Financial Fitness – Mid-Year 2022 Check-In

Summer will officially be here soon, but before kids get out of school and all the vacation planning you did begins to come to fruition, it can be a good idea to take stock of your financial picture and make updates where necessary. Below are a few things you should consider to keep your plan in shape. We’ve organized them by life stage, from having small kids to being closer to retirement. We’ve also included charitable giving, as that happens at every stage.

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Avoiding the Medicare Surcharge: What You Need to Know About IRMAA

Reaching Medicare eligibility solves one of the most expensive retirement problems for many retirees: healthcare. Once you’ve made the adjustment and selected all the various Parts and plans, the convenience and affordability of Medicare are one of the benefits of turning 65. However, Medicare is means-tested. If you make over a certain amount of income, surcharges on the Medicare Part B and Part B premiums kick in.

Making it a little more painful, it’s not a flat increase. The surcharges go up as incomes get higher and at the highest level can amount to hundreds of dollars a month in additional costs.

The key to avoiding or minimizing the surcharge is to control income levels. In early retirement, this may be reasonably easy to do. But if you’ve amassed a retirement nest egg in a traditional tax-deferred 401(k) or IRA account, once you hit 72 and required minimum distributions (RMDs) kick in, you can find yourself with a very hefty bill.

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GMB Ep #100: Reducing Small Business Health Insurance Costs With John Butler

 

Health insurance is an essential aspect in recruiting and retaining employees as well as sustaining productivity and employee happiness in a small business. In today’s episode, we have a distinguished guest, John Butler, joining us to take a deep dive into what business owners should know about health insurance. John is a national C-suite health benefits consultant, strategic coach, and the author of “Health Insurance Sucks,” the number one ranking book on Amazon in its category. Throughout this episode, John shares his insights on how businesses can reduce the cost of the health insurance they provide to their employees.  

 

 

Show Notes

[02:22] John’s background – John shares his journey and what inspired him to write the book “Health Insurance Sucks.” 

[05:25] Healthcare Costs – John explains his observations and findings on numerous methods to reduce healthcare costs. 

[07:05] PEO – John describes how small businesses can benefit from Professional Employer Organizations. 

[08:20] Custom Plan Solutions – With a comprehensive analysis, John points out how a custom health plan assures the highest quality service with a reasonable cost. 

[18:56] Insurance Companies and Brokers – John talks about the relationship between insurance companies and brokers, and shares his thoughts from the perspective of each party. 

[34:15] Federal Requirements – John explores the federal requirements and penalties related to employees’ health plans. 

[38:54] Health Sharing Programs – John emphasizes the significance of health sharing programs. 

[48:28] Current Social Context – The healthcare insurance industry consists of many complex layers. John shares his take on the healthcare plans in the current social context. 

 

 

Resources

Connect with John Butler: 

Website: jb-benefits.com/ 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jbbenefitsconsulting/ 

 

Mentioned in the Episode 

Health Insurance Sucks – The Moral Case for Better Business Healthcare: goodreads.com/book/show/58502517-health-insurance-sucks—the-moral-case-for-better-business-healthcare?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=KIWCNRWz38&rank=1 

GMB Ep #99: Maximizing Workplace Benefits With FSAs and HSAs

 

The open enrollment period for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) is approaching. During the enrollment period, employees can enroll in or amend their contributions for the future year for FSAs and HSAs, which they can use to pay for their healthcare-related expenses. We dedicated today’s episode to taking a deep dive into several vital facts related to FSA, Dependent care FSA, HSA, and the numerous ways to maximize your workplace benefits under each of them. 

 

 

Show Notes

[04:37] Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Grant explains what FSA means, how it works, and who can contribute.  

[07:55] Plan the Health Expenses – Why it is essential to forecast the health expenses to pay them on a tax-deferred basis through FSA versus paying out of pocket. 

[09:18] Spend the Fund at Pharmacy – Beneficial features of FSAs, such as the ability to spend the funds at a pharmacy, and why having this option is significant. 

[10:10] Dependent Care FSA – Grant explains the purpose of a Dependent Care FSA, its benefits, and several facts to keep in mind if you are considering using one. 

[15:30] HSA – How to contribute to and HSA and the fantastic tax benefits and investment opportunities that come along with it 

[19:12] Eligibility for HSA – Grant explains the eligibility requirements for HSAs, including having a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). 

[26:00] Connection to the employer – Grant discusses the connection between your HSA and your employer, and why employees can take their balance with them when they’re switching employers. 

