Long Term Care Insurance and the monster under your bed

Many people list outliving their money as their greatest fear, but few are willing to lift the covers and coax that monster out from under their beds. “I’m not going to think about it,” they say to themselves on the toss-and-turning nights they spend doing just that. “If I don’t think about it, it won’t happen to me.” It does happen, though, and more often than they think. People who haven’t planned well do run out of money and, as a result, lose control over some choices they’ve taken for granted such as where to live, what to eat and how to spend their free time. The average cost of assisted living in Wisconsin is $4,004 per month, and, even if you’ve settled yourself comfortably into an assisted living facility, established great relationships with the staff, made friends and looked forward to the excursions and weekly Tai Chi, you will not be able to stay if you can’t make those payments. Medicaid does not pay for assisted living. It does pay some costs of nursing home care, but only for those who qualify financially. The average cost of nursing home care in Wisconsin is $8,430 a month, with costs rising an average of 3% annually. Would your budget withstand an $8,430+ hit each month and, if so, for how long? In the past, the only choice for people who wanted to protect themselves from skyrocketing nursing home costs was Long Term Care insurance. While these stand-alone policies remain valid options for some, they do not appeal to everyone. Many express concerns about pouring so much money into a policy on which they may never make a claim. Self- funding is an option, but only for those who can set aside nearly $2 million for that purpose.  To generate $101,160 per year at 5% rate of return you would need $2,023,200 in order to maintain principal year after year. As strong… | Read More »

We Are Problem Solvers: Matt Weyers and the search for liquidty

In addition to educating our clients and helping them realize their retirement goals, we work hard to solve their problems. In the next few weeks, we’re going to highlight that aspect of our job. Our first featured problem solver is insurance specialist Matt Weyers. Matt, who is also a registered investment advisor representative, spends most of his time helping clients solve the growing problem of potentially outliving their money. He develops client-specific strategies based on risk tolerance, income level, age and retirement goals. He also takes advantage of the company’s independence to analyze products and policies. Because Winch Financial is not affiliated with a specific broker/dealer or insurance company, Matt is able to access a wide variety of options for clients and he also can provide an unbiased analysis. Recently, a client came to Matt with an annuity he had just purchased from an outside insurance agent. The client asked Matt to analyze the annuity to make sure it was the right product for him, Matt asked about goals and the man said he wanted easy access to his money. Knowing that annuities are notoriously illiquid, Matt noted that the client would only be able to withdraw 10 percent of his money a year without penalty, and would have to wait until the second year to even do that. Fortunately, the annuity’s grace period had not expired and Matt was able to extract a full refund for the client. Working together, they then reinvested the money in more liquid assets to allow him the access he wanted in the first place. In another instance, a client who had filled out his group health benefits packet incorrectly came to Matt to see what he could do. The client inadvertently checked the wrong box, which left his wife without coverage. The company’s HR department would not allow him to add her because the open enrollment period had passed. Matt was able to… | Read More »

Celebrating Life Insurance Awareness Month with love

We’re celebrating Life Insurance Awareness Month with love and we’re encouraging you to do the same. Take a look at the people you love and ask yourself if you’ve done enough to protect them from the “what ifs.”  What if something happened to you? Will your life insurance policy provide enough coverage for the family you leave behind? When is the last time you reviewed your policy? Now is a great time for a life insurance review. We can walk you through the options available to you to make sure you’re fully covered without overpaying for something you don’t really want or need. Life insurance planning needs to be done with a goal-based approach.  For example if you are only looking to cover a portion of time, maybe while you have dependent children, you shouldn’t over pay for lifetime coverage. Know your goal for any coverage that you are buying and then find the product that best fulfills that goal.  There are several types of life insurance including: Term insurance, which is cheap and meets short-term goals. Return of premium term, which is a little more expensive but gives you the option to take a paid-up death benefit or get a full refund of your premiums paid at the end of your level term. Universal Life in all of its variations can make sense for someone wanting coverage, flexibility, and the ability to grow tax friendly money within the policy. Whole Life insurance can be a good fit for the person who wants both permanent coverage and tax friendly growth ability. If you are worried about being a burden to your family because of Long Term Care needs and expenses there are even LTC riders (options) you can add to many types of life insurance. Group life insurance is a valuable asset and I believe, if you have it available, you should utilize it to a degree. I like group… | Read More »

Seven reasons you might need to spruce up your life insurance

Spring cleaning means sorting through paperwork, shredding some, and reorganizing others into appropriate files. It’s also the perfect time to review your insurance policies. Here are seven life changes that should prompt a review for effectiveness of coverage and appropriateness of premiums. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, we suggest you come in for an insurance review: Have you increased the size of your family through marriage, adoption or the birth of a child? If so, you may want to make sure you’ve purchased enough coverage and that your beneficiary designations are up to date. Have you decreased the size of your family through divorce or the death of a spouse? These are also life events that should spur you to update your beneficiaries and review the scope of your policy. Has anyone in your immediate family become disabled since you purchased your policy? If the financial increase is significant, the additional cost of care might prompt you to update your coverage. Have you lost a job, received a promotion, started a new business or expanded an existing one since you purchased your policy? Depending on your age, these changes in job status could affect your insurance needs, particularly if you now own your own business. Are you now a primary caregiver for an elderly parent or grandparent? Have your financial responsibilities increased due to this change? Is your policy close to expiring? Are you healthier now? Have you quit smoking or lost a significant amount of weight? If so, you could qualify for lower premiums. Life insurance policies tend to be items people purchase and store away.  This can lessen the effectiveness of the policy and eliminate the opportunity to save money on premiums. For these reasons, we recommend an annual review. If you have any questions or would like a review, our insurance specialist Matt Weyers would be glad to sit down with you… | Read More »

Top nine reasons to fund an HSA

For the past three years, I have gotten a notice from my healthcare provider that the policy I carry will no longer be available to me in the New Year.  Each year I find myself with a more expensive policy that provides me with less coverage.  But now, thanks to a savvy tip, I’ve figured out how to make my finances and healthcare work with each other.  How, you ask?  Three simple, sweet letters:  H S A. I am in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).  My HDHP policy requires me to pay a deductible of $2,800.  As it turns out, as long as I have a minimum deductible of $1250 as a single person or a $2,500 minimum deductible for a family policy (which will be $1300 and $2600, respectively, for 2016), then I qualify for an HSA (Health Savings Account). An HSA allows a person or a family with a HDHP (high deductible health plan) to put aside tax free money that can be used to pay deductibles and other qualified healthcare expenses and won’t poof away into nothing if it isn’t used!  What a concept!  That just seems too good to be true! I have compiled a list of some important things to know regarding HSAs.  These are the top nine reasons my HSA is my new best friend: My HSA is tax deductible off of my gross income, which is awesome, and could even lower my tax bracket. My HSA resembles my Roth IRA since my principle grows tax free BUT, in addition, I get the fantastic benefit of receiving a current tax deduction. (NOTE: HSAs have contribution limits. For 2015, an individual may contribute up to $3,350; for a family, that amount is $6,650. People over 55 may add another $1,000 per year as a catch-up contribution). I can even have my HSA account managed by investment professionals to maximize its growth potential. If I don’t… | Read More »