Something Random

jtr1962

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Unfortunately in this country, we've decided that medical care isn't something you have a right to. Rather, it's a good only available to those who can either pay out of pocket, or are covered by some type of insurance, usually through work. Even the latter doesn't guarantee a serious illness won't bankrupt you. For those not in either category, the only option is to self-medicate and/or just make sure you don't get sick in the first place. At least I'll be covered by Medicare in 8 years and change.
 

Bozo

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I'm on Medicare. Medicare does not cover eyes, teeth, or ears. It also does not cover prescriptions. You will need a supplement. Some of them are free but have limited coverage. So you are back to how healthy can you afford to be. This year we decided to change our supplement company and I spent 4-5 hours a day for a week reading all the fine print in promising supplements. Reading the fine print is a must so you know what exactly is covered and what the copay and deductibles are.
Social security is another mess. There are multiple ways to collect social security and you only get one chance to make the right choice. Once you have made your choice it cannot be changed. My advice, don't try to do it yourself on the net or over the phone. Go into a SS office sit down and talk to a representative.
 

jtr1962

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I'm on Medicare. Medicare does not cover eyes, teeth, or ears. It also does not cover prescriptions. You will need a supplement. Some of them are free but have limited coverage. So you are back to how healthy can you afford to be. This year we decided to change our supplement company and I spent 4-5 hours a day for a week reading all the fine print in promising supplements. Reading the fine print is a must so you know what exactly is covered and what the copay and deductibles are.
Social security is another mess. There are multiple ways to collect social security and you only get one chance to make the right choice. Once you have made your choice it cannot be changed. My advice, don't try to do it yourself on the net or over the phone. Go into a SS office sit down and talk to a representative.
I've paid out of pocket for the dentist. It's not that bad. Getting coverage for something like that is pointless when the premiums will likely exceed what you get in dental bills. Ditto for prescriptions. My 80-year old mom is on two very inexpensive prescriptions. I'm not on anything. I know Medicare doesn't cover everything but it does cover a lot of the big stuff.

As for Social Security, the main decision is to decide what age you're collecting it at. I made that decision a long time ago. I'm collecting at age 70 to maximize my benefit. The only complication I guess is since Medicaid starts at age 65 I'll have to opt out of Part B since I won't have a Social Security payment to deduct the part B premium from.
 

Bozo

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JTR: $2400.00 for two root canals is a lot of money to me. That's more than my monthly SS check. $800.00 for three fillings is a lot of money to me.
I take nine different medications a day, some twice a day. They would cost over $600.00 a month if I had to pay for them. Eyeglasses are over $400 without an eye exam. A comprehensive hearing test is almost $300.00. Hearing aids start at $500.00 and go to over $2500.00, for each ear. (I need a hearing aid but it cost too much).
This is just for me and doesn't include my wife.
I'm glad for you if you can afford to pay everything out of pocket. I hope you stay healthy. But, you should go in and talk to a SS representative. Once you make your choices, you can't change them later. Especially if you are married.
I am a veteran and have started going to the VA for a lot of things. They have deductibles too, but it's a lot cheaper.
 

jtr1962

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I've probably spent $15K on dentists over my entire adult life. Yes, it's a big hit when you need work, but it doesn't happen often.

As for glasses, I've still using the same ones I had since college. I just use them to watch TV. Maybe I'll spring for a new pair soon. I can probably get one for under $200.

I can't afford big ticket stuff, like major operations, out of pocket. Point of fact I've had severe CTS since my late 20s. Haven't even had it medically diagnosed, never mind getting it fixed. The operation was $50K when my mom had it in the mid 1980s but her insurance covered it.

Yes, I'll talk to an SS representative when the time gets close to start getting Medicare. As I said though with Social Security, I'm waiting until I'm 70. I have a lot of deferred income in retirement plans. I'll need the ten years of no other income between 59½ and 70 to take the money out and pay as little income taxes as possible on it.

