ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 99

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 99 NOVEMBER 25, 2015   THANKSGIVING is more than just a holiday celebrating the survival of settlers from Europe.  It should also be treated as a holiday to celebrate the good things in our lives and to hold out a helping hand (even one holding a few dollar bills), to those less fortunate than ourselves who have lost jobs, families, homes and even all hope.  Los Angeles is the second biggest homeless capital in the country, after New York City.  Some chains, like McDonald’s, sell coupons which you can also give to the homeless this Thanksgiving, or anytime!  This Thanksgiving, be thankful that you can give. CalPERS, the State of California retirement system for California, may reduce it’s expected rate of return.  Years ago an unrealistically high rate of return was set and used to justify benefit and pension improvements.  Taxpayers may be forced to pay the difference between what CalPERS earns on its investments and how much is paid out to CalPERS beneficiaries.  (Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2015.)  CalPERS wants 30 years to adjust the contributions, but Governor Brown wants it done in 5. VETERANS benefits provide up to 100% disability pay in a system which is designed to favor the veteran and currently allows unlimited appeals.  In the oldest case, filed in 1985, the veteran now receives $3,068 a month tax-free, but is still seeking retroactive benefits.  About 12% of veterans appeal their initial decisions and 425,000 are yet to be heard.  (Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2015.) IRONICALLY, in Social Security disability cases the applicant is presumed by most judges not to be...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 98

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 98 NOVEMBER 18, 2015   SEVERE obesity costs Medi-Cal (and Medicaid), $8 B a year at $2,000 per patient, according to the Yale University Prevention Research Center.  This number does not include Medicare.  The number is likely to rise as more people enroll in the Affordable Care Act program.    (AOL, November 10, 2015.) CONCURRENTLY, treatment of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia is estimated to cost over $1 B over the next 5 years ($226M a year).  (Nightly Business Report, November 10, 2015.) NPR also reports that over the last decade the average worker’s cost of health insurance, co-pays and prescriptions (private sector?), increased 130%. APPEALS Court decides by 2-1 vote that President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, were an overreach of the President’s authority.  (Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2015).  The Obama Administrations said it would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. STATE Senator Fran Pavley reports 9 of her bills became law, including “SB 324 – ABLE Act, which authorizes savings plans for developmentally disabled people and their families. Essentially a special needs trust for smaller amounts, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, passed in 2014. (Senator Pavley’s constituent mailing of November 16, 2015.)  This blog commented favorably on this matter in a prior edition. FEDERAL government cracking down on cigarette sales to minors with guilty retailers possibly losing the right to sell tobacco products at all.  (Kiplinger Letters, November 6, 2015.) INTERNATIONAL financial organization suggests that large banks raise $1.2T (trillion), to prevent any future financial crisis from spreading.  Proposal suggests these banks sell...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 97

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 97 NOVEMBER 11, 2015   11-11 is Armistice Day, also known as Veteran’s Day.  The treaty ending hostilities of WWI (The Great War), was signed at 11:00 a.m., on the 11th day of the 11th month.  For an excellent work on WWI see John Keegan, The First World War.  Many may not realize the U.S. was slow to enter WWI, just as we only entered WWII after Pearl Harbor was bombed. LESS importantly, 11-11 is also Singles Day in China, which was originally fostered to encourage singles to meet other singles, but has turned into a day when singles buy things for themselves.  It is one of the biggest commercial days of the year in China. myRA accounts enable people with small savings ability and without access to a retirement account at work to begin tax deferred saving with the deposits going into a U.S. Treasury backed fund paying 2% annually.  The maximum balance is $15,000, after which the contributor must transfer the money to an IRA or other fund.  There are no costs nor fees on this account.  (myRA, Social Security blog, November 5, 2015.) The myRA may be a good vehicle to get kids and others new to the workforce and working low wage jobs to save, even if it’s only a little, since there is no minimum contribution. TRUST drafting without an attorney can leave you with language like the following in your trust: “Although we do not provide legal advice on your estate plan, the following documents have been prepared by our staff as directed by you.  When seeking your attorney’s advice, you can...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 96

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 96 NOVEMBER 4, 2015 SOCIAL Security planning strategies of “file and suspend” and “restricted application”, which allowed couples to increase their lifetime benefits, is being eliminated in 6 months as part of an effort to shore up Social Security.  (Reuters on dailyfinance.com, November 4, 2015.) LOS Angeles County Board of Supervisors sets “up to” $100 M fund for “affordable lodging”.  The fund will start with $20M the first year and gradually increase to $100M after 5 years.  (Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2015.) DEMENTIA is most expensive disease to treat with an average total cost over 5 years of $287,038, vs. heart disease ($175,136), and cancer ($173,383).  The primary reason is that dementia patients need caregivers to watch and assist them.  (New York Times, October 26, 2015.) OBAMA administration issued final rule authorizing Medicare to pay doctors for consultations about end of life options.  (New York Times, October 30, 2015.) AFFORDABLE Care Act to provide to deploy new, web based tools to help consumers find the plan best for them, also enabling consumers to screen out plans that don’t include their current doctors.  (Los Angeles Times, October 31, 2015.) JUST 2 strips of bacon can increase your cancer risk 18%.  Smoking, however, increases your risk of cancer 2,500%.  (The WEEK, November 6, 2015.) 2 groups are placing contrary initiatives on the California ballot; 1 to outlaw capital punishment and 1 to ensure that 15 years after the sentence the defendant is killed.  (NPR, November 2, 2015.)  While few if any ever suffer the death penalty, the costs of the appeals are enormous. NEW rules for financial freedom: Save...