Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Image9Today’s top story: Insider tips for finding affordable long-term care insurance. Also in the news: The most affordable time of year to buy a house, states that help consumers save money on insurance, and an app that compares the prices of every ride sharing option.

5 Insider Tips for Finding Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance
Buy sooner rather than later.

The Most Affordable Time of Year to Buy a Home
Holding out until winter.

5 States That Help Consumers Get Answers, Save Money on Insurance
Do you live in one of them?

RideGuru Compares the Cost of Every Ride Sharing Option
Don’t get taken for a ride.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

help-parents-manage-moneyToday’s top story: Long-term care and wealth planning for aging parents. Also in the news: How Donald Trump’s new economic plan could affect you, student discounts on everything needed for college, and the cost of volunteering for a political campaign.

Long-Term Care and Wealth Planning for Aging Parents
Protecting their assets.

How Donald Trump’s New Economic Plan Could Help You (or Not)
What’s in it for you.

Use These Student Discounts to Save on Everything You Need for College
From books to clothes to computers.

The Costs of Volunteering for a Political Campaign
All that free labor can be pricey.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

401k-planToday’s top story: Why long-term care insurance is worth the expense. Also in the news: The differences between a 401(k) and a Roth 401(k), how to make yourself a better retirement saver, and keeping an eye out for electricity surge pricing.

Long-Term Care Insurance Is Worth the Expense
Paying now can save a lot later.

You Know About the 401(k) — But What About the Roth 401(k)?
Know the differences.

5 Ways to Make Yourself a Better Retirement Saver
Taking the long view.

Beware of Surge Pricing on Your Electric Bill
Running your air conditioner just got a bit pricier.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: When hybrid long-term care insurance makes sense. Also in the news: How to tell whether your credit card authorized user could become a problem, what pro athletes can teach us about retirement planning, and the 7 habits of highly effective investors.

When Hybrid Long-Term Care Insurance Makes Sense
Planning for the future.

7 Ways to Tell Whether Your Credit Card Authorized User Will Be a Problem
Proceed with caution.

What Pro Athletes Can Teach Us About Retirement Planning
Living below your means can protect your future.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Investors
Using your money wisely.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

payday-loansToday’s top story: Covering the costs of long-term care. Also in the news: Discovering tax credits you qualify for, how to save money on your wedding day, and how the government’s new rules will make payday loans a little less terrible.

Covering the Costs of Long-Term Care
Preparing for the future.

What Tax Credits Can I Qualify For?
Finding the “gold nuggets” of the tax world.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding Day
Weddings don’t have to cost a fortune.

The government’s new rules will make payday loans less terrible
Easing horrific interest rates.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: What happens to your credit after you die? Also in the news: Secrets to buying long-term-care insurance, how to calculate your personal savings rate, and five steps to planning a secure retirement.

What Happens to Your Credit When You Die?
Who, if anyone, is responsible for paying it off?

4 Secrets to Buying Long-Term-Care Insurance
How to find the best policy.

Calculate Your Overall Savings Rate to Measure Your Financial Health
Discovering your personal savings rate.

5 steps to planning a secure retirement
What you need to do in order to retire peacefully.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

smartphones_financeToday’s top story: Americans and their 401(k) savings. Also in then news: How to make taxes easier with your smartphone, what you should know about long-term care insurance, and what to do if your teen is destined for bad credit.

Good News and Bad News for Americans’ 401(k) Savings
Get your hand out of the cookie jar.

Want to Make Taxes Easier? There’s an App for That
Apps that can help you track your receipts all year long.

What you need to know about long-term care insurance
Protecting you and your family.

4 warning signs your teen is destined for bad credit
How to get them back on the right path.

6 Things You’re Spending Too Much Money On
Finding cheaper alternatives.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Portrait Of Senior Couple In ParkToday’s top story: Hacks that can give your credit score a boost. Also in the news: Amazon refunds eBook buyers, seniors not taking it easy during retirement, and what you should know about long term care insurance.

4 Credit Score Hacks
How to give your credit score a little boost.

Amazon e-book customers wake up to free cash
If you’ve purchased e-books from Amazon over the past few years, you could have a surprise in your inbox.

Why So Many Seniors Are Launching Businesses
Retirement is no longer just for golfing.

Long-Term Care Insurance: What You Should Know
Don’t be caught off guard by medical expenses during retirement.

Should I Use a Charge Card? Depends on Month
Waiting until April could be a good thing.

Unexpected ways to save on insurance

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailMost ideas for saving money on insurance are pretty shopworn. You know the advice: Raise your deductible. Get discounts. Shop around.

