Tips & Milestones to Empower Women & Their Money


Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Her Retirement Podcast. I’m excited to have you here listening to this episode. Go ahead and throw on some headphones, go for a walk, and take a listen because, as I always say, it’s about knowing more and having more, and of course, it’s about being healthier, happier, and wealthier now and in retirement. I’m also recording this episode as a video, so you can go over and check it out on my YouTube channel. This week, I’m going to be talking about seven important milestones after the age of 50 because I talk to so many women and they’re like, I don’t even know the things that I need to do after age 50, what kind of decisions I need to make. And so what I’m going to do is I’m going to highlight some of these milestones, and then I’m going to be talking about ten tips to help empower women financially.


One of the things I want to note about these milestones is that I have actually programmed these milestones into my Her Retirement Readiness software platform. So that means when you subscribe to the software platform, amongst all the other benefits of it, there’s going to be a milestone functionality, which means that once you put your birth date into the software, the software is going to monitor your ages. When you hit a certain milestone or actually a year out from when you hit a milestone, the software is going to automatically send you an email and say, Hey there, Beth, you’re about to become 59 and a half. What should you be doing before you turn 59 and a half? And what is the opportunity, the retirement planning opportunity you have at 59 and a half or 62 or 65? So it’s one of the more powerful features of the software because it is going to remind us and nudge us to take action.


In addition, it will educate us on what that milestone is, what the opportunity is, and how we can best take advantage of that milestone and opportunity. So, congratulations on being over 50. Now, the real adventure starts, and maybe you’ve already started thinking about retirement, but you definitely need to make sure that you take note of some of these significant dates in your calendar. Of course, when you subscribe to the software, it’s going to be your little reminder, but once you get beyond the age of 50, there are multiple birthdays, even half birthdays, that you need to pay attention to as the decisions you make around those milestones can significantly affect your retirement income. So, let’s talk about the big five. Oh, once you attain age 50, individuals with specific qualified retirement plans have the opportunity to make extra catch-up contributions on top of their regular contributions.


This is such a missed opportunity for so many people because they don’t know about it. So in 2023, if you are under 50 years old, you can contribute a maximum of $6,500 to an IRA, or an individual retirement account, and if you are 50 or older, you can add an additional $1,000 to that amount. Likewise, if you are 50 and older, you can contribute a total of $30,000 to your 401(k), your 403B, a thrift savings plan, and a 457B in 2023. And for those who are 50 or older and participate in a simple 401(k) IRA, your contribution limit for 2023 is $19,000. And I’m going to add one more, which is a Roth IRA. Again, you have that thousand dollars catch-up contribution, but it’s between the IRA traditional IRA and a Roth IRA.


You have that max of $7,500, so you can’t do 7,500 for both; it’s one or the other. Now, let’s talk about five years later. At age 55, a significant number of individuals are really not aware that they may have the option to make withdrawals from their 401(k) or similar retirement plans beginning at the age of 55. So let’s say you happen to leave your job regardless of the reason in the year you turn 55 or thereafter, you are eligible to withdraw funds from the retirement plan associated with that specific job without incurring any penalties. It’s really important, however, to note that this provision does not apply to funds rolled over into an IRA. All right, so 59 and a half. A lot of people are familiar with this age because it is the age that you can begin withdrawing from your IRA or 401(k)s, typically previous 401(k)s, if you’re still working without facing any penalties.


So yes, ladies, getting older definitely has some perks. So once you reach the age of 59 and a half, you can enjoy the benefits of withdrawing from those deferred retirement savings accounts without penalties. If you have retired or left your employment and still have funds in your 401(k) plan, you can access them at 59 and a half without incurring any early withdrawal penalty tax. The same rules apply if you have rolled your 401(k) funds into an IRA. When you reach 59 and a half, you have the earliest opportunity to withdraw funds from an IRA count without being subjected to a 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, even if you are still employed, many of us are accessing funds from an old 401(k) plan at age 59 and a half may have some restrictions depending upon the company’s policy. So you definitely need to check those policies.


You need to consult a 401(k) plan administrator with your employer or previous employer to determine if your plan allows what’s called an in-service distribution at age 59 and a half. This option varies among the various 401(k) plans, and one of the opportunities that you have is so many people leave 401(k) monies at previous employers, and maybe you’ve gone to a few different employers. Sometimes people have more than that, and they kind of leave these little pebbles, I call ’em. You drop these little piles of money and you leave them scattered about with different employers. Well, what you can do, and a lot of people don’t realize this, is that you can gather all those piles and make one bigger pile. So you don’t necessarily have to leave these monies with different employers. You can combine them all together into one traditional IRA and manage it from one place.


Sometimes it’s easier. There’s less fees, less complexity, and sometimes more choice. So, with employers, your choices can be somewhat limited depending upon your employer’s plan. But when you have your own traditional self-directed IRA, you have the choice with whatever company you have those monies with. So let’s say the company that I co-own your retirement advisor, let’s say they were going to help you roll all those monies into one IRA, they would have a lot more choices from the perspective of investment choices. So, choice with your money and your investments is typically a good thing. Okay? So definitely reach out if you want to go find those monies if you’re not sure where they all are and if you want to consolidate them into one account. I did this quite a number of years ago because I didn’t know I had probably three different 401(k)s, and I didn’t really know what was going on with each of them.


And now I have one invested. I can look at one dashboard and see what I got and how it’s doing, and I am paying less fees, and it’s less complicated, and I have a lot more investment choices. Alright, so let’s talk about age 62. A lot of people know that age because it is the first time you become eligible to claim social security benefits. However, you need to note that if you choose to claim benefits before reaching your full retirement age, which is not 62, it’s later, it’s probably typically 66 to 67. Your benefit amount if you choose to claim it 62 versus your full retirement age will be permanently reduced. On the other hand, if you delay claiming benefits to full retirement age or beyond, your benefit will increase by approximately 8% for each year. You defer until you reach the age of 70.


