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Evaluating Continuing Care Retirement Communities

One of the realities of aging is increased medical expenses and Americans consistently underestimate what health care in their golden years will cost. One option is to combine all your needs — and expenses — into a single convenient package — a CCRC. Here are some thoughts on evaluating Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).

Evaluating continuing care retirement communities will help you decide if they’re right for you.

Evaluating continuing care retirement communities

First of all, it can be a little intimidating. You’re really “hunting for a new home, making high-stakes health care decisions and negotiating a complex business deal—all at the same time.” That’s the down side. On the other hand….

These communities, known as CCRCs, typically offer independent-living units as well as assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities, allowing them to serve everyone from active newcomers to older residents requiring round-the-clock care. Seniors move in expecting to enjoy amenities such as libraries, golf courses and posh dining rooms while they’re healthy and to receive excellent skilled-nursing care if they fall ill.

So, you have a wide range of options that will accommodate you as your needs change. Still, it’s not an easy decision and certainly requires a lot of investigation.

But finding a CCRC that fits your vision of a financially secure retirement may require some hard-nosed negotiation with the facility’s management and detailed analysis of the development’s finances. You’ll need to assess your ability to pay monthly fees that may rise faster than inflation. And with the typical CCRC charging six-figure entrance fees, you’ll need to understand the size of any refund that you or your heirs may receive if you decide to move or when you die.

Moving to a CCRC may not be for everyone, but if you think it might be right for you do your due diligence and spend some time evaluating continuing care retirement communities.

Click here to read more about evaluating continuing care retirement communities.


Posted in Creating a Personalized Retirement Plan, Medicare, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Trends, The Economy0 Comments

Tips If You Plan To Retire in 2013

If this is the big year for you, congratulations! It’s been a long haul, but that’s all in the past and it’s time to relax and enjoy the golden years. To make sure you’re able to do so, here are some tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Make your retirement more enjoyable with these tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Tips if you plan to retire in 2013

Unfortunately, you can’t just walk out the door one last time and wave good-bye. You still have things to do.

1. Make sure you are vested in your retirement benefits.

2. Strategize about when to claim Social Security.

3. Sign up for Medicare on time.

4. Protect your savings.

5. Develop a plan for spending down your assets.

6. Don’t forget to take required minimum distributions.

7. Consider maintaining your connection to the workforce.

Sure, it’s the end of your working career, but it’s also the beginning and there are lots of options available. Make your retirement rewarding and follow these tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Click here to read more about tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Posted in Medicare, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Plan Challenges, Social Security0 Comments

2013 Retirement Resolution: Understand 401(k) Fees

401(k) plans are notorious for charging outrageous fees to manage your account and it’s amazing how much those fees can drain your retirement fund. So, make this 2013 retirement resolution: understand 401(k) fees.

Your 401(k) could be bleeding money. Make this 2013 retirement resolution: understand 401(k) fees.

2013 retirement resolution: understand 401(k) fees

The fees your retirement fund management team charges you to take care of your money range from fractions of a percent to several percent, depending on the company and the funds where you have your money. While it may not sound like much, over the years it can add up to tens of thousands — or even hundreds of thousands — of dollars.

That money should be yours, and what you’re spending it on isn’t a bargain, considering the quality of the investment advice most of us get.

Finally, you have a way to see what you’re being charged, and although it will still take some work to figure it all out, it’s well worth it.

Make use of new 401(k) fee information.

Retirement savers will get new information about the fees and other charges being deducted from their 401(k) this year in the form of quarterly and annual statements. Take a look at the costs of your investment options and how your returns compare to the benchmark. If your funds aren’t delivering enough value to be worth the cost, consider switching to investments with lower fees. “Ideally you should be paying no more than half a percent on investments in your 401(k),” says Mark Jarvis. “You need to make sure that all fees on investments, whether in a 401(k) or IRA or other account, are as low as possible.”

Chances are, your 401(k) account is being over-charged and there are more economical options in your plan. If you must put money into a 401(k) plan, make this 2013 retirement resolution: understand 401(k) fees.

 Click here to learn more about 401(k) fees and other 2013 retirement resolutions.

Posted in Medicare, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Investment Options, Retirement Plan Challenges, Saving for Retirement0 Comments

Myths About Social Security and Retirement

Social Security has been a major issue among retirees for some time now — along with their children who are afraid Mom and Dad will move in with them. With all the hype, it’s sometimes hard to dig down to the truth behind the stories — and it appears that it’s mostly hype that’s fueling our anxiety. So, to help relieve some of that anxiety, here’s the truth regarding some of the myths about Social Security and retirement.

Myths about Social Security and retirement

Myth #1: Social Security funds are running dry, so you should collect as soon as possible.

The most recent government-issued report projects that Social Security will run out of funding by 2033. This is earlier than previously expected, but doesn’t necessarily mean Social Security will be gone in 20 years. It means system revenues won’t be capable of paying 100 percent of promised benefits under the law. The Social Security Administration estimates that benefits could be reduced by 22 percent at that point and may continue to decline if Congress doesn’t intervene.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Americans are taking Social Security at the minimum age of 62, according to SmartMoney. But experts insist that it pays to wait. For each year you hold off on collecting Social Security after reaching full retirement age – which is typically age 66 for baby boomers – you’ll get an 8 percent increase in benefits. So waiting till 70 means about a third more income.

While it’s true that funds are decreasing, taking them early does mean less money. On the other hand, as more boomers retire — even if they wait until 70 — they will put an enormous strain on the system. Hopefully this has been taken into account when doing the projections.

If you have money in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement fund, you shouldn’t rely too much on that, either. Most of these plans invest in mutual funds — primarily stocks — and when thousands of boomers start to take their money out of the market at the same time — well, I won’t say a crash is inevitable, but you really should take a look at your retirement investments, make sure you understand what’s going on and that they’re performing the way you expect.

This leads us to the second myth.

Myth #2: You’ll be able to live comfortably on Social Security alone.

If you’re counting solely on Social Security to support you after retirement, you might find yourself in a difficult financial situation: The average Social Security payment to a retired worker is around $1,234 per month – slightly more than the Federal minimum for a month’s wages.

So unless you’re prepared to supplement Social Security with savings or a pension, be prepared for a challenge. Consider cost-cutting measures, like minimizing housing expenses, as well as earning extra income. You can work and claim Social Security benefits at the same time.

Myth #3: You’ll be eligible for Medicare as soon as you can collect Social Security.

I know. It’s not strictly about Social Security, but Americans are woefully delusional about how much their medical care will cost after they retire. Most guess about $50,000. The truth is, it’s more likely to be about $250,000.

Americans can’t earn Medicare benefits until age 65, but can collect Social Security as early as 62. Exception: If you collect Social Security Disability, you’ll get Medicare coverage automatically after two years.

The Social Security program was never meant to be the sole source of income for retirees. Unfortunately, that’s become the situation for many of us. You can plan for a secure retirement — including Medicare and Social Security benefits — as long as you understand the myths about Social Security and retirement.

Click here to read more about the myths about Social Security and retirement.

Posted in Medicare, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Plan Challenges, Social Security0 Comments

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