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Hate Your Medicare Insurance Plan? Here’s a Quick and Easy Guide to Switching!

Hate Your Medicare Insurance Plan? Here’s a Quick and Easy Guide to Switching!

You thought the Medicare mess was all tidied up when you first enrolled and purchased proper Medicare insurance (whether it be Medicare Advantage or Medigap), but then you discover a sad fact of life: Costs change. Benefits change. Your needs change. Or, perhaps you’ve quickly come to realize that a plan you thought was all sunshine, rainbows, and good value is a terrible fit for you. Regardless of the reason, it’s time to switch to an option that is more suited to you needs.

 

That is why I want to offer you a simple guide, answering some questions you may have about switching. Is it possible for you to switch? If so, when? And how should you go about it? I will also cover some of my best tips all of us at Seniormark have learned after helping thousands of retirees through this process—tips to save you time and needless hassle.

 

This post is organized into section based on the type of switch you are planning to make:

  1. From a Medicare Supplement to another Medicare Supplement
  2. From a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  3. From a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement
  4. From a Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan
  5. From a Part D Drug Plan to another Part D Drug Plan

 

Feel free to skip to the section that is most pertinent to you, and don’t forget to call us at 937-492-8800 if you have any additional questions!

From Medicare Supplement to another Medicare Supplement

Can I Switch?

Most people can, except people with very serious, chronic health conditions. You will have to undergo medical questioning and get approved, but don’t lose hope too fast: in many cases, even those with poor health can find a company who will accept them (click here for an blog to answer some questions about this)!

 

When Can I Switch?

Anytime of year. However, I recommend avoiding switching during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15- December 7). That is a really busy time of year for insurance agencies, so the process might not be as smooth.

 

How Do I Switch?

 (1) Find the best plan for you by doing private research or shopping with an independent insurance agency like Seniormark. (2) Call the company and follow their application process. (3) If you are approved, cancel your previous supplement.

 

Best Tip

This type of switch is not just for those who hate their plans, but is also for those who like to save money (which I assume includes most of us). If you have been in the same Medicare Supplement for 3-5 years, you could save hundreds a year or more by switching without changing your benefits (click here for some help on shopping around).

 

From a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage Plan

Can I Switch?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases. As long as you don’t have End Stage Renal Disease (kidney failure), you can switch!

 

When Can I Switch?

You can switch during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15- December 7).

 

How Can I Switch?

(1) Find the best plan for you by doing private research or by shopping with an independent agency like Seniormark. (2) Call the company and follow their application process. (3) Cancel your previous coverage effective January 1st and wait for your new coverage to go into effect for the New Year.

 

Best Tip

Before switching to an Advantage Plan, realize that you are giving up benefits for the lower premium. Advantage Plans are more cost effective when it comes to premium, but even the ones that cost $0 aren’t really free (click here for our blog on “free” Advantage plans), so make sure you understand what you are getting into.

 

And as you are shopping plans, remember to consider more than just the premium. For instance, are your doctors in the plan’s network? If your plan has a built-in drug plan, does it cover your medications? We’ve had unfortunate retirees call in for help after they found out they couldn’t see their own doctor without losing all coverage. And the worst part? They were locked into their plan for the whole year! Advantage Plans can be an excellent fit, but only if you find the right one for you.

 

From a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement

Can I Switch?

Most people can, except people with very serious, chronic health conditions. Anytime you switch to a Medicare Supplement, this will be the case: You will have to undergo medical questioning and get approved. But don’t lose hope too fast: in many cases, even those with poor health can find a company who will accept them (see link above)!

 

When Can I Switch?

You can only switch during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7).

 

How Can I Switch?

(1) Find a plan that’s right for you by doing private research or by shopping it with an independent, local insurance agency like Seniormark. (2) Call the company and follow their application process. (3) If approved, ensure that your policy gets cancelled effective January 1st and then simply wait for your coverage to go into effect in the New Year.

