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Explore Long-Term Care Options

Mike McCann, CFP, AIFThe common U.S. life expectancy is 87 years. When you live into your 70s and beyond, the likelihood that you’ll need long-term care is considerable. Of course, much younger people can require these services, too, as a result of accidents or illnesses. About 30 percent of new long-term care insurance claims begins by age 80, and another 25 percent between ages 81 and 85, according to industry data for 2018. It’s important to explore long-term care options sooner rather than later.

Long-term care expenses average from $4,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on the level of care.

Yet, private health insurance policies, Medicare supplemental plans and group/employer plans generally do not cover long-term care costs. Medicare benefits are limited to 100 days and offered only after a hospitalization or injury. The Veterans Administration typically only covers long-term care for those with service-related disabilities.

Long-term care insurance pays for care when you become unable to care for yourself due to a disability or chronic condition; 99 percent of policies cover nursing home, assisted living and home health care. Annual premiums average $2,800. That said, different companies offer different rates and discounts, so premiums can vary by as much as 60 to 90 percent.

Our health changes, especially as we grow older. So it’s smart to look into care options well before reaching retirement age. This is especially true if you have a family history of chronic disease or disability.

There are many options for funding long-term care, and it’s important to gather as much information as possible to find the best one for you. Here are some examples:

  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) allow you to put money aside tax-free for medical costs, including long-term care insurance premiums.
  • Specialty or hybrid products like Life/LTC policies and LTC Annuities are becoming more common.
  • Pensions or Social Security benefits can help, depending upon the amount of money you receive and the care you need.
  • Retirement and other investment savings, if significant, may provide for your long-term care needs.
  • A home equity credit line, reverse mortgage or outright home sale can help fund care.
  • When all options have been exhausted and your income/assets have been depleted, Medicaid programs will cover nursing home care (but not assisted living care).

Before making any decisions, talk with your financial advisor. He or she can help you explore long-term care options and find the best financial solution for you and your family.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (longtermcare.acl.gov), American Assoc. for Long-Term Care Insurance (aaltci.org), Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Morningstar.com Center for Insurance Policy and Research, Genworth.com
By |May 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Maintaining Perspective

Patrick Eng addresses maintaining perspective.When the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 22,000 in August 2017 (an all-time high) I wrote an article titled “Managing Expectations.” In early October 2018, the Dow reached a record-breaking 26,800 points. In the four weeks that followed, it dropped by 2,000 points. By mid-November, the it was back near 26,000. As I write today, and the Dow is hovering at roughly 25,000, the new mantra is “maintaining perspective.”

After seeing these numbers, I felt compelled to share once again the points from my summer 2017 article. As we traverse the landscape of volatile financial markets – experiencing both the euphoric highs and the inevitable declines – it’s important to remember the following:

  • Stay diversified; even if it doesn’t feel right, history shows this strategy works.
  • Avoid jumping in and out of the market; it is virtually impossible to time market movement.
  • Invest regularly, in both good times and in bad times; the potential to buy investments at discount prices can only happen if you are involved when things look the bleakest.
  • Market corrections, no matter how painful, are a natural part of the economic cycle.

These long-term fundamental principles of investing will serve you well and set you up for long-term investment success. It also helps to stay in communication with your advisor as changes take place in your life or if you just want to get some perspective on market movement.  An important role we play in our clients’ lives is being an “emotional surge protector” when unavoidable declines take place.

By |November 19th, 2018|Current Affairs, Investing, Uncategorized|

Monthly Financial Planning Resolutions

The New Year is always a good time to think about your financial goals and objectives for the year ahead and beyond. But don’t feel as though you have to do everything at once. Instead of the annual ritual of overdoing New Year’s resolutions and making grandiose plans (then backsliding or giving up after a few months), why not resolve to take a series of small steps throughout the year?

