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Boomer or Bust: Your Financial Guide to Retirement, Health Care, Medicare, and Long-Term Care

Book Description

Social Security is changing. Medicare is changing. Medicaid is changing. Retirement planning is changing. It is imperative in order to survive financially to understand these confusing changes and make them work to your advantage. These issues particularly affect baby boomers caring for aging parents or planning their own retirement and financial future. This book shows you what to expect, what these changes mean and how to make these changes work to your advantage.Consumer finance expert and nationally syndicated radio host Steve Weisman begins with a complete guide to your retirement investment choices, from IRAs and 401Ks to the latest insurance products... even new techniques, such as reverse mortgages. Drawing on his exceptional expertise as a financial planner and attorney specializing in elder care issues, Weisman presents insights you can't find elsewhere: simply, painlessly, and with welcome humor.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Praise for Boomer or Bust
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. About the Author
  5. Introduction
  6. I. Planning for your Money
    1. 1. IRAs and 401(k)s
      1. For Want of a Nail (IRA Style)
      2. Stretch IRA
        1. Key
        2. Another Nail
        3. Game, Set, Match
      3. Roth 401(k)
        1. Important Loophole
        2. All or Nothing at All
        3. The Match Game
        4. For Whom Does a Roth 401(k) Make Sense?
        5. Sunrise, Sunset
        6. Temptation
      4. Know When to Leave
      5. When Should You Take the Money Out and Pay the Taxes?
      6. Upside of Anger and Downside of 401(k) Accounts
      7. What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
    2. 2. Retirement Investing
      1. How Much Is This Going to Cost Me?
      2. Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News
      3. How Long Will You Live?
      4. The 4 Percent Solution
      5. Baby Steps for Baby Boomers
      6. Only You
      7. Just a Thought
      8. Keep on Keeping On
      9. Now What?
      10. Moving on Up
      11. Paying Off Your Mortgage
      12. Hunt for Green October
      13. Bet on the Boomers
      14. Target Funds
      15. Fees, If You Please
      16. Risk
      17. Go Long
      18. Climb the Ladder of Success
      19. 529 Ways to Make Your Retirement Easier and More Fun
      20. Bringing Down the Market
    3. 3. Annuities
      1. Fixed Immediate Annuity
        1. Fixed Can Sometimes Be Broken
      2. Variable Immediate Annuity
        1. Bells and Whistles of Immediate Annuities
      3. Deferred Annuities
        1. Fixed Deferred Annuity
        2. Deferred Equity Index Annuities
        3. Variable Deferred Annuities
      4. Theory vs. Reality
        1. Theory vs. Reality II: The Sequel
        2. Theory vs. Reality III: The Quest to Avoid Taxes
      5. Estate Planning
      6. No, No, No!
      7. Fewer Fees, Please
      8. Surrender Fees
      9. Bank of America
      10. Bad Citizens
      11. Don’t Buy Any Green Bananas
      12. Class Action
      13. So Who Are Variable Annuities Good For?
    4. 4. Income Taxes for Seniors
      1. Dependents: It All Depends
      2. Reducing Gross Income
        1. Loophole
      3. Multiple Support Agreements
      4. Think
      5. Dependent Care Credit
      6. Medical Expenses
        1. Loophole
      7. Senior Citizen’s Freedom to Work Act (or the “Do You Want Fries with That?” Act)
      8. Nursing Home Expenses
      9. Long-Term Care Insurance Premiums
      10. Head of Household
      11. Tax Distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
      12. Not Too Soon and Not Too Late
      13. Exceptions to the Rule
      14. Taxability of Social Security Payments
      15. Mr. Lucky
        1. Loophole
        2. Yet Another Loophole
      16. Taxability of Accident or Health Insurance Policy Benefits or Life Insurance Proceeds
      17. Taxability of Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Proceeds
      18. Taxability of Disability Payments
      19. Taxability of Accelerated Death Benefits
      20. Sale of Home
        1. Loophole
      21. The Fly in the Ointment
      22. Record Collection