So it’s like your money sitting in social security is going up 8%, which isn’t a bad return for each year that you wait. If you’re considering working while receiving social security benefits, it’s important to note that your benefit may be subject to reduction. Social security beneficiaries who are below their full retirement age and have earned income exceeding $21,240 in 2023 will have $1 withheld for every $2 earned above this limit. Once recipients reach their full retirement age, the earnings limit increases to 56,540 and the penalty decreases to $1 withheld for every $3 earned above the limit. However, once people reach their full retirement age, no benefits are withheld if they continue working. So let me unpack this for you. If you intend to keep working after 62, sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense to start collecting your social security benefit because of that $1 for every $2 earned reduction.


In addition, once you start claiming you’re going to miss out on that 8% increase every year, okay? And that’s just what the government gives you as an incentive for waiting. They say, okay, your benefit’s going to go up 8%, 8%, 8%, so the year you reach your full retirement age, it’s that $1 for $3. But after your full retirement age, you can work and continue to collect a hundred percent of your social security. So what a lot of people do is they wait. They wait until that full retirement age because they can work and they can get their social security benefit and their income from their work. Makes sense. One thing to note here also is that the cost of living increase is not part of that 80%. So you’ve heard about Colas last year it was like 8.7%. I think it was the biggest in the history of social security.


On average, colas over time have been about 3%. So if you start claiming is social security, the only way it’s going to go up is that 3% cost of living increase. So if you lock in at 62, you’re going to get the cost of living increase, but you won’t get that 8% because you took it, you didn’t wait. Alright, 65, if you’re nearing 65, retiring soon or newcomer to Medicare, it’s important to make informed decisions about your healthcare. So not at 65, but say four months before you turn 65, you need to make your decisions about Medicare. Oftentimes I get people approaching me at 62, 63, even younger, 50 55. They really want to be prepared and they want to understand what this whole Medicare thing is about. Because one of the issues is if you take your social security at 62 and you stop working, you don’t get Medicare until 65.


So you’re going to have to cover that gap between 62 and 65, your healthcare gap. Alright, important to note that if you delay enrolling in Medicare beyond 65, you may face a penalty and a gap in coverage. So your initial enrollment period for Medicare is the first time you can enroll. If you’re eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, you can enroll within a seven month period. That includes the three months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and the three months after your birthday. So that’s how they get the seven month enrollment period that they give you two enroll in Medicare, you can even sign up for part A, which is hospital insurance if you have employer-based health insurance when you turn 65, so let’s you’re working, you can sign up for part A. It’s really important to consider that for the majority of individuals who have paid Medicare taxes during their employment, there won’t be a monthly premium for Part A.


Now, if you’re familiar with Medicare, there are a lot of parts. If you are currently receiving social security benefits, you’ll be enrolled automatically in Medicare Part A and Part B while you have the option to decline Part B, which is medical insurance coverage. It does involve an additional premium payment. If you don’t have coverage through an employer’s health plan and choose to enroll at a later time, you may be subject to a penalty for the duration of your enrollment. If this all sounds confusing, I get it, you might have to rewind and listen to this again, but I have a better option. You can go check out Again, that’s I put together a 20-minute on-demand class that you can watch at any time and learn some of the basics of Medicare. And then after you watch that basics class, you can reach out to me and watch my full Medicare class, which happens to be part of my Her Retirement Roadmap Masterclass, which is an eight-module 10-hour class, and one of those hours is on Medicare.


So if you go to, you can definitely check out that Medicare class. If you want to check out the full Her Retirement Roadmap masterclass, which covers everything from investments to income planning to Medicare to long-term care to estate planning, you go to her retirement All right, and I’ll definitely have this in the notes of this episode. So this is a little fun fact. According to a study conducted by United Income, an average household misses out on approximately $111,000 worth of social security benefits over their lifetime. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that if you’re divorced, widowed, or even marital benefits, a lot of times, people in those situations miss out on the proper timing and claim some people don’t even understand that they can claim on an ex-spouse and if the ex-spouse’s benefit is greater than your own, you can get the ex-spouses.


And so there are all these different rules depending upon not only marital status but timing and taking into consideration those 8% increases each year, the Colas. So if you want to know more about Social Security and really understand it, then what are the best choices for you? I have a social security class also it’s her social You can go check out that class, and there’s a whole bunch of resources, and decision trees to help you make the best social security decision. And we also do social security analysis. It’s like $125 and you can get a social security analysis to help you determine what is the best social security strategy for you. Alright, let’s talk about the ages. 65 to 67. This period is when individuals are eligible to receive their full Social Security benefit, in most cases. In 2023, social security benefits received a cost of living increase, and it was a record increase, I was correct, of 8.7%.


This is the highest in almost four decades, which increased the maximum monthly benefit for retirees who claim at their full retirement age to 36 27. So $3,627 was the maximum. So there isn’t an unlimited amount of monthly benefit. If you’re a multimillionaire, you’ll be capped at this $3,627. While it’s unlikely that everyone will qualify for this much in Social Security benefits, everyone and I believe everyone can develop a strategy to maximize their benefit. So many times, I hear, “I’m just going to claim it at 62.” I think that’s an emotional decision. It might be the right practical decision. I’m not saying it isn’t, but never assume, especially regarding retirement planning. Don’t assume, don’t listen to your neighbor, don’t just listen to something you read, which is generic advice. It’s personal finance for a reason. You need to have an analysis done to make the best decision for you.


