October 2012

The Long-Term Care Insurance Gamble

A good friend in Houston recently emailed me to ask whether she should buy long-term care insurance. Let me be very clear about my answer: I have no idea.

This writer is like baby boomers everywhere trying to get a grip on this long-term care stuff. Where to start?

First, let’s look at the prices for long-term care. Squared Away used data from Genworth, one of the nation’s largest insurers in this market, to generate a U.S. map with the median cost in each state of a semi-private room in a nursing care facility.

Genworth’s goal is obviously to sell insurance. But I ran its data by a few people, and it held up well, with a few observations and caveats discussed later…Learn More

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How Smart Are Smart Phones?

Nearly half of people who have cell phones pay more than $100 per month for the service and 13 percent pay $200 or more, according to a survey by an online coupon company.

That doesn’t include the cost of the physical phone, the app and music downloads, the extra data plans. A certified public accounting organization in Oregon, Oregon Saves, estimates that the total cost for a two-year contract can easily reach $3,000.

And then there are the rogue teenagers who go over the monthly limits on minutes set by their parents’ cell plans – eventually, the parents relent and buy an unlimited data/text plan, which drives up their monthly charges permanently.

Wow, this habit is getting expensive.

The cell phone isn’t the only electronic habit that’s costing us.  We also pay hundreds for cable TV, the Internet on our home computers, the land line.  The automatic withdrawals for these services suck hundreds from our bank accounts each month – and we may not notice how much we’re spending since the transactions are electronic…Learn More

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