Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Security Changes in 2013

Moderately good news was announced recently for retirees who are already receiving their Social Security benefits.  Your Social Security benefits are expected to increase by about 1.7% beginning in January, 2013.  If you are working and receiving Social Security benefits at the same time, the size of your check should increase even more than this because of the increased premiums you have been paying into the system during the past year.

The 1.7% increase is not as much as the 3.6% cost of living adjustment that was received in 2012.  However, since Social Security recipients did not receive any cost of living increase in either 2010 or 2011, it is helpful to be getting any increase at all this coming year.

There are other changes to Social Security that we can expect in 2013 that will affect both those who are working and paying into the system, as well as those who are already retired.

Other Social Security Changes in 2013

Unless the government takes steps to change it, the temporary payroll tax cut will expire at the end of this year, meaning that workers will once again return to paying 6.2 % of their income for Social Security, rather than the 4.2 percent that we have been paying for the past couple of years.  For many workers, this will mean a substantial decrease in the amount of their take-home pay.

Another change will affect people who are retired and collecting Social Security benefits but who are younger than their full retirement age (approximately about age 66).  If they are still working and collecting their reduced Social Security benefits at the same time, they will be able to earn $480 more next year before their Social Security benefits are reduced.  In other words, they can earn $15,120 rather than the current amount of $14,640 before their benefits are reduced.  Once retirees reach full retirement age, they can work, earn as much money as they want, and receive their full benefits without a penalty.

Another change that will benefit some retirees is that the maximum possible monthly benefit for someone who waits until their full retirement age to collect their Social Security benefits will increase to $2,533 a month.

Finally, everyone needs to be aware that, as of March 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration will no longer mail out paper checks.  Instead, beneficiaries can choose to either have their payments deposited directly into a bank account, or their funds will be loaded onto a Direct Express Debit MasterCard.  Doing away with paper checks will save the government money and provide a safer way for people to receive their benefits.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aging and Tips to Prevent Hip Injuries

The following information was  written specifically for this blog by the DrugWatch website and I felt it would be helpful information that would interest many Baby Boomers as well as older senior citizens and their families. 

Guest Post on the Prevention of Hip Injuries from DrugWatch

Protecting hip health becomes more important with each passing year. As we age, both muscle and bone mass tend to decline. Muscle weakness in the hips can affect balance, leading to falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults over 65 fall each year. Weak bones can make those falls much more dangerous, increasing the risk of hip fractures. Then, there is the daily wear-and-tear, slowly thinning the cartilage that cushions the hip joints, making them more vulnerable to injury and arthritis. Taking good care of your hips can help avoid these problems.

Daily Exercise is Essential to Hip Health

Inactivity speeds age-related bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis, that brittle bone disease that is at the root of many fractures of the hips and spine in women over 55 and men over 70. Muscles deteriorate quickly without regular exercise, losing mass and strength, affecting balance, endurance and the stability of weight-bearing joints, like the hips and knees, increasing joint wear and the risk of sprains, strains and falls.

On the other hand, making a habit of being active for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week can keep the muscles surrounding your hip joints strong and supple, maintaining solid support for smooth joint function, balance and stability. Bone-loss can be slowed substantially with regular exercise and even reversed to some extent, since putting a bit of stress on bones each day stimulates increased production of new bone cells to repair and strengthen them. Walking, stair climbing, swimming or dancing will all enhance hip health, so find an activity that you enjoy and get active.

Balanced Nutrition Keeps Bones and Muscles Strong

Poor nutrition is a major risk factor for osteoporosis and can contribute to weak muscles, poor balance, joint deterioration and a long list of diseases and conditions that affect overall health. A balanced diet that includes whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is the way to go, and if your appetite isn't what it used to be or you have dietary restrictions, a daily multivitamin with minerals can offer additional nutritional support.

What You Should Know About Hip Replacement

While you can reduce your odds of hip problems or injury, even the most dedicated efforts at protecting hip health can't eliminate risk altogether. Should joint deterioration or injury make surgery necessary for you, there are things you should know about hip replacement to minimize risks.

Hip replacement is generally a very safe procedure and has helped many reclaim their lives after disabling hip problems. However, these procedures have been a bit more troublesome than usual recently, due to issues with faulty hip replacement systems, several of which have been recalled.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have caused most of the trouble, with high rates of implant failures and complications, such as metallosis, a serious problem related to metallic implant debris. An inflammatory condition, metallosis can cause severe pain, tissue death and bone loss at and around the implant site, often leading to implant loosening or failure and revision surgery.