Now, of course, if you aren’t able to work and you have no other income sources, then yes, by all means, 62 is a no-brainer decision claim at 62, be done with it. Stop working, protect your health, get that guaranteed income every month, and you’ll probably be happier. One way to maximize your social security is regularly reviewing your benefit statements to ensure you receive credit for the taxes you have paid into the system and determine when you should claim benefits. So here’s another assumption. People think, oh, social security, they know what they’re doing; they have it, right? They have all of my credits. Well, oftentimes, people never check, and they take what they get. You should check the credits for the taxes you’ve paid into the system. We all pay into it. If we are working for a system that takes money out, if we’re working for an employer that takes money out, social security, you’re paying in.


So check your statements, check your record, make sure it’s accurate, and don’t wait until just before retirement to check it. It’s actually something on my to-do list. I just turned 58 3 days ago, and yes, I can hear you all singing Happy Birthday to me. But anyway, I turned 58, and it’s on my to-do list because I actually have never checked. I didn’t know until a few years ago that this was a thing, so go do it. It’s worth noting that only Americans age 60 and above who have not claimed their benefits and have not set up an online account will receive their statements by mail. So to create an online account, look for a letter with an activation code or visit the Social Security Administration’s website. Okay? Alright, so I want to give you some quick numbers. If you are at age 62 and you claim social security, you’ll get, let’s say in this case you get $2,364.


Just as an example, let’s say you wait until your full retirement age, depending upon what that is, your benefit could be 32 40 to 36 27. Let’s say you waited until age 70, your maximum benefit would be $4,555. The difference between the 2364 and the 45 55 should be around 128%. I can’t do that math in my head, but they do say that if you wait until full, excuse me, if you wait until your maximum age of 70, which is the latest, that’s when social security basically stops getting bigger. You could go from 2364 a month to 45, 55. So some people say, you know what, I’m going to wait till age 70. I’m healthy, I have longevity in my family. Again, these are all questions that you need to ask yourself as you’re making these decisions. And in her social security, there is a decision tree gives you a bunch of questions to answer and helps lead you through this decision tree to making the best social security decision for you.


Alright, age 73. With the implementation of the Secure Act 2.0 at the end of 2022, there have been changes to the age at which required minimum distributions or RMDs begin starting in 2023. RMDs will now begin at the age of 73, and it used to be like 78 and a half, and then it went to 72, but now RMDs begin at the age of 73, and this age will further increase to 75 after the year 2032. These mandatory distributions apply to various qualified retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403bs, profit-sharing plans, money purchase pensions, IRAs, simple IRAs, and SEP IRAs. As a result, retirees now have more time to allow their retirement savings to grow tax-free. Tax-free is for me, people. If you’ve listened to any of my podcasts, you know that tax planning is relevant for many people. RMDs represent the minimum amount you must withdraw each year, but you always have the option to withdraw more if desired.


However, in some cases, some retirees may prefer to withdraw less than the required amount. Taking additional withdrawals from a traditional retirement account leads to a higher tax burden and the loss of tax-free growth for the withdrawn funds. This is why it’s so important to do careful retirement income planning. It’s just, again, it’s not like, oh, let’s take our money, let’s take it out. It has to be a very concerted, organized, structured drawdown of those accounts, and doing some tax planning prior to retirement is so important because, basically, when you open a 401(k), you’re in a relationship with the government. They’re saying you can get the tax benefit upfront, but in retirement, when you are 73 or after 20 32 75, we want our taxes. So they’re going to force you to take those withdrawals, and you’re going to have to pay the taxes. So understanding what impact your income will have after you’ve paid those taxes is really important, and that’s why we talk about having some tax-free buckets in retirement like a Roth IRA where you can take that money, and you don’t have to pay any taxes.


Alright? It’s important to remember that failing to take an RMD does result in penalties in 2023. There is a 25% penalty based on the RMD amount that should have been taken. RMDs are calculated based on the total balance of all your IRAs, 401(k)s, and other traditional retirement plans as of December 31st of the previous year. To ensure compliance and develop a long-term plan for minimizing taxes, it’s important to consult with a retirement advisor who has knowledge of these important birthdays. These milestones can assist you in adequately planning for specific retirement income benefits. These all impact your retirement income, and you must project what these milestones will do to your income situation. Alright, so the right retirement advisor will be very well-versed and familiar with these milestones. They will be projecting and running what I call several experiments to see how various decisions at these various birthdate milestones will affect you, your money, your family, your health, and your happiness, right?


They’re all very, very much intertwined. Being aware of these birthdays and these milestones definitely can prevent you from incurring penalties in case you overlook them. So this is one of the things my software is designed to do – remind you one year out, it will remind you if you’re working with a retirement advisor, they will remind you, okay? So you know what? If you’ve got questions, of course, you want to talk to a retirement planner, advisor, or coach. After years of committed savings, every woman deserves to smoothly and confidently move into the life that you’ve worked so hard for, and that’s what her retirement is here to help you with. Regrettably, taking action becomes challenging when you lack complete clarity regarding answers to your questions, and this is the precise reason why her retirement is available. So, I want you to make the most of your plans, and you can get a complimentary assessment with her retirement at any time.


Okay? I will have the full transcript of these seven important milestones after 50. It’s actually a nice little designed handout that we will link to so that you can print it out and certainly share these milestones. Share this podcast with your friends because these dates are so very important. Now, I want to go over 10 tips to help empower women investors, and I will go through these fairly quickly. Again, this is another nicely designed document that you can print out, and the next time you go to the beach, you can take this for your beach reading instead of that juicy romantic fiction novel. But seriously, I will go over these ten tips to empower women to investers. Alright? So every woman needs her own financial plan. That’s because her financial strategies often need to be different from a man’s for a variety of reasons.


