Thinking ahead about how investing can support financial goals is the purpose of planning. Naturally, there’s lots of talk about common planning targets: retirement and college. But there’s also consideration of how to achieve multiple goals at various stages of life — whether covering basic needs or leaving a legacy — and how taxes and tax planning could impact results. Articles in the planning category allow you to clarify how today’s decisions can impact efforts to grow, manage, and maintain wealth.
There’s a lot of fear surrounding long-term care. Quoted statistics fuel the angst about this unknown. When articulated, the horror involves living out one’s last days abandoned and suffering in a poorly-run nursing home. Alternative dreads include spending down family assets to pay for quality care or leaching the joie de vivre from family members by asking them to provide care.
A frequently promoted solution to relieving this anxiety is long-term care insurance. There are many variables to living and dying, along with changeable elements in the cost and nature of insurance and care. I won’t predict what might happen or cover all aspects of long-term care and insurance today. But I’ll offer insights into the basics of planning for long-term care.
Earning a high income doesn’t automatically translate into high net worth. In some cases, high earners simply spend more and end up with fewer assets than more moderate earners. This situation can result from status seeking and inability to delay gratification. But sometimes, high earners with exceptional professional skills have average or below-average understanding of personal finance. In his book, The White Coat Investor (and his website of the same name), James Dahle, MD, seeks to educate physicians (who are generally high earners) on personal finance and investing so that they can enjoy the fruits of their valuable knowledge and life-saving labor.
Recently, my husband posed this question: “can I work and collect Social Security benefits?” I didn’t know the answer at the time but discovered that, in general, “yes.” But a more important question is: “should I work and collect Social Security retirement benefits?” The response to this question requires additional research.
For the scope of this article, I won’t delve into the nuances of how working could enhance a sense of well-being and purpose or how the costs associated with working (commuting expenses, for example) might detract from its financial value. Instead, I’ll consider how working while collecting benefits could affect 1) monthly paychecks received in the present; 2) Social Security retirement benefits in the future; and 3) income taxes.