How to Convert Your Life Insurance to an Annuity

Elegant senior lady

If you want to convert your life insurance policy to an annuity—or are thinking about it—there are some key things to take into consideration. Imagine this scenario: Tom will retire in a few years. Decades ago, he opened a life insurance policy to provide security for his young family. His children are grown now and financially secure. He continues to pay the insurance premium but feels the policy is more than he needs. He’s considering transferring the policy to an annuity to provide a stream of income for his retirement. But he knows annuities can be complicated—mostly because there are

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How to avoid mistakes with online bill payments

How to avoid mistakes with online bill payments

Donny sat down at his desktop computer at the end of the month as usual and began the process of paying his bills. Time was not on his side this day as his favorite football team prepared to take the field in 20 minutes. Soon, his friends would arrive to watch the game with him on television, and he still had to prepare game time snacks. With his mind on the upcoming event, Donny quickly moved through the bill payment motions. He opened up a web browser and sent one payment after another, including electricity, gas, water, telephone, and then

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Our Term Life Insurance Is Expiring. Now What?

Senior businessman working with laptop in office

Your term life insurance is about to expire, you’re retiring, and the kids are gone. This is a good time to determine your insurance needs and weigh your options. Here’s how to choose the best course of action for your ending-soon term life policy. Start with these 3 questions: Do loved ones need your financial support? People often buy a term life policy when they get married, buy a house or have their first child. This type of cost-effective policy provides financial security for your family in the event of your passing. Now that your children are grown and independent,

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Final Expense Insurance: Is It Right for You?

Close-up shot of Insurance broker is introducing a health insurance program with his tablet.

Final expense insurance is an option you may consider as you organize your retirement details. In the event of your death, having a plan in place can help family members take care of your funeral and related expenses—without financial stress. But where do you start? There are many options to cover end-of-life costs. Additionally, talking to loved ones about death can be difficult. Here are some tips to get you started: What is final expense insurance? Final expense insurance is a policy that you purchase to cover any expenses related to your death. That includes medical fees and funeral costs

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Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”?

Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”?

A financial power of attorney is a valuable legal document that ensures that your financial matters will continue to be handled – should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.  However, placed into the wrong hands, these documents can become a license to steal. Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”? In your power of attorney, you’re called the “principal” and the person you select to have authority over your finances is called the “agent” (or “attorney-in-fact”). A general power of attorney allows your selected agent to do everything that you could do with

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How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse

How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse

Last week's column discussed telephone fraudsters and other senior scams to watch out for, especially this time of year. Unfortunately, older individuals are easy targets because we're lonely and miss the constant companionship we enjoyed at work. Or we're lonely because the spouse has passed and the adult children have busy lives. How to Spot Financial Elder Abuse That leaves seniors open to a seemingly pleasant, trustworthy, and slick professionals who use the telephone in a friendly and engaging manner and traps us with kind words and attention. Scammers are smart and well-trained. They know exactly what to say to get

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Top 10 Ways to Delay Your VA Pension Application

veteran in uniform

We’ve all heard the horror stories about working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, affectionately known as the VA, especially when it comes to VA pension applications. You send in your paperwork and it either drops into a black hole never to be seen again or you end up in an infuriating back-and-forth game of claim form whack-a-mole. Though you don’t have any control over the employees of the VA and their skill (or lack thereof) at processing applications, you do have control over what you submit. That’s why I thought it would be fun to talk about ways to

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Annuities and Qualifying for Public Benefits

Do you own an annuity? Annuities are a complicated subject and even more so when it comes to their effect on the Medicaid or VA Aid and Attendance application process. How can an annuity impact a person’s ability to qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits in the future? Before I answer the question, let’s start with some basics. Annuities are creditor protected insurance products that guarantee income. A qualified annuity is a financial product that accepts and grows funds. Premiums for qualified annuities are generally paid with pretax dollars, as are any investments purchased for use in a qualified retirement plan. “Qualified” is a descriptor given

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Can I Get Medicaid if I Transfer All of My Assets to My Spouse?

elderly woman isn't feeling well

In the past, to avoid exceeding Medicaid’s income and asset limits, many individuals transferred their assets into the name of other relatives, particularly when nursing home care was immediately needed.  Now, Medicaid takes into account all asset transfers made in the preceding five years prior to an application for Medicaid benefits (this period is called the “look-back” period).  If such asset transfers were made, Medicaid may assess a penalty period, which will delay the commencement of Medicaid benefits. However, as discussed below, it is crucial to understand that not all assets are counted for Medicaid benefits determination and that some

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