Women continue to earn less, women live longer, women are more likely to be single later in life. Women are time starved. Women are paying the price for going back to school because oftentimes we do that. Americans now hold over 1.7 trillion in outstanding loan debt with women holding almost two thirds of that debt. So for many women, financial independence is our number one concern, but what steps can we women take to achieve this throughout our life? So here’s a few key action items that I would like you and any younger woman in your life, I’d like you to share this with them because as older women is our responsibility to help our younger generations be healthier, happier, and wealthier. All right, number one, keep money in your name. Every woman needs a pot of money to call her own. This means that in addition to joint financial accounts, you may have with your significant other, with your spouse partner, you should consider keeping some financial accounts in your name only and make sure you maintain your individual credit history.


And you can do this by holding a credit card or a personal loan issued just to you. Number two, confront your fears. Are you controlling your money or is it controlling you? Are your ideas about money and money management keeping you from becoming financially competent? As women increase education levels and continue to take on expanded roles in the workforce, they control more wealth and as a result, traditional views about finances need to be redefined and women need to face financial decisions head on. Number three, share decisions. If you share finances with someone else, you need to start talking this way. You’ll know if you share the same goals and dreams for the future as well as whether you’re on track to meet those schools. And oftentimes, people go into retirement as a couple and they don’t really talk about retirement. I mean, maybe the husband is the manager of the finances, and there’s not a real discussion with the woman.


In other cases, there might be a lot of financial discussion, but there’s no discussion about the non-financial parts of retirement. Those non-financial discussions and things that happen can significantly impact the financial part. If you don’t talk about where you want to live, that could have a huge impact. Your housing is one of your biggest expenses in retirement, and not having that discussion not communicating is a disaster in any relationship, no matter the topic, but you need to have those retirement discussions to avoid any potential disasters. Also, remember that disagreements are bound to happen, right? Good communication is key to working through these disagreements and getting you back on track financially and non-financially. As a couple, four, maintain access to all finances. Keep your financial records accessible and easy to gather when you need them. This could include brokerage accounts, insurance policies, retirement plan statements, tax returns, and other important documents.


If you don’t have access to those because maybe your spouse, partner, or husband keeps them somewhere, make sure you know where they are and you have access to them. Making copies is a really good idea. Keep a record of who owns each account. Be sure to notify the person responsible for handling your state where all your documents are and whom to contact in the event of your passing. And this is why I created her personal info and emergency planner. If you haven’t seen it, you can go to her emergency If you go to that URL, you can access my 130-page PDF that you can fill out online, or you can print it out and fill it out with a pen and then keep it someplace special that you remember. Maybe give access to someone who’s going to be responsible for your financial affairs if you become incapacitated or when you pass away.


This document is so important because it keeps track of all those things I just mentioned and more. There’s even a section on writing notes to people who are special to you or making a list of those special trinkets and treasures that you want to leave to special people in your life. It literally covers everything you can imagine, and it documents it all in one place. So definitely go check that out. Number five, pay yourself First. Fund your I R A, your 4 0 1 k, or your other accounts to the maximum. If you’re over 50, make sure to make those catch-up contributions when you leave your job. Consider rolling your 4 0 1 K funds into your own self-directed IRA. It can continue to grow tax-deferred, and you’ll gain the ability to choose from a broader array of investments, which I discussed earlier. Number six, choose a financial or retirement advisor wisely.


It’s important to have trust, ask for referrals, and interview several to find one that you have rapport with. And don’t be shy about asking tough questions. Check their credentials. An experienced advisor can help you look for the right solutions at every stage of your life and help you build competence in your ability to take control of your finances. And I do have a guide to finding the right financial advisor/retirement advisor, which includes the questions that I want you to ask that person. You can get access to that in my masterclass. Number seven, put your plan in writing. Ask your advisor to help you create a formal, written, long-term financial plan. A written plan will provide the framework for defining your goals and shaping your decisions. It will also help you set sites on those goals in the long term and help keep you on track regardless of market conditions or unexpected life events.


The right advisor and the right plan help you avoid those blind spots. And when you work with her retirement in a coaching capacity, we help you identify those blind spots. We help you get educated about those blind spots because sometimes the financial advisor or the insurance person you’re working with really isn’t in it to educate you. And so if you’re working with that type of person, it doesn’t mean you need to stop. It means maybe you look to her retirement to help educate you on all of this retirement stuff. Number eight, have a backup plan. Speaking of life events, don’t let a critical life change, such as marriage, divorce, widowhood, or illness, derail your goals. Always have a plan, and of course, an advisor or a planner can work with you to create a plan that addresses the unexpected and helps keep you moving forward, right?


If you’re going through that kind of transition, you lose your job, you lose your spouse, however it happens. You lose your capacity to work. You really need to make sure that you have a plan that can address those issues and be better prepared for them. There’s so much mental stress in those situations that if you can reduce the financial stress because you know you have a plan B, you will be so much better off. It’s about being happier, healthier, and wealthier regardless of what life throws at you. Number nine, understand what you own. Although working with an advisor is vital, in my opinion, you must also know and make sense of the investments you hold. Not only should you be investing too many women hold their money in cash because they’re afraid of investing. My masterclass has an investment module so that you can learn more about investing and feel more confident in it, but you need to educate yourself on these basic investing principles.


Course by taking classes like mine, reading books like mine, or there are so many valuable resources out there to help you get educated about investments and understanding what is in your 4 0 1 k. I mean, you don’t need to become a D I Y investor. You don’t need to be picking stocks and pouring over financial statements. I used to get the booklets from the companies I was invested in, and I was like, recycle, recycle. But you need to understand how investing works, why it’s so important to invest, and how it’s not as potentially scary for some of us as it needs to be. Number 10, finally, number 10, plan your family’s. When planning your estate, you can create a strategy designed to take care of your heirs while optimizing your retirement income. Work with a qualified estate planner in concert with your financial or retirement advisor to design an integrated strategy for passing on wealth to your loved ones while you enjoy the fruits of what you’ve worked so hard to earn throughout your lifetime.


