5 Surprising Medical Costs NOT Covered by Medicare

5 Surprising Medical Costs NOT Covered by Medicare

When it comes to budgeting for retirement, well-prepared pre-retirees will need to evaluate how their future income and expenses may change in retirement to be financially prepared to leave the workforce and enjoy their golden years. For most individuals, Medicare and supplemental Medigap plans will be a part of the healthcare piece of this puzzle; however, all too often, new enrollees are surprised to find that many of the expenses they expected would be covered are not. And with the average couple over age 65 spending an estimated $280,000 on healthcare during retirement, these aren’t expenses to be brushed off.

Luckily, supplemental plans are available to purchase for retirees who have more extensive healthcare needs than basic Medicare coverage will provide, but the plans vary and should be considered in their entirety before purchase. Before you shop for a Medicare plan, it’s best to do your research to find out what’s covered and what’s not. With this in mind, we’ve compiled this list of expenses that are not covered under Original Medicare in order to help you prepare for the most common budget-busting healthcare expenses.

1. Long-Term Care

Long-term care costs can be one of the most overlooked aspects of retirement planning, but can provide the most needed benefits for many individuals. In fact, the U.S. government estimates that nearly 70% of Americans over age 65 will require some form of long-term care in their lifetime, 40% over age 65 will go into a nursing home, and 10% will remain there for five years or longer.

Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare will cover long-term care services; however, Medicare Part A will only cover portions of hospital care and Medicare-approved Skilled Nursing Facility Care (SNF) for a limited amount of time (no longer than 100 days) and only when certain conditions and prerequisites are met. This very limited coverage does not cover non-skilled assistance with daily living activities, which make up the majority of long-term care services.

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Suffering the Loss of a Parent: Financial First Steps

Suffering the Loss of a Parent Financial First Steps

There is no way to fully prepare for the emotional turmoil and grief that accompanies the loss of a parent. Losing a parent forces us to face some difficult realities whether we are ready to or not, and financial “next steps” may not be ones we want to face right away.

It may be tempting to let money matters fall by the wayside, especially if financial “next steps” weren’t discussed before your parent’s passing. However, it is important to keep in mind that delaying certain responsibilities may eventually complicate matters that could have been avoided if action had been taken sooner.

After a death, there is much to attend to, but you don’t have to tackle it alone, which is why the first step in our checklist is to enlist support.

1. Enlist Support: Support comes in many forms and none is any less important than another. Some supports help us to cope emotionally, while others assist us in navigating new legal and financial territory.

- Friends and Family: Lean on your friends and family to assist you in completing daily tasks such as transporting the kids to and from school, picking up prescriptions, or bringing you a meal. Having a good support system in place can help ease the burdens of this transitional period.

- Financial Advisors, CPAs, and Attorneys: The financial advisors, CPAs, and attorneys of the deceased should be notified of the individual’s death immediately. The deceased’s estate planning attorney will have the latest copy of the deceased’s will and the financial advisor and CPA will have working knowledge of his or her assets, debts, account locations, and business dealings.

This team of professionals will be able to walk you through the complex process of settling the estate, filling out important paperwork, updating legal forms, and closing out the deceased’s accounts (when necessary), hopefully easing the burden of these important, but potentially overwhelming tasks.

Contacting your own team of professionals will be equally important, especially if you are positioned to receive any type of inheritance from the deceased parent. Your team can help you to manage your sudden influx of money, mitigate the tax burdens on that money, and set up an estate plan of your own.

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Beware of Lifestyle Inflation

Beware of Lifestyle Inflation 1

Have you ever found yourself postponing retirement contributions, debt repayment, or perhaps opening a college savings plan for the hypothetical day when you make more money? You keep promising yourself that when you get that bonus or receive that promotion, you’ll finally get back on track. If so, you aren’t alone. And there is not doubt that these are great aspirations to have.

However, the problem most individuals have is in following through on these long-term financial goals once the thrill of the increased spending power arrives in hand. This is the insidious phenomenon of Lifestyle Inflation and effects individuals of all ages and all income levels.

What is Lifestyle Inflation?

Lifestyle Inflation refers to increasing one’s spending when income increases. Rather than using the extra income to pay off debt, make larger retirement contributions, or fund to a long-term savings goals, individuals tend to escalate their spending to match their income—thus perpetuating the habit of living paycheck to paycheck and making it increasingly difficult to get ahead.

The Emotional Root of the Problem

Logically, the concept of lifestyle inflation is simple: if we spend all the extra money we earn, we make it impossible for ourselves to actually get ahead. It is for this very reason that lifestyle inflation affects individuals of all income levels—if you make x dollars and spend x dollars each month or each year, you’re left with zero at the end of the day (no matter how big or small x was to begin with). But emotionally, it’s not so simple.

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The Top 3 Financial Challenges Hispanic-Americans Face

Top Financial Challenges Hispanics Face

Hispanic Americans make up one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population, and with more Hispanics being birthed in the U.S. then ever before, the growth of this group shows no signs of slowing down. The US Census Bureau projects the Hispanic American population to increase 115% by 2060, at which point they will represent 30% of the entire population.

