Monday, August 24, 2020

Are You Aging into Medicare? Here's What You Need to Know

Learn about Medicare and the choices you have.

Remember that Part B which pays 80% of doctors, supplies, outpatient services, physical or speech therapy does not have a cap after the 80% is paid by Medicare. 

At this point, most people would buy a separate private Medicare Supplement plan, often referred to as a Medigap plan, which picks up where Medicare leaves off.

Medicare Advantage - Part C 
If you are all right with managed care and visiting doctors within the plan's network, a Medicare Advantage Plan may work for you. However, if you want some flexibility, you travel a lot, or you spend your time between two homes, Original Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Part D Prescription Drug Plan is usually a better choice.

If you have health insurance through your work or your spouse's work, you can delay enrolling in part B. But if your employer has fewer than 20 workers or if you are on a company retirement plan, you must enroll in Part B as soon as you turn 65. Your workplace or retiree plan will become your secondary plan. 

You will need to check your Part D Plan every year because the list of covered drugs can change.

If you are already receiving Social Security, when you turning 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A if you have earned 40 credits through payroll taxes while working . Medicare Part A covers hospitalizations, blood transfusions during hospitalization, home health care, hospice care, and stays in skilled nursing facilities.

If not, go to the Medicare web site or visit your local Social Security office either three months before your birthday month, on your birthday month, or no later than three months after your birthday month. This is your eligibility window.

With regards to Medicare Part B, you do not need any work credits to qualify for Part B. However, if you don't sign up during your eligibility window, but then decide to enroll later, your premium goes up 10% for each 12 month period.   As an example, if you wait five years to sign up, your premium would then be 50% higher than someone who signed up on time.

As I mentioned earlier, you also have an option of choosing Medicare Part C, which is commonly known as Medicare Advantage. This is a managed care type plan which covers all your benefits under Part A and Part B, and often will cover your Part D Prescription benefit and may include dental, vision and physical fitness. These plans usually have zero or minimum monthly premium

Nevertheless, before deciding on a Prescription Drug Plan, make a list of the medications you are taking, check to see if they are covered under the plan you are considering. If and when you enroll, you will pay a regular plan premium which varies according to coverage. 

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Financial Choices for Safety and Security in this Era of Trump

Although 401(k)s are rebounding, financial safety and security continues to be sought in America. 

In this context, traditional whole life insurance and annuities must be considered as safe and secure options for acquiring sufficient money to have a satisfying retirement.

The long standing traditional whole life insurance lasts for your whole life and the premium remains the same as long as the policy is in existence. 

Traditional whole life insurance contains the basic essentials of term insurance, with an investment element added.

You pay a premium amount larger than the premium which would be paid for term insurance and that part of the payment is invested over the life of the policy. 

The growth of that investment is nontaxable to you. This favorable treatment of return on investment is exclusive to life insurance and offers a significant wealth buildup vehicle.

In a nutshell, here's what traditional whole life insurance have to offer:
  • ·         tax-favored cash values
  • ·         death benefits
  • ·         competitive interest rate
  • ·         guaranteed return
Next, an annuity is an investment contract between you and the insurance company. You receive a return on your investment that supplements your contribution. In the future, you can choose to "annuitize" the investment to provide income for a specified period of time in your lifetime.

The earnings on an annuity can grow without being lessened by taxes. These earnings are not taxable until you withdraw them, and then they are spread out over a number of years. 

When you begin receiving income from an annuity, only part of your income is taxable because you receive both interest and a partial return of the invested principal.

To make the best use of the positive tax advantages of an annuity, you also must be aware of the potential tax problems. The IRS imposes a penalty of 10 percent along with the tax owed on withdrawals unless you are over age 59 1/2 when withdrawing money from the annuity or cashing it in. 

These charges are in addition to any insurance company fees that might be imposed upon the withdrawal.

It is advisable to approach the purchase of an annuity with the expectation that you will not draw on it until you are older than age 59 1/2. 

To fully make the most of the tax advantages you should plan on holding the annuity for many years so that the earnings can grow without current taxation. No matter what the tax advantages of an annuity are, you still must pay close attention to the rate of return on the investment.

Here's what annuities have to offer:
  • ·         a guaranteed return.
  • ·         a competitive interest rate.
  • ·         and, tax-free or tax-favored benefits
Because of their safety and security, both whole and annuities, should be given a major consideration for providing either partial or full retirement benefit. 

Keep current on the tax laws. They change frequently. 

Call (773) 614-3201 or e-mail me at if you have questions regarding life insurance and annuities

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Buy Your First Home Now

Mortgage rates remain historically low. 
At around 3.13% for a 30 year fixed mortgage, the  time has hardly been better than now to buy a home.  

Homes have begun to appreciate significantly in value in certain parts of the country. But, wherever you are, buy a home for the long term. Consider it a place in which to live, to enjoy, and to raise your family, not just for an investment. . 

Keep in mind with a thirty-year fixed rate mortgage, your monthly payments (with the exception of your property taxes and homeowners insurance)  are set for the duration no matter how high the interest rate may rise in the future. 

Now here's a mortgage calculated upon the current 30 year interest rate of 3.13%. See how much you will be paying for the next thirty years.  For example your monthly note for a $150,000, 4 bedroom house, with a 30 yr fixed rate of 3.13% and a FHA mortgage of 3% down would be roughly $623 per month. 

Now, consider just the financial savings between buying and renting. In many of the urban areas of this country, a 4-bedroom apartment would rent for over $2,000 per month with the rent subjected to increase every year. 

E-mail me at and I'll send you a detailed home buying vs renting comparison. For a free consultation, call (773) 614-3201

Click here for a home that's for immediate sale in Chicago. All offers considered. 

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