Social Security Becoming Bigger Source of Retirement Income

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 31, 2011  — This isn’t a good news story. Obviously, no one is going to get rich, or even thrive on social security alone. After all, it was designed as as a security blanket to keep retirees from starving,  a condition which many faced before FDR implemented the program in the 1930’s.

The bad news is that social security is becoming an ever more important source of income for retirees. MSN/Money reported recently in “More Rely on Social Security” that in 1962 social security represented 30% of people over 65’s income – in 2010 it had grown to 38%.  Today more than (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 31st, 2011

2012 Part B Premiums Less Than Expected – Will Go Down for Many

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 29, 2011 — In what was a surprise to most prognosticators, Medicare Part B premiums will increase far less than predicted in 2012, and in fact will actually decline for many of those covered.

In 2012, the “standard” Medicare Part B premium will be $99.90. This is a $15.50 decrease over the standard 2011 premium of $115.40 paid by new enrollees and higher income Medicare beneficiaries and by Medicaid on behalf of low-income enrollees. The majority of (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 29th, 2011

5 Unexpected Retirement Expenses to Worry About

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 25, 2011 — Let’s hope you are one of those who have prepared well for the financial aspects of retirement. If so, congratulations!  But before you start taking too many high fives with your friends or significant other, we suggest you look at some of the expenses that many folks are not prepared for. If you are vulnerable to one of these, take some action now to prepare against it.

If you aren’t concerned about unexpected costs, consider this sobering estimate from the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute, which EBRI figures that it will cost $287,000 for a couple to have a 90% chance of covering their medical costs in retirement, assuming that their prescription drug costs are about average.

Long Term Care — Unless you spend all of your assets and have no other recourse, Medicare is not going to cover your long term care expenses (although there are some expenses within that might be covered). Whether you are cared for in your home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home, these expenses can be significant and far higher than your expected social security benefit. Typical assisted living fees are less than in a nursing home or in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC – which tend to be more luxurious). Figure at least $2400/month for assisted living, with extra costs if more than basic care is needed. Costs vary by state. Charges at CCRCs can easily go to $7,000 or more per month, depending on services provided. If you or your significant other have unusual medical conditions such as Alzheimers or dementia those fees can be much higher.   Figuring that if you spend  10 years in an assisted living facility at $2400 a month,  that is $288,000.  Even if you are cared for in your home by a part-time health care aide at $15/hour, that can add up. Long term care insurance can (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 25th, 2011

2012 Social Security COLA Increase Announced

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 19, 2011  — It was announced today that starting in January 2012  some 55 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive their first cost of living adjustment (COLA) in almost 3 years. The increase will be 3.6%, or about $516 year for the average recipient.  Some seniors are upset that the increase doesn’t match the corresponding health care cost increases they have been paying, and they might have a point, since they are heavy consumers of that service. However, the government calculates the COLA based on a range of costs, some of which do not typically (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 19th, 2011

Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Start Taking Social Security

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 17, 2011 — Bulletin: Today (October 19)  it was announced that Social Security benefits will increase 3.6% starting in January, 2012. It is the first such increase in almost 3 years, amounting to about $516 per year per beneficiary.  See our article on the 2012 Social Security increase for more, as well as What You Think You Know About Social Security Might Hurt You.

If you are a baby boomer or just slightly older (born before 1946), social security is about to become a big part of your financial life. Getting ready to take advantage of that benefit is therefore a critical step in your financial future. Here are some of the top questions asked by visitors to the Social Security and AARP websites, along with the answers everyone needs to know.

1. When can I start taking my benefits?
The earliest you can get your first check is the first full month after your 62nd birthday. But before you rush to sign up, just be aware that there might be significant benefits to holding off (see question 7 below).

2. When Can I apply?
You can apply 3 months before you turn 62. You can sign up for Medicare (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 17th, 2011

If You Could Break the Mold, What Would Your Ideal Retirement Community Look Like

Category: Active adult communities

October 14, 2011 — Last week we received a request from a member that might strike a chord with you. Horseartist wrote and asked: “In vain I search for the uniqueness I’m seeking in finding that place that will be my retirement nest. I’m NOT into gardeners and condos, golf carts and patio homes. Suggestion: Could you open a forum for the likes of me? I don’t even know what you’d call it, except perhaps “Out of the Mainstream: Ideas for People looking for Something OTHER than the gated community lifestyle”.

We’ve met and talked with a lot of folks who have similar feelings. A golf, tennis, or boating community just isn’t for them. Neither is a cookie-cutter approach with a gated community consisting of identical townhomes spread around a clubhouse, usually with a swimming pool and exercise facility thrown in. What they want is something a little more interesting, more in keeping with communities in the real world. There is undoubtedly a range for what makes a community interesting – with one person’s idea of retirement community nirvana being vastly (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 14th, 2011

Pre-Retirees Much More Optimistic About Retirement Than Those Already Retired

Category: General Retirement Issues

October 10, 2011 — How is your retirement going? Is it the dream you looked forward to for so many years – with plenty of time and resources to do the things you have always wanted to? Or is it disappointing – are you scraping by financially, plagued by poor health, bored and feeling unfulfilled?

A new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found a startling contrast between the attitudes of pre-retirees and those who have already retired. Sadly, pre-retirees are much more optimistic about their overall happiness and well-being than people who have already retired. As Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health commented on (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 10th, 2011

8 More Affordable Places to Retire You Will Like Living In

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 4, 2011 — If you are like most people, affordability is a key consideration for your best place to retire. We know because so many of our members ask for suggestions for affordable places to live. But we also know that you are not going to choose your retirement location just because it is cheap. That’s why we created this list of places to retire that are affordable, AND have enough going for them that you might actually enjoy living there. This is part II – for towns starting M-Z. Part I (towns A – M) has 10 more (more…)

Posted by John Brady on October 3rd, 2011