I’ve Become a Snowbird, Now What?

Gary Wilkinson

Becoming a Snowbird is the day that most people wait for virtually their entire lives. Leaving the cold winters behind and trading the snow for days in the sun. Chances are if you’ve been dreaming about being a snowbird for years, you also have your accommodations lined up and are ready to hit the road.

But before you cruise out of the blustery air, there are some housekeeping items you shouldn’t overlook. Things you may never have thought about in your old lifestyle of one primary residence now may be something you need to look into or make changes on.

Keeping Your Home Insured

Why would anything at your primary residence need to change under insurance? It’s still your home, right, so why would the insurance company care that you aren’t there for an extended time? The truth is, some policies actually have a clause that states that if you are not in your home for so many days during the winter months, they can actually let your policy lapse.

It is very important to make sure your insurance is right for your new lifestyle.

Of course, not all policy requirements are bad. This is a great time to discuss your policy and any upgrades you may have made to your home that can qualify you for discounts. One common thing that many snowbirds have invested in is a security system. Not only does it give them peace of mind while they are relaxing away, but for some insurance companies, it means big savings.

Pro-actively Preparing to be Away

You’re excited to get out of the cold weather, but unfortunately your home still remains up north. Because of this, you will need to take some actions to make sure it stays safe while you are gone. Not only security, but also with some general housekeeping.

One of the biggest problems of snowbirds are burst pipes. When temperatures drop and you are home, you know to open cabinets and let the water drip to keep your pipes open. When you are away, this is not possible. It is an important practice to turn the water off at your home, if you are able, while you are away. This prevents water from sitting in the pipes and ruining your home if they do end up bursting. Being gone for months at a time with a burst pipe could mean irreparable damage to your home and your belongings.

Other housekeeping items to consider are things like stopping the mail or paper delivery, paying someone to shovel your driveway so your home doesn’t look empty through the winter, and traveling with all important documents and valuables so that if something were to happen, you have the important items with you. If you don’t feel safe traveling with them, consider a lock box at the bank or a mounted, fireproof safe.

Check in on your Health Insurance

Most insurance companies cover you for urgent and emergent visits while you are on vacation, because unfortunately sometimes things happen. But when you are gone for months at a time, it is very likely that you will need to see a doctor or have routine health needs taken care of.

Being a Snowbird is not a new concept, so insurance companies already have plans in place and rules and regulations set up, so you have what you need. Now is the time to review provincial health insurance rules so you don’t miss out.

Knowing your specific area’s timeframe on how long you must be in your home each year is essential. Some insurance companies require a minimum of six months at home, while some requirements aren’t as strict. This is certainly one of those things you don’t want to take a guess on. Make sure your coverage remains in effect and covers you the whole time you are gone.

Supplemental travel insurance is another safeguard to traveling. Travel insurance is a non-negotiable if you are traveling outside of the country. This is the easiest way to make sure you are covered for anything you may need, saving you potentially thousands of dollars in medical bills should the need for a doctor arise.

Car Insurance

Another checkmark on your to-do list is to check in with your auto insurance company and make sure you are covered out of state. In most cases, you will be fine, but you may need to adjust your coverage depending on the place you are traveling to. Just like home insurance, auto insurance has a limitation on how long you can be gone from your primary residence and still remain covered as a resident of that state. It is best to have all of the answers before actually needing to file a claim.

Once all of those questions have been answered, insurance companies have been contacted, and all policies are up to date, you are ready to pack up the car and head south on a new adventure as a Snowbird.

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Health, Travel Tips and Insight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost and Found Pissarro Paintings History

Camille Pissarro was a painter that lived from 1830 to 1903 and made a significant impact on art history. A Pissarro painting can range from the Impressionist style to Neo-Impressionism but he’s most well-known as the Father of Impressionism as a founder of the movement. He remains the only artist to have ever shown his work at all of the Paris Impressionist exhibitions.

What many people forget, though, is that some of Pissarro’s art was nearly lost to time. His lost and found paintings are among his most beautiful. This the story of the art that was nearly buried in the annals of history.

Why Was Pissarro’s Art Lost?

The temporary loss of Pissarro’s art came at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. In the early 1930s, anti-Semitic laws forced Jewish art owners to give up their art at minimal prices, no matter what the actual worth of their art was.

As Jewish people were forced to flee Germany for other parts of Europe, they were unable to bring all of their possessions along with them. In other cases, Jewish people were taken from their homes by Nazis, forcing them to leave with only what they had on them at the time. In both cases, possessions of worth were stolen from the homes for the monetary gain of either the individuals or the Nazi party. This included many of Pissarro’s works.

