775 Spartan Boulevard
There are many reasons to pursue paid work in retirement beyond generating additional income. Work can provide a social outlet, create structure in your day, and provide a sense of accomplishment. However, in recent months, rising inflation has been the catalyst behind many retirees considering paid work to help offset the loss in purchasing power they’re experiencing at the gas pump, grocery store, local pharmacy and more.
While paid work can be rewarding, keep in mind that working in retirement could impact both your Social Security benefits and the amount you owe in taxes.
For example, if you’re working and taking Social Security retirement benefits before you reach the normal retirement age (NRA), which is 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later, you may receive a temporarily reduced benefit. That’s because for every dollar you earn above a certain income limit, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will withhold some of your benefits. Here’s how it works. If you’re under your NRA, the SSA will hold back $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn from working, above $19,560. However, if you reach your NRA in 2022, the earnings limit jumps to $51,960, and $1 is held back for every $3 you earn until the month you reach your NRA. After that, the earnings limit no longer applies, the SSA stops holding money back due to work, and your monthly benefit will be permanently increased to account for the months in which benefits were withheld.1
Even if you’ve reached your NRA, and the earnings limit no longer applies to you, work in retirement could result in a higher tax bill. That’s because your earnings may push your income to a level where your Social Security benefits become taxable. However, no one pays taxes on more than 85% percent of their Social Security benefits.2 To learn how Social Security benefits are taxed, visit SSA.gov.
If you’re still working after age 72, your tax bill may go up again, when you’re subject to taking requirement minimum distributions from a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan.
Keep in mind that taxes are one of the primary risk factors impacting income in retirement, along with market volatility, inflation and longevity. That makes taxes an important consideration when weighing the benefits of continuing to work, or returning to the workplace, during your retirement years.
If you have concerns about the impact of taxes or inflation on your income in retirement, let’s schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/rtea.html 2 https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/taxes.html
A recent survey reveals that 46% of Americans intend to travel this summer—a level that would have been high before the COVID-19 pandemic.1 While younger Americans are traveling the most, those over age 55 are also returning to the roads and skies in greater numbers. The survey notes that while worries about the virus have declined as a factor in deciding whether to travel, many travelers still embrace measures intended to mitigate the spread of the virus—from masking on airplanes to choosing destinations and attractions that allow for social distancing.
The last thing most people want to think about when traveling is an illness or injury, yet unexpected events can happen at any time. While you can’t always prevent these circumstances, you can take steps to be as prepared as possible. To help ensure you and the medical personnel treating you have the information they need, gather the following before you go:
Health insurance cards for any Medicare, employer-based and/or supplemental healthcare plans that you are covered underList of medications, including prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications and supplements you take, including the dosages. Be sure to note any drug, food, insect, or environmental allergies, etc.Proof of any vaccines required for your destination, which may include the COVID-19 vaccineMedical ID card or bracelet, indicating medical conditions and/or allergies, if applicableMedical implant and prosthetic device ID cards for stents, artificial joints, pins, plates and other hardware, and devices, such as a pacemaker. Having this information handy can also help facilitate the TSA screening process at the airport.Be sure to check your insurance coverage with your carrier to determine what is and isn’t covered outside of your local network. Keep in mind, traditional Medicare does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States. However, some Medicare supplement plans provide limited coverage. Certain private insurers also offer short-term health insurance policies designed to cover travel.
Don’t forget to keep emergency contact details handy. If you’re traveling inside the United States, you might add a card in your wallet or your phone’s lock screen with the name, address and telephone number of someone to contact in case of an emergency. If you’re traveling outside the United States, be sure to complete the information page on the inside of your passport with these details.
1 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey 2022
This information was written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the broker-dealer.