And we actually have a referral to an online estate planning company. They do a trust in a will for significantly less than a traditional estate planning attorney that might be in your community. So if you want access to that, you go to get her will Again, get her will, and you will get to this company that can do a trust and a will, and they’ll help educate you on what you need. And believe me, it is the most affordable trust and will, and you get access through it or access to it through your relationship with her retirement. So yes, you’re welcome. But I do highly encourage every woman to have at least a will. And for sure, you have to ensure you have beneficiaries named on all of your accounts if you don’t have a will. Beneficiaries are a must. Ladies, financial independence starts with determining your financial goals and putting in place a plan designed to help you reach them.


By implementing these steps that I’ve briefly outlined here, you can well be on your way to creating financial confidence for yourself and your family, both now and in your retirement years. As I always say, you, too, can be happier, healthier, and wealthier. It’s all about knowing more having more as a result, and getting her done. So, definitely reach out to me for help with any of the topics I discussed in this episode of the Her Retirement Podcast. I know I covered a lot. There are going to be two documents that you can link to the milestones document and the ten tips to help empower women financially to help empower women to invest who, right, invest hers. Very, very important. So ladies, here’s to being an investor, and here’s to getting super, super prepared for retirement, and I’m here to help you do it. Let’s get her done.


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Making the Right Medicare Decisions

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Her Retirement Podcast. This week I am talking about Medicare and the Medicare maze that we are all so confused about. I’m also recording this as a video, so you can go check it out on YouTube. After you’ve thrown on some headphones and listened to the podcast, you can go and take a look at a video of me chatting about it also, and I’m going to include a link to a Medicare workbook in the transcript of this podcast so that you can reinforce the concepts I’m going to be covering today. So are you preparing to embark on a Medicare journey within the next 12 months, but you’re finding it challenging to navigate this super complex landscape? Well, you don’t have to look any further. I got you. We’re gonna help you get her done. I’m going to attempt to simplify Medicare and enrollment for you.


So who is this for? Well, it’s for anyone seeking clarity and understanding of Medicare, regardless of age or background. It’s particularly beneficial for those who are ready to apply for Medicare and specifically people who are 64 years old and preparing for enrollment or who’re under 65 and living with a disability. Okay. So what you’ll learn in this podcast or video is understanding how Medicare functions and operates, identifying Medicare plans that align with your unique health budget and location, and determining the optimal plan suited to your needs regardless of your financial status. And we will discover strategies to avoid errors, penalties, and crucial deadline oversights. So let’s get this Medicare Party started. We’ll start by talking about original Medicare, which has two parts, part A, hospital coverage, and part B, medical coverage. Part A is inclusive coverage for hospital care, including inpatient services, hospice care, and select skilled nursing care.


Part B medical coverage is extensive coverage for those essential medical services such as doctor visits, lab tests, x-rays, provision of oxygen, hospital beds, preventative services like colonoscopies, and the ever-important mammograms. So Part A hospital Medicare Part A is often mistaken as being free, but it’s important to clarify that it is not free of charge. The truth is that you have paid in for Medicare Part A through your contributions made via your payroll taxes during your working years. If you or your spouse have worked and paid payroll taxes for a minimum of 10 years, you have already fulfilled the payment from Medicare Part A. Individuals who have not worked for full 10 years or who have not made sufficient payroll tax payments may be required to pay some or all of the expenses associated with Medicare Part A. This can result in expensive costs. So part B, medical Medicare Part B requires payment, and the amount you pay depends on your earnings.


In 2023, the majority of Medicare beneficiaries, over 90%, will pay approximately $165 per month for Medicare Part B. However, if you have a higher income, your monthly payment for Medicare Part B may exceed $165. It can range anywhere from 200, 300, 400, or it can even surpass $500 a month. The specific amount is determined based on your modified adjusted gross income two years ago. So your Maggie from two years ago is important to note that this payment date difference based on income can really catch some individuals off guard. It’s crucial to be aware that your monthly costs for Medicare Part B may not align with what others are paying. Your income determines it from two years ago. Some individuals with low income do receive assistance from their state to cover the cost of Medicare Part B. As mentioned before, the vast majority, around 90% of people in 2023, will pay approximately $165 a month for Medicare Part B.


If you receive social security benefits, the monthly premium from Medicare Part B is automatically deducted from your Social Security payments. For those not receiving social security benefits, the payment process may be slightly more complex. When relying solely on government Medicare, you are responsible for paying 20% of all Medicare Part B costs. The government covers the remaining 80%, which may initially seem favorable. However, it’s essential to recognize that the 20% you are responsible for is not capped. This means that for significant medical expenses, your out-of-pocket liability could potentially amount to thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. While it’s not my intention to alarm you, it’s crucial to acknowledge that government Medicare alone may not provide you with sufficient coverage. There are gaps in limitations within government Medicare that can leave you exposed to substantial costs. So I highly recommend exploring supplemental coverage options to fill the gaps in government Medicare and protect yourself from potential financial burden.


Okay, let’s talk about Medicare coverage limitations. What’s not covered? The significant gap in original Medicare A and B lies in the 20% patient responsibility for Medicare Part B services. Imagine paying 20% of each chemotherapy, radiation, or dialysis treatment. The cost can quickly escalate due to the frequency and duration of these treatments. Original Medicare A and B do not provide coverage for prescription drugs. To address this gap, you must purchase a separate private insurance plan known as Medicare Part D, which offers prescription drug coverage. However, even with Medicare Part B, you still need to pay 20% of the cost for certain drugs, which are typically expensive medications like those used for U, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, or chemotherapy. Original Medicare A and B do not cover dental services, including cleanings, exams, and X-rays. No dental coverage is provided at all, while original Medicare A and B cover certain vision conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.