Many of the stolen artworks were originally housed in key locations such as Munich and Paris, where the Nazis had control of the region. As the Allies began liberating Europe, many of these looted valuables were housed in secret salt mines and other locations where the Allies would be less likely to find them.

Some stolen artworks were even acquired by high ranking members of the Nazi party, where they kept them as parts of their private collections. Other works deemed “degenerate” were even sold to international collectors to build the German war-fund.

Recovery of the Artworks

As World War II drew to an end, the process of recovering stolen valuables begun. In the decades following the war, several Pissarro works were found in galleries and museums across the globe. In some cases, legal action was brought to return the artworks to their rightful owners.

After being discovered as stolen artworks, many paintings were returned to the descendants of those from whom the works had originally been stolen. Once returned, some of the artworks were then gifted to museums and galleries where they remain to this day. This has allowed the artworks to be viewed widely, ensuring the legacy of Pissarro lives on.

Examples of Found Pissarro Paintings

Pissarro’s 1897 painting, Rue St. Honoré, Apres Midi, Effet de Pluie, was found in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. A legal battle ensued in 2011 when the Spanish government refused to return the painting at the request of an American ambassador.  A trial in the United States found that the museum was indeed the rightful owner of the painting.

A similar legal battle occurred when Pissarro’s Le Quai Malaquais, Printemps resurfaced after being missing for many years. It was discovered that the painting had been donated to a trust by a Nazi art collector after the seizure by the Gestapo during the war. After being rediscovered in 2007, the process to track down the rightful heir was started.

There were several other Pissarro paintings lost during the lootings of World War II. The 1897 work, Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Matinée de Printemps, was restituted in 2000 when it was found to have been forcefully sold to the Nazis. Similarly, Le Marché aux Poissons was returned after being missing for more than three decades. It was returned to the French ambassador, a symbolic act of returning the work to Pissarro’s home country.

Pissarro’s Legacy

The legacy of Pissarro’s artistic career is not limited to his artworks alone. While his artworks continue to be regarded as some of the most influential impressionist paintings of the era, they are also remembered for their cultural significance. The loss of Pissarro’s artworks stood as a recognition of the crimes of the Nazi regime.

Even decades after the war, Pissarro’s artworks continue to be recognized as a symbol of the survival of democracy. Each missing Pissarro painting that has been recovered comes with a story that has reminded critics and collectors of its importance. Despite years of being missing, these works were given justice by being returned to their rightful owners.

Conclusion

The devastation of World War II was not lost on the art world. Many works were lost through destruction and theft during the war, with some never being recovered. The Pissarro paintings lost during the war have been recovered in recent decades, putting them back in the rightful hands of private collectors and museums.

Posted in Guest Blog Posts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

As Gold Hits Record Highs Is It Smart Adding Gold to An IRA?

Christina Baker is a blogger who loves to produce content on health, wellness, and aging. Christina understands how her readers fear aging, which is why she strives to help them transition to this stage easier through her articles.  

Retirement can be a significant stage for people who’ve already reached their senior age. It’s the time when you permanently choose to leave the workforce, undertake many amazing things, and enjoy the remaining years of your life without financial problems. These are just some of the reasons why you should have an individualized retirement account (IRA) that provides you with financial security and independence when you retire.

However, building an IRA is never easy. You need to consider the risks of each investment asset before adding it to your portfolio. For example, given the gold’s increase in price throughout history, you may consider adding this precious metal to your IRA.

To help you decide whether gold can be a great part of your retirement plan, keep reading this article to know what you’re up to.

Gold IRA Account: What Is It?

Primarily, a gold IRA, which is also known as precious metals IRA, refers to an individualized retirement account wherein it allows the investment of other alternative assets, such as precious metals and real estate. It’s different from the traditional option due to the degree of investment freedom offered. This means that aside from the traditional assets, such as bonds, stocks, and cash, you can invest in gold, silver, and other valuable metals, as well as the real estate market.

Reasons For Adding Gold To An IRA

In these unstable times, your financial security should be your top priority upon retirement. That’s why it’s essential to find an investment asset, like precious metals, that can help you do this. Luckily, due to gold’s price increase, building a gold IRA can be a great way to secure your wealth during your senior years.

