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 #97: My Current Thinking on Cryptocurrency

 

A lot has happened in the cryptocurrency arena since we last covered this topic on Grow Money Business. Last week China announced that they are banning all activities in cryptocurrency while a month ago, El-Salvador announced that it would accept Bitcoin as a legal tender. In today’s episode, Grant shares his current thoughts and observations on cryptocurrency-related developments in the United States and around the world.

 

 

Show Notes

[02:46] Recent Events – Grant starts the conversation by briefly explaining the impact of both China and El Salvador’s approaches to using cryptocurrency.

[05:17] Benefits of Cryptocurrency – The benefits of cryptocurrency and why it is an appealing and convenient alternative for existing currency issues.

[07:05] Growing Chinese Economy – Grant compares the pace of China’s economic growth to the USA and reviews its intention of overtaking the USA as a world economic power.

[08:50] World Reserve Currency – Grant dives into the world reserve currency from numerous perspectives, including economic privileges that it opens for certain countries and why the USA needs US dollars as the world reserve currency.

[12:45] China and Cryptocurrency – The cryptocurrency activities in China before the government-imposed ban and Grant’s take on the reasons behind that government action.

[14:46] El Salvador and Cryptocurrency – El Salvador’s economic background and impacts on the country’s social context by encouraging citizens to transact in Bitcoin.

[15:52] Benefits and Challenges for El Salvador – The possible future occurrences related to cryptocurrency, as well as Grant’s take on the probable risks and benefits El Salvador may experience with the decision to accept cryptocurrency.

[18:40] Future Cryptocurrency Approach of Countries – The future measures of the world, and how China’s recent decision has knocked the price of cryptocurrencies.

[21:00] Increasing Credibility and Viability of Cryptocurrency – Grant explains the widespread adoption of cryptocurrency at the institutional level and how it has enhanced the credibility and viability of cryptocurrencies.

[22:58] Bitcoin and Ethereum – Cryptocurrency consists of numerous types of coins, including Bitcoins and Ethereum. Grant reveals his thoughts on the benefits and usage of each.

[28:01] Conclusion – Grant sums up his takes on recent changes of monetary and economic policies related to cryptocurrency and how countries will decide and set rules regarding cryptocurrency in the coming future.

 

Resources

Ep #65 – My Take on Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency

growmoneybusiness.libsyn.com/website/ep-65-my-take-on-bitcoin-cryptocurrency

Ep #64 – Where to Invest an Extra $50,000 Right Now

growmoneybusiness.libsyn.com/website/ep-64-where-to-invest-an-extra-50000-right-now

JPMorgan Warns Big Investors Are Suddenly Dumping Bitcoin for Ethereum Amid A $150 Billion Crypto Price Crash:

forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2021/09/26/big-investors-are-suddenly-dumping-bitcoin

China’s top regulators ban crypto trading and mining, sending bitcoin tumbling:

reuters.com/world/china/china-central-bank-vows-crackdown-cryptocurrency-trading

GMB Ep #92: Money Funds & Where to Park Your Emergency Cash

 

You are probably already familiar with the concept of reserving an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.  You may even already have one in place.  However, deciding how much to reserve or where to keep this money can be tricky.  We dedicated this episode to exploring why you should maintain an emergency fund, how to determine how large yours should be, and a few different savings options that can be safe & accessible, while still giving you the greatest possible returns.

 

 

Show Notes

[02:09] Managing Emergency Cash – Why it’s crucial for everyone to set aside some emergency funds and the importance of keeping your cash in the right place.

[05:23] How Much to Save – Grant shares a method of estimating how much you should save as an emergency fund based on your income, expenses, and risk tolerance.

[08:31] Too Much in Cash – Why it’s a better idea to have your emergency savings as investments and the ideal investment method for your funds.

[12:17] CD Ladder & High Yield Savings – Grant explains how using multiple Certificates of Deposits and high yield savings accounts can help you make the most out of your emergency cash.

[16:36] Money Market Mutual Funds – How money market mutual funds work, how they’re different from money market savings accounts, and some of the recent reforms related to money market mutual funds.

[24:14] Types of Money Market Funds – How the reforms led to the creation of two types of money market funds, the differences between the two types, and what you should keep in mind about parking your emergency cash in a money market fund.

[28:24] Government Funds – The feasibility of putting your emergency cash in government funds and the benefits of utilizing multiple methods of investments.

