Navigating the Healthcare System

If you’re starting to get mail from AARP
If you’re starting to get mail from AARP

Navigating the healthcare system can be a daunting and time-consuming task and it’s a little different for everyone. It will depend on your age, coverage, location, for example, someone in New York will pay a different premium than someone in Alabama. Here is a partial list of the Best & Worst States for Health Care visit WalletHub for a more comprehensive list, by services.

Source: WalletHub

 

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)
State Total Score ‘Cost’ Rank ‘Access’ Rank ‘Outcomes’ Rank
1 Hawaii 67.36 3 42 1
2 Iowa 66.62 2 19 13
2 Minnesota 66.62 5 11 8
4 New Hampshire 65.54 16 4 7
5 District of Columbia 65.47 1 6 37

Let the Federal Trade Commission help you

If you have ever been ripped off by a scam or you suspect fraud call the FTC or file a report. To avoid being scammed visit the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. By educating yourself you will be less likely to be taken’ These people that pull these cons are smart but you can be smart as well.

This is you. You’ve been ripped off, or you’ve spotted a scam. Don’t keep it to yourself. Take it to the Federal Trade Commission by filing a complaint. What kind of complaint? The Federal Trade Commission is the nation’s Consumer Protection Agency. So if a business doesn’t deliver on its promises, or if someone cheats you out of your money, the Federal Trade Commission wants to hear about it. Here are some complaint received by the FTC.

  1. I bought a phone card with 350 minutes of calling time, but it cut me off after 20.
  2. I’m getting bills for things I didn’t buy. I think someone stole my identity.
  3. The letter said I had won a sweepstakes, but I had to wire money to cover the taxes. I did and never heard from them again.
  4. I responded to an add on line for a free trail offer. But then I started seeing charges for it every month.
  5. I thought the email was from someone who saw my resume and wanted to hire me. But they asked for my bank account number. I reported it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Telling the Federal Trade Commission helps us stop ripoffs, scams, and fraudsters. Your complaints matter here. To file a complaint, just go to ftc.gov/complaint, and answer the questions. Or call That’s all there is to it.

If you’ve been ripped off or scammed, complain to the Federal Trade Commission. It can help put the bad guys out of business.

Reverse mortgage and potential elder financial abuse

Reverse mortgage and potential elder financial abuse
Article Source

Photo by: Lotte Meijer on Unsplash

A reverse mortgage is a loan against the equity an elder has built up in their home. The loan is “reversed” because instead of making payments to the lender as in a traditional mortgage, the bank advances sums to the elder against the future sale of the property. These loans allow homeowners age 62 and older to convert a portion of their home equity into loan proceeds that can be used to supplement their retirement spending.

The advances can take the form of a lump sum, a credit line, or monthly cash advances or a combination of all three.

The amount of money the elder may borrow depends on:

  • their age
  • current interest rate
  • amount of fees charged
  • and the Maximum Claim Amount (MCA), which is currently $679,650 (eff. 1/1/18) or the appraised value of the home, whichever is less.

The Reverse Mortgage becomes due when:

  • the elder dies*
  • permanently leaves the home
  • fails to maintain the property
  • fails to pay their property taxes
  • fails to pay their homeowner’s insurance.

*If the surviving widow or widower is not on the deed, they may lose the home if they are unable to repay the debt when the Deedholder passes or leaves the home.

The vast majority of reverse mortgages are federally-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) that are backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
To ensure that the elder is informed before making the decision to take out a reverse mortgage, one of the requirements of the reverse mortgage is that the homeowner receives counseling from a HUD-approved counseling agency. The reverse mortgage counselors explain how reverse mortgages work, including payment options, costs, tax implications, benefits, and drawbacks. The counseling appointment can be in person or over the phone.

While a reverse mortgage can be helpful and provide financial relief for some seniors, there is potential for elder financial abuse and exploitation.
Reverse mortgage abuse is perpetuated by financial abuse predators that seek to take advantage of elders by manipulating and misleading them into acting against their own best interests.



Often the financial abuse predators are brokers, insurance agents, tax planners, family members or caregivers.
Sometimes the financial abuse predator is selling a financial product, like an annuity, or home improvements which the elder is persuaded to pay for with a reverse mortgage.
Sometimes, it’s a family member or caregiver that is attempting to swindle the proceeds from the elder.

