Archive for the 'Politics and Legislation' Category

Senior Program Budget Cuts Making it Harder for Seniors to Stay in Their Homes

Federal Budget Cuts Affecting Seniorsarrow

CNNMoney, November 19th, 2013

For many seniors, being able to stay in their own homes can be their last claim to independence and dignity, and will not be easily let go of.  However, most will readily admit that a little help here and there can be essential to their ability to stay in their homes.  This is why Government funded programs that can give seniors rides to the doctor or grocery store, or even send “companions” to their homes to help with cooking and cleaning, can be the difference between being able to stay home versus having to move into assisted living.

Unfortunately, Federal budget cuts that started in March of this year have cut funding to these programs by up to $80 billion dollars.  The non-profit organizations that head up these programs have definitely been taking notice.  76% of these agencies have stated that these cuts have effectively prevented them from being able to give the proper care that some of these seniors need to be able to stay at home, thus eliminating their option to do so.  Read the article linked below to learn more about how these cuts are affecting our senior citizens.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/19/news/economy/budget-cuts-seniors/index.html

2013 Changes to the Reverse Mortgage Industry

Reverse Mortgages Get a HaircutReverse Mortgages

www.morningstar.com, November 5th, 2013

As you may or may not be aware, the Reverse Mortgage industry has gone through a significant makeover in the past year.  While the basics of the Reverse Mortgage are still the same, additional regulations have been passed by the Federal Housing Authority as a direct response to the rate of home defaults going up.  This has changed the amounts that you can qualify for and how you can receive your proceeds.

For those who are not familiar with the Reverse Mortgage program, it is a way for those of the age of 62 and over to cash in on some of the equity in their homes, and use that money in any number of ways.  You must first use it to pay off your remaining mortgage balance or any liens secured by your home (if you have either of these) which can relieve yourself from having to make monthly mortgage payments.  And if you have no mandatory financial obligations, you can have it broken down into monthly payments being sent to you, set up a line of credit that grows over time, or even put the money in your pocket for a rainy day and use it at your discretion.

Read the article at the link listed below to find out more about the new regulations and how they have changed the Reverse Mortgage industry.

http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=617547

Learning About the Economy

Understanding How the Economy Workswall

www.economicprinciples.org, September 22, 2013

Almost everyone is aware of how important it is to make a financial plan for your future.  And in most cases, it’s not just your future, but the future of you and your family, and for some, your business.  And while financial planning is a many-headed beast, the hero cannot vanquish the beast without understanding its nature.

It’s important to know how the economy works in order to best determine the financial plan most suited to you and yours.  But there are so many different aspects to the economy that even just the word “economy” can be intimidating.  And although you would have to go to school for years to really understand all of the in’s and the out’s of our economy, it’s still important to have at least a basic understanding of it.  Follow the link listed below to a video that gives a pretty thorough overview of how the economy works, in a way that is easy for almost anyone to understand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHe0bXAIuk0

Time to get Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment!

The open enrollment period for Medicare will begin Oct. 15. It is important to note that Medicare open enrollment is different from the Obamacare Marketplaces which open  Oct. 1. If you are covered by Medicare, you do not need to think about Obamacare.

The Medicare open enrollment is the one time of year that Medicare beneficiaries can switch plans, including choosing a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan instead of original Medicare (Parts A and B). Many Medicare recipients find that they can save money and improve coverage by switching or adding Medicare supplemental coverage.

We recommend that all Medicare beneficiaries get answers to these questions EVERY year during the open enrollment period. Ask an insurer:

  • Have there been any changes to your current coverage?
  • How do changes in your health status or prescription needs impact your out of pocket spending?
  • What will your current coverage cost this year vs last?
  • How does health care reform improve your coverage?
  • What are the alternatives to your current plans?

New Rules to Make Reverse Mortgage Qualification More Difficult

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be instituting major changes to the Reverse Mortgage program.

Changes taking effect this month, effective September 30, 2013 include:

  • Limits to the amount of money that you can access in the first year of the loan
  • A new mortgage insurance fee structure which may mean higher fees for some borrowers
  • Lower loan amounts – experts estimate that total loan amounts will be about 15 percent lower after Sept. 30, 2013
  • Instructions for setting aside money to be used to pay property taxes and insurance

An additional change will take effect, but not until January 13, 2013

  • Borrowers who are assigned a case number after January 13, 2013 will be required to undergo a financial assessment. The assessment will include a credit history analysis, a cash flow/residual income analysis, analyzing compensating factors and extenuating circumstances and determining if the HECM applicant has the financial means to continue paying property taxes, insurance and other obligations.

These changes are significant and will take effect very quickly. If you are interested in a Reverse Mortgage, talking with a Reverse Mortgage lender immediately may work to your advantage.

Get Matched to Prescreened Licensed Reverse Mortgage Lenders Now.

Estimate Your Current Reverse Mortgage Loan Amount.

What to Expect from Obama 2.0

After two years, a billion dollars, and altogether too much media coverage, the election is finally over.  President Barack Obama has been re-elected, and will preside over the next four years, during which time he and congress will have to grapple with such issues as continuing the economic recovery, implementing Obamacare, and dealing with the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” (a topic for another day).  But what does all this really mean to the average senior?  We’ve been inundated for months with promises that the President’s re-election will solve everyone’s problems, or dire warnings that it will result in the destruction of the country.  So what can we actually expect?

