Why (and how) to buy umbrella insurance

By Kiplinger Washington Editors
Posted on September 29, 2021

An umbrella insurance policy typically covers the same things as your home and auto policies, plus a few more — including lawsuits that arise when you’re driving abroad or operating rented watercraft, or from alleged libel, slander or defamation of character. Umbrella coverage picks up where the liability limits of your homeowners and auto policies leave off. It’s usually sold in... READ MORE

Billions in lost pension, retirement funds

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on September 17, 2021

For years, members of Congress have been trying to pass legislation that will allow the federal government to establish a centralized database to help retirees locate their pension and 401(k) plans. There are billions of dollars in retirement accounts that have been lost, for a variety of reasons. Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., re-introduced the Retirement... READ MORE

How to decide if you can afford to retire

By T. Eric Reich
Posted on September 14, 2021

Many people looking to retire in the not-too-distant future question whether they can afford to retire. In the absence of a clear understanding of what their future retirement income will look like, most of those folks hoping to retire will simply choose to work longer out of fear of the unknown. In the same vein, some who are already retired live too frugally to enjoy their... READ MORE

How to replace lost/missing documents

By Jim Miller
Posted on September 09, 2021

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you tell me what I need to do to replace a variety of important documents? Our house burned down a few months ago, and we lost everything, including our home property deed, car titles, old tax returns, Social Security and Medicare cards, birth certificates, marriage license and passports. —Stressed Seniors Dear Stressed, I’m very sorry for your loss, but... READ MORE

We need a better credit reporting system

By Liz Weston
Posted on September 02, 2021

In some ways, the U.S. credit reporting system has improved. Credit freezes, which lock our credit information to deter identity theft, are now free and fast. We have free weekly access to our credit reports, courtesy of the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union, until April 20, 2022. Free credit scores provided by banks, credit card issuers and other companies allow us to... READ MORE

Maximize spouse assets if on Medicaid

By David Rodeck
Posted on August 26, 2021

The bill for long-term care adds up fast. The annual median cost for a private room in a nursing home was $105,850 in 2020, according to Genworth. The government will up these costs if you qualify for Medicaid, but that’s easier said than done. “Medicaid is a welfare program,” said Neel Shah, estate-planning attorney and a certified financial planner at Shah & Associates in... READ MORE

Pros and cons of state interest-rate caps

By Annie Millerbernd
Posted on August 24, 2021

Small-dollar, short-term lenders, unburdened by a federal maximum interest rate, can charge borrowers rates of 400% or more for their loans. But more states are bringing that number down by setting rate caps to curb high-interest lending. Currently, 18 states, including Maryland and Virginia, and Washington, D.C., have laws that limit short-term loan rates to 36% or lower, according to... READ MORE

The four phases of retirement planning

By Max Verkuilen and Leslie Verkuilen
Posted on August 20, 2021

It is crucial to think about the long term when you are planning for your retirement. Having a plan — a specific road map to retirement — is absolutely essential. Effective retirement planning comes down to four phases: The accumulation phase The first phase is one of accumulating assets, usually from earned income. However, most individuals do not put away enough, or... READ MORE

The financial effects of losing a spouse

By Rocky Mengle
Posted on August 16, 2021

The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult things imaginable. Besides the emotional toll, though, surviving spouses typically confront financial issues, which often trigger tax-related questions and consequences. Some of them are fairly straightforward, while others can be tricky. That’s why Letha McDowell, president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, advises... READ MORE

Become a better long-distance caregiver

By Liz Weston
Posted on August 12, 2021

Long pandemic lockdowns forced many older adults to become comfortable with video calls to stay connected with family. That in turn meant that long-distance caregivers had a better way to see how their loved ones were faring. “You can’t tell on the phone that they’re wearing the same clothes every day, or they’re not bathing because they’re afraid they’ll fall in the... READ MORE