And this burgeoning segment is not growing without prosperity. According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, the buying power of Hispanics is exceeding $1 trillion and is expected to grow another 50% over the next five years. Hispanic business owners alone contribute more than $70 billion to the US economy.

But despite their entrepreneurial and financial success, nearly half of all Hispanic Americans surveyed by Mass Mutual still reported feeling less financially secure than other groups. So how do we explain this disconnect? For many Hispanics, the following factors tend to get in the way of preparing for long-term financial success and, subsequently, create feelings of financial insecurity.

1) Language and Monetary System Barriers

For native-born Hispanic Americans, the language barrier and US monetary system are far less problematic than they are for older members of the population who immigrated to the U.S. at an older age with limited language skills and resources.

Being a non-native English speaker entering a country with a completely different monetary system can pose huge problems for individuals trying to decipher complicated US tax forms, legal contracts, or applications for credit. Many times, the less fluent, older Hispanic populations will rely on help from their teenage children (or even grandchildren) to translate and interpret such forms!

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WHAT WOMEN NEED TO KNOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR FINANCIAL FUTURE - PART II

What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future Part II

Insuring Against the Unexpected

Risk management is a vital element of any financial plan. There are events and occurrences in life that we simply cannot predict. However, we can help to guard ourselves against financial devastation in the face of these unfortunate changes with different types of insurance tools.

  • Life Insurance: Traditionally, life insurance policies are purchased with the intention of financially aiding the surviving widow or widower after the unfortunate loss of a spouse. These policies pay death benefits to surviving spouses or beneficiaries upon the owner’s passing in exchange for premiums paid during the owner’s lifetime. There are two basic types of life insurance policies: term life insurance and permanent. Term life insurance policies expire after a certain term, or number of years, whereas permanent, whole life insurance policies provide lifetime coverage.

Life Insurance policies can provide many benefits. For women who are the primary breadwinner of the family, life insurance policies can provide financial security for the family in her absence. The hybrid policies with cash allocations allow the owner to borrow against the cash value of the benefit, which could help a woman pay off debt, start a new business, or finance her children’s education. And policies which combine life insurance with long-term care riders can provide financial resources should the owner become terminally ill. The type of policy you choose, though, should not be a decision made in isolation, but in the perspective of your overall financial circumstances and available resources.

  • Long-term Care Insurance: According to the most recent data presented by the US government, at least 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime. Long-term care needs range from periodic in-home help with daily activities to full-time nursing home living. However, planning to pay for the high costs of assisted living or in-home aids is often overlooked.
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What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future - Part I

What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future

Here are the facts: Women are living longer than men[i] and nearly 50% of all marriages are likely to end in divorce (with even higher rates of “Gray Divorce,” or divorces amongst those over age 50). What does this mean for women? That at some point in their lives, whether through divorce, widowhood, or personal choice, the responsibility of financial management will land squarely on their shoulders.

Women have made impressive strides over the past few generations with more than half of American women acting as the primary breadwinner in their household. Today, women are working and earning more than ever before.

But when it comes to money matters, a striking number of women statistically still leave the responsibility of financial management up to men. Experts attribute this trend to a lack of confidence in financial decision making, the female focus on caregiving and homemaking, and even just traditional, societal norms; but regardless of this tendency, longer life expectancies and higher divorce rates indicate that women should empower themselves to take control of their financial futures sooner rather than later.

The main problem, however, is that many women are unsure of where to begin. In fact, over 40% of women say that a lack of knowledge regarding their financial affairs is the single largest deterrent to becoming more involved in money management.[ii]

With this in mind, we have formatted this article into two installments to help women overcome their financial challenges and take control of their future.

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What You Need to Know About Estimating Taxes in Retirement

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Income is income, in retirement or otherwise, and where there is income, there is tax. Even though your income in retirement will be coming from different sources, such as IRAs, pensions, or social security, in most cases you’ll still be responsible for paying taxes on what you receive or withdraw.

Many, if not most, retirees rely on multiple different sources of income to fund their golden years including, but not limited to, the following:

• Social Security Income
• Pension Plans
• Traditional IRA and 401(k) withdrawals
• Roth IRA or Roth 401 (k)s withdrawals
• Investment Income

Each type of income incurs unique tax rules and liabilities and will affect your take-home amount in different ways. In order to minimize the tax burden on your overall income and accommodate for those taxes in your budget, you’ll need to understand how each different type of income is taxed.

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Can You Work Your Way into Retirement?

As 2016 ended, the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey appeared and noted a preference for a phased retirement among a majority (53%) of workers polled by the insurance and investment company's Center for Retirement Studies. In fact, 48% of the pre-retirees surveyed felt that their current employer would allow them to continue working in some capacity after age 65.

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Regulatory Disclosure: The information on this website has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. This website is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation to buy any securities. Gerard Gruber offers Securities and Investment Advisory and Financial Planning service through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not FDIC insured. Investments are not deposits of the financial institution and are not guaranteed by a financial institution. Investments are subject to investment risks including loss of principal amount invested.