Predicting the future is an inherently problematic exercise, but the Huffington Post is willing to try it out.  The biggest issue it sees coming down the pipeline for seniors is that of Social Security and Medicare, and the changes that might well be coming along for it.  Despite the claims by both parties that the other want to destroy Social Security while they want to preserve it, the fact is that both sides are interested in altering the makeup of these entitlement programs, and Huffington’s article posits a “Grand Bargain” taking place between the parties to raise the retirement age while also increasing medicare and social security taxes, all to ensure that the programs are fully funded into the foreseeable future.  This is not a new concept. NewRetirement’s own Bud Hebler wrote that it might be wise to consider likely alterations that politicians will impose on the programs when designing one’s Social Security strategy, for example taking benefits at an earlier date if you have reason to believe your overall benefits will shrink due to new legislation.

There’s also Obamacare, the next wave of which is due to begin implementation over the next couple of years.  Love it or hate it, with the President’s re-election and the Republican party suffering heavy defeats in the senate, Obamacare is likely no longer at any risk of being repealed, and thus the alterations it has already wrought are here to stay.  Huffington cites the continued discounts that seniors will be receiving on prescription drugs, as well as a new basic package of health benefits the government will establish for sale from private companies starting in 2014, all of which will be available to seniors who wish to supplement their Medicare.  Some states will also be expanding their Medicaid coverage to low-income workers, including pre-retirees in their 50s and 60s.

Overall though, it doesn’t look like the script has changed much since last anyone looked at it.  Even the most incremental changes in Social Security or Medicare will be staggeringly complex events, unlikely to happen rapidly or by fiat.  Still, for seniors relying on these essential programs to help them in retirement, it never hurts to know what’s coming.

Learn more about Optimizing your Social Security Benefits at NewRetirement.com

 

Find out more about ways to supplement Medicare

 

Your HEALTH that May Be the Key to Your Retirement Security!

A 2010 study by economists James Poterba, Steven Venti and David Wise tracked the retirements of older Americans and health differences emerged at a significant determinant of retirement success.

The study, titled “The Asset Cost of Poor Health,” found that poor health was a common attribute of people who died with little wealth.  While many of these households had adequate income in their 50s and 60s, that same income was too low to handle health expenses as they aged.

Additional findings include:

  • Around 46 percent of persons die with virtually no financial assets.
  • Those in poorer health may retire earlier and/or work fewer hours than their healthier counterparts – giving them a smaller pool of assets when they retire.
  • Those with the smallest pool of assets died the earliest.

It appears that taking care of your health can have striking financial benefits – in addition to an improved quality of life.

However, whether you are in “peak physical condition” or not, there are additional safeguards you can take to improve your retirement finances – optimize your Social Security payments, look at home equity as a way to bridge income and expenses, purchase the best supplemental health insurance and consider ways to fund long term care.

RESOURCES

Very Small Cost of Living Adjustment to Social Security for 2013

This week, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.7 percent increase to Social Security payments, beginning in January, 2013.  This will be one of the smallest hikes since adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975.

You can see the Press Release from the Social Security Administration here.

Social Security payments average $1,131 a month — a 1.7 percent increase amounts to $19 additional dollars.

Unfortunately, much of the increase could potentially be wiped out by other costs in the coming year – factors like:

  • Higher gas prices
  • Increased food costs due to the drought experienced by much of the country this year
  • Higher Medicare premiums (though these will hopefully be offset by fewer other out of pocket costs)

 

If these factors do increase inflation in 2013, then the Social Security adjustment for 2014 will hopefully be higher.

RESOURCES:

What Defines Old vs Young?

Wherever the line that defines whether you are ‘old’ or ‘young’ is, the individuals on either side end up looking very differently, in political and economical terms. According to a recent New York Times article, in 2004, older voters began moving right (politically), while younger voters shifted left. This year, polls suggest that Mitt Romney will win a landslide among the over-65 crowd and that President Obama will do likewise among those under 40. The split between the ages goes farther than politics; the two have different views on many of the biggest questions before the country. For example, the young favor gay marriage and school funding more strongly and are also notably less religious, more positive toward immigrants, and  less hostile to Social Security. On the other hand, the older crowd are less tolerant to immigrants and expect more out of Social Security.

Over all, more than 50 percent of federal benefits flow to the 13 percent of the population over 65; a portion of these benefits come from Social Security while a much larger from Medicare. However, contrary to common perception, most Americans do not come close to paying for their own Medicare benefits through payroll taxes. Instead, medicare, in addition to being the largest source of the country’s projected budget deficits, is a transfer program from young to old.

One aspect that both the ‘old’ and ‘young’ can agree upon is that they are more open to change and confident that life in the United States will remain good.

 

‘Booming’ Medical Costs

The medical costs for keeping the Baby Boomer generation in good health has, and will be, skyrocketing for the years to come. It is projected that there will be 15 million people with Alzheimer’s by the year 2050 – nearly triple the amount in present day. The cost of dementia care is also projected to shoot from $200 billion to $1 trillion in today’s dollar.

As a result, many people will begin taking in elderly relatives. According to a recent article from NPR.org, more than 50 million Americans reside in multigenerational homes. And in many of these households, middle-aged “children” are caring for elderly parents, as well as providing shelter for their own grown children.

Do You Have the Best Supplemental Medicare Plan at the Lowest Cost?  Get Instant Quotes Now.

Use the NewRetirement Retirement Calculator to Find Out if You Can Afford Your Retirement.

 



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