January 31, 2018

Trump Administration cuts aid to students defrauded by for-profit colleges

Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is changing regulations on student protections with regard to for-profit schools. Now students defrauded by for-profit colleges will receive only partial loan forgiveness according to The Associated Press. Trump is rescinding the Obama administration’s practice of forgiving the debts of students deceived by the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.
 “Critics accuse the department of protecting industry interests, but DeVos says the Obama-era rules were too broad and could be misused at taxpayers’ expense,” according to Associated Press writer Maria Danilova.
Source: “For-profit loan forgiveness program faces deep cuts,” published in The Salt Lake Tribune, January 31, 2018, p. A6.

Debt Collection Lawsuits

Are you facing a debt collection lawsuit? 
"In the last five years, there have been over 330,000 debt collection If you don’t respond to a lawsuit within 21 days, the judge will accept everything in the complaint as true."
lawsuits filed in Utah. Over 98% of those sued don’t hire an attorney. And most don’t file a response.

This is where SoloSuit comes in!

"SoloSuit asks a few simple questions about your case. Based on your answers, Solosuit prepares a response and instructs you on how to file. Responding to a lawsuit is the first step in defending yourself. SoloSuit can help you take that step and guide you to additional resources when you’re done."
"The software used by SoloSuit was developed by LawX, the legal design lab at BYU Law School." 
The website provides links to other debt related resources. Get help today from the SoloSuit website: http://www.solosuit.com/about
Thanks to Brigham young University law students for developing this helpful tool and to Jessica Miller writing for The Salt Lake Tribune for reporting this story (1/31/18).

January 26, 2018

Who will care for aging Americans if the flow of immigrants is curtailed?

Immigrants play a big and growing part of providing care for America’s elderly parents and grandparents  

Gerald F. Seib explains the critical role of immigrants in caring for America's elderly in The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 28, 2018): How a Heated Immigration Debate Might Affect Grandma’s Care 

  • "America is getting older. Some 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 each day. By 2050, a fifth of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older, the Congressional Budget Office projects, up from 12% in 2000 and 8% in 1950."

  • "Moreover, this large contingent of Americans isn’t simply retiring; it will live longer after retiring."

  • "As Americans get older and live longer, they will require more long-term care"

"So who provides, and who will provide, the help the elderly need getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, cooking, taking medication and simply coping? A growing number of immigrants provide that care."

  • 25% of home health aides, personal-care aides and nursing assistants are immigrants

"Moreover, the share of these workers who are immigrants has been rising, to 24% in 2015 from 20% in 2005. In some of the nation’s biggest states—New York, California, New Jersey and Florida—40% or more of these workers are immigrants. Among these immigrant workers nationwide, the PHI study found, 56% are citizens by naturalization, and 44% aren’t citizens."

  • There already is a shortage of such workers, and that problem may become more acute as demand grows. 
  • Demand for these workers is going to explode in coming decades
  • The rate of disability and chronic conditions is increasing…
"We will need more people to fill that workforce gap, and immigrants are part of that solution.”
"Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these care workers come from countries that are in the crosshairs of the immigration debate. The largest shares come from Mexico, the Philippines, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic."


Long Term Care Insurance: Pros and Cons

"Stiff annual premium increases are making long-term-care insurance unaffordable for some retirees, and the high cost can be traced to few insurers remaining in the market, writes Darla Mercado. Yet, with annual nursing home costs approaching $100,000, such policies may be worth holding on to if possible, she writes."
"Near-retirees wanting to shield themselves from nursing home costs face a quandary: Should they eat double-digit rate hikes for long-term care insurance, or should they walk away from their policy?
It's a $97,455 question." https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/23/nursing-home-care-can-quickly-deplete-your-retirement-savings.html

On the Other Hand... The Wall Street Journal paints a negative view of the dramatically rising premium costs and shrinking pool of insurers.

Millions Bought Insurance to Cover Retirement Health Costs. Now They Face an Awful Choice

Battered by losses, long-term-care insurers hit policyholders with steep rate increases that many never saw coming

"Long-term-care insurance was supposed to help pay for nursing homes, assisted living and personal aides for tens of millions of Americans when they became unable to take care of themselves.
Now, though, the industry is in financial turmoil, causing misery for many of the 7.3 million people who own a long-term-care policy, equal to about a fifth of the U.S. population at least 65 years old. Steep rate increases that many policyholders never saw coming are confronting them with an awful choice: Come up with the money to pay more—or walk away from their coverage."
“Never in our wildest imagination did we consider that the company would double the premium,” "says Sally Wylie, 67, a retired learning specialist who lives on Vinalhaven Island, Maine." The article explains the problems in the industry and the dilemma facing consumers who have policies or are considering purchasing coverage.