The primary tool the Federal Reserve (the Fed) uses to conduct monetary policy is the federal funds rate. Changes in this rate influence other interest rates as well as broader financial and economic conditions.1 When inflation is too high, the Fed typically raises rates to slow the economy and help push inflation down. We saw that in March when the Fed approved a 0.25% rate hike— the first increase since December 2018—and again in May with a 0.50% increase. As inflation surges at the highest levels seen in more than 40 years,2 many economists expect rate increase to total 3%-3.25% by year end.3 That makes it likely that rising interest rates will impact your wallet in the coming months. Whether that’s good, bad or ugly depends on a number of factors.
If you have concerns about the impact of rising interest rates and inflation on your income in retirement, let’s schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.frbsf.org/education/teacher-resources/what-is-the-fed/monetary-policy/ 2 https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi 3 https://www.reuters.com/business/big-fed-rate-hikes-ahead-amid-early-signs-hot-inflation-is-peaking-2022-04-29/ 4 https://www.freddiemac.com/pmms
Summer is just around the corner and millions of Americans are hitting the road—many for the first time in more than two years. According to AAA, travel to certain destinations this spring is up a whopping 211% over last year and 10% over 2019.1 Due to the increased demand for flights, lodging and rental cars, many people are finding it difficult to book travel for their preferred dates and destinations. That has led to a growing interest in recreational motor vehicles and campers with self-contained lodging, commonly called RVs.
Is the RV lifestyle right for you? Whether you’re considering a weekend expedition, cross-country road trip or “full-timing,” as it’s referred to in the RV community, it pays to weigh the pros and cons first.
1 https://www.cruiseamerica.com/rv-adventures/rv-lifestyle/average-rv-park-cost 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid.
As inflation trends at the highest levels seen in more than 40 years,1 it’s wreaking havoc on the budgets and spending power of consumers in the United States and across the globe. Inflation refers to the decrease in the purchasing power of money, which is reflected in an increase in the prices of goods and services. The resulting squeeze on consumers’ wallets is often felt more acutely by retirees drawing down on retirement savings or living on fixed incomes. The good news is that inflation is cyclical, meaning that it’s not likely to be permanent. While that may offer little comfort for those struggling to make ends meet in the current environment, there are ways to help ease the pain in six areas that are making retirement more expensive today.
If you have questions about managing income in retirement, let’s schedule time to talk.
1 https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi 2 https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ 3 https://www.kiplinger.com/real-estate/buying-a-home/604280/home-sale-prices-in-the-50-largest-metro-areas
Gas prices have hit record highs in recent weeks. According to the American Automotive Association (AAA), the national average for a gallon of gas during the first week of April was $4.153 a gallon, up from $2.872 a year ago.1 That can put a real dent in your budget, whether you’re working or retired. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce pain at the pump.
Public health experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is transitioning to the endemic stage, throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. Epidemiologists call a disease endemic when its presence becomes steady in a particular region, or at least predictable, as with seasonal influenza.1 However, even as case counts and hospitalizations recede, COVID-19 will continue to have broad implications for long-term care in the United States, especially when it comes to costs.
As the country’s aging population continues to grow, the demand for long-term care services and supports increases in kind. In fact, every day until 2030, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65,2 and 70% are expected to require long-term care services at some point.3 At the same time, the national labor shortage is making it increasingly difficult to hire and retain long-term care professionals, and the competition for qualified candidates is driving higher wages. COVID-19 has also contributed to higher costs through the increased use of personal protective equipment, enhanced safety training and additional management of regulatory compliance, especially at care facilities. Some of these costs will dissipate over time, while others will continue as part of a best-practices approach to caregiving.
These and other factors driving healthcare costs are addressed in a leading industry survey released in February 2022. According to the annual survey, the cost of long-term care services increased across all provider types last year and increased more substantially for certain settings, such as home health aides and homemaker services. The survey reports the median annual costs for the following long-term care services in the United States in 2021:4
Over the last five years, the average annual increase for these services has been in the 2% to 6% range. Keep in mind, these are the average costs nationwide. Actual costs can vary greatly by state or region. More importantly, Medicare does not pay for long-term care. That makes it critical to talk to your financial professional about the tools and resources that may be available to help you cover significant costs that Medicare doesn’t, such as long-term care insurance or health savings plans (HSAs). If you have questions about how you will pay for healthcare costs in retirement, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/when-will-covid-19-become-endemic 2 https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/12/by-2030-all-baby-boomers-will-be-age-65-or-older.html 3 https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need 4 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, June through October 2021.
