee of a company, your employer would cover part of this tax. However, lucky you, since you are your own employer, you get to pick up the tab on the entire tax bill.</p> <p>On the other side of paying all these taxes, you do get some reprieve by deducting a portion of these payments from your gross income, which can reduce the amount of taxes you owe overall.</p> <p>Just know that it's very important to pay self-employment taxes on your freelance income. If your client issues you a 1099 form, it's also transmitted to the IRS. The IRS becomes aware of this income and can demand you to make an accounting for that money if they suspect you owe taxes on it.</p> <h2>2. Not having an accounting system</h2> <p>Making a lot of money as a freelancer can also increase your tax liability. If you don't have a good system in place to track all of your income and expenses, you could end up paying more (or less) taxes than you're supposed to.</p> <p>Charleen Fariselli is a CPA who has worked with small businesses for over 10 years. She says that freelancers who don't accurately track income and expenses are at a disadvantage. &quot;This affects their taxes because they don't have a good accounting system and are often losing deductions so they pay more in tax,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Charleen also adds that a lack of a good accounting system can have an impact on making timely, accurate tax payments: &quot;These freelancers can't calculate what their taxable income is each quarter for making tax payments, so they over or underpay, if they pay at all.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that there are many accounting software options out there to help you organize your books, including QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, and Freshbooks. You can also use a simple Google Sheets document. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Mixing business with pleasure</h2> <p>One of the worst things a freelancer can do is allow their business expenses and income to spill over into their personal finances. For example, a business owner may use a business credit or debit card to cover a personal expense like purchasing groceries for their family.</p> <p>The biggest problem with this behavior is how it affects record keeping for tax filing purposes. Joshua Zimmelman of Westwood Tax &amp; Consulting says that bad record keeping can cause confusion for freelancers at tax time. &quot;Too many freelancers miss out on deductions because their finances are not organized,&quot; he says. &quot;Separating your expenses from the start makes filing your tax return so much easier.&quot;</p> <p>If you need help keeping your personal and business finances separate, you can opt for a business checking account or credit card. You could also use both.</p> <p>If you do have to use money from your business dealings to cover personal expenses or vice versa, make sure you keep a record of such transfers. A small business CPA can help you categorize (loan, owner draw, paycheck, etc.) the transactions so that you don't run into problems with record keeping or tax liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Neglecting retirement savings</h2> <p>The freelance life can be a roller-coaster ride of feast or famine, but it's still important to keep savings in the equation &mdash; especially retirement savings. Saving for retirement is not only critical for your golden years, but can also help you save on taxes.</p> <p>When you put money away for retirement, it reduces the amount of your income tax withholding. Joanna Zarach is a consultant who helps freelancers plan for retirement. She says, &quot;Solo retirement plans are the most effective way to lower your tax bill now and to build tax-free growth in your investment accounts.&quot;</p> <p>There are different options to save for retirement. Some smart options include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Individual 401(k): This type of account is ideal for solopreneurs who want higher contribution limits. You can save with pretax dollars while receiving tax deductions for employer contributions (you are the employer) as well.</p> </li> <li> <p>SEP IRA: Tax-deductible contributions are made by the employer (in this case, you). Growth is tax-deferred until withdrawal.</p> </li> <li> <p>ROTH IRA: With this type of retirement account, you save after-tax income that grows tax-free forever.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Neglecting health care contributions</h2> <p>Paul Jacobs is a CPA, EA, and officer at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. He says he often sees freelancers, &quot;Forgetting to deduct health insurance premiums. A great tax break that is available to the self-employed is the ability to deduct this expense.&quot;</p> <p>As a small-business owner, there are tax benefits when you pay insurance premiums for yourself and family members. Premiums for medical, dental and, in some cases, long-term health insurance qualify.</p> <p>Reporting these premiums on your taxes can reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) which can make you eligible for certain tax breaks. The only caveat here is that you may now have to itemize deductions in order to take advantage of this deduction come tax time due to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Mistakes%2520Freelancers%2520Need%2520to%2520Stop%2520Making.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making"></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/u5180/5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making.jpg" alt="5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making" 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/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</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-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing">7 Signs It&#039;s Time to Quit Freelancing</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-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</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-get-audited-how-your-side-gig-needs-to-handle-taxes">Don&#039;t Get Audited! How Your Side Gig Needs to Handle Taxes</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes accounting bookkeeping deductions freelance health care medicare retirement savings self employment social security tax mistakes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2095995 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs You're Financially Ready to Start a Family http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_mother_and_baby_playing_at_home.jpg" alt="Happy mother and baby playing at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are no two ways about it; having kids is expensive. The USDA estimates the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 to be an astounding $233,610. This figure includes food, housing, transportation, health care, clothing, child care and education, and miscellaneous costs. And anyone with children knows that they remain an expense far past the age of 17.</p> <p>Understanding that having children is a lifetime commitment both emotionally and financially is a great first step in the process of deciding when to start a family. But what comes next? How do you know that you are financially ready to handle the responsibility of starting a family?</p> <p>There is no definitive answer to this question because there is no magic income or savings number that can dictate when you are ready for a family. However, there are some benchmarks and indicators that can assist you in making this life-altering decision. Here are the signs that you are financially ready for kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>1. You have a clear financial plan</h2> <p>Having a clear vision of where you would like to be in the future is extremely important. And though things rarely go exactly as planned, it is still important to put a plan in place. Planning for your retirement, and setting clear investing and savings goals, is crucial.</p> <p>Your financial plan should include things like a college fund, sports, music lessons, and all of the other things you want to expose your kids to. Will one parent stay at home for a while? How many children are you planning to have? Do you have aging parents that you may have to assist in the future?</p> <p>You'll also want to set aside money specifically for &quot;kid stuff&quot; such as baby proofing the house, child care, tutoring, equipment for extracurricular activities, and the list goes on. The cost of having kids is never-ending, so that must be accounted for in your overall financial plan.</p> <h2>2. You stick to a budget</h2> <p>A financial plan establishes the ultimate destination, whereas a budget acts as a GPS and governs the day-to-day details. If you struggle with budgeting, you may want to hold off on starting a family until you master the habit. Kids can throw your finances completely out of whack, and if you don't live by a budget, you can quickly find yourself drowning in debt and unable to save for retirement or your children's future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-using-these-5-excuses-not-to-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Using These 5 Excuses Not to Budget</a>)</p> <h2>3. You have decent health care</h2> <p>If you are considering starting a family, decent health care is a must. When you have a child, you become responsible for their health and wellbeing. And while health care is expensive, you have to value the physical and emotional wellbeing of your family over having nice things.</p> <p>Take a look at your current health care policy to see what adjustments you need to make. Your plan should change as your family changes. When your kids are babies, it's best to have a plan that is comprehensive to cover the &quot;what-ifs.&quot; New parents need to be able to take a baby to the doctor whenever they sense something isn't right. Some of those trips may result in the doctor simply reassuring them that the baby is fine, but that peace of mind is priceless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a>)</p> <h2>4. Saving is one of your top financial priorities</h2> <p>In order to provide stability for your family and for your future, saving money has to be one of your top priorities. Savings &mdash; emergency, rainy day, retirement, and college funds &mdash; are your source of security when life gets unpredictable. At the very least, an emergency fund with six months' to a year's worth of living expenses can protect your family from an unexpected expense or job loss. Before you add kids to the mix, work toward saving at least that much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a>)</p> <h2>5. You have little debt</h2> <p>If you have (and value having) little to no debt, this is a sign that you are financially ready to expand your family. Kids are expensive and full of hidden financial surprises. They grow faster than expected and come with gifts and talents that need nurturing. And nurturing comes with a hefty price tag.</p> <p>You should aggressively eliminate as much debt as possible before you grow your family. This means getting rid of student loans and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off credit card debt</a> as much as you are able to. It is impossible to anticipate every expense you will have with kids, but you'll want to free up as much money as possible so you can provide your family with appropriate health care, child care, and education options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. You know how to live frugally</h2> <p>Having a family is a sacrificial endeavor. Before you have children, you must come to grips with the fact that you can't have it all and do it all. The ability to stretch a dollar and pinch pennies in tight times is a necessity. You have to know when and how to cut costs to ensure you can provide for your family long-term.</p> <p>Start looking for ways to cut costs before your children come. Visit the dollar store, start thrifting, and embrace the DIY lifestyle. Figure out a system of meal prepping that will save you both time and money. What skills and abilities do you already have that can translate into savings? Can you cut your child's hair, alter their clothes, or tutor them yourself in math? Evaluate what you already have and figure out how to put it to use.</p> <h2>7. You view family as an investment</h2> <p>The last sign that you are ready for kids directly relates to your perception of family. As a parent, viewing your kids as an investment will help you make solid financial decisions that will yield high returns. It is imperative that you analyze your financial decisions and make each one count. Maybe in lieu of buying your kids the newest sneakers, you'll get them a tutor. Instead of purchasing the latest gaming system, you'll invest in music lessons or science camp.</p> <p>Investing in your kids sets them up to win in life. This means saying &quot;no&quot; to indulging their every whim. There's nothing wrong with buying your kids designer clothes, of course &mdash; but you must ask yourself, is that a good investment and is that the best use of those funds?