If you’re thinking about retirement planning, one of the foremost things on your mind is funding your retirement through investment. Most people preparing for retirement want investments that will provide them income later.
While you are searching for good retirement investments, keep in mind that each investment is part of your overall retirement plan, and they should work together to provide you the best funding for your later years.
Retirement Investment OptionsThe Immediate Annuity – The annuity is an investment that can provide a guaranteed income, though it is important that you go through an insurance company that is reputable and stable. How the immediate annuity works is you’ll give the insurance company a lump sum, and in return the insurance company will pay you an income for the rest of your life. This guaranteed income is only in place as long as you are alive; what this means is that if you die a year or two later, the insurance company will keep your money, but if you live to an old age, they will pay you a monthly income no matter how long that is.
Stocks & Bonds – To invest in stocks and bonds it’s best to use the services of an experienced financial advisor. A good financial advisor can help you choose investments that will provide a good long-term rate of return, and help you figure out a withdrawal rate that will make your retirement income last as long as possible.
Investing in Property – This is a popular investment for providing regular income flow. If you own rental properties you will have income coming in each month, though you do have to be prepared to maintain those properties, and you will likely have periods of unexpected expense.
The Variable Annuity – Although this is an annuity it is different than the immediate annuity. With this investment you choose where your money is invested and you will get returns based on how well those investments do. If you’re worried about having a regular income stream, you can choose a variable annuity with a guaranteed minimum payment rider, so you can count on having a certain base income.
Using an experienced financial advisor is your best alternative when it comes to investing for your retirement. Getting good advice will help you ensure that you have a well-rounded investment portfolio, giving you the income you need in your retirement years.
When someone is terminally ill and not expected to recover, Hospice can make their last days more comfortable, and help loved ones through the ordeal as well.
If you’re considering using Hospice for yourself or someone you love, you’ll want to take some time to become familiar with what services are offered.
Hospice care is different from traditional medical care. The traditional method of caring for a terminally ill patient is to use procedures that will cure or extend that person’s life, even if chances of overcoming the illness are zero. Hospice cares for a patient by trying to make them as comfortable as possible during their last days.
In addition to providing care for the patient, Hospice provides services for the family by helping them to understand what their loved one is experiencing, as well as training them to care for that loved one. Hospice will also provide someone to care for the patient when the family is unable to do so.
Hospice care is available in-home, in the hospital, or in a nursing home. Some of the services that are available include:
Medical care provided by a Hospice physician
Nursing care throughout the whole time it is needed, or only to provide checkups and injections
Medical supplies and equipment
Counseling services to patient and family
Help with financial matters, such as insurance
Bereavement care following death
Hospice services cover a broad array of areas that are meant exclusively to help the patient and family deal with imminent death and its aftermath.
In order to qualify for services from Hospice a doctor must sign a certification that states that the patient has less than 6 months to live. Although this timeline may not be entirely accurate, this certification is required before insurance companies or Medicare will cover the costs of Hospice services.
If someone does enter Hospice care, they are not obligated to continue with these services. For example, if someone changes their mind and wants to try treatment to save their life, they can discontinue the use of Hospice until a later time.
Finding Hospice care when it is needed is fairly simple. You can search on the Internet to find the facilities in your area that offer Hospice services. Another place to get information on these services is from your doctor, or family and friends that have used Hospice.
Just like preparing your will and getting your other affairs in order is important, so too is looking at end of life care. If you are considering using the services of Hospice, find out as much as you can about the Hospice provider prior to the time you will need their services. Maybe you will never need to use Hospice, but if you or a loved one does, it is always nice to know where to turn for help.
There are many ways to protect your assets and if you have a clear idea of financial goals, an estate planning attorney can help you get there.
Retirement plans, for example are a great way to protect your assets in your latter years. These can take the form of individual retirement accounts, such as payroll deduction; salary reduction simplified employee pension plan; and, the savings incentive match plan for employees.
Life insurance is also a form of asset protection and involves a payout to beneficiaries when the holder of the insurance policy dies. There are a wide range of life insurance polices, including term, whole and variable.
Estate planning involves drawing up a will and working out what’s the best path for you to take. It’s a way of looking forward and considering how you want your assets distributed. It also involves tax minimization strategies.
