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Educational Articles

Long-Term Care Insurance

Medicare doesn’t cover long-term health care. If your income and assets are meager enough, Medicaid can help. Otherwise, you may want to consider long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is designed to help pay for nursing home, assisted living or home health care expenses. Most policies will pay benefits when a physician prescribes long-term care or when the policyholder can no longer physically or mentally take care of basic needs. Before buying a long-term care policy, ask the following questions:
  • What benefits are included? Each policy differs in what it will cover.
  • Where are services provided? Some insurance companies limit where you can receive services.
  • What are the exclusions? For example, does the policy cover Alzheimer’s?
  • What are the limits? If you would prefer home care, make sure the policy covers it and at a reduced cost.
  • When will benefits start? Most policies have a waiting period. Is there inflation protection? Make sure the value of your policy will not depreciate over time.

Planning to Retire? Not So Fast…

Before you set a date to leave the workforce, there are a few things you’ll need to think about first:

1. Review Your Portfolio
You should review the three basic parts of your retirement portfolio: employee retirement plans, personal savings and investments, and social security benefits. Specifically, you’ll need to:

  • Discuss your retirement benefits with someone in your employer’s human resources department. (Federal employees will need to contact the Office of Personnel Management.)
  • Consider reallocating some of your investments to reduce your risk.
  • Review your IRA portfolio to find out if you must begin taking minimum required distributions of any of the funds.
  • Check your latest Social Security Statement to see what your benefits are once you retire.

2. Review Your Budget
Add up the income you expect to receive in retirement and compare it with your projected expenses. If it’s not enough to maintain your desired standard of living, you may want to delay your retirement.

3. Apply For Social Security Benefits
If you’ve decided to go ahead and retire,you’ll need to choose the month you wantto start receiving Social Security benefits. If you plan to retire within the next 12 months, arrange to talk with a Social Security Administration representative. If you’re having trouble tracking down a particular document or bit of information, a Social Security representative may be able to help.

Creating a Retirement Savings Plan

Preparing for your retirement should involve plotting out a route and pausing along the way to check the map. This kind of map is called a financial plan. There is no hard and fast rule as to what a financial plan should contain. It can be very simple or extremely detailed. You can develop it yourself or seek the advice of a professional financial advisor. Regardless of the scope of your plan, here are six steps you should take:

Step 1: Get Organized.
Take some time to organize your financial papers. You’ll need to refer to them as you create your plan.

Step 2: Set Your Financial Goals.
List everything you’ll want to have money for in your retirement, such as travel, medical care and day-to-day expenses.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Cash Flow.
Review your finances to determine how much income you currently have and how much you currently spend. Also determine what you can expect to receive in the way of Social Security benefits and other retirement benefits after you retire. Don’t forget to factor in inflation.

Step 4: Calculate Your Net Worth.
Your income and expenses are only part of the financial puzzle. You also need to identify everything you own (your assets) and everything you owe (your liabilities) before you can tell how realistic your goals are.

Step 5: Adopt Strategies for Achieving Your Goals.
Determine how much money it will take to reach each of your financial goals, as well as how long it will take to get it. Remember, life’s full of surprises. Allow for changes such as illness, divorce, or a layoff. These can affect your financial situation.

Step 6: Implement Your Plan.
It’s never too early to begin. Once you have your plan in writing, start carrying it out!

Step 7: Review Your Plan on a Regular Basis and Modify it if Necessary.
You’ll probably need to tweak your plan from time to time to reflect changes in your circumstances as well as changes in the economy or tax laws.

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