      23. Once and for All
    5. 5. Age Discrimination
      1. The ADEA
      2. Reduction in Force
      3. Beast of Burden
      4. Statistics Don’t Lie
      5. Disparate Treatment
      6. Disparate Impact
      7. What Do Words Mean?
      8. Who Are You Calling Old?
      9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
      10. Reverse Age Discrimination
      11. Oldster vs. Codger
      12. California Sets Record
      13. Not So Simple
      14. The State of Age Discrimination
        1. What Should You Do If You Believe You Are a Victim of Age Discrimination?
        2. Private Actions
        3. EEOC Action
      15. A Look into the Future
      16. Endnotes
    6. 6. Reverse Mortgages
      1. Uncle Sam Likes Reverse Mortgages
      2. Not Exactly a Good Match
      3. Conventional Mortgage vs. Reverse Mortgage
      4. FHA-Insured Reverse Mortgages
      5. Lender-Insured Reverse Mortgages
        1. Bells and Whistles
      6. Uninsured Reverse Mortgages
      7. Open-End Reverse Mortgage
      8. To the Max
      9. Home Keeper
      10. Payment Plans
      11. Reverse Mortgage Fees
      12. Picky Little Detail
      13. Some Good News
      14. Repayment
      15. The Catch
      16. For Whom the Reverse Mortgage Tolls
      17. Counseling
      18. Legacy for the Next Generation
      19. At-Home Care
      20. Shared Equity and Appreciation Fees
      21. The Bottom Line
  7. II. Planning for Long-Term Care
    1. 7. Home Care
      1. How About a Sandwich?
      2. A Statistical Look at Caregiving
      3. Home Health Agencies
        1. Medicare
        2. Homemaker Agencies
      4. It’s a Family Affair
      5. Respect My Authority
      6. Long-Distance Information
      7. Just the Facts, Ma’am
      8. Who Can I Turn To?
      9. Geriatric Care Managers
      10. Who Takes Care of the Caretaker?
      11. Caregiver.com
      12. Other Resources for Caregivers
      13. Some Final Thoughts
      14. Endnotes
    2. 8. Choosing a Nursing Home or an Assisted-Living Facility
      1. For Information, Go Right to the Source
      2. Who Can Help?
      3. The Basics
        1. Fees, Fie, Foe, Fum
        2. Security
        3. Hospitals
        4. The Smell Test
        5. Location, Location, Location
        6. Bingo
        7. Roommates
        8. Care Plans
        9. Nursing Home Workers
        10. Doctor, My Eyes
        11. Transportation
        12. Smoking!
      4. Licensing, Certification, and Accreditation
      5. Identity Theft
      6. Assisted-Living Facilities
        1. What’s in a Name?
      7. Which Is Better—No Regulation or Little Regulation?
      8. Accreditation
        1. But, on the Other Hand, the Pictures Are Pretty
        2. Oral Contracts
        3. Warning: Negotiated Risk
      9. Just How Much Assistance Does a Resident Get at an Assisted-Living Facility?
      10. Things to Ponder When Choosing an Assisted-Living Facility
        1. Location, Yada, Yada
        2. Check It Out
        3. Pet Policy
        4. Transportation
        5. Do You Get Fries with That?
      11. What Would Tim Russert Ask?
      12. The Fine Print
      13. How Do You Pay
      14. Final Words
      15. Endnotes
    3. 9. Long-Term Care Insurance
      1. Rule of Thumb
      2. Why Get Long-Term Care Insurance?
        1. The Early Days of Long-Term Care Insurance
        2. Dropout Rate
        3. Good News, Bad News
      3. Where Do You Start?
        1. Length of Coverage
        2. Waiting Period
        3. Waiver of Premium
        4. Nonforfeiture
        5. Renewability
        6. Inflation Protection
      4. Group Policies
      5. Lowball Shopping
      6. Buy It Early
      7. Putting It Off
      8. Picking a Policy You Can Afford
        1. Creative Solutions
        2. Good News
      9. It Pays to Be Married
      10. Who Is in Jeopardy of a Premium Increase?
      11. Let’s Get Creative
      12. Before You Actually Apply for a Policy
      13. Crime Doesn’t Pay
    4. 10. Alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance
      1. Life Insurance 101
      2. Permanent Life Insurance
        1. Whole Life Insurance
        2. Universal Life Insurance
        3. Variable Life Insurance
        4. Variable Universal Life Insurance
      3. Viatical Settlement Companies