</p> <p>Growing your family can be one of the most rewarding decisions you'll ever make. But it certainly comes at a cost. Going down a financial readiness &quot;checklist&quot; is a smart guideline that can help set you &mdash; and your future kids &mdash; up for a successful and financially stable life.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Signs%2520You%2527re%2520Financially%2520Ready%2520to%2520Start%2520a%2520Family.jpg&amp;description=7%20Signs%20You're%20Financially%20Ready%20to%20Start%20a%20Family"></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%20Signs%20You%27re%20Financially%20Ready%20to%20Start%20a%20Family.jpg" alt="7 Signs You're Financially Ready to Start a Family" 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/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">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-money-moves-that-ll-protect-you-during-the-next-recession">7 Money Moves That’ll Protect You During the Next Recession</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-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</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-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</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/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family babies budgeting debt emergency funds financial readiness having kids health care planning saving money Tue, 06 Feb 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Denise Hill 2097695 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Cut the Cost of a Hospital Stay http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stethoscope_with_financial_statement.jpg" alt="Stethoscope with financial statement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it: No one wants to get sick or be in pain in a strange place. For this reason, going to the hospital can be an unpleasant experience. To add insult to injury, you can be faced with a huge bill once the whole ordeal is over.</p> <p>Though going to the hospital may not be something you can avoid, you might be able to lessen the blow by cutting the cost of your stay. Here are some tips that could lower your final bill from the hospital. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>Consult with your doctors</h2> <p>Before going to the hospital, ask your physician to explain, in detail, the services that will be rendered during your stay. Maria Townsend, an insurance adviser, says you should take it a step further and get this information in writing. &quot;Get an itemized summary of treatment that will be provided during the hospital stay and send it to your insurance carrier for preapproval,&quot; she says.</p> <p>You can also inform yourself ahead of time by researching the costs involved in certain medical procedures and treatments. <a href="https://www.fairhealthconsumer.org" target="_blank">Fair Health Consumer</a> can help you get an estimate based on your location and whether or not you'll be going through insurance. By doing this research beforehand, when your bill comes, you can compare your initial estimate from your doctor and identify mistakes or charges that should not be on your bill.</p> <h2>Talk with your insurance</h2> <p>Once you are aware of the services your doctor is proposing and estimating, make sure every aspect of your care is covered and approved by your insurance. This alone can cut down on the prospect of a huge bill for your hospital stay.</p> <p>For example, you need to know whether the physician (or anyone else) rendering services is in your insurance network. Alicia McElhaney, founder of She Spends, a money management website says, &quot;Basically, what happens is that a hospital may be covered by your insurance, but a doctor working there may not be. As a result, you may receive bills for services from the doctor after receiving care.&quot;</p> <p>If you find out that some service providers or facilities aren't covered under your insurance, ask for a list of providers and facilities that are. It might be a hassle to change doctors, but it could be a worthwhile activity that can save you a lot of money.</p> <h2>Shop around</h2> <p>If you've contacted your insurance and received a list of in-network providers and facilities, you may still want to compare prices for two or more options in your network. This can help you reduce your total out-of-pocket expense.</p> <p>Another way to save money is by having lab work and X-rays done at clinics or imaging centers outside of the hospital. These services are almost always more expensive when performed in a hospital. If you are shopping these services around, clear this with your doctor first. You want to make sure that you are getting the exact diagnostic and imaging information they need to treat you effectively.</p> <h2>Be thrifty</h2> <p>There are a few money-saving methods that most people don't think about when staying in the hospital. You don't have to use every product or service that is provided to you.</p> <p>For example, you can ask if the hospital will allow you to bring your own prescription or even nonprescription drugs. In some cases, you may save on both the cost of some drugs and the fee charged to administer them.</p> <p>You might also be able to save on other things like meals or paper products you'll be given during your stay. The cost of even basic items like plastic baggies and tissues are inflated when passed on to patients.</p> <h2>Log your stay</h2> <p>While you are in the hospital, you should document every part of your stay. If you're not able to, ask a friend or relative to help you. Things you want to keep track of include how long you were in different places in the hospital and with whom: operating room, recovery, anesthesiologist, surgeon, etc.</p> <p>You'll also want to document procedures and medications that were given to you. This way, if there are any errors on your bill, you'll have a log to help clear up errors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-surprise-medical-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Avoid Surprise Medical Bills</a>)</p> <h2>Check your bill</h2> <p>Once the bill arrives, go through it with a fine-tooth comb, as medical bills sometimes contain errors. You'll want to check your bill against both your insurer's explanation of benefits and the log you kept for yourself during your hospital stay.</p> <p>If things don't add up or you don't understand a charge on a bill, don't be shy about calling your insurer and the hospital. You can request an explanation or even a further break down of vague line items or anything categorized as miscellaneous.</p> <p>For claims your insurance denies, follow up with the company to find out why. They should give you information on the next steps for getting your hospital stay covered. Depending on their response, you may have some recourse by following up with your doctor or appealing the decision with your insurer.</p> <h2>Negotiate with the hospital</h2> <p>It might be scary to get a hospital bill that seems larger than life, but it's not set in stone. Once the bill arrives, you can try to negotiate with the hospital a few different ways.</p> <p>To begin, you can offer to pay your entire bill with cash. The hospital may also extend a discount if you pay at the time you receive the service. The hospital likely prefers cash to drawing out payments over an extended period of time or sending your account to collections for nonpayment.</p> <p>The next thing you can do is ask for a payment plan. This may not technically reduce the amount of the bill, but it can reduce the blow to your pocketbook if you can't pay the entire bill at once. Plus, it doesn't hurt to ask for a discount anyway. Many times, the hospital is just happy to collect and is willing to make payment that much easier for you.</p> <p>Another alternative is asking for financial assistance or charity care that could reduce your bill. There may be an application process to be eligible, but it's worth a shot if it means you don't have to pay the entire amount billed to you. (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 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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Cut%2520the%2520Cost%2520of%2520a%2520Hospital%2520Stay.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Cut%20the%20Cost%20of%20a%20Hospital%20Stay"></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/How%20to%20Cut%20the%20Cost%20of%20a%20Hospital%20Stay.jpg" alt="How to Cut the Cost of a Hospital Stay" 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/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay">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/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty doctors health care health insurance hospitals medical bills negotiating patients Mon, 05 Feb 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2097694 at http://www.wisebread.com 15+ Important Financial Dates to Mark on Your Calendar http://www.wisebread.com/15-important-financial-dates-to-mark-on-your-calendar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-important-financial-dates-to-mark-on-your-calendar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tax_day_for_2016_returns_is_april_18_2017.jpg" alt="Tax day for 2016 returns is April 18, 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Improving your finances is not a sprint, it's a marathon. To help you succeed in 2018, here is an at-a-glance finance calendar with key dates to effectively plan your money moves this year. You got this!</p> <h2>January 1</h2> <ul> <li> <p>This is the very first day to fund traditional and Roth IRAs and Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) IRAs for the current year.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you don't enroll in Medicare during the initial enrollment period around your 65th birthday, you can sign up starting today through March 31 to start coverage on July 1. A late enrollment fee may apply.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>January 16</h2> <ul> <li> <p>This is the due date for quarterly estimated taxes for the fourth quarter of 2017 (Sept. 1&ndash;Dec. 31). Use the 2017 IRS Form 1040 ES to pay your estimated tax.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>January 29</h2> <ul> <li> <p>The IRS starts accepting tax returns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-you-should-file-your-taxes-as-soon-as-possible?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Reasons You Should File Your Taxes as Soon as Possible</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <h2>March 31</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Many flexible spending account (FSA) plans with a use-it-or-lose-it rollover rule set today as the deadline to submit claims for eligible medical expenses completed by December 31 of the previous year.</p> </li> <li> <p>Last day to enroll in Medicare to start coverage on July 1. A late enrollment fee may apply.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>April 1</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Following the calendar year in which you turn 70&frac12;, this is the date you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other applicable retirement savings plans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-retirement-saver-should-know-about-required-minimum-distributions?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Every Retirement Saver Should Know About Required Minimum Distributions</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <h2>April 15</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Deadline to contribute to a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA).</p> </li> </ul> <h2>April 17</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Tax Day 2018 falls two days later than usual because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day falls on April 16, giving IRS workers a holiday.</p> </li> <li> <p>Deadline to file for an extension on you tax return. (Note: There is an automatic two-month extension for taxpayers living abroad).</p> </li> <li> <p>Last day to fund last year's traditional or Roth IRAs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Deadline to fund a health savings account (HSA) for the prior year. (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> </li> </ul> <h2>April 18</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Deadline to submit an estimated tax payment for next year's taxes using first payment voucher from 2018's Form 1040-ES.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>June 15</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Make an estimated tax payment for tax year 2018 using second payment voucher from Form 1040-ES.</p> </li> <li> <p>Two-month filing extension deadline for federal taxes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filed-an-extension-heres-what-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Filed an Extension? Here's What You Need to Know</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <h2>June 30</h2> <ul> <li> <p>To receive federal student aid for the 2017&ndash;2018 school year, submit your FAFSA application by June 30, 2018.