Keep in mind I've lived with my parents my entire life and saved easily 90% of my after-tax income. So long as my mother is alive and I'm taking care of her I won't be paying any living expenses. Given her decent health and family longevity I could be well into my 60s, even 70s, before she goes. The big problem is having enough money to buy my brother and sister out of their share of the house so I can stay here.
 

sdbardwick

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The only complication I guess is since Medicaid starts at age 65 I'll have to opt out of Part B since I won't have a Social Security payment to deduct the part B premium from.
NO! Do not opt out of part B (unless you have other qualifying insurance at the time - qualifying insurance does not include some plans, such as COBRA benefits) otherwise you will probably pay a late-enrollment penalty forever. From SSA website:
Will I get a bill for my Part A or Part B premiums?
If you sign up for Part B and you don't get Social Security, RRB, or Civil Service benefits, you'll get a bill called a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500). If you buy only Part B, you'll get this bill every 3 months.
If you buy Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) or you owe Part D income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA), you'll always get a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500) each month for your premium.
 

jtr1962

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NO! Do not opt out of part B (unless you have other qualifying insurance at the time - qualifying insurance does not include some plans, such as COBRA benefits) otherwise you will probably pay a late-enrollment penalty forever. From SSA website:
Will I get a bill for my Part A or Part B premiums?
If you sign up for Part B and you don't get Social Security, RRB, or Civil Service benefits, you'll get a bill called a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500). If you buy only Part B, you'll get this bill every 3 months.
If you buy Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) or you owe Part D income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA), you'll always get a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500) each month for your premium.
The problem is since I'm taking care of my mother I won't have any income to pay the part B premium with. This says part A if free if you would qualify for Social Security at age 65, even if you opt to get it later.
 

LunarMist

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You are only 56 or 57 now? I'd seek professional advice now as to projected future options, but of course those will change over time, too.
Don't be so fatalistic.
 

jtr1962

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How do you know you'll make it to 70? You need to enjoy life as it comes along.
Nobody knows how long they'll live. A meteorite could hit me while I'm sleeping tonight. Just going by general family genetics and lifespans though it's highly likely I'll live well past 70 if I take halfway decent care of myself. My father did virtually everything wrong (i.e. obese, smoked, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle) and he still made it to 71½. His mother was nearly as bad in terms of lifestyle, although she rarely smoked, and she was 300+ pounds, yet she made it to 87. On my mom's side a lot of people make it into their 90s.
 

jtr1962

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You are only 56 or 57 now? I'd seek professional advice now as to projected future options, but of course those will change over time, too.
Don't be so fatalistic.
Here's the thing. Nobody knows what the healthcare landscape in this country will look like in even 5 years. If Trump doesn't get reelected and we have a Democratic-majority Congress we'll likely get some form of universal health care. If not, some states, including New York, are talking about implementing some version of it. Granted, the current proposal for NYS universal health care is awful because it basically makes all care "free" to every resident. Good for the people who aren't paying taxes, but the level of taxes we would need for this would drive business from the state. Anyway, as I get closer to 65 I'll start looking at my options. Until then my only hope of any type of coverage would be if either the federal government or NYS pass some type of universal health care bill. I don't care if it doesn't cover stuff like dental work, so long as it covers major illnesses and hospitalization. That's what really bankrupts a lot of people.
 

sdbardwick

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JTR, if you really expect not to have income when Medicare kicks in, you should do some asset planning now-ish. Most states have programs that will pay Part B premiums (either through Medicaid or outside of it), but the asset limits can be severe. However, some asset classes are exempt from the calculation, but again that varies from state to state. But the look-back period (where the state looks to see if you transferred assets to qualify for the aid) can also be long; California had (has?) a seven-year look back period for MediCal qualifications for some programs.

