Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama for March 31, 2015:
• Self-insure. The average cost of nursing care is about $70,000 per year. If you have around-the-clock in-home care, you can expect annual costs of $100,000. The average nursing home stay is less than three years. With your level of assets and income, you can afford to self-insure. In the highly unlikely event that you ran through all of your assets, Medicaid would pay 100% of your nursing home costs.
• Buy a LTC policy. When you buy LTC insurance, what you are doing is buying a 'block of money'…a policy that pays a daily benefit for a certain number of months. Again, the insurance company has calculated the premium costs so that on the pool of policyholders, they will make a profit. If you needed to protect assets for a surviving spouse or children, buying a LTC policy might make perfect sense. You can certainly afford to pay the premiums on a policy and for some people this provides peace of mind and, therefore, is worthwhile.
Power of Attorney- One thing Stewart would be concerned about is making sure that you have a Power of Attorney document where you have nominated someone to act as your 'agent' for financial matters should you become incompetent due to an accident or sickness. Be sure this document conforms to the new language passed by the Alabama legislature on January 1, 2012.
Advanced Directive for Healthcare- Similar to the power of attorney, the advanced directive for healthcare allows you to nominate someone to make healthcare decisions for you should you be incapable of doing so yourself. It also allows you to indicate the level of care you desire such as feeding tubes, hydration, pain relief, etc.
Last Will & Testament- You didn't mention having a will but I assume you do and that it reflects your current thoughts on how to distribute your assets at your death. You have a wonderful opportunity to benefit one or more charities. If you plan gifts to charities and individuals, use retirement accounts for charities and non-retirement assets for individuals in order to maximize tax efficiency.
Annuity in your retirement account- Typically I don't advise purchasing a retirement annuity. One of the primary advantages of an annuity is tax-deferred growth which you receive with or without the annuity inside an IRA. The result is often increased and unnecessary expenses. Review all of the expenses in your annuities and consider rolling your annuities over to your IRA account. Be careful to avoid surrender charges that often last five to seven years from the date of purchase.
Delay taking Social Security- You indicated that you plan to begin taking Social Security based on your own earning at age sixty-nine. If you wait until age seventy, your benefit amount will rise by 8%. This is quite a nice boost for waiting one year, particularly considering the higher benefit will last the rest of your life! Since you're already receiving $1,700 per month in Social Security widow's benefits which you'll give up, the lower amount for one year will likely not affect your lifestyle at all.)
• When you're stressed out for a short time, you might find your appetite dropping. Who hasn't been through a bad breakup or experienced a death in the family and found it hard to eat?
• But what about that daily, long-term stress? Money problems, getting the kids to school on time, and too much work to do? You may have heard that this everyday kind of stress can make your body make more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. If you make extra cortisol for short periods of time, it probably won't hurt your health. But over the long term, it could make it harder for your body to handle processed, simple carbohydrates like high sugar foods. You might also crave these same sugary foods – the same ones your body is having a hard time handling! This vicious cycle of craving and eating unhealthy foods could and your body's inability to handle them could lead to weight gain. It could also lead to weight gain around the middle of the body (that annoying belly fat!). This fat around the middle is particularly unhealthy for you.
• BUT, much of this is speculation and we need more research to figure out what's really going on.
• This is where you come in! Dr. Doug Moellering, a research in my department, is doing a study find out more about the relationship between stress and what you eat and he needs your help!
Join the Stress and Eating Study:
• African-American & Caucasian Women
• 20 – 45 years old
• Do not have diabetes
• Normal to Obese body weight
• Willing to come to UAB for 2 visits
• Call 205-975-5664
Here's what you get if you qualify:
• Up to $125
• Full diet analysis with dietary advice
• Stress Analysis
• Body fat and location analysis
• Microbiome Analysis
• Call 205-975-5664
This study is funded by the Minority Health Research Center.