Below are the essential reasons why you should add gold to your individualized retirement account:

  • Protects Portfolio In The Face Of Uncertainties

It’s common knowledge that gold has been existing since the dawn of civilization. Because of this precious metal’s ability to withstand the test of time, it’s been a haven investment for people looking to become financially stable during their retirement years.

That said, even if your country faces inflation and economic or political crisis, adding gold to your individualized retirement account can protect you from these events. Unlike stocks, bonds, and other traditional paper assets, gold isn’t affected by the fluctuation in the market.

Generally, gold is moving toward the opposite direction of the traditional assets, which means that the valuable metal offers an insurance policy against inflation. You can rest, knowing your retirement account can still survive from the losses usually caused by the said crises. Thus, if you want to ensure your retirement wealth against inflation over the long-term, choose gold as one of the investment options you can add to your IRA.

  • Allows You To Take Control Over Your Retirement Savings

Incorporating gold to your IRA also gives you greater freedom to control your retirement savings. Unlike the standard individualized retirement account, you can choose different gold coins and bars that you want to add to your portfolio.

Moreover, when you have a gold IRA, you can take advantage of the market by knowing when to buy or sell this precious metal. For example, if the gold price decreases, you have the freedom to sell your assets to avoid significant losses on your retirement investments. Hence, it’s a smart idea to add gold to your individualized retirement account.

Therefore, if you consider setting up a gold IRA, the people behind reputable companies, like InvestingIngold.com, can assist you. They’re composed of a network of professionals who can help you get started with gold investments, including how you can leverage them for more profits.

  • Offers Financial Stability

As gold hits record high for its prices, you have every reason to include this precious metal in your retirement portfolio. It offers a safe layer of diversification in your IRA account, which can help hedge from any risks and ensure financial stability for you and your family.

Unlike other assets, many investors value gold because of its ability to stabilize your wealth in the long run. Thus, even if you reach your senior age and retire, you can rely upon your gold IRA for financial security.

Final Thoughts

With the information mentioned above, today is the best time to put gold in your IRA. As gold hits record high for its price value, it can be an excellent way to become financially independent and stable when you reach your retirement age.

Hopefully, you find this article helpful in understanding why you should consider the addition of gold to your IRA as a smart investment option for retirees like you.

 

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Legal Matters | Leave a comment

The Golden Age: Healthcare Policy & Preventative Health for Retirees

Sam Bowman

Image Source: Pixabay

You’ve been dreaming of and planning for your retirement for years. It’s what you’ve been working toward your entire adult life.

Now it’s here. And you want to enjoy it to the fullest for many years to come. The last thing you want or need is for bad healthcare policy or worse, your own ill health, to derail your plans and rob you of everything you’ve been striving for.

But there are things you can do to ensure that you remain the healthiest and most vital retiree on the block. What it takes is planning.

Get Covered

When you retire, chances are you’re going to be giving up the group coverage you had with your employer, unless your employer offers retiree coverage. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, especially if you take advantage of all you are entitled to under Medicare.

If you’re turning 65, or you have a disability and have been covered under SSDI for at least 24 consecutive months, then chances are you’re eligible for Medicare coverage. The important thing is to meet your enrollment deadlines and ensure you’re clear on what the various Medicare plans actually cover.

Remember, too, that your spouse isn’t going to be covered under your Medicare plan, unlike with most traditional group insurance plans.

Likewise, standard Medicare, Part A, only covers hospitalizations and related services. Coverage for other services, such as routine medical care and prescription coverage, will require you to enroll in Parts B, C, and/or D, depending on your particular needs. Those plans cost far less than private insurance, in general, but they’re typically not free.

Know the Rules

If you’re planning to spend your retirement traveling the world, then you need to channel your inner nerd and do some heavy studying up on the healthcare policies in the areas you intend to visit — or even just to pass through.

These policies are going to shape who gets treated, how, and by whom. It’s also to determine how the care is to be paid for and when. If you’re living or traveling overseas, for instance, you generally can’t use Medicare Part B to cover your medical expenses. On the flip side, though, the cost of care is generally much lower abroad than in the US, so absorbing the costs yourself might not be much of an issue.

An Ounce of Prevention

If you’re planning for a long and healthy retirement, it’s not enough to know the healthcare system wherever you may find yourself or to ensure you have enough insurance coverage to meet your needs.  You also need to prioritize prevention.

After all, the best doctors in the world aren’t going to be able to give you the happy golden years you deserve without your cooperation. Staying strong and well means cultivating mind, body, and spirit.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. But by focusing on diet, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle, you can keep those veins strong and your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in tiptop shape for decades to come.

