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Retirement Certainty Scorecard™

 
  DISAGREE AGREE
Indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the statements below.
1

I have a clear, written and actionable retirement plan that shows my current financial position (Point A) and my ultimate future (Point B) and sets a path to get from A to B.

2

I review my written retirement plan each and every year and adjust it for changes in my life. I stress test my plan's viability by changing variables for the worst case scenario.

3

I know exactly what my personal required rate of return (PRROR) is that will allow me to achieve all of my retirement goals. I plan my investment strategy around and work toward that PRROR.

4

I have an investment plan which focuses an equal amount of time on making money as it does on not losing it, simultaneously advancing and protecting my assets.

5

I know that I am utilizing independent advice and strategies which specifically fit my individual situation.

6

I review all of my investments each and every year based on how the market and economy are responding and make adjustments and/or rebalances at least annually or as needed.

7

I am confident with all of my insurances knowing that the way they are positioned and funded will protect me and my family for any unforeseen negative events.

8

I am confident that my estate planning documents and beneficiary designations are all set up to maximize the benefits that my family receives.

9

I am well qualified or utilizing professionals that are well qualified to give the best possible advice for my retirement, investment, estate and tax planning.

10

My retirement planning is set up (by me or my advisor) in a way that requires little daily, weekly or monthly attention so that I can enjoy life to its fullest.

As I consider everything that will allow me to live most comfortably during my retirement, the thing that keeps me up at night is:

Thank you for completing the Retirement Certainty Scorecard™.

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Campbell Wealth Management

Signing up for a Credit Card in a Doctor’s Office

Sponsored credit cards are everywhere, and now they’re being marketed—controversially— in doctor’s offices.

As the price of medical care continues to rise, doctors have had to find more creative ways to allow patients to pay the out-of-pocket portions of their medical expenditures.

Many doctors’ offices around the country are allowing medical credit cards—offered by major financial-services firms iCare Financial of Atlanta; CareCredit, a unit of General Electric; and banks like Wells Fargo and Citibank—to be marketed and sold to their patients.

The credit card company allows the cards to be sold by front desk associates who process credit card applications and enroll patients, thus making it appear that the physician is offering the service. Typically, doctors and dentists office that offer the cards—and want to get paid up front by patients—say the cards help patients pay for medical procedures they need and might otherwise forego.

Patients have been signing up for the cards to pay for such services for hearing aids, dental braces, and other devices not covered by Medicare or are only partially paid for by private insurance.

As the practice of charging medical expenses continues to grow, so has the number of card options. Many cards are issued by specialty finance companies as well as large commercial banks and come with attractive introductory offers, like zero interest for three months, or the ability to put off paying for the first month’s balance until a later date.

But are these medical credit cards a good choice?

Like many similar high-interest, revolving credit cards, they can be beneficial for short team purchases, and as long as they’re used correctly and responsibly they can be advantageous. However, the companies don’t offer these payment options out of kindness, they are hoping to make money.

The cards typically charge no interest for a promotional period of several months, but after it ends, the interest rate soars up to 30 percent if the debt is not paid in full. What’s more, the high rates are often applied to the original amount of the loan, not just to the amount still owed!

The New York Times recently reported on numerous civil lawsuits that have been brought by state authorities and lawyers for consumers against care providers and financial companies for misleading practices. The paper reported that New York State attorney general’s office received hundreds of complaints from patients who felt duped by CareCredit: “It found that about 90 percent of CareCredit’s customers in the state chose the no-interest-if-paid-in-full option. Roughly a quarter of those people ended up paying the exorbitant 26.99 percent interest rate on past and present unpaid balances.”

While the company neither accepted nor denied the charges, it signed an agreement with New York State in June to end the most problematic practices there, requiring a clear description of the interest rate that consumers could ultimately be charged and allowing resident of the state a three-day cooling off period after signing up for the card. The problem has grown so worrisome that a subsequent editorial in The Times called for a national solution led by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But for the time being, the lesson here is to always read the fine print.

One of the greatest threats to retirement is high interest credit card debt. The power of these cards to eat into savings is incredible and a large balance with an interest rate of 30 percent can deflate a savings account pretty quickly.

Don’t be too hasty while checking out at your doctor’s office you don’t want to become accidently enrolled. Carefully assess your situation and make sure it’s the right thing to do. If you do apply for one of these cards pay off the balance ASAP—set a plan, schedule payments, and make sure the balance is zero before the introductory offer expires.

 

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