How Should You Stay Healthy?

If you’re independent, it’s hard to admit that you need help every once in a while. And unfortunately, as you get older, it gradually gets harder to remain completely self-sufficient. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to continue to be able to do things for yourself. Surely there has to be a way to slow down the aging process, right? Absolutely! A way to ensure you can still be active and take care of yourself is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, which is something that everyone at every age should be doing. Aside from independence, benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors include:

 

  • More energy
  • A social lifestyle
  • Mental sharpness
  • Disease prevention
  • Decreased risk of falls/injuries

 

So, what exactly is a healthy lifestyle? When you think about it, the term itself seems vague and unpromising. And usually, when something is vague, we associate it as a negative thing. However, this can be a good thing. If there is a broad term with no clear meaning, then it becomes your chance to define it and apply it to your life. In other words, a “healthy lifestyle” can be translated into an improved lifestyle that molds into your life.

 

That may sound great, but what are some examples of how to lead a healthier lifestyle? How can you start if you don’t even know which way to turn? Well, examples of a this includes:

  • A healthier diet
  • Exercise
  • Brain training
  • Adopting new hobbies
  • Dropping bad habits

 

And most of these are a lot easier than you might initially think. So let’s get into how you can incorporate each of these into your everyday routine.

 

A healthier diet

Take a moment to write out what you typically eat in a week. What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you snack between meals, or replace meals with snacks? Do you eat dessert? What do you typically drink throughout the week, and how often?

 

Addressing these questions is important because it forces you to look at the bigger picture of your typical diet. Maybe you eat a lot of meat, or not enough. Maybe you only get around to drinking a bottle’s worth of water every day, or there are days where you skip water altogether and favor iced tea or soda.

 

Once you write out what your diet tends to look like, it’s time to figure out what you’re wanting to improve. Is your goal to lose weight, reduce your sodium intake or increase your energy? Identify a goal before you can start creating a list of strategies and tactics.

 

Now comes the fun part: planning your meals. Compare what you’re eating with healthier options. If you enjoy red meat, like beef or pork, try switching to white meats, like chicken or turkey. If you’re not already, try incorporating fish into a meal, like Atlantic salmon. Ensure you’re getting a healthy balance of grains, greens and starches on the side, too.

 

Examples of these include:

  • Grain:
    • Rice
    • Oatmeal
    • Pasta
  • Greens:
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Lettuce
  • Starches:
    • Potatoes
    • Corn
    • Bread

 

Eating a healthier diet will help you retain energy and promotes healthy aging, which is something you definitely don’t want to pass up.

 

Exercise

 

Many seniors believe they are well past their years of exercising. However, for a majority of seniors, this is not true. There are plenty of low-impact exercise routines that seniors can do at a great benefit. These exercises include walks, swimming, cycling and Pickleball.

 

Here are the benefits that each of these workouts give to seniors:

  • Walks. Walking may be the best form of exercise among seniors because there are a lot of advantages for seniors to go on walks. First and foremost, it does wonders for your health. Walking not only improves your heart health, but it also lowers your blood sugar. High blood sugar could leave to dizziness, trouble breathing, extreme thirst and more, which makes it all the more important to do what you can to lower it.Other benefits to walking include its ease on joints and low risk for injury. The tissue around your joints gets thicker as you age, which makes it harder for your joints’ ability to move in varying ranges, and your cartilage begins to thin out. That’s why it’s important to find an exercise that has low impact on your joints, like walking.
  • Swimming. Speaking of low-impact exercises, swimming is a perfect example of one. The water in the pool, lake or ocean that you swim in makes for the impact on your joints to be low. It also means that you don’t realize how hard you’re working out because you don’t feel it.Swimming is also great for helping you strengthen stability and lower your risk of falling. This is because you are helping establish yourself against any waves or currents, which is harder to do in the water than it is when you are on land.
  • Cycling. Seniors who regularly participate in cycling exercises are stronger overall, whether it be in other physical activities or in everyday life. Cycling is also a great relaxation sport that builds your stamina, especially among seniors who cycle on both flat land and bumpy terrains. This is because cycling requires your entire body to work, not just your legs.Additionally, cycling promotes a better mental health, too, which will leave you in overall better moods.
  • Pickleball. Pickleball is a sport that mixes in elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It’s an increasingly popular sport, especially among seniors. In fact, there is a restaurant in some states that allows guests to play pickleball while they are eating.

Pickleball is a great way to quickly burn calories and strengthen your agility. It’s also a great sport for anyone who is recovering from an injury to get some cardio. NPR released a report that anyone who plays pickleball is burning 40% more calories than they would just by walking.

 

There is a Pickleball website available for anyone who is interested in getting started with the sport. It provides an in-depth lesson of how to play the sport and tells you where in your local area you can play the game. Luckily, it’s easy for everyone to pickup and offers a lot of fun.

 

Be more active

 

There are things you can do that promote healthy living outside of eating habits and exercise, including being more active. If you’re able to, opt for taking the stairs over the elevator. Or try the traditional form of shopping by visiting stores as opposed to shopping online. These are the little things that you can do to ensure you age in a healthy fashion.

 

You can also be more active by tapping into your creative side. Get more into art or cooking if these are somethings that you enjoy doing.

 

Prioritize mental health

 

One of the most important things for your overall health is to focus on your emotional and mental wellbeing. There are multiple ways in which you can strengthen your mental health by investing more time with your loved ones and your hobbies, as well as trying new things, like visiting your local senior center.

 

Another thing you can do is get a pet. Pets are great ways to relieve stress and let your fun side out. Different pets have different strengths, whether it be cats, dogs or fish. For example, dogs are great companions to help you deal with a crisis. Cats are great companions for those who are looking for a pet that is low maintenance. Make sure to do your research so that you know what kind of pet is best for you, as well as manageable. Analyze the pros and cons of each type of pet and see how you it would mesh into your family. One way you can do this is ease into it by fostering shelter animals for a few days at a time. This helps you understand what your strengths and weaknesses as a pet owner are, and what pet is best for you.

 

It’s also necessary to talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling and, if applicable, talk to a professional. Always prioritize your mental health so that in most situations you’re in, you’re still feeling your best.

