It’s hard to believe, but it’s that happy time again for those who have Medicare benefits and use Medicare Advantage plans when the open enrollment period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th 2018 for 2019. You’ll get the hint I am certain when you begin seeing the massive advertising, mail, and phone calls about it starting any second, but this time around there is something to actually celebrate.
The good news just ahead for Medicare recipients are some potentially big savings. The over 60 million people who currently participate in the program (which has been around for over 50 years now) benefit from lower administration costs than private insurers have and that is despite the losses from fraud which it suffers from. But for 2019, things are about to get even better.
It’s rare that I can report to you that there’s such good news, but with very little fanfare and parades, this is the case thanks to the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law last February. The bill covers a lot of important and even controversial spending changes as it always does, but when it comes to changes that are lowering the cost to our healthcare and affect Medicare then bravo and thank you are in order! Continue reading
It’s once again the time of year that we are anticipating information about the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) for 2019. So, this is more of a “heads up” rather than a “super saving tip” you might say, for the over 60 million Social Security recipients in the US and even those who have relocated abroad.
As per usual, we already do have some clues as to where we are heading. Although the final decision for COLA for 2019 won’t be announced for another six weeks or so, here’s what I foresee as to what will happen. Brace yourself for it because it may not be good news. Good news is often hard to find when it comes to COLA and cost of living calculations. Continue reading
I have always earned my living in the greater New York City metropolitan area, technically here in suburban central NJ (and as the late great Rodney Dangerfield often said, “we don’t get no respect!”). Because of that fact, I have always known that living around here was way more expensive than most other places and the purchasing power of a buck got you significantly less here than, say, someplace in the southern part of the USA. That’s always been one of the big downsides of living in this area.
This fact is verified every year by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that has been measuring this phenomenon since 2013. It recently published its latest data and using this info, the Tax Foundation demonstrates the real value of what $100 buys you in every state in the Union. It revealed once again that the power of your money really does depend on where you live. I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
You’ve probably already heard of the many schemes and pitches designed to separate you from your money—emails from Nigerian princes, phishing scams, etc. But does your bull$h!t detector go off when confronted with a slick come-on for perfectly legal-but-somewhat-questionable retirement investment pitches? There are a ton of them out there and as you inch closer and closer to retirement, you are more likely to hear about them and yes, even get roped into a presentation by a so-called retirement expert!
Retirement Investment Pitches You Should Ignore
That’s why I’m posting this today so you can get a heads up about some of these pitches that are often targeted to people just like you and I when planning our golden years in retirement. There are some investments that make sense in certain situations, but here are 7 specific BS pitches you should probably ignore! Continue reading
Inflation has been low for the past 25 years and that sounds like a really good thing. In fact, the inflation rate since 1992 has remained under 3.0% annually every year with just a few exceptions when it was only slightly higher.
That’s 25 years of fairly stable overall consumer prices so you might just think all is well as we roll merrily along in our working years aiming for a great retirement. Unfortunately, if you truly believe that, you are probably not quite getting the impact that even an annually low inflation rate has on your future buying power. The fact is inflation is a merciless tyrant on your financial future. Continue reading
Planning your finances is never really simple. But when one spouse is many years younger than the other, there is often even more to consider. For example, instead of planning a typical retirement income stream of 30 years, it’s going to be more like 40, maybe even 50 years. Financial planning when there’s an age difference can be a bit more complicated.
For me and my wife Suzanne, this is that situation. I am currently 68 and she is just 47. To be honest, it didn’t really dawn on me as to what might make it very different when we are 20+ years apart in planning retirement life until just a few years ago. Having met her when I was working and just in my mid 50’s, I thought retirement was far off in the distance and never dreamed that I would “have” to retire early because of my health and that she would become disabled for health reasons too. That’s made me ask the question: “What do we do differently to deal with our finances when one spouse is so much younger than the other?” Continue reading
Almost 62 million people, most of them retired workers, receive a Social Security check every month. That’s about 20% of all Americans these days and I’m one of them. For the vast majority of retirees, their Social Security income isn’t just some extra cash to count at the end of the month. It’s actually an indispensable source of income that they couldn’t do without. Social Security Administration (SSA) data shows that 62% of all retired workers get at least half their income, if not more, from Social Security. In some cases, it is the difference between life and death. And now that it’s tax time, many of us wonder “do you pay taxes on Social Security?”
The sad facts are that America’s most important social program isn’t in the best of shape. You probably know that Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than it generates in revenue by 2022. By 2034, Social Security’s asset reserves are expected to be depleted. Continue reading
For today’s guest post on a personal investing strategy, please welcome fellow personal finance blogger Joseph Hogue.
Making investing personal will not only make investing cheaper but will motivate you and help you reach your financial goals
Two stock market crashes in less than a decade into the new millennium and a lot of people wonder if investing is worth the risk and the worry. Keeping up with the ups-and-downs of the stock market and picking the best investments can seem like a part-time job.
But investing doesn’t have to be like that.
In fact, the best investing strategy is one about which you don’t worry at all. Continue reading
Today started like any ordinary day around here. Had my breakfast, watched a little CNN, checked out my emails, and played a bit of free online slots. It was a typical Monday morning here in exciting retirement land. Yeah, real exciting, huh? Well, nothing like a financial windfall to add a little pizzazz to your day!
I am a creature of habit these days and although there are a few surprises here and there that do happen, what happened today was totally unexpected! I am still pinching myself and I am overwhelmed. Today’s mail brought an amazing letter from one of my former employers, R.H. Macy. Continue reading
You may be wondering “Why should I be reading about living to 100 and what does this have to do with me and my personal finances?” Interestingly enough, you do have a good question there. You might be in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s and thinking, “Please Gary, I have so much to worry about, why that subject now?” Well, truth being told here, you probably won’t live to be 100. But what if you do?
How many people are living to 100?
Centenarians, once a rarity, are the world’s fastest growing age group. Since 2000 when there were 50,281 of them here in the US, the group has grown by 44% to 72,197 (as of 2014). That makes this age group just about 0.003% in the United State, yes still small, but almost three times as many as there were in 1980 according to a report by CNN in 2016. Continue reading