Posts Tagged ‘retirement’

Guest Blog: Are You Worried about Outliving Your Money in Retirement? A Life Settlement could be a Game Changer for You.

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Cheerful senior couple moving into new home smiling at cameraOur guest blogger this week is Jamie Mendelsohn, Vice President, Ashar Group.

Due to medical advances and healthy lifestyles, many seniors are going to live longer than they planned on. As a result, seniors are working longer and delaying retirement to help compensate for an anticipated shortfall in retirement income. The Life Settlement option has emerged as a viable option to consider when it becomes apparent that you are in danger of outliving your savings and in need of liquidity to maintain your lifestyle for years to come. A life settlement is a liquidity option where you can appraise an unneeded or unaffordable life insurance policy that you currently own and potentially sell it for more than the cash surrender value. A study from the Government Accountability Office concluded that life settlements offered seniors approximately 8 times more than the surrender value as opposed to just letting their life insurance policy lapse. That’s additional income that can be used to fund long-term health care needs, retirement needs, or simply as a way to offset the costs of living on a fixed income while trying to keep pace with inflation.

So how do you know what a policy is worth? No different than your home or any other assets that you own, you can have your life insurance policy appraised or valued in the Secondary Market. While many seniors can benefit from a SMV®, Secondary Market Valuation, those who have health conditions that were developed after the policy was issued years ago, are the ones who benefit most. Ashar Group provides a simple online tool to help you evaluate if your policy might have hidden value that can be uncovered to help you supplement your retirement. It’s a quick and easy 7-question quiz that you can access at

Jamie Mendelsohn is a Vice President for the Ashar Group in Orlando, Florida. Ashar is a independent life settlement brokerage firm that partners with your advisor to design your case and represent you in the secondary market bidding process to assure that you get the highest offer possible. Jamie can be reached at


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Traveling with an Older Adult

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

By Susan Yubas, founder of FYI Senior Living Solutions, Inc.

As we prepare for a trip with older members of our family, we want the plans we make to be as uncomplicated and stress free as possible.  “Ha, ha,” you laugh.  Travel is complicated and stressful on its own these days, let alone when you are traveling with an older adult who may be frail.

Here are some tips to ease the way:

  • Review your travel plans with their personal physician so you know if there are any special needs you should be aware of and plan for in advance of your arrival.
  • Make sure you know the health insurance company’s requirements for out of network or emergency care – sometimes a family definition of emergency is different from that of the insurer.  Bring a copy of insurance cards with you on the trip.
  • Bring a current medication list and medications in their original pharmacy bottles.  Carry the medications with you – never pack them in checked luggage or in a place that you cannot get to easily.
  • If an older adult has difficulty walking long distances or easily gets short of breath, arrange for a wheelchair.  It is important that you do this well in advance of arrival at the airport as having the wheelchair available at curbside will allow you to navigate security and get to the gate more easily and safely.
  • Familiarize yourself with available medical resources at your destination in advance.
  • If you will be traveling quite a distance, you may want to consider travel insurance that includes medical transport and/or trained personnel to accompany you to a care destination should the need for urgent care arise.
  • Be flexible with your schedule and enjoy your trip!

Susan Yubas is a Certified Senior Advisor and the founder of FYI Senior Living Solutions, Inc.  She will help you articulate your goals,identify issues you may not have considered and direct you to appropriate professionals to help you implement what is needed.


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New Program Enlists Doormen to Watch for Elder Abuse

Friday, December 13th, 2013

A new program in New York City is training doormen who work in apartment buildings to watch for elder abuse.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention, part of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, developed the program, which offers free training for doormen, porters, concierges and other building staff, at the building where they work.

Joy Solomon, the director of the Weinberg Center, said that many elderly people who were being abused did not come forward on their own, so advocates realized they would have to reach out to others who might be likely to spot the signs of abuse. The center has already helped to educate people such as estate lawyers, speech therapists, and those who deliver hot meals to seniors. Now building staff are being enlisted to help as well.

Many buildings in the city have a growing population of elderly residents. An analysis of census data by Queens College found that by 2040, an estimated 21 percent of adults in New York City will be age 60 or older, an increase from 17 percent in 2010.

At a training she led recently, Ms. Solomon told of an elderly resident of an Upper East Side apartment building, who was taken advantage of by a woman. Building staff witnessed the woman removing valuables from the man’s apartment, but did not step forward, perhaps because they did not want to overstep their bounds. Solomon said that when a staff member knows that something is wrong, it is important to take action. Several older apartment building residents said they would much prefer that building staff say something about a situation that does not appear right, rather than staying quiet out of a fear of prying into someone else’s business.

For elderly residents who do not have frequent visits from friends and family, a doorman may be the first person to notice an injury, signs of confusion, or other evidence that the person needs help.

Solomon said that the training would be provided initially to buildings with large populations of older people, but would eventually be available to anyone requesting it.


Procrastination & Debt Have Serious Effects on Estate Planning

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Proper retirement and estate planning is the key to having the resources to enjoy one’s golden years and leave a legacy to one’s heirs. Two of the biggest obstacles to avoid on the way to these goals are procrastinating about saving for retirement, and accumulating unmanageable debt.