Another factor to consider:

Immigrants play a big and growing part of providing care for America’s elderly parents and grandparents

 Gerald F. Seib writes in The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 22, 2018:
"We are a nation with an increasing population of elderly parents and grandparents needing care their families can’t offer directly. Immigrants play a big and growing part of providing that care. The question quietly running beneath the surface is whether the changes now being debated in immigration laws and policies will upset all that."


Financial Benefits of Delaying Retirement

Alessandra Malito explains in MarketWatch:
"Delaying retirement for just three to six months does to the standard of living after retiring what an entire percentage point of 30 years of earnings would do, according to researchers at Stanford University, George Mason University, Cornerstone Research and Financial Engines. “Working longer is relatively powerful compared with saving more for most people,” they said in the report, recently distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research" https://www.marketwatch.com/story/you-may-want-to-work-longer-heres-why-2018-01-22

January 24, 2018

Home buying for persons with disabilities

A new guide was created by the financial experts at The Simple Dollar addressing the challenges of buying a new home as a person with a disability thats published in conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to accommodate the special needs of persons with disabilities.

The Fully Accessible Guide to Home Loans for People with Disabilities


January 22, 2018

Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) has new name: my529

On February 5, 2018, the Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) will become my529.

We are the same company—we’re just changing our name.
So why the name change?
The new name communicates that we are a national 529 plan, an investment vehicle created by Congress specifically for college savings.

"529 funds can be used at any eligible educational institution nationwide or abroad that accepts federal financial aid, not just schools in Utah. The account owner and/or beneficiary do not have to be Utah residents. Our previous name sometimes made this unclear.

No matter the age of the child, my529 account owners can choose an investment option that matches their financial goals and risk tolerance. You can even build your own option. And now you can call it “my529.”

January 18, 2018

Where would the stock market be if Hillary had won?

Trump likes to take credit for the stock market gains during his first year in office but analysts disagree. As James Mackintosh explains in The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2018
"Many of the market-moving changes since the U.S. presidential election would have been just the same. Most important among them: The global economic rebound started before voters picked Mr. Trump, and would surely have continued. That rebound has driven up stocks and bond yields world-wide, and the U.S. is only in the middle of the performance table. From the day before the election, Italy, France, Germany and emerging markets have beaten U.S. stocks in dollar terms, including dividends, while Canada lags well behind."

Mackintosh concludes in Streetwise: "America under Mrs. Clinton would have had no corporate tax cut and no deregulation, and probably be a bit less lucrative for investors. But it would be wrong to give Mr. Trump much credit for the faster economy last year, and it is many years too early to know if his policies will provide a lasting boost."

Having difficulty motivating your parents or yourself to do estate planning?

Behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely has some advice from his column: 
Hi, Dan.
I am trying to motivate my sister, who is 84, to meet with an estate-planning lawyer. She acknowledges the need, but there’s always an excuse for not proceeding. Nothing is happening. Any suggestions? —Paul
Encourage your sister to meet with the lawyer in a restaurant, bar or park (or some other place that she likes) and to bring along a friend whom she likes and trusts. Why? It’s very unpleasant to create an estate plan and to imagine what will happen to your things once you’re dead. Doing this in a pleasant atmosphere, with someone whose company you enjoy, may be enough to counterbalance the unpleasantness. When a positive activity is paired with a dreaded but necessary one, we call this “reward substitution.”
Quoted from The Wall Street Journal, january 18, 2018.

Living ‘With the End in Mind’

"Death is the last thing most people want to think about, yet nothing could be more important—especially with advancing age or after a bleak diagnosis—than preparing for the end and understanding how it can happen. These days, such thinking is likely to include learning about palliative care, a specialty that began with the hospice movement in Britain in the 1960s and has become a growing branch of Western medicine."
"In With the End in Mind, Kathryn Mannix, a British physician, chronicles her career spent in the field. She has cared for patients ranging from toddlers with congenital diseases to adults with fatal cancers and the frailest of the elderly. With sometimes unsettling detail, admirable empathy and a sprinkling of humor, Dr. Mannix imparts valuable lessons for anyone who faces the loss of a family member or a personal reckoning with impending demise."Quoted from Laura Landro's review in The Wall Street Journal (1/18/18).
Add this book to your reading list!