 

Best Tip

Don’t wait until the last minute to switch. Since Annual Enrollment is such a busy time of year for Insurance companies, it may take 3-4 weeks for your application to get processed. So, put your application in early (in October or early November); you don’t want to be stuck in an Advantage Plan you hate for another whole year!

 

From a Medicare Advantage Plan to Another Medicare Advantage Plan

Can I Switch?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases. As long as you don’t have End Stage Renal Disease (kidney failure), you can switch!

When Can I Switch?

You can only switch during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7).

 

How Can I Switch?

(1) Find a plan that’s right for you by doing private research or by shopping it with an independent, local insurance agency like Seniormark. (2) Call the company and follow their application process. (3) Wait for your previous plan to cancel by itself and wait for your new coverage to go into effect on January 1st.

 

Best Tip

As I’ve previously noted, make sure your new Advantage Plan has your doctor in its network, and—if your new plan has a built-in drug plan—that your medications are covered. It’s a real pain to kick off New Year off with an ill-fitting insurance plan!

 

From a Part D Drug Plan to Another Part D Drug Plan

Can I Switch?

Yes, there are no restrictions to changing coverage!

 

When Can I Switch?

You can only switch during the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15-December 7).

 

How Can I Switch?

(1) Find a plan that’s right for you by shopping it yourself on Medicare Plan Finder or call OSHIIP (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program) at 1-800-686-1578 and they can help you re-shop your plan. (2) Enroll online at www.medicare.gov for a new plan. (3) Your new coverage will go into effect on January 1st and your old coverage will automatically end when you sign up for a new part D plan.

 

Best Tip

Do not make drug plan decisions with a tunnel vision focus on premiums. Make sure you find a plan that covers all of your medications and, if possible, has your desired pharmacy as one of its preferred pharmacies.

 

The Ultimate Best Tip: Get Expert Guidance When Making Your Switch This Annual Enrollment Season!

Annual Enrollment is the only time of year you can switch your Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plan.  Looking to review your plans with a Certified Senior Advisor this Annual enrollment season? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 or click here to set up a free consultation.

Drug Plan Check Up: Is your Drug Plan Still the Best Plan for You?

It’s annual enrollment…is your Part D drug plan still the best plan for you?

As most of us remember, there are some VERY important dates associated with Annual Enrollment.  As we discussed earlier in “Don’t set it and forget it” we don’t want to miss these dates.  There are several things that need to be done during annual enrollment but for now let’s focus on the Part D drug plan.  DON’T ASSUME THAT SINCE YOUR PLAN COVERED YOUR MEDICATIONS LAST YEAR THAT YOUR MEDICATIONS WILL BE COVERED THIS YEAR.  Yes, I know, it isn’t convenient that things change, but they do.  So please make sure you review your part D plan this annual enrollment.

For 2019 there will be more than 20 drug plans available in Ohio.  How in the world do you know which is best for you?  Well, there are several things to consider.  Your medications.  The plan’s formulary.  Your preferred pharmacy.  The plan’s preferred pharmacy.  The premium cost.  And so on…  You should have received the Annual Notice of Change for your current plan in late September so make sure you review it!   How do you know if your current plan is still the best plan for you in 2019?  Let’s face it, even if you try and do your homework this stuff is confusing!  As much as we would love to help everyone review their prescription drug plan for 2019, annual enrollment is just too busy for us.  We unfortunately can’t help with the Part D comparisons BUT there are people that can!    If you are still confused and unsure if you’re in the right plan for 2019, please call OSHIIP (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program) at 1-800-686-1578.  OSHIIP trained volunteers are happy to help.  Make sure you have your Medicare card and list of prescription drugs handy.  If you don’t want to make a phone call, check with your pharmacy and see if they will help you re-shop your plan.  Some pharmacies will assist with this process.  And of course, if you are internet savvy and comfortable doing the comparisons on your own, visit www.medicare.gov and shop it yourself.  Please click here for more information on comparing your plan online.   No matter which way you choose – please make sure you review your Part D drug plan this annual enrollment period starting October 15th through December 7th!

And, as always, if you still have questions, do not hesitate to give our office a call at 937-492-8800.