Unsolicited advice: Even if you are the primary caregiver, even without compensation, don't expect siblings to account for that when it comes time to settle your mom's estate. I saw and heard of many cases where the non-caregiving siblings rationalized their selfishness ("Mom wanted it this way", "She (caregiver) got to live in the house for free" (That one really galls me, as the value of a caregiver is usually >10x any imputed rent), etc. So perhaps they could contribute in some way and it is good to have a written memo (doesn't need to be formal) detailing expectations and contributions, monetary and otherwise (avoids squabbles later). Best course is for all siblings to ask parent (if still competent) to adjust estate planning documents to somehow account for the disparity of contributions.
 

jtr1962

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JTR, if you really expect not to have income when Medicare kicks in, you should do some asset planning now-ish. Most states have programs that will pay Part B premiums (either through Medicaid or outside of it), but the asset limits can be severe. However, some asset classes are exempt from the calculation, but again that varies from state to state. But the look-back period (where the state looks to see if you transferred assets to qualify for the aid) can also be long; California had (has?) a seven-year look back period for MediCal qualifications for some programs.
I've been doing asset planning for a long time. Basically, I'll have way too much assets to qualify for Medicaid when I'm over 65. I can technically get Medicaid right now since there is no asset limit if you're under 65 but then that means if any lucrative consulting work comes if I'll have to forego it so stay under the income limit, which is around $14K, give or take. I'd rather have the income than Medicaid if it comes to that choice.

Anyway, assets or not, the first rule of financial planning is to live off your income, not your assets. As you get older, you put your assets into income-generating investments but you still stick to the same rule, which is to live off only the income they generate. So if I have no income I can't afford Part B premiums. I'm not even sure if it's worthwhile getting part B even once I'm on Social Security. My benefit according the Social Security website will only be about $1,000 or so if I delay until I'm 70. The Part B premium is something like $135 now. It'll only be higher when I'm 70. It could be a good chunk of my Social Security check.

Unsolicited advice: Even if you are the primary caregiver, even without compensation, don't expect siblings to account for that when it comes time to settle your mom's estate. I saw and heard of many cases where the non-caregiving siblings rationalized their selfishness ("Mom wanted it this way", "She (caregiver) got to live in the house for free" (That one really galls me, as the value of a caregiver is usually >10x any imputed rent), etc. So perhaps they could contribute in some way and it is good to have a written memo (doesn't need to be formal) detailing expectations and contributions, monetary and otherwise (avoids squabbles later). Best course is for all siblings to ask parent (if still competent) to adjust estate planning documents to somehow account for the disparity of contributions.
We've talked about this from time to time. Bottom line is right now my mom's will stipulates everyone gets 1/3 of the total estate. I've even told both my siblings they can split all her other assets, which right now are in the high $200K area, so long as I get the house free and clear. I don't anticipate having the kind of money to buy them out of their shares so I can stay in the house. Right now it's worth easily $700K. I'm sure if my mom was competent she would agree to what I said but she's not in a position to make changes to the will. You're 100% right about the value of caregiving. Full-time live-in help, which is what she needs, would easily be $200 a day plus room and board (since the caregiver obviously has to live on the premises). This comes to about $75K annually. I've been doing this since roughly 2015. The value of my caregiving is already more than half my sibling's combined share of the house.

Now since I have power of attorney I'm thinking of ways to remedy the situation since right now they're not amenable to my terms. I could take out a home equity loan to pay myself for the amount of work I've done so far, and then add $75K to that loan each year. When my mom goes, the equity in the house might be very low, so my third of her other assets would cover it. I would still need to pay back the home equity loan, but I would just have that money sitting in an account entirely for that purpose. That's one way.

Both live paycheck to paycheck, so there's no way they can give monetary contributions now. That's a good idea if it were possible, but it's not.

Another way of course is to keep pressing my case. I've heard many times "we appreciate what you're doing". Well, either they do or they don't. If they did, they would agree with me that my care has value, and see to it that it's deducted from their share of the house. I'll even be generous with my terms. Once the value of my care exceeds 2/3rd of the value of the house, I won't ask them to continue deducting it from her other assets. They can each have 1/2 her other assets, plus any of her material possessions.

That said, we really need a law where caregivers can get fair compensation when the estate is settled, regardless of the original terms of the will.
 