Living Trusts are a component of estate planning and a common method of asset protection. You transfer your assets into trusts and upon death they’re distributed to your beneficiaries. It involves taking assets out of your name and putting them into the trust’s name. Assets from a trust are not considered a part of your estate and are not subject to probate.
An annuity is another method used to protect assets. Funds are contributed into an account and following retirement, you receive periodic payments. The goal is for annuities to increase in value over time, benefiting you throughout your retirement.
Using these and other forms of asset protection, you can ensure that your legacy is preserved for your heirs. All it takes is forward planning, something which a good estate planning attorney can help with.
Medicaid is financial help offered by the government in the form of health insurance. It’s primarily offered to lower income individuals and families, although those with disabilities can often qualify as well. A test based upon your assets and income indicates your eligibility to receive Medicaid assistance.
Medicaid is managed by state government.
Medicaid is not in the form of cash payments; rather, payment is given directly to the health care institution.
There is a possibility that under Medicaid, you will be required to contribute a little to the medical expense.
There are certain medical services under Medicaid that the government requires all states to pay for, such as: x-rays; doctor and nurse services; laboratory results; certain types of services for those younger than 21; and nursing homes.
Apart from the mandatory obligations under Medicaid, states can choose to fund additional medical services, some of which include: prescriptions; eye and dental; and, hospice.
Because qualifying for Medicaid can be a little complex, it’s best to consult with a good attorney. Funding medical expenses in our latter years can be a drain on your family's nest egg - Medicaid can help cover these costs if you qualify, so it's important to create an estate plan to preserve your assets and plan for Medicaid.
There are many different types of living trusts, but they all fall into two main categories: revocable and irrevocable. Here’s the difference:
The terms of a revocable trust can be changed and the trust itself can even be dissolved. This type of trust does allow your heirs to avoid probate you’re your death and if you designate a successor trustee, it also protects your property in the event you become disabled. There are no tax advantages, however. Because the trust can be changed at any time, it’s considered part of the person’s estate and is subject to estate tax. Most revocable living trusts convert into an irrevocable trust upon death.
An irrevocable trust on the other hand, cannot be changed and is considered “permanent”. There are of course, some exceptions to this and if the assets within the trust are sold, the trust is effectively dissolved. The advantage of an irrevocable trust is that your assets are not seen as a part of the estate, and therefore, not subjected to estate tax. Like the revocable trust, assets in an irrevocable trust are also not subject to probate.
Each person will have distinct goals in mind when they set up a living trust. When deciding whether a revocable or irrevocable living trust is best, consult with a good estate planning attorney.
An Estate Plan will ensure that your loved ones and your assets are protected after you’re gone. But to build a good estate plan, you’ll need the help of a qualified estate planning attorney.
Here’s what to expect during the estate planning process:
1 – Gathering Your Documents
Your estate – irrespective of its size – has documents that detail its value and components. This includes property deeds, financial statements and life insurance policies to be sure, but you’ll also want to include information about your health and the health of your dependents as well as any information you might have on your ancestors and family tree.
What you want to do is start making lists. One should include all your belongings as well as your preferences as to how you’d like those items divided among your heirs. Another list should include all your bank accounts, investments, retirement plans and other financial assets
Do you have old recipes written by your great-grandmother? Old family photos? A sterling silver tea set that’s been handed down through the generations? These items hold significant heirloom value and should be listed separately along with stories from your childhood, audio recordings from family members, video and other items that document your family and its many members.
2 – Find a Qualified Attorney
The Internet offers a variety of do-it-yourself solutions, and creating an estate plan is no exception. But if you want a comprehensive, quality plan, you need a qualified attorney to take care of the documentation, help with the assessment and ensure that your Estate Plan is legally valid. DIY Estate planning programs do not offer the guidance and expertise you get from an attorney. Your attorney will also be able to suggest various ways to save on taxes, choose beneficiaries, and protect your assets from probate. 3 –
3 – Do you need Advanced Estate Planning?
There are some instances when a Simple Will or basic trust is not enough. Your attorney alone would be able to advise you on whether you can make do with a basic Estate Plan or a more advanced plan is required.
