Tip 6 -CONSIDER YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY
Fay Radding of the MetLilfe Mature Market Institute says, “We think of retirement as a three-legged stool. We know that basically it’s built on the idea of having a pension, which many people don’t have, although many people have a 401 K, personal savings and Social Security.
Social Security is our basic benefit.
Although you qualify at 62, it’s suggested you wait until you’re at least 66 to claim the monthly payments.
Every year that you wait, you get an extra 8% up until 70 years old. For example: If you start to collect at: 62 you qualify for $650 a month 66 you’d get $1,000 a month 70 you’d get $1320. After you’re 66 you can work, earn an unlimited amount, and still collect Social Security without deductions from your monthly benefit.
Tip 7 – THINK ABOUT HOW YOU’LL USE YOUR HOME
Our homes are usually are biggest assets and as with everything else, it’s important to think about how you will use this asset and the money that it has made for you over the years.
Tax attorney Robert Barnett says, “The IRS code allows special exemptions for the sale of your house. They will allow a single person to say $250,000 will be exempt, and a married couple will double that to $500,000. So people who bought their homes years ago and have seen a large fluctuation in value need to protect the ability to maintain those exemptions.”
Lawyers suggest putting your home, stocks and other assets into a trust to avoid probate court fees after you die. A trust allows you to live in the home. But the house and assets go to your heirs. A trust also gives you the opportunity to lay out instructions about what to do with the money in the trust.
You can choose a revocable trust, which can be changed or an irrevocable trust, which can’t be changed.
Tip 8- PROTECT YOUR ASSETS CONSIDER SETTING UP A TRUST Protecting the assets become an issue if you become very ill, or go into a nursing home and need to use Medicaid to supplement Medicare.
In addition, putting assets in a trust early may help you qualify for what’s called “Community Medicaid.” That allows you to stay at home and get Medicaid help for care. Medicaid is primarily funded by the federal government, but administered by the states.
And each state has different income and asset requirements. In New York State, for example, the income limit for one person is $14,250. In New Jersey it’s about $5,000. It’s difficult to hide your money. Medicaid in every state does a five-year review for eligibility. Attorney Stuart Schoenfeld explains, “If you’ve transferred assets to a trust or children within five years, you’ll be disqualified from Medicaid for a period of time.
FIGURING IT OUT
Planning for your financial future involves making complicated, well-thought out choices and decisions, but it is not rocket science and you can conquer the information to take control of your destiny and your money.
Legal help is important, and a good geriatric care manager can be invaluable.
New York City-based geriatric care manager Joanne Lehman says, ”We come in and do an assessment of your needs and create a plan. We help you investigate all of the options, fill out the paperwork, work with attorneys and follow up to make sure that you have what you need.”
You can find a geriatric care manager through the professional organization at www.caremanager.org For more watch our video Choosing Power of Attorney Tips You may also want to read Advocate for My Mom