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.