How to spend just the right amount in retirement

"Retirees tend to gravitate to opposing poles in how they spend their nest eggs, with some too parsimonious and others too carefree. The best course lies somewhere in between, as Steve Vernon explains" in Forbes.
The Spend Safely in Retirement Strategy 
is simple enough that you can implement it on your own.
1. optimize your social Security benefits.
2. Follow IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) guidelines for withdrawals from retirement accounts.
3. Work (maybe just part-time) until age 70, enabling delay of Social Security claiming to ensure the highest benefits.
4. Consider tapping home equity (you ARE on track to pay off your mortgage before retiring, right?)
For a summary: 
For details: http://longevity.stanford.edu/blog/2017/11/29/optimizing-retirement-income-by-integrating-retirement-plans-iras-and-home-equity-a-framework-for-evaluating-retirement-income-decisions/ 
The main drawback here is that MANY retirees want to do extensive, expensive travel, buy an RV or new vehicles, and splurge during the first few years of retirement. When you are first free of work, have good health and time, and want to enjoy life, it is not uncommon to spend much more in the first years of retirement than you did when working. You can do this with proper planning but be sure you pay off all credit obligations and mortgage before you take the plunge. 

Big Roth 401(k) Tax Surprise

Thanks to Kim Blanton writing in the Squared Away Blog for explaining the complexities of taxes on withdrawals from Roth 401(k) plans.
"Financial experts and writers often tout the Roth 401(k)’s main selling point: when the money is withdrawn in retirement, it won’t be taxed.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
An employee’s own money saved in his Roth account over the years is, indeed, shielded from income taxes when he retires and starts pulling out the money. That’s because the worker had paid the taxes before he put the money into the Roth.
But employer contributions to Roths are different. Employer contributions and any resulting investment earnings are taxed as income in the year that the money is withdrawn."
Read the details at: http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/know-about-the-roth-401k-surprise/

January 15, 2018

Tax cuts imperil US economy, Fed's Dudley says

So you're looking forward to a meager cut in your federal income taxes in the coming few years. Please realize that means cuts in government spending which may affect you. Further, states will have to raise taxes or cut programs as a result.
A serious challenge to the Republican's tax legislation comes from the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 
"The US tax law puts the economy on an unsustainable fiscal path and endangers stability, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said." (Retirement Security Smartbrief)  "In the long run, ignoring the budget math risks driving up longer-term interest rates, crowding out private-sector investment and diminishing the country's creditworthiness," he said.
As quoted by Michael S. Derby in The Wall Street Journal:
"Mr. Dudley noted concern over the impact of the tax overhaul, whose Republican authors believe will unleash stronger economic growth and higher wages. Mr. Dudley warned that the tax law is likely to drive the deficit up over time."
“The current fiscal path is unsustainable,” Mr. Dudley said. “In the long run, ignoring the budget math risks driving up longer-term interest rates, crowding out private-sector investment and diminishing the country’s creditworthiness.”

January 12, 2018

Health Savings Accounts provide a triple tax advantage

"Most people don't think of health savings accounts, aka HSAs, as retirement savings accounts. However, an HSA can actually be a better retirement savings account then any IRA or 401(k). That's because HSAs are the only accounts that enjoy a triple tax advantage: Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, the money inside the account is exempt from capital-gains and dividend taxes, and the distributions you take from the account are also tax-free if you spend the money on qualified medical expenses. What's more, once you hit age 65, you can spend your HSA money on anything -- not just healthcare -- without incurring a tax penalty (though you'll pay income tax on the withdrawal).
That's why it's such good news that the contribution limits for HSAs are going up in 2018. The new limits are $3,450 per year for self-only HSAs and $6,900 for family coverage HSAs." Thanks to The Motley Fool: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/01/11/5-changes-to-retirement-savings-for-2018.aspx

Tax credit for low- to moderate-income earners investing for retirement

Saver's Credit income limits

"The Saver's Credit (more formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) is a tax credit that you may be able to claim for making retirement savings contributions. In order to qualify for this tax credit, you need to be below certain income limits for the year. Those income limits have now gone up slightly for 2018 to $63,000 for married-filing-jointly taxpayers, $47,250 for heads of household, and $31,500 for single and married-filing-separately taxpayers."
Saver's Credit could be worth up to $1,000. Get the details at: The Saver's Credit: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/10/22/the-2018-savers-tax-credit-free-money-to-save-for.aspx 

January 10, 2018

Don’t make New Year’s resolutions this year. Redesign your life instead

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

A repeat suggestion from last year: "In their new book, “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,” Stanford professors, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, provide tools for how we can initiate meaningful changes when we’re feeling stuck without overhauling our whole lives."