They do not include routine eye exams. These exams are essential for detecting eye conditions in their early stages, which of course, if not identified in early stages, can become big expensive issues. Medicare A and B do not cover hearing services, including hearing exams and the cost of hearing aids. Hearing aids can be expensive, and Medicare offers no assistance in this area. Medicare does not cover any cosmetic procedures like getting rid of some of those wrinkles or some of those extra layers of fatty tissue or services considered medically unnecessary. So what are some options to fill your Medicare coverage gaps? Well, it’s crucial to acknowledge the limitations of the original Medicare, which is why individuals opt for supplemental coverage to fill the gaps. Of course, you have to evaluate this based on your personal situation, and you can evaluate this each and every year as your healthcare conditions change.


And this is probably a good time for me to note that because of all these medical costs in retirement and as we age, this is why I really focus on women in particular because my platform’s called her retirement, but focus on being healthy. Her. If we can focus on our health, we can obviously live a better, happier, more physically enjoyable retirement in later life, but we can also reduce our healthcare costs. I think it’s something like 10% of disease is genetic, and 90% is within our control. So if you can prioritize not only your wealth but your health, you are going to protect your retirement savings, and you’re going to spend so much less on healthcare costs. So get out there, move, exercise, care for yourself mentally, physically eat right, sleep, and drink water. Speaking of, I’m gonna take a little sip of water myself. Okay, so various options are available to supplement government Medicare, providing comprehensive coverage.


Generally, you’ll face a choice between two paths. One option is to purchase a Medicare supplement plan, also known as Medigap or supplemental plans, which work alongside government Medicare. The other option is to explore private Medicare, referred to as Medicare Advantage PPOs or HMOs. Selecting the right path is a critical decision that may have long-term implications. It’s essential to carefully consider your own options as it might be a lifetime decision with limited opportunities for changes later on. So option one is Medicare supplements. This plan serves as an additional layer of coverage alongside your existing original Medicare. Essentially, you retain your enrollment in government Medicare parts A and B while obtaining a private insurance plan to address the gaps in coverage. By acquiring a private insurance plan, you ensure comprehensive coverage that compliments and enhances your existing Medicare benefits. So let’s talk about the benefits of Medicare supplements.


Number one is unrestricted healthcare access. The most significant advantage of Medicare supplements is the freedom to choose any doctor and hospital nationwide. This unparalleled flexibility is highly appealing to individuals seeking comprehensive healthcare options. Number two: enhanced financial security. Medicare supplements fill gaps in original Medicare, mitigating the risk of high out-of-pocket expenses by providing additional coverage. These plans offer greater predictability and a clearer understanding of your healthcare costs. Number three is simplified and standardized coverage. And a noteworthy development of Medicare supplements underwent standardization. This means that regardless of the insurance provider, a specific plan, such as Plan G, offers identical coverage. This shift from the previously complex and confusing system ensures transparency and prevents any deceptive practices. And the next benefit is a guarantee of benefits. Once you select a Medicare supplement plan, your benefits remain unchanged. As long as you continue paying your monthly premium, your coverage remains intact.


This guarantee allows for lifelong plan renewal and safeguards against unexpected modifications and the final benefit. Separate prescription drug coverage. It’s important to note that if you opt for a Medicare supplement plan, you must obtain a separate prescription drug plan. This ensures comprehensive coverage for both medical and prescription needs. Okay, next, Medicare supplements, eligibility, and enrollments. You must health qualify. You’ll be asked numerous health questions by different companies to understand your health status in the last two to five years. Questions vary slightly, covering conditions like cancer, heart attacks, C O P D, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, and more. Answering yes to these questions often makes you ineligible for Medicare supplement. Let’s talk about initial enrollment. When enrolling in Medicare Part B, insurance companies must accept you. During this enrollment period, health questions are not allowed. Any plan shown on the chart, which I will share in the transcript, is available for selection.


The importance of an enrollment window missing the initial enrollment window leads to health-related questions. Answering yes to these questions may permanently disqualify one from Medicare supplements. Understanding this before enrolling is crucial. So two popular plan choices are plan G and plan N, which individuals commonly prefer as they provide comprehensive coverage from Medicare gaps. And I want you to note proper understanding of eligibility enrollment windows and plan options is essential. When considering Medicare supplements, I really encourage you to seek guidance to make informed decisions. Okay, option two: Medicare Advantage. Medicare Parts A and B supplement and drug plan into one package. Let’s talk about the benefits of Medicare Advantage. While it may have a low premium or no premium, it’s important to note that you will still need to pay for Medicare Part B enrollment. In Medicare, A and B are necessary to be eligible for Part C.


Unlike Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage operates within a network of doctors and hospitals. The network size varies, but it typically includes all of your preferred healthcare providers. Medicare Advantage plans often include coverage for prescription drugs. Part D within the health plan premiums can change annually. Unlike Medicare supplements that remain stable and it’s important to be adaptable and open to potential changes each year. Also, plans may differ for individuals living in different areas. So what are some of the extra benefits of Medicare Advantage as of 2023? Dental coverage, which may include routine dental care, cleanings, fillings, and even dentures, vision coverage, eye exams, prescription eyewear glasses, contact lenses, and discounts on vision-related services. Hearing aid coverage, transportation options may include rides to doctor’s appointments, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. Meal assistance may include meal cards or reimbursements for specific dietary needs, such as post-surgery recovery.


It’s important to understand that not all Medicare Advantage plans offer the same extra benefits. Availability of benefits can vary by county within your state, so it’s crucial to research plans specific to your location. Extra benefits may change annually, so staying informed about the current offerings is essential. Remember that original Medicare does not include most of these additional benefits, and of course, Her Retirement can assist in researching these available insurance companies and benefits specific to your zip code. So supplement or advantage choosing between Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage depends on several factors, including budget, health condition, travel frequency, number of doctors, and comfort level. With the change, Medicare supplement is advantageous for individuals with a higher budget offering flexibility in nationwide coverage. Medicare Advantage may be more suitable for those who are healthy and eat and infrequently visit doctors, as well as those with ongoing health conditions that require more comprehensive coverage.