I once met with an elderly client for a reverse mortgage closing. When I arrived, his caregiver met me at the door and as I introduced myself, she prompted him as he entered the room to cooperate and not give me a hard time. Suspicious, I asked him if he knew why I was there. He responded that I was there to “check up on him”, as if he thought I was there from Social Services. When I asked him if he had applied for a reverse mortgage, he had no idea what I was talking about. Turns out, his caregiver had requested it on his behalf after receiving a postcard advertisement and his reverse mortgage, had it been successfully closed, would have resulted in an initial $60,000 advance.
To the caregiver’s disappointment, I adjourned the closing. I promptly alerted the lender to the situation and I called the county’s Adult Protection Services to report the incident.

While elder abuse can take several forms: physical, psychological/emotional, neglect and financial, in Alameda County, more than 70% of reports of abuse are for alleged financial abuse.

©2018 Totally Notary All Rights Reserved.  Helen B. Wardale

Selling on Amazon

Photo by: Caleb Woods

I have struggled with amazon’s calculations since beginning to sell books on Amazon. At first, I thought “Wow how cool is this”. Then I started to dig deeper into the way they charge what they charge
Amazon fees FBA Pick & Pack Fee ($1.06)
Amazon fees FBA Weight Handling Fee ($0.85)
Amazon fees Referral Fee on Item Price ($1.21)
Amazon fees Variable Closing Fee ($1.35)
Product charges $8.09

In this example above: the cost to sell a book for $8.09 is $4.47 leaving a profit of $3.62. This is amazons cost just for selling the book. If the book cost is $1.00 you are now at $2.62 but you’re not done yet you still have to get it to Amazon. If you’re like me, you will most likely get an average of 28 books into a box with a discounted shipping rate by courtesy of Amazon of nearly 35% to 40%. I pay around $9.00 to $11.00 per shipment which is an average of $0.36 per book and if you subtract that from the $3.62 it leaves you with $2.26. You’re not done yet, though. If you factor in tape, boxes, and labels you will need to subtract that cost as well. For me, I average about $0.08 per book leaving me with $2.18 for a book that was sold for $8.09.
Not bad right? Well, you can do better, much better by fulfilling your own orders it’s not as hard as you may think. Packaging mailers, you can get for free and you can eliminate most of the Amazon fees here is an example using the same example for the book above.
1 LB or less

Sale price for the book under 1 LB.
$ 8.09
$ 3.99 POSTAGE
_______
$ 12.08 Total sale

$ (1.35) Variable Closing Fee
$ (1.21) Commission on sale
$ (2.56) Total cost
$ (2.72) mail postage (actual)
___________
$ (5.28) Total cost to sell

$ 6.80 Net

If your selling Fulfilled By Merchant this is your cost and what you will net from Amazon. Here is where you will start to gain profit filling your own orders. By getting creative you can pick up cardboard boxes for free when your sourcing your books. It may be obvious but I feel I need to point out “Don’t use pizza boxes of ratty looking stained cardboard”. After a little practice, you should be able to knock out about 40 mailers in an hour so if you spend a day doing just mailers maybe get a friend or family member to help you can have about 4 or 5 hundred done and they may last you a month. You can’t get away from using tape so there is one cost you will have to absorb. I get around 50 books done with a roll so around $0.06 per book which leaves you $6.74 which comes in at about $3.50 – $4.56 more in your pocket. If you’re doing 100 books a week, then yeah it’s worth it but if all your books sell over $25.00 each, then you may not want to spend your time doing an extra three or so hours a week work mailing books. And did I mention you’re not paying storage fees at Amazon’s warehouses?
There is another advantage to fulfilling your own orders that you may not have noticed and that is if you’ll recall we are getting $3.99 for shipping but it only cost $2.72 to mail a book, even less if your mailing out over one hundred a week. The last benefit is you have control over your inventory. I can’t tell you how many shipments amazon has lost on me, or how many books are lost or damaged in receiving or being transferred to another facility. Sure they pay you for them but do you catch them all? I developed a system to see just how good their logistics are and I can safely say I’m not impressed. Two out of the last three shipments I sent in were “LOST” 51 books total were missing but not just missing. Some were being sold out in Amazon land but showed inactive or just plain not in my inventory. Some were in my inventory but showed “inactive” but never sold. If I did not take the trouble to look through every book and yes it took a few days, I never would have noticed because I was still selling and still feeding the machine. Don’t get me wrong I am not bashing Amazon and I am most likely the exception but as the saying goes “Stuff Happens”. It’s been about three weeks now and the last thing they said was “don’t send us more than five SKU’s at a time so we can serve you better” my thoughts are there goes about $500.00 net.