CBO: Tax legislation could trigger $25B in Medicare cuts next year

Congressional Republicans' tax bill, which is forecast to increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. "Without enacting subsequent legislation to either offset that deficit increase, waive the recordation of the bill's impact on the scorecard, or otherwise mitigate or eliminate the requirements of the [pay-go] law, OMB would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion," the CBO wrote. (Retirement Security SmartBrief)

Why is health care so expensive in the US? It's the prices, Stupid!

"Uwe Reinhardt, an economist whose keen, caustic and unconventional insights cast him as what colleagues called a national conscience in policy debates about health care," died in November 2017. 
What we can learn about U.S. health care costs from the New York Times obituary (quoted below; bold added):
Professor Reinhardt argued that what drove up the singularly high cost of health care in the United States was not the country’s aging population or a surplus of physicians or even Americans’ self-indulgent visits to doctors and hospitals.
“I’m just an immigrant, so maybe I am missing something about the curious American health care system,” he would often say, recalling his childhood in Germany and flight to Canada and apologizing that English was only his second language.
Then he would succinctly answer the cost question by quoting the title of an article he wrote with several colleagues in 2003 for the journal Health Affairs: “It’s the Prices, Stupid.”
What propelled those prices most, he said, was a chaotic market that operates “behind a veil of secrecy.”
That market, he said, is one in which employers “become the sloppiest purchasers of health care anywhere in the world,” as he wrote in the Economix blog in The New York Times in 2013.
It is also defined by the high cost of prescription drugs, he said, and the astronomical amounts that hospitals spend in dealing with a maze of insurers and health maintenance organizations.
Our hospitals spend twice as much on administration as any hospital anywhere in the world because of all of this complexity,” he told Managed Care magazine in 2013.
If the nation cut the cost of health care administration in half, he said, the savings would be enough to insure everyone.
Professor Reinhardt’s prescription for a more sensible system included imposing penalties on the uninsured so that people would not postpone buying policies until they got sick. That idea, the so-called individual mandate, requiring most people to purchase health insurance, became an integral component of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Republicans in Congress are now seeking to repeal that provision as part of a tax overhaul.
Professor Reinhardt also advocated providing government subsidies so that low-income families could afford mandated insurance, another feature of Obamacare.
His ideal model was the German system in which insurers negotiate with health care providers to set common binding prices in a specific region.
“I believe it is still the best model there is, because it blends a private health care delivery system with universal coverage and social solidarity,” he told The Times in 2009. “It’s inexpensive and equitable. Coverage is portable. You’re never uninsured in Germany. No family goes broke over health care bills.”

Fixing Social Security is far more important than reducing income taxes

We've just suffered through a lengthy partisan debate about income taxes. The result is lower taxes for corporations which are already doing great as evidenced by soaring stock prices. Even before the newly passed tax reduction, many corporations have so much extra cash that they are buying back shares rather than buying new equipment or hiring more employees. The ultra wealthy got a huge tax reduction in terms of raising the amount of wealth exempt from the estate tax. This increase in the estate tax exemption helps wealthy families maintain their dynasties, further increasing the great divide between the top 1% and the rest of Americans.
The small tax cuts for the middle class will expire and the deficit is ballooning, meaning Congress will start talking about cutting benefits for lower and middle income families. See:
GOP Laying Groundwork To Cut Future Social Security, Medicare, Welfare Outlays
What we really need Congress to do is to "fix" Social Security to ensure its long term viability! "The Social Security Trust Fund is currently projected to deplete its surplus in 2034, and policymakers of all stripes know a reckoning is coming." For some SENSIBLE ideas on how to act, check out the latest from the Center for Retirement Research:
How Social Security Gets Fixed Matters: http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/how-social-security-gets-fixed-matters/

