Your Money: Factor health costs into retirement

Posted: November 13, 2013

As Americans live longer, we require more medical coverage, and thus the lifetime cost of insurance has increased. So it's a good idea to factor in health-care expenses as part of retirement planning.

By 2020, the average couple will need more than $250,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement, according to a 2012 estimate by Employee Benefit Research Institute. No wonder: Health care is a $2.7 trillion dollar industry in the United States.

We'll need more set aside for health care partly because Medicare insurance premiums rise as an income increases, according to a new white paper by Don Riley, titled "Healthcare Costs: Your Retirement Portfolio's Dark Horse."

As chief investment officer at the Wiley Group in West Conshohocken, Riley suggests one way investors can help lower health-care expenses in retirement - by keeping income below a certain threshold. (For example, an individual with income below $85,000 a year will pay $104.90 a month for Medicare Part B, while individuals with an income above $214,000 will pay $335.70 a month).

One way to reduce reported income is by contributing to a Roth individual retirement account (Roth IRA) rather than a traditional IRA. "Withdrawals taken from a Roth account are not considered income and therefore may be able keep you in a lower tax bracket. Individuals with less income and in lower tax brackets will pay smaller premiums," he says.

Philanthropy update

Philanthropy at the high-net-worth level has been meteoric, particularly given the rise in the capital markets. Assets in donor-advised fund accounts totaled more than $45 billion in fiscal 2012, compared with the previous year's $38 billion, the highest annual percentage increase since the Philly-based National Philanthropic Trust began tracking the data. Its 2013 Donor-Advised Fund Report is now available on the NPT's website, www.nptrust.org.

Not a millionaire? Eileen R. Heisman, president and CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust, says individuals and businesses can still practice philanthropy as well on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, after all those shopping days from hell). Charitable giving is tax-deductible, so give back to the organization of your choice through GivingTuesday.org:

For Individuals, visit http://goo.gl/E6iEzP.

For Businesses, visit http://goo.gl/AJRo1J.


erinarvedlund@yahoo.com

646-797-0759

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