 

Everyone needs to be healthy, regardless of age. There are a lot of hobbies, foods and exercises that are out there. Do what you can to be healthy and at the top of your game. Visit The Best Senior Services (TBSS) for more information about ways you can be at your best during your retirement years. TBSS specializes in education seniors about Medicare and other financial services so that you can spend less time worrying about retirement and more time enjoying it. You can get started by visiting our website or calling us at 855-979-8277 today.

 

When Should I Write a Will?

Most people do not consider writing a will or testament unless they are directly concerned about the loss of their lives or have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. However, there are many reasons why you should write a testamentary will well before you are advanced in years or diagnosed with a serious illness. Consider the guide below for information on the process of writing a will.

Signs That You Should Write Your Will

Listed below are the most significant reasons to write a will, regardless of your age or health. Remember that, while no one plans to pass away, not planning a will can make it complicated for your spouse, children, and family to manage what has been left behind.

  1. You Have Children and/or Grandchildren. You should include instructions regarding what money, items, or other accounts from your estate will go toward benefitting your children or grandchildren. If you are the legal guardian of any child under the age of 18, you should leave behind legal instructions for who gets guardianship over him or her in the event of your death.
  2. You Have a Spouse. If you have a spouse, you should write a will. This ensures that your spouse will be guaranteed to receive their due from your estate. This is especially important if you have a spouse and children, as your spouse will be financially responsible for your children on their own in the event of your death.
  3. You Have a Trust or Inheritance. If you have any type of inheritance, even if it is still in a trust, you will need to write a will. This ensures that your inheritance goes to a particular person or group of your choice in the event of your death. This can be written as a testamentary trust.
  4. You Want to Leave Specific Items to Specific People. If you have anything that you want to leave to a certain person or group, such as a charity or foundation, then you should write a will to ensure everything will be in legal order after your death. It is common for familial conflicts to occur over who gets what assets in the event of a death. If you want to give an individual or group something specific, a will is the best way to accomplish that goal.

What happens if you do not write a will before your death?

If you do not write a will before your death, your estate will be handled according to state laws. This will vary from state to state, but the state law may not line up with your intentions for the money, objects, and estate that you leave behind. This is why it is important to write a will if you have any specific intentions for your estate, or if any number of your family members will be relying on your estate in the event of your death.
If you are not sure when you should write a will, keep the above guidelines in mind.

How to Begin the Process

Before we begin listing the steps of the process, there is one vital thing you need to do first before you do anything else. This key step is finding an attorney or program that will guide you through the steps necessary to write your will. Different steps will need to be taken depending on your financial and familial situation to tailor your will to your needs.

Without an attorney present, you can mistakenly create a will without understanding some of your state’s guidelines, which could heavily complicate the process when you pass away. Or, if you don’t utilize the correct legal terms and language, it could be deemed invalid.

Although it may be nerve-wracking to have an attorney present, you will be helping yourself and your beneficiaries by drafting one.

  1. Choose a Beneficiary: Your beneficiary could be anyone from a spouse to a family member, friend, institution or organization. You can also have multiple beneficiaries if you wish to distribute your assets between certain individuals. This shows that you truly have free reign as to who you would like your beneficiary to be and how you can distribute your funds. If you have children, it may be smart to delegate them to be beneficiaries, especially if they have children of their own. For example, if you state that you would like your grandchildren to use your life insurance benefit toward their education should you pass away before they turn 18, your children could be excellent beneficiaries. This is because they will be able to handle and distribute the funds properly.
  2. Choose an Executor: An executor is the person in charge of distributing your assets according to the guidelines listed in your will. This person should be extremely trustworthy, as they will have a certain amount of power over your assets until they are distributed fully. Ensure your executor is available and willing to serve this role to its fullest capacity. This means it’s ideal to have someone within a close proximity to you, and someone who has experience with taking inventory of estates as well as handling funds and assets. You do not have to select a friend or family member to be an executor. However, if you select a third-party executor, you will have to be prepared to pay fees. The fees will be set by your estate and can vary in prices.
  3. Allocate your Estate, Be Specific: Once you begin to make decisions about which family member will receive which items or funds after your death, it is recommended to be as specific as possible to avoid later conflict. It is important to predict how each family member might respond to the situation you describe in your will. For example, if you have four children, and you state that all of your assets should be distributed equally between them, but one child insists on keeping one valuable item to themselves, conflict may arise.  Although it may be difficult to decide which family members receive which items, it is likely that your family will benefit from those choices in the future.
  4. Attach an Explanatory Letter: This is a step that is fairly self-explanatory, so we won’t spend too much of your time going over it. What you need to know is that an explanatory letter can serve as a way to comfort your family members and explain the conditions listed in your will. If you want to give a special item to a certain family member, there is no doubt that having a written explanation of your gift to them will be valuable. You want your family to be on the same page as you, which is another reason why you’ll want to include an explanatory letter.
  5. Sign Your Will: In many cases, states will require one or more witnesses during the signing of your will. Without witnesses or a notary of some sort, it’s possible that your will is going to be deemed invalid by the state government. Check with a lawyer or professional who specializes in assembling wills and testaments to find your state’s requirements.

Summary

It is important to plan for the future. Writing a will can be an emotionally draining and difficult process, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing your family will not have to distribute your estate is worth the effort. The Best Senior Services (TBSS) recommends enlisting professional help for the creation of a will, especially if you have many assets to balance and distribute.

If you need more help in understanding when the best time to write a will is, you’ve found the right place at TBSS. We educate and inform seniors about topics surrounding retirement so that they can spend less time worrying about their retirement years and more time enjoying it. Additionally, we connect seniors with local licensed agents who will help answer any outstanding questions.

Visit our website or call us at 877-979-8255 to get started today

What Do People Think About Annuities?

If you are familiar with annuities, you’ve probably heard about what people have to say about them. Many people have mixed opinions about annuities, which can be expected. Annuities are like any other financial plan because they have advantages and disadvantages. Each person is affected by annuities in a different way, so it’s important that you understand how they can affect you before jumping to any conclusions about whether they’re inherently good or bad. And, luckily for you, a great place to start is with The Best Senior Services.