How to Choose A Medicare Supplement (A Comparison of the Three Most Popular Plans)

How to Choose A Medicare Supplement

(A Comparison of the Three Most Popular Plans)

So, you’ve likely come to realize that Medicare leaves some expensive coverage gaps wide open. In other words, you’re going to need some Supplemental coverage to ensure you won’t get hit with any high, unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

 

But let’s face it: comparing benefits among Medicare’s eleven lettered plans isn’t easy. There’s a lot to consider, and many people don’t even know where to start.

 

Although I won’t detail all of Medicare’s plan options that we offer (that would require an encyclopedia-length blog post), I will compare the cost and benefits of the most popular Medicare Supplements our clients choose: Plans F, G, and N. I will outline what each plan offers, highlight the major differences, and go over the pricing based on the current lowest rates of the diverse range of companies we represent.

 

Let’s meet the line-up.

Plan F—The Luxury Plan

Plan F is Medicare’s most popular plan, accounting for 53% of all policy types. Plan F is what many like to call the “Cadillac plan” because it is provides the most comprehensive coverage of all Medicare’s supplement coverage options. And, judging by this chart, detailing its benefits, it definitely lives up to its name:

Medicare Supplement Benefit Does Plan F Cover It?
Part A Hospital Coinsurance—and up to 365 additional hospitalization days after Medicare benefits end YES
 The 20% Part B Coinsurance and Copayments YES
Blood (First 3 Pints) YES
Part A Hospice Care Coinsurance and Copayments YES
Skilled Nursing Facility Coinsurance YES
$1340 Part A Deductible YES
$183 Part B Deductible YES
Part B Excess Charges YES
Foreign Travel Emergency YES

 

So, in other words, Plan F guarantees little to no out-of-pocket costs. The only things that aren’t going to be covered in Plan F are health care costs that aren’t covered in any of Medicare’s supplemental coverage options such as dental, vision, and hearing care. But I usually don’t recommend insuring these costs.

 

However, as you may have guessed, with such a high-quality benefit package, you are going to pay for it in premiums. Here are our current lowest rates:

  • For a female, age 65:  $125.72 per month
  • For a male, age 65:  $140.06 per month

 

Before we meet Plan G, there is one other thing you need to consider about Plan F: it is being discontinued in 2020 (click here for more information). You can still hop on a Plan F, and you will be allowed to stay on even after 2020, but this is very important to consider (because rates can increase dramatically when a plan is discontinued).

 

Plan G—The Second Place Winner

Plan G is silver medalist when it comes to benefits. It covers everything that Plan F covers, except for one thing: the Part B deductible. This means that in a Plan G you will have to meet that $183 deductible before Medicare pays anything for outpatient costs each calendar year. With that in mind, let’s look at the costs:

  • For a female, age 65:  $100.57 per month
  • For a male, age 65:  $110.52 per month

 

So, this is an easy comparison. A Plan G is about $300 cheaper than Plan F per year. Subtract the $183 from that, and you come to a net savings of, well, $117 per year. So, in other words, it’s a wash. However, you have to keep the following things in mind:

  1. This is assuming you meet the deductible every year. If you don’t, the savings can be much higher.
  2. This is based on our current rates.  When you sign up, there may be a bigger difference in premium between Plan F and G.
  3. This isn’t taking into account that Plan F is historically more prone to rate increases and that these rate increases are likely to happen more frequently after Plan F discontinues.

 

Now, moving on to our third most popular plan.

 

Plan N—The New Kid on the Block

Introduced in June of 2010, this plan showed up late to the party, although it still holds its own when it comes to high-quality benefits at reasonable prices.

 

However, there are some things that Plan F covers that Plan N does not. Like Plan G, you will have to pay the $183 deductible. In addition, you will also have to pay up to a $20 copay for each doctor’s office visit and up to a $50 copay for each emergency room visit.

