Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

Watching a Key Stock Level

March 29, 2011

We’ll soon know if the stock indexes will move to new highs. Keep an eye on the S&P 500. For over a month it’s been struggling to settle above 1315. With the exception of a week in mid-March it’s been bouncing between 1310 and 1315. It’s not a good idea to invest solely on technical […]

Summarizing Medical Insurance/Medical Care Trends

March 29, 2011

We saw many changes in medical insurance and related topics in 2010 and more are on the way in 2011. A very useful summary of these trends is available from Cheiron, an actuarial firm that consults with employers on their benefit programs. It covers trends in costs, coverage, and other features. Of interest to those […]

Surveying the Discount Brokers

March 28, 2011

There’s not as much different between the discount brokers as there used to be. But there are some differences, and you want to be with the broker that best  matches your finances and investment style. Even if you’re happy with your broker, it’s a good idea to survey the options periodically to see if you’re […]

Explaining the CLASS Act

March 28, 2011

A little-known provision of the Affordable Health Care Act is the CLASS program. The program’s been getting more attention since we first wrote about it last fall. CLASS is supposed to be a self-funding program providing cash to members who need long-term care assistance. Few people understand the program, and the bureaucrats have until late […]

Lifting the Hood on Index Annuities

March 28, 2011

Index annuities sales are rising, actually hitting a record high in the third quarter of 2010, according to LIMRA. I’ve presented balanced views of index annuities (once called equity indexed annuities) for years. Those articles are in the Archive on the members’ section of Here’s a publicly-available article that lifts the lid on these […]

Correction Over?

March 25, 2011

Stocks took a pause from the rally that began March 2009 beginning in mid-February. The pause became a decline when rising oil prices were coupled with the upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East. Technical indicators might be saying that the correction is over and stocks are due to return to their winning ways, […]

Warning on Gift Tax Returns

March 25, 2011

In the April issue of Retirement Watch I deliver a warning that the IRS is looking for people who haven’t filed gift tax returns after making gifts. They’re doing this by searching through state real estate records for properties that are transferred for little or no consideration. Here’s further evidence that the IRS found a […]

Requiring Medicare

March 24, 2011

Most people don’t realize that in the 1990s the government ruled that anyone age 65 or older who withdraws from Medicare Part A forfeits Social Security benefits. Unlike other parts of Medicare, Part A carries no premium and covers hospitalization. A group of people concluded that they preferred private coverage of their hospitalization to Part […]

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