Use of short-term health insurance to be curtailed

Soon 3 month limit on obtaining short-term policies

According to Jordon Rau of Kaiser Health News, (click the above link to read) soon there will be limits put on obtaining short-term medical policies.  Currently, short-term policies do not offer comprehensive coverage and they also do not qualify as minimum essential coverage which means you will still be fined for not having health coverage at tax time.

Medicare Planning IS Financial Planning

As most of us know, healthcare costs are one of the largest drains on a retirees budget. And as a matter of fact, medical costs are the number one cause of senior bankruptcy in the United States. Making sure you have the right Medicare coverage for your personal situation is a key part of your financial planning.  It is critical to look at the costs and benefits of all options to make the best decision for you.  I view my job as educational, not a sales position.  It is important that each individual understand the options and make the best decision for them.  My clients are intelligent and once I guide them through a cost benefit analysis they are able to make the best decision, and I trust them to do that.

Medicare Advantage plans change from year to year since they operate on annual contracts.  The overall Medicare rules and laws change on occasion as well and it is my job to stay current on all of these changes on behalf of my clients.  Rates are typically changing as well which may make one Medicare Supplement plan more cost-effective than another.

The majority of Americans lose their health insurance when they retire and many have to fill a gap between retirement and the start of their Medicare at age 65.  The good news is that once they are eligible for Medicare there are good options available to them at a reasonable cost.

It is important to fully assess the needs of each individual client and to ask the right questions as we find the right Medicare solution for them.  What are the financial consequences in the event of a major health event?  Are they prepared to cover co-pays if they choose a plan that has them?  It is very important to choose a plan that has affordable premiums but equally important to analyze the out-of-pocket costs that could be associated with a major health event.  It is also critical to be sure that the health care insurance chosen covers the providers that each individual uses.  It is pretty devastating to get coverage and then realize that your favorite doctor won’t accept that plan.

Please treat your Medicare planning as an important part of your financial plan so that you ensure you have the protection of your financial assets in place when you need it the most.

Housing debt can invade your retirement

Research shows concerns about housing debt as people enter retirement.

At one time in our recent past, most people retired with no housing debt.  Getting the house paid off was one of the important considerations to retirement.  Today many couples retire with housing debt and some even buy a home and take on debt as they retire.  One thing that often isn’t taken into consideration is that if one of them dies, it is much more difficult to meet all of the financial obligations.  Having sufficient life insurance to pay off all debt, including any mortgage debt, can ensure that the surviving spouse doesn’t have to struggle to meet these obligations in the event of the death of a partner.  Be sure you are protecting your loved ones with sufficient planning including life insurance.

Confused about Medicare?

Let me help!  I have a great tool with easy to understand videos that can give you a start on sorting through the Medicare options.  If you are turning 65 or nearing retirement you are likely to be bombarded by mail and phone calls.  Take a minute to watch some of my videos to make the picture more clear:

Medicare made simple!

Then CALL ME to set up a meeting so that I may personalize the Medicare options that make sense for YOU!!


The Final Loving Act

Visiting with clients during the Annual Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period is in full swing!  I really enjoy seeing so many of my clients this time of year.

The Annual Enrollment Period is in full swing! I really enjoy seeing so many of my clients this time of year.

Qualified Long-term care premiums are tax deductible

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2016

long-term care insuranceThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2016 taxes as a result of buying long-term care insurance.

Premiums for “qualified” long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare premiums), exceed 10 percent of the insured’s adjusted gross income, or 7.5 percent for taxpayers 65 and older (through 2016).

These premiums — what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force — are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents. (If you are self-employed, the tax-deductibility rules are a little different: You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as you made a net profit; your medical expenses do not have to exceed a certain percentage of your income.)

However, there is a limit on how large a premium can be deducted, depending on the age of the taxpayer at the end of the year. Following are the deductibility limits for 2016. Any premium amounts for the year above these limits are not considered to be a medical expense.

Attained age before the close of the taxable year Maximum deduction for year
40 or less $390
More than 40 but not more than 50 $730
More than 50 but not more than 60 $1,460
More than 60 but not more than 70 $3,900
More than 70 $4,870

Another change announced by the IRS involves benefits from per diem or indemnity policies, which pay a predetermined amount each day.  These benefits are not included in income except amounts that exceed the beneficiary’s total qualified long-term care expenses or $340 per day, whichever is greater.

For these and other inflation adjustments from the IRS, click here.

Annuities can be cheaper hedge against longevity risk

Annuities and other guaranteed income products hedge longevity risk 25% to 40% cheaper than do-it-yourself portfolio optimization strategies, writes Bob Seawright. “Thus retirees who purchase an income annuity assure themselves a higher level of consumption and guarantee it as well,” he writes. Research magazine (9/2015)

Bob Seawright, Chief Investment and Information Officer of Madison Avenue Securities goes on to say in the September issue of Research magazine:

“Most “safe withdrawal” analysis assumes safety as something like a 90–95% success rate over a set period of time, commonly 25–30 years and emphasizes that most of the time, this approach should not only work, but should provide significant portfolio growth. However, with the consequences of failure being so high — being destitute at a time in life when vulnerability is at a peak — a 5–10% failure rate (which may be too low given that “100-year floods” seem to happen in the markets at least a couple of times a decade) hardly qualifies as anything like “safe.” Moreover, limiting the analysis to a set period of time is similarly deceptive on account of longevity trends.

Simply put, safe withdrawal approaches emphasize portfolio optimization and the hope for upside over putting safety first. The lure of optimization and our inherent excessive optimism conspire to push us away from guaranteed income options. I think that’s a mistake.”

Market Volatility and Timing

When the market takes a dive it can be very scary.  Depending on the timeline of your planned retirement, a drop in the market can have little impact on your overall bottom line.  Unfortunately the closer you are to your retirement years the less you can afford to withstand these downward swings.  There are wonderful financial products on the market that protect you from market downturns as well as guaranteeing you an income for life.  If you would like to find out more about some of these products, call Elise at (208)590-2606.

Do you have a legal will?

Fantastic place to get a legal will written for FREE!!!  Willing is going to help you get it done.  It is NEVER too early to get your stuff in order.  Make sure you have a legal will for the benefit of your family and loved ones.

Please contact Elise if you need help with your retirement planning, insurance planning and general getting your affairs in great shape!!