 

Finally, the last thing that a Plan N doesn’t cover is Part B excess charges. Allow me to explain a little bit of what this is…

 

For every imaginable procedure, Medicare has an approved amount of what it should cost to perform it. In Ohio, healthcare providers are never allowed to charge above this Medicare-approved amount, no matter what. However, outside of Ohio, some states allow providers to issue an excess charge of up to 15% more than the Medicare approved amount. Plan N may leave you on the hook for that 15% outside of Ohio.

 

So, here’s my recommendation for my fellow citizens of the buckeye state: If you rarely leave Ohio except for a few weeks out of the year, whether a Plan covers Part B excess charges shouldn’t really factor into your decision. But if you are a snowbird in a state where those excess charges are allowed or you travel frequently, it may be something to consider.

 

Now, without further ado, the costs:

  • For a female, age 65:  $80.97per month
  • For a male, age 65:  $93.21 per month

 

So, compared to a Plan G, you pay about $300 less in premiums. Whether this pays off in the end depends on how much you visit the doctor or emergency room in a given year, which—not surprisingly—is impossible to pin down. Taking the Part B excess charges out of the decision, you would have to go to doctor 10 times and the emergency room twice for a Plan G to be worth it. I hope that puts it into perspective, and you can make a decision based on your unique situation.

 

Because, in the end, no matter which plan you choose (if any of them), it is a personal decision.

One More Vital Piece of Advice

After you’ve decided on one of Medicare’s 11 plans, I have one piece of advice for you: Shop with an independent agency!

 

All of these plans will offer the same benefits, no matter which company you chose, but the premiums can vary dramatically. If you just call one company, they will only sell you their plans, which may or may not be the best value on the market. Independent agencies, on the other hand, can compare rates across companies to find the best value for you.

 

If you want to compare Supplement rates now, you can use our free quoting tool. We do not ask for any personal information, so you can be sure you are not in for an onslaught of junk emails!

 

Or, if you are ready to talk to a local, independent agent, call Seniormark at 937-492-8800. We are here to help!

Note: All pricing is based on the zip code 45365. They are very good estimates, but prices may vary.

 

 

Inflation Rewind: 7 Items That Cost an Arm and a Leg Less in 1972

Inflation Rewind: 7 Items That Cost an Arm and a Leg Less in 1972

Breaking news. People everywhere are hobbling out of grocery stores, theatres, post offices, and colleges with fewer limbs than ever before.  We’ve got hoppers.  We’ve got crawlers.  We’ve got consumers who have no choice but to roll.

 

To cope with this tragedy, we shall look fondly upon a time when prices were a third, a half, or even 25 times less than they are today.  Pine.  Lament.  Gasp.  Laugh.   Your reaction is your choice, as long as you have a little fun reminiscing in the process.  Here are 7 items and their prices in 1970.

 

  1. Sugar—$0.65 for a five pound bag

Many Americans have a relentless sweet tooth, but now that sweet tooth is going to cost them more than ever.  Not only has the bag size been reduced to 4 pounds, but that smaller bag costs over $2 more as well.

 

  1. Ground Coffee – $.99 per pound

Starbucks has changed the coffee prices forever.   I’d be happy to get a cup for $.99 let alone a pound.

 

  1. Ground Beef—$0.64 per pound

Nothing like enjoying a still-sizzling burger hot of the grill …for almost 4 times the price, that is!

 

  1. Movie Ticket—$1.75

Let’s not even consider the financial impact of the inhumanely large tub of popcorn and 5-gallon bucket of soda.  Even if you manage to escape the gravitational pull of those buttery, sugary aromas, the ticket is still hard on the wallet.

 

  1. Postage Stamp—$0.12

No wonder why people send so few letters today.  At almost 50 cents a pop with a lot more hassle, it’s hard to resist the convenience of clicking and typing your birthday wishes and personal notes.

 

  1. Gasoline—$0.55 per gallon

Who hasn’t complained about the price of gas a few times in their life?  I certainly understand the frustration.  For those who grew up in a time when gas cost little more than a pack of gum costs now, it can seem like a major rip off to pay well over $2 for one measly gallon.  Thank God for fuel efficiency.