      4. Accelerated Death Benefits
      5. Theory vs. Reality
      6. John Hancock LifeCare Benefit Rider
      7. Single Premium Life Insurance
      8. Finding the Money
      9. Another Thing to Think About
      10. Swap
      11. But That’s Not All
      12. Other Considerations
        1. Deferred Annuities
        2. Disability Insurance
        3. Surf and Turf
      13. A Workable Solution
  8. III. Government Programs
    1. 11. Social Security
      1. Basic Coverage
      2. Calculating Your Benefits
      3. Look for Your Annual Statement
      4. The Times They Are A-Changing
      5. Show Me the Money
        1. A Bird in the Hand
        2. Delayed Satisfaction
        3. Over-Under
        4. Take the Money and Run
        5. A Work in Progress
        6. Getting a Larger Check Later
        7. Loophole
        8. Another Reason to Delay Taking Benefits
      6. Spousal Benefits
        1. Loophole
      7. A Myth Is as Good as a Mile
        1. Social Security Is Broke
        2. End of the Universe
        3. Lions and Tigers and Baby Boomers, Oh My!
      8. Who Wins Under Private Accounts?
      9. Don’t Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater
        1. Tweak One
        2. Tweak Two
        3. Tweak Three
        4. Tweak Four
      10. Blame It on the Bossa Nova
    2. 12. Medicare
      1. Alphabet Soup
      2. It’s as Simple as ABC
        1. Important Little Detail
      3. Medicare Part B: Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later
        1. Medicare Part B Premium Increase
        2. Medicare Part B Deductible
        3. Medicare Part B Preventive Services
      4. Mind the Gap
      5. Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
      6. Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
        1. Fly in the Ointment
        2. Uncle Sam’s Pen Pal
        3. Identity Theft
        4. Other Scams
        5. Drugs in a Nutshell
        6. Who Is Keeping Score?
        7. Doughnut Hole or Hell Hole?
        8. Sticky Little Detail
        9. Exceptions Process
      7. What Are Your Choices for Prescription Drugs?
      8. What If Your Medigap Policy Pays for Prescriptions?
      9. How Good Are You at Predicting the Future?
      10. Medicaid
      11. Tricare
      12. How Do You Tell If Your Present Coverage Is Creditable?
      13. Things to Consider When Choosing a Drug Plan
      14. If You Take a Lot of Drugs
      15. Using the Medicare Plan Finder
      16. Don’t Give Up the Ship
      17. Sign Me Up
      18. Who Benefits Most from Medicare Part D?
      19. Oh, Canada
      20. Generics
      21. Health Savings Accounts
      22. Health Care Program
      23. The Future of Medicare
      24. Cures Worse Than the Disease
      25. Beware of Insurance Companies Bearing Band-Aids
      26. Ethical Issues
      27. Endnotes
    3. 13. Medicaid
      1. Medicaid Planning
        1. Looking for Loopholes
      2. Changing Rules
      3. Spousal Impoverishment
      4. Countable Assets
      5. Your Home
        1. Tip
      6. Free Advice and Worth Every Penny
        1. More Tips
      7. Snapshot
      8. Spend-Down
      9. Look-Back Period
        1. More Exceptions
      10. Home Improvement
      11. Home Sweet Home
      12. Every Rule Has an Exception, Including This One
      13. Half-a-Loaf Giving
      14. How Much Do You Pay?
      15. Increasing the Spousal Resource Allowance
      16. Personal Care Agreements
      17. Life Insurance
      18. Retirement Plans
      19. Trusts
      20. Do Nothing
      21. Hard Choice for Hard Times
      22. As If You Don’t Have Enough to Worry About
      23. Estate Recovery—or, the State Giveth and the State Taketh Away
        1. Exceptions
      24. Partnership for Long-Term Care
      25. Congressional Assumptions
      26. Congress Solves a Problem That Doesn’t Exist
      27. Endnotes
  9. IV. Health Care Decision Making
    1. 14. Advance-Care Health Directives
      1. Living Wills vs. Advance-Care Directives
      2. How Do You Start?
      3. Whom Do You Trust?
      4. Difficult Choices
      5. Words
      6. Details
      7. HIPAA
      8. Do Not Resuscitate
      9. Party On, Dude
      10. I’m from the Government, and I Am Here to Help You
      11. History
      12. Terri Schiavo
        1. It’s Politics As Usual
  10. Postscript