Elizabeth Carrollton uses her background in journalism to write for She is dedicated to educating the public about medical safety and important decisions that can impact a person’s health and life. Much of her work includes editorials pertaining to hip replacements and alternatives to relieve pain, as well as complications and hip recall lawsuit information.
You will find other articles about maintaining good health and personal safety throughout this blog.  Use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Niche Retirement Community for Rock and Roll Musicians

It is very rare for me to include a guest post on this blog.  However, this week a reader named CAD Man on the SodaHead website left a long comment at the end of my blog post on "Finding Niche Retirement Communities."  It was interesting enough that I thought it was worth it to offer it to my readers as a separate post.  Otherwise, very few readers would actually see a comment on a post that was written last spring.

The basis of his idea is the dream of creating a niche retirement community called "Rock Till Ya Drop."  I have included a link to help my interested readers find more information about it at the end of his guest post.

I'm not sure how he would go about buying and developing the land to create this niche retirement community.  When you read his full post, you will discover that he envisions homes, townhomes, condos and apartment houses, as well as restaurants, shops and bars.  It is a complex development. I know that my own brother-in-law, who is also an old rocker, used to spend a lot of time living in his RV at Slab City next to the Salton Sea in the Southern California desert.  There he was able to connect with many other Rock and Roll musicians and spend his winter evenings jamming with them.  However, Slab City is nothing compared to what CAD Man would like to create.

Perhaps one of the developers of niche retirement communities will see CAD Man's concept and decide to build a version of it.  If you think it is a place that sounds like the perfect retirement community for you, you may want to weigh in on it.

Keeping all this in mind, here's a re-print of the first part of the creative concept that CAD Man has for a retirement community that is sure to appeal to a certain niche market of Baby Boomers.  Out of respect for the SodaHead website, if you want to read more you will have to click on the link at the end of the post.  In addition, because CAD Man had reprinted his entire SodaHead post as a comment on my blog, I was forced to delete his comment from the Niche Retirement Community article to avoid accusations of plagerism.  However, I thought it was only fair to give CAD Man's idea a voice here.

The Rock Till Ya Drop Retirement Community

"We've been tossing around (for 6+ years) a concept for a retirement community called the 'Rock Till Ya Drop'

If you don't minding reading, you may find our thoughts interesting... enjoy.

Being a part-time musician and full-time lover of live music, I've been rolling this idea around in my head for the last 5 years and it's time to set it free... Why not band together with other musicians, artists, and anyone who truly loves live music and the arts to build the 'Rock Till Ya Drop' 55+ community (RTYD for short).

Here's the vision...

Build a small community (800-1000 residents) of various types of dwellings (single family homes, town homes, row homes, lofts, commune homes, and rental apartments) around an old-fashioned town square. The square would be built around a multi-purpose performance venue ..."

If you are interested in this niche retirement community, you can read more about it on SodaHead's webpage at:

If you are looking for interesting places to live after retirement, you may also be interested in reading:

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best Places to Retire on $40,000 a Year

With 10,000 Baby Boomers a day turning 65, there is a growing demand for affordable places to retire.  Many members of our generation will have very little retirement income other than their Social Security benefits.  However, this does not mean that Baby Boomers plan to spend their senior years living in poverty.  They do have options.

The good news is that many couples will have a total retirement income of around $40,000 a year, which is more than enough for a couple to live and enjoy life in any of the cities listed in this article.  In order to reach the goal of $40,000 a year, the primary breadwinner's Social Security benefits should amount to around $2200 a month, with their spouse receiving an additional $1100.

Single retirees who live together with a partner, friend or relative can also achieve a combined Social Security income of approximately $40,000 if each of them has a Social Security benefit of about $1670 a month.  This is not an unreasonable amount for people who have worked most of their lives, or widows who are receiving benefits based on the income of a deceased spouse.  At this income level, there are many affordable and pleasant places where retirees might choose to live.

Best Affordable Retirement Cities

According to U.S. News, here are the best places to retire if you have a retirement income of $40,000 or less.  I have spent time in several of these cities, and have added my own comments about those locations.

Albuquerque, New Mexico -- We used to take our family to the mountains around Albuquerque and vacation in the surrounding towns of Pueblo, Red River and Angel Fire.  Although the area can get chilly in the winter, it is pleasant, although sometimes quite hot, in the summer.  Daytime highs in December and January range from the mid 40's to the mid 50's.  Highs in the summer tend to be in the 90's, although night temperatures drop to the 60's and 70's, making the summer evenings and mornings quite pleasant. Home prices and rentals are very affordable.