 

Resources

Money-Market Funds Buckled in Two Crises in a Row. Regulators Look to Fix Them Again:
wsj.com/articles/money-market-funds-buckled-in-two-crises-in-a-row-regulators-look-to-fix-them-again-11626687001

Firms Wary as Money-Market Rule Changes Studied After Covid-19 Run:
wsj.com/articles/firms-wary-as-money-market-rule-changes-studied-after-covid-19-run-11630056602

GMB Ep #91: Why Mutual Fund Managers Are Converting to ETFs

 

One of the trends we’ve been recently observing is the tendency of mutual fund managers to convert their fund structure to Exchange-Traded Funds. Throughout this episode, Grant reviews the structures of mutual funds and ETFs, what makes them different from each other, the reasons why it makes sense for mutual fund managers to switch to ETFs, and what investors should keep in mind about mutual funds being converted to ETFs.

 

 

Show Notes

[01:43] Mutual Funds – Grant reviews how mutual funds are structured and how the mutual fund managers use funds from a group of investors to generate greater returns than what individual investors have the capacity to generate on their own.

[08:42] Limitations – Limitation of mutual funds and how these limitations may create unfavorable situations for mutual fund managers in some scenarios.

[13:50] Understanding ETFs – What led to the creation of Exchange-traded Funds, how they work, and the difference between mutual funds and ETFs.

[21:51] Benefits – Grant dives into the attractive characteristics and tax benefits of exchange-traded funds.

[25:00] Popularity of ETFs – Grant shares his thoughts on how ETFs became popular in the last decade and the trend of some mutual funds being converted to ETFs.

[30:00] Why Investors Should Care – How this trend of mutual fund managers converting their structure to ETFs affects the investors in terms of expenses, taxation, benefits, and what to do if their mutual funds are being converted.

 

Resources

Investor Bulletin: Mutual Fund Conversion to Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF):
investor.gov/introduction-investing/general-resources/news-alerts/alerts-bulletins/mutual-fund-conversion-exchange-traded-fund

Making the Switch: Turning a Mutual Fund into an Exchange-Traded Fund:
bbh.com/us/en/insights/investor-services-insights/making-the-switch-turning-a-mutual-fund-into-an-exchangetraded.html

GMB Ep #90: This is Exactly What to Do With Your Student Loans

 

With roughly 44 million borrowers that collectively owe nearly $1.7 trillion, student loans, the second-highest consumer debt category, has become something that’s pervasive for young people in the United States. We dedicated this episode to exploring some of the ways borrowers can make their student loan repayment manageable. Throughout the episode, Grant dives into how the interest rates and other characteristics vary depending on the lender, repayment options, income-based repayment, federal student loan forgiveness, and more. Stay tuned until the end of the episode, where Grant shares some strategies to reduce your monthly payments by suppressing your adjusted gross income.

 

 

Show Notes

[01:43] Background – The pervasive nature of the U.S. student loan programs and why they have become pervasive.

[05:10] Who Lent You the Money – Grant explains how the interest rates and repayment options may vary depending on the institution that is underwriting a student loan.

[07:38] Repayment & Refinancing – Once students have graduated and their forbearance period has finished, it’s time to paying back the student loans. Grant explores some of the options available for students at this point and how to decide whether to refinance with a private lender.

[10:19] Staying in the Federal System – Although it might make sense in some cases to refinance with a private lender, staying in the federal system has its own benefits. We talk about what these benefits are and how students can take advantage of staying in the federal system.

[13:07] Income-based Repayment – How the income-based repayment programs work, requirements for eligibility, and how they help people make their monthly payments manageable.

[18:13] Forgiveness – One of the features in income based-repayment is being able to get your debt forgiven after a certain number of years. Grant dives deep into how debt forgiveness works, how taxation comes into play at the point when the debt is forgiven, and what to consider when deciding whether to pursue forgiveness.

[22:32] Administrative Forbearance – As a part of the stimulus package introduced under the CARES Act, an additional forbearance period was introduced for student loans. Grant shares his thoughts on how to take this into consideration when making decisions about student loan repayment.

[27:15] Strategy for the Federal System – Grant shares some strategies for those who are in the federal system to make loan payments manageable by suppressing their adjusted gross income.

 

Resources

Episode #34: Why College Is So Expensive & How to Pay For It With Robert Farrington:

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9ncm93bW9

Episode 69: Interest Rates Are Rising....Does That Mean You Should Adjust Your Bond Allocation?

