Care Costs in Retirement – Controlling Your Health

It’s no secret that health care becomes a bigger concern for most of us as we grow older. More ailments are likely to develop, which means more money spent to visit health professionals and buy medication. Even if you remain healthy through your later years, the costs of preventative care and preparing for potential unexpected health situations are rising.

Health-related expenses will likely be one of the biggest components of your retirement budget. You need to be prepared to pay for comprehensive insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Here are three strategies to help you manage this critical expense in retirement.

Understand how Medicare works

The good news for Americans age 65 and older is that you qualify for Medicare. That makes increased dependence on health care services more affordable. At age 65, most people automatically qualify for Medicare Part A at no cost, which primarily provides coverage for hospital stays and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B must be purchased (approximately $109 per month in 2017 for most retirees). Part B covers the costs of visiting a physician, but with some deductibles. Many people purchase additional coverage to use for out-of-pocket expenses, such as a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

With Medicare, timing is important. Signing up when you first qualify for coverage will keep costs at the lowest level. If you maintain insurance through your employer after turning 65, you can delay Medicare enrollment without risking late penalties.

If you retire prior to age 65, you will need to purchase insurance on the open market to cover health-related expenses until you become eligible for Medicare. Individual coverage tends to get more expensive as you grow older, so work the cost into your retirement budget. Some employers offer retiree health insurance as a benefit. Check with your human resources department to see if this option is available to you.

Allocate sufficient funds for health care costs

As you develop your retirement income strategy, make sure you have money set aside for health expenses that will be your responsibility. By one estimate, the average 66-year-old couple will need to tap more than half of their lifetime pre-tax Social Security benefits to pay for health care expenses throughout retirement. Most people will likely have to rely, in part, on their own savings to help offset some medical expenses.

Along with other retirement savings, you may want to establish a health savings account (HSA) during your working years. HSAs are designed to help build tax-advantaged savings to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur during your working years. However, any leftover funds can be applied to health expenses later in life, including premiums for Medicare and long-term care insurance. Keep in mind that you must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan to open an HSA.

Focus on your own health

One way to potentially keep health care costs under control in retirement is to create or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Small changes you make today, such as eating right or prioritizing sleep, could reduce the likelihood that medical issues will impact you later in life. Being physically active may also benefit your finances in retirement – according to the American Heart Association, it could potentially help you save $500 a year today on health-related expenses.

Having a plan doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid heath issues, but you may find comfort in knowing how you can tackle health care costs in retirement.

Best Deals on the Home Furnishings You Want

Most furniture stores offer a variety of great items for any room in your home. It can be fun to shop around and compare both options and prices. Take your time to get exactly what you want for a price that is going to work with your allotted budget. You can buy individual items or you can buy complete sets.

Don’t wait until you absolutely have to replace something though. If you do, you will feel stressed and rushed to make a purchase. This is going to result in you paying more because you don’t have time to look around. Start planning early to get the best choices and to really love what you will have in your home.

Sales

If you play your cards right, you will never pay full price for your furnishings. Instead, you can shop around and look for furniture stores offering very good sales. Make sure they really are giving you a deal though. Sadly, some stores will mark up prices and then put them on sale. This lower price is still more than you would pay for the same items somewhere else.

Clearance

Items are often on clearance at furniture stores to make room for the new merchandise. There is nothing wrong with those items, they are just older. They still have plenty of value and you may find something that gets your attention. This is a very simple way to save money on wonderful items for your home.

Save Money with a Set

Most furniture stores give you significant savings when you buy a set versus buying only one or two items. Think about this when you are shopping around. For example, if you want to get a couch, you may get a terrific deal to buy a couch with a matching loveseat. If you need a coffee table, you may find a wonderful price on a set with two end tables as well.

Free Shipping

Avoid paying to have your items delivered to you. Look for furniture stores that offer free shipping. The savings can add up quickly so don’t overlook this very important detail. Depending on what you buy from them, they may be willing to haul away your old items for free or a low price. It is a good idea to check into this as it will save you hauling them off.

Warranty

You need furnishings that look nice, they are fully functional, and they hold up well. Look for furniture stores offering quality items. You don’t want to pay for something that isn’t sturdy or from materials that simply aren’t going to hold up. Those companies offering a warranty on the items they sell are also encouraging. It means they believe in what they sell to you!

Financing

If you don’t have the money up front to buy home furnishings, you may be tempted to put it all on a credit card. Yet this can come with high interest with it and take time to pay it off. Many companies offer in house financing. The interest is often less than your credit cards. Some have special promotions too such as 0% interest as long as you pay off the balance.