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>September 15</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Make an estimated tax payment for tax year 2018 using third payment voucher from Form 1040-ES.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Sometime between October 1 and November 1</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Your employer will start announcing the upcoming open enrollment period to choose your workplace benefits for the next year.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>October 1</h2> <ul> <li> <p>To receive federal student aid for the 2019&ndash;2020 school year, you can start filing your FAFSA application today, making sure it's submitted by June 30, 2019.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>October 15</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Six-month filing extension deadline for federal taxes.</p> </li> <li> <p>Last day to undo a 2017 Roth IRA conversion (if you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA during 2017 and paid applicable tax on the conversion with your 2016 return).</p> </li> </ul> <h2>November 1</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Start of enrollment for health insurance through <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov" target="_blank">Healthcare.gov</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>December 31</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Deadline to take RMDs from your IRA, 401(k), and inherited IRAs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Deadline to set up most types of retirement accounts so that eligible contributions count toward the current year.</p> </li> </ul> <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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-important-financial-dates-to-mark-on-your-calendar&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%252B%2520Important%2520Financial%2520Dates%2520to%2520Mark%2520on%2520Your%2520Calendar_0.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Build%20a%20Side%20Business%20While%20Keeping%20Your%20Day%20Job"></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/u5180/15%2B%20Important%20Financial%20Dates%20to%20Mark%20on%20Your%20Calendar_0.jpg" alt="15+ Important Financial Dates to Mark on Your Calendar" 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/15-important-financial-dates-to-mark-on-your-calendar">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-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</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/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now">10 Year-End Financial Moves You Must Make Now</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/8-ways-to-profit-off-your-cabin-fever">8 Ways to Profit Off Your Cabin Fever</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-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</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-workaholism-is-costing-you-money">6 Ways Workaholism Is Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance calendar dates deadlines due dates extensions FAFSA health care open enrollment required minimum distributions retirement accounts taxes Mon, 29 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 2093958 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Ways Retirement Has Gotten Easier http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-retirement-has-gotten-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-ways-retirement-has-gotten-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/for_the_love_of_dance.jpg" alt="For the love of dance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you read the financial headlines, you'll get the sense that retirement may be a disaster for many Americans. With a decline in employer-provided pensions and uncertainty over the future of government benefits, many older Americans are rightfully concerned about whether they will be able to retire comfortably.</p> <p>But there is considerable evidence that the experience of retiring is actually much better than in the past. Medical advancements are helping people live longer, and technology is helping to keep seniors connected to the world. And there are more resources for retirees than ever before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</a>)</p> <p>Let's examine these ways in which retirement has improved.</p> <h2>1. It's lasting longer</h2> <p>There was a time not too long ago when people would work into their 60s and pass away within a decade or so. But these days, it's not uncommon for people to retire at age 60 and live another 30 years or more. Statistics from the Social Security Administration show that the average 65-year-old man will live another 19 years in retirement, up from 15 years two decades ago. That's a lot of time to travel, connect with the grandkids, and pursue all of the hobbies and interests you've been neglecting. While this longer retirement places pressure on people to save more, it's obviously a boon to seniors who have worked hard and deserve a lengthy retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-american-retirement-is-changing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways American Retirement Is Changing</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your living options are better</h2> <p>As the population has gotten older, there has been a recognition that older citizens need different kinds of living arrangements that offer them support while still preserving independence. There is now a whole growing industry surrounding assisted living and elder care that involves more than just nursing homes. Older people have the option of living at home with some help, or moving into special communities that allow them to live freely while having access to care as they need it. In many cases, older people can move into a community while they are still healthy and active, and remain there as they begin to need more care. While some of these arrangements can be expensive, they have allowed many seniors to maintain an active lifestyle and remain connected socially well into their retirement years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-granny-pod-may-be-the-smartest-way-to-care-for-an-elderly-parent?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Granny Pod May Be the Smartest Way to Care for an Elderly Parent</a>)</p> <h2>3. The internet has kept us connected</h2> <p>Seniors can FaceTime with their grandkids. They can watch YouTube videos to get gardening or cooking tips. They can use the internet for genealogy research, and share photos of their travels. There are even dating apps for older singles. While technology is moving fast and not always user-friendly for seniors, our new connected way of life has benefited older Americans by expanding their options for activities and keeping them less isolated. The Pew Research Center this year reported that 58 percent of seniors feel that technology has had a positive benefit on society, and nearly half say broadband internet access is an important thing to have.</p> <h2>4. Travel is easier</h2> <p>While it's true that airport security has made air travel more hectic in recent years, there are other aspects of travel that have gotten easier for seniors. The internet has made booking flights and hotels effortless, and competition among online travel sites has made it easier to find great prices. The explosion of the cruise industry has been great for seniors, and touring companies have become smarter about accommodating the various needs of older travelers. The World Economic Forum also noted that transportation infrastructure improvements worldwide has made traveling easier for seniors over the years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a>)</p> <h2>5. Health care is better</h2> <p>Yes, there are still problems with our health care system. But there's no mistaking that we've made great progress over the years in identifying and treating many ailments and diseases. We've also made it easier for seniors to access and afford care. Consider that before 1965, older Americans did not have access to Medicare to help pay for care and treatments, and it was not until 2006 when a prescription drug benefit became available. All of this has not only helped many people live longer, but maintain a more active and healthy lifestyle deep into retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-steps-to-full-health-care-coverage-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Follow These 5 Steps to Full Health Care Coverage in Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. It's no longer all or nothing</h2> <p>It used to be that retirement was a 100 percent proposition. It was either work full-time, or not at all. Now, seniors can ease their way into retirement, or even stay merely semiretired, thanks to the growth of freelance work and the &quot;gig&quot; economy. The internet has opened up more opportunities for freelance writing and consulting. Uber, the popular ride sharing company, estimates that 25 percent of its drivers are over age 50. And retailers including Amazon are increasingly seeking seasonal help that might offer opportunities for older people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-retirement-jobs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a>)</p> <h2>7. People are looking out for you</h2> <p>In the last half century or so, there's been growth in the number of organizations advocating for older citizens. There's the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which has become one of the most powerful advocacy groups in the country. There's the Village to Village Network, which encourages the formation of thriving communities for seniors. Meanwhile, local governments have formed agencies specifically dedicated to the lives of senior citizens in their communities. While there is always debate about whether we can do more for older citizens, there's no doubt that resources have become more plentiful and available over the years.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-surprising-ways-retirement-has-gotten-easier&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Surprising%2520Ways%2520Retirement%2520Has%2520Gotten%2520Easier.jpg&amp;description=7%20Surprising%20Ways%20Retirement%20Has%20Gotten%20Easier"></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%20Surprising%20Ways%20Retirement%20Has%20Gotten%20Easier.jpg" alt="7 Surprising Ways Retirement Has Gotten Easier" 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/7-surprising-ways-retirement-has-gotten-easier">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-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable">5 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable</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-ways-longevity-is-changing-retirement-planning-and-what-to-do-about-it">5 Ways Longevity Is Changing Retirement Planning (And What to Do About It)</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/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</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-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</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/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement">Here&#039;s How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement aarp elderly health care improvements life span lifestyle long term care longevity seniors technology travel Fri, 26 Jan 2018 10:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 2091492 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Workaholism Is Costing You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-workaholism-is-costing-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-workaholism-is-costing-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_feeling_tired.jpg" alt="Man feeling tired" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Putting in long hours on the job doesn't have to be a bad thing. If you truly love what you do for a living, working at it passionately can help advance your career, build an important business, help others succeed, and even make you happy.</p> <p>But there's a line every worker can cross when burning the midnight oil starts to wreak havoc on their finances. These are some of the ways working too much can be a problem for your money.</p> <h2>1. You probably overpay for last-minute meals</h2> <p>When you work nonstop, eating is often an afterthought &mdash; which is why you end up shelling out extra money for things that you don't have time to fix for yourself, like takeout food and drinks. These quick bites add up fast. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent $3,008 on restaurant and takeout meals in 2015. If you had more time in your schedule to pack a lunch from home, imagine how much money you could be keeping in your pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your medical costs can increase</h2> <p>Patients with one or more chronic conditions account for 86 percent of health care spending by American citizens, their insurance companies, and government programs. As of 2017, U.S. total annual health care costs topped $3.4 trillion.</p> <p>You're wondering what this has to do with you? Well, if you're putting in too many hours behind a desk, chances are you're also guilty of some seriously unhealthy habits: not sleeping enough, drinking too much coffee, eating irregularly, and not exercising, just to name a few. When these habits are compounded over time, it can set you up for any number of chronic health issues that aren't cheap to manage.</p> <p>From obesity, to diabetes, to heart disease, sacrificing your health for your job is almost guaranteed to empty your wallet. According to eHealthInsurance.com, in 2016 the average annual deductible for unsubsidized individual health insurance plans was $4,358, and the average deductible for family plans was $7,983. Once you've managed to develop a chronic condition, you're more likely to have to hit that deductible earlier in the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your family life can crumble</h2> <p>It seems obvious that people who work too much have less time to spend with their families. But if your job is ruining your marriage and affecting your relationship with your kids, I'll let you in on a secret &mdash; divorce isn't cheap.</p> <p>Don't believe me? Sure, it's possible to have an amicable, uncontested divorce where both parties agree on everything. But the average divorce in the United States costs between $15,000 and $20,000. Most divorce spending is attributed to attorney's fees, but you'll also encounter court fees, costs related to real estate divisions, education fees (parental education is required in some states), and costs of neutral evaluations.</p> <p>That's not even counting the additional cost of housing that you'll face once split, or child care. Child care can be a <em>significant </em>expense, although costs vary greatly depending on where you live.</p> <h2>4. You eat unreimbursed business costs</h2> <p>From travel expenses to at-home office costs, anything that isn't reimbursed by your employer, or written off on your taxes, is a loss.</p> <p>Did you upgrade to business-level internet services at home to ensure that you're never without high-speed connectivity? That's a business cost. Do you need an expensive mobile data and voice plan to keep pace with work demands? That's a loss unless your business is covering it. How much of your driving is related to business (outside of a regular daily commute)? Documents? Website costs? These expenses aren't cheap, and they add up quickly.</p> <h2>5. Your career may stall if you can't delegate (or finish anything)</h2> <p>What's the point of working your butt off if you aren't making any career advancement? Some people have a tendency to tackle all the work themselves, partly because they don't know how to say no, and partly because working is in some ways an addiction.</p> <p>The problems arise when you hope to climb the corporate ladder. A good manager knows how and when to delegate, how to support a team, and how much pressure is enough to get the best work from underlings. A manager who <em>can't </em>properly delegate tasks and manage time can alienate coworkers (who don't get a chance to pitch in on important projects) and people who report to them (who feel the need to suffer under mountains of work in order to keep up appearances).</p> <p>Even though it may seem like doing everything yourself is better for your career, it's often the opposite. If your insistence on being <em>The One</em> prevents you from getting promoted and moving into a higher-paying position, your tendencies to overwork are hurting your earning potential, not helping it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-finally-get-that-promotion-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Ways to Finally Get That Promotion This Year</a>)</p> <h2>6. You have to outsource everything else</h2> <p>Delegating tasks at work is one thing &mdash; that's part of ensuring that all work is done on time and ensures even distribution of labor. But what about your unpaid work &mdash; the work of maintaining everything else around you? Are you paying someone else to:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Do your laundry?</p> </li> <li> <p>Clean your house?</p> </li> <li> <p>Mow your lawn?</p> </li> <li> <p>Care for your children?</p> </li> <li> <p>Vacuum your car?</p> </li> <li> <p>Run errands?</p> </li> </ul> <p>If so, this is costing you big-time. There are some home-related tasks that <em>should</em> be done by professionals (electrical work comes to mind), and if you really hate mowing the lawn or vacuuming, it's fine to pay someone else to do it if you can afford it. But if you're outsourcing every single task around the house because you're never home or free to do them yourself, you're throwing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars away per year.</p> <h2>Evaluate your work-life balance</h2> <p>Every few months, take a good hard look at the hours you spend and whether you are devoting enough time to the nonwork parts of your life. There's no magic number that fits for everyone. You have to decide what works for you and your loved ones. But do check in regularly, to evaluate your goals and consider your priorities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-work-life-balance-is-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs Your Work-Life Balance Is Off</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-workaholism-is-costing-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Workaholism%2520Is%2520Costing%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Workaholism%20Is%20Costing%20You%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%20Workaholism%20Is%20Costing%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Ways Workaholism Is Costing You 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-workaholism-is-costing-you-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/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance</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-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">How Complacency Keeps You From Financial 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/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</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-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</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-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building business costs disease divorce expenses Fast Food health care overworked Takeout workaholic Thu, 25 Jan 2018 09:00:08 +0000 Andrea Karim 2090382 at http://www.wisebread.com Yes, You Still Need an Emergency Fund in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-still-need-an-emergency-fund-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-you-still-need-an-emergency-fund-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/donation_jar_overflowing_with_american_money.jpg" alt="Donation jar overflowing with American money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know how important it is to build an emergency fund while you're working. But here's what you might not know: You need to keep that emergency fund well-stocked with savings even after you retire.</p> <p>An emergency fund might be even <em>more</em> important once you leave the working world. You won't have a regular salary to fall back on in retirement if an unexpected expense pops up. One costly car repair or medical bill can set you back and cause a lot of financial problems.</p> <p>While you're working, you should keep anywhere from six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses in this fund. That way, if you lose your job, you'll have money available to pay your daily living expenses while you search for a replacement. You need to do the same during your retirement.</p> <h2>How an emergency fund changes in retirement</h2> <p>Social Security payments often complicate the emergency fund equation in retirement. That's because you are guaranteed these payments each month. When you're working, there is always a danger that you'll lose your job and your paycheck will disappear. That won't happen with your Social Security benefits. An emergency fund won't ever have to replace this source of income.</p> <p>By the time you reach retirement, you should also know how much other income you can rely on each month. Most of this will probably come from the retirement savings you've built up over time. You should have created a retirement budget listing how much money you'll have available each month when factoring in withdrawals from these savings and Social Security payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a>)</p> <p>What you might not be as certain about are your monthly living expenses. Retirement isn't cheap, and that's where an emergency fund comes in. This liquid savings can help you cover unexpected emergencies that could otherwise break your monthly budget.</p> <p>The challenge, of course, is in estimating how much you should keep in that fund at any given time. There is no magic formula. And how much you'll need depends largely on your health and your housing situation.</p> <h2>The costs of retirement</h2> <p>The most recent Merrill Lynch <em>Finances in Retirement Survey</em> says that the average cost of retirement is $738,400.</p> <p>A good chunk of that cost can be attributed to health care. A recent report from Fidelity found that a healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017 could expect to pay $275,000 throughout their retirements in health care and medical expenses. That figure is rising, with the number 6 percent higher in 2017 than it was a year earlier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-far-1-million-will-actually-go-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Far $1 Million Will Actually Go in Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The challenge with health care costs is that you can't control them. You might be healthy when you hit retirement, but there's no guarantee that your health won't decline. Without an emergency fund to cover unexpected medical bills, you risk wiping out a huge chunk of your retirement savings that may be budgeted for other things.</p> <p>Then there's housing. You might have paid off your mortgage and plan to remain in your home. That's ideal &hellip; for now. As you age, you might need assisted living, which certainly isn't inexpensive. And if you enter retirement with a monthly mortgage payment, that can be a huge expense.</p> <p>Even if you do live in your current home without a mortgage payment, you can still expect to pay for property taxes, repairs, and maintenance. And if your home has aged along with you, chances are it may take some extra TLC (and cost) to be maintained. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <p>This is why it's so important to maintain an emergency fund in retirement. Much like when you were working, your goal should still be to keep that fund stocked with enough to cover six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses in case the worst should happen.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyes-you-still-need-an-emergency-fund-in-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYes%252C%2520You%2520Still%2520Need%2520an%2520Emergency%2520Fund%2520in%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=Yes%2C%20You%20Still%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%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/Yes%2C%20You%20Still%20Need%20an%20Emergency%20Fund%20in%20Retirement.jpg" alt="Yes, You Still Need an Emergency Fund 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/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-still-need-an-emergency-fund-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/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-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/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When 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/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</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-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement emergency funds health care housing costs income maintenance medical bills mortgages social security Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2085674 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs It's Time to Quit Freelancing http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired_girl_with_hands_on_her_face.jpg" alt="Tired girl with hands on her face" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tell someone you're a freelancer, and you'll usually be treated with a mix of envy and admiration. Freelancing brings with it a perception of freedom and flexibility that is a definite plus, but much harder to sustain than many people might realize.