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Turning 65 Soon? How to Prepare for Medicare

Imagine (and maybe you don’t have to imagine) you are turning 65 years old later this year. A significant milestone, if for no other reason than becoming eligible to receive Medicare. What do you do? How should you prepare for it? What is next? Read Up On Medicare Eligibility And Coverage Individuals who turn 65 and have been paying into the Medicare system for at least 10 years (or have spouses who have paid) are among those automatically eligible for Medicare Part A. This part of Medicare covers inpatient hospital insurance, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Inform yourself on what’s covered, what might require additional coverage and how you fit in. Enroll in Medicare Part B Getting covered in Medicare Part B — medical insurance — requires enrolling in the program three months before you turn 65. Delaying enrollment could mean having to pay a…

Getting Auto Insurance for a New Teen Driver

Even though more teens are putting off getting their driver’s license and delaying hopping behind the steering wheel, they’ll start driving at some point. And that means that your new teenage driver will need auto insurance. Here’s a six-point checklist for insuring that new driver (teenager or not): Create a Budget First things first. Determine how much you can spend (read: would like to spend) on your new driver. In this overall budget estimate, include annual costs for insurance, another family car — if that’s part of the plan — and auto maintenance. An item to note: Simply adding a single teen driver to an existing policy can cause the premium to increase, on average, by almost $700. Though parents can initially show reluctance to adding their teenager to an existing policy, it is often cheaper than excluding them from your policy and creating a new policy on a child’s…

7 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances Before the End of the Year

Did you know “saving [more] money” was one of the top three New Year’s resolutions in 2018? Chances are, it will rank among the top resolutions for 2019 as well. No matter how comfortable we are financially, most of us can do more with our money. If you’re among the many people considering a financial resolution in 2019, there are plenty of things you can do before the ball drops. Addressing your finances now to set yourself up for success in January. Here are seven things to consider doing right now: Check Your Credit Report You can check your credit report for free, with no penalty to your credit, once every 12 months. Take advantage! The end of the year is a great time to order a copy of your report from the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Get yours online at annualcreditreport.com (the only authorized website for the job,…

Start Your New Year With an Insurance Checkup

As January approaches, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, usually centered on how to improve your life and the lives of those closest to you by making changes. When was the last time you thought about how well you are protected against an unfortunate turn of events? Insurance, even if you believe you have good coverage right now, is not a one-time, buy-it-and-forget-it product. The new year is the ideal time for an insurance checkup. Life events may change your insurance needs. It’s better to invest just a little time right now to review your coverage than to come up short when you face a critical need for coverage. Reviewing insurance policies probably doesn’t sound like a fun activity, but you have many solid reasons for settling in for a couple of hours of work. Consider the following: You may save money. If you purchased a policy several or…

Can Your Smart Home Save You Money?

There’s a definite “cool factor” to the idea of a smart home. The ability to turn lights on and off with your voice, get notified if there’s someone on your porch, or have your smoke detector alert the fire department if it detects a problem seems futuristic. It’s reminiscent of the Jetsons and Iron Man. Smart home devices definitely are cool – but they’re also practical. Many of the devices aren’t just about convenience, they’re also about safety. Lights that turn on and off automatically when you’re on vacation can deter burglars, smoke detectors that call the fire department can save lives and property, and doorbells that capture porch activity can help serve justice if your belongings are ever stolen. Even beyond peace of mind, smart devices can help you save money. It goes beyond smart thermostats that monitor the temperature of your home to save you money on utilities.…

7 Resources for Making Sense of Medicare

It’s open enrollment season for Medicare. If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare, you have until December 7 to review the various plan options. This is the time when to decide which are right for your health insurance needs and finances. These are the same decisions you would make if you’re enrolling for Medicare for the first time—which you can do starting three months before your 65th birthday and up to three months afterward (or eight months after retirement if you work past 65). If you fall into either camp, or need to help make these choices for a parent or older spouse, it’s important to know the options and how they best align with your needs. Personal health situations change from year to year. Elements and rules that go with various Medicare plans often change too. Medicare is a tremendous benefit for Americans 65 and older, one that most of…

How to Avoid Mistakes When Choosing Medicare Plans

“A problem well-stated is a problem half solved,” said renowned inventor and businessman Charles F. Kettering. With the number of options, choices and deadlines facing you when making Medicare decisions, it’s not difficult to run into a few problems. In some cases, you may not realize it until it’s too late. So, what are some mistakes when choosing a Medicare plan? Here are five of the most common: Staying the Course Without Reviewing Your Current Medicare Coverage You signed up when you were eligible. That’s good. But inertia can be a dangerous thing. One of the most common mistakes is doing nothing after you’ve signed up for your initial plan. Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs mid-October into December so you can adjust your coverage as your needs change. Like your needs, Medicare options change each year, as well as potentially the cost of those options. Are you making good…

Disaster Strikes Your Second Home: Are You Prepared?

Once you decide you’re financially ready to buy a vacation home, one important step is insuring your new pad. It’s different than buying insurance for a primary residence. Factors such as where it’s located, who stays there and what amenities are available will help determine your home insurance needs. Your Vacation Home Versus Mother Nature For many people, the whole idea of a vacation home is to be closer to a sandy beach or among the crisp mountain air. That perfect location for rest and relaxation may come with some additional insurance costs. Hurricane season and intense rainstorms underscore the importance of knowing your coverage. The point applies to primary residences and vacation homes. When hurricane Florence hit in September 2018, more than 30 million people were under a flood watch and media outlets reported only about 3 percent of North Carolina and South Carolina homeowners held insurance policies.  And…

Retaining Life Insurance for Peace of Mind

As a driver and homeowner, you are required to carry home and auto insurance. If all goes well, you’ll never experience a car accident, home invasion or natural disaster that makes that insurance worthwhile. The peace of mind it brings is worth it. And although life insurance isn’t mandatory, it provides an immeasurable benefit to loved ones when we pass away. When we think about family, the real value of life insurance becomes evident. Family Values Every single one of us will face the end of life. When that time comes, what will your life insurance be worth? Not in dollar value, of course – that’s a question for your SelectQuote licensed agent. But what will the value be to your loved ones? Will it mean a stay-at-home spouse can continue caring for the family instead of scrambling to find work and affordable childcare? Will it mean the relief of not worrying…

What to Know About Retiring at 62 Versus Retiring at 70

Ah, retirement. That long-awaited life stage when all your hours of working, saving and family-raising efforts finally pay off. You’ll be free to travel, spend time with friends and family and enjoy the hobbies you never had time for. No worries, no stress, nobody to answer to. Except, without careful planning that scenario could be a fantasy. A 2017 Ipsos/USA Today poll found 45- to 65-year-olds surveyed, 30 percent had less than $100,000 in savings. Another 30 percent had no savings at all. No matter how much money you have invested for your retirement, deciding when to make the leap can drastically affect how far those investments can carry you. Trying to decide when to retire? Here are some things to consider if you decide to retire at age 62 versus age 70. Your Social Security Benefits At age 62: More people (42 percent of men and 48 percent of…

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