Did you know that engaging in a hobby can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental health? Research shows that people who regularly engage in activities they enjoy are more likely to have lower stress levels, a lower heart rate and improved mood. They also report feeling more productive and less bored due to spending less time reflecting on the stressors in their lives.1
A hobby is defined as anything you do regularly for pleasure or entertainment. That could be reading, cooking, gardening, yoga, hiking, fishing, restoring antique cars, volunteer work, and so on. Whatever you choose to do, the benefits to your health and well-being can be substantial. That’s because as people age, health can decline, making activities you may have formerly enjoyed, such as running or cycling, more difficult or too hard on your joints. Other life changes, like no longer driving, can leave people feeling cut off from friends, family, social, religious or community groups and activities. For many, the inability to engage in activities they previously enjoyed can lead to mental and emotional withdrawal, which can precipitate an overall decline in health. That’s where a hobby can help by inspiring joy, purpose and creativity at any age.
Below are five ways a hobby can benefit your health and well-being by:
This information was written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the broker-dealer
How to Avoid Tax Filing Headaches in 2022
Taxpayers have a few extra days to prepare and file their returns this year. The deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Monday, April 18, 2022. However, you may want to think twice about waiting until the last minute. That’s because a significant backlog of work at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), coupled with a number of new tax law provisions, is expected to result in delays and complications for some filers. To reduce the chance that you will be among them, the IRS urges taxpayers to file their 2021 returns as early as possible.
According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS, the COVID-19 pandemic has created ongoing challenges for the agency, beginning with office closures during the early days of the pandemic. COVID relief legislation signed into law in late 2020 and early 2021 also provided the agency little time to gets its arms around new tax laws and provisions before the 2021 tax filing deadline, creating a significant backlog in processing returns In addition, budget cuts have resulted in fewer employees available to handle the growing workload.1
5 steps you can take now to avoid tax filing headaches According to the IRS, there are several ways to help ensure timely processing of your returns this tax season:2
If you have questions about your taxes or preparing your returns, schedule time to meet with a professional tax advisor who can provide advice specific to your needs and circumstances. If you or someone you know cannot afford to work with a tax professional, free assistance is available through the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant tool, or to qualified taxpayers through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. Visit IRS.gov to learn more about these resources.
If you have questions about tax-smart savings, investment or retirement income strategies, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.npr.org/2022/01/17/1073566411/backlog-of-2020-returns-interferes-with-this-years-tax-filing-season 2 https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tips-to-help-taxpayers-reduce-tax-time-stress
Please note that neither Cetera nor any of its agents or representatives give legal or tax advice. For complete details, consult with your tax advisor or attorney.
Consumer prices continue to climb at the fastest pace in decades. As noted in Cetera Investment Management’s 2022 Outlook, supply chain disruptions are a leading cause of rising inflation, along with disruptions in the labor markets, which is creating competition for employers to hire candidates and driving up salaries and wages. Rising labor costs factor into production costs and ultimately result in higher prices for consumers.1 While inflation impacts everyone, it’s most acutely felt by those living on a fixed income, including many retirees. Below are five tips to help you close the gap between rising prices and your budget.
1https://www.cetera.com/sites/default/files/2021-/Cetera_CIM_Outlook2022_FINAL_0.pdf 2 https://news.usc.edu/78755/are-you-hungry-best-to-eat-first-and-shop-later-study-finds/#:~:text=The%20results%20showed%20that%20the,time%20spent%20in%20the%20store
Behavioral finance is a field of study that looks at how psychological influences and biases affect the financial behaviors of investors. Research on investor behavioral biases suggests that when people face complex decisions, they often rely on basic judgments and preferences to simplify the situation rather than acting completely rationally.1 In other words, they allow emotions to drive decision making. Keep in mind, when financial decisions are at odds with your long-term strategy that can have negative consequences, such as delaying the time it takes to accomplish certain objectives.