 

  1. Tuition to Harvard—$2,800 per year

This one hits home with me.  Going to a private Christian school, I’m starting to feel the student debt itch that refuses to be scratched by even the most lucrative of summer jobs.  Can you imagine attending one of the most prestigious schools in America for $2,400 a year?  It just about makes me light headed.  Today?  Try $67,580—almost 25 times as much.  Geesh.

 

With the cost of college, I may run out of limbs to sell…I only need one of my kidneys, right?

 

Noticed any other items that would deserve a spot on this list?  Share them in the comments.  We love to hear from you.  It’s always a good time to think about how different life was 48 years ago!

 

Turning 65 soon and not sure what to do?  Need Medicare questions answered?  Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 or click here to schedule a free consultation!

 

1972 price information courtesy of Seek Publishing, Inc – Birmingham AL

The #1 Reason Why You Should Enroll in Medicare Part A (Even If You’re Still Working)

The #1 Reason Why You Should Enroll in Medicare Part A

(Even If You’re Still Working)

Whether or not you should sign up for Part B while still actively employed is a little more questionable.  I mean, why pay that $134 a month premium if you’re employer plan is doing a fine job at a cheaper price?  (Call our office if you would like advice on whether or not to take Part B.)  But Part A is not like that.  There are basically no downsides to enrolling once you’ve turned 65.  Why, you ask?

 

Because It’s Free!

Of course, that is neglecting the fact that you’ve paid into social security for about 40 years and—therefore—have earned it.  But—wherever you stand on the proverbial “free lunch” debate— this does not change the fact that Medicare Part A has no associated premium.  If you are approaching 65 and have paid into Social Security for at least 10 years, there is no reason to delay.

 

There is only one reason why you would want to opt out of Part A…

 

Health Savings Accounts

If you have an HSA and wish to continue contributing to it, you may want to delay Part A.  Of course, you can still have an HSA.  And you can still use it to pay medical expenses.  But you cannot put any money into it after you enroll in Medicare.  There are some people who do, of course—whether unknowingly or purposefully—but this is not a wise choice.  If the IRS audits you, you will be subject to a stiff penalty.  According to IRS publication 969, the penalty is 6% of your contribution and its interest until you remove the funds from your HSA.

 

But other than that, you should definitely enroll in Part A if you are approaching 65.  All those years of the government dipping into your earnings have paid off—if only in a small way.  There may not be such a thing as a “free lunch”, but there is such a thing as taking advantage of what you’ve so rightfully earned.

 

We know.  Medicare is confusing.  But we can help make sense of it all by mapping out a plan that fits your needs and your budget.  Just contact Seniormark at 937-492-8800 or click here to schedule a free consultation!

Seniormark welcomes new member to their team!

Seniormark welcomes new member to their team!

 

Please help us welcome Renee Homan to our Seniormark team.  Renee comes to Seniormark with 8 years of healthcare and Medicare experience in the long-term care industry, 5 years of experience in banking and has also served as an OSHIIP volunteer through the Ohio Department of Insurance from 2012-2018.  With her passion to assist and educate the senior population, she will be an asset to the Seniormark team.  Renee has seen the aftermath of poor decisions and misinformation in her past positions so she is excited to inform retirees of their options and help them to make the right choices on the front end.  She resides in New Bremen with her husband, Shane, two children, Alex and Chloe and their dog, Lucy.  Outside of work, Renee enjoys spending time with family & friends, watching sports (especially watching her kids play sports) and traveling.  We are excited to have her on-board and just in time for annual enrollment!

A Major Announcement from Premier Health Plans!

Major Announcement from Premier Health Plans!

 

Premier Health Insuring Corporation, which does business under the name Premier Health Plan (“Premier Health Plan”), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently mutually agreed to terminate their Medicare Advantage plan contract, effective April 1, 2018.