</p> <p>As a freelancer, chances are you put in more hours and are on the go more than regular full-time employees. You don't get subsidized health care, a 401(k) match, or paid vacation. It can be tough &mdash; sometimes, too tough. And when the following red flags appear, it may be time to throw in the towel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>1. You don't enjoy it anymore</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious reason. If it's just not something you like doing anymore, maybe it's time to start thinking about a different career path. Remember when you first decided to jump into the freelancing pool? The buzz you felt going it alone. Hustling for clients. Being your own boss. It all felt like the world was your oyster. If you now get up every day wishing you'd made a different choice, that's life telling you you're wasting time.</p> <p>Our job takes up the majority of our waking hours, so to be doing something that makes every one of them painful is just not worth it. What do you daydream about doing instead? What would reinvigorate those passions you once felt for freelancing? Listen to your gut and make a move in that direction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-the-9-to-5-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs the 9-to-5 IS Right for You</a>)</p> <h2>2. It's getting harder and harder to find work</h2> <p>When you first dipped your toe into the freelance pool, you had to hustle to get those initial clients. But, after some hard work, you built up a nice client roster and had enough regular work to make freelancing a financial success. However, things change. Markets change. Freelance industries can become flooded with new and cheaper talent. And, of course, there are those sites like Fiverr and Guru that are crammed with people all over the world charging rates that you cannot even begin to compete with.</p> <p>That mix of more competition, lower freelance rates, and even corporate downsizing can have a serious impact on the time you spend trying to find work. And if you spend more time looking for it than working on it, you could be in real trouble. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-land-more-freelance-clients-in-a-snap?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Land More Freelance Clients</a>)</p> <h2>3. You can no longer afford to pay for your own health care</h2> <p>This is a big reason freelancers are returning to the workforce, and it's a sad sign of the times. Corporations and small businesses have the clout to negotiate excellent rates for their employees. Not only that, but the company pays the majority of the monthly premium, with some companies even offering completely free HMO coverage for an employee and family.</p> <p>As a freelancer, you don't have that kind of power. According to data gathered by eHealth, the average individual health insurance premium for 2017 was $393 a month. It skyrockets to $1,021 a month for families. That's not taking into account deductibles, which you have to meet before the insurance kicks in. It's a huge burden for a freelancer to take on, and coming back into the fold can be a relief. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Work Perks You Can't Get as a Freelancer</a>)</p> <h2>4. You miss the interaction with other employees</h2> <p>Freelancing can be a lonely business. Many people take daily human interaction for granted. In fact, some people tire of it all, and it becomes a major reason for freelancing and going solo. But over time, you can go days without talking to anyone except the checkout cashier and the dog.</p> <p>Humans, for the most part, are social creatures; it's only natural to start longing to be around other people again &mdash; for those water cooler talks about last night's killer season finale, or the latest and greatest music you've discovered. And while texting and calling people can help with the loneliness, it can become depressing. If it's starting to weigh on you every day, and you are making excuses to leave the house, it's time to think about returning to the workforce. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a>)</p> <h2>5. You're bored and you're coasting</h2> <p>Has the freelance life lost its spark because you are simply not being challenged anymore? It's possible that your daily work routine is filled with the same projects, for the same clients, over and over again.</p> <p>Some freelance writers get stuck penning annual reports and company brochures week in, week out, and it becomes monotonous work. Some freelance photographers get stuck doing weddings and graduations, and although it's special for the people being photographed, it can be tedious taking the same shots every time. Whatever your freelance gig, if you are dreading getting out of bed in the morning because you have &quot;those projects,&quot; you have lost your passion. Dive back into something more challenging, for your own mental wellbeing.</p> <h2>6. You can't make ends meet</h2> <p>Freelancing is a constant hustle. It can be exhausting to find work for yourself. What's worse is when the jobs start paying less, or you lose a few clients. Some clients will be tempted by younger freelancers offering lower rates. Others may just be retiring, or going in another direction. And while it's important not to panic if you do lose some regular monthly income, you have to be prudent about how long you ride it out.</p> <p>Can you find something that will make up for that income loss before it really starts to eat away at your emergency fund? Do you even have an emergency fund? What can you cut out to keep going? Examine the budget carefully, and if things are looking bleak, you may need to cut and run to a regular, full-time salary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-budget-on-a-freelance-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Budget on a Freelance Income</a>)</p> <h2>7. The work-life balance is no longer acceptable</h2> <p>When you first started freelancing, you knew you'd have to put in extra hours to get the business off the ground. After that, it should have been more like a day job, with regular hours that you work, regular time to relax, and hopefully, a week or two of vacation. However, some freelancers swear by the saying, &quot;Never turn down work &mdash; they may never ask again.&quot;</p> <p>That can be a huge problem. You don't want to turn work away and risk an income stream drying up. But you're tired. You've been putting in 60-hour weeks and you need a break. If you have reached that stage where you are living to work, and not working to live, you should consider quitting and finding a full-time job with an employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-work-life-balance-is-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Signs Your Work-Life Balance Is Off</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Signs%2520It%2527s%2520Time%2520to%2520Quit%2520Freelancing.jpg&amp;description=7%20Signs%20It's%20Time%20to%20Quit%20Freelancing"></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%20Signs%20It%27s%20Time%20to%20Quit%20Freelancing.jpg" alt="7 Signs It's Time to Quit Freelancing" 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/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-its-time-to-quit-freelancing">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-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</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-freelancers-can-make-sure-they-get-paid-on-time">8 Ways Freelancers Can Make Sure They Get Paid on Time</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-questions-retirees-should-ask-before-starting-a-small-business">5 Questions Retirees Should Ask Before Starting a Small Business</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship cons freelancing health care insurance loneliness losing clients loss of income red flags self employment warning signs Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 2086410 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Health Insurance If You Missed the Open Enrollment Deadline http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_health_insurance_654573746.jpg" alt="Applying for health insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year, the Open Enrollment period to sign up for a policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace was much shorter than in the past. The deadline for enrollment on the Federal exchange was December 15. (Many state run exchanges were open longer.) Previously, you had well into January to choose a plan. It's likely that many people were unaware of the change and missed their chance to enroll in an insurance policy.</p> <p>Instead of taking the risk of going without insurance, there are a few alternatives to get some form of coverage after the Open Enrollment deadline.</p> <h2>1. Find out if you qualify for Special Enrollment</h2> <p>If you've experienced a major life event, you may be able to enroll in a plan outside of the Open Enrollment period. You can qualify for Special Enrollment in these situations:</p> <ul> <li>You got married.</li> <li>You had a baby or adopted a child.</li> <li>You divorced or separated from your spouse and lost your insurance coverage.</li> <li>You moved to a new home with a different ZIP code than your old residence.</li> <li>You lost your job, either by resigning or being let go, and lost your insurance policy.</li> </ul> <p>These life events must occur within the past 60 days for you to be eligible for Special Enrollment. If you do qualify, you can complete a questionnaire and choose a plan through a designated <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/" target="_blank">Special Enrollment section</a> of healthcare.gov.</p> <h2>2. See if your parents' insurance will cover you</h2> <p>If you are under the age of 26, your parents may be able to add you to their own insurance policies. If their insurance is through an employer, they can add you during the plan's enrollment period. To do so, they just have to contact their insurance company. However, keep in mind that adding you to their plan will cause your parents' insurance premiums to increase, sometimes by hundreds of dollars a month. Make sure you and your parents are comfortable with the cost and discuss who is responsible for the additional fees.</p> <h2>3. Take on a part-time job</h2> <p>Another way to get health insurance &mdash; and boost your income &mdash; is to take on a part-time job. Some companies, including big names like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Lowe's, offer comprehensive insurance benefits to part-time employees.</p> <p>Some of them require you to work for a certain amount of time before you're eligible for benefits, but others allow you to enroll in an insurance policy on your first day. As an added bonus, your earnings from your part-time job can cover your share of health care costs and help bulk up your savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</a>)</p> <h2>4. Research state or federal programs</h2> <p>All states offer Medicaid programs that provide coverage for millions, but the rules can vary from state to state. In general, Medicaid is designed for individuals who have a low-income, or are disabled, elderly, or pregnant. Children can also qualify for Medicaid coverage.</p> <p>If you have children and they are not eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to get them insurance through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Getting them coverage through CHIP, even if you go without insurance, can help you save money on their medical costs.</p> <h2>5. Get a short-term insurance plan</h2> <p>If you don't qualify for other forms of health insurance, one thing to consider is enrolling in a short-term plan. Short-term plans are offered by private insurance companies and provide coverage in emergency situations or catastrophic events. While not as ideal as having a regular health insurance policy, a short-term plan can be an important safeguard in a pinch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-time-short-term-health-insurance-makes-sense?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Time Short-Term Health Insurance Makes Sense</a>)</p> <p>If you don't know where to start, you can find short-term and catastrophic insurance plans by contacting an insurance broker. You can find brokers near you through the <a href="https://nahu.org/looking-for-an-agent/find-an-agent" target="_blank">National Association of Health Underwriters</a> database.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520Health%2520Insurance%2520If%2520You%2520Missed%2520the%2520Open%2520Enrollment%2520Deadline.