Do you have Medicare? Then mark your calendars, because the fall enrollment period is about to begin. This year, the open enrollment period starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th. Miss that deadline, and you could be facing a penalty. What should you do if you have Medicare? Review your current plan and decide if you want to change your provider or your coverage. And even if you’re happy with your current plans, you should still review all your available options to ensure you’re getting the best value. After all, some experts say average healthcare costs will be about $220,000 during retirement, so a little planning now can save you a lot in the future.
Unless you’re an accountant or a personal finance wonk, it’s a pretty good bet you’re not exactly looking forward to delving into the nitty-gritty details of Medicare. But hey – since you’re already in “financial review mode,” why not take advantage of that mindset to do a little more financial planning to make sure your finances are in good order? A little planning now can help with taxes, help avoid Medicare-related penalties, and provide you with some much-needed peace of mind to face the holiday season and start the new year. Here are four steps to take now:
- Focus on your required minimum distributions (RMDs): If you have a 401K or IRA, you’ll probably need to start taking distributions by the time you reach age 70 ½ years of age (if you’re still working at that time, the rules can be different). At some income levels, the RMD might bump you into a higher tax bracket. Now is a good time to plan tax-friendly strategies that can help you keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible. Talking with a financial planner is the best way to minimize your tax burden without incurring RMD penalties.
- Review your beneficiaries: Make sure your will, IRA, and other accounts have the proper beneficiaries listed, and crosscheck all your documents to avoid potential discrepancies. Births, deaths, divorces, and other life events can have an impact on your financial planning, and it can be easy to overlook a change in beneficiaries. Reviewing documents on a routine basis is important to ensure your documents reflect your true wishes.
- Plan for windfalls: If you plan to sell a home or business, the revenue can have a major impact on your tax bill, and you could wind up triggering a Medicare surtax normally reserved for high earners. The same is true if you withdraw a large sum from your retirement savings to fund an expensive purchase like a family trip. Again, working with a financial planner or CPA can help you minimize your tax burden by recharacterizing your income and gifting some of your assets.
- Think about long-term care needs: Long-term care can cost tens of thousands of dollars each year. Planning for those needs now is important to ensure you receive the care you need when you need it. Annuities can be a great investment tool for long-term care planning. Ask your Basi agent about annuity products that suit your own planning needs.
One more tip: The end of the year is also a good time to review your insurance needs. At Basi Insurance, our agents are ready to help you make important financial decisions that can help you enjoy your retirement years. To learn more about annuities and other insurance products, call Basi Insurance at 877-590-4826.