January 9, 2018

GOP Laying Groundwork To Cut Future Social Security, Medicare, Welfare Outlays

Now that the tax bill has been passed, ensuring a skyrocketing federal deficit, you can be sure that federal programs that benefit low and moderate income families are in the gun sights of the Republicans.
"Republican lawmakers aim to make cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and welfare programs, saying such cuts are necessary to pay for tax reform and to reduce the budget deficit. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., recently gave a broad outline of how the cuts could take shape, saying, 'We don't need to reduce benefits on current retirees or even near-term retirees, but we can make changes for future generations such as mine, and do so in a way that people can prepare for, so the changes will barely be felt.'"
Get details from: 
December 6, 2017

Less Phone, More Nature: 34 Resolutions For a Better 2018

One of my favorite investment writers, Jason Zweig, who writes The Intelligent Investor column for The Wall Street Journal, Shares his suggestions for New Year's resolutions (12/29/17). Zweig advises: "Make all your resolutions in public. The fear of social pressure, whether it materializes or not, will help you keep your word, since you are pledging not just to yourself but to others."
Some of my favorites:
  • Listening to what someone else is saying without hearing what you already think is one of the hardest challenges for the human mind. When you listen, listen as if your life depends on it. Otherwise, you’ll just hear your own words coming out of someone else’s mouth.
  • Be more judgmental about ideas and less judgmental about people.
  • If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you must not have talked to everybody in the room yet.
  • Never try to get other people to change their minds without first trying to understand why they think the way they do. Never do that without being open to the possibility that the mind that might need to change the most could be your own.
  • Try to take your work more seriously, and yourself less seriously. The more seriously you take your work, the easier it will become to take yourself less seriously; the constant reminders of your ignorance should never cease to amaze you.
  • Tweet less; read more.
  • Talk less; listen more.
Especially the last two!

Read the full list at: http://on.wsj.com/2lsq4Vt

What lies ahead for investors in 2018?

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig wrote this about the stock market on Jan. 5 in "sure things to happen in 2018":  "long-term returns are likely to be distorted this year. In September and October 2008, the depths of the financial crisis, U.S. stocks fell 9.1% and 16.9%, respectively. This fall, those apocalyptic months will finally be more than 10 years behind us — and, as a result, the long-term return on equities will go up like a rocket."
"In fact, the S&P 500’s 10-year cumulative return would leap from 82.1% at the end of 2017 to 198.3% at the end of this coming November — even if stocks go absolutely nowhere for the first 11 months of 2018, says Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
That would nearly double the average 10-year gain to 11.5% annually from 6.2%, without even counting dividends."
"Stocks will then look much more attractive in the rear-view mirror, even though nothing will have changed but the calendar. Don’t believe the hype."
Zweig sure knows how to provide perspective on investing!
Source: "Four Things Sure to Happen in Markets During 2018"

Your Favorite Tax Break Isn’t as Great as You Think

"Tax specialists of different political leanings are in surprising agreement about the poor design of top breaks."Laura Saunders writing for The Wall Street Journal (10/20/17).
"The tax breaks Americans love most are actually some of the least effective given their cost.
If these provisions were based solely on what’s best for America, the mortgage interest deduction would end or be tilted toward lower earners, tax specialists say. Health-insurance premiums paid by employers would be taxable. Write-offs for charitable gifts would be tightened, and the deduction for state and local taxes would be limited or ended. Investment incentives, such as the lower rate on long-term capital gains, would be reconfigured.'
"As a result, the $1.3 trillion a year that these and other tax breaks for individuals 'cost' Uncle Sam—that is, taxpayers as a whole—would probably shrink. So would market distortions they encourage: Health-care prices might moderate, and Americans might put less of their savings into homes and more elsewhere."
A"survey of specialists at the Tax Foundation, the Tax Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget" concluded that the mortgage interest deduction gets a D rating. The "lower rate for long-term capital gains"gets the highest rating of B-. Unfortunately Congress pays more attention to lobbyists than to non-partisan policy analysts.
Most low- and middle-income homeowners don't reap any benefit from the mortgage interest deduction before tax "reform" and far fewer will get a reduction under the new law going into effect in 2018. Too many homebuyers bought a more expensive home than they could afford because real estate agents told them they would save on taxes. Yet most first time homebuyers never benefited at all due to the inflation-indexed standard deduction.

New Year's Resolutions?