During the next 12 months on our blog, we will share 12 quick, easy things you can do to help you stay on track with your financial goals. Just one thing per month — 12 proactive tasks for 12 months in 2012.

In January, resolve to call your advisor if you’ve recently had or are planning any major life changes that may impact your investment planning.

Marriage, divorce, a career change, the birth of a child, returning to school, a new car purchase and many other life events can impact your finances – both in the short term and the long term. Take just a moment to contemplate recent changes or ones you see on the horizon, and let us know what’s new. With a brief review of your investment plan, we can help ensure you stay on track with your financial goals.

Here’s a preview for the year ahead. Don’t worry, we’ll provide you with more detail when the time comes.

In February, resolve to spend a few hours organizing your personal files and documents.

In March, resolve to talk to your children or grandchildren about the importance of saving and investing.

In April, resolve to review your life, home and auto insurance policies to ensure they meet your current needs.

In May, resolve to spend a few hours volunteering your time to a charitable organization or worthy cause.

In June, resolve to assess your need for disability insurance.

In July, resolve to create or update your will.

In August, resolve to call a family meeting to discuss your estate plan/will, and follow it up with a fun event like a dinner or outing.

In September, resolve to review and, if needed, update all beneficiary information for your accounts and policies.

In October,resolve to create a budget for holiday spending.

In November, resolve to call your financial and tax advisor to discuss any questions you may have about your 2012 income tax filing.

In December, resolve to review your financial plan to see if the goals you’ve set are still on track and important to you.

By |January 18th, 2012|Current Affairs, Financial Planning, Uncategorized|

Is it Time to Roll Over Your Retirement Accounts?

How many retirement accounts do you have? If you’ve changed jobs a few times throughout your career, you could have several accounts housed in different employers’ plans.

While it is certainly acceptable to leave money in an old plan, in some cases it may be a better idea to consolidate your assets. (If your account value is less than $5,000, your former employer can cash you out of the plan, making it imperative to have a back-up destination for those assets.) Having your retirement portfolio in one place can make it easier to track performance and make changes, which help ensure proper asset allocation of your portfolio.

Be sure to first compare the investment options of your old and new plans — and/or any IRA option you are considering — and their associated fees. Were you able to properly diversify your assets in your old plan?  If your investment choices were limited, you may want to move your money. Are the investment fees in your old plan higher or lower than in your new plan? If you were paying more for the investments in your old plan, it could help save you money to move your assets.

Is it time to roll over your retirement accounts?

Your investment advisor or financial planner can help you find the answers to these questions and decide if a rollover makes sense in your situation.

Initiating a rollover is easy. First, check your current plan rules to confirm that rollovers are permissible (the vast majority of workplace retirement plans accommodate rollovers). Next, simply contact the financial institution that will house your account. They will either have you fill out a form or have a representative help you through the process.

Be sure to understand the difference between a rollover and a distribution. A rollover allows you to transfer your money from one qualified retirement account to another without incurring any tax consequences. A “qualified” account can be either your new employer’s plan or a rollover IRA.

A distribution is essentially a withdrawal from your account. If you request a distribution, the account administrator is required by law to withhold 20 percent of your account balance to pay federal taxes. State taxes, if applicable, are also due. If you are under age 59½, you could be subject to an additional 10 percent federal early-withdrawal penalty. You can roll over assets from a distribution within 60 days of receipt and reclaim those tax withholdings. If you wait longer than 60 days, a rollover is not permissible.

Portions of this article were provided through the Financial Planning Association, the membership organization for the financial planning community (through McGraw-Hill Financial Communications), and is brought to you by Perspective Financial Services, a local member of FPA.
Required Attribution: Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by McGraw-Hill Financial Communications or its sources, neither McGraw-Hill Financial Communications nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall McGraw-Hill Financial Communications be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content. © 2011 McGraw-Hill Financial Communications. All rights reserved.
By |December 13th, 2011|Investing, Retirement, Taxes, Uncategorized|