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Holiday Shopping Tips, Benefits Of Giving On H&FF Radio

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WASHINGTON (11/27/13)--Learn to shop wisely and give generously this holiday season with Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Survive the Holiday Shopping Season." Professional speaker and consultant Steve Siebold, author of the book "How Rich People Think" and co-founder of the consulting firm Gove-Siebold Group, Boynton Beach, Fla., offers tips for shopping smart and taking advantage of the best deals this holiday season.
  • "Tips for Buying Furniture Online." Donna Hoffman, interior designer and former QVC network host, Philadelphia, shares decorating wisdom and what to look for when buying furniture online.
  • "The Benefit of Giving." Susan Gitelson, financial consultant and author of "Giving Is Not Just For The Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy," New York, explains how to reap the benefits of giving and choose charitable organizations.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Retirement: More to Prepare Than Finances" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Tax Tips For Retirees And Those About To Retire

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SUNNYVALE, Calif. (11/26/13)--Tax filers will find that what they've done with their finances during 2013 will be important come April 2014. The implications can be significant for retirees and for those about to retire (Yahoo Finance Nov. 20).
 
Use these tax-saving strategies to protect your money now and to increase income throughout retirement:
  1. Consider converting a large Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a Roth IRA. Converting makes sense for a number of reasons: A Roth has no minimum distributions; when you withdraw, it's tax-free; and on conversion, you'll pay taxes at a known rate as opposed to an unknown future rate in retirement.
  1. Reduce taxable income by taking advantage of the catch-up.  If you're older than 50, you can make additional catch-up contributions into your traditional IRA and your 401(k) to reduce current taxable income.
  1. Get ready to pay estimated taxes. Once you start receiving pension payments and taking IRA withdrawals, you'll be responsible for taxes--no more automatic withholding. If you don't pay estimated taxes or pay them on time, you could be surprised by a big tax bill in April and even a penalty for underpayment.
  1. Take Social Security strategically. If you plan to take Social Security the year you retire, take into account the income you'll have earned so far that year. Those earnings might push you over the limit and result in taxes on your Social Security. Waiting until the next year to claim Social Security could remove that threat.
  1. Rebalance your portfolio. The market upheavals of the past several years have dramatically changed many investors' asset allocations. Your stocks might be worth more, resulting in a higher capital gains tax than you intended.
  1. Take your required minimum distribution (RMD) on time. You must take a minimum distribution from your IRA and other tax-deferred accounts if you're 70½ or older, or face a big penalty. If you fail to withdraw the full amount of an RMD by the deadline, the amount not withdrawn can be taxed at 50%.
Don't stop planning. Tax laws change every year and might affect you. Revisit your tax and financial-planning assumptions to make sure they are still accurate. For example, the old rule of thumb about how much you should withdraw from your retirement savings each year may no longer apply. After the financial crisis, 4% a year might be too much--3% might be a more sustainable amount.

Meet with a trusted financial adviser to make sure the decisions you make and the investments you hold are appropriate based on your risk tolerance, goals, and time frame. For related information, read "Four Key Steps to 'No Regrets' Retirement" and "Retirement: More to Prepare Than Finances" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Catastrophic Events, Money Personalities On H&FF Radio

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WASHINGTON (11/22/13)--This week Home & Family Finance Radio tells you how to survive a catastrophic event, find your money personality, and develop your commercial product ideas.

In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests and topics, including:
  • "Protect Your Family During the Unthinkable." Dave Stevens, author and former Navy commander, Winchester, Tenn., explains the importance of holding on to your assets and personal papers during a catastrophic event.
  • "What's Your Money Personality?" Carla Cargle, financial adviser and founder of the "Financial Truth" book series, Sugar Land, Texas, encourages consumers to recognize their financial habits and make behavioral changes accordingly.
  • "The Idea Couple." Mary Lou and Dennis Green, inventors and marketers of more than 50 commercial products, La Quinta, Calif., share the secrets to their success and how they invented such products as the sneaker ball air freshener.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America podcast Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Retirement: More to Prepare Than Finances" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Avoid IRA Early Withdrawal Penalty

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NEW YORK (11/19/13)--Your finances are tight and you know you have a substantial sum sitting in your Individual Retirement Account. So how do you make an early withdrawal, and get some much needed cash, without paying too high a price for it?
 