LunarMist

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Nobody knows how long they'll live. A meteorite could hit me while I'm sleeping tonight. Just going by general family genetics and lifespans though it's highly likely I'll live well past 70 if I take halfway decent care of myself. My father did virtually everything wrong (i.e. obese, smoked, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle) and he still made it to 71½. His mother was nearly as bad in terms of lifestyle, although she rarely smoked, and she was 300+ pounds, yet she made it to 87. On my mom's side a lot of people make it into their 90s.
So you should also have a lot of earnings potential left, maybe ~1 million minus the meteor?
 

jtr1962

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So you should also have a lot of earnings potential left, maybe ~1 million minus the meteor?
Earnings potential doesn't necessarily mean much at this point. Yes, I was making about $100K annually on my last consulting gig but they no longer need me. I doubt I can get anything that lucrative, especially something where I'm still able to take care on my mother. Outside of 3 trips on site, I did the work entirely from home, and on average worked about 20 hours per week. It was great while it lasted, but jobs like that don't grow on trees. Last year I made so little when I did the taxes I let my mother claim me as a dependent. :(
 

sedrosken

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I'm honestly not planning on being able to retire. I'm of the mind that by the time I'm at the age where I'd want to retire, the entire concept will have faded away.
 

jtr1962

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I personally think of retirement as a time when I can just do only work which I find interesting and which pays enough, rather than taking anything which comes my way. I really have no set age when I'll just never take any work. So long as the mind/body are able, and the work is enjoyable, why not?

My days of working 40+ hours a week on the clock are already over. In fact, they were over by my late 20s when I decided to start my home business, and basically trade money for free time. I can't say I really regret that decision but I wish I didn't have to wait until my early 50s to get something fairly lucrative.
 

Handruin

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There's often times not a choice to return when a person's health cannot sustain working for an income. It's still best to try and plan for some kind of retirement and if you chose to continue working that's fine, you'll have more income. If you can make a simple pre-tax lost cost investment into a basic S&P500 (via Vangaurd) over a few decades, this can help in the later years.
 

snowhiker

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I've decided to pick up a SanDisk Clip Sport Plus 16GB MP3 Player for now and hold off on the pricier DAP. $54 and change, and I can walk into BestBuy and pick it up. I can take the Clip with me on walks, the bike, hiking, etc, and if I lose/break it no big deal. I'll want to do some research and find a nice pair of headphones can be be easily driven by a nice Sony of FiiO DAP. Thanks for the heads up SD.
 

LunarMist

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I have an 8GB one and it sucks. Lately I have been using small MP3 device that also has the Blu-tooth. Mostly I just use wires, so it lasts almost 24 hours. The main issue is that the fonts are very small, but at least it is OLED. The old SanDisk OLED players were better.
 

LunarMist

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We've had too many bad tornados lately, but it seems to be calming down. I should probably be somewhere else. However, there were numerous cancellations.
 

LunarMist

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The garbage we are supposed to use for all meetings on a daily basis. :mad: Supposedly everything is in the clouds. I have about 25 meetings scheduled per week.
 
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There are two Skype programs last I checked. The one that is a new Windows "App" that sucks, and the one you install as a program (like in the good old days) that works fairly well.

Of course, Google Hangouts or Facebook Video Chat are better than either.
 

Handruin

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Been busy with renovating my home and trying to get things done to setup my office. Nothing really exciting there to post about.
 

Stereodude

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I'm trapped in an epic scope creep mess of my own making. What started as putting 4 speakers on the ceiling in the great room has turned into a big project of much larger proportion than I wanted. Touching up a bit of paint on the ceiling (which didn't match because of the sheen from rolling vs. spraying) has turned into repainting the entire room (might as well use different colors with some character), putting up crown molding (to hiding the wiring), putting up a chair rail molding (add some accent contrast against the dark walls), and getting new window treatments for 6 windows. Progress has been slow partially because I'm too meticulous.
 

sedrosken

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Been busy slowly fixing my car, going to work, messing with my myriad fleet of other machines. Only exciting thing is that on the main on LTSC 2019 I've been troubleshooting semi-regular BSODs and have narrowed it down to either graphics driver or bad RAM. Jury's out so far as to whether downgrading the driver from the "optional" 19.4.3 to "recommended" 19.4.1 will have fixed anything, or if I need to find my memtest USB or write another one. I realize that's good practice in any case but this also functions as my server and all, so any downtime it spends running laps in memtest hurt. Not to mention the cost of replacing non-ECC DDR3 RAM these days. Ech.
 
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