Below are three of the most common behaviors that lead investors to veer off course and steps you can take to help remain on track toward your important financial goals.
If you have questions about how planning can help you stay on course in any market climate, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
From e-commerce to online banking, streaming services, and social media sites, Americans are spending more time than ever online. In fact, a recent Pew Research study reports that 85% of U.S. adults spend time online daily and 31% use the internet “almost constantly.”1 Over the past two years the pandemic has also played a role in driving the development, adoption, and popularity of many online and digital applications, such as video conferencing and telehealth services. As a result, the average user’s digital footprint has expanded significantly in recent years, creating the need for a “digital will” of sorts.
If you’re familiar with the estate planning process, you may have named an executor for your will, to handle the distribution of your property after you are gone and appointed someone to make legal and healthcare decisions on your behalf during your lifetime through a durable power of attorney. However, most people have given little thought to whom will be responsible for closing down their online presence in the event of permanent incapacity or death. This is important because the longer unmonitored accounts sit idle in cyberspace, the higher the likelihood that they could be forgotten or subject to fraud that goes undetected. Keep in mind, each website or online service will have its own legal requirements and/or process for closing accounts. For example, Facebook allows users to memorialize accounts by naming a “legacy contact” to care for your account after you pass away. If you prefer to have the account deleted, you can stipulate that at any time in your account settings.
Creating your digital road map To help ensure all aspects of your digital footprint are fully accounted for, begin by creating a list of all of your accounts and login credentials. This list should be updated as new accounts are created or closed, or as passwords are changed. Keep your list in a secure location along with your other estate planning documents. Providing a road map to your digital presence will make it much easier for your spouse or a trusted loved one to navigate your digital footprint and take actions aligned with your wishes, should the need arise. The following list will help you get started:
To learn more about the important role estate planning can play in pursuing your long-term financial objectives, contact the office to schedule time to talk about your needs.
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.
This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought
As the end of the year approaches, you may be thinking about tax-smart ways to meet your charitable giving goals. This year, cash donations may offer one of the best tax-savings opportunities, thanks to certain provisions under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, which were extended for 2021.1 However, you’ll have to act fast since these provisions expire at year end.
To qualify under these special provisions, cash donations must be made by December 31. According to the IRS, cash contributions include those made by check, credit card, or debit card as well as unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization. Cash contributions don't include the value of volunteer services, securities, household items, or other property.
Keep in mind, to qualify for a tax deduction, charitable donations can only be made to tax-exempt organizations, as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Since many nonprofits are not qualified tax-exempt organizations, it’s important to check an organization’s status before you donate. To determine if a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under the IRS guidelines, access the IRS search tool here.
Always consult a tax professional before making decisions that could impact your tax exposure. To learn more about strategies that can help you pursue your tax planning and charitable giving goals, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
While the holidays can be a time of joy and excitement, they can also trigger feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. These feelings are commonly referred to as the “holiday blues.”
Feeling blue? You’re not alone. The added stress and fatigue from juggling too many tasks and responsibilities during the holidays, as well as seasonal factors, such as shorter days and reduced sunlight, can contribute to feeling blue. The COVID-19 healthcare crisis has made the holidays even more challenging for many. Throughout the pandemic, healthcare providers have seen a major uptick in the number of U.S. adults reporting symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.1 There are many reasons for this from the way the pandemic has altered daily routines, to financial pressures, social isolation, and concerns about the health of family members and loved ones.
No matter the underlying reason why you (or a loved one) may be experiencing the blues, it’s important to focus on self-care and getting the help you need to cope. Many people have found that adding exercise to their daily routines can help lessen or alleviate many of these symptoms. One reason is that physical activity is known to increase the brain’s endorphins or “feel good” hormones.