The bad news is that avoiding paying taxes on an early withdrawal may be impossible, but the good news is there are ways to get around paying a 10% penalty (MarketWatch Oct. 22):
  • Annuities. You can make what are called "substantially equal periodic payments" calculated on your life expectancy without paying a penalty. You have to take the contribution for at least five years or until you turn 59½ or face a penalty. Consult a tax professional before making a withdrawal to ensure you're taking the right amount. 
  •  Higher education. Qualifying education expenses--such as tuition, books, supplies and housing--for yourself, spouse, child, or grandchild are penalty-exempt. The withdrawal could affect your child's eligibility for financial aid, however. 
  • Medical expenses. If the unreimbursed expense exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income, you can make any early IRA withdrawal to cover it, as long as you do it in the same year you incurred the expense (U.S. News & World Report Sept. 23).
  • Health insurance premiums. If you've received unemployment compensation for 12 consecutive weeks, you're eligible for penalty-free withdrawals to cover the amount you paid for health insurance to cover you, your spouse, or children.
  • Home purchase. You can take out $10,000 ($20,000 for couples) to purchase, build, or rebuild your first home or the first home of a child, parent, or grandchild. The home must be a primary residence, and you cannot have owned for at least two years before the sale.
  • Military service. Any military reservist called to active duty for at least 180 days or for an indefinite period of time can take penalty-free withdrawals.
Your credit union IRA specialist can help you sort out IRA withdrawal options, as well as help you consider possible alternatives. For related information, read "What to Do When You Inherit an IRA" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

H&FF Radio: Holiday Shopping Habits, Money Lies

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WASHINGTON (11/15/13)--This week Home & Family Finance Radio exposes money lies that handicap women, enumerates poor holiday shopping habits, and considers how to retire ahead of schedule.

In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Exposing Money Lies." Margie Baldock, author and financial adviser, Queensland, Australia, explodes the myths handicapping women and money, advocating for women to create financial independence through social entrepreneurship.
  • "Bad Holiday Shopping Habits." Randy Padawer, vice president of the credit repair firm Lexington Law, North Salt Lake, Utah, reveals that only half the population saves money for holiday shopping and too many go into debt.
  • "Retire Early." Wes Moss, radio host and certified financial planner, Atlanta, offers advice about how to save enough to retire early.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Retirement: More to Prepare Than Finances" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

'Tis the Season To Avoid Online Shopping Rip-offs

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YONKERS, N.Y. (11/12/13)--Online holiday shoppers, gear up and hunker down. You could fall victim to serious scams unless you know how to distinguish a legitimate site from a rip-off (Consumer Reports December).
 
"You really have no idea who's on the other side of the transaction when you make a purchase online," warns Jim Stickley, founder of San Diego-based Stickley on Security. "You have a pretty good comfort level with big online retailers or known brick and mortars, but the same can't be said for a no-name website that has an amazing deal that might be a little too good to be true."
 
Stickley, whose education videos have been viewed more than one million times by credit union members, warns that there is no one simple thing you can do to guarantee an online website is real. But using a few different strategies together may help you separate safe sites from questionable sites:
  • Check for a security certificate. Before typing in any confidential information or account numbers, make sure the link changes from http:// to https://. That "s" at the end does not guarantee trust, but it does mean the retailer has filed for a security certificate, paid a fee, and given at least some verified contact information.
  • Find a real person. Call the contact phone number, but if all you get is a recording don't count on getting satisfaction if a product fails.
  • Look for broken links and missing images. Poor website design is a warning sign; an even bigger danger now is a thief who knows you're looking for errors and creates an error-free illegitimate site.
  • Use user reviews--with caution. Not all reviews are accurate, and some reviewers have a financial interest in an item or a competing item. Find sources with many reviews, and look for patterns where reviewers agree on what they like and don't like. Compare user reviews with those from the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports. Then conduct a separate search on the Internet by typing the website or company name and such terms as "complaints" and "reviews."
  • Safeguard your computer or device. Don't shop online unless your operating system, browser, and security software are up to date. If your smartphone doesn't have security software, don't use it to shop online until it's protected.
For more information, read "Cybercrime Costs, Vulnerabilities on the Rise" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& Family Finance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(6)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(1)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(5)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(2)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(4)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Health Care Access, Holiday Finances On H&FF Radio(3)

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WASHINGTON (11/08/13)--Learn to recognize the teachable moments nesting within the holiday shopping frenzy and how to get access to health care regardless of the obstacles--all on this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.
 
In this Sunday's episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Getting Health Care, Regardless of Obstacles." Cindy Whaley, president of Avery Hall Benefit Solutions, Easton, Md., gives an insurance provider's perspective on the best way to find an affordable health insurance plan and navigate healthcare.gov.
  • "Holiday Financial Moments to Learn From." Susan Tiffany, certified credit union financial counselor and director of consumer periodicals, Credit Union National Association , Madison, Wis., outlines holiday spending situations that are actually teachable moments in disguise.    
  •  "Veterans & Social Security." Melissa Smith, women and retirement market manager at Wells Fargo and Co., Charoltte, N.C., explains how social security works for veterans.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. (ET) on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.
 
