Here are a few of our most used resources:
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The Social Security Retirement Program, started in 1935, was designed as a financial "safety net" for retired workers and their families. There are five major segments: Retirement, Disability and SSI, Survivors Benefits, and Medicare.
How do I Qualify for Social Security?
To qualify for Social Security benefits, a worker earns credits when he or she works in a job and pays Social Security Taxes. The number of credits required to receive retirement benefits depends on when you were born. If you were born in 1929 or later, you need 40 credits. When workers reach full retirement age, they can receive full retirement benefits. The full retirement age used to be 65, but now it varies based on the year of birth. Reduced retirement benefits can be collected as early as age 62 (with 40 credits), and benefits will be approximately 25% less.
Do I have to pay income tax on my Social Security income?
Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. No one pays federal income tax on more than 85% of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Services. Each January you will receive a Social Security Benefit Statement showing the amounts of benefits you received in the previous year. You can use this statement to find out if your benefits are subject to tax.
When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, certain members of the family may be eligible for survivors benefits. Please call our office or contact the Social Security Administration directly for eligibility
What makes fixed and fixed indexed annuities so popular?
They offer a unique and attractive blend of safety, growth potential, tax advantages, lifetime income, liquidity and estate advantages.
The top priority for most people when they are saving their money, without question, is safety. No one puts their money in a place where they expect to lose it. They put their money in a place where they expect to get it back hopefully with some nice growth. The great thing about fixed annuities is that they uniquely offer three levels of protection:
1) By contract, a fixed annuity guarantees that your principal is protected and that you can get it back again, as long as you avoid any penalties for early withdrawal.
2) Even if your insurance company fails, the value of your annuity (up to $100,000, or more in many states) is guaranteed by your state insurance guaranty fund.
3) If you have a problem with the insurance company that issued your annuity and you want to get a regulator involved, no matter where that insurance company is located, the regulator is located in your home state.
With these three levels of protection, fixed annuities offer excellent safety.
Once people are satisfied that their money is safe, the next objective is to have that money grow as fast as possible. Many carriers offer annuities with very attractive rates of interest. The annuity industry invented indexed annuities precisely so that they could offer even better rates of interest under certain conditions.
People want their money to grow as fast as possible, and besides having a high rate of growth, having some sort of tax advantage helps to accomplish that goal. Annuities have a tax advantage, and that is better than no tax advantage. Some people buy annuities for their tax deferral.
Annuities typically offer a variety of options to pay the value of the contract out over time as a guaranteed periodic amount of income. In fact, the dictionary definition of an annuity is often something like “a contract providing for an amount payable yearly or at other regular intervals.” Payment options often include income that is guaranteed to continue for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. Thus, fixed annuities can help protect you from the risk of running out of money later in life.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older, certain younger people with disabilities, people with permanent kidney failure and people with ALS.
What does Medicare cover?
Medicare Part A: helps cover in-patient hospital care. Part A also helps cover skilled nursing facility care (following a three-night hospital stay and discharge to a Medicare-approved skilled nursing facility). Medicare also covers hospice and home health care if certain conditions are met.
Medicare Part B: helps cover medically necessary services like physician services and outpatient care. Part B can also cover some preventative services to help maintain health and to keep certain illnesses from progressing.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans): combines Part A, B, and sometimes D (prescription drug) coverage. Part C Medicare Advantage Plans are health plans offered by private companies and approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans always cover emergency and urgent care, and all services that original Medicare covers except hospice care. (Original Medicare covers hospice even if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan).
Medicare Part D: may help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future.
Long-term care insurance pays for services to help people who are unable to perform certain activities of daily living without assistance. Long-term care insurance is available as individual insurance or through an employer-sponsored plan. You must be healthy to apply and the premiums are based on your age at the time the policy began. Activities of daily living to determine when coverage begins include:
Long-term care plans are designed with only a few decisions to be made, and a licensed insurance professional can guide you. Knowing the cost of home care and facility care in your community before you purchase insurance will be helpful as you design a long term care plan.