 

Each beneficiary enrolled in Premier Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage plans (Premier Health Advantage (HMO), Premier Health Advantage Choice™ (HMO-POS), and Premier Health Advantage VIP (HMO SNP) will receive a letter within the next few days that will outline important details about this transition. Click on the appropriate plan description below to view a copy of the notice letter. The letters will begin mailing on March 2 and should arrive in as early as March 5.

 

CMS has granted each impacted beneficiary a Special Enrollment Period (“SEP”) through May 31, 2018. If a beneficiary does not take action by April 1, 2018, they will be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare and Silverscript, a Part D plan for prescription drug coverage.

 

7 Candies That Will Bring Back Childhood Memories

7 Candies That Will Bring Back Childhood Memories

My grandma used to pick out a small bag of candy every Saturday when her family visited their local meat locker. While her dad was stacking slabs of beef in the chilly deep freeze, she was in the nearby candy shop with her sister, carefully selecting candies from glass jars. Their favorite? Maple nuggets.

 

When they got home, they would all play cards together and share a small bag of potato chips, but (because they had to share with the rest of their brothers and sisters) they had to wait until the next morning to eat the tantalizing maple nuggets.

 

The anticipation. The chewy center and creamy, maple covering. The memories.

 

I’ve found that a lot of boomers have similar experiences with old time candies. It only takes one look, one smell, one word, and they are back in that candy shop with just a nickel or dime to spend. Here are 7 candies that may just take you down memory lane.

 

  1. Atomic Fireballs

These red, plastic-wrapped wrapped jawbreakers don’t start out too hot, but give it a few minutes, and you start to feel the burn. Let it set a while longer, and your mouth is on fire… a real face-contorting, tear-jerking, sweat- inducing treat. Did you make it until the end…or were you a wimp?

 

  1. Candy Cigarettes

Way back when, kids were chain-smokin’ these babies by the carton. They’re practically a chalky and sugary gateway drug to real tobacco…

 

All right, that’s probably taking it too far! But for real—did you know that candy cigarettes are banned in many countries for this very reason?

 

  1. Neccos: “The Original Candy Wafer”

Spearmint. Black licorice. Cinnamon. These chalky discs of sugar were stacked into a cylinder and wrapped in paper. They are basically glorified tums, but when you’re a kid, you don’t care! Candy is candy, after all!

 

  1. Clark’s Teaberry Gum (and the rockin’ commercial)

What made this gum special was not its flavor or the pink packaging, but its commercial. Does anyone remember the teaberry shuffle commercial? I bet some of you recall soldiers, shoppers, and football players alike popping a piece of gum and then busting a killer dance move… “Clark’s teaberry gum presents the teaberry shuffle!” After a little jig, they continued as if nothing happened. If you are having trouble picturing it, click the link to view the video. I had a good belly laugh…I’m sure you will too!

  1. Wax Lips

Ridiculous? Yes. Flavorless? You bet. Still pretty awesome? Of course! This Halloween gag is exactly what it sounds like: lips made of edible wax—fun to play with, not so much to eat.

 

  1. Squirrel Nut Zipper

These nutty, creamy, vanilla caramels are a classic. But do you know how they got their name?  I read this story on oldtimecandy.com. It’s quite funny: After coaxing a drunken man down from a tree, the cops asked him to explain himself. He said, “It must have been the nut zipper,” referring to a popular alcoholic beverage in the town. One of the managers of the Squirrel Brand read the police report in the newspaper. He thought it was a great name for their new candy…and the rest is history.

 

  1. Sky Bars

Yellow wrapper. Red lettering. Milk chocolate compartments with a different delicious filling in each: one section of vanilla, one of caramel, one of peanut, and one of fudge. Eat your favorite section first or last. It’s up to you.

 

That’s all I got folks! I hope this post awakened your sweet tooth. And if it awakened any childhood memories as well, please share them in the comments. We want to reminisce with you!

 

Retiring soon? Not sure what you have to do next? Give us a call at 937-492-8800 and we’ll help you get on the right track!

