People often ask, “How much money do I need to save before I can retire?”
Predicting how much you need depends on a number of factors, including how much you will spend each year, when you will stop working, and your sources of retirement income. In addition, you need to know the growth rate of your savings and investments, the inflation rate, and an estimation of how long you will live. Most of these variables can’t be predicted with certainty. However, you still should prepare a plan and then reassess your plan each year. It is
better to plan ahead than risk outliving your money.
Celebrate your 65th birthday, but take the time to address the following important issues:
1. Enroll in Medicare
a. You should apply for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, the period
that begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months
after the month of your 65th birthday. If you do not sign up for Medicare during
your initial enrollment period, you can still enroll for Medicare during the general
enrollment period. However, late enrollment penalties will apply.
b. Research and educate yourself about Medicare coverage and costs before you
apply. Understand that Medicare will not cover all your health-care costs.
i. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B
(medical insurance). You can add Part D (prescription drug coverage) and
Medigap (supplemental) insurance. Medigap coverage fills in some of the
gaps in Original Medicare. Part A is free for most participants, while Part
B and Part D premiums are based on income.
ii. Medicare Advantage (Part C) combines Part A, Part B, and
usually Part D. Medicare Advantage limits the network of providers, but
often offers additional benefits and charges lower premiums than Original
c. If you’re still working at age 65 and have health insurance through your
employer, you may want to wait until your special enrollment period to enroll.
This period begins depending on when you leave your job or when your group
health insurance coverage ends.
Do you know that spring cleaning and decluttering are actually good for you? According to goodnet.com, cleaning out and organizing your home and office can make you happier and more productive. Some might disagree, but I think we all can admit that less clutter leads to less stress.
Look around your daily living and working space. Do you see piles of papers and
documents? People often wonder what financial records need to be saved and how long to save them. Bankrate.com has the following guidelines:
A recent survey from bankrate.com caught my attention: only 40% of Americans have $1,000 in savings to pay for an emergency. This means that 60% don’t!
I started to reflect on this stressful situation. I also reflected on my own personal rules of managing my family’s daily finances, the lessons that I taught my four now twenty-something children, and lessons I’ve learned from my daily money management clients. My simple but steadfast goals can be summarized as follows: spend less, save more and pay off debt.
If you haven’t filed your 2018 taxes, it’s time to start gathering your tax forms and
supporting documents. The year ending December 31, 2018 is the first year governed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act), a far-reaching reform of federal tax policy.
Pam* is in her late seventies, a widow, and a retired Rhode Island public school teacher of over 30 years. She’s smart, loves to read, and enjoys getting together with close friends. She could be your next-door neighbor, and yet, Pam was a victim of an IRS scam the week before Christmas.
A man called Pam on her cell phone stating that he was an IRS agent and she owed the IRS $3,800. He gave her his name, IRS badge number, and her case file number. He knew her name and where she lived. Pam panicked. She believed that the caller was from the IRS because she did owe the IRS money for past taxes, but was on a payment plan and was up to date on her payments.
The holidays are over and the new year has begun. This is the traditional time of year to make our new year’s resolutions. From a daily money manager’s perspective, resolutions might include creating an emergency fund, automating routine bill payments, improving your credit score, and/or updating your estate documents.
Many of us start the new year with high hopes and expectations, and compile long lists of resolutions that prove too ambitious and, ultimately, unrealistic. By the end of January, our well-intentioned plans for the new year have fallen flat. I recommend a more focused approach and one that will help achieve financial success and peace of mind.
Are you dealing with holiday debt? Are you experiencing anxiety opening your credit card statements and realizing how much you spent for holiday gifts? Three out of ten shoppers started this past holiday season still carrying debt from the prior year. If this is an issue, you have time to address this issue and then plan for next year’s holiday season:
We have many choices on how to pay our bills today. These include paying by check, electronic transfer, online bill pay and auto drafts. Many of us use a combination of methods to make sure that our bills get paid on time.
Let’s review the methods to pay bills and the pros and cons for each method.
1. Pay by Check
This method is simple and easy to understand. You can control the process and timing of payment. On the other hand, writing checks is time-consuming and the cost of postage is always increasing. Also, money does not come out of your bank account right away, sometimes leading you to believe you have more money in the account than you do.
A common misconception is that once you retire and go on Medicare, your health care will be free. Unfortunately, this is not true!
Health care expenses are one of the largest expenses for retirees and tend to increase as we age. According to Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2018 will need approximately $280,000 to cover health care and medical expenses during retirement. Please note that this depends on when and where you retire, how healthy you are, and how long you live.
What is the best way to reduce health care expenses in retirement? First, eat healthy and exercise regularly. Second, save during your working years. Third, plan for it! A good way to plan for your health care expenses is to review your current health insurance during open enrollment. Open enrollment is the period from 10/15/2018-12/7/2018. During open enrollment, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.