But if you’re one of the 133 million Americans who has a chronic illness, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to build a healthy and happy retirement. It’s possible to retire well even with a chronic health condition. And that doesn’t require you to compromise on your medical care or give up your financial security.

It simply means you might have to work a little harder to access the support you deserve and the resources you need. You may choose to call in a financial expert to help you access medical funding support. Likewise, you might find yourself exploring various alternative health agencies to address your particular health needs.

The Takeaway

Retirement really should be the golden age. After all, you have worked hard your entire life to get here. But it won’t mean much if you don’t have the health and vitality to enjoy it. The good news is that with a bit of planning and some commitment, you can protect and even improve your health throughout your retirement years. It begins with understanding your particular health needs and the resources that are available to you. It also means practicing prevention, including taking care to safeguard your cardiovascular health and protect against the leading causes of death in the US. Above all, it means recognizing that having a chronic health condition doesn’t mean you have to give up your fantasy retirement. It just means you may have to take a bit of extra care of your physical, mental, and financial health. Yes, it may take some effort, but it will all be worth it when you’re living your best retirement life!

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Health, Legal Matters | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

House Move And Finances: How Do You Manage Them?

Leah Powell

House moves can easily be one of the best things that can happen in your life. After all, this is a way for you and your family to start fresh and open a new chapter in your lives. Regardless of the reason for your move – be it to buy your dream home, get a new environment, switching jobs and schools – it’s still awesome being in a new neighborhood and establishing a new start for your family. Unfortunately, house moves aren’t just “getting your new keys and transporting all your belongings.” If you’re worried how a house move can affect your finances, you might panic as to how you can efficiently manage your finances when conducting a move.

Deciding whether or not to hire long distance movers can add to the expenses, but for many people it is worth it as they greatly reduce the amount of time invested and the stress of the process.

Thankfully, we have some fresh tips you can use to make sure you don’t sacrifice your finances when conducting a move for your and the family.

Here are some tips:

Plan your moving expenses and adjust from there.

Instead of worrying about your savings immediately, try to plan for your move as though you don’t have anything to worry about. It’s best to list the ideal circumstances of your move first and then adjust from there. If you had the money, just what would you want to do with your move? From there, you’ll likely end up with the list that you can “tone down” and adjust according to your needs. For instance, instead of hiring all sorts of professionals, you can instead hire cross country movers and focus on making sure your things are moved to your new location while you handle the rest of the interior design and unpacking yourself.

Allot a budget to your move and stick to that budget.

Regardless of how tempting overspending might be for your move, try to stick to a particular budget in order to make sure you don’t burn through your savings. This might be difficult in itself, but this is also a good training on your end as to how you can adjust a particular budget to fit particular needs in terms of your moving requirements.

Consider having a garage sale.

If you have an existing inventory or if you’re planning on making an inventory, you should also consider things you plan on selling and throwing away. Before making your house move, try to sell things you no longer want, so you have some way of recuperating some losses you’ve spent on your moving budget.

Adjust your packing materials according to costs.

Ideally, we want our moving and packing materials to be new and sturdy, right? However, we might soon realize that buying a ton of boxes for a one-time thing might not be worth the while. As such, instead of buying a ton of boxes and packaging tape, we might want to instead consider buying materials we’ll be using for a long time… or reusing things we have at home. For instance, before buying packing materials, consider consolidating all existing boxes you have from your other furniture and see if you can fit other things there. Likewise, you should also consider buying plastic containers that are reusable in order to store them in your new home afterwards and use them in the future if needed.

Hire professionals to save time and add manpower.

One of the worst things that can happen during an expensive move is to waste more time during the move, especially if you’re doing things by yourself. Spending a lot of days off just packing and transporting your things can be costly for your job and your personal life, and it’s a risk you shouldn’t take. Instead, you can hire a moving company Manhattan in order to get that manpower you need and the equipment necessary to transport your things safely. This might seem counter-intuitive since you’re being asked to spend a bit for movers, but their expertise will at least be a worthwhile investment, compared to risking damaging your things just to save money during the move.

Moving And Finances: Management Works!

With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that managing your finances is still possible with your move. And you might be surprised to learn that things you do everyday can be tweaked to accommodate your move and not blow up your budget to the extreme. Hopefully, you’ll be able to manage your move properly without bursting your wallet and without denting too much of a hole in your savings plan. Good luck and happy moving!