Exercise packs important short- and long-term benefits Over the short term, exercise can reduce feelings of anxiety. That’s why even a short walk around the block or shopping mall can often help you feel less stressed or anxious. Regular exercise has been found to improve thinking and cognition and can help sharpen judgment skills as you age. Emerging research also suggests that physical activity can also boost immune function over time. According to the CDC, even a single session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity provides immediate benefits for your health, including improved sleep quality, reduced feelings of anxiety, and reduced blood pressure.2
Fortunately, working physical activity into your busy schedule doesn’t require a significant time commitment. For example, if you want to walk 30 minutes a day, combine that with time spent holiday shopping or running errands—or break it into three 10-minute walks on days when you’re really pressed for time. Remember, whether you choose to spend time walking, swimming, dancing, or weightlifting, exercise of any kind provides significant benefits for your body, mind, and mood.
Know where to get help If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, has concerns about their mental health, or is experiencing thoughts of suicide, don’t wait to reach out for help. Contact your doctor, a mental health professional, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, which is one of many organizations that can provide immediate emotional support and helpful resources.
1 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/mental-health-covid-19/art-20482731 2 https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm#brain-health
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in four decades. For Americans receiving Social Security benefits, the 5.9% increase, which is effective January 1, 2022, is expected to add $92 to the average monthly benefit, bringing that estimated amount to $1,657.1
While this is good news for retirees, it’s driven by the steep rise in inflation over the past 12 months, which reduces consumer buying power, especially for those living on fixed incomes in retirement. In September, the Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of inflation, rose 5.4% over the previous year, marking the largest annual gain since 2008.2 As a result, much of the Social Security COLA increase is expected to be absorbed by the rising cost of goods and services, along with the projected $10 rise in Medicare Part B premiums, from $148.50 in 2021, to $158.50 in 2022. For comparison, last year’s Part B increase was only $3.90 per month.3 For most retirees, Medicare Part B premiums are automatically deducted from their monthly Social Security benefit payments.
2022 marks the final incremental annual increase in FRA Next year also marks the 12th and final annual increase for the full retirement age (FRA). That’s the age when you are entitled to your full Social Security benefits. In 2022, the FRA will increase from 66 years and 10 months for persons born in 1959, to age 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. While you can start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, the amount you receive is permanently reduced. However, if you delay taking benefits until after your FRA, up to age 70, your benefit amount will increase.4 That makes it important to have a plan in place for when you will claim your benefits.
What if you’re still working and receiving benefits? If you’re working and taking Social Security benefits before your FRA, you may receive a temporarily reduced benefit, due to the earnings test. However, because the earnings threshold increases each year, beneficiaries can earn more income from work next year, before benefits are reduced. In 2022, if you’re under your FRA, the SSA will hold back $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn from working, above $19,560 ($18,960 for 2021). If you reach your FRA in 2022, the earnings limit jumps to $51,960, from $50,520 in 2021, and $1 is held back for every $3 you earn until the month you reach your FRA. After that, the earnings limit no longer applies, the SSA stops holding money back due to work, and your monthly benefit will be permanently increased to account for the months in which benefits were withheld.5 For more information on Social Security changes for 2022, visit SSA.gov.
If you have questions about optimizing your benefits, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2022.pdf 2 https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf 3 https://www.helpadvisor.com/medicare/medicare-rate-increase 4 https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html 5 https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/rtea.html
Despite supply chain bottlenecks, inventory challenges, and rising prices, this holiday season is expected to break records for online shopping and spending. According to Adobe Analytics, online holiday sales are expected to hit $207 billion for the Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021 period, a 10% increase over 2020.1 The ease and convenience of online shopping gradually pushed ecommerce adoption rates upward in recent years. However, the pandemic sealed the deal by exponentially driving adoption rates as ecommerce became an essential service.
