Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Getting real about health costs in retirement. Also in the news: Watch your credit card rewards pile up with these 5 tips, learning the different types of mutual funds, and how hackers can steal your data at airports.

Let’s Get Real About Health Costs in Retirement
Making costs easier to predict.

Watch your credit card rewards pile up with these 5 tips

What Are the Different Types of Mutual Funds?
Learn the basics.

How Hackers Can Steal Your Data at Airports
Protecting more than just your luggage.

Let’s get real about health costs in retirement

You won’t pay for health care in retirement with one lump sum. That’s the way these expenses are often presented, though, and the amounts are terrifying.

Fidelity Investments, for example, says a couple retiring in 2019 at age 65 will need $285,000 for health expenses, not including nursing home or other long-term care. The Employee Benefits Research Institute says some couples could need up to $400,000 — again, not including long-term care. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College hasn’t updated its figures recently, but back in 2010 estimated a typical couple could spend $260,000 for medical and long-term care, with a 5% risk that costs will exceed $570,000.

No wonder 45% of people in their 50s and early 60s have little or no confidence that they’ll be able to afford their health care costs once they retire, according to a survey by the University of Michigan.

In my latest for the Associated Press, a health care cost reality check.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Money mistakes even smart people make. Also in the news: 3 reasons to choose a college based in price, the pros and cons of moving abroad for health care, and which state has the highest average credit card debt.

Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make
We all make them.

3 Reasons to Choose a College Based on Price
Spend less time in debt.

Should You Move Abroad for Health Care?
The pros and cons.

Where credit card debt is the worst in the US: States with the highest average balance
Where does your state rank?

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should you move abroad for health care? Also in the news: What to do if you still haven’t received your tax documents, things to consider before opening another credit card, and why you should save 4% of your new home’s cost for repairs.

Should You Move Abroad for Health Care?
The cost difference can be dramatic.

Haven’t Got Your Tax Documents Yet? Here’s What to Do
The clock’s ticking.

4 things to consider before opening another credit card
The pros and cons.

You Should Save 4% of Your New Home’s Cost for Repairs
Protect yourself from unexpected costs.

Should you move abroad for health care?

The notion that health care outside the U.S. could be good as well as cheap is a foreign one to many Americans.

Kathleen Peddicord frequently hears from such skeptics as founder of Live and Invest Overseas, a site for people curious about living abroad. Actual expats like her, however, tell of good-quality care at a fraction of the U.S. price. Treatment for a motorbike accident in Panama cost her $20. Emergency dental surgery that might cost $10,000 or more in the U.S. was $4,500 in Paris. In many countries, medications that would require a prescription in the States are available directly from licensed pharmacies at low prices, thanks to government subsidies or regulation.

“The health care in a lot of places around the world is very good, as good as in the United States,” says Peddicord, who currently divides her time between Paris and Panama. “Some places, it is better.”

In my latest for the Associated Press, why reduced medical costs could prompt Americans to relocate.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save money on health care. Also in the news: How to work from anywhere like a boss, one person’s homebuying journey in Seattle, and why employers check your credit report.

How to Save Money on Health Care
The three questions you need to ask.

How to Work From Anywhere Like a Boss
Reliable wifi is key.

How I Bought a Home in Seattle
One person’s homebuying journey.

Why Employers Check Your Credit Report
Lookimg for financial distress markers.

How to save money on health care

Americans on average spend more on health care than they do on groceries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Expenditure Survey. Saving money on medical care is a lot tougher than saving money on food, however. Two big culprits: opaque pricing and ever-changing insurance company rules about what’s covered and what’s not.

For help in cutting costs, I turned to a uniquely qualified individual: Carolyn McClanahan, an emergency room doctor turned certified financial planner. McClanahan, director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, frequently speaks at industry conferences, teaching other advisors how to help their clients best navigate the health care system.

In my latest for the Associated Press, the three questions everyone should ask to save money on health care.

Q&A: Healthcare coverage should be part of retirement planning

Dear Liz: You’ve been writing about how much to save for retirement, including how much of our incomes we should aim to replace with our savings. Two additional reasons to shoot for a higher replacement rate is the possibility that medical needs will be higher the older one becomes (even with Medicare and a supplemental plan) and the possibility that long-term care will take a huge bite out of savings if one self-insures for this. My wife and I took these into account when we saved as much as we could afford during our working years.

Answer: Many people erroneously believe that Medicare will take care of their healthcare costs in retirement. In reality, Medicare generally pays for about 60% of typical healthcare services, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fidelity Investments estimates the typical couple at age 65 can expect to spend $245,000 on healthcare throughout retirement. That figure doesn’t include the costs of nursing homes or long-term care, which also aren’t typically covered by Medicare. Anticipating and saving for these expenses was a smart move on your part.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

images (2)Today’s top story: How to make your retirement savings last. Also in the news: Why it pays to file your FAFSA early, how to survive rising health care costs, and how the Rule of 72 can help you build your retirement savings.

The Easy Way to Make Your Retirement Savings Last
Stretching your savings.

It Pays to File Your FAFSA Early
You could receive twice as much financial aid.

10 Ways to Survive Rising Health Care Costs
Keeping costs in check.

How the Rule of 72 Can Help You Build Up Your Retirement Nest Egg
Building your savings.

Is a FICO Score the Best Credit Score?
Does your FICO score tell the whole story?

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

8.6.13.CheckupToday’s top story: How student loans can hurt your mortgage approval chances. Also in the news: How to keep your health care costs in check, why identity thieves love millennials, and easy retirement plans for the self-employed.

Can Student Loans Hurt Your Mortgage Approval?
Pay attention to your debt-to-income ratio.

7 Ways to Keep Your Health Care Costs in Check
How to rein in your medical spending.

ID thieves love millennials.
A social media created monster.

4 easy retirement plans for the self-employed
Don’t miss out on the tax benefits.

MasterCard tries out ‘selfie pay’ for online purchases
Civilization was fun while it lasted.