It may be understandable that retirement is the last thing on young people’s minds, but it is also regrettable, because the earlier one begins to save for retirement, the easier it is to build a comfortable nest egg. Someone who saves $100 per month beginning at age 25 will have saved over $300,000 by age 67, assuming a rate of return on investment of 7 percent. Saving the same amount of money per month but not starting to save until age 40 would result in savings of less than $100,000.

The Social Security system is more stable than some critics would lead one to believe, but Social Security retirement benefits provide only a safety net, not enough to retire in comfort. Employer pensions are very nearly a thing of the past. Much of the responsibility of providing for one’s retirement is up to the individual. A 401(k) plan, especially with an employer contribution, can be a tremendous help, and can motivate even young workers to save. The key is to avoid procrastination in saving for retirement.

Debt is the other major issue that can adversely impact retirement planning and estate planning. With too much debt, many older Americans find they cannot afford to retire, much less leave a substantial estate to their heirs. To get control of debt, it is important to focus on paying down high-interest debt first, such as credit cards.

Debt – even a healthy, manageable amount – can affect estate planning in less obvious ways as well. For instance, if you are planning to provide for some heirs through a trust and others through a will, you should be aware that debts must be paid from your estate and consider how that will affect your bequests.


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Traveling Tips for Families with a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Monday, September 9th, 2013

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you may be apprehensive about bringing your family member with you when traveling. However, with a little bit of careful planning, you and your loved one can enjoy a safe trip.

Before deciding on travel details, consider what would be best for the safety and comfort of your loved one with Alzheimer’s. People in the early stages of the disease often enjoy travel, but for some the experience is overwhelming. Keep your family member’s preferences and limitations in mind when choosing your transportation method. The best journey is one that does not unduly disrupt your loved one’s daily routine. A person with dementia is likely to prefer a destination that is familiar or that involves visiting loved ones.

Navigating airport security can be difficult for someone with dementia; if you must travel by air, consider informing the airline of your needs ahead of time. Even if a wheelchair is not necessary, it may be a good idea for your family member’s comfort and because you will have an airline employee to help you get around the airport.

During the trip, be aware of the fact that a change in environment can be a trigger for wandering, and take precautions. Also be sure to keep essentials on hand such as a comfortable change of clothes, all prescribed medications, snacks and drinking water. You should also bring important documents such as copies of any living will or advanced health care directives, health insurance cards, and doctors’ names and contact information.

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LGBT Retirees Have Additional Estate Planning Concerns

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Members of the LGBT community tend to save more money for retirement than the population as a whole.  But LGBT seniors planning for retirement also face unique concerns.

According to experts, people in the LGBT community tend to be higher earners, and have smaller families, some with no children.  While lower family expenses may make it easier to plan for retirement, LGBT couples without children may also have to plan for additional caregiver costs as they approach retirement age.

Although same-sex couples may now marry in New York, the federal government does not yet recognize those marriages, and this creates complications for LGBT couples in terms of tax and estate planning.

As one example, estate taxes in 2013 will revert to a $1 million exclusion.  When a heterosexual spouse passes away, his or her assets over $1 million can usually pass to the surviving spouse without being subject to the tax, but this federal right does not apply to LGBT couples, married or not.

Social Security is another concern for LGBT couples, as spousal benefits are not provided to same-sex partners.  In addition, federal pension plans do not provide for spousal benefits.  LGBT couples must also be careful when moving property into joint ownership, as this can result in a large gift tax.

With careful estate planning, there are solutions to many of these issues.  LGBT couples planning for retirement would be advised to seek the counsel of a qualified estate planning attorney familiar with the unique needs of the LGBT community.

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Planning to Retire Soon? Create a Retirement Checklist

Monday, July 16th, 2012

If you are considering retiring within the next five years, now is the time to create a retirement plan.  Many seniors say they wish they had planned more carefully for retirement.  There are several things you can do now to make sure your legal and financial affairs are in order when you retire.

Define Your Financial Goals

Naturally, one of the most important considerations in planning for retirement is safeguarding your financial security.  That means defining what you expect your lifestyle to be during retirement, and how your financial goals will be met.  You will want to consider factors such as how you will allocate money from your savings to supplement your retirement income, the possibility of rising health care expenses, and the effect that inflation may have on your purchasing power.

Your retirement plan will need to include a budget and an asset allocation strategy, and you will need to consider how to balance different sources of income and benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and your own assets.  If you are employed, one thing you can do to maximize your savings is to invest as much as you can in your 401(k) before you retire.  Your employer can be a valuable source of information on how best to make use of your 401(k), and what benefits you will receive in retirement.  If you are married, then you and your spouse should create a joint retirement plan.

Create an Estate Plan

If you do not already have an estate plan, now is the time to create one.  Before retirement, you will want to be sure that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, through the execution of a will, and the establishment of any trusts that would benefit you and your family.  It is also important to establish a durable power of attorney, designating a person to make decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.  Through a living will, you can issue specific instructions for what is to be done in certain medical situations.  An estate planning attorney can help you create a holistic plan for the management of your assets.