For related information, use the resource link below to read "November Financial Fitness Challenge--Holidays Are Rich With Teachable Money Moments" and "Consumer Reports Provides 'Health Law Helper'" in the Home& FamilyFinance Resource Center.

Long-term Care Insurance Critical For Middle Americans

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NEW YORK (11/5/13)--The great wave of baby boomers is approaching the age when many will need several years of health care, either in facilities, the homes of loved ones, or in their own homes. While the affluent can self-insure and the very poor can get help via Medicaid, most uninsured middle-income Americans won't be able to pay for their long-term health care (Forbes Oct. 25).
 
The costs this group is facing, according to Genworth's 2013 Cost of Care Survey, are sobering: The median cost for a private room in a nursing home now is $84,000 a year, projected to be $265,000 by 2030.
 
Don't look to Medicare or private health insurance to pay for long-term care (LTC). Insurance to help pay for LTC is expensive, averaging $2,268 to $4,000 a year, and that's if you're even accepted. Few Americans older than 50 own LTC policies.
 
If you need LTC and are uninsured, you have a few options: Go completely broke so you qualify for Medicaid, pay from your savings, or turn to a family member for help. The first is unpalatable, the second unlikely, and the third could jeopardize your family member's financial stability.
 
Here are some guidelines to help you make a decision about LTC coverage:
  • Don't wait. Start shopping now. In 2013, the average monthly premium for a 50-year old is $81. At age 60 you can expect to pay $125. At age 65 it's $361. Waiting costs more and increases the risk of not being able to qualify.
  • Take a good, better, best approach to LTC planning. It doesn't have to be all or nothing; some insurance coverage is better than none. Consider selecting good coverage instead of the best and buy only as much as you know you will be able to continue to make payments on. Choose a higher deductible to achieve more savings. Think of your LTC benefit as a supplement to Social Security benefits, retirement income, and savings.
  • Comparison shop. Deciding which company to work with is probably the most important initial decision you'll make. The price for virtually identical coverage can vary as much as 90%.
  • Consider different ways to deal with rising costs. Policies that increase benefits as the cost or care rises each year, equal to about a 5% annual inflation adjustment, will cost more than ones that increase benefits based on the Consumer Price Index or at a fixed rate, for example 3%.
  • Check the elimination period. This is the time before your policy kicks in; 30 days is typical. If you choose 90 days or longer it will cost less, but make sure you can pay for your care for that length of time.
There are many variables to look out for: If you move outside the U.S., will your plan still cover you? Is in-home care included? Are your existing health conditions covered? How will you be reimbursed--by lump sum or for specific expenses?

To get a handle on the details, visit the websites for the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (aaltci.org) or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (longtermcare.gov). And for related information, read "Check the Financial Health of Your Insurance Company" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.

H&FF Radio: Retiree Finance Tips, Money Talks

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WASHINGTON (11/01/13)--Learn tips to prolong the life of your retirement savings and to have the vital money talks every family should have from this week's Home & Family Finance Radio.

In this episode, which you can listen to on the Internet, host Paul Berry, Washington, D.C., journalist and broadcaster, discusses these topics with special guests:
  • "Stretching Your Money in Retirement." Luke W. Reynolds, chief of outreach and program development at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Washington, D.C., offers advice for stretching your money through your retirement years.
  • "Clearing the Emotional Blocks to Wealth." Margaret Lynch, business consultant and owner of New England Success Coaching, Providence, R.I., explains the techniques behind her book about using emotional freedom techniques to create personal wealth.
  • "Crucial Family Money Talks." Jessica Anderson, an associate editor at Kiplinger.com, Washington, D.C., lays out the money discussions your family absolutely must have.
Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information at the Credit Union National Association. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; and the Defense Credit Union Council and member credit unions, serving those who serve the country worldwide.
 
Home & Family Finance airs Sundays at 3 p.m. ET on the Radio America Network. The show also is carried on American Forces Radio Network. The one-hour program devoted to consumer finance issues is brought to you by America's credit unions and their 97 million members, and is presented by CO-OP Network.
 
CUNA and Radio America are podcasting Home & Family Finance through iTunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo, and other popular podcast library sites, as well as on Radio America and CUNA's websites.

For related information, read "Who Goes First? For Couples, Retirement Is All About Timing" and "Tapping 401(k)s Early Can Be Addictive" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.