Medicare Open Enrollment – Oct. 15th – Dec. 7th, 2018

Medicare is health insurance for individuals who are 65 and older, under 65 with certain disabilities, or those who have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The 2019 Medicare annual open enrollment period begins today, Oct. 15, 2018 and runs through December 7, 2018.

The 2019 Medicare Parts A & B premiums and deductibles are available at cms.gov

You can learn more at Medicare.gov, the official U.S. Government site for Medicare.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Baron Financial Group team.

Social Security Increases Benefits by 2.80% for 2019

A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  Social Security will begin increasing payments beginning in January of 2019. 

Why did this happen – because October 11th is the date when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its report of inflation. Social Security uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) as their measure of inflation. 

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is Social Security’s term for inflation. Social Security uses the CPI-W to determine if an adjustment is needed to Social Security benefits. 

(Note: Social Security benefits do not go lower if inflation decreases)

You can read the official press release from Social Security here: https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/2018/#10-2018-1

Contact your Baron Team for more information on social security benefits.

Important Update Regarding Freezing Your Credit

A 30-second read by the Baron Team: This is an update to our September 2017 blog post concerning the Equifax data breach that occurred in September of 2017.  Due to the data breach, we advised considering freezing your credit reports to stop thieves from opening new credit cards or loans in your name. Freezing your report also prevents you from opening new accounts, so each time you apply for a credit card, mortgage or loan, you need to lift the freeze a few days beforehand. 

Now, you can freeze and unfreeze your credit at the three major credit bureaus for free, thanks to a new federal law that took effect on September 21, 2018.

In addition, the law extends the length of time a fraud alert remains on your credit report to one year, from the previous period of 90 days.

You will need to contact all three credit bureaus to place a freeze on your credit report:

For more information regarding credit reports and identity theft, read our Equifax data breach post.

Please contact your Baron team with any questions.  

Who should be the account owner for a 529 plan? Does it Matter?

A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  When you are planning to fund your child’s college education, the 529 plan can provide several tax-benefits for your savings.  A 529 plan is a plan operated by a state or educational institution, with tax advantages and potentially other incentives to make it easier to save for college and other post-secondary training, or for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school for a designated beneficiary, such as a child or grandchild.

If you apply for financial aid through the U.S Government (fafsa.ed.gov) you will be filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and you will want to consider who should be the account owner for the 529 plan. 

In regards to financial aid based on the FAFSA form, the form does distinguish between parents and grandparents in the following way:

Continue reading “Who should be the account owner for a 529 plan? Does it Matter?”

What To Do If You Suspect (Financial) Elder Abuse

A 30-second read by the Baron Team: As Financial Advisors, it is our responsibility to protect all of our clients from financial abuse, if possible, but it is the senior client that may be the most susceptible and needs our protection. Unfortunately, they may become victims of financial abuse at the hands of their caregivers or family members.  Often, abusers isolate their victims from loved ones or professionals in order to hide their fraudulent activity. If you have a client or know someone that you suspect is a victim of abuse (of any kind), Aginginvestor.com provided these “Three things to do if you think your client is being isolated from others”:

Continue reading “What To Do If You Suspect (Financial) Elder Abuse”