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Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

Today is the last day of my first year of retirement!
Things I’ve Learned:
1)  You need more money up front than you think.  Because of the way Social Security, retirement plans and private savings are set up, there is a “substantial” delay between when you retire and when you start getting your money on a regular basis.  In my case, I couldn’t make up my mind how much to draw down my personal / private savings until after I got my final payment figure from SSA.  This meant pulling in our belts more than expected (for a few months) until I felt comfortable making this decision – and then waiting for it to kick in and start paying.  Everyone’s situation will be different, but I saved four months of “working” net pay to cover the expenses and I probably would have been more comfortable if I had been able to save up six.
2)  Make sure you can cover your health care expenses!  This out of pocket expense has been significantly more than I estimated.  I made sure to cover the cost of insurance and prescriptions and a “normal” amount of routine visits.  I didn’t “really” budget for trips to the ER, colonoscopies, cancer surgeries, … and the list goes on.  This will remain a cost I will have to constantly monitor until we get a “real” national healthcare system which covers medical, dental and vision.  You know – all of “health”.  For us, this probably means Medicare when we turn 65 in a couple of years.
3)  You need to get organized and then try to stick with a flexible plan.  Even with all day, every day, if you aren’t eating the elephant one bite at a time, big jobs on the “honey-do” list will get away from you.  Most stuff is day to day, but you need to allocate time to longer term goals and what you want accomplished or they will drift and just not get done.
4)  It always ends up being more complicated than what / how you learn to do it on YouTube.  And usually more expensive, too…  Sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and pay a professional.  Do your retirement budget a favor and pay to get it done before you retire.
5)  It takes longer to adjust to a “non-work” schedule than you think.  I thought my body would adapt to a different sleep pattern within a couple of weeks.  WRONG.  It’s been twelve months and I’m still adjusting.  Sure, I can stay up later now, but that doesn’t get things done the following morning when you sleep in to make up for it.
6)  I wanted to read more books, learn to play an instrument, learn basic fluency in a foreign language and get in better shape (lose weight).  I am sleeping more.  I’ve lost weight and I’m getting more exercise.  I’m reading fewer books, because I’m on the computer a LOT more.  No progress on music or a foreign language.  (See #3 above…)
7)  Relax, smell the roses, and have a cuppa’…   About six weeks into my retirement (last November), I had to go into the ER / hospital to get my heart stopped and restarted due to my AFib.  So, once again I’ve been reminded I’m living on borrowed time.  (Hence the more sleep and trying to lose weight.)  It felt so un-natural to not have to get up for work, I think I let that (by itself) stress me out.  Now, I really am trying to take it a bit easier and settle into “being” retired.  LOL…  I think it might take me another two or three years, but I’m determined to get better at it.
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On This Day In:
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2013 Disappeared
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2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
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The existing safety net for older Americans – a mixture of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – was built for a society that no longer exists.  When Congress created Social Security in 1935, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 61; now it is nearly 80.  When Congress created Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, it was still common for people to die of acute medical issues, like heart attacks; now many survive those traumas and go on to live, with some assistance, for decades longer.  In 1960, the U.S. was overwhelmingly young: just 10% of the population was over 65.  By 2040, 1 in 5 of us will be eligible for that senior ticket at the theater.
As more people live longer, the social and economic systems designed to care for them are changing.  In midcentury America, women had yet to join the traditional workforce en masse and so were widely expected to keep doing what they’d always done: provide unpaid care to children and ailing relatives at home.  Moreover, in the 1960s, a large portion of families had access to stable, fixed pensions in retirement, and about a quarter of all workers were covered by generous, union-negotiated contracts.  Staying in the same job for decades was common.
None of that is true anymore.  Some 40% of households with children under 18 are now headed by women who are the primary breadwinner.  Those women can no longer stay home to care for children or ailing relatives without risking their family’s financial stability.  Meanwhile, fixed pensions have all but disappeared, and union membership has fallen by more than half.  Nearly 1 in 3 nonretired Americans has no retirement savings at all.  “Our current system doesn’t reflect how we’ve changed as a society,” explains Dr. Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation, which advocates for older adults.  “So it’s being asked to do all kinds of things it wasn’t designed to do.”
Much of the U.S. economy rides on how this crisis plays out.  Spending on long-term care is expected to more than double from 1.3% of GDP to 3% by 2050 as demand increases alongside an aging populace.  America’s entrepreneurial system is coming up with myriad new ways to serve this growing demographic of gray-hairs.  But in an era of deregulation, companies that profit from the natural, but often unsettling, process of aging and dying aren’t always scrupulous.  The result is a social tension: As health care companies seek to reap not only efficiencies but also profits from a jury-rigged, outdated and overburdened system of elder care, how do we protect those who are often most vulnerable to exploitation?
When things don’t work, the results are ugly.  In nursing homes and assisted-living centers, ever more ubiquitous arbitration agreements leave the elderly without access to a basic civil trial.  Hospice care, beloved by many, is seen as a potential profit center by companies seeking government contracts while providing diminished service to those at the end of their lives.  And Medicaid, once intended to be a last-ditch safeguard for the poorest of the poor, is creaking under the weight of new obligations.  Medicaid is now the default payer for 61% of all nursing-home residents in the U.S., according to a June 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation report – a demand that’s likely to continue to increase.  Meanwhile, adult children already contribute $7,000 to $14,000 a year to caring for an aging parent, according to a 2016 AARP report; that number will likely see an uptick too.
  —  Haley Sweetland Edwards
From the “Special Report”: “Dignity, death and America’s crisis in elder care
Time Magazine, 27 November 2017 issue
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On This Day In:
2016 And A Fellow Who Insists On Telling Us He’s Smart?
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We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.
We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.
We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.
We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.
We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.
We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.
We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.
We believe — I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014 — we believe in equal pay for equal work.
We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.
We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.
And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies.  We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it.  We will fight for it!
  —  Elizabeth Warren
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On This Day In:
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