So I was pretty psyched to hear a Certified Financial Planner talk about less common ways that advisors can save their clients money. CFP Mark Maurer is president and CEO of Low Load Insurance Services, which caters to fee-only planners. Maurer recently conducted a webinar that covered ways to save money on the big-ticket policies: life, disability and long-term care insurance.

What I learned:

Beware of riders. Two commonly-pushed riders are “waiver of premium” and “return of premium.” Maurer calls these the “undercoating” of the insurance business; in other words, they’re pricey add-ons that may not have the value you’re told.

Premium waivers allow you to stop paying your premiums if you’re disabled, but you typically have to be totally disabled to qualify (unable to work in any occupation, vs. your own occupation, for example). Some policies have the same definition of disability as Social Security, which is notoriously tough to qualify for.

If you’re really concerned about not being able to pay your premiums, then the solution may be disability insurance, Maurer said. Each dollar you’d spend on a DI policy would likely buy you far more insurance than what you’d get from a waiver of premium rider.

Return of premium also sounds good—the idea being that if you don’t use your long-term care policy, your heirs will get back the money you’ve paid in. These riders come with restrictions, too. Typically you have to own your policy at least 10 years and not have made a claim within those 10 years. Any claims thereafter would be deducted from your heir’s payout.

Again, Maurer suggests asking, “What are you really after?” In this case, it’s money for heirs. Buying a permanent life insurance policy likely will offer a better and more certain payout compared to an ROP rider, he said.

Apply the 80/20 rule to long term care insurance. If you’ve ever had a loved one in a nursing home, you know how shockingly expensive custodial care can be. Those who buy long term care insurance often opt for the daily payout amount that will cover either a private or a semi-private room in their area.

Maurer points out, though, that nursing home costs include expenses the patients would be incurring whether or not they were there—expenses like meals and laundry, for example, that typically account for 20% of the total.

So, one way to reduce premiums is to insure for 80% of the costs. Instead of the $255 a day that the average Florida nursing home costs, he suggests, shoot for something like $200 a day…which typically lowers your premium by, guess what, 20%.

Lifetime benefits on disability insurance aren’t a slam dunk. If you have to be disabled, wouldn’t you rather get checks for life rather than having them stop at age 65, when most DI policies cut off?

Well, of course! But like the riders mentioned above, adding lifetime benefits may not give you all the coverage you think you’re getting.

A typical policy will continue 100% of your benefit only if you’re disabled by age 45 and continue to be disabled until age 65, Maurer said. Those disabled after 45 get a smaller benefit, based on a sliding scale that gives you less the older you are when you become disabled. Someone who’s disabled at 58, for example, might get only 35% of his monthly benefit after age 65.

Is that worth premiums that might be 33% higher? Only you can answer that question, but Maurer, who has two disability policies, has decided against adding lifetime benefits to either.

“I didn’t think it was worth the additional premium,” he said.

 

Don’t buy life insurance if you don’t need life insurance

Dear Liz: I recently inherited around $200,000. I’m on track for retirement, so my broker is encouraging me to consider buying a policy for long-term care. He recommends a flexible-premium universal life insurance policy that requires a one-time upfront payment and provides a death benefit as well as a long-term care benefit. It does appear to me to be a better option than buying a long-term care policy in which I pay a certain amount every month, which can of course increase greatly as time goes on, with no guarantee of ever needing or using the benefits and no hope of money paid in becoming part of my estate.

Answer: Long-term care policies can indeed be problematic, since the premiums can soar just when you’re most likely to need the coverage. So if you need life insurance for another purpose — to take care of financial dependents should you die or to pay taxes on your estate — then a life insurance policy with a long-term care rider may not be a bad idea, said Laura Tarbox, a fee-only Certified Financial Planner in Newport Beach who specializes in insurance.

But buying life insurance when you don’t need it just to get another benefit, such as long-term care coverage or tax-free income, is often a costly mistake.

“The golden rule is that you do not buy life insurance if you don’t need life insurance,” Tarbox said. “It would probably be better to invest the money and have it earmarked for long-term care.”

If you decide you want to buy this insurance, don’t grab the first policy you’re offered. Shop around, because premiums and benefits vary enormously. The financial strength of the insurer matters as well. You want the company to still be there, perhaps decades in the future, if you should need the coverage.

What you don’t want to do is take guidance solely from someone who is going to make a fat commission should you buy what he or she recommends.

“Get two or three proposals from different agents,” Tarbox said. “A fee-only financial planner can help you sort through them.”