Elder Care

Social Security Payout Shrinks

Calculating Social Security retirement benefits can be tricky. If you worked in a government job and did not pay Social Security taxes, part of your civil service pension gets deducted from your Social Security benefits, an offset called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). What you may not know is that the WEP’s effect goes beyond that – this provision also brings down your spouse’s and other dependents’ benefits.

Divorce and Elder-Care Bills

A confluence of circumstances can conspire against marriage amongst older couples: longevity, soaring elder-care costs and a lack of long-term care (LTC) insurance. Divorce, even if painful, may hurt less than living in near poverty until Medicaid finally kicks in to cover an ill spouse.

Medicare insurance only covers up to 100 days of nursing care. If you or your spouse need nursing or LTC, you either pay out of pocket until your assets fall below a low threshold or tap your LTC insurance.

Figuring Monthly Benefits

Many people file for Social Security right at retirement and soon see a statement showing potential benefits at various stages of life. What if you don’t file at age 62 or 66? Here’s the math to compute your monthly benefit no matter when you file.

Bad Decisions in Old Age

What if you lose your mental capacity in later years and make irrational financial choices? How can you safeguard your assets from that threat?

After three decades as a financial planner, I see more and more clients reach, not just retirement, but their final years. An issue that becomes especially important at this stage of life is how to protect your financial resources from an unexpected threat – yourself.

Asset Caregivers’ Guides (Pt.2)

Our first article touched on two guides from the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for novice financial caregivers. Here we look at the second pair of guides in the series “Managing Someone Else’s Money” if a friend or family member asks you to help with major money matters.

Asset Caregiver Guides (Pt. 1)

We almost all seem to know someone who helps older family members with financial affairs. If legally appointed to help someone with their money, find out all you can about the potentially confusing role.

To help fledgling financial caregivers, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) publishes four guides for “Managing Someone Else’s Money.” Each guide addresses a specific role:

Benefits for Surviving Spouses

The death of your spouse creates enough confusion without Social Security adding to the problem – which it does if you don’t play the benefits game right.

When you patch together the variations of survivor and personal benefits, remember that each has its own unique characteristics. The basics of qualifying for Social Security:

Plan for Long-Term Care

Long-term care (LTC) keeps you functioning in the face of devastating illnesses, disabilities and prolonged disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. LTC kicks in when you lose the ability to care for yourself and can no longer do things such as bathe, dress or eat without help. These are three of the six most commonly listed activities of daily living, or ADLs. The care obviously comes with lots of emotions – and rising costs you can start addressing now.

Are You Your Family’s Bank?

Your open heart and your destitute relatives can combine to threaten your retirement savings – savings you soon may need. Learn the true cost to your future before you write that well-intentioned check.

If you’re a baby boomer on the other side of 50, patterns are emerging about how you spend your money – including assets you set aside for retirement. Merrill Lynch recently co-released “Family & Retirement: The Elephant in the Room,” a study of boomers’ contributions to family finances.

Milking the 1% Won’t Work

Once more, we hear calls to soak the rich, a.k.a. the wealthiest 1% of the population. Unfortunately, doing that won’t solve the nation’s economic problems. Most likely, the government will end up slamming a lot of taxpayers whose incomes are far from high-end.

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