This is a big topic and a big part of financial planning for retirement. The statistic is that by age 75, 75% of us will have needed some long-term care. So the question is, how can I prepare for this risk financially?
A principle of risk management is to insure risks of low frequency and high severity. We insure our homes against hurricanes, and our cars against collisions. We insure our lives against premature death, and our incomes against disability. So it makes sense to insure our retirement assets against a financially devastating long term illness. The point is not to spend all the accumulated assets on the first spouse to become sick, leaving the surviving spouse impoverished.
The insurance industry introduced long-term care policies roughly a generation ago. Policy benefits were triggered by needing substantial help and assistance in performing 2 of 6 ADLs...
Is it the 529 college savings plan? Let’s see. That is funding with after tax dollars, but the funds grow without taxation and come out without taxation when used for qualified higher education expenses. That’s a double tax advantage.
How about the Roth IRA? Same thing as the 529. A double tax advantage.
How about a Traditional IRA? Here I deduct on the way in and have growth without taxation. The tax bill comes when I distribute. So this is another double tax advantage.
Yes! There is one to my knowledge, and that is the Health Savings Account.
The HSA is used in conjunction with a high deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). This is one which, per IRS regulations, has a deductible of at least $1400 for an individual or twice that for family coverage. ...
As I noted in Part I, an annuity is a complex financial animal. It can be used as a tool to accumulate funds on a tax-advantaged basis. It can also be used efficiently to distribute funds in later years, which is my focus here in Part II.
This is the very definition of the word annuity. If I want that stream of payments, I can either purchase it from the annuity company, or I can annuitize an annuity contract I already have. In either case I make an irrevocable choice to turn over control of my principal to the annuity company in exchange for this stream of payments.
That I annuitize a lot of money, get hit by a bus, and the annuity company keeps the remainder. That is called the single life option, which yields the highest payout. To mitigate against this risk, I chose a payout option:
An annuity is a complex financial animal. It can be used as a tool to accumulate funds on a tax-advantaged basis. It can also be used efficiently to distribute funds in later years. Here in Part I I’m focusing on the accumulation phase. In Part II I’ll cover distribution and tax issues.
An annuity, in its strictest sense, is a stream of payments that one cannot outlive. The term annuity is often used synonymously with the word pension. A stream of payments describes a distribution of principal, however. How do I get the annuity in the first place?
You can purchase this stream of income just as you’d purchase a new suit or a car. It pays to shop around, because different annuity companies (i.e. life insurance companies; they are one and the same) use different mortality tables and interest rate assumptions which affect the payments they offer to you.
Last year (2019) I watched the entire Upstairs Downstairs series on Britbox. Easily sixty episodes in all. My viewing interests are usually limited to either WWII or British crime stories, so this was a bit of a departure for me, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. As the name suggests, it is sort of a Downtown Abbey Lite. The time spanned goes from before WWI to the New York Stock exchange crash. It is the story of all the residents of 165 Eaton Place in London – the home of a member of Parliament who married a titled lady (the upstairs folks) and their household staff (the downstairs folks).
Richard Bellamy, MP, had two children – a married daughter in New York, and a son at home – James Bellamy. James was up at Cambridge, though no mention of a degree. He worked at a job he hated because it was, well, work, and then joined his regiment as an officer during the Great War. This is a fellow whose newspapers and shoelaces were ironed for...
When I originally wrote this, the Carolinas were experiencing the worst of Hurricane Florence. As a native Floridian I've ridden out half a dozen hurricanes myself . The aftermath of a hurricane is not only about the damage to life and property, but for many it can take a serious personal financial toll. As you stock up on canned food, batteries, and bottled water, don’t neglect to address these top 6 financial priorities before a storm makes landfall.
Odds are your home is your most valuable asset. Why roll the dice on this? Not having homeowners insurance coverage is a mistake. Having a homeowners policy with little hurricane windstorm coverage could become a catastrophe. Typically, your policy will have a windstorm deductible for hurricane damage claims in addition to your All Other Perils deductible for everything else. The deductible for hurricane damage can...
A few months ago I heard Susan Bradley from the Sudden Money® Institute say something quite profound regarding our relationship with money and financial windfalls:
When life changes, money changes.
When money changes, life changes.
The order in which change happens makes a big difference. The latter statement, referring specifically to financial windfalls, turns out to be much harder to handle for most people than the former statement. Let me explain.
Life changes are a constant: marriage, babies, a new home, family milestones, divorce, promotions, demotions, getting fired, moving to a new city, kids going to college, changes in health status (ourselves or in a loved one), growing old, and death. As with any change, anticipated or otherwise, we regroup; we make budget adjustments; and move forward. Whatever the life change, you hopefully take wise counsel and update your financial plan accordingly.
Usually when we think of estate planning we have in mind the orderly transition of assets at death. Death is something that you have a 100% chance of experiencing – we just don’t know when. Tomorrow isn’t promised to us – and neither is this afternoon, for that matter. Consequently it is prudent to plan for this eventuality.
A valid will
A basic will is the foundational document of estate planning. You need that once you own real property or begin to accumulate assets. Typically, at the earlier stages of life, most of what you have is going to pass by operation of a beneficiary arrangement – by contract, in other words. Think life insurance or IRA and 401(K) beneficiaries. What won’t pass by operation of contract? everything else that you own. This would be real property, or your car, for example – assets that cannot have a beneficiary attached to them.
Guardianship for your...
Should I Pay my Mortgage Off Early? This is actually a FAQ – a frequently asked question, so I thought I’d spend a little time on it here. Some other mortgage-related topics we’ve addressed are these:
Let’s use a sample mortgage. $400,000 borrowed, at 4.5%, over 30 years. The monthly payment is $2026.74. That means over the life of the mortgage you will have paid $729,626.85 in principal and interest payments to repay that $400,000 loan – and, of course, $329,626.85 of that amount is interest.
You pay interest each month on the unpaid balance. In early years your payment is mostly interest, with very little principal repayment. In later years, situation reverses: you pay mostly principal, with much of...
The Secure Act of 2019 changed the rules for non-spouse beneficiaries of inherited IRAs. The rules now are simply that the beneficiary of such an IRA has 10 years to distribute it in its entirety. No required minimum distributions are necessary during this time.
This is a big change from previous rules. Prior to the Secure Act, the non-spouse beneficiary could "stretch" the IRA out of his own life expectancy. Say granddad left an IRA to the grandson. The grandson's life expectancy (from an IRS table) was 70 years. The year after death the grandson would take the beginning of year balance and divide it by 70. The following year he'd take the beginning of year balance and divide it by (70-1). And so on. The result was that the IRA could grow enormously during this time.
You can simply sell the assets and...