How do I change or revoke a will?

How do I change or revoke a will?Your will does not take effect until you die. You can create a new will or revoke or amend an existing will up until your death.

A will remains valid until properly revoked or superseded. Revoking your will must be done very carefully. Most state laws require that the will be revoked by a subsequent instrument (a new will) or by a physical act (e.g., destroying or defacing it). This means the will must either be burned, torn, or canceled with the intent to revoke. You might, for example, write REVOKED across the will and sign and date the revocation.

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Dealing with Medical Billing Issues

Dealing with Medical Billing IssuesIt’s a common occurrence these days–you receive a sky-high medical bill in the mail. Maybe the bill is for medical services or treatments that you thought were covered by your insurance. Or perhaps you have difficulty understanding exactly which medical procedures you’re being charged for, or what the medical billing codes on your hospital bill mean.

The fact is, due to the complex nature of today’s medical billing industry, it’s difficult for many consumers to know exactly what they will end up having to pay for medical services or treatments. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make it easier to deal with any medical billing issues that may arise.

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Think Twice Before Counting on a COLA

Think Twice Before Counting on a COLAThe rising costs of food, gas, electricity, and health care can strain anyone’s budget. The situation is even worse if your living expenses increase while your income stays the same, because your purchasing power will steadily decline over time. That’s why cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are especially valuable to retirees and others living on fixed incomes.

A COLA is an increase in regular income you receive (such as a Social Security or pension benefit) that is meant to offset rising prices. It’s important protection because price inflation has occurred in most years during the last 40 years. However, a COLA may not be payable in years when inflation slows or declines.


How COLAs work

It’s easy to think of a COLA as a “raise,” but a COLA is meant to help you maintain your standard of living, not improve it. For example, let’s say you receive a $2,000 monthly retirement benefit, and the overall cost of the things you need to purchase increases by 3% during the year. The next year, you receive a 3% COLA, or an extra $60 a month, to help you manage rising prices.

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Don’t Forget About Year-End Investment Planning

Don't Forget About Year-End Investment PlanningAs the year draws to a close, there might be a slew of tasks on your to-do list. One task to consider is setting up a meeting with your financial professional to review your investments. If you take the time to get organized now, it may help you accomplish your long-term goals more efficiently. Here are some steps that might help.


Evaluate your investment portfolio

During the meeting with your financial professional, review how your overall investment portfolio fared over the past year and determine whether adjustments are needed to keep it on track.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How did your investments perform during the year? Did they outperform, match, or underperform your expectations?
  • What caused your portfolio to perform the way it did? Was it due to one or multiple factors?
  • Were there any consistencies or anomalies compared to past performance?
  • Does money need to be redirected in order to pursue your short-term and long-term goals?
  • Is your portfolio adequately diversified, and does your existing asset allocation still make sense?

Addressing these issues might help you determine whether your investment strategy needs to change in the coming year.


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How do I compare my health insurance options during open enrollment?

How do I compare my health insurance options during open enrollment?The decisions you make during open enrollment season regarding health insurance are especially important, since you generally must stick with the options you choose until the next open enrollment season, unless you experience a “qualifying” event such as marriage or the birth of a child. As a result, you should take the time to carefully review the types of plans offered by your employer and consider all the costs associated with each plan.

With most health insurance plans, your employer will pay a portion of the premium and require you to pay the remainder through payroll deductions. When comparing different plans, keep in mind that even though a plan with a lower premium may seem like the most attractive option, it could have higher potential out-of-pocket costs.

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