 

In this article, we are going to explain the pros and the cons about some of the available annuity plans, and how they could affect you.

 

What are annuities?

Annuities are best described as an amount of money that goes to you over a period of time. They are typically linked to life insurance policies, and they can be seen as the “savings accounts” within those policies. In fact, just about everywhere you look to learn more about annuities will tell you that it’s a contract between the annuitant (you) and the insurance company. And the websites/videos that tell you this are right: this is a way you should be thinking about it.

 

There are two types of annuities that we will be covering in this article today: fixed and variable. There are multiple types of annuities that exist, such as indexed, immediate, deferred and more, but for brevity’s sake, we will only be focusing on fixed and variable.

  • Fixed: Fixed annuities are in play when your insurance company invests your funds and provides you with a payout in a fixed amount. This fixed amount is like a Certificate of Deposit (CD). Fixed annuities are also designed to protect you from losses. The reason why they are called “fixed” is because there are fixed rates of return that are based upon your interest rate. Your interest rate can be changed once you reach the end of your pre-determined period.
  • Variable: Variable annuities are different from fixed annuities and need to be approached as such. First, you are able to decide how these funds are invested, rather than your insurance company. The returns you receive will depend upon the performance of the investments that you choose, so it can become a risky game. Variable annuities are also intended to fund your retirement, so as a result, these annuities should not be used for any short-term financial goals you or your loved ones may have. 

 

Why people don’t like annuities

A lot of it comes down to the fact that people are misled about annuities, and don’t understand the full picture of them when they purchase a plan. And although we are only discussing fixed and variable annuities, there are other annuity plans people don’t recommend, like immediate annuities.

 

Are there any positives to annuities?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, of course! there are advantages to having an annuity plan, regardless of what you have. There are even benefits to variable annuities, the plan that you may be warned about the most.

 

Below are some of the advantages that come with fixed annuities:

 

  • You have a strong return that is guaranteed to you. This is because the money you are investing will be accumulating. This is something your insurance agent/broker should be disclosing to you, so that you understand what you will be receiving out of this plan.
  • Investment minimums are low. In order to fund a fixed annuity plan, you have to have to begin by investing a certain amount of money. Luckily, for a fixed annuity, it isn’t expensive to do so. You only need $1,000 to get started.
  • The money earned will be tax-deferred. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage. Whatever is accumulating within your fixed annuity will not be taxed. However, if you decide to take out distributions of it, you will be taxed.
  • You have the option to annuitize. Your fixed annuity can later be used to become a sort of retirement income for you and your spouse if that is the direction you would like it to go. Unfortunately, a lot of people are unaware of this deal, so it goes unused by many.

 

Below are some of the advantages that come with variable annuities:

  • You have the ability to choose what you will be investing in. This one speaks for itself, so if you want more freedom over what your funds will be investing toward, this may seem like a major bonus.
  • There is an unlimited number of contributions that can be put into your variable annuity. The same could not be said for other retirement accounts that may be suggested for you, so this is a really nice feature.
  • Like a fixed annuity, the money earned will be tax-deferred. When your annuity is in its growing phase, you will not be taxed on it. That is, unless you begin to take out distributions. In that case, your rate could possibly be higher than other investment distributions. However, as long as you are not taking out distributions, you are able to re-assign that money within that fund. And you can do that without having to be taxed, too.
  • There is an included death benefit. This benefit will go to your heirs. Whenever you pass away, your heirs will have two options for how they will want to receive the money. The first option is to be given the amount that you have previously paid into the annuity. The second option is to be paid what the annuity is valued at at the time of your passing.

 

How annuities can affect YOU

Those who collect annuities do it for a few reasons. A common reason is the fact that they want some form of guaranteed income for either the remainder of their lives or just a set amount of time. Another reason can include the fact that they simply just want a return on their investments. Each reason is valid as to why someone would be interested in an annuity.

 

However, it’s important that you understand the risks of annuities and how you and/or your loved ones can be affected by them. Annuities may seem glamorous, but you need to remember that these are products of insurance, meaning you won’t own anything that you’ve just purchased, unless you want to consider your contract as something. And when the money is returned to you, it means that you’re getting back what you’ve already paid them, so you’re not earning anything out of this. Not only that, but the amount that is returned is stretched out over a long period of time, so you have to wait throughout that period to receive your money back.

 

Below are some of the ways that fixed annuities can negatively impact you and/or your loved ones:

  • There is a penalty for early withdrawals. This may not come as a surprise, because you will also receive penalty fees from taking early withdrawals from your 401(k) or IRA accounts. Similar to your IRA, if you pull from your fixed annuity account before you reach 59 ½, you will incur a 10% penalty fee.
  • They are not insured by the FDIC. If a service is covered by the FDIC, then that means the depositor (in this case, you), is insured up to $250,000 in the event of bank failure. And, according to FDIC.gov, it “does not insure nondeposit investment products, even if they were purchased from an insured bank, including annuities, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, government securities, municipal securities, U.S. Treasury securities.” In addition, safe deposit boxes and robberies/other thefts are not insured by the FDIC.
  • Limited liquidity. When you agree to a fixed annuity plan, you are agreeing that the funds will either be distributed over a certain number of payments, or a pre-determined deferral period. This circles back to the penalty of withdrawals, as it reiterates how important it is that you do not take out, or move around, money within these funds.

 

Below are some of the ways that variable annuities can negatively impact you and/or your loved ones:

 

  • They are extremely expensive. In fact, they’re so expensive, that they are considered one of the most expensive financial products available. One of the first things to make it costly are the fees. These fees are mutual fund subaccount management fees, contract maintenance fees, and mortality and expense fees. These will basically replace the tax that you’re deferring, and that can quickly become burdensome for someone who wasn’t expecting it.
  • Other investments are more liquid than variable annuities. If you decide that you no longer want to participate in your variable annuity, you better hope that at least seven years has passed.
  • There is high risk associated. One of the benefits associated with variable annuities is that you are able to choose what you are investing in. However, because you are choosing where your investment funds are going, your returns are based on the investment portfolio’s success. Typically, people seek risks. But when it comes to your finances, it’s worth considering whether it would be better to be playing it safe. One way you can play it safe is by purchasing a rider who will maintain the gains you’ve earned after a certain date. Some even offer that you will get some sort of payment regardless of the portfolio’s success.