 

Resources

What Is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
investopedia.com/terms/f/flexiblespendingaccount.asp 

 

What Is a Health Savings Account (HSA)?
investopedia.com/terms/h/hsa.asp 

GMB Ep #98: Everything You Need to Know About Medicare With Danielle Roberts

 

With the open enrollment period set to start on October 15th 2021, this is a great time to dive deep into the vital facts related to Medicare. In today’s episode, we have a distinguished guest, Danielle Roberts, joining us. Danielle is a co-owner of Boomer Benefits, a firm dedicated to helping senior citizens make confident decisions when enrolling into Medicare, as well as the author of the best-selling book “10 Costly Medicare Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make”. Throughout this episode, Danielle shares her wisdom on all the crucial points you need to know if you intend to enroll in Medicare.

 

 

Show Notes

[02:25] Danielle’s Background – Danielle introduces herself and explains what they do at Boomer Benefits.

[04:00] Common Mistakes – Danielle shares some of the most common mistakes she sees people make when enrolling for Medicare, and what you can do to avoid them.

[08:01] Parts of Medicare – Parts A, B, C, and D of Medicare and the differences between them.

[10:49] Medigap Plan and Medicare Advantage Plan – Danielle broadly describes the role of Medicare Advantage policy and the Medigap plans while highlighting their differences.

[16:59] Most Suitable Plan for You – Though 34% of beneficiaries choose Medicare advantage plans, Danielle explains how to be mindful when making the best decision for you.

[21:47] Subsequent Changes to the Plan – Danielle’s suggestions on how beneficiaries can change their enrolled plans in subsequent years.

[26:48] Switching Between Medigap Policies – Possible ways to switch between different Medigap policies and the procedures you’ll need to follow.

[28:59] Eligibly Criteria for Medicare – Danielle outlines the eligibility criteria for enrolling in Medicare.

[32:23] Medicare Fund – The correlation between the reserves in the Medicare fund and the benefits Medicare offers.

[38:08] Single-payer System – Danielle shares her insights on the rising health care costs and the viability of a single-payer system.

[42:23] Pharmaceuticals and Drugs – Grant and Danielle discuss some of the current trends in the pharmaceuticals industry and the business interests that may affect Medicare.

[47:09] Boomer Benefits – Danielle talks about how Boomer Benefits helps people with Medicare basics, benefits, and coverage.

 

 

Resources

Connect with Danielle Roberts:

Website: boomerbenefits.com/

YouTube: youtube.com/c/BoomerBenefits

Facebook Page: facebook.com/BoomerBenefits

Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/BoomerBenefits

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/daniellekunkle/

 

Mentioned in the episode:

10 Costly Medicare Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make:

goodreads.com/book/show/55204934-10-costly-medicare-mistakes-you-can-t-afford-to-make?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=1Wia7eTzTY&rank=1

 

The United States Social Security Website: ssa.gov/

Official U.S. government site for Medicare: medicare.gov/

GMB Ep #80: Digging Into Healthcare Costs With Sailee Bhambere

The healthcare system in the United States is extremely expensive compared to other developed countries, and it has escalated to a point where healthcare costs have become a major financial burden for many people. In today’s episode, we have a distinguished guest who specializes in public health. Sailee Bhambere, a medical doctor with a master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University, joins us today to talk about why healthcare is so expensive in the United States. Throughout the episode, we dive deep into Sailee’s research on the issues of the US healthcare system, why it’s extremely expensive, and how it could be improved. 

 

 

Show Notes

[02:28] Sailee’s Background – We start the conversation with a brief review of Sailee’s work in the healthcare industry and how her research contributes to improving the quality of healthcare.  

[05:56] Studying the Healthcare System – Sailee shares with us what she focuses on in her research to identify issues in the healthcare system. 

[09:00] Why Healthcare is Expensive – Sailee shares her take on how expensive the US healthcare system is and some of the contributing factors to these high costs. 

[14:00] Preventive Healthcare and Personal Responsibility – How our personal habits contribute to our health over a long time and how preventive healthcare could be improved in a way that makes it easier for citizens to develop healthy personal habits. 

[17:12] Free Market Capitalism and Healthcare – Grant and Sailee discuss their views on how the free market environment in the United States influence the healthcare system and how other developed countries have taken measures to reduce healthcare costs. 

[23:00] Most Important Policies – Sailee shares her thoughts on what policies she’d put in place if she had the authority to do so. 

[26:00] Complexities – Why the US healthcare system is extremely complex and how the policymakers can approach reducing the complexities. 

[31:40] Administrative Costs – The administrative costs in the US healthcare system are significantly higher than they are in other developed countries. Sailee shares her thoughts on the reasons that cause this discrepancy. 

[36:34] Burnout – One of the major issues healthcare professionals are facing across the industry is burnout, which is a result of overworking as well as complex administrative tasks embedded into their workload. Sailee shares her thoughts on how this affects the performance of the healthcare system.  

