How to Avoid Fumbling the Football in the Red Zone of Retirement

The 6 Documents You Need for Your Estate Plan Playbook

The start of football season may be months away, but the game’s on the minds of many after the NFL draft. Minicamps are gearing up and team personnel are organizing in preparation for the 2014-15 season.

Football is a big deal in the United States – and so is the surge of retirees – 10,000 baby boomers every day for the next 18 years, says multi-certified planner Larry Roby. The last thing pre-retirees want to do at this stage of their lives is to fumble while in the red zone of their retirement date, he says.

“Only 23 percent of pre-retirees have calculated how much they’ll need to save for retirement, according to New Retirement Landscape; while three-quarters say they’re confident in the red zone of retirement, an equal amount of people haven’t even done the math yet!” says Roby, founder and president of Senior Financial Advisors, (www.sfabridge.com), a wealth-management firm that holds ethics and education as top priorities.

“Confidence in your retirement portfolio is good – if it’s justified. Otherwise, it can lull people into a false sense of security and lack of preparedness.”

Having a diverse portfolio and understanding your options for life insurance, Social Security and 401(k) or other retirement accounts are staples for retirement planning. But there are also six crucial documents that are often either not in an individual’s playbook or are overlooked.

Here are the six documents you need for a solid red zone estate plan:

•  Joint Ownership – Enables you to own property jointly with another person and upon the death of the joint tenant, the surviving joint tenant automatically becomes the owner of the property.

•  Last Will and Testament – A legal document which expresses the wishes of a person concerning the disposition of their property after death and names the person who will manage the estate.

•  Durable Power of Attorney – Grants authority to another individual to act on behalf of the person who executes the instrument and are commonly used for legal and financial purposes.

•  Durable Health Care Power of Attorney- Grants authority to another individual to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make such decisions.

•  Advance Care Directive – A set of written instructions in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health, if they are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity.

•  Living Trust – Created during your lifetime.  Assets are transferred to the trust while you are alive.  Provides written instructions for the disbursement of the trust assets upon your death.

“These documents can play a vital role in the major plays during the fourth quarter of your life,” Roby says. “Understanding how they work now can make the difference between a last-minute victory or loss.”

About Larry Roby

Larry Roby is the founder and president of Senior Financial Advisors, (www.sfabridge.com). He is a four-year member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has achieved “Court of the Table” status for the past three years. Roby attained his Series 65 license, which allows him to serve as an Investment Advisor Representative. He is also a Registered Financial Consultant,IARFC.org; RICP, Retirement Income Certified Professional; Licensed Insurance Agent and MCEP, Master Certified Estate Planner – NICEP.com.

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Long-Term Care Crisis Prompts More Aggressive Collection Tactics

Insurance Industry Expert Shares Tips for Protecting  Your Family from “Filial” Support Laws

Most people do not understand filial support laws, which are spreading to more states – 28 and counting, says insurance industry expert Chris Orestis.

“We’re living longer, but for many of us, that also means we’ll require some type of  long-term health care at some point,” says Orestis, a longtime industry insider and author of “Help on the Way,” (http://ebook.lifecarefunding.com/), which explains the problem of funding long-term care and offers solutions.

“It’s a problem no matter what your age because we’re experiencing a “Silver Tsunami” of retiring baby boomers and the costs of long-term care can be extremely high. Medicaid is the only option for many seniors, and that’s straining the funding for that safety net. Many people are not eligible for Medicaid, but also cannot afford the expense of care.”

As a result, long-term care providers and the federal government are bringing lawsuits and mandating claw-back actions against families, insurance companies and legal advisors, he says. Many are turning to filial support laws, which impose a duty upon adult children for the support of their impoverished parents. Medicaid also has the right to sue families in probate court to “claw-back” funds spent on care.

Just one recent example involved John Pittas, a 47-year-old restaurant owner who was sued by a nursing home company for $93,000 in expenses incurred by his mother over a six-month period after she was denied Medicaid eligibility.