 

 

 

7 Hits From 1970: Did You “Groove” to Any of These Songs Your Graduation Year?

7 Hits From 1970: Did You “Groove” to Any of These Songs Your Graduation Year?

Music has often defined a generation, and—let me tell you—you baby boomers had it all. The most iconic music festival of all time (need I actually say it?). Heart felt country. Psychedelic rock.  Folk rock. Soul. You guys even had the Beatles and the Jackson 5 for crying out loud! It’s just not fair (really…we’ll trade you Taylor Swift and then we can call it even)! The 60s and 70s were no-doubt the complete package.

 

So—as a testament to your senior year of high school—here are 7 songs you used to groove to in 1970. Click the links; hear the tunes.

  1. Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn

The twang of steel guitars interpolated between the twang of Loretta’s sweet voice is still ringing in my ears. And the genuine, tear-jerking lyrics are a refreshing change from the worn out phrases that so often adorn the overly produced country music of modern times. Loretta Lynn had it right. Being country has little to do with alcohol or trucks or “painted on blue jeans;” instead, it has everything to do with humble roots, a good work ethic, and priceless love in the midst of financial hardship.

 

Memorable Lyric: “Well, I was borned a coal miner’s daughter in a cabin, on a hill in Butcher Holler. We were poor, but we had love. That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of. He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar.”

2. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross

This song was originally released by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel in 1967, but Diana Ross’s version resurfaced the classic song in 1970. Ross puts some new twists on the song including several dramatic spoken sections, but the gospel vibes and the soulful, dynamic power that inspires audiences to overcome any difficulty still remain from the original release all the way to now. Thank you, Diana Ross. Your soaring vocals are greatly appreciated.

 

Fun Fact: According to songfacts.com, Hillary Clinton used this song extensively in her 2016 campaign for the presidency.

3. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

With a gentle piano accompaniment and Garfunkel’s flowing tenor vocal, this song stills the troubled mind. A simple but profound piece about sacrificial love, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is a ballad not too soon forgotten. According to The Rolling Stone, it reached the number one spot in spring of 1970 and didn’t sink from the charts for over a year, remaining at the top for 10 weeks and selling 13 million copies!

 

Memorable Lyric: “I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough and friends just can’t be found. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.”

4. American Woman by The Guess Who

I felt like we’ve been a little soft so far down this list, so I’m going to drop in a hard rock song for good measure. “American Woman”, with its aggressive, no-nonsense lyrics and its growling, “stick-it-to-you” vocal does just the trick.  But be careful. It may induce head banging.

 

Memorable Lyric: “American woman, stay away from me-he. American woman, mama let me be-he. Don’t come hanging around my door. I don’t wanna see your face no more…”

5. Layla by Derek and the Dominos

Instant ear gratification. The iconic fire of Eric Clapton’s opening guitar riff is almost mesmerizing. While “American Woman” is more about getting rid of a woman, “Layla” is all about going mad, pining for her affections. “Let’s make the best of the situation before I finally go insane. Please don’t say we’ll never find a way, and tell me all my love’s in vain,” Clapton writes. This anthem of unrequited love made the Rolling Stone’s List of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Number 27…check it out.

 

Fun Fact: Did you know that Eric Clapton penned this classic about Pattie Boyd, the same woman who inspired the Beatle’s George Harrison to write “Something”? Dang, this girl must’ve been the cat’s meow! The whole story of this love triangle is quite unbelievable.

6. Let It Be by the Beatles

No 1970s playlist would be complete without a Beatle’s song, so I dug this one out of the archives. This simple song with its message of comfort and peace was written during one of the more turbulent times of Paul McCartney’s life. He said that his Mother (named Mary, of course) appeared to him a dream, whispering this profound and reassuring word of wisdom: “Let it be.”

 

Memorable Lyric: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

7. ABC by The Jackson 5

To go out with a bang of boyish exuberance, I would like to reintroduce you to Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and (of course) little Michael himself. Taking on the concept of love, these 5 Jacksons sold it every performance—with color, soul, and some killer synchronized dance moves.

 

Memorable Lyric: “Sit yourself down, take a seat. All you gotta do is repeat after me…”

 

Well, that’s a wrap! I could write a witty conclusion to this post, but I think I’ll just let it be (did you see what I did there?).

