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Those Amazing GDP Increases

Submitted by Brenda P. Wenning on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 9:00am

Isn’t it odd that the government’s economic growth number keeps climbing with each revision? You don’t think there is a political component to this, do you?

If you repeat something often enough, you may even start to believe it. So try this phrase: “The economy is improving. The economy is improving. The economy is improving.”

Optimizing Social Security

Submitted by Harold Wong on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

Your retirement income hinges on a seeming paradox: People increase dependence on Social Security even as the long-term solvency of the government golden years’ program reportedly dwindles. What tricks of timing and finances can give your benefits checks the biggest boost?

Waiting to collect is the key. Examples may give you a good idea.

Social Security Payout Shrinks

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 12:00pm

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

Submitted by Eve Kaplan on Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 3:00pm

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.

Bad Decisions in Old Age

Submitted by Rick Kahler on Friday, September 12, 2014 - 3:00pm

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 Caregiver Guides (Pt. 1)

Submitted by Dan Crimmins on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 3:00pm

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

Submitted by Matthew Illian on Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 3:00pm

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

Submitted by Eric Hutchinson on Friday, May 2, 2014 - 12:00pm

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.

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