4-Maintain and Update
Once your Estate Plan is complete, your attorney will want to schedule regular “maintenance meetings” where you go over your plan and compare it with your current needs. This ensures that your plan is always up-to-date. Don’t skip this important part of the estate planning process.
If you’re a parent, one of the most important reasons for making a will is to name a legal guardian for your child. A legal guardian is the person you appoint to take care of your child in the unlikely event that both you and the child’s other parent die while your child is still a minor.
If you die without a will, the law treats the question of who will become the guardian of your children completely differently than it treats the question of who will get your property. The question of what will happen to your property is answered very clearly according to laws called intestacy statutes. Generally, intestacy statutes make sure that your property goes to your nearest family members.
The question of guardianship of your children, however, is not answered this way. If you die without appointing a guardian, your child doesn’t automatically go to your parents or to one of your siblings – any adult can come forward and request to be appointed your child’s guardian and a probate court judge will decide who gets the job.
This is why it’s important that you make a will appointing a guardian for your child – if you do so, with very few exceptions, your choice will be honored, and the role of caregiver will not be up for grabs. To avoid confusion, it’s a good idea to make sure that you and your spouse name the same guardian in each of your wills. It’s also a good idea to name an alternate guardian, in case your first choice is unable to fulfill your wishes.
In addition to naming a guardian, you’ll also need to name a trustee to take care of financial dealings on your child’s behalf. You can name the same person to serve as both guardian and trustee, but the question of whether or not it’s wise to do so should be discussed with an attorney.
Does receiving a regular paycheck every month sound nice?
Well, then an annuity may a good addition to your retirement portfolio. An annuity is an insurance investment tool. You pay in a certain amount over time and then when you retire, you receive a set “paycheck” amount each month. Your initial money is not taxed, but your annuity income will be. This can be a benefit to save you tax money now.
So how much can you make from an annuity?
This depends on how you choose to structure your annuity. You must decide how often and for how long you would like to get paid. You can receive payments monthly, quarterly, yearly, or even in a large one-time payment. You can also opt to receive annuity payments for a certain number of years, which may be a nice way to fund some early retirement travel. Or you can have your annuity pay out until your death, which will guarantee a lifetime income.
There are two kinds of annuities to choose from: deferred and immediate. If you are years from retirement, you may prefer a deferred annuity where your investment can grow while you wait. If, however, you are ready to retire now, an immediate annuity is probably the best choice. You will begin to receive payments not long after your initial investment.
Within these two types of annuities you will also need to decide between a fixed or variable payment. If you don't mind letting the market decide, a variable annuity may be for you. Your payments will depend on how well your annuity does in the market. If, however, playing it safe is for you, a fixed annuity will provide you with a set payment amount. This is a good choice, but will remove any chance for you to make more if your annuity should do well.
To determine if an annuity is right for you, talk to your estate planning attorney. They can coordinate with your financial advisors to ensure that your wealth is protected throughout your retirement.
Did you know you can retire as early as 62?
Beware though, as this is not your full retirement age and taking your Social Security payment at this time may reduce your amount by up to 30 percent. If at all possible, you should wait until your full retirement age to collect your Social Security benefits.
If you were born after 1960, your full retirement age is 67. Those born before 1960 should check with the Social Security Administration to determine your actual retirement age. If you choose to work beyond the age of 67, your monthly payment may be even larger. For every year past the age of 67 that you wait to collect Social Security, an additional percentage is added to your monthly payment. This percentage stops increasing at age 70.
Once you are eligible for your full retirement payment, you can apply and request retroactive payments, up to six months back as long as you were 67 during those dates. This is a great benefit to give you a little extra money if you need it. Also, if you are eligible to collect on a spouse’s benefits, you may be able to do so while delaying your own, allowing you to earn those helpful “delayed” credits.
But what about your Medicare? Just because you delay applying for Social Security doesn’t mean you can’t still sign up for Medicare at the age of 65. In fact, you may have to pay higher premium for Medicare Part B if you don’t sign up when you should. Also, not having Medicare or other insurance at your full retirement age and beyond may mean you will not get those delayed retirement credits.