Augusta, Georgia -- This is a beautiful, charming Southern city.  It generally has a mild climate, with numerous golf courses and other amenities in the area.  At the same time, it is surprisingly affordable.

Columbia, South Carolina -- Another Southern City with a mild climate.  However, South Carolina also gets hot in the summer.  On the other hand, many retirees who are finding Florida a bit too hot for their taste are discovering that both South and North Carolina have milder weather and, in many cases, are more convenient to other family members who live in the Northeast.

Jackson, Mississippi -- A very affordable city in the deep south.  Mississippi is another popular warm weather location with mild winters.  Mississippi is an exceptionally inexpensive place to retire. 

Knoxville, Tennessee -- This is a thriving, modern city.  It is similar to Lousiville, Kentucky (mentioned below), but it is further south and has a somewhat milder climate. Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky are all beautiful states with many charming small towns.  Anyone who is considering one of these cities should also explore the surrounding towns.

Little Rock, Arkansas -- Arkansas is a beautiful and extremely affordable state.  Like Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, Arkansas has a large number of very affordable residential areas.  If you find a home near activities that interest you ... such as lakes or golf courses ... you can have a very pleasant retirement at an affordable price.

Louisville, Kentucky -- One of our daughters lived in this lovely city for several years.  The citywide celebration that takes place during the period of time leading up to the Kentucky Derby is delightful, including a massive fireworks display at the riverfront.  The city has colleges, a beautiful riverfront, museums, theaters and plenty of activities for the entire family.  Rents are quite low.   U.S. News estimated that the average senior citizen pays about $600 in monthly rent in Louisville.  Our daughter rented a lovely two-story, three bedroom townhouse in a very nice part of the city for under $1000 a month.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- Another one of our daughters lives in rural Pennsylvania.  It gets quite cold in the winter, with a lot of snow.  However, it is a very affordable place to live, and there are many fun amenities in Pittsburgh including live theater, sports teams and an abundance of restaurants and bars.

St. Louis, Missouri -- I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, and still have relatives who live there.  It is a very affordable city with a thriving nightlife, including riverboat casinos, restaurants, bars, and sports venues.  The Mississippi riverfront attracts tourists as well as local residents.  It received a lot of bad press in the past view years because of rioting in Ferguson.  However, those events did not affect the majority of people who live in the St. Louis area.

San Antonio, Texas -- This is one of my personal favorite retirement cities, especially if you prefer a warmer climate.  The Riverwalk area of San Antonio is across the street from the world famous Alamo mission.  It is a lovely location to take a walk, stop in a sidewalk cafe, and watch small boats cruise by.  There are 11,000 acres of parks in the city, and over 50 golf courses.  Homes are very affordable, and rents for retirees average about $800 a month.  San Antonio is also a city that has come up several times on the the top retirement lists of other organizations.

Remember, whether I have personally been to these cities or not, all of them were listed by U.S. News as great places to retire on an income of $40,000 a year.  Since this income is within the means of many Americans, even those living on Social Security alone, these are certainly locations that many Baby Boomers will want to consider.  Your final decision may be based on many factors including climate and proximity to your adult children or other family members.

In addition to these cities, you may also want to explore some of the small towns in the same states.  Often, the small towns are even less expensive than the cities and can be quite charming.

If you are interested in learning about other places to retire or other retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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The Best Sunny Places to Retire
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Cheap Places to Retire
Finding the Best Places to Retire

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why Some Seniors are Choosing Cohabitation - Seniors Living Together Without Getting Married

This year my husband and I will celebrate forty-four years of marriage.  We are proud of this accomplishment and have never regretted getting married.  It is a second marriage for him and the only marriage for me.

As we have gotten older, we have noticed that some senior couples who are widowed or divorced are choosing not to get re-married; they are living together, instead.  According to Forbes, in 2006 there were 1.8 million Americans age 50 and older who lived in heterosexual "unmarried-partner households."  This was a 50% increase from 2000 and there is every indication that the trend has continued since then. (  Why are couples making this decision?

Advantages of Cohabitation for Seniors

Social Security is the major reason that many of our friends have chosen to live together while remaining single.  In some cases, a widow may receive lower benefits if she remarries, especially if she remarries before the age of 60.  If a widow is over the age of 62 and receiving survivor's benefits, she can still collect benefits based on her former husband's income, if she remarries.