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20Health%20Insurance%20If%20You%20Missed%20the%20Open%20Enrollment%20Deadline"></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/How%20to%20Get%20Health%20Insurance%20If%20You%20Missed%20the%20Open%20Enrollment%20Deadline.jpg" alt="How to Get Health Insurance If You Missed the Open Enrollment Deadline" 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/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline">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/how-to-sign-up-for-health-care-in-2018">How to Sign Up for Health Care in 2018</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-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> <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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will 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/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act health care health insurance medicaid missed deadline obamacare open enrollment penalties premiums Wed, 03 Jan 2018 09:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 2082184 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Afford Your Kid's Braces or Expensive Dental Care http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-afford-your-kids-braces-or-expensive-dental-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-afford-your-kids-braces-or-expensive-dental-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/brushing_our_teeth_is_fun.jpg" alt="Brushing our teeth is fun" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At their six-month dental checkup earlier this year, both of my sons received the dreaded diagnosis: Each one had a cavity in a baby tooth that would need to be filled.</p> <p>In addition to feeling like a terrible parent, I was also not looking forward to having to pay for their fillings. Our family dentist wasn't set up to handle fillings for two squirmy young patients, and the pediatric dentist she referred us to did not accept our dental insurance.</p> <p>Thankfully, my husband and I have an emergency fund for such an occasion, but not every parent is as fortunate. Taking care of your kids' teeth doesn't have to bankrupt you, even if they do need costly dental care or treatment.</p> <p>I talked to Marissa Miller, DDS, of Shelby, Ohio, to find out what parents need to know about affording expensive dental care for their kids.</p> <h2>1. Preventive care is always cheaper than treating problems</h2> <p>According to Dr. Miller, &quot;To mitigate the costs of dental procedures, my first piece of advice is have kids see the dentist early and regularly.&quot; There are two reasons for this. First, kids who get used to seeing the dentist early in their lives are less likely to develop phobias that will keep them from seeing the dentist later on.</p> <p>This leads to the second reason why it's important to get your kids used to seeing the dentist early and often: It's much less expensive to have biannual tooth cleanings than it is to deal with an entrenched problem.</p> <p>Even if your child does have a dental problem that will need treatment, finding it sooner rather than later will generally be easier on your wallet. &quot;Having your kids come to the dentist at regular intervals also gives us a chance to catch any problems &mdash; such as tooth decay, narrow palate, etc. &mdash; early on,&quot; Dr. Miller says. &quot;And catching problems in an early stage almost always leads to less costly treatment.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Some common pediatric dental procedures can be surprisingly expensive</h2> <p>Most parents are well aware of the fact that orthodontics (i.e., braces, retainers, and other tooth-straightening tools) are expensive. According to the 2013 Survey of Dental Fees, comprehensive orthodontic treatment for adolescents ranged in price from $4,685 to $6,500.</p> <p>However, parents may not be aware of the fact that other common dental procedures can also cost a pretty penny. Specifically, when there is a great deal of tooth decay in baby teeth, the treatment can be expensive. According to Dr. Miller, &quot;When deep cavities occur in children between roughly three and nine years of age, the costs of restoring those teeth can add up quickly. Fillings, stainless steel crowns, and pulpotomies (similar to root canal therapy but usually just for primary or 'baby' teeth) can all be called for in order to keep those teeth in working order.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h2>3. Don't let cost keep you from getting treatment</h2> <p>Parents might assume that dental care for their kids is more cosmetic than necessary. After all, baby teeth will eventually be replaced with adult chompers, and orthodonture is an expensive procedure that just provides a straight-toothed smile. The high cost for something that feels unnecessary might tempt some parents to put off the treatment while they get their financial ducks in a row.</p> <p>Dr. Miller warns against that: &quot;The whole point of trying to keep these primary [baby] teeth until they're ready to exfoliate naturally is that they are the placeholders of the adult teeth. If primary teeth are taken out early, it is common for the adult teeth to erupt in severe misalignment, resulting in a more urgent and comprehensive need for orthodontic care.&quot;</p> <p>Similarly, while straightening adult teeth for cosmetic reasons is part of the rationale for orthodontic care, it's hardly the whole reason. Properly aligned teeth promote good oral health overall &mdash; which is necessary for whole body health.</p> <h2>4. Your dentist wants to help you find a payment plan</h2> <p>Despite what you may remember from Steve Martin's portrayal of Dr. Scrivello in<em> Little Shop of Horrors</em>, you can rest assured that real dentists get into their practices because they truly want to help people. That means they want to see their patients get necessary treatment &mdash; and they will try to find a way to work with you on a payment plan. (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> <p>According to Dr. Miller, a lot of dental offices offer a variety of payment options. In particular, she recommends asking about the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Cash discounts. If you're prepared to pay the full case fee up front, ask about this option, especially if the cost of the procedure is over $1,000.</p> </li> <li> <p>Third-party financing. With third-party financing, you can use something that works basically like a dental care credit card to pay for your procedure. Many of these financing companies offer you interest-free payment periods of up to 12 months. Dr. Miller describes third-party financing as &quot;nearly universal,&quot; so feel free to ask your dentist about which company they use.</p> </li> <li> <p>Payment plans. Some dentists will allow you to split payments over several months interest-free, although you will generally be expected to have a credit card on file and a history with the practice for your dentist to agree to this. Orthodontists offer payment plans more often than general dentists due to the nature of their treatment plans and fees.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Financial assistance is available</h2> <p>Families who simply do not have the financial ability to pay for their children's dental or orthodontic care can apply for financial assistance. The National Children's Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF, but also known as America's ToothFairy) offers access to dental care to underserved children. If you are unable to afford a specific dental treatment for your child, you can apply for funds from NCOHF through their <a href="http://www.ncohf.org/our-programs/access-care-programs/in-the-gap-program/" target="_blank">In the Gap</a> program.</p> <p>In addition, <a href="https://www.aaoinfo.org/donated-orthodontic-services" target="_blank">Donated Orthodontic Services</a>, sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists, offers pro-bono and low-cost orthodontic services to children of families who cannot afford the regular cost of orthodonture. The nonprofit program <a href="https://www.smileschangelives.org/" target="_blank">Smiles Change Lives</a> also offers low-cost or free orthodontic services to kids in need.</p> <h2>Neglect is more expensive than dentistry</h2> <p>Watching your children undergo dental work is no one's idea of fun &mdash; and having to pay big bucks for it can feel like adding insult to injury. But making sure your kids' pearly whites stay healthy and straight will put them on the road to good oral health for years to come.</p> <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/how-to-afford-your-kids-braces-or-expensive-dental-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-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/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</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/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</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-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay">How to Cut the Cost of a Hospital Stay</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-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids">How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids</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/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty braces cavities children dentists health care kids medical bills orthodontics payment plans preventative care tooth care Tue, 02 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2077706 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Saving Money Is Harder Today http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-saving-money-is-harder-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad_young_woman_counting_bills.jpg" alt="Sad young woman counting bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a low overall inflation rate, and declining inflation-adjusted prices on goods such as technology and groceries, you might think that saving money today should be easier than ever. But sadly, that isn't the case. Prices of some of the biggest items in most household budgets have actually gone up faster than income has grown. Skyrocketing costs for key expenses, along with slow income growth, are making it much harder for people to save money now compared to past decades.</p> <p>According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U. S. Census Bureau, and the College Board, here are some of the biggest budget-wrecking expenses that are growing faster than your income.</p> <h2>Education</h2> <p>For many families, saving for college is a huge financial challenge &mdash; especially with the rapidly increasing price tag. Building a college savings fund to cover all of the costs is more and more difficult. As a result, more students and families are turning to student loans to make college possible. The average cost for tuition, fees, room, and board at a public four-year university grew 80 percent from 1997&ndash;2016, jumping from $11,390 to $20,500.</p> <h2>Health care</h2> <p>The cost of health care and health insurance has shot up in recent years. In some cases, a big medical expense can spell financial trouble: If an illness or injury keeps you out of work, the loss in income can make it even harder to bounce back from a large medical bill. Health care costs spiked 123 percent between 2000 and 2016, growing from an average $2,066 per year to $4,612.</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Purchasing a place to live has gotten much more expensive, with median new home prices growing from $169,000 in 2000, to $307,800 in 2016 &mdash; an increase of 82 percent. Expensive housing can result in a budget crunch in several ways. It requires a bigger down payment, which takes a lot of money away from savings at the time of purchase. Monthly mortgage payments are higher, and higher home values also result in higher property tax and homeowners insurance premiums. Higher house prices may drive people to consider renting instead of buying, but the price of renting has also gone up rapidly.</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The inflation-adjusted price for food has stayed flat or even gone down over the past 16 years. On average, income growth has kept up with food costs. Yet, <em>spending</em> on food has gone up in many households in recent years. People may be electing for more convenient &mdash; and more expensive &mdash; food choices as a consequence of working more hours to boost their income. Average food expenditures grew around 40 percent from 2000 to 2016, rising from $5,158 per year to $7,203.</p> <h2>Child care</h2> <p>This cost varies significantly based on location and the type of care, but many families with young children are struggling to find affordable child care. According to a 2016 Care.com and New America report, the average cost of a full-time child care center for a child up to age four is $9,589 per year, which is more than the average cost of in-state college tuition ($9,410). Even in a dual-income household, child care can be an overwhelming expense.</p> <h2>Debt payments</h2> <p>As budgets continue to get squeezed by growing expenses, debt levels have also increased. This can set up a vicious cycle where you have even less money available, which leads to more borrowing to make ends meet.