“The court finding even granted discretion to the nursing home company to seek payment from any family members it wished to pursue,” says Orestis.

To avoid a financial catastrophe, he says families should consider these options:

•  Know your and your family’s health-care rights as a veteran. Veterans who have honorably served their country should take advantage of their VA benefits – not only for their well-being, but also for their family’s health. Additional programs that may apply to family members include the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), a comprehensive health-care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered services and supplies for eligible beneficiaries; the spina bifida health-care benefits program for certain Korea and Vietnam veterans’ birth children; and TRICARE, another health-care program serving uniformed service members, retirees and their families.

•  You can convert your life insurance policy for long-term care. There is $27.2 trillion worth of in-force life insurance policies in the United States, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners – that’s triple the amount of home equity today! Rather than cancel or drop a policy to save on premiums when faced with long-term care needs, you can use it to pay for home care, assisted-living or nursing home expenses. “I’ve been lobbying state Legislatures to make the public aware of their legal right to use this option,” says Orestis, CEO of Life Care Funding, (www.lifecarefunding.com). Seniors can sell their policy for 30 to 60 percent of its death benefit value and put the money into an irrevocable, tax-free fund designated specifically for their care.

•  Don’t be so quick to attempt to qualify for Medicaid. Many people who need significant long-term health care can’t afford it, so they drop life insurance policies that they’ve been carrying for years in order to qualify for Medicaid. Families often turn to Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, but it comes with many restrictions, including choice of facilities. In a situation where one spouse is healthy and the other is not, the spouse living independently will also face restrictions on the amount of assets he or she can retain, for instance, a maximum $2,898.00 for monthly maintenance.

About Chris Orestis

Chris Orestis, nationally known senior health-care advocate, expert, and author is CEO of Life Care Funding, (www.lifecarefunding.com), which created the model for converting life insurance policies into protected Long-Term Care Benefit funds. His company has been providing care benefits to policy holders since 2007. A former life insurance industry lobbyist with a background in long-term care issues, he created the model to provide an option for middle-class people who are not wealthy enough to pay for long-term care, and not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

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Three Lessons on Retirement Planning from Two Classic Old Cars

Peaches downhill

3 Lessons on Retirement Planning 
from 2 Classic Old Cars

Financial Advisor Shares Tips for Pre-Retirees

Classic car aficionado David Rosell, CEO of Rosell Wealth Management and author of “Failure is NOT an Option,” (www.DavidRosell.com), says pre-retirees can learn a lot from their beloved old cars about financial planning for a secure retirement.

This story alone holds valuable lessons:

“I love adventure travel and, years ago, I went to New Zealand, where I bought a charming old Morris Minor from a German traveler who was heading home,” Rosell says.

“I paid $200 for the car, thinking if it got me to the Bay of Islands 150 miles to the north and back again, it would have been worth the money.”

As it turned out “Kiwi” carried Rosell all over the North Island. He took a chance and made a second investment of $200 to have the car ferried to the South Island to roam the mountains and rainforests.

The car not only hung in, he sold it for $600 to another newly arrived traveler when it came time to leave.

Years later, fondly remembering the Morrie, he found a convertible version for sale in the United States. “Peaches” had been lovingly maintained, so the asking price was much higher, but she was a far more reliable bet than old Kiwi. Rosell bought it and continues to carefully maintain it. At 57 years old, it’s humming along smoothly.

So, what can a pre-retiree learn about financial planning from Rosell’s Morris Minors?
Plenty, he says.

•  There’s a time for taking risks, and a time for avoiding them. 
Rosell was a young man on that trip to New Zealand, and he planned to stay a few weeks. He could afford the risk of driving around in a charming old clunker because, if it broke down, he had time and other resources available.

“When you’re young and building your wealth, you can and should take more risks. Small- , mid- and large-cap stock funds, and international stock funds are the most volatile – riskier – so they generally have the greatest potential for growth,” Rosell says.