Tools I Use
I am now filling my own orders and I will be relying on Accelerlist to scan and list my books, at least, five to ten times faster than I have done in the past. This software is cloud based so you don’t need to load it on your computer. Because I am not selling Prime I have to rely on increasing the number of listings I have to keep my sales going strong.
Thanks, Guys.

Sending Signals If you like the guy.

Sending Signals

Photo by: Hermes Rivera

If you’re hitting it off you still need to send him a signal that you want him to ask you out because he may think you are just being friendly or kind. A lot of guys and woman in our age group that are widowed or divorced are somewhat insecure when it comes to asking a woman out. We are all vulnerable and don’t want to set our self up for disappointment and rejection. You may need to make it very clear your interested in spending an afternoon or evening doing something you both enjoy whether it’s a lunch or dinner, movie or theater. Its perfectly respectable for you to say (you)  “I have a ticket to a play and I don’t want to go alone, would you care to join me”? Or (you) “I was thinking of trying this new restaurant have you been there”? He may jump right in and say  (him) “No I haven’t would you like to join me”? All you need to do is find a way to break the ice.




What are Singles Sites on Meetup

Here is an excerpt from one of the many groups and it pretty much goes like this for all of them. “We’re a bunch of fun and active 50 to 60+ singles who enjoy getting together for dinner, dancing, live music, wine-tasting, movies, regional theater, art exhibits, happy hour, stand-up comedy, brunch, ethnic food festivals, and a wide variety of local events”. Continue reading “What are Singles Sites on Meetup”

You like her

Photo by: Ryan Franco

You’ve spent some time talking with someone and you think you like her. Everyone wants to be liked and make a good impression but don’t overdo it. When you meet someone you like and feel you want to spend a little one-on-one time with her it’s only natural to put your best foot forward and you should. But first step back and ask your self why you are attracted to her. Are you both on the same wavelength?  Do you like the same things? You should not tell her things you think she wants to hear just so you can impress her. There’s nothing worse than after you have won her over and she figures out that you were not upfront about your likes and dislikes this will end a relationship and it will not be fun along the way. There is nothing more rewarding than getting together to do something you both enjoy.

Live Every Day Like You Mean It

Getting out of the house is a good way to start. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be good to yourself. Go see a movie if you don’t want to interact with others right away, its OK! Go places that you went too together it may be hard but in time it will get easier and the sadness will turn into a fondness for good memories. How much time? Well, that all depends on how long it’s been and how soon you start. You may be thinking “I can’t do this at my age” or you may feel “people will think poorly of you”. If you are as lucky as me people encouraged me to start getting out after the first six months by suggesting I do something with my time so I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself they even said my wife wouldn’t want me to be unhappy. You need to realize its OK for you to have your own life it’s like learning to walk again starting with small steps they take time but before you know it you will be taking bigger steps. The main thing to keep focused on is whatever you do does not in any way minimize or disrespect the life you had and the one you love. Remember it’s only you turning to a new chapter so make every day count and live it like you mean it.

 

Making New Friends & Keeping The Old Ones

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

For whatever reason, some of your friends that are married and enjoyed getting together as couples will drift away. It is not because they don’t like you they do It’s just a different dynamic now, stay in touch regularly with them, have a lunch or dinner with them they want to stay in touch and care how you’re doing.

So how do you find more friends that are like minded and you have things in common with? I was very fortunate to have found a group within the Meetup community. Meetup is a social platform and was founded Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the site’s co-founder Scott Heiferman publicly stated that the manner in which people in New York City came together in the aftermath of that traumatic event inspired him to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with strangers in their community. If you want to read about its history. click here or just go to Meetup.com you will have to register and its super easy and safe. Once you signed up and are logged in you can browse all the different groups within the distance you choose. Just type in what your interests are and read what they do and what they’re about. You can also see how members belong and the events they have. This is a very good resource and I highly commend it. If you have more questions about meetup before you sign up, leave it in the comments.

Local groups like the Lions, Moose lodges or eagles lodge are also a good way to get to know people. What I like about these groups is they are charity based and do good for the community. The reason I am suggesting to join something is whether you realize it or not you need to feel like you belong. Yes, you do.