Episode #69: Interest Rates Are Rising….Does That Mean You Should Adjust Your Bond Allocation?

The Federal Reserve recently announced that they are going to maintain very low short-term interest rates for bonds over the next couple of years. On the other hand, long-term interest rates seem to be rising in recent weeks. We dedicated this week’s episode to reviewing how a savvy investor may respond to these developments. Throughout the episode, we discuss how bonds work, the risks associated with bonds, interest rates, why bonds are a crucial element of a healthy portfolio, and more. Stay tuned until the end of the episode, where Grant talks about why having non-US-denominated bonds could be beneficial to you.Continue reading

Episode 69: Interest Rates Are Rising....Does That Mean You Should Adjust Your Bond Allocation?

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

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11 to help the United States recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This new legislation includes direct financial payments, extended unemployment benefits, expanded child tax credit, and numerous other provisions. Throughout this episode, Grant reviews several key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act and what they mean for individuals and businesses.Continue reading

The Economy Is Not The Stock Market

The Economy Is Not The Stock Market

So here we are….in the middle of a global pandemic.  Unemployment in the US is hovering around 15%.  Businesses are struggling to remain viable.  Hundreds of thousands of families…probably millions …are concerned they won’t be able to make their mortgage payments.

Yet, the stock market is closing in on all time highs set earlier this year.

How is that possible?  What gives?

The party line answers sound something like:

  • “Stocks prices reflect future earnings, not present earnings”
  • “COVID-19 is temporary, and our economy will return as soon as it passes”
  • “The market is just being manipulated by the Fed.  All that cash is pumping up the market”

All these are reasonable responses.  But they circumvent a very important concept that many of us seem to be forgetting recently:

The economy is not the stock market, and the stock market is not the economy.

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2020 Reader Survey

For anyone who’s followed the blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve made a few tweaks over the years.  Frequency of posts, topics covered, and types of content (blog posts vs. webinars vs. podcasts) have all evolved quite a bit.

This past year we’ve gotten into the habit of offering monthly webinars, launched a podcast, and have continued to grow the financial planning firm at a pretty rapid pace.

All this has required a sizable investment of time and dollars.  I’ve been very happy about all the positive feedback we’ve gotten, and continue to be humbled by your interest and readership.

To make sure we stay focused on producing the right “stuff”, I’d like to ask you for your feedback on what we’re putting out.  If there’s anything you think we can be doing better, I’d love to know about it.

Thanks in advance for your time and feedback!

**Editor’s note: I’m trying a new widget for this survey.  It should work on any desktop/tablet/mobile phone, but if you have any issues please let us know.

State of the Blog 2018

2018 State of the Blog

As I look up at my calendar and see that we’re already in February, I’ve come to a surprising realization: Above the Canopy is almost two years old!

Unlike most birthday parties for 2 year olds, I thought it’d be a good idea to nix the pizza, birthday cake, and screaming children in favor of a new tradition: an annual “state of the blog” post.  Above the Canopy has come quite a long way in its short life, and I’d like to take this opportunity to touch base with you, the readership, on the state of the blog.

 

The State of the Blog

The state of the blog is strong!  Overall I feel pretty good about Above the Canopy.  Especially considering the challenges of balancing new content with the needs of a small business.  As you may know, I spend most of my waking hours building & managing my financial planning business, Three Oaks Capital Management.  And as it turns out, growing a small business is a massive job.  Between that and family life I’m not quite able to give Above the Canopy the attention that I’d really like to.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot that I’d like to do with Above the Canopy.  And despite the demands on my time, readership is is growing at a strong clip.  Over 7,000 visitors found the site last month, which is over a 100% increase from January of 2017.

On the year, we had 47,446 visitors to the site vs. 12,925 in 2016.  (Keep in mind that the blog launched in April of 2016 though, so it was a short year).  As far as posting went, I managed to publish 30 times in 2017 vs. 38 in 2016.  Not as frequently as I’d like but hey, I’m learning as I go here.

 

Looking Ahead

There are several things I’d like to improve on the site in 2018 and beyond.  I’ll cover them below by listing each individual objective.  My hope is that communicating them will give you some insight into where the blog is headed (and give me a little more pressure to get them done!).  And as always, I’d love some feedback on what you enjoy about the blog, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see in the future.  Feel free to share in the comments.

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