Even if Social Security does not present a problem, there are other financial reasons why a couple may decide not to marry.  For example, a divorcee may lose her alimony if she remarries. There are sometimes other pensions which may also be reduced or eliminated if a person remarries.

Being married could also have tax consequences for certain couples.

In other cases, the individuals may want to keep their assets or debts separate, or protect their credit rating, especially if one person has been through bankruptcy or a foreclosure.

Seniors with adult children may be concerned about leaving their assets to their heirs.  In fact, in some cases adult children have been known to oppose having a parent remarry because they fear they will lose their inheritance.  We've all heard stories about the "gold-diggers" who marry wealthy retirees.  People are frequently suspicious no matter how compatible and happy the two people are.

Disadvantages of Cohabitation for Seniors

Living together can sometimes create legal problems for the couples.  In fact, if you do decide to live together rather than get married, it is probably a good idea to meet with an attorney and create a cohabitation agreement.

For example, if one person owns the home and it is being left to the children, the survivor may have to move out upon the death of their partner.  If both of you have been making payments on the property, this can cause resentments and financial hardship.

In addition, cohabiting seniors can face some of the same legal problems that were experienced by cohabiting gay couples, prior to the legalizing of gay marriage, such as the inability to make healthcare decisions for their partner.

Ceremonies for Cohabiting Couples

If you do decide to live together rather than get married, you may still want to have a commitment ceremony.  You can write your own vows and ask a friend or relative to preside over your ceremony.  A friend of mine told me that some people are even having religious ceremonies that are recognized by their faith, but are not legally recorded.  I do not have independent knowledge of this, but it is something that religious couples may want to investigate.  However you plan your ceremony, this is a nice way to seal your relationship without putting yourself into a legally binding contract.

Minimizing Legal Problems that Result from Cohabitation

As mentioned above, it is probably a good idea to see an attorney about having a cohabitation agreement written up that will protect the assets and property rights of both of you.  This document can set forth the legal expectations of both parties.  In this way, you may be able to take advantage of the benefits of cohabitation while minimizing the disadvantages.  Some items that you may want to include are how long the survivor can remain in a home after the death of their partner, and who has the authority to implement a living will.  Any other financial or legal concerns you have can be addressed in the same document.

If you are looking for more retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States or other countries, financial planning, medical issues and changing family values.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tellico Village Retirement Community

The picturesque Tellico Village Retirement Community on the shores of Tellico Lake near Knoxville, Tennessee is a fabulous retirement location for anyone who is looking forward to a wide array of recreational amenities after retirement. 

In addition to the clubs and social activities that residents enjoy at many active adult communities, Tellico Village also has three championship golf courses, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and country club and yacht club facilities that enhance the residents' enjoyment of the gorgeous lake that adjoins the property.  Best of all, it is located in the scenic state of Tennessee where residents can enjoy four seasons and hardwood forest.

Cost of Living in Tellico Village

The Tellico Village community was initially developed in 1986.  Today there are over 7000 residents in the retirement community who have a median income of $60,000 to $80,000.  The majority of them are living in homes that have typical values of about $200,000 to $350,000.  The community also has a slightly below average crime index.

Another factor that keeps the cost of living manageable is the fact that Tennessee has no state income tax.  However, like most states, there is a state sales tax.  According to the website, the property taxes on a typical $200,000 house would be less than $2000 a year.

Tellico Village Weather

Tellico Village offers a definite four seasons, including the opportunity to enjoy the colorful Tennessee fall foliage, shown in the attached photo.  In January, the temperature in nearby Knoxville ranges from an average low of 27 degrees to a high of 47 degrees.  In July, the average temperature ranges from a low of 68 degrees to a high of 87 degrees, perfect weather for summer boaters and golfers.

Enjoy a Convenient Lifestyle at Tellico Village

Tellico Village is located only about 35 minutes from downtown Knoxville, a small city of less than 200,000 residents, but large enough to provide easy access to shopping, the Knoxville airport, the University of Tennessee, the Knoxville Convention Center, a regional history museum, theaters, outdoor concerts, the Knoxville Opera Company, numerous art festivals and a wide assortment of restaurants and bars.

Boating at Tellico Lake

According to, Tellico Lake is one of the top lakes for recreational boaters.  The same website says that Tellico Village is one of the best places to live for people who enjoy water sports.  The waterfront availability and the ease of use by boaters is highly rated and, consequently, Tellico Lake is where most boat builders in the Knoxville, Tennessee area go to test their boats.  There is also excellent fishing available on the lake.