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Housing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Interesting ways to increase your social security payments during retirement

Author Bio: Michael is a seasoned writer who loves to write about issues relating to retirement, Medicare, and Social Security. Holly currently works as a writer for “Social Security Office Near Me”, where she writes about Social Security benefits and issues affecting the senior citizen population.

Retirement living can be a worrisome part of life, especially for those dependent on salaried jobs as their income source is not valid anymore. Most people resort to their pension, but that might not be enough more often than not. Thus, the Social Security benefit act was signed in 1935, where the citizens who work for more than 35 years are given financial benefits. This is known as Social Security payments, and it has been discussed in detail here.

Social security

It is a type of financial security for the elderly people who opt for the service and have a minimum of 35 years of service behind them with a stable income. A certain amount is taken during their earning years, and based on it, credit scores are calculated. A person is eligible for 4 credit scores a month and should have 40 credits to qualify for the payments. The amount is based on calculations of the past 35 years of work.

Types of social security

Social Security can be of the following types-

Retirement benefits

It is the type of security that you become eligible for after retiring from work. It is generally around 65 years of age. The earning at the time of retirement is important here.

Disability benefits

It is applicable to anyone who comes disabled and cannot work or provide service anymore. The earning at the time of disability again becomes vital here.

Survivor’s benefit

If any worker passes away during the collection tenure, the deceased’s survivor is given the Social Security payments.

Supplemental Security Income benefits

This is for people who do not earn adequately to sustain themselves during their earning years.

What is social security retirement called?

It is also called Supplemental Security Income as the payment generated from it may not be enough to sustain an individual completely but can help to pay off any debts or take care of all the basic needs.

Ways to increase your Social security payments during retirement

You must receive the maximum benefits while withdrawing your Social Security payments. Here are some ways to ensure the same-

You should be working for more than 35 years for the best financial policy. In case you fall short of 35 years, the zeros are taken into the calculation, and the amount you will receive at the end will be less. It is better to have a year with a low income than a zero-income year.

Your salary should be higher in your earning years as the amount calculated to be your Social Security payment will be related to the salary that you had at the time of retirement or just prior to it.

Do not start claiming your Social Security payment at an early age of 62 years, even though you can do so. According to calculations, you could lose up to 25% of what you could have got back as a return on doing so.

A delayed pickup and claim of Social Security payments up to the age of 70 years can actually increase your returns by as much as 8%. Therefore, you have the option to postpone it more for more amount later.

In case you have already started claiming the payment at an early stage, and you see that you are losing money because of it, you have the option to suspend your payment till you reach 70 years. You can avail yourself of a replacing social security card to halt or start your payments according to convenience.

You can withdraw from the benefits of Social security payments as and when you want and become a part of the scheme later.

In case you have a spouse who is eligible for Social Security payments as well, you can get up to 50% of that payment in case your own payment amount is lesser than that.

In case, for some reason a person who is eligible for Social Security payments dies, the spouse can become eligible for the money as a survivor. The condition is that either the spouse should not be eligible for her own payment or have a lesser amount than the deceased. The widow or the widower also has the option of getting a one-time benefit from the deceased.

The children of a person eligible for Social Security can also get the benefits if they are deceased prematurely.

You should be able to estimate your health concerns and the number of years you will live, factoring in your family history. This will give you a proper idea of when you should start claiming the Social Security benefits. If you’re not sure, you can always go to the Social Security Administration near you and confirm.

Calculating the retirement benefits

The main criteria for calculating the retirement benefits for Social Security payments are taking an average of your income for the past 35 years. A particular agency keeps tracking your earnings for 35 years and then divide the whole by 35 to get your average yearly income. This is followed by dividing this calculated money by 12 to get the monthly estimate. The ultimate amount is dependent on the total earnings then and not for the last 4-5 years as such.

You should try to be in an earning state all 35 years to have a larger average. On failing to do so, the amount is taken as zero for the time lost. The payment that you receive monthly on retirement is also dependent on the age that you start collecting the claims. Doing it as early as 62 years can reduce the amount and stalling it until 70 years can increase it by 8%.

The bottom line

Social Security payment is a very good initiative to take care of your financial problems after you have started enjoying senior living. You should opt for the plan while in service and fulfill your part of the deal to get maximum benefits.

Now that you know about Social Security payments in detail, you should become aware of executing the scheme and leading a carefree retired life later.