Travelers and individuals with multiple doctors may benefit more from a Medicare supplement plan to ensure broader access to healthcare providers. Personal preferences, family medical history, and anticipated health needs should be considered when making this decision. And you can regularly reassess your health and financial situation to ensure the chosen plan continues to meet your needs. So if you wanna start with one and switch to the other, which plan should you start with? Supplement to Advantage or advantage to supplement. Everyone’s situation is certainly unique, and the best Medicare plan for you may differ from others. Evaluate your health, your budget, your insurance preferences, and your travel frequency. Medical Medicare supplement is available to everyone during the initial enrollment period for Medicare Part B. Regardless of your health insurance, companies must accept you in any state and plan. Starting with a Medicare supplement provides flexibility and the ability to choose any doctor or hospital.


If you can comfortably afford a Medicare supplement plan, it’s recommended that you start with it. Keeping in mind that Medicare supplement premiums typically increase annually by around five to 10% after a few years, the premium may become less affordable, but you can explore other options. Private Medicare Advantage plans can be an alternative with zero or low monthly costs. Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits such as gym memberships or grocery carts. You have an annual opportunity to switch to Medicare Advantage during the open enrollment period from October 15th to December 7th. If you initially choose Medicare Advantage, you can switch back to Medicare supplement in the future. Moving between plans based on changing health and financial circumstances is an option. Consider your age, health outlook, and preferences when making these transitions. So little caution. When choosing your plan, it’s vital to assess your healthcare needs, preferences, and budget. When selecting a Medicare plan, relying on someone else’s plan without considering your own unique circumstances may lead to inadequate coverage.


Your health condition. Prescription meds providers should drive your plan selection. Ensure your chosen plan covers your doctors, hospitals, and necessary medications. Medicare plan availability and coverage options vary by zip code. Your location plays a significant role in determining the plans accessible to you. Of course, consulting with a Medicare specialist or insurance professional can help you navigate the huge range of options, and they can assist in assessing your specific needs and finding a plan that best aligns with you. Critical deadlines and penalties, retirees have a three-month window before and after their 61st birthday month to enroll in Medicare without penalty. On the other hand, working individuals with employer coverage are not penalized for keeping their current plan missing. Enrollment deadlines can result in lifelong penalties such as the Part B and Part D penalties. The Part B penalty is 10% of the monthly premium, increasing annually.


While the Part D penalty can also apply, it’s essential to compare the benefits of Medicare to your employer coverage if you’re still working at 65. As Medicare may provide more advantageous options, you need to make an informed decision by evaluating the advantages and potential cost savings of Medicare versus your employer’s plan. You know, we can connect you with these resources to help you analyze these plans and make the best decision. And I also have a more in-depth Medicare class. That’s part of my Her Retirement Roadmap Masterclass. The masterclass includes class workbooks, guides, checklists, decision trees, and other resources. If you wanna learn more about the masterclass, go to her retirement Module number six in the masterclass covers healthcare, Medicare, and long-term care. I will do a future podcast on long-term care and estate planning. So in that masterclass, there are eight modules, and the sixth module covers healthcare, Medicare, and long-term care.


The point of today’s podcast and video was to give you a very high-level overview of the Medicare options that you have. There are also some changes coming to Medicare, which you can learn about in the masterclass. Important changes that you need to be aware of. One of the other things that I wanted to point out today is that Medicare comes out of your social security benefit. One of the issues is as we age, our Medicare costs and medical costs go up. So potentially, like a 65-year-old couple, by reaching 80, most of their social security benefit could be going toward Medicare medical expenses. So it’s really important to understand how your Medicare and medical costs will impact your retirement income. And relying on social security for your income alone is not a good decision. For most people, social security accounts for 30 to 50% of their income.


And you know, you may say, okay, my social security will be my medical expense, right? That income will just cover my medical expenses, and if there’s any leftover, then that’s a bonus. But then you have to have your other income sources, which of course, if you have deferred retirement savings accounts like 401ks and IRAs if you have Roth Accounts Index universal life, you’re going to work. Maybe you get inheritance rental properties. I mean, all of these income sources go into creating your retirement paycheck, and it’s very important to understand how these costs will impact you. The other thing that we didn’t talk about was out-of-pocket costs. So in this session, we talked about Medicare and medical supplement costs. So out-of-pocket costs can add up to a very large number over the course of retirement, and you need to be prepared for those.


And so, in the masterclass, I talk about ways to fund those out-of-pocket costs and to fund things like long-term care because, again, in the Masterclass, you’ll learn that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. That is a completely separate expense that is on you. So I hope you’ve learned a little bit about Medicare, and you are welcome to reach out to me if you need help. You’re 64, and you need to decide soon here. You need to start evaluating your options and trying to decide the best situation for you. What is the best plan for you beyond parts A and part B? Definitely reach out to me at and go to her retirement If you want to access the eight modules in that masterclass, one is on Medicare, healthcare, and long-term care. Here’s to Knowing more, Having more, and Getting Her Done.



Are You There Mom? It’s Me, Lynn.

My favorite teenage book inspired the title of this week’s podcast, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Since my mom’s passing on April 1 of this year, I find myself asking this question almost every day. My mom was my best friend, and the void she left is deep. Her name was Carol Toomey. She was born on August 1, 1935.  She bravely battled Ovarian cancer for 3 ½ years. She was my hero and my best friend.

I yearn to know if she’s there listening to me or watching me. We had a bond so strong that I always felt that even death couldn’t break it. Maybe I was wrong. But in the spirit of my mother’s optimism, I’m choosing to believe that she is, in fact, watching over me, and perhaps we’ll be together again someday.