You will have a specific period of time to pay it all in full. After that time passes, any balance you have left will be charged interest. This type of offer can help you to get the furniture you want not and not have to pay anything extra for it just by paying that balance early enough. The timeframe can vary but some are as long as 24 months.

Automotive Filter Changes Importance

Humans require clean, easy-to-breath air in order to live. And just like humans, vehicles also need to be able to “breathe” clean air in order to survive. While human lungs make it possible to breathe, a vehicle’s air filters do just the same. But after some time, they begin to accumulate mass amounts of dirt, debris, and other airborne particles, which eventually decreases their quality and function. For this reason, it is critical to have your vehicle’s engine and cabin air filters inspected and changed on a routine basis to promote safe and efficient driving. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of routine automotive filter changes.

Air Filters

Keep in mind that your car’s air filters are your first line of defense against irritating and obstructive airborne contaminants. Dirt, dust, pollen, mold spores, exhaust gases, bacteria, and more are examples of airborne contaminants that have the ability to negatively affect the quality and performance of your engine and vehicle as a whole. And according to Community Car Care, there is a 1 in 5 chance that YOUR car needs an air filter change right now! Many drivers are guilty of overlooking this small but highly-necessary scheduled maintenance.

Engine Damage

The long list of airborne contaminants can have a powerful impact on your vehicle’s engine, and in a very negative way. Everything from pistons, cylinders, and cylinder walls, to piston rings and bearings, are just a few areas of a car engine that can begin to lose performance value from clogged or dirty air filters. Over time, neglecting to change them can lead to serious engine malfunctions and breakdowns, which means frustrating, costly repairs.

Cabin Filters

If you like to have clean, breathable interior air that smells good, you need to change your air filters on a routine basis. Once they start to become clogged, they begin to slowly lose their ability to do their job. So once they are entirely clogged, you can suffer some mild but irritating consequences, such as musty smells, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes, tightening of the chest, and more. Changing them regularly keeps the interior environment of your car fresh and easy to breath.

Schedule

Refer to your vehicle’s owners’ manual for the manufacturer recommendations on factory scheduled maintenance. The general rule of thumb is to have your air filters inspected and changed every time you take your car in for an oil change. In fact, it is often a part of oil change packages. This should be every 3,000 miles or so. Talk to your mechanic for professional advice.

Three Reasons To Buy Used From a Ford Dealership

From clear financial incentives to increased reliability and better buying tools, there has never been a better time to consider buying a used car or truck. Not sold? Here are three reasons to buy used for your next vehicle.

Save Yourself Money

It’s no secret that buying a vehicle used instead of new will save you money, but just how much money can you save? Statistics from Kelly Blue Book show that in 2015 Americans spent an average of $33,500 on new vehicles versus just over $20,000 on used. That’s an approximate $13,500 in savings.

With buying new, there is also the depreciation factor. As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, its price drops by several thousand dollars. According to statistics from Consumer Reports, a new car purchased in today’s market will depreciate to just 54 percent of its original price tag after just three years on the road. With used vehicles, such depreciation is a rarity, making trade-ins and sales back to the dealership more economically viable.

Get A Reliable (And Better) Vehicle

Going the used route can free up resources and allow you to buy a better and more reliable vehicle. The rationale is simple: when you save by buying your car used, you can put that extra money towards a better make or model. If you do your homework, the cost should be about even – and in the long run, the investment will likely fall in your favor. By choosing a better-made model, your used vehicle will likely outlive the new, less reliable alternative. Plus, with the lifespan of today’s cars at an all-time high, even vehicles with several years on the road can be a sound investment. According to a 2015 survey by IHS Automotive, the average age of cars on US roads has reached 11.5 years, with estimates projecting a continued increase in lifespan. For used car buyers, this is good news. The used vehicle is no longer a temporary fix, but a reliable alternative to buying new.

Vehicle History Reports and CPO Programs: The Future of Used Car Buying

Today’s certified pre-owned (CPO) programs further guarantee that when you buy used, you get a reliable car in great condition. Since a growing number of new car drivers today choose to lease their cars rather than buy them, dealerships nationwide have substantial inventories of CPO trade-ins to buy. New car leases typically involve 3-year contracts with restrictions based on condition and mileage, which mean when they trade in their vehicles they are still in excellent condition.

Whether you are buying a CPO model or a car from the regular used car dealership, the prevalence of vehicle history reports through online services makes it easier than ever to find a reliable used vehicle. Enter the automobile’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and gather valuable information about its history and registration. A dealership will be happy to assist you with this process. With today’s tools, you will be able to find a high-quality used vehicle faster than ever.