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Housing, Legal Matters | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Financial Benefits of Retiring Abroad

Marc from ProTax Consulting Services

Planning your golden years is an exciting task and you’re probably looking forward to traveling or moving to a country with your ideal weather. Or possibly, the opportunity to live close to family and friends. Whatever your reasons, know that there are also financial benefits to retiring abroad. When working out your destination, do factor in how to manage your assets. You’ll also want to figure out your 401k and IRA withdrawals, and Social Security receipts. Work with your expat tax consultant to figure out your dues since you’ll continue to pay taxes in the US.

  1. You’ll Have a Lower Cost of Living

The more affordable cost of living is one of the fundamental reasons to consider retiring abroad. Depending on the country you’ve chosen and your expected standard of living, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,200 per month on a comfortable lifestyle. Other factors that can influence your expenses include settling in an urban or rural locale, local taxes, travel, and insurance. With a little smart thinking, you can invest the money that you have left after deducting expenses and build wealth.

  1. You Can Expect Affordable Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the US are not only extremely high, but they seem to be skyrocketing as the years pass. Statistics show that a 65-year old couple choosing to retire in the US can expect to pay around $606,337 to get proper healthcare. Many countries have a public health system available associated with very reasonable costs. Do keep in mind that any US Medicare coverage that you have before moving abroad may not cover your medical expenses in a foreign country. However, you can get Medicare to cover any emergency expenses incurred while visiting your hometown.

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Monetary Incentives

Several countries offer benefits to retiring US expats. A good example is Panama’s Pensionado program. It offers incentives to retirees who wish to live in the country as long as they meet a reasonable income criteria. Accordingly, you can expect discounts on expenses like healthcare, utilities, mortgage payments, and various others. If you choose to live in Ecuador, you can expect to get 50% discounts on public transportation and on tickets for movies and sporting events. These savings can translate into valuable financial benefits.

  1. You Can Get Deductions on Income Tax

US expats can take advantage of various income exclusions. The most important among them is the Foreign Income Earned Exclusion (FEIE) that allows you to pay income tax over and above a specific income level. The IRS sets up a limit each year. For instance, this income slab is $107,600 for 2020. Additionally, you can claim deductions for the living costs that you incur while living in foreign countries by way of the Foreign Housing Exclusion. Your tax consultant can advise you best on the tax and financial benefits of living abroad.

  1. You Can Continue to Get Social Security

If you qualify for Social Security at the time that you move out of the US, you can continue to receive the benefits as long as your chosen destination is on the approved list. The IRS requires notification of your move and that you maintain a US bank account for receiving the SS checks. As long as you’re aware of the applicable fees for making purchases and ATM transactions, you should be good to go.

Settling overseas after retirement has a bunch of benefits. Make sure to do your homework when planning your move and take advantage of substantial savings.

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Health, Housing, Legal Matters, Travel Tips and Insight | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Reasons You Should Talk to a Lawyer after Retirement

Timothy Rivera is a full-time writer who writes a wide variety of topics relatable to seniors.  Most of Timothy’s articles talk about retirement, estate planning and investments. Timothy aims to help his readers transition easily toward their senior lives.

For some people, retirement is an exciting life event wherein they can undertake a lot of amazing things. But, for others, it’s a stage in their life that they dread about. Primarily, retirement is the time of life when a person, reaching the age of 66 years old and above, has to leave their active working life permanently. And, as you retire, you tend to be more susceptible to financial, mental, and physical health issues.

Maybe, you’re planning to transfer your estate to your family, or you’re thinking about designating a person to administer your properties in case of incapacity or death. Perhaps, you’re so in debt, but you want to make sure your wealth is protected against lawsuits and creditors. Whatever you think of doing, having a lawyer to handle the legal matters that may arise after retirement is extremely important.

Below are the reasons why you should talk to a lawyer after you retire.

  1. Helps You Prepare An Incapacity Plan

As you enjoy your retirement years and become older in the process, you may potentially become incapacitated to make your own decisions about your finances and, more importantly, your own well-being. Before this happens, you should have your incapacity plan in place to ensure everything will go smoothly.

However, in doing this, you should work with an an elder law attorney to know your legal options. These can include the writing of a power of attorney. In simple terms, a power of attorney is a legal document appointing a family member to act in your capacity and make decisions for your welfare. Since it’s a legal document, it’s best to speak with a lawyer to help you decide the nature and scope of this arrangement, considering a family member will have control over the decisions about you.

  1. Knows How You Can Protect Your Assets After Retirement

Being a retiree means you’re getting old and becoming vulnerable to health issues. And, when you get seriously ill after your retirement, you may not be able to safeguard your assets against any threat that may come your way. Because of this, you need the assistance of a lawyer to explain the different legal options available to your situation.