While 43% of Americans plan to do all or a part of their shopping at brick-and-mortar retail stores this year, 57% say most of their holiday shopping will take place online.2 However, one potential drawback to ecommerce sites it that they are available 24/7, which can lead to impulse purchases or spending more than you intended. While it can be easy to overspend when shopping online, consider the following tips to help keep your budget in check this holiday season:
If you have questions about ways to stay on track toward your important spending and savings goals, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2021/10/20/adobe-forecasts-record-billion-holiday-season-online-us-billion-globally.html#gs.ebjzvm 2 https://footwearnews.com/2021/business/retail/more-proof-the-consumer-is-back-survey-suggests-increases-in-early-in-person-holiday-shopping-1203167334/
October marks the start of Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, where more than 63 million Americans who receive benefits through the federal health insurance program can make changes to their coverage.1 Any changes made during open enrollment are effective January 1, 2022. In addition, eligible new enrollees, who missed their 2021 enrollment period and didn’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, can enroll between October 7 and December 15.2
Whether you or a loved one are enrolling for the first time or making changes to next year’s coverage, navigating the Medicare maze can be complicated. Before making important decisions that could impact your health and your wallet for years to come, Medicare encourages new and existing members to take the following steps to learn what’s new and where to get help if you need it.
Importantly, the budget reconciliation bill being debated in Congress includes a proposed expansion of Medicare benefits to include dental, vision and hearing services, which are not currently covered under Medicare, as well as changes impacting prescription drug plans and pricing. If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare or will be eligible to enroll in 2022, you will want to watch for any developments in the weeks and months ahead.
If you have questions about planning for your healthcare costs in retirement, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/cms-fast-facts/cms-fast-facts-mobile-site 2 https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/joining-a-health-or-drug-plan
It’s no coincidence that Medicare-related scams increase as the annual fall open enrollment period begins each October. Current Medicare beneficiaries, as well as those who will be eligible in the following calendar year, are inundated with information and advertisements from television commercials to social media ads, and information arriving through the mail. That can make it hard to determine what’s legitimate and what’s not. For example, did you know that unsolicited phone calls from Medicare providers are prohibited?
Insurance companies that are approved to offer Medicare health and prescription drug plans, such as Medicare Advantage or “Medi-gap” plan providers, may send brochures or other marketing materials to you through the mail. However, they are not allowed to call you or come to your home without an invitation from you. If you receive unsolicited calls from parties identifying themselves as Medicare providers, assume it’s a scam and hang up.
One of the fastest growing scams in 2021 involves a robocall from “Becky, a Medicare advocate,” offering “precautionary genetic cancer screening.”1 The caller states that if you don’t act soon, Medicare may label you as ineligible for coverage. It’s important to know that Medicare will never call you to sell or promote any type of services or coverage.
Another popular scam involves fake invoices sent through the mail from an unknown hospital, doctor, or medical provider. The scammers bank on people paying these bills without checking into them first. To avoid this scam, save all medical receipts and statements and keep track of your quarterly Medicare Summary Notices. These notices list any services you received during the previous three months. When in doubt, contact the healthcare provider’s billing department to make sure the charges are valid. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Below are five rules of thumb to help protect yourself and loved ones from these and other Medicare-related scams.
To learn more about avoiding Medicare scams and steps you can take to protect yourself or report suspected fraud, visit CMS.gov.
Asset allocation is an investment strategy that will not guarantee a profit or protect you from loss.
These examples are hypothetical only, and do not represent the actual performance of any particular investments. Investments in securities do not offer a fixed rate of return. Principal, yield and/or share price will fluctuate with changes in market conditions and when sold or redeemed, you may receive more or less than originally invested.