Once you retire, your focus should be on a lack of risk and volatility, although you still want some growth to overcome the damaging effects of inflation.

•  If you look after your money the way you would a beloved old car, you can live the life you imagine.
Many people contribute to company plans such as 401(k)s or pump their money into other savings and investment plans and then ignore them. That’s like investing in a car like Peaches and never checking the oil, Rosell says.

“Whether you’re managing the funds yourself or you hire a financial advisor, you need to be monitoring your progress toward your goals and making adjustments during your accumulation years,” he says.

“As you get closer to retirement, you need to begin planning for how much you’ll be able to withdraw each year without stressing your portfolio; how that affects the date  when you can retire; and when you should start collecting Social Security benefits.”

•  Gather all your important paperwork – and an index to it – and keep it where your family can find it.
When Rosell bought Peaches, its owner had a stack of paperwork documenting everything he’d done to maintain and restore the car. That has helped Rosell be proactive and focused in his maintenance efforts.

“If something should happen to you, you can make it much easier on your family by compiling the information they need,” he says.

Make sure all important financial information and other important documents are organized and stored in a fireproof box, and provide a list with information such as:

Location of wills and other important papers; bank accounts; investments; retirement assets such as 401(k)s; insurance policies; business interests; real estate; personal property; debts and money owed

Rosell says Peaches taught him many life lessons as well, including this one: “Like Peaches, one does not need to be flamboyant or showy to get positive attention!”

About David Rosell

David Rosell, author of “Failure is NOT an Option,” (www.DavidRosell.com), is a sought-after speaker who has addressed international audiences including the Million Dollar Round Table. He is a recipient of the Retirement Distribution Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and has been featured on NPR and FOX Business News.  His company, Rosell Wealth Management, was a select finalist in 2008 for the management of the $500,000,000 Oregon 529 College Fund. He is the past chairman of the Bend, Ore., Chamber of Commerce, the City Club of Central Oregon and his Toastmasters chapter. With a current tally of more than 65 countries on four different continents, Rosell has a love of extreme travel and adventure.

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FDA Urges Curbs on Use of Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks

NBC Nightly News reported in its broadcast on the dangers of indiscriminate use of aspirin, saying, “Tonight the FDA is warning that a daily dose is not for everyone, and taking aspirin needlessly may actually put them at significant risk.” The reported pointed out the agency is now “reminding consumers there are risks associated with taking aspirin.” NBC Dr. Steven Nissen of Cleveland Clinic, said, “If you have a low risk of a heart attack, you’re not going to get much benefit from the aspirin, but you will have the bleeding risk.”

Bloomberg News reported the FDA has disclosed aspirin “generally shouldn’t be used to prevent heart attacks or stroke for patients with no history of the disease.” The agency noted in a statement that the use of the painkiller “raises serious risks of bleeding in the stomach and brain.” The article noted the FDA’s words of caution follow its denial of request from Bayer AG “to change the labeling on its packaging to market the product for heart-attack prevention for patients with no history of cardiovascular disease.”

On its website, NBC News reported the recommendation for the use of therapeutic aspirin still remains the same – “it should be used only in people at high risk for heart attack and stroke, and then only under a doctor’s care.” Robert Temple, the FDA’s deputy director for clinical science, said, “You should use daily aspirin therapy only after first talking to your health care professional, who can weigh the risks and benefits.” According to Richard Chazal, vice president of the American College of Cardiology, people should avoid taking daily aspirin just because they consider it is good for their health.

The news was also covered by Reuters and Forbes.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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Featured Link — Medicare Information

For those of you about to become eligible for Medicare, or those who just want to learn more about it, the Internet has tons of information for you.

The first place to look is the government’s own excellent site, Medicare.gov.

Consumer Reports has a helpful site at Managing-Medicare, and a third informative site is MedicareInteractive.

Among these three sites I think you’ll find answers to any questions you might have.

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U.S. Soldier’s Appeal on Murder Conviction Carries Questions About Chantix

Two reports examine what role the stop-smoking drug Chantix may have played in the case of an Army soldier convicted of murdering a fellow soldier in 2008. McClatchy reports that Army Pfc. George D.B. MacDonald “claimed his mind snapped after using the medication to stop smoking,” but Pfizer “resisted turning over certain documents to the defense team, including clinical trial studies that were conducted on Chantix.” Pfizer has been sued by about 2,700 people who formerly used the drug. MacDonald’s defense team eventually obtained a 1,443-page printout of the FDA’s record of “adverse event reports” on Chantix, and “156 of the reports mentioned suicide, aggression or ‘homicidal ideation.’”

In another report, McClatchy further backgrounds the MacDonald case, noting that “while his homicidal claim is rare…questions about the drug’s safety are not.” McClatchy says Pfizer has paid out at least $299 million to settle claims about Chantix, but it made $486 million on the drug in just nine months of 2013.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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Blood Test Shows Promise for Gauging Heart Attack Risk After Chest Pain

blood_testing

A blood test that will predict heart attacks? This sounds too good to be true, but it just might be possible, according to an article at USNews.com. Here are excerpts:.

Though more study needs to be done, new research suggests that a simple blood test could help predict the heart attack risk of patients experiencing chest pain.

The Swedish study found that patients with chest pain who have undetectable levels of a certain chemical signal in their blood called “high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T,” plus no sign of reduced blood flow, are at very low risk for heart attack over the next month.

“Chest pain is a potentially life-threatening symptom, as well as being a very common one,” study lead author Dr. Nadia Bandstein, from the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden, said in a meeting news release. “In our hospital it’s the second most common symptom reported in the emergency department. Since there are no established ways to quickly rule out heart attack, many patients are admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, at a large cost to the patient and to society.”

According to Bandstein, “using this blood test along with an ECG [electrocardiogram], we will save about 500 to 1,000 admissions per year in our hospital alone, allowing us to use the beds for sicker patients.”

Still, more research is required. And experts note that studies presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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India-Based Firm Recalls Cholesterol Medicine Over Dosage Mix-Up

The Washington Post reported India-based pharmaceutical firm Ranbaxy Laboratories, which is facing increased regulatory scrutiny over its manufacturing practices, “has recalled more than 64,000 bottles of the generic version of a cholesterol-lowering drug in the United States after a dosage mix-up.” The paper reported that the company “recalled tablets of atorvastatin calcium, the generic version of Pfizer’s cholesterol-fighter Lipitor, after a pharmacist found a 20 milligram tablet in a sealed bottle marked for 10 milligram tablets,” citing a report from the FDA posted on its website.

The Wall Street Journal reported the FDA had classified the recall as Class II, which means the recalled product could lead to a temporary health use, or the potential for a serious health problem is unlikely.

The news was also covered by Bloomberg NewsReuters and CNBC on its website.

From the American Association for Justice news release.

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New Hampshire Senate Sends Governor Medically Unfit Drivers Bill

The AP reports the New Hampshire Senate has sent Gov. Maggie Hassan a bill “that would protect New Hampshire doctors and other medical professionals from lawsuits if they report someone as unfit to drive.” The Senate voted without debate Thursday to pass the House bill, which is noted to have “the support of the state branches of the AARP and AAA and the New Hampshire Medical Society.” The AP further points out that three years ago, New Hampshire “repealed a law requiring road tests for drivers 75 and older that AARP, AAA and other organizations opposed because it was based on a person’s age, not ability to drive.”

Among other sources also reporting the story are New Hampshire Union Leader, and Concord (NH) Monitor.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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Healthcare Firm Recalls Some Infusion Pumps

Reuters reported, citing the FDA, that Baxter Healthcare Corp. has issued a recall for some of its Sigma Spectrum infusion pumps in the wake of more than 3,500 reports related to its malfunctioning. The pumps help deliver medicine and other fluids. No deaths have been reported, although there were seven adverse events.

From the new release of the American Association for Justice.

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