Retirement is something to look forward to, and something to plan for carefully.

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Retirement Communities Are Going Green

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

As seniors plan for retirement, a new option has emerged: the “green” retirement community.  One such facility, Birches at Chambers Senior Community, has opened in Ulster, New York.  The community not only features state-of-the-art accessible housing, but was built with energy efficiency in mind.

Joseph Malcarne, a contractor involved in the construction of the facility, said that the design was intended to be environmentally friendly and healthy for the residents.  The facility accommodates seniors in various stages of aging, and it was designed as an age-in-place community.  This type of design is popular, but also creates challenges.  The air circulation system had to be designed in such a way that airborne germs could not circulate from one area to another, and senior sensitivity to temperature was also a concern.

The solution was a separate ventilator system for each individual unit, which regularly exchanges fresh outside air.  The community also features solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, which came from a local source, further reducing the carbon footprint.  The energy efficiency measures earned the development a platinum rating from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The development comprises 66 units and includes a fitness studio, computer lab, and community room.  The entire community is wheelchair-accessible, including a gazebo and patios.

The community’s first resident, Cindy Grill, took up residence in 2010.  Grill had lived in another Birchez facility, but after a stroke confined her to a wheelchair, she needed an accessible home.  Vinnie Organtini, a subcontractor who helped build the development, organized his crew to help her move in.

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How can Families get Started in Planning a Nursing Home Placement for a Loved One?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Guestblogger: Ginalisa Monterroso, Entitlement Analyst, Archcare at Mary Manning Walsh Home

How can families get started in planning a nursing home placement for a loved one?

  • Families really need to do lots of research. Use the internet, visit the neighborhoods and facilities and look for reviews that are done by people that have had their family members in the nursing home. Search for a facility where your loved one’s immediate needs are met, ask questions, see if they have an available rehabilitation center, what foods they will serve, how they can cater to your loved ones, what insurance the nursing home will take.
  • Always visit and ask questions.

What is the New York Patient Review and how and where can it be completed?

  • It is a “quick” medical assessment of the patient’s needs – it states what the patient is being treated for, the diagnosis, any symptoms, medications, needs and requirements medically per the doctor’s orders,(as opposed to going through an entire medical chart it is a 7-page summary of all the medical needs of a patient (type of care, type of equipment needed, etc.) so that nursing homes can make a quick assessment).  It can be completed

What is the admissions agreement?

  • This is an agreement that is generated by the facility stating all the requirements of what the facility offers for the resident as far as the needs, insurance (required), payments needed, it is a breakdown of what is included in regards to services, room and board, rehabilitation, insurance, notification on insurance being discontinued, the guidelines for where to go if your insurance is discontinued. Everyone should always read the agreement, it is important to know what is going to go on in a facility when you admit your family member.

How does one pay for nursing home care? Can it be subsidized?

  • There are a lot of options to pay for care. There are short-term options and long-term options. Medicare covers a short-term stay, it also covers assistance in-state nursing facilities (up to 100 days); if you need an extension, or a longer stay, there are other insurances that may cover the extra duration of the stay, for example, a long-term care policy, or medicaid. Paying out-of-pocket is very, very costly.

How do you complete the Medicaid or Medicare application?

  • Call the Social Security Administration and get your family member on Medicare. You should have the Medicare before you go into a nursing home. Medicaid can always be done once the family member enters the nursing home if the need for an extended stay is necessary. There is a financial person on site who can assist with applying for Medicaid. You should always have long-term care insurance set up before your nursing home placement.

What happens if I am a long distance caregiver or when the patient lives out of state?

  • The process of searching is still the same. Ask questions! Technology today has expanded – – do they have an online site? You can view the facility and take a tour online. Ask to speak to the directors of each department (especially admissions).

What legal assistance is required (or preferred) when dealing with a nursing home?

  • Emergency situations where people haven’t planned in advance are surprisingly common in nursing home placements.  You always want to have a power of attorney; go to a certified elder law attorney (CELA®) when dealing with your loved one. A CELA® member knows all the rules and regulations and will know what needs to be done or prepared in regards to entering a nursing home. Guardianships and financial planning are also important to discuss with a CELA® member to ensure that your loved one’s stay is comfortable.

What rights do patients have while they reside in a nursing home?

  • Patients have the same rights as they would as if they were not living in a nursing home: the right to privacy, to not be discriminated against, they have all the same rights as they would as if they were living at home. No one can make any decisions without asking a resident or confirming with a guardian or social worker (who are always on-site).  The family member has a right to find out what is going on (medically, financially) with their family member or loved one.  They are to be notified of any emergencies or needs that their loved one may have as they change.

What is the best advice you can give to family members on how to place your loved one in a nursing home?

  1. Be preparedPlan Ahead
  2. Look for symptoms in family members who are becoming frail or ailing
  3. Keep paperwork in one place (medical, financial and legal records)
  4. Make sure that you have discussed the needs and wants of your loved one so you are prepared if an emergency takes place (in regards to finances, health and legal matters)
  5. Speak to a certified elder law attorney (CELA®) to ensure your family members’ needs are met – it always helps down the road.

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