 

Our advice

Annuities are a really complex service to grasp, so it’s not surprising to hear that many feel as though they weren’t given the full story when signing up for a plan. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you or a loved one is considering getting an annuity plan, you have every right to do so.

 

Make sure you understand what all is entailed within the annuity you are looking into. Like we disclosed: there are multiple different annuities that you can invest in, and we only covered a few of them in this article. Our advice is to talk with a licensed agent, or a financial specialist, about whether an annuity is the best plan for you.

At The Best Senior Services, we want to make sure that you are speaking with someone who prioritizes your financial needs. That’s why we dedicate ourselves to educating seniors about Medicare and other financial services. If you are interested in being connected with a local, licensed agent, visit our website or call us at 855.979.8277 today.

How to Reduce Your Life Insurance Premiums

Although a life insurance plan is essential for your loved ones to be able to manage financially if something happens to you, the costs can be expensive and difficult to manage. Luckily, there are ways to reduce the cost of your life insurance premiums while still having the protection you need. The best way to start saving on your life insurance is to shop around for a policy. Premiums, as well as what is excluded from the policy, can vary greatly from company to company.

Make an estimate

Insurance is often confusing and many of the exclusions within policies are hidden. But it’s essential to know the exclusions before the policy needs to be claimed. If you don’t know them, you fall risk to paying premiums that you’re unable to claim. A specialist broker can do this for you. The amount of insurance you need will have to be considered. If you take too much, you will be paying more than necessary, but, if you don’t cover yourself for enough, your loved ones could lose out when it comes to claiming. In order to determine the correct amount, you should ask yourself how much money your loved ones would need in order to cover immediate expenses. Then, determine how much income your loved ones would need in order to sustain the household. This should give you a good starting point as to how much to insure your life.

Get help from a specialist

The next step in reducing your life insurance premiums is to seek help from a specialist. There are a couple of options you have when starting your search. The first option is to seek help from an independent life insurance broker who works closely with multiple insurance agencies. This broker will provide you with objective information and suggest quotes among the agencies. The broker will consider your needs before searching throughout different agencies to find your best deal. The second option is to seek an insurance agent who represents a single insurance company. This agent will have in-depth knowledge of the pricing and services that is within his or her company. Your third option is to visit The Best Senior Services (TBSS). At TBSS, we specialize in educating seniors about Medicare and other financial services because we care. We also connect seniors and their loved ones to local licensed agents who will discuss the options that are best for them.

Think about which option will suit you and your loved ones best and seek help with them toward reducing your life insurance premium.

Make some lifestyle changes

There are many benefits to leading a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that we look great and feel better. It also saves money on the cost of your life insurance. A great way to keep your insurance cost to a minimum is to keep yourself fit and healthy. This includes the basics: drink more water, eat healthier, cut back on your smoking and/or drinking and increase your exercise time. The reason a healthy lifestyle reduces the cost of your life insurance is because you are lowering your risk of getting some of the medical conditions that would raise your life insurance premiums. Some of these conditions include heart disease, obesity and heart disease. Think about it this way: when you lead a healthy lifestyle, you lower the risk of getting sick. So, when you apply for life insurance, you’ll present yourself as a low risk for the insurance company, which ultimately lowers your premium.

Doing this presents a win-win scenario for you. Not only are you healthier, but you’re also spending less on your life insurance premiums!

Personalization

Certain conditions could mean that you would be better off going with a specialist insurer. This is because an insurer who specializes in certain conditions could save you money on your premium. If you and your partner are both looking to be insured, then taking out a combined policy could save you money on individual premium costs. This is also known as bundling. Bundling occurs when you purchase multiple policies from the same insurance provider. Insurance companies will offer discounts when you purchase more than one policy from them so, in the long run, you will be able to save more money than if you had different plans with differing companies. However. each person — or each couple — will have differing preferences when it comes to his or her premiums. That’s why it’s helpful to seek advice from a specialist who can help you personalize your premiums, so that you can determine what is best for you and your loved ones.

Utilize online resources

Sometimes, all it takes is an internet search to find great resources. These resources will give you tips on reducing your life insurance premium while also pointing you in the direction of an agency or an independent broker that is tailored to your needs. Not only that, but this is a convenient way of doing research. You are doing it on your own time, and you can get answers to the specific questions you are asking.

Ask for a reexamination if your health improves

Now that you’re aware of the fact that an improved health will reduce the cost of your life insurance premium, it’s important to be reexamined when you’re able to achieve that. It’s also important to note that different insurers will have differing policies in regard to your change. This means you may have to take a health exam. It could also mean your insurance agency will seek out updated medical records from your doctor. Whatever the case, it’s important to start making phone calls to see what is required so that you get to pay less on your premium.

Why this is important

Life insurance premiums can become costly based on what your needs are. Knowing you can reduce these costs is important. This is because there aren’t a lot of insurance premiums out there in which you can work toward lowering the payment costs. And doing what is needed to reduce the amount you own on your life insurance will allow you to focus on the things that you really care about, like your friends, family, passions, and hobbies

 

There are multiple ways in which you can lower the cost of your life insurance premium. It starts with evaluating what you have and researching ways to get started on saving. It’s important to at least consider taking the steps on how to reduce your premium costs, so that you’re benefitting yourself – and your loved ones – in the event that something happens to you. Once you begin to take these necessary steps to save on your premium, you’ll be glad you did.

If you have any other questions about your life insurance premiums, The Best Senior Services are here to help. You can get started today by visiting TBSS online or calling us at 855-979-8227.

Why Do I Need Mortgage Protection Insurance?

Many people think spontaneity is the beauty of life. Little surprises will boost their day and uplift their mood. But sometimes, surprises can come in devastating forms that unfortunately, you can’t plan for.  If you find yourself in a position where you are no longer able to work, you’ll likely be in a position where you need some sort of relief. And this relief can come in the form of mortgage protection insurance (MPI).

In this article, we’re going to explore why you may want to consider getting mortgage protection insurance for your household. But first, let’s learn more about what it is.

What is mortgage protection insurance

If you’re unfamiliar with mortgage protection insurance, you’re not alone. Some are unaware that mortgage protection insurance is offered, and don’t know what it means. A mortgage protection insurance plan will provide coverage for your mortgage bills every month. It serves those who have been struck with unforeseen circumstances – like a sudden job loss, an unfortunate sudden death or an accident that hinders their ability to work – and are unable to make timely payments. However, an MPI won’t cover all of your home expenses. That means you’re still going to have to pay for your property taxes and homeowners’ insurance, as well as any other payments that are expected of you.

Could an MPI (mortgage protection insurance) be for you?

Mortgage protection insurance is not for everyone, but it’s a great tool to provide some peace of mind to you and your loved ones after an incident occurs. That’s why it’s possible you could need one. Ask yourself: What is my plan if my husband or wife is unexpectedly injured? What if he or she unexpectedly passes away? Are you losing a source of income if that happens? These aren’t the most pleasant thoughts, but they’re ones you need to be thinking about so that you can decide whether an MPI is the right move for your family.

Begin creating a backup plan for what you would do if a tragic situation left you without a source of income. Think about the ways in which you would be able to pay your bills. Would you have family help you out? If your loved one passes, will you have access to his or her life insurance? If you are unable to come up with a solid game plan, then you may heavily want to consider getting an MPI.

Disadvantages of having MPI (mortgage protection insurance)

With every insurance option comes advantages and disadvantages. So, of course, there are some disadvantages toward having a mortgage protection plan.

  • MPIs can come with costly premiums. In the beginning, you’ll probably find that the premiums match the coverage you get from the protection plan, but as time progresses, you may pay more than what you’re receiving.
  • There may be other options out there for you. If you have a low mortgage payment, a mortgage protection plan may not be in your best interest. This is because you can invest your money into an emergency fund that will be able to help make the monthly payments on your mortgage. Or, if you are the beneficiary of life insurance payments, that may be able to cover your mortgage as well. Make sure to look into the alternatives available to you before making any decisions.
  • It is less flexible than other types of insurance. MPI plans have some similarities to life insurance plans because they both provide death benefits. However, the death benefit on your MPI doesn’t go to a loved one. It goes to your lender. It’s possible that this would help your family because it would mean that they’re safe from mortgage debt. However, if your family no longer wants to live in the home or needs the money for more pressing issues, then the loved ones you are leaving behind don’t really benefit.However, if you had a life insurance policy, then the death benefits would go directly to whom you designated as your beneficiary. This is an important difference to note between the two that ultimately becomes a disadvantage for an MPI

Advantages of having MPI

Although there are some disadvantages to having an MPI, there are also some great benefits that come alongside it. These benefits could be the determining factor as to why you decide you need to get a mortgage protection plan. These include:

  • Peace of mind. Think about it: it helps your family. It’s one less thing to worry about. If your spouse is injured, having an MPI will allow you to focus more on tending to him/her instead of wondering how you’ll be able to make the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll also be relieved to know that this loan will also be fully repaid, regardless of the condition of your spouse’s health.
  • No one has to pass away in order to receive coverage. We’ve mentioned this multiple times already, but it’s something that people easily overlook or quickly forget. That’s why it’s worth repeating: your family can qualify for an MPI if you or your spouse become disabled or unable to work.
  • You’re guaranteed acceptance. If you have health issues or were recently injured, this is a great relief because you’ll get the help you need at a faster rate. Some other insurance policies also offer some form of guaranteed acceptance, but it’s possible that you will have to wait up to two years before you receive the benefits. This is especially important because if you pass away before you are accepted, then you will not receive a death benefit. With MPIs, applicants are quickly accepted and don’t have to worry about waiting those long periods of time. And what makes this greater is that you will be accepted for mortgage protection insurance even if you wouldn’t have been accepted by a traditional life insurance plan.

Where should you go to get your MPI?

Now that you’re thinking about how a mortgage protection services could benefit your home, you could be asking yourself what the next step is. Where should you turn?

This is where we can help. An internet search may be able to help you find an insurance agent to work with, but a generic internet search doesn’t know your situation or concerns like The Best Senior Services does. The Best Senior Services works with you to find you the best insurance agent that will help prioritize your needs and set you up with a mortgage protection plan that benefits you. Call us, or visit our website, to get started and find out who can help you.

 

Surprises can be great. Surprises can also be a complete misfortune. The tricky thing about them is that you can never plan for them. That’s why there are plans like MPIs (mortgage protection insurance) to help you get back on your feet if you’re suddenly unable to work. It’s important to figure out whether an MPI is valuable to you and your family. At the end of the day, when your head hits the pillow, you won’t lose any sleep knowing your MPI has your back.

The BEST Financial Decisions a Senior Could Make

All throughout your life, you’ve been responsible for making financial decisions. Whether it be determining where to go on vacation or when it is best for you to retire, you’ve had to take some time to make these choices. You’ve worked hard to enjoy your senior years, but those days can be hard to look forward to if you don’t have a stable handle on your finances.

This article is designed to tell you the best financial decisions that a senior can make, so that you can go into your retirement knowing how you can bring yourself some peace of mind.

 

  1. Budget carefully. You’ve heard this time and time again, especially from us, but this is advice that will never expire. Set limits. Think ahead. Be mindful. These are all quick and simple ways in which you can budget carefully.

 

Your income is likely to be lower during your retirement years than when you were working, so this means you will have to save more and spend less. You can do this by drafting a list of things you want — like new clothes or a quick get-away trip — and things you need — health insurance, nutrition, transportation and more. Determine how much money you are realistically willing to spend on the things you want and how much money you will have to spend on the things you will need. This will help you begin your budgeting phase.

It is also always safe to partner with a financial specialist who can help you determine how to budget your money.

  1. Establish a good relationship with your bank. There’s nothing better than having a good relationship with your bank, and there’s nothing worse than having a bitter relationship with your bank. You can maintain good grounds with your banking institution a number of ways: being open and honest, display financial strength and clearly define how your bank can help with financial goals. Doing this will significantly help you in the long run — especially if you find yourself in a financial emergency and need all of the help and support you can get. Trust us, your bank is something you will want to have on your side.

 

  1. Enact fraud safeguards. Older generations are more likely to be scammed, or experience fraud, for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is because they’re trusting and don’t understand that people are solely after their hard-earned money. Luckily, there are ways in which you can prevent yourself from being scammed. One of these ways is to get your family involved. If you have children, download apps that will alert you and your children in the result that there was a large sum of money withdrawn from one of your accounts.

 

Another way you can protect yourself is to not believe everything you read, especially if it’s coming from the internet. Be careful about what you read online because that is where a lot of seniors are targeted.

Being scammed, or having fraud committed against you, is a scary experience. That’s why one of the smartest financial decisions you can make is to be to protect yourself and always beware.

  1. Prioritize paying off high-interest debts first. When many think about their debts with high interest, they think of their credit cards. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Prioritizing these debts is an important thing to keep in mind. Doing so will provide two major benefits. First, prioritizing your high-interest debts will let you pay off all loans and debts faster. Yes, you read that right! Second, you will end up saving money. That’s because you will pay less in interest if you pay off your high-interest debts before your low-interest debts. So, keep this in mind: the quicker you pay off your high-interest debts will result in lower interest payments.

 

  1. Consolidate any debt you can. You’re familiar with what it means to consolidate your debt. It’s even possible that you already consolidate some of your debts. If so, keep it up! Not only will this reduce the number of payments you will have to make, it’s also possible that it will lower your interest rate and monthly payments. Monthly payments can be lowered because your payments will be spread out slightly further into the future.

 

Other advantages to debt consolidation include:

  • Your credit score could be improved.
  • Your budget will be simplified and easier to manage because you will have fewer monthly bills.
  • Less stress because of the aforementioned benefits.

 

  1. Research, research, research. Did we mention research? Seriously, do it. Making any financial decision blindly increases your chance of facing financial disaster or being scammed. If there is a new insurance policy that your spouse wants to try out, or if there is the opportunity for you to become a part of a deal, you will want to do as much independent research as you can before you make any final decisions. The worst thing you can do is dive head-first into a deal without any research invested into it, and it end up being a terrible one.

 

You can conduct this research by talking with a licensed agent or referring to government-approved websites to see what potential advantages and disadvantages are. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

  1. Take on at least two mindsets when faced with a deal. If there is a deal being pitched to you, put yourself in at least two different pairs of shoes. Think about what you would be coming away with, but also think about what the person pitching to you will also walk away with. Doing this comes with a lot of benefits: not only are you slowing your pace and taking more time to consider this offer, but it also allows you to weigh the pros and the cons.

 

If the person who is pitching this service or product to you is very obviously getting the better end of the deal, whereas you benefit by only a little, then it may not be the smartest move. Make sure that you come away from every offer feeling equally as empowered as the seller. This may require negotiation, or it could mean that you turn the offer down altogether.

 

  1. Utilizing The Best Senior Services. One of the best financial decisions that you can make throughout your senior years is getting into contact with The Best Senior Services (TBSS). Not only will you gain education on Medicare and other financial services, you can also be connected with a local licensed agent who can answer any questions or concerns you have. TBSS works for seniors because we care about your well-being and financial success.

There are a number of financial decisions that you can make, and each will come with advantages and disadvantages. Before coming to any conclusion, you will want to slow down and consider your options. Conduct research, think about everyone involved and how it can help you with our budgeting plan.

 

If you want to learn more about how you can get in touch with TBSS, then we have you covered. You can get started with us today by visiting our website or calling us at 855.979.8277. We look forward to getting in touch!

10 MAJOR Retirement Decisions You’ll Make

Whenever you’re able to retire, there are a couple of decisions you will need to make relatively soon. This can be a confusing and frustrating process that is stress-inducing, especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s why it’s important to recognize what you need to do before you begin the planning process.

 

This article will introduce you to 10 of the major decisions you will have to make upon your retirement.

 

  1. Can you afford to retire? This may seem like a silly question, but there are many people who, unfortunately, can’t afford to retire whenever they reach the full retirement age. And no one knows your financial situation like you do. Luckily, there are multiple ways in which you can answer this question.

    To have an effective answer, there are a couple of things you will need to do. These include:

 

  • Calculate how much you spend annually, and on what. There is hardly a day that goes by where we’re not spending money. You are typically purchasing things like food, clothes and experiences. You’re also expected to pay insurance premiums and bills, whether they be home repair bills or your typical water bill. Figure out how much of your money is going toward these necessary payments, and how much is going toward “fun” things. If you find you’re spending too much money on going out to eat, then you have a place to start cutting back. Additionally, when looking into your bills, see if there is a way in which you can reduce your payments. Whether that be by switching internet providers or using less electricity, it can be done.
    • BONUS: Compare how much you spend during the regular calendar year with how much you’re spending on the holiday season. A lot of the times, your spending habits during these months will reveal much more than you expected.
  • Determine your sources of income. How much money you make is an integral part of determining whether you can afford retirement. Determine how much money you make in your job, as well as how much money you made from any side jobs, too. Doing this will allow you to be realistic about how much you can spend, an whether you truly can afford retirement. Meet with a financial adviser to gain any insight as to how you can better prepare yourself for your retirement.

 

  1. Will you change your living situation? You will need to determine whether you plan to stay in your current home throughout retirement, whether you will downsize or whether you will move in with a family member or into a retirement community. If you plan on living in your home for the remainder of your lifetime, then you may want to consider a reverse mortgage. If you plan on moving into a retirement community or downsizing, then you will want to figure out what you will do with any excess items that will not be able to fit in your new residence. Will you donate them, tore them, gift them or sell them? Sit down with your spouse and loved ones to talk about what is the best decision.

 

  1. When do you plan on collecting Social Security? The earliest in which you can collect Social Security is the age of 62. The latest age that you can collect Social Security is 70. You may have heard this a few times before, but the longer you wait to collect, the more money you will receive on your benefit. However, that doesn’t mean you must wait until you are nearing 70. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), 34.3% of eligible seniors collect their benefits at 62, while 18.1% collect it at full retirement age (66), and only 3.7% collect it at 70.