</p> <p>For example, car prices have been relatively stable when adjusted for inflation, but the amount consumers are borrowing to buy cars has gone up. According to Experian, the average car loan as of 2016 stood at $30,032 with an average monthly payment of $503. Credit card balances and student loan balances are also trending upward, which means bigger payments are due every month, resulting in less money that could go toward savings or other bills.</p> <p>The overall economic trend is that some of the biggest expenses in many household budgets are growing much faster than income is growing, creating a squeeze that is making it harder and harder to save money.</p> <h2>How to save money anyway</h2> <p>There are two basic approaches to dealing with the financial squeeze of higher expenses and limited income growth: reduce expenses or boost income (or both).</p> <p>Housing expenses can be reduced by choosing a smaller, less expensive home. Renting a place to live can also be a less expensive option to owning a house. If you are not looking to move, consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-believing-these-5-home-refinance-myths?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinancing your mortgage</a> to a lower interest rate to reduce your monthly payment. If you rent, you may be able to offer to do some maintenance and upkeep on the property in exchange for a rent reduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</a>)</p> <p>One way to reduce health care expenses is to stay as healthy as possible. But you can&rsquo;t avoid medical expenses forever, so consider using a high deductible health insurance policy with a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA) to minimize your out-of-pocket health care costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <p>Meal prep at home is key to keeping your food expenses low. Plan out meals ahead of time so you'll have groceries on hand to cook dinner with instead of going out to eat or ordering takeout. Get in the habit of packing your own lunch instead of going out to eat during the workweek. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a>)</p> <p>Minimize debt payments by using balance transfers or debt consolidation loans to reduce your interest payments, allowing more of your payment to be applied to the principal. This will allow you to pay off debts faster for less money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Finally, cutting expenses may not be enough to tune up your budget to the point where you can save as much money as you would like. Consider boosting your income with a side hustle to bring in some extra money to help keep up with growing expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-saving-money-is-harder-today&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Saving%2520Money%2520Is%2520Harder%2520Today.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today"></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/Why%20Saving%20Money%20Is%20Harder%20Today.jpg" alt="Why Saving Money Is Harder Today" 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/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</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-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</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/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</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 Frugal Living child care costs debt education expenses Food health care housing income inflation saving money Thu, 28 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2076921 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/you_are_by_far_the_most_caring_doctor.jpg" alt="You are by far the most caring doctor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might not want to think about how you'd pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home stay when you're only in your 50s. After all, the days when you might need long-term care still seem far away.</p> <p>But your 50s are actually the ideal time to start thinking about how you'd pay for this type of medical care. Why? Because the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance says that long-term care policies are more affordable when you're in your mid-50s, an age when you're typically healthier than you might be in your 60s or early 70s. In addition to making long-term care insurance more affordable, this also increases the chance that you'll meet the health requirements that insurance companies enforce when you apply for coverage. (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>Assisted living means big costs</h2> <p>According to insurance company Genworth, the median monthly cost to stay in an assisted living facility in the United States is $3,750. That's a lot of money. This high cost can make assisted living &mdash; or other long-term care facilities &mdash; too expensive for many who need their services.</p> <p>Medicare can't help you with assisted living, either; Medicare only pays for up to 100 days of care in a nursing home or skilled-nursing facility, and you'll first have to spend three days in a traditional hospital before being referred to the nursing facility. And Medicare will never pay the costs of a continuing-care retirement community or an assisted living facility.</p> <p>Medicaid <em>might </em>pay for some of the costs of an assisted living facility or continuing-care retirement community, but the amount it pays will vary by state. And people must meet strict income and eligibility requirements to qualify for this financial assistance. Since Medicaid is a program designed to aid the impoverished, it will only kick in after the resident has spent nearly all of their own assets on a stay in a home or long-term care facility.</p> <h2>Long-term care insurance can help</h2> <p>This is where an insurance plan can help. Long-term care insurance reimburses policyholders a daily benefit to cover a variety of medical services. The cost of this insurance varies depending on your age when you take out the policy, how much your policy will pay out per day, and whether you choose any optional benefits such as inflation protection.</p> <p>The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates that a single 55-year-old with a policy providing a daily benefit of $150 over a maximum of three years can expect to pay about $2,007 a year. A couple the same age who opt for the same amount of coverage can expect to pay an average combined cost of $2,466 a year.</p> <p>But premiums can increase. While an insurance company cannot raise the premium solely on an individual, it can raise premiums for a group of people with similar characteristics. Read your policy carefully and make a tentative plan for what you might do if your rates go up.</p> <h2>Why the mid-50s is the right time</h2> <p>The cost of long-term care insurance jumps significantly as you get older. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates that a couple, both age 60, can expect to see costs jump to an average $3,381 a year for the same amount of coverage. That's over $900 a year more than it would have cost when they were just five years younger.</p> <p>If you're younger, you're also more likely to qualify for good health discounts from insurers. The association said that in 2010, the most recent year for which stats are available, 46 percent of people age 50 to 59 who applied for long-term care insurance qualified for a good-health discount. Only 38 percent of applicants from the ages of 60 to 69 qualified for these discounts. Again, read your policy carefully to see whether your discount could be rescinded if your health should fade.</p> <p>As you get older, your odds of qualifying at all for long-term care insurance drop. That's because insurers won't provide this coverage to applicants who have serious health issues. The association reported that in 2010, insurers denied 14 percent of applicants from the ages of 50 to 59. They denied 23 percent of applicants from the ages of 60 to 69.</p> <p>Long-term care insurance isn't right for everyone. If you don't have much in retirement assets, you might be able to pay for long-term care through Medicaid, a government program that was designed to help seniors who don't have much money.</p> <p>If you don't think you'll meet the requirements to qualify for Medicaid, you might decide that long-term care insurance is the best choice for you. Make sure to talk with an elder-care attorney who can help you navigate your options. If you find that long-term care makes the most sense, taking out a policy when you're in your 50s is the best move.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Best%2520Age%2520to%2520Buy%2520Long-Term%2520Care%2520Insurance.jpg&amp;description=The%20Best%20Age%20to%20Buy%20Long-Term%20Care%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/The%20Best%20Age%20to%20Buy%20Long-Term%20Care%20Insurance.jpg" alt="7 DIY Decor Ideas that Won't Get Your Hands Dirty&#9;&#9;" 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/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-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/5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable">5 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable</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/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</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-workaholism-is-costing-you-money">6 Ways Workaholism Is Costing You Money</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-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</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/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One&#039;s Long-Term Care</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Insurance assisted living discounts elderly expenses health care long term care insurance Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2069136 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nothing_inspires_happiness_like_fresh_air.jpg" alt="Nothing inspires happiness like fresh air" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A long life can be both a blessing and a financial burden. As our health inevitably declines over time, medical expenses can skyrocket. What follows are several ideas for keeping later-life health care costs under control.</p> <h2>1. Save for health care like you save for retirement</h2> <p>It's common for people to save for their retirement. Far less common is the habit of saving for future health care costs. And yet, a growing number of people have access to a triple tax-advantaged way to do just that &mdash; a health savings account. If you have a high-deductible health insurance policy, that's you. (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>Money you contribute to such an account is tax-deductible, and assuming it's ultimately used for health care expenses, earnings and withdrawals are tax-free. If you don't spend all the money you contribute each year, the balance can be carried over from year to year. With some account providers enabling you to invest the money, you could build up quite a balance.</p> <p>That money could be used to help pay health care costs in your later years, including some expenses for long-term care, whether provided in your home or a nursing home. The money also could be used to pay the premiums for Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, and at least a portion of long-term care insurance (LTCI) premiums.</p> <h2>2. Don't over-save</h2> <p>Headlines about later life health care costs can strike fear into your heart and wallet. According to a recent Fidelity Benefits Consulting study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017 will need $275,000 to cover their health care costs throughout retirement &mdash; up from $260,000 for couples retiring in 2016. And that's just for <em>normal </em>older age health care; it doesn't include the cost of long-term care.</p> <p>But let's take a look past the headlines. Assuming a 20-year retirement, $275,000 works out to $1,146 per month. While people's health care costs vary widely, $1,146 is less than some families pay right now for high-deductible health insurance premiums plus monthly contributions to a health savings account.</p> <p>Instead of relying on headlines about <em>average </em>health care costs, estimate <em>your </em>later-life health care costs to make sure you aren't obsessively over-saving out of fear. You can go a long way toward that by getting some Medicare estimates. Pairing an Original Medicare plan with a Medigap policy or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan can take away a lot of uncertainty regarding out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and copays.</p> <h2>3. Purchase some long-term care coverage</h2> <p>One of the main reasons people end up in nursing homes is dementia, and one of the primary risk factors for getting dementia is a family history. If your parents or grandparents had it, it may be wise for you to pick up at least <em>some </em>long-term care insurance coverage.