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What You Don’t Know about Social Security Can Cost You Big Bucks

 If you are 65 or older, most of your income is from Social Security,  52% for the average American. It’s a unique pension: it will last as long as you do, even if you live to be 120 years old. It will keep pace with inflation, the benefit rising each year to match the annual…

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What Medicare Won’t Pay For: Check Your Teeth, Eyes, Ears and Feet

Need a tooth implant to replace a cracked or rotten tooth? Need hearing aids because you listened to too much rock’n roll when you were a kid? Need glasses because you are having trouble driving at night? Often, Medicare won’t help you at all unless these problems are triggered by some underlying disease. Here is…

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When You Have to Tap the IRA

All the rules and the pundits tell you: don’t take money out of your IRA before you retire. This stash of cash, invested carefully, should grow steadily until you have entered retirement. And then you can withdraw the money on a steady but careful basis to pay for an enjoyable lifestyle. These rules need some…

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Over 65? Check This Tax Break for Medical Bills

You can get a special tax break to deduct your medical expenses. And they can be a lot more than you realize. Here are just some of the potentially deductible items: the Part B Medicare premium you pay every month ($104.90 for most people), the Part D premiums you pay for drug coverage, the premiums…

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You Can Get a Big Chunk of Cash from Social Security

You probably don’t know it, but Social Security can give you a big, lump-sum check for $40,000 or $50,000 or even more — a bonus, like winning a lottery. Should you take the bucks? It’s a complex business and depends on your age, your health, whether you are married and how much money you have…

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With No Cash or Delegates, White House Conference on Aging Goes Big for Social Media

With zero funds to bring delegates to Washington, Monday’s White House Conference on Aging will rely on a mixture of tools to spread its message: tweets, questions delivered through Facebook, and “watch” parties in all 50 states. What it won’t have, for the first time since these once-a-decade conventions began happening in 1961, will be…

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The Spouse Keeps the House: Fixing Reverse Mortgages

The reverse mortgage is a new source of cash for aging homeowners. Instead of paying the bank each month, you get a payment, depending on the amount of equity in your home. A big drawback has been the potential for financial suffering and loss by the spouse who isn’t listed on the mortgage. When the…

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Reverse Mortgages: The Good and the Bad

You want to stay in your house as you grow older, but you need a ready source of cash to pay your bills, now and in the future. With a regular mortgage, you make payments to the lender, whether it is a bank or a credit union or some other kind of financial institution. With…

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Your Social Security Do-Over: an Interest-free loan

Social Security has a do-over rule,  a way to collect benefits, yet still give you a chance to change your mind, and wait until you are older to get a bigger monthly retirement payment. It’s something that should be more widely known, especially in these days of economic insecurity for so many older workers. You…

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Social Security’s Best Strategy for Couples: Max Your Benefits

Social Security is a lot more challenging for married couples than a simple statement to your spouse, “I’m 62 this year and I can get Social Security. Seems like a good idea. I’m tired of working.”

Instead, you need careful planning. The longer you wait, and the better you calculate, and take full advantage of the complex rules, the better you can do for yourself and your spouse. The happy result can be hundreds of thousands of dollars more in your lifetime, especially if you are healthy enough to live into your 90s. Take a 65 year-old married couple. There is a 40% chance that one of them will celebrate a 90th birthday.

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