For example, asset protection strategies are the best ways to keep your wealth away from creditors and judgment holders. Specifically, your lawyer can recommend the establishment of trust so you can transfer your assets to a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. By doing this, any person who has a monetary interest in you can no longer go after those properties placed under the trust. As a result, you can rest, knowing that you can leave everything you’ve worked for many years to your family’s next generation.

Moreover, your assets can also be taken away from you because of your nursing home expenses. This is where Medicaid comes into play. It’s a federal and state program that assist people with limited income and resources. Since nursing home costs are expensive, Medicaid is there to support your expenses. However, to qualify for Medicaid, you need to exhaust your assets first, thereby leaving little to no wealth for your family. To protect your assets from this setup, talk to a lawyer to help you create a Medicaid asset protection trust. This can be an ideal solution to meet the program’s strict asset guidelines.

  1. Helps You Create a Will

Of course, retirement doesn’t mean you’ll die soon. But, as you retire and age, you need to be prepared for anything that may happen to you as you become older and weaker. This process can include the creation of your will. Essentially, a will refers to a legal document outlining and expressing a person’s wishes in terms of the distribution of their properties after their death.

When you draft a will after your retirement, you can guarantee that your family will get what they’re entitled to in the event of your death. On the other hand, just like other legal papers, making a will requires legal expertise. This is where a lawyer comes to rescue. By having a legal professional on your side, you can craft a will that’s valid and binding under your estate planning laws. They can guide you in making sure that your will follows the formalities required by your state. Not only that, but they can also assist you in making sound decisions, such as the selection of your beneficiaries and other estate planning matters.

Takeaway

Indeed, many things may happen as you start your retirement years, and one of these is a possible decline in your mental and physical functions. Therefore, if you want to be prepared for this situation, hire a lawyer as soon as you retire to discuss the possible legal options to protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones in all circumstances.

Hopefully, you find this article useful in understanding the reasons why talking to a legal professional after your retirement can make a big difference in your and your family’s lives.

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Health, Housing, Legal Matters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

6 Signs You’re Ready to Retire Early

Allesia Olsen

For many people, early retirement seems unattainable. Sure, it would be a relief to shelve your day job sooner than later – but is it possible? While retiring early is no mean feat, it’s possible if you’re a great planner. You can’t wait until you’re almost retiring to begin planning – you need a well-implemented long-term strategic plan. Getting ready for retirement? Here are 6 signs you’re ready to retire early.

  1. You’re Debt Free

Nothing impedes an early retirement than being burdened with debt. Student loans, credit cards, car loans, mortgages, home equity loans all hamper your ability to save and invest for retirement. If you retire with debt, it affects how you spend and your quality of life. The more your outstanding debt, the more you expect to pay in terms of interest charges. When you have no debt, you have more control over your retirement finances.

  1. You’ve Diverse Income Sources

One of the major components of successful early retirement is having multiple income streams when you’re longer working. Do you have rental property or other entrepreneurial activities? Do you have a fund that you can rely on after retirement? Do you have a diversified investment portfolio that can provide you with income necessary to pursue your goals? Varying your incomes, investments as well as utilizing income sources that outpace inflationary pressures is critical as you’re getting ready for retirement.

  1. Your Savings Exceed Your Retirement Goals

Many sources quote the 25 times rule of early retirement that attempts to define how much money you need to save before you retire, which is 25 times your annual expenses.

Accounts such as the 401(k) or IRA are a great way to save for retirement since they are tax-advantaged, and your earnings grow tax-deferred.

Diversifying savings is critical for early retirement. Stashing your money in an interest-bearing checking account, high-yield savings accounts, money market account, taxable brokerage account, or a CD ladder ensures you have access to your money while avoiding an inflated tax bill.

  1. You’ve Got Health Insurance

Health insurance is the main retirement expense for most retirees. While Medicare covers some costs, it doesn’t cater for everything, and you’re not eligible for it until your 65th birthday.

Do you have adequate health insurance coverage until you’re qualified for Medicare? Apart from health insurance, you may also need to look into long-term care insurance, disability, and life.

  1. You’ve Sorted Out Your Investments

Many people confuse savings with investments, which are two different things. Investments are assets that are expected to generate returns in the long-term. They can range from stocks to bonds to real estate or even gold. Different investments have different amounts of risk attached to them. It’s prudent to protect yourself from loss of capital by diversifying your stocks and assets and assume less risk as you approach retirement.

