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Social Security is changing. Medicare is changing. Medicaid is changing. Retirement planning is changing. It is imperative in order to survive financially to understand these confusing changes and make them work to your advantage. These issues particularly affect baby boomers caring for aging parents or planning their own retirement and financial future. This book shows you what to expect, what these changes mean and how to make these changes work to your advantage.Consumer finance expert and nationally ...
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Social Security is changing. Medicare is changing. Medicaid is changing. Retirement planning is changing. It is imperative in order to survive financially to understand these confusing changes and make them work to your advantage. These issues particularly affect baby boomers caring for aging parents or planning their own retirement and financial future. This book shows you what to expect, what these changes mean and how to make these changes work to your advantage.Consumer finance expert and nationally syndicated radio host Steve Weisman begins with a complete guide to your retirement investment choices, from IRAs and 401Ks to the latest insurance products... even new techniques, such as reverse mortgages. Drawing on his exceptional expertise as a financial planner and attorney specializing in elder care issues, Weisman presents insights you can't find elsewhere: simply, painlessly, and with welcome humor.
It has always been about us. We are the baby boomers. Between 1946 and 1964, 78 million of us burst onto the American scene. In every stage of our lives, America has been about us. Businesses changed to meet our needs. The Ford Mustang, introduced in 1964, sold 22,000 cars on the first day and 1 million cars in the first 2 years to a population that included large numbers of baby boomers, fresh with their drivers' licenses and looking for sporty cars.
We did not trust anyone over 30. We did not listen to our parents. We were young. We had all the answers.
Now years later, our numbers still dominate the country. Baby boomers represent 27.5 percent of the population. But we are getting old. More than 24 million of us are over 50. Now we do not trust anyone under 30. We are trying to get our parents to listen to us. And we are looking for some answers. Soon we will be retiring, although many of us have not planned sufficiently for that eventuality. Soon we will be dealing with Social Security. Soon we will be dealing with Medicare.
But we are dealing with all of those issues already. For we are not just baby boomers; we are the sandwich generation, with children of our own (who sometimes fail to listen to our collective wisdom) and parents now increasingly dependent upon us for advice and assistance.
Suddenly we are being faced with helping our parents decide about nursing homes, assisted living, and home care. We followed the news and said we never want ourselves or our parents to end up like Terri Schiavo. We are looking into advance-care health directives.
We are concerned about our parents' finances as well as our own. Is theirmoney being invested in the most efficient manner? Is ours? Should they be buying long-term care insurance? Should we? What alternatives are there to long-term care insurance? What about life insurance with accelerated death benefits or reverse mortgages? Is that annuity a good investment for our parents? Is it a good investment for us?
How can we reduce the amount of our income taxes? What advantages in the tax code are just sitting there waiting to save our parents and us money?
What should our parents be doing to meet their financial needs in retirement? What should we be doing now to provide for our own retirement? Will we have to work later in life to meet our own income needs? What do we do when we, the eternally young generation, find ourselves the victims of age discrimination?
How do we deal with all of the questions surrounding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, not just for our parents, but for ourselves? What do we do when our parents ask for our help as they try to understand the complexities and deal with the confusion of the new Medicare Part D prescription drug program?
And what about the even more distant future—the future in which the other side of our sandwich, our children, will live? Will Social Security be there for them? Will Medicare be there for them? Will Medicaid be there for anyone?
We didn't trust anyone over 30. Now, in 2006, our fellow boomers, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Cher, and Donald Trump, all turn twice that age.
Now is the time for us to be talking with our parents and helping them with their immediate needs. Now is the time for us to be looking at these complex issues and planning for our own future, which is rapidly approaching. Now is the time for us to deal with issues such as Social Security and Medicare. Otherwise, if left to the whims of politicians, these social programs could be transformed in ways we would not want to see by the time our children face these important issues of aging.
We are all living longer. We need to be informed to make these years the best years of our lives, not a time riddled with fear and want.
This book is about today and tomorrow. It is a guide for baby boomers stepping up to the plate that will empower them with knowledge so that they can help themselves and their parents right now, as well as set the stage for a better situation for their children.
But like just about everything else we baby boomers have done, we are going to have some fun with it. And that is reflected in this book, too. This book is full of helpful information that can make your life better, your parents' lives better, and your children's lives better. This book makes complex material clear and understandable. It lays out a framework upon which you can build a future. But this book is also filled with humor, trivia, and references to movies, music, and television. Why? Because that is the world of baby boomers. We are going to have a little fun while we change the world. Life is entirely too serious to be taken seriously.
This book is also for the parents of the baby boomers, the greatest generation. This book provides them with information to help them sift through the increasing complexities of their lives. It also helps them become better informed to deal with these issues either on their own or with their children as a family.
Finally, this book is even written for the next generation, the children of boomers, because eventually they will have to start dealing with these same issues of Social Security, Medicare and, the rest—not just for their parents, but for themselves as well. You might think you will be young forever, but we know better.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
About the Authors xxiii
Part I: Planning for Your Money 1
1 Iras and 401(k)s 3
2 Retirement Investing 15
3 Annuities 31
4 Income Taxes for Seniors 45
5 Age Discrimination 63
6 Reverse Mortgages 79
Part II: Planning for Long-Term Care 97
7 Home Care 99
8 Choosing a Nursing Home or an Assisted-Living Facility 111
9 Long-Term Care Insurance 129
10 Alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance 145
Part III: Government Programs 159
11 Social Security 161
12 Medicare 177
13 Medicaid 207
Part IV: Health Care Decision Making 237
14 Advance-Care Health Care Directives 239