According to a recent national survey, 90% of adults, age 50 or older, say they want to remain in their current homes as they age. The survey also notes that the pandemic has led many to give some serious thought to the resources they may need to age in place safely, from assistance with daily living activities to how they will access medical care.1
Aging in place can be a cost-effective housing solution—if you plan ahead. However, due largely to a shortage of paid caregivers that began well before the pandemic, the average annual cost of homemaker services ($53,768) and home health aides ($54,912) has risen to a level on par with assisted living facilities ($51,600) in recent years. However, skilled nursing home care still far outpaced all other options at an average annual cost of $93,075 for a semi-private room and $105,850 for a private room in 2020.2
So what can you or someone you care about do to remain at home longer? Consider how technology is helping more retirees age in place safely. For example, wearable emergency alert systems can detect falls and summon help, while certain smart watches, fitness bands, mobile apps and devices can monitor heart rate or detect blood glucose levels. Telehealth services, which are now covered by most insurers, including Medicare, enable virtual visits with healthcare providers. Other smart technology is designed to help safeguard your home and its occupants, such as:
Ecommerce is also helping more retirees to age in place, especially those who may no longer drive or have access to public transportation. In fact, people age 65-plus are the fastest-growing group among online shoppers and increasingly rely on the convenience of home delivery for everything from groceries and clothing to prescription medications, personal care items, pet supplies, and more.3 These and other technological advances continue to make life safer, easier and more convenient for those who prefer to remain in their homes in retirement.
If you have questions about planning for your lifestyle needs and preferences in retirement, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.capitalcaring.org/nearly-90-of-americans-age-50-and-older-want-to-age-in-place/ 2 https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html 3 https://clarkstonconsulting.com/insights/ecommerce-adoption-by-seniors/
One of the best ways that grandparents can provide a lasting legacy is by helping to fund a grandchild’s education expenses. Below are four ways to help accomplish this goal during your lifetime, or afterward.
If you have questions about planning your legacy, contact the office to discuss your specific situation and schedule time to talk.
1 https://www.finra.org/investors/learn-to-invest/types-investments/saving-for-education/529-savings-plans 2 https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estate-tax
In June, the Consumer Price Index, which measures the change in the prices of a broad range of goods and services over time, rose 5.4% from a year earlier, marking the sharpest increase in inflation since 2008.1 Whether prices are rising at the gas pump or grocery store, inflation decreases your purchasing power, meaning you pay more money for the same things. While experts debate whether recent increases are a signal that we’re entering a period of sustained higher prices—or if inflation will be temporary—there are ways to help manage the impact on your purchasing power.
Why it’s different this time
It’s important to note that the price hikes we’re seeing now are different from those seen at the beginning of the pandemic, which were largely due to shortages and panic buying. In fact, a rise in inflation was expected this year as the economy picked up steam, business restrictions eased, and consumer demand surged. While ongoing supply chain disruptions and pent-up consumer demand may continue to drive prices upward in the coming months, the Federal Reserve (the Fed), which sets U.S. monetary policy, expects steep rises to be transitory and inflation to remain within its 2% target over the long term, into 2022 and 2023.2 However, there is no guarantee that the Fed will be successful in keeping inflation in check. Conditions could change based on direction of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other market, economic, and geopolitical factors. So what can you do to help protect your income from the eroding effects of inflation? Consider the following steps:
To learn more, call the office to schedule time to talk about ways to help protect your income in retirement.
1 https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm 2 https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/20210709_mprfullreport.pdf
*for a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.
National Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26 to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which guarantees women the right to vote. While women’s voices and votes continue to influence social, economic and public policy, as a group, women still face challenges when it comes to financial equality—especially where retirement is concerned.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women only earned 82.3% of what men earned in 2020.1 Lower earnings can have long-term consequences as women prepare for and enter retirement. In fact, the combination of lower lifetime earnings and longer average lifespans is a leading reason why women experience higher rates of poverty in retirement than men.2 Not only do many women start out with less—it also has to last longer. Yet, lower wages alone don’t tell the whole story. On average, women leave the workforce to care for children or relatives at a higher rate than men. That can reduce their Social Security benefits in retirement, which are based on earnings during their working years.3
In addition, the pandemic exacerbated many of these challenges. According to the National Women’s Law Center, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since February 2020, bringing their labor force participation rate down to levels not seen in more than three decades.