  1. You’re Only Financially Responsible for Yourself

Getting ready for early retirement is an uphill task when you have people depending on you financially. Do you have children or elderly parents you’re supporting? Early retirement is challenging, and having additional financial obligations may necessitate a postponement. However, having financially independent family members can fast-track your early retirement.

Pulling off an early retirement is no mean task. However, getting ready for retirement requires a good financial foundation coupled with great planning to help you pursue your retirement goals.

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Become Comfortable with Traveling Even When You Have Disabilities

Roger Foster worked as a caregiver for five years and is now sharing his professional experience to the world by writing medical-related articles. Roger aims to help more and more people understand their health and how they can combat common diseases through his articles.

Traveling gives people different kinds of emotions. Experiences can also vary; you may encounter challenges that affect your overall journey, but traveling will help make you a better person. Don’t let any challenges stop you from seeing various places. Here are the reasons to travel if you’re wondering if you should travel or not:

  • Traveling Makes You Healthy: One of the benefits of traveling is doing some physical activities. Regardless if you are going to your destination via plane or on a car, you will likely find something to do.
  • Traveling is Good for The Brain: Everyone needs to get out of their comfort zone once in a while. Going on a trip can make you smarter, especially when you carefully plan decisions and you’ll learn new things along the way.
  • Traveling Makes You More Interesting: Nothing beats the first-hand experience; every time you visit a new place, there’s always something new to learn. The best stories are often from the activities you’ve done – even if things don’t always go as planned!
  • Traveling Makes You More Open-Minded: Going on a trip not only makes you an interesting and convincing storyteller, but it can also widen your perspective about people and their cultures. Experiencing foreign customs lets you see the whole world in a different light.
  • Traveling Gives You Reasons to Smile: No matter how well you pack, you won’t be able to bring anything that you need, and there are chances that your flight can be cancelled or delayed. You also may realize that you forgot to carry the appropriate clothing for where you’re headed to. Traveling will teach you to lighten up and not be so serious about everything.

Some people face more challenges when they are traveling and have disabilities. However, these setbacks should not stop you from enjoying new places and destinations. All it takes is figuring out what can make you more comfortable traveling with your disabilities when you are on the road.

Traveling Comfortably Even with Disabilities

Going to a new place is not always easy, and people with disabilities may find it more challenging to enjoy traveling. If you are disabled, a vacation to a distant location can be discouraging, especially if it’s your first time to visit there. Will you be able to rent equipment like top power chairs at your destination? Lack of infrastructure and facilities for disabled travelers, language barriers, and mobility problems can ruin a well-planned trip. Here are some tips that travelers with disabilities can do to have an enjoyable and comfortable journey.

  1. Plan Ahead of Time

You have to prepare well before traveling abroad, especially if you are physically disabled. Whether you are permanently disabled because of an illness or injury or find moving challenging because of old age, you should set some expectations based on your research. Are you going to a PWD-friendly country or city? Will your hotel or travel agent be able to arrange a wheelchair for you during your stay? Preparation is key to enjoying your trip, especially when you have physical or mobility limitations.

  1. Bring What You Really Need

When you are traveling with a disability, it’s best to pack the things that will make your journey more comfortable. There are many types of wheelchairs, but some stand above the rest. Rolstoel wheelchairs are ideal when traveling because they are lightweight, fold easily, and can carry weights up to almost 400 pounds. Bringing along a heavy piece of equipment isn’t practical. Aside from packing your medications and other medical information that you may need during your trip; a lightweight motorized vehicle will provide ease and convenience when you move around.

  1. Reach Out for Help

Avoid feeling discouraged when you want to travel, however, when you’re affected with a physical disability – you might need to reach out to the right people for help. First, you should speak to your doctor about your plans to travel. Apart from your medications, your physician is also licensed to recommend coping measures suited for your trip. Second, relay your disabled travel concerns to your travel agent. Travel professionals will know where to book a PWD-friendly hotel for you. Lastly, contact the airport and airlines in advance to arrange for assistance for your flight.

Takeaway

Whether permanent or temporary, you shouldn’t let your disabilities hinder you from traveling. There are plenty of modern wheelchairs and lightweight motorized vehicles that will not cramp your style. Life didn’t stop when you obtained a disability; thus, you can still strive to live your life to the fullest. Traveling with a disability is never easy, but with careful planning and getting hold of the right equipment, you can focus on enjoying your trip with people that matter to you most.

Posted in Adding Pizzazz to Your Life, Guest Blog Posts, Health, Heart Song, Travel Tips and Insight | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment