Senior Talk

One man's opinion about issues of importance to seniors who are retired and facing decisons about things they never thought would be of importance to them.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Time For A Change In Washington DC

Our elected officials have gotten us into a sorry state of affairs. In the upcoming elections it's now time to vote out the incumbents and vote in the challengers. Our middle east, energy and health care policies are in shambles. Our enforcement of immigration policies are a disgrace to our supposedly law abiding society. Corruption seems to running rampant throughout our government. Our budget deficit is a shame. Our trade deficit with the rest of the world is one day going to come back to haunt us as we continually add to the debt we owe to foreign nations.

If you listen to our elected officials they all claim it's not their fault that we are in this mess. But the truth is, it is their fault. They have been in the legislative and executive branches of government for a long time and have all contributed in one way or another to getting us into the situations we are now in. The one thing they do well is to speak out of both sides of their collective mouths to get our votes so that they can continue on enjoying all the perks of being elected officials in our society. It's time for a big change.

It's not a political party problem. It's a problem of elected officials, no matter what party, being in office too long. So I'm suggesting that we don't vote along party lines and not to vote for those incumbents with silver tongues trying to convince that they have ours and the nations interests at heart. I'm suggesting that we vote for the candidate who is running against the incumbent be it at the federal, state or local level.

We couldn't do much worse with a new crop of elected officials. Probably we, as a nation, would be much better off.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Maryland Estate Taxes


Recently legislation was passed in Maryland decoupling the Maryland Estate Tax Exclusion from the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion. As a result an estate of $1,500,000 that is currently estate tax free at the Federal level would be taxed $64,400 by the State of Maryland.

Seniors living in Maryland, or considering relocating to Maryland, now have to consider the wisdom of being a Maryland resident if the value of their estate will exceed the Maryland Estate Tax Exclusion.

For a decedent dying in Maryland after Dec. 31, 2003, the Maryland Estate Tax Exclusion amount is $1,000,000. The current Federal Estate Tax Exclusion amount is $1,500,000 and is scheduled to increase until the year 2010 when it will be completely phased out. There is the possibility, that without Congressional action, the Federal Estate Tax Exclusion will return to $1,000,000 in the year 2011.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay Posted by Hello

Me at the helm of my daughter's sailboat in late June 2004.
She sailed with me for years and now I occassionally sail with her.

Long Term Care Insurance


In the area of the country that I live in, long term care in an assisted living facility or a nursing home costs about $200 a day or $73,000 a year. That's a lot of money and it got me to thinking that perhaps I should purchase Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) to preserve my assets for my heirs. While researching the issue and doing the numbers, it occurred to me that my annual income is not that much less than what I would have to pay for my long term care in a nursing home.

If I should be among the 20% or so of us who will eventually need long term care, I plan to use my income (what else would I be doing with it at this point in my life?) plus some money from my nest egg to cover my assisted living or nursing home costs.

If I do end up needing long term care, my income would go up! Why? Because I'd sell my house (I wouldn't be needing it at this point in my life) and I'd put the proceeds to work in a fixed income investment. It's more likely than not that I'd be able to keep up with the ever increasing costs of long term care without making too big a dent in the amount of money I'll be leaving to my children.

This of course only applies to a single retiree like me with an income close to mine. For a married couple the calculus is somewhat different, In that situation, provisions have to be made for the surviving spouse. For the surviving spouse, like I am, then the calculus becomes the same as it now is for me.

For people whose annual retirement income is well below the annual cost of long term care in their area of the country, some amount of LTCI may be advisable to cover the gap between their income and their expected long term care costs. For those people with a smaller annual income and not many assets, the better course is to spend down their savings, enjoy life as best they can and let Medicaid take care of their long term care needs.