 

Resources

Connect with Sailee: linkedin.com/in/sailee-bhambere 
Sailee’s Research: www.researchgate.net/profile/Sailee-Bhambere 

GMB Ep #73: The Few Circumstances Where Variable Annuities Make a Lot of Sense

Variable annuities are a set of commonly offered insurance products that promise consumers a consistent income stream. In general, these products tend to become more beneficial to insurance companies and representatives who sell these products rather than consumers buying them. However, in recent years insurance companies have started to offer products that may be more consumer friendly. Throughout today’s episode, we dive deep into what variable annuities are, how they’re structured, and some of the scenarios where you might want to consider them.

 

 

Show Notes

[01:07] Background – How professionals in the financial planning and insurance industries view variable annuities and why there are different perspectives on the integrity of the insurance-based investment solutions.

[05:23] Annuities – Different configurations of annuities and how the returns vary according to the type of investment.

[11:23] Understanding Variable Annuities – Grant reviews what variable annuities are, how they work, and why Grant isn’t a big fan of variable annuities.

[16:45] Features and Fees – Over the years, Grant has reviewed lots of annuity policies. He dives into the most common types of fees insurance companies charge their customers in exchange for various features in the policies and some of the issues associated with the fees and commissions.

[22:13] New Developments – In recent years insurance companies have started making adjustments and improvements to their products. Grant talks about some of these updates and how they address the issues from older policies.

[25:36] Reasonable Options – Grant dives into some of the scenarios where obtaining a variable annuities policy may make sense to a consumer.

 

Resources:

How to Analyze a Variable Annuity

GMB Ep #72: Here’s an Opportunity to Pay Less For Health Insurance

State exchange programs for health insurance are one of the provisions introduced in the Affordable Care Act back in 2010. Under this provision, the federal government may subsidize some of your insurance premiums if your income is low enough. The new stimulus package passed by President Biden extends this provision to allow more people to reduce the amount they pay out of pocket for insurance premiums. In today’s episode, Grant covers how this legislation works, who qualifies for these benefits, how and when to enroll, and things you should consider before switching from your current health insurance plan.

 

 

Show Notes

[02:47] The Legislation – Grant reviews the legislation that facilitates this opportunity and the motive behind passing this law.

[04:03] State Exchange – How the state exchange program works, criteria for qualifications, and how taxes come into play when you receive the benefits of this.

[10:02] New Updates – Grant reviews the changes that have been added to this legislation with the most recent stimulus package and some of the planning opportunities that come with the new changes.

[13:43] Breaking Down the Math – Grant explains a couple of examples of the premium subsidies and how much money you might save by utilizing this opportunity.

[16:53] Enrollment – Gant reviews the special window for enrolling in this program that expires on May 15 and why you should consider taking advantage of this opportunity.

[20:46] Deciding Whether to Enroll for Exchange Policies – Grant shares his take on a few things to consider when deciding whether it’s a good idea to obtain a policy under this program based on your current healthcare plan and some other factors.

 

Resources

Ep # 68 – Dissecting the New Stimulus Checks & Recovery Legislation: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Buy/Sell Agreements Make the Best Insurance Policies

Buy Sell Agreements Can Be the Best Insurance Policies

Risk management is a pretty common objective for small business owners.  Once a business becomes viable, protecting what you worked so hard to build is usually a priority.  As COVID-19 has shown us, so many things could go wrong in the life cycle of a small business that it makes sense to limit risk wherever possible.

The first place many business owners will look is to the insurance industry.  Errors & omissions, malpractice, general liability, and standard business owner’s policies can be great ways to limit risk in specific areas of your business.  Insurance usually won’t help you much with planned or unplanned successions, though.

What happens when it’s time to retire?  Who might be willing to buy your stake in the business?  How do your partners feel about that?  How will your business be valued at the time?  And what happens if you’re forced into retirement involuntarily?

This is where buy sell agreements come into play.  They may seem mundane, but buy sell agreements are an important component of risk management in any small business.

In our financial planning practice there are a few common mistakes we see with buy sell agreements.  This post will cover those mistakes, as well as the standard provisions we tend to see in effective agreements.

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Reflections on the Pandemic So Far

Reflections on the Pandemic So Far

We are currently somewhere around day 60 of our family’s quarantine, and the country is inching closer to reopening.  Over those 60(ish) days I worked remotely from home, and held a TON of meetings with clients, colleagues, and others over Zoom.  As you can imagine, everyone has handled the last two months a little differently.  Some investors are more comfortable with volatility than others.

I had a chance this week to think back on the sentiment in general.  How people are doing and feeling.  How they’ve handled the last few months.  What their financial situation is like right now.  And while everyone has handled quarantine and the Coronavirus pandemic differently, there are some trends I’ve noticed across many of my conversations.  I thought these trends might make an interesting blog post, so here are a few things that have been on my mind recently.

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