Bottom Line on Tellico Village

If you are dreaming of a retirement that involves boating as well as golfing and other outdoor activities, rural beauty with the convenience of a nearby large city, then Tellico Village is one of the premier active adult communities that you should consider.

If you want to learn more about other retirement locations, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States or overseas, common medical problems, changing family relationships, financial planning, and more.

Articles about other retirement locations that may interest you are:

Green Valley Arizona Retirement Communities
Great Places to Retire in the Northern US
The Villages Active Adult Community in Florida
Popular Retirement Communities in the United States
Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is it Time to Retire?

One of the reasons that the unemployment rate has fallen over the past few years, after hovering over 8% between 2007 and 20011, is because thousands of Baby Boomers are beginning to retire.  Over the past few years, Baby Boomers have been turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, but many of them were reluctant to let go of their jobs in the middle of the 2007 recession. 

In many cases, Boomers needed to recoup what they had lost in the real estate and stock market crashes of a few years ago before they could retire.  In other instances, they were afraid to let go of their jobs too soon for fear of another financial set-back.  Over the past few years, however, Baby Boomers began to believe that it was possible for them to retire. 

If you are uncertain whether you are prepared to give up your job in the next few years, listed below are some things to consider.

How to Decide if You are Ready to Retire

Make a Realistic Post-Retirement Budget

The first thing you need to do is make a list of the expenses you have now.  Remove the items that you do not expect to have after you retire, such as commuting costs.  Add in money for the extra expenses you expect after retirement including travel, replacing your car, Medicare insurance premiums, prescription drugs and medical co-payments.  Next, add up the retirement income that you expect to receive from your Social Security, your spouses's Social Security, pensions, annuities and any other sources.  Will you have enough income to cover your expenses, or do you need to make some adjustments?

Consider Ways to Supplement Your Retirement Income

In the retirement community where my husband and I live, hundreds of retirees work part-time for the homeowner's association.  They serve as Gate Ambassadors, bus drivers, receptionists, and office workers.  They are paid several dollars an hour above the minimum wage and are also allowed the free use of some of the pay-for-use facilities in our community. 

Other people in our neighborhood earn extra money selling real estate in the community, working in antique stores and gift shops in the area, and in similar part-time occupations.  A few of our friends have remained in their former occupations, but now only work part-time.  These jobs help retirees stretch their retirement income without the necessity of continuing to work full-time in a demanding career.

Pay Off Debts

If your income will not be enough to cover your post-retirement living expenses, one step you should take is to make a plan to pay off your debts.  If you have credit card payments, car payments, and college loan payments for your children, you may need to pay off these bills before you can realistically retire.  If you have a small mortgage with a low payment, this is one debt you may be able to continue to carry, if you are free of other large expenses.  However, if you are overwhelmed by debt and feel as if you can never retire, you may consider selling assets to free up enough money to clear out your obligations.  If your debts are excessively large, you may even consider selling your current home and buying a smaller, less expensive one.  Your goal is to rearrange your expenses so that it is possible to have a planned, manageable  retirement, before a healthcare crisis or job loss forces you to retire unexpectedly.

Have a Plan for Long Term Care

Many of us will need to spend some time during our lives receiving long term care, either at home or in a nursing facility.  In fact, experts estimate that two out of three senior citizens will spend some time in a long-term care facility.  Approximately one out of five people over the age of 65 will need to stay in long-term care for more than five years.  Everyone needs to make a plan for handling this future expense. 

You may want to purchase Long Term Care Insurance or make sure you have set aside enough assets to cover several years of care.  As part of your long-term care planning, you may also want to write a living will that explains the healthcare decisions you want made if you are too ill to speak to the doctors on your own behalf. 

Plan for How You Want to Spend Leisure Time

What do you want to do with the free time you will have when you retire?  Do you want to travel in an RV, take an annual cruise, spend time on the golf course, or take art classes?  Before you stop working, you need to make a plan that will allow for you to enjoy your retirement.  Perhaps you may want to move to another part of the world, sell your home and buy an RV, or move to a retirement community that has free or low cost amenities such as golf courses and art classes.  Whatever type of retirement appeals to you, you need to include the cost in your retirement planning.  In some cases, the cost of living in a retirement community, another country, or in an RV may be less than you are currently spending on living expenses.  However, it would be wise to discuss the change with others who have tried it and get their advice.  You want to be realistic about what your new lifestyle will cost.

