Financial Planning

Multi-generation Homes & Communities

Multigeneration HomesMultigenerational homes were common during the Great Depression but declined once people rebounded economically. Now, as John Graham, coauthor of Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living, observes, the recent recession has prompted a move back from valuing independence to interdependence.

Some 51 million Americans (16.7% of the population) live in a house with at least two adult generations, or a grandparent with at least one other generation, under one roof, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. The Pew analysis also reported a 10.5% increase in multi-generation households from 2007 to 2009. Now builders are responding with homes designed specifically for multi-generation homes, or that can be modified to support that option later.

Could this trend be a utopia of built-in child care, elder care, three square meals, and shared costs? Could it avoid isolation in old age? Read the rest of this entry »

Saving while Helping your Kids & Parents

Click to view original photo

Flickr photo credit: geoffreyrockwell

By Lucy Stewart, a financial counselor
for families looking to get out of debt

Forty-eight percent of middle-age adults provided support to their adult children in 2012, which is up from 42 percent in 2005, according to PewSocialTrends.org. Also up is the financial support they provide their aging parents: 21 percent said they provided some financial support to a parent age 65 or older in 2012, up from 19 percent seven years earlier.

Offering financial support to your adult children and 65+ parents does not mean that you give up your own financial plans and dreams. Family is family, but sacrificing your personal well-being won’t benefit anyone. Look for ways to cut expenses and create streams of income, and don’t assume you have to do this alone. Read the rest of this entry »

The Elephant in the Room – Retirement Planning

The Elephant In The Room When It Comes To Family And Retirement

Elephant in the RoomThis is the first of a two-part series by Ken Dychtwald Ph.D. (Gerontologist, psychologist, author, entrepreneur and public speaker)

For most of us, our families make our lives — and life in retirement — richer and far more enjoyable. However, retirement planning has traditionally centered on just dollars and cents — and largely on the financial needs of an individual or a couple. With more and more of our lives impacted by family ties as well as family tensions, perhaps it’s time to rethink retirement planning from a more holistic perspective.

You may have already begun to notice in your own life that the hopes and dreams of today’s pre-retirees and retirees are increasingly complicated by three converging family-related trends: Read the rest of this entry »

Middle Generation: Rising Cost of Care for America’s Elderly

Middle Generation LadiesBy Caroline Montague

With an aging population and a generation of young adults struggling to achieve financial independence, the burdens and responsibilities of middle-aged Americans are increasing. Nearly half (47 percent) of these adults have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). In addition, about one in seven middle-aged adults (15 percent) are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

Adult children, worried about costs and the loss of their parents’ independence, must make difficult decisions about the best options for care for their loved ones. Assisted living communities, such as Emeritus assisted living, allow individuals to remain independent as long as possible in an environment that maximizes the person’s autonomy, dignity, privacy and safety. These types of communities also encourage family and resident involvement. (Editor: Emeritus is one of the largest and most well known, but you can also compare facilities in your area by zip code.)  Read the rest of this entry »

Long-term Care – 11 Myths and Facts

Long-term Care Myths & FactsMost people over 65 will need some kind of help with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or moving around. The need for such help can stem from a chronic illness or the natural decline of eyesight, hearing, strength, balance, and mobility that comes with aging. It’s never too early, or too late, to start planning for long-term care.

Many people think the phrase “long-term care” refers to an insurance policy. While insurance may be part of your strategy, long-term care encompasses many other decisions. You will need to decide where you will live, how you will navigate the myriad of legal, family, and social dynamics along the way, and the many options for paying for everyday help. Though a number of government programs may help pay for some long-term care services, many people are faced with significant out-of-pocket costs.

In partnership with LongTermCare.gov, Huffington Post took a look at eleven myths that may be keeping some from planning for long-term care, and ways you and your loved ones can prepare for the future.

Myth 1: I won’t need it

About 70 percent of Americans over 65 will need some kind of help with the activities of daily living for months or years as they age. It may be due to an illness, chronic disease, or disability. But often, the care is required because of the natural decline due to aging of one’s eyesight, hearing, strength, balance, or mobility. Read the rest of this entry »

Secret Hospital Charges Now Revealed, Wide Disparities

High Healthcare CostsHospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences

By Jeffrey Young and Chris Kirkham

When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.

Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

Wealth Inequality, Healthcare and the Economy

I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:

  • Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
  • Between the widening wealth gaps and poverty,
  • Between Poverty and obesity,
  • Between obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
  • Between chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
  • Between rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.

Highlights from the video

  • The Reality in this country is not at all what we think it is.
  • Our Perception of wealth distribution is far from our Ideal but not even close to Actual distribution.
  • The top 1% has more of the nation’s wealth than 90% of us think the top 20% Should have.
  • 1% has 40% of all of the nation’s wealth and takes home almost 25% of the annual income.
  • The top 1% own half the country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
  • The bottom 50% own just 0.5% of stocks, meaning they live hand-to-mouth and don’t invest.
  • The bottom 80% of the nation has only 7% of the nation’s wealth between them.
  • Do CEOs really contribute 380 times more than the average worker (not lowest, but average)?
  • The Average worker needs to work more than a Month to make what the CEO makes in one Hour.

Inequality for All

In the interview below, Bill Moyers talks with economic analyst Robert Reich about the new film Inequality for All and describes it as “a game-changer” in our national discussion of income inequality. The video is nearly an hour long but well worth watching if you really want to understand the impact that inequality has had on the nation’s poor and middle-class and the economy in general. Reich deserves our respect regardless of political party since he served under three presidential administrations: Ford (R), Carter (D) and Clinton (D).

CEO Pensions are 1,200 times median workers, yet they want to cut social security

Why High Medical Bills Are Killing Us

TIME magazine coverIn his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)

His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.

MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Unpaid Caregiving in America

Image showing The economic cost of unpaid caregiving is over $480 billion per year.According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.

The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.

The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

Home Renovations that can Save the Estate

Jack and Jill, a Mother Goose nursery rhyme

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.

By Wayne Caswell

Scenario ONE

Jack and Jill were in their late 60s and had been married for 37 years when Jack suffered a severe stroke and required care beyond the abilities of his partner. After leaving the hospital, he went into a nursing home, and the family home was sold to pay for his care, which was expensive and projected exceed $84,000 per year.

Jill couldn’t maintain the big house herself and couldn’t afford it either, so she moved into a small apartment alone, without her lifelong mate. Being separated affected the couple’s morale, but worse was that it affected their health and their finances. Without long-term-care insurance, their life savings were depleted quickly before Medicaid finally kicked in. And now the grown children had two places to visit to support their declining parents. It didn’t have to be that way.

Scenario TWO

Just as in the nursery rhyme, Jack goes home and recovers more quickly there – in familiar and loving surroundings where Jane hires professionals to help care for him. That decision lets the couple stay together, and the kids have just one place to visit.

Universal Design was not offered when they built their home, and even though renovating the home for wheelchair accessibility often costs as much as $50,000, they felt it was financially better than the alternative. The project was entirely funded with home equity, so they didn’t even have to touch their retirement money, or the kid’s future inheritance. You see, Jack and Jill are like most American seniors, 90% of whom would rather live at home as long as possible and are willing to seek help to do that.

Read the rest of this entry »

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