 

You may be wondering why people don’t just discipline themselves and wait until they’re 70, and that’s a valid question. The reason why lies within everyone’s financial situation, as well as their health situation. Someone who is in good financial standing, and is equally as healthy, can most likely afford to wait on his or her Social Security benefits. However, someone who has quickly-deteriorating health due to a chronic illness or injury, and is struggling to find a way to pay for treatment, may need that money now more than ever. Other people pull from it early because they can’t predict whether they’ll make it to age 70. It all truly depends on what your health status and financial stability is.

 

Sit down with your loved ones, or a local licensed agent, to determine what is the best plan of action for you. Thinking out loud will allow for others to offer input that you might not have considered, and it could get you one step closer to your decision.

 

  1. How are you going to afford health care costs? If you are over the age of 65, it’s likely that you’re enrolled in Medicare. And if you’re coming up on your 65th birthday, then Medicare is something you’re going to want. Delaying could result in late penalty fees.

You must ask yourself about how you plan for paying for your Medicare or other health care plans. Luckily, there are multiple ways in which you can do this. The first solution may sound tricky, but it will provide many benefits. And that is to stay healthy. The healthier you are, the lower your health care expenses will be because you will have less medical problems to address. This is maintained by regularly exercising and eating sensibly.

 

You also have a better chance of affording your health care costs by staying in-network. What does this mean? Well, in your health plan is a network of doctors who are within it and accept your form of health care coverage. Stick with the doctors who are in this network and avoid trips to those who are not. Otherwise, you’re stuck paying for a service that your insurance doesn’t cover.

 

A third solution is to always get second opinions. If you are being recommended for a knee replacement, you may want to consider a second opinion. Otherwise, you could be subject to many expensive tests or medical treatments that could have been avoided. Now, if your knee is giving you pain, you may not need to get that second input. But if this is news to you, it’s something to think about.

 

There are multiple ways in which you can afford your health care costs. We recommend meeting with a financial specialist or local licensed agent to figure out the best move for you.

 

  1. Are you going to invest? Whether you decide to invest during your retirement years is completely up to you. There are those who greatly advocate for it, and then there are those who will greatly warn you about it. For brevity’s sake, we will be focusing on what most seniors who invest do: invest into the stock market. Those who advocate for this encourage seniors to invest because it is a quick and easy way to grow your nest egg. However, others will warn that you have a higher risk of losing the money that you’ve invested.

If you decide to invest, you will want to first identify how much you are willing to lose. Make that your risk-cap, meaning you will not invest any more than that amount of money over a certain period of time. You will also want to research into the different kinds of investments you can make, as well as which companies seem like the promising fit for that.

 

  1. What is your retirement budget? In other words, how are you planning on spending your money when you reach retirement? This is something you can quickly determine with a financial specialist because he or she will be well-acquainted with your income and spending habits. The financial specialist will then be able to help you plan out how you can spend, save and/or invest your money throughout your retirement.

 

  1. What Medicare plan are you going to choose? Now, some people are already enrolled in Medicare by the time they retire. And some people are automatically enrolled into Medicare Parts A and B on special circumstances, so it’s possible that this isn’t much of a decision you have to make. But deciding on whether you want to sign up for Medicare Part D, or choose a Medicare Advantage plan, is a decision you will need to make if you retire before 65.

 

 

  1. Do you have a will prepared? A will is needed for most — if not all — people, especially those who want to pass their things down to loved ones. In order to prepare a wil, you will need to complete a few key steps. The first is deciding what kind of will is applicable to you. Most people simply utilize a simple will, or even a last will and testament. You will then need to determine what will be going into the will you have chosen. This list can include property, personal belongings, financial accounts, etc. Then you will determine which beneficiaries will be receiving what. It’s important that you are specific during this part, so that your loved ones can avoid confusion and tension.

 

Once you have determined these core steps, you need to sign your will — in your handwriting — in front of people who can witness it. Depending on where you live, this may have to be at least two people. However, your witnesses cannot be beneficiaries or guardians, should you have one. Rather, they can be just about anyone else, ranging from a former co-worker to your neighbors. Once you complete signing it, keep your will in a safe place. This will prevent damage to it and it will be readily available whenever needed.

 

  1. Should you consider long-term care insurance? When you get older, you’re going to need assistance with bathing, cooking, cleaning, dressing and more. That’s normal and is expected for most people who live well pas their 80s. But before you do so — should you decide to purchase it — you will need to discover how many years you will be insured for, and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

 

On average, people utilize this insurance for three years. An advantage to this is that it relieves you of any financial stress if you or a loved one need this service. A disadvantage to long-term care insurance is the fact that your premiums can be subject to increase, and this can happen at any time. This is a large disadvantage for those who never end up using this service.

 

  1. What is your preferred method of paying for services? By services, we mean bills or premiums that you are expected to pay. With a good portion of business interactions happening online, you have a whole new way of paying for your services. However, most seniors prefer to stick to the classic mail-in option for bill and premium payments.

 

Determine how you want to pay for your services and figure out how you would do so. For example, Medicare.gov offers four different payment options:

 

  1. Pay online through your Secure Medicare account.
  2. Pay directly from your savings/checking account through your bank’s online bill payment service.
  3. Sign up for Medicare Easy pay, a free service that automatically deducts your premium payments from your savings or checking account each month. You can expect this to happen usually on the 20th each month.
  4. Mail your payment to Medicare via check, money order, credit card or debit card. There will be a coupon that will come in your bill. You must fill this out, or else your payments could be delayed. If you pay with credit or debit card, fill out your account information and the expiration date, as well as sign the coupon.

Mail your payment — and your coupon — to:

Medicare Premium Collection Center

PO Box 790355

St. Louis, MO 63179-0355

 

There are a lot of decisions that you are going to have to make throughout your retirement. Take it easy on yourself and plan for these decisions ahead of time, so that you are not drowning in the decision-making process at a time where you should be kicking back and relaxing.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the decisions you will have to make upon retirement, don’t hesitate to contact The Best Senior Services (TBSS). At TBSS, we strive to educate seniors about Medicare and other financial services. You can get in touch with us by visiting our website or calling us at 855.979.8277 today!

8 Hard Questions About Retirement You NEED to Ask

Our whole lives, we have been having to ask ourselves hard questions: what do I want to do for a living? Where do I want to live? Do I want to get married and start a family? Now, as you or a loved one approaches retirement, there are different questions you need to ask:

  • How much money do I need to retire?
  • How much will I pay in taxes during retirement?
  • How can I apply for my Social Security benefits?
  • Can I retire early?
  • What changes do I need to make so I can retire comfortably?
  • What are the available retirement incomes for me?
  • Should I downsize?
  • Do I want to spend my savings on myself, or leave it to my beneficiaries to inherit?

In this article, we will cover these questions that you should be asking yourself, and how you can find the answer. Let’s go ahead and get started.

 

How much money do I need to retire?

The short answer is: it really depends on you. The slightly longer answer: it’s dependent upon what you want to do. The best way to start answering this question is to consider how much you’ve made while you were working, and how much of that has been put toward savings. Then ask yourself about how much you plan on spending during retirement.

 

You can meet with a financial adviser to determine how much money you need to be able to comfortably live your desired lifestyle once you retire.

 

How much will I pay in taxes during retirement?

The best person to answer this question is a tax professional. However, there are a few taxes that you can prepare to pay. These are your 401(k) and Roth IRA payments. Once you begin collecting your 401(k), it becomes an income. This is subject to being taxed because your previous contributions to it were made with pretax dollars. Your Roth IRA payments may be taxable if you’ve not had the Roth for five or more years, as well as if you’re under 59 and six months.

 

How can I apply for my Social Security benefits?

Applying for your Social Security benefits is easier than a lot of people might make it out to be. To do this, you must first determine whether you are eligible. Then, visit the Social Security Administration’s website and click on “Retirement.” The page will immediately take you to an application that can be submitted online.

 

If applying for your benefits online doesn’t seem appealing, there are other ways in which you can do it. You can also apply by telephone, by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or you can visit your local Social Security office and fill out the application in-person.

 

Can I retire early?

Well, let’s think of it this way. Depending upon how much you’ve worked and contributed to your 401(k) (or 403(b)) and Social Security, it’s possible that you may be able to retire early. But instead, you really need to be asking yourself, should I retire early? And that answer is up to you. Let’s circle back to having a financial adviser. Your adviser can run through/calculate the possible scenarios you could confront. We suggest meeting with one so that you can speak with him or her about what may be in your best interest.

 

If you do not currently have a financial adviser, let us help you get started. At The Best Senior Services, we specialize in connecting seniors to local licensed agents to ensure that they are making the best decisions for their financial future.

 

What changes do I need to make so I can retire comfortably?

A lot of what “retiring comfortably” means is to be financially stable when it is time for you to retire. One way to work toward this is to budget. Figure out the little things you can go without buying. Maybe if you get a cup of coffee every day, or you buy dessert snacks when you go to the grocery store, you could cut back on how often you consume these things.

 

It also helps to increase your cash flow as much as you can. If you are still under your company’s benefit plan, take a close look at the payment options that are available. Whichever will provide you the greatest amount of income that will provide assistance throughout your projected life expectancy. A second way to increase your income is to utilize a reverse mortgage. You can think of this as a way to make money while securing your home for retirement.

 

And, of course, retiring comfortably does not just mean you need to have financial stability. It also means you’re healthy and having fun. Eat healthier and increase your exercise amount. Indulge more in your hobbies, whether it be travelling across the country or collecting coins. You’ve earned your retirement — it’s now time to enjoy it.

 

What are available retirement incomes to me?

Well, in short, the answer is that you have quite a few of retirement incomes available. Most of them come from your retirement savings accounts: your 401(k), IRA, HSA and others that are designed to financially help you when you reach retirement.

 

It’s important that you understand when to use them. You can’t keep your retirement savings in your account for an indefinite period of time. According to the IRS, you “have to start taking withdrawals from your IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA or retirement plan account when you reach 70 ½.” However, due to the changes enacted by the SECURE ACT, “if your 70th birthday is July 1, 2019, or later, you do not have to take withdrawals until you reach age 72.”

 

Should I downsize?

In this case, when we say downsize, we mean to move into a smaller home. Doing this could be beneficial for multiple reasons. When you downsize, you face the opportunity of lower mortgage and utility payments every month. The extra money you will be saving can go a long way toward other necessities or savings. Not to mention, smaller homes generally mean smaller maintenance. This translates into less rooms and square footage to decorate and clean. And, as you get older, this is a perk that is hard to ignore.

 

On the other hand, there could be some disadvantages to downsizing that you could possibly run into. If you love to host family and friends, the reduced space in your home could pose as a potential problem. This is especially apparent if you have grandchildren or other family members who are likely to spend the night when they visit. An additional problem you could face is storage costs. This depends solely on what you plan on doing with the extra things you have that don’t quite fit in your home. You have the option to sell, donate or trash, but if you don’t want to do any of those things, you will have to rent a storge locker and keep your things there. Depending on where you rent your locker, storage costs can be costly.

 

Do I want to spend my savings on myself, or leave it to my beneficiaries to inherit?

This may be one of the hardest questions you have to answer. To effectively figure this out, you will have to consider both you and your spouse’s needs and the needs of your beneficiaries.

 

Ultimately, the answer is up to no one else but you. On the bright side, there is no bad answer to this. Take your time when thinking about this and try not to rush any decisions.

 

There are a lot of other questions that you need to be asking yourself about retirement that haven’t been addressed by this article. Be on the lookout for similar articles like this that will address other questions you need to consider.

 

If you need further help on narrowing your answer down for the questions listed above, we would be happy to help you here at The Best Senior Services. We pride ourselves in providing seniors education about insurance and other financial services. We also love connecting seniors with registered agents that are local, so that seniors know they are working closely with someone who will prioritize their needs. You can get started with us today by visiting our website or calling us at 855.979.8277. We always look forward to hearing from you!