This week's editor's picks include a dissection of why health care costs are slowing, a piece on how to maximize annuities for retirement, an opinion on why the advisor-client conversation should change, an introduction to the new middle class, a question about how seniors get Medicaid benefits, and more. As always, feel free to comment or leave your own article recommendations.
Here’s why health care costs are slowing
(The Washington Post)
"The answer has huge implications for the federal budget, which now faces threats of really fast growth in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. If those programs grow like they have for the past few years — at the same rate as the rest of the economy — then that frees up lots of funds for whatever other investments the federal government wants to make."
When your annuity wants to pay you less
"Some insurers are changing annuity contracts. The moves include clamping down on fund choices, raising fees, blocking additional account contributions and, in some cases, trying to buy back the contracts."
The coming storm in trust-owned life insurance — and how you can cope
"Given all of this (along with the emergence of the viatical settlement industry), individuals who are no longer comfortably generating enough excess income to continue premiums and who are below estate tax thresholds are seriously reevaluating their life insurance trust programs. At least our clients are."
Retirement and health care: Concerns are off the charts
"Many people nearing retirement don't have a good feeling about whether they have saved enough to make it through retirement. Add to that worries about health care costs in retirement, and those concerns are off the chart. They should be."
Merrill’s Thiel says advisors must change the conversation with clients
"Changing the dialogue that both advisors and wealth management executives have with clients can come through several steps, according to Thiel. The first priority should be taking out all of the jargon industry professionals use in their conversations with clients, and instead just use plain language."
Do seniors hide assets to get Medicaid long-term care benefits?
"There is a widespread belief that seniors, in cahoots with shady lawyers and greedy children, hide their assets so they can receive Medicaid long-term care benefits."
Make Wall Street choose: go small or go home
(The New York Times)
"Progressives and conservatives can debate the proper role of government, but this is one principle on which we can all agree: The government shouldn’t pick economic winners or losers."
Meet the new middle class: who they are, what they want, and what they fear
"After years of economic turmoil, most families now believe the most valuable — and elusive — possession in American life is economic security."
'Dear Mom, I wish you'd had life insurance'
"If my mom had had life insurance and made preparations for her death, my life would be completely different. We would have been able to bury her according to her wishes instead of settling for cremation paid for by the state. We would still be living in our family home with our pets and in our same neighborhood we grew up in. I would not have to struggle to provide my sisters with the basic daily needs others don't think twice about."
The best way to buy annuities for retirement
"Since you're building a paycheck that might last 20 or 30 years, it's well worth many hours of studying and analyzing the right moves for you. You won't regret the time you've spend many years from now when you've still got a reliable retirement income that has weathered future recessions."