September 29, 2014

Buying Affordable Care Act Health Insurance: Subsidy Calculator

Use this calculator provided by the Kasier Family Foundation to  estimate whether you are eligible for a tax subsidy, and if so, how much. "This tool illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges." The website is a wonderful source of information about the ACA and related health insurance and health care topics. Use the calculator at:

September 24, 2014

Unexpected early retirement: 8 tips

“Numerous surveys have shown that people think that they are going to retire later than it happens. The two big reasons: health issues and losing your job.”
Almost half of current retirees left employment before they planned, mostly due to health problems or disability.
“Unplanned or unexpected early retirement can create havoc with your retirement plans. Some who had to retire early weren't quite ready financially: Those five or 10 additional years of saving for retirement were no longer possible. Some may have had to take Social Security earlier than expected. And, as we all know, the earlier you take Social Security, the lower your monthly check.” Read the 8 tips on coping from Rodney Brooks in USA Today:

September 23, 2014

Reverse Mortgages

A new booklet from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College explains reverse mortgages and the role they can play for promoting financial security in old age (age 62 is minimum age for a RM). PDF available at:

"The booklet’s key points are:

  • Home equity is the largest store of wealth for retirees and, with reduced support from Social Security and pensions, many more will need it for retirement income.
  • The two ways to tap home equity are downsizing and a reverse mortgage.
  • Downsizing:
    • Adds to your savings, which boosts income from savings.
    • Frees up more income by reducing taxes, insurance, and upkeep.
  • A Reverse Mortgage:
    • Allows you to stay in your home.
    • Provides income through a line of credit, lump sum, or monthly payments."

September 22, 2014

Education, taking risk can help women catch up on investing for retirement

“Women may save less for retirement on average than men. Consumer Reports advises they can catch up through financial education, a greater willingness to take investment risks and a skeptical approach to reverse mortgages.”

September 19, 2014

Free medical & dental clinic, Cache Valley, Utah

Cache Valley Community Health Clinic
272 1/2 North Main Street
Logan, UT 84341

(435) 716-5410
week days/business hours

(435) 752-7060
Tue/Thur Evenings
The Cache Valley Community Health Clinic provides medical assistance for local residents without access to health insurance. This service is possible thanks to dedicated volunteers and generous financial support. Each year, on average, clinic providers see more than 2,100 patients, and volunteers collectively give over 1,600 hours of service.

September 16, 2014

THe ABCs of 401(k)s

401(k) Plans 101: A Guide to Saving for Retirement by Steve Nicastro. From tax advantages to company matches, here's everything you should know about 401(k)s.

Taxation of non-retirement mutual funds

Investors in mutual funds held outside of qualified retirement accounts can be surprised by the income taxes they owe. "If the fund sells investments that have gone up in value since they were acquired, the resulting gains will be passed out to you in the form of dividend distributions. If you hold your fund shares in a taxable brokerage firm account, those distributions will be taxable. The tax rate you will pay depends on your income level and whether the gains were short-term or long-term." Learn the details in this article by Bill Bischoff:

Social Security: File & Suspend Strategy

“The Social Security file-and-suspend strategy has been used primarily for couples to coordinate the delay of individual retirement benefits (earning delayed retirement credits) while making a spouse eligible to begin his/her spousal benefits. It can also be used as a partial form of "undo" for a retiree who started benefits early, and later wishes to suspend them (at full retirement age) to earn delayed retirement credits (a benefits increase that can partially or fully offset the decrease triggered by electing benefits early in the first place).”
“However, the strategy to file and suspend can also be used as a proactive planning strategy for individuals, because it creates an opportunity for the retiree to subsequently "undo" the decision to delay and "retroactively" claim benefits back to the date they chose to file and suspend (e.g., full retirement age). Thus, for someone who is approaching age 66 and isn't certain about whether it's a good idea to delay or not, choosing to file and suspend allows them to wait until age 70 to make the final decision, enjoying the benefits of the delay if it still makes sense to do so, but having the opportunity to go back and claim benefits at 66 if there's a change in health or circumstances.”
Financial planner Michael Kitces is one of the most brilliant minds in the industry. Read the details of this SS claiming strategy on his Nerd’s Eye View blog:
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