Until then, she wanted me to live, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last four months, but dammit, death is hard.

This podcast is dedicated to her memory. She loved listening to my podcast even though she retired 30 years ago from teaching 3rd grade…she didn’t need any retirement advice. She would admit to not understanding all the financial concepts I discussed, but as my biggest fan, she would listen to me prattle on anyway.

I miss my cheerleader. My biggest supporter. The one person I would talk to almost every day for 57 years. That’s a lot of talking, yet we still have unfinished conversations. There are so many more things I’d like to say to her and so much more advice I need about living. Fifty-seven years was not enough.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the yearning to hear her voice and laugh again. She had an amazing laugh and a beautiful smile. She was a happy lady. She had many blessings, and she counted them every day. She saw the glass half full…always. She would say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and sometimes they go shopping too!” We did a lot of shopping over the years. I remember sitting on the floor of many dressing rooms as a child, watching her try on clothes, and then we’d go to the children’s department, and it was my turn.

I am the youngest child with three older brothers, so I was kind of a living doll to my fashionista mom. She dressed me to the hilt when I was younger and then gave me an obsession with clothes, jewelry, shoes, and purses.

My mother taught me many things as moms are supposed to do. She taught me optimism and hope. She taught me how to be brave and strong. She taught me unconditional love. She taught me the importance of family and friends. She taught me about getting an education and a good job. She taught me that a man is not a plan. She taught me how to be self-sufficient and independent. Kind and generous. She taught me to lotion my elbows and scrub my heels, fixes my eyebrows, and cut threads dangling from my clothes. She taught me to laugh and appreciate sunsets. She taught me to keep lists, be organized, and care for my stuff. Perhaps one of the most important lessons she taught me is about happiness. One of her favorite expressions was life is 20% what happens to you and 80% how you react to it. The other important lesson she taught me is always to take good care of yourself mentally and physically, but make sure to eat the cake and a little ice cream too.

It’s because of my mom that I came up with the term, Be the Her in Hero. We can save ourselves, ladies. We can be happiher, healthiher and wealthiher. We can be both a student and stewards of our lives and our retirement. This is our right and our responsibility. Thanks, Mom, for all the lessons. I think you’re listening to me recording this podcast right now and smiling down on me.

I’m in the throes of planning my mom’s celebration of life happening this coming Sunday. In her optimistic spirit, she did not want us to mourn her death but rather celebrate her life, and that’s exactly what we will do. I can’t promise I won’t cry, but I can promise to honor and share her life and legacy with all her friends and family.

She left me some specific instructions and “lists” (of course). She was very organized with her personal information, making taking care of all those post-passing details much easier as her executor.  I would encourage you to document all these details for your loved ones. Be as specific and thorough with your wishes as possible.

Inspired by my mom’s organization with all these details, I recently finished what I’m calling the Her Personal Info and Emergency Binder. In the event you become incapacitated or upon your passing, this booklet or binder will have all the details your family and/or friends will need to keep calm and carry on in your absence. I’m about to launch a binder for couples/families as well.

As we all know, life is unpredictable. Being organized with all of your personal information and directives is really important. Using this info and emergency planner is a gift you can give yourself and your family and friends. The planner is a sort of control central for you as well. It allows you to have ONE place to keep the details of your life organized and accessible. And it will feel so good to know it’s all documented clearly.

Plus, you’ll be able to easily identify what’s missing and fill in the gaps before it’s too late. The last thing you want is for anyone to struggle to help you if you’re unable to help yourself and deal with the details of life, or to deal with your stuff after you’re gone. Life is also complicated so this planner is where you can keep track of everything financial and personal that matters. Making the complex simpler is one goal of planning.

My planner is divided into three sections:

  • Key Family Information: This includes any information needed if your family faced a medical or another emergency that separated you or your spouse from your family for a period of time.
  • Household Info
  • Personal Docs
  • Medical Info
  • Pet Care Info

Financial Information: This section organizes all your financial details and accounts. Whether you need to have bills paid, accounts accessed or insurance claims, your emergency person would know who to contact.

  • Insurance Info
  • Investment Info
  • Rental Property Info
  • Housing Info
  • Vacation Property Info
  • Business Ownership Info
  • Rewards Program Info

Need to Know Information: This is your end-of-life info. If you, or you and your spouse, passed away or were incapacitated, this would inform your family what to do and who to contact. You can also include personal messages here as well with your end-of-life wishes.

  • Where to Find Original Documents, Keys, & More
  • Employer Info
  • Online Account Info
  • Burial / Memorial Service Preferences
  • Personal Notes
  • Contact Notes

Using this planner is a tremendous benefit and relieves your loved ones of the immense burden of trying to find information about you and guess your wishes. It will take quite a bit of work on your part, but it is well worth the effort. It will give you peace of mind, comfort, and convenience. Life is about simplifying, and this planner is designed to make things simpler for you and your loved ones when the need arises. While a will and a trust are important documents to have (with updated beneficiaries on all accounts), a will doesn’t include all the daily living details and wishes you may have (like the tea set you want your daughter to have or where you have your car loan).

You can purchase the Her Personal Info & Emergency binder at It’s only $14.50. You can download and print an electronic file and then fill in all the information with a pen, or you can down-complete the planner electronically with fillable fields and save it on your computer or in an electronic storage vault, or print it once you’ve completed filling in all the info. Keep it in a special place or with your will.

*Please note: this planner does not replace the need for a legal will and/or trust. If you need an affordable will and trust, I got you. Go to:

I hope all of you listening can take some Carol Toomey inspiration, and the next time you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or sad, remember another one of my mom’s expressions, “This too shall pass.”

Here’s to being the Her in Hero. As always, if you need help planning any aspect of your retirement, reach out. I can help you Get Her Done. My mom believed in me…I think you can too.