Medicare

50 or Older? Here are a Few Retirement Questions Just for You

anyone in their 50s, who wants to have a successful retirement, is advised to start getting their thoughts organized.

You don’t need to create a spreadsheet or write a book-length plan, but anyone in their 50s, who wants to have a successful retirement, is advised to start getting their thoughts organized.

MP900448491Research shows that people who have more specific ideas of how they want to spend this part of their life, end up being more satisfied that those who just wing it. We think that’s because those who create a plan have also devoted some time and energy to considering what retirement means to them, what issues they may face and what is meaningful to them.

Forbesrecent article, “5 Key Retirement Questions You Need To Answer When You're 50 Or Older,”boils it all down to a few key ideas.

How long will retirement last? Your plan will be vastly different, if your life expectancy is 10 years than if it is 30 years. Most folks underestimate average life expectancy, and that can result in financial distress in the later years of retirement. Check online sources to determine the average life expectancy for your age group.

When will you be ready to retire? This answer frequently determines how satisfied you’ll be in retirement. Remember that your age shouldn’t determine your retirement date. It’s retirement readiness that counts.

What are you going to do in retirement? This also includes how you think you’ll spend your financial resources. Create a personalized spending estimate, based on your interests and planned activities. Decide the lifestyle you want in retirement and estimate the current costs. Most people spend less as they age because they’re less active. However, it might increase later in life because of medical and long-term care expenses. Add inflation into your estimates because most of what you’ll spend money on in retirement will go up in price over time.

When will you be able to retire? Being able to retire means your income and assets are enough to let you to maintain the desired standard of living. Unfortunately, the retirement date isn’t always in your control, so add in a contingency that you might retire before you want due to health or layoffs.

It is difficult to estimate medical expenses and long-term care in retirement. Many new retirees underestimate these costs and overestimate what Medicare and other government programs will pay. It’s wise to maximize insurance coverage. Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or join traditional Medicare and add a Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan and Part D prescription coverage. Your fixed monthly expenses will be more with the insurance premiums, but your potential maximum out-of-pocket expenses will be less.

How realistic are your plans regarding managing and spending down your nest egg? The most common mistake retirees make is overspending in the early part of their retirement, which often leads to needing to make major adjustments (or moving in with the kids) later in life. Have an investment strategy that can be modified as circumstances, like health care costs and market swings, require. Be flexible—what works when you are 70, may need to be revised when you are 78. Retirement finances are never “set-it-and-forget-it” plans.

Reference: Forbes(April 3, 2018) “5 Key Retirement Questions You Need To Answer When You're 50 Or Older”

Did you Know that Medicare Provides Free Services?

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why Medicare provides free screenings and examinations focused on prevention.

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why Medicare provides free screenings and examinations focused on prevention.

MedicareYes, you still have to spend a lot of out-of-pocket money on healthcare, but a recent article in AARP ,“10 Free Services Medicare Provides,”reports that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to free preventive care, including a number of screenings and examinations. These are all helpful to maintaining good health.

  1. A “Welcome to Medicare” Preventive Visit.Available only in the first 12 months you’re on Part B, this visit includes a review of your medical history, some screenings and shots, measurements of vital signs, a vision test, a review of potential risk for depression, the opportunity to discuss advance directives, as well as a written plan detailing the screenings, shots, and other preventive services you should have. This visit is covered only once, but it’s a good perk.
  2. An Annual Wellness Visit.You’re eligible for this free exam, if you’ve had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months. Your doctor will review your medical history, update your list of providers and medications, take your vital measurements and provide personalized health advice and treatment options. Note that while the visit is free, your doctor may order other tests or procedures that might have a deductible or co-pay cost.
  3. Mammogram.An annual screening mammogram is free. If you need a diagnostic mammogram, you’ll pay a 20% copay, and the Part B deductible will apply.
  4. Colonoscopy.A screening colonoscopy once every 24 months is free, if you're at high risk for colorectal cancer. Even if you’re not at high risk, Medicare covers this test once every 10 years.
  5. Diabetes Screening.You can get two free screenings a year, if you have a history of high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, are obese, or have a history of high blood sugar levels. The screenings are also free, if two or more of these issues apply to you: (i) you’re over 65; (ii) you’re overweight; (iii) you have a family history of diabetes; or (iv) you had diabetes when you were pregnant.
  6. Prostate Cancer Screening.An annual PSA test is free, and a digital rectal exam costs 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, along with the physician services related to the exam. The Part B deductible also applies.
  7. Vaccines.More free stuff! Your annual flu shot, vaccines to prevent pneumococcal infections like pneumonia, and shots for hepatitis B (for those at high or medium risk) are free. The shingles vaccine is not covered by Part A or Part B. However, it may be covered by your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or your Part D prescription drug plan.
  8. Cardiovascular Disease (Behavioral Therapy).As a Medicare recipient, you also get a free annual visit with your primary care provider to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.
  9. Lung Cancer Screening.An annual test with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is free, if you’re between 55 and 77, don’t have any signs of lung cancer, are a smoker or have quit in the past 15 years, and you have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” (meaning you smoked an average of one pack a day for 30 years).
  10. Depression Screening.If it’s conducted in a primary care center, where follow up and referrals are available, an annual screening for depression is free. There may be co-pays for follow-up care, but the screening itself is free.

These are important opportunities to continue taking good care of your health, and the fact that they are free, is icing on the cake!

Reference: AARP (November 21, 2017) “10 Free Services Medicare Provides”

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