 

Also, remember to talk to us! What’s your favorite song on this list? Can you think of another nostalgic song from the year 1970? If so, leave us a comment! We love to hear from you.

 

Turning 65 soon and not sure what to do? Click here to sign up for our free Medicare workshop. No high-pressure sales pitches here, just in-depth discussion about the ins and outs of Medicare!

 

 

List ideas Courtesy of Seek Publishing, Inc – Birmingham AL

5 Strategies to Get the Most Benefits Out of Your Social Security

5 Strategies to Get the Most Benefits Out of Your Social Security

It’s human nature to want to get the most out of everything. That’s why “stretching your dollar” appeals work so well.  It’s also why people spend 15 minutes scrounging that last bit of toothpaste from the tube (you know you’ve done it).

 

As you are approaching retirement, you’ll want to do the same thing with your Social Security.

 

Of course, there are a lot of strategies to consider, and this list definitely won’t be exhaustive (unless you want a Encyclopedia Britannica-length blog post). But if you have just started thinking about Social Security and how you’re going to squeeze those last few dollar signs out of the tube…this is a good place start.

 

Boost Benefits While Your Income Has Peaked

Social Security bases your benefits on your income over 35 years. They pick your highest income years and do some mind-bending, brain-busting, soul-sucking math equations and bam! Out pops your PIA, which is your monthly Social Security Check. Here’s the moral of the story: higher average earnings over 35 years= higher PIA= more money in your Social Security check every month.

 

I take it you are earning more now than you did when you were 30? So what would happen if you would work a few extra years, making your peak income? Those lower income years (when you were just scraping by) could drop out of the equation, leading to a better Social Security check. According to Elaine Floyd, a Certified Financial Planner from Savvy Social Security Planning, waiting to retire until 70 as opposed to 62 will you earn you an extra $31,000 in increased Social Security benefits. It’s not a lot, but taken along with an extra eight years of fat income, it might very well be worth the extra work. Or—as Floyd put it—the extra $31,000 is like “icing on the cake.”

 

Maximize Your Money By Delaying Benefits

Good things come to those who wait. Delaying benefits until 70, 67, or even 65 can be difficult. It will take a strong financial situation, strong health, and a strong will. But your patience will be worth it in the end.

 

In fact, your benefit payment goes up by 8% for every year after full retirement age that you delay. That’s a lot of cash. So unless you can’t afford to wait or you have a low life expectancy, I recommend waiting.

 

Take Advantage of Spousal Benefits

Spousal benefits are 50% of the other spouse’s PIA (monthly Social Security check). For couples where one spouse is obviously the “breadwinner” of the two, this is especially beneficial to know. Because—a lot of times—half of the higher income earner’s Social Security check is way more than the full amount of the lower income earning spouse. And you can’t take both. But keep in mind, in order to claim spousal benefits, you have to have been legally married for at least one year and be at least 62. It’s also important to note that both the husband and wife cannot claim spousal benefits at the same time, and—it almost goes without saying—they stop when you are no longer married.

 

Collect Benefits From a Divorced Spouse

You may never want to see them again, but you may want to see their money. Don’t worry…this isn’t stealing! It won’t affect their benefits at all. It works exactly like spousal benefits. You get 50% of what your ex-wife or husband gets in their Social Security check. The only key here is that you have to have been married for 10 years and not be remarried.

 

Collect Survivor Benefits

If your spouse has passed on, you can collect his or her benefits on their behalf. You will have to forfeit your own check, but a lot of times your husband or wife’s check is better anyways.

So there you have it—5 ways to maximize your social security. But it is important to realize: Social Security (like all things involved with the government) is very complicated. It takes a person with a lot of expertise to help you get the most out of your social security, just like it takes a person with a lot of muscle to work out that last bit of toothpaste.

Wondering when you should start Social Security benefits? Have Social Security questions that need answered? Discover more about our free Social Security workshop designed to help you answer your most pressing questions.