Q. I am 64 and have been retired for four years. My wife, 63, is still working. We have managed to put aside a tidy nest egg, and are still saving. We have no debt. We are currently paying over $10,000 a year for health insurance. I will soon be old enough to apply for Medicare. If I do, our health insurance costs will decrease by about $2,500 a year.
Here is our ethical question: Should we apply for Medicare, and later, Social Security?
We are aware of the projected financial problems in these programs, and the financial unpreparedness of the boomers, but if we were to enact our own “Private Entitlement Reform” and delay taking benefits, would it actually make a difference in the larger scheme of things?
A. Absolutely, I would apply. These are benefits you paid for with all these FICA deductions over the years. And definitely save the “savings,” and buy long-term-care insurance.
And definitely put your energies toward encouraging your congressman to balance the federal budget now! Go to http://www.gao.gov/cghome/d061078cg.pdf to get the facts.
Terry Savage is a registered investment adviser, and writes weekly for the Currency section of the Monday Chicago Sun-Times.