Sunday, January 21, 2018

A couple of retirement topics emerge from a weekend trip: like the stress test

A couple of observations from my weekend in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

As I left Washington PA along I-70 I saw a billboard “Here is what heart disease looks like.”

Webmd has a reference on this, with 27 slides, here. Note that on frame 13 a young man takes a stress test.  He lends his chest to science because it is hairless.
I also encountered a story about seniors buying national park passes at $10 before the price hits $80 here. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Probate attorneys in DC mum on the great expense estates encounter

WJLA in Washington DC has a story "Losing Everything in Probate Court" (by Nathan Baca, “7 on Your Side” ) about the perils of winding up in probate court.  It is particularly dangerous when a disabled adult winds up under conservatorship or guardianship and then passes away.  It aired on Saturday night, Jan. 13, 2018, an unusual time.

Heirs find that court-appointed attorneys sell assets to pay back their own hefty fees.

The problem seems particularly severe in the District of Columbia.
The broadcast recommended considering revocable trusts as a way of preventing probate. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Can a robot give home health care? A startup in northern Virginia tries this

A startup, Infrobotics, in Fairfax VA has invented a robot, “Ruddy”, to assist with in home senior care.

WJLA-7 in Washington has a story about it.

It’s a little hard to imagine that a robot could do all the work of a 24-hour caregiving service that I had to hire in the last year of Mom’s life.

The abrogation of net neutrality may not bode well for startups like this company in the long run. 

You can try this interview with “Sophia” on NBC.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Again, calls for means testing social security come back as another debt ceiling debacle shapes up for early 2018

Nick Sorrentino opines in “Against Crony Capitalism” about social security today, how unsustainable it is, and how rich people shouldn’t collect benefits on workers’ backs.  He claims richer people are collecting more than they put in because of interest rate spreads.  But actually when the system was created, the first beneficiaries had put in nothing.

This Can’t Go On” he writes. Right now, the Republicans run scared in talking about it, until the next debt ceiling debate comes back.

And the Treasury’s “extraordinary measures” could run out by the end of January 2018, even though the media seems too sinful to notice.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Retirees in their late 70s work menial jobs as their pensions have failed them

Peter Whoriskey has a stinging article on how the capping and sometimes termination of pension benefits is affecting older Americans in this Washington Post article, “I hope I can quit working in a few years”.


The story has many examples of many seniors in their 70s working menial jobs (one as a greeter at Walmart at 79).  Most workers have not been able to save enough to get ahead of the game. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

MetLife and the pension risk transfer business

The Wall Street Journal has an important story in the pension risk transfer businesses, where large insurance companies contract to take over the obligations of employers who want to reduce pension exposure risk.

In particular, Leslie Sicsm reports that MetLife has hired an outside law firm to help it trace and fulfill the obligations it has taken on. 

The company wants to account for its obligations by Feb. 1.

Recently MetLife transferred some of its retirement annuities (mine in particular, through Wells Fargo) to Brighthouse. 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Trump's tax plan hurts some retirees and is not that good for big business (Forbes)

The pro-business Forbes magazine in an article by John Wasik, is quite critical of the Trump-GOP tax plan, in its various incarnations, especially the Senate bill which has now passed. It's  turnaround from September when the publication had predicted a result good for seniors. 

The article notices the loss of medical expense deductions, which could be hard on seniors just before age 65, still not on Medicare but depending on “private”, often employer-sponsored retiree health insurance.  (Mine with ING, which ended in 2005, wasn’t too bad, but after all I had worked for an insurance company;  they had more incentive to be fair with it.  It turns out United Health Care did take care of a major skin cancer at age 64, almost 100% coverage)   The article gets into other areas, like college financial aid (which affects retired parents and grandparents).   What seems remarkable about this article is that it looks at the GOP’s supposed “pro-rich” tax bill as not very good for most companies and employers at all.   And this is from a publication related to Steve Forbes.

Trump seems to be ignoring the showdown that will come soon with Social Security, the next time we have a debt ceiling crisis. 
There are ads that claim that Trump's tax plan will hit Medicare Advantage customers particularly hard.