Your Personal Retirement Plan

If you are a Baby Boomer who hopes to retire in the next few years, it is not too early to begin making plans and changes to your lifestyle so that you can make it happen.  There is no reason why anyone should assume that they will have to work until they drop dead at their desk, as I have sometimes heard some people say.  With a little planning, nearly anyone who has spent years working hard on a job will be able to make a plan and find a cozy, comfortable way to have the retirement they always wanted.

If you are interested in more retirement planning tips, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire in the United States or abroad, financial planning, common medical issues, changing family relationships, travel and more.

For more help in making your retirement plans, you may also want to read:

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire?
Cheap Places to Retire
Finding Niche Retirement Communities
The Villages Active Adult Community in Florida
Popular Retirement Communities in the United States
Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community
Garden Spot Village Community for Seniors in PA
Best Places to Retire Outside the US

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where Obama and Romney Stand on Issues

Blue States are Leaning Obama
Red States are Leaning Romney
Other States are Undetermined
 No blog about retirement can simply ignore the upcoming presidential election.  Many people are still undecided and the recent debate did little to clear things up for a number of individuals.  With about a month left until the national election, the vote could still go either way. 

Consequently, it is important that we address some of the issues that may be important to our readers.  Often senior citizens are lumped into one "pot" and it is assumed that we all think alike.  Of course this is ridiculous.  Many of us are influenced by our religious beliefs, our personal financial situation, health issues that are a concern for ourselves and other family members, and various other issues.  Therefore, I am making an attempt to mention a few important issues, while trying to remain as impartial and factual as possible.  I have also avoided publishing all the accusations the candidates are making about each others' programs since most of those negative comments are unproductive.

I respect the right of citizens to make up their own minds about the presidential election, and I wish to inform rather than influence.  An issue that is extremely important to one person may not be important at all to someone else.  Only you know the best decision for you and your family.  Listed below are some of the facts that I have been able to gleen from various news sources.  Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you as you decide which candidate supports policies that will benefit you, your spouse, your adult children, grandchildren and your family in the future.

Obama vs Romney on the Issues


Obama: Wants to keep the current Medicare system, but make it more efficient.  The Affordable Healthcare Act cut the payments made to doctors and insurance companies by $716 billion in order to reform the program and save money without reducing benefits to Medicare recipients.

Romney:  Wants to keep the current Medicare system for those 55 and above, but initiate a voucher program for our children and future generations.  He would reverse the $716 billion reform.  Instead, he believes that more competition will eventually reduce the amount of money that the government will spend in the future on healthcare for senior citizens.

Social Security

Obama:  Wants to strengthen the current system of Social Security, but not make major changes that would slash benefits for beneficiaries.

Romney:  Wants to raise the retirement age and initiate means testing so that higher-income retirees will see smaller growth in their benefits.

Health Care Reform

Obama:  Wants to fully implement the Affordable Healthcare Act.  So far, the Act had made it possible for children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26.  In addition, younger children can no longer be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions.  By January, 2014, everyone will be expected to have health insurance, even those adults with pre-existing conditions, and insurance pools will be open to the poor and those who cannot get a policy through their job.  This will save billions of dollars that are currently being spent  by the government, hospitals and insurance companies when they are forced to pick up the tab for those who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay for their medical bills.

Romney:  Wants to keep some parts of the Affordable Healthcare Act, but eliminate the remainder.  He believes that the marketplace and state governments will voluntarily continue to provide coverage for children up to age 26 and health care for those who are uninsured.  He wants individuals with pre-existing conditions to be covered, but only if they already have had continuous coverage.  He wants states to receive block grants to cover Medicaid for the poor in the way that they believe will work best in their states.

Obama vs Romney on Other Issues

There are, of course, other issues that are important to seniors, including caregiving, job training, tax programs and economic growth.  However, these issues are more difficult to compare because one side or the other has been vague about providing specific information about how they would address these problems.  I believe there is no point in publishing vague statements such as "I want to provide more economic growth," or "I want to lower taxes for the middle class" if there are few specifics about exactly how these programs will be paid for and implemented.  Instead I preferred to limit the scope of this post to the stands the candidates have taken on a few issues important to retirees and the specific information the candidates have provided.

You may also be interested in reading:

Your Retirement Money and the Fed Decision
Pros and Cons of Social Security Privatization
Important Medicare Tips for Boomers
How the Affordable Healthcare Act Affects You
How to Access Your Social Security Information Online

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