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that buying a long-term care insurance policy is not an all or nothing proposition. You could opt for enough coverage to take the sting out of long-term care costs, while still keeping your premiums manageable.</p> <p>Choosing a longer <em>elimination period </em>(how many days you have to be in a nursing home before benefits begin) will lower the cost of the policy. Other ways to save include opting for a lower daily benefit, a lower maximum benefit period (compare the costs of one, three, and five years as opposed to lifetime coverage), and doing so without inflation protection. (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>4. Buy a deferred annuity</h2> <p>The risk of getting Alzheimer's disease goes up with age. According to the Alzheimer's Association, 3 percent of people between ages 65 and 74 have the disease, whereas 32 percent of those over age 85 have it.</p> <p>One way to manage the financial risk of an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's is to purchase an advanced-life deferred annuity. With this product, you pay a relatively small lump sum premium now in order to secure a guaranteed monthly benefit down the road. For example, a 65-year-old may be able to pay $10,000 now in order to receive $575 per month beginning at age 80. By comparison, if a 65-year-old wanted that much per month right now via an <em>immediate </em>annuity, he or she may have to pay $100,000.</p> <h2>5. Move closer to adult children</h2> <p>One more idea for keeping long-term care costs down is to live near or with your adult children during your retirement, assuming they are in a position (and are willing) to help you. Living close to a caring relative can lessen your dependence on &mdash; and the cost of &mdash; outside help for long-term care.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Long-Term%2520Care%2520More%2520Affordable.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Long-Term%20Care%20More%20Affordable"></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/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Long-Term%20Care%20More%20Affordable.jpg" alt="5 Ways to Make Long-Term Care More Affordable" 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/5-ways-to-make-long-term-care-more-affordable">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/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance</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/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One&#039;s Long-Term Care</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-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance">How to Manage a Family Member&#039;s Finances Long Distance</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-surprising-ways-retirement-has-gotten-easier">7 Surprising Ways Retirement Has Gotten Easier</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-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance annuities assisted living costs elderly family health care long term care nursing homes retirement savings Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:30:09 +0000 Matt Bell 2065226 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_woman_laptop_520055262.jpg" alt="Woman beating common retirement struggles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever sat down with a financial planner, you know that one of the main questions that comes up is, &quot;How much income do you think you'll need when you retire?&quot;</p> <p>When I was asked this question, the first answer that popped into my head was, &quot;Hardly any!&quot; In the retirement scenario in my mind, my kids were independent and my home was paid off, leaving few financial obligations. When pressed, I acknowledged that I might need some money for taking fun vacations with all that free time I'll have, and for buying gifts for my grandchildren.</p> <p>While it's true that a lot of the big expenses of our working lives have ideally been paid off by retirement, retirees still face a lot of financial obligations. Retirement is not all learning to paint or strolling on the beach &mdash; despite what prescription drug ads may lead you to believe. A 2016 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office found that retirees on average spend 77 percent of what they spent while they were working, with spending declining decade by decade as retirees age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <p>Let's go through some of the retirement expenses you may not have accounted for, and how to deal with them.</p> <h2>1. Health care</h2> <p>While other expenses shrink after retirement, medical care spending increases. In the present day, the increase is modest. The same U.S. General Accounting Office report found that retirees ages 65 to 79 spend an average $5,000 a year on health care, compared to $3,900 for workers aged 50 to 64. But predictions for future health care expenses in retirement are dire.</p> <p>HealthView Services' 2017 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report predicts that medical costs will rise 5.47 percent per year for the foreseeable future &mdash; meaning that today's 65-year-old may be spending $10,000 or more per year on health care by age 75, on top of Medicare coverage.</p> <p>&quot;Health care will be one of the most significant retirement expenditures; however, the savings required to cover this expense may be modest &mdash; especially if one has been utilizing an income replacement ratio (IRR) of 75% to 85%,&quot; warns the report.</p> <p>HealthView recommends talking to your planner not just about income replacement, but also about what you expect medical expenses to be based on your current health. Look at optimizing your retirement portfolio to address those needs. For example, some advisers recommend saving for retirement medical expenses using a health savings account &mdash; although these are only available to workers who have high-deductible health plans. (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>Managing health conditions proactively can also make a big difference in expenses over a lifetime.</p> <p>&quot;A 50-year-old male with type II diabetes can save (an average of) $5,000 per year in pre-retirement health expenses by shifting from Poorly Managed to Well Managed care,&quot; the report says.</p> <h2>2. Taxes</h2> <p>You might expect your income tax to disappear or decline steeply when you retire, but remember that withdrawals from 401(k) plans and traditional individual retirement accounts are taxable, as are most pensions and some Social Security benefits. If your retirement plan involves collecting rent on properties you own, well, that's taxable too. And if you have paid off your mortgage before retiring, remember that you just lost a big tax deduction in the form of mortgage interest payments.</p> <p>The problem of taxes during retirement is the reason many workers also invest in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) plan. Unlike a regular retirement account, which you fill with untaxed income, only paying taxes on withdrawals, a Roth takes income you already paid taxes on, and withdrawals are tax free. Since no one knows how tax rates when you retire will compare to tax rates today, many advisers recommend spreading investments across both kinds of accounts to hedge your bets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a>)</p> <p>Another thing to consider when retired is whether you plan to make charitable donations part of your estate plan. If you were going to give away thousands of dollars to charities in your will, for example, discuss with an accountant setting up a schedule of giving while you're alive, instead, so that you could take annual tax deductions that could reduce or eliminate taxes you owe.</p> <h2>3. Inflation</h2> <p>In recent years, inflation has been low, but the long term average annual rate of price increases is 3.22 percent. That means that if you retire with benefits and savings designed to cover 80 percent of your current income, those same benefits will cover a smaller portion of your current spending each year, if not invested to grow at a rate faster than inflation. This is why financial planners never advise keeping your life savings in cash, stuffed in a mattress.</p> <p>Of course in retirement you don't want to take on big risks with investments, since you can't earn more money to replace what you lose. But you also can't be too conservative or you risk having inflation shrink your savings each year. With interest rates as low as they are, you can't count on earnings from certificates of deposit to surpass inflation. For most retirees, that means you must have some money in stocks, bonds, or other investments. And you must stick to your investment plan, even if the market gets rocky. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <h2>4. End of life</h2> <p>When you plan your retirement, you're likely thinking more about all the golf you want to play or the traveling you want to do, not so much about spending your final years in a nursing home or planning your funeral. Unfortunately, those less fun expenses must also be planned for.</p> <p>Take a realistic look at how much assisted living and nursing homes cost. If you are still young enough to get it, look into long-term care insurance. Discuss with your family whether they expect you to move in with them if you need more care later in life, or if they would prefer you plan for nursing home care or assisted living. If long-term care needs seem imminent, meet with an attorney who specializes in making Title XIX plans; they can help you learn what assets can be shielded from being liquidated to pay for care. (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> <p>Medical expenses tend to jump in the final years, costing about $7,000 to $8,000 more per year in the last two years of life, according to HealthView Services.</p> <p>Consider prepaying funeral expenses so that it's not a cost hanging over your head as you enjoy retirement. And certainly meet with an estate planner as part of your retirement planning to make provisions for the distribution of wealth after you are gone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Mandatory withdrawals</h2> <p>The moment you turn age 70 and a half, you are required to take minimum distributions from your IRA, 401(k), and other retirement accounts on a schedule set by the IRS. This doesn't sound like a problem &mdash; after all, this is what you saved all that money for. But what if you don't need to spend the required distribution this year? Unfortunately, you still have to withdraw it, and pay taxes on it, or the IRS will confiscate 50 percent of the money you were supposed to withdraw in the form of a tax penalty.</p> <p>While you can't change the IRS's schedule for required withdrawals, and you can't roll the distribution into a different tax-deferred account, you can plan for this requirement and schedule income and spending around it. For instance, you can avoid selling real estate or other investments, or scale back work hours if you are still working, and allow the income you are getting from your retirement account to replace other income. And of course, you can always invest your distribution outside of retirement accounts, if you don't need to spend it.</p> <p>Another way to conquer the mandatory distribution is to plan for it while saving for retirement, for example by putting some income into a Roth IRA, which doesn't have required distributions. As you approach retirement, if your IRA distributions look like they will be too large for you to use, you may also talk to a planner about converting a traditional account into a Roth.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Retirement%2520Struggles%2520Nobody%2520Talks%2520About%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520And%2520How%2520to%2520Beat%2520Them.jpg&amp;description=5%20Retirement%20Struggles%20Nobody%20Talks%20About%20%E2%80%94%20And%20How%20to%20Beat%20Them"></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/u5180/5%20Retirement%20Struggles%20Nobody%20Talks%20About%20%E2%80%94%20And%20How%20to%20Beat%20Them.jpg" alt="5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About &mdash; And How to Beat Them" 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/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">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-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired</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-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</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-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</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-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</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 end of life costs expenses health care hidden costs inflation investments long term care required minimum distributions social security taxes Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2065326 at http://www.wisebread.com