Because New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but difficult to keep, financial planner Rick Waechter offers a solution. “Pick one financial planning goal in 2018—just one—and act on it in the first week of the new year.”Or the first month. What are your financial goals? Which is your top priority? Search this blog for suggestions on best financial management practices.
Don't try to change your entire financial life. Pick one critical goal and focus on small steps to reach it.

Buying too big a house is risky

"Tempted to buy the largest house you can afford? More square footage typically means more money—and that means higher mortgage payments, taxes, utilities and maintenance.
Young couples buying a starter home are often coached to get something bigger than they need to anticipate a growing family. Others think large homes have better resale value."
"The larger the house, the more you’ll pay in utility bills, property taxes, insurance and repairs (and the more you’ll have to clean)." writes Robyn Friedman for The Wall Street Journal 12/27/17.
Do you really want to spend your 'spare' time cleaning? Another downside that I learned from experience is that more closet and storage space means accumulating more stuff which translates into junk to sort through or leave for your heirs to deal with at your demise. Since I retired I've been on a cleaning out and getting rid of "stuff" binge. 
Consider alternate uses for the extra money you would fork out from down payment to final mortgage payment and beyond (utilities, maintenance, and property taxes). Some of those fund could be used to invest for retirement, higher education (for yourself or your kids), memorable vacations with loved ones, or charitable giving.
The house you live in is NOT an investment; it's a place to live. If you want to invest, buy a total stock market index fund.
The world doesn't need more McMansions!

So you can't resist a sale?

Don't be a sucker. "We have been brainwashed to see a sale as a thrilling event. It’s not. We’ve been bamboozled," writes Michelle Singletary for The Washington Post.
Comedian Jeff Kreisler and his co-author, behavioral economist Dan Ariely, take on the widely held belief that sales save you money in their new book: “Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter,” which challenges a lot of financial assumptions.
Singletary explains: "The authors argue that when we see a sale, we should ignore what the item used to cost. It’s irrelevant. Instead, what we should be doing is considering what else we should or could do with the money we might spend on the sale item."
“Think about transactions in terms of opportunity costs by considering more explicitly what we’re sacrificing for what we’re getting,” they write. “Buying a $60 shirt marked down from $100 isn’t ‘saving $40’; it is spending $60.”
Read more at:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2017/12/28/why-the-money-conscious-should-beware-the-after-christmas-sale/?utm_term=.52c40cad8d8e
or read the authors' new book: Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter
Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter

Inpatient or Outpatient? The classification really matters!

A "patient can be in a hospital for several days under observation, without being formally admitted by a doctor. The stay is considered outpatient care and can include emergency department services, observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, X-rays and other various hospital services." The difference in cost between being formally admitted to the hospital or considered "outpatient" can be huge, according to Karen Demasters.
"If a patient is admitted to a hospital for at least three days, the subsequent costs of any nursing home care, including rehab or therapy, is covered by Medicare Part A for the first 20 days and most costs are covered for another 80 days." However, if considered an "outpatient," costs are covered by "Medicare Part B, which only covers 80 percent of most medical expenses. In addition, any subsequent nursing home stay is not covered at all."
While Demaster's article focuses on Medicare-eligible patients, younger persons can also face uninsured medical expenses if they are treated as outpatients. get the details at: https://www.fa-mag.com/news/beware-of-being-in-a-hospital-for--observation-36368.html

January 8, 2018

What will be the impact of the tax cuts?

"The Republican tax law contains disastrous consequences for the US economy, which is ill-equipped for upcoming surprises, says former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. 'What we've seen is a tax cut that spends money we don't have to have very concentrated benefits for global corporations and the top 1%, and it's leaving us broke,' he says." (Retirement Security Smartbrief, Jan. 3, 2018).
“The next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society,” Lew said. “How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut? We are going to see proposals to cut health insurance for poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security. One could not have made up a more cynical strategy.”Read the details at Bloomberg politics: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-02/former-treasury-secretary-lew-says-tax-cuts-leaving-u-s-broke

January 7, 2018

Retirement Investing Regrets

"A survey of retirement plan participants conducted by American Century Investments shows the greatest personal regret among workers age 55 to 65 is not saving more money for retirement. "We continue to see this disconnect in people knowing what they 'should do' against what they actually do with respect to saving," says Diane Gallagher of American Century." (Retirement Security SmartBrief, Jan. 5, 2018).
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