If you, or the women who are important to you, are concerned about having the income needed to meet important lifestyle goals in retirement, consider the following steps.
For those saving for retirement:
If you are in or nearing retirement:
If you have questions about your income in retirement, contact the office to schedule time to talk.
1 https://blog.dol.gov/2021/03/19/5-facts-about-the-state-of-the-gender-pay-gap 2 https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/08/03/488536/basic-facts-women-poverty/ 3 https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10127.pdf
This summer looks remarkably different than last year. As pandemic-related restrictions are lifted, retail, sports, travel, dining and entertainment venues are welcoming consumers back in droves. It’s likely that you’ve experienced changes in your life and your finances in recent months, as well. These may be subtle changes in your savings and spending habits as you resume travel or social activities, or more pronounced shifts that impact your goals and priorities. When faced with change, ensuring you remain on track toward your goals is critical. That’s where a mid-year financial review can help.
By mid-summer, you’re far enough into the year to gauge progress toward your goals, but still have time to make important adjustments to savings and spending, as well as your tax and investment strategies. A financial checkup can help you optimize your planning by:
Consider the following tips to ensure you get the most out of your mid-year financial review:
Gather and review all relevant paperwork and account statements prior to your scheduled review. This may include a list of action steps from your last meeting or review.
Write down any questions you may have about specific accounts, strategies, or fees.
Document any changes that have taken place in your life since your last checkup. Have certain goals or priorities changed? What about family dynamics, such as marital status, welcoming a new grandchild, or becoming an empty nester? Did you recently change jobs or receive a promotion? If you’re retired, did you sell a home, experience a change in health status, or make changes to your estate plan?
Consider your future plans. Maybe you’re thinking about changing careers, retiring earlier than planned, purchasing a vacation home, or moving closer to family members. Be prepared to share any new goals or changes in your priorities. This will provide an opportunity to discuss how your current plan may support these goals, or if adjustments are needed.
The past 18 months have been marked by rapid change, which can take a toll on your physical, emotional and financial health. Taking time now for a mid-year review can provide the confidence that you’re still on track toward the goals you have established for yourself and your family.
To learn more about the benefits of regular account reviews, call the office today to schedule time to meet.
The United States experienced a flood of baby boomer retirements in 2020. According to the Pew Research Center, 1.2 million more Americans born between 1946 and 1964 retired last year than the historical annual average. Rising home prices, a surging stock market, and robust savings account balances have all played a significant role in the uptick in retirements. In addition, a growing number of workers, tiring of web conferencing and remote work, are also reluctant to return to grueling commutes, cramped office spaces, or rigorous business travel schedules.1 If you’re nearing retirement and thinking about joining them, take some time to determine if you’re ready to fully retire—or just need a break.
What’s Your Plan?
Transitioning to life after work is not without challenges. It’s important to understand how you will spend your time and who you will spend it with. Will you become bored or lonely if your spouse, other family members, or friends are still working? Do you plan to pursue a hobby or sport, join a club, or spend time volunteering for an organization? Having a plan for how you will spend your days is important for remaining mentally and physically engaged, which contributes to a sense of overall wellbeing. If you’re not sure if you’re emotionally prepared to retire, consider a trial period, such as a sabbatical or extended vacation. Other opportunities to test the waters may include part-time work or consulting in your field of expertise.
Before pulling the plug on work, you also need to understand how you will replace your paycheck and how long your savings may last, especially if you retire earlier than originally planned. That can be a hard question to answer without a comprehensive plan in place for how you will receive tax-efficient income in retirement.
The planning process provides an opportunity to model various scenarios to determine the probability of meeting different goals and helps to identify any adjustments or tradeoffs that may be required to accomplish your objectives. It can also help provide answers to important questions, such as:
If you have questions about whether now is the right time for you to retire, contact the office to schedule time to talk.