Category Archives: Retirement

Bringing Older Americans Back Into the Fold

I don’t know what age you are. But, most of us plan for, and think about retirement from a relatively early age. Most of my friends talk about it as we all move towards what is a traditional retirement age. I, however, do not plan to really retire. While I don’t want to be tied to a 9-5, M-F job, I enjoy working. I enjoy the time with customers, co-workers, the feeling of productivity and accomplishment. I believe being mentally engaged is imperative to a longer and healthier life, and particularly to our mental wellbeing. There are many ways to be involved – volunteer work, taking care of grandchildren etc. I love the article below because it recognizes what older members of our society have to contribute. What a fantastic accumulation of knowledge, wisdom, and experience our seniors have to offer and share. Yes, having time to play is important too. I for one, want the play time to integrated into what I love to do most, whatever that may be, through mentoring, sharing knowledge, etc. The premise of the article is a cultural shift for Americans, but a good one, in my opinion.


Bringing Older Americans Back Into the Fold

Source: The New York Times

Marc Freedman is not here to give advice on how to squirrel away dollars and cents for a leisurely retirement. He doesn’t want to talk about 401(k)’s, I.R.A.s, or stocks and bonds. Instead, he is asking us all to dig deeper — to entirely rethink our latter years.

Mr. Freedman — the president and chief executive officer of Encore.org, a nonprofit group that aims to tap the skills and experience of people in midlife and beyond to improve communities...Read More

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Senior Homeowner Tax Exemption

FE_PR_130404SeniorHouse

A property tax exemption is available to qualifying senior citizens and the surviving spouses of seniors who previously qualified. The three basic requirements are; 1) the qualifying senior must be at least 65 years old on January 1 of the year in which he or she qualifies; 2) the qualifying senior must be the owner of record, and must have been the owner of record for at least ten consecutive years prior to January 1; and 3) the qualifying senior must occupy the property as his or her primary residence, and must have done so for at least ten consecutive years prior to January 1.

For those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 of actual value of the applicant’s primary residence is exempted. The state will reimburse the county treasurer for the lost revenue.

An applicant or married couple can apply for the exemption on only one property.

That property must be his or her primary residence. Married couples and individuals who apply for the exemption on multiple properties will be denied the exemption on each property.

For the purpose of the exemption, “primary residence” is the place at which a person’s habitation is fixed and to which that person, when absent, has the intention of returning. A person can have only one primary residence at a time. If the senior is registered to vote, the address used for voter registration is considered the senior’s primary residence. If the senior is not registered to vote, the address listed on automobile registrations, income tax returns, or other legal documents may be considered as evidence of the senior’s place of primary residency. The property must be classified by the county assessor as residential.

If the senior owns a multiple dwelling unit property, the exemption will only be granted to the unit occupied by the senior as his or her primary residence.

The social security numbers of the applicant and each additional person who occupies the property as his or her primary residence are required by law, §§ 39-3-205(2)(a)(I) and (III), C.R.S. They are used to ensure that no individual or married couple receives the exemption on more than one property.

Two application forms have been created for the exemption.

The attached Short Form is intended for qualifying seniors who meet each of the requirements stated above, including those who meet the ownership requirement through ownership by their spouse. The Long Form must be used by individuals applying under the surviving spouse option and for applicants applying as the qualifying senior who fall within certain exceptions to the occupancy and ownership requirements.

Exceptions to the occupancy and ownership requirements are as follows: 1) the ownership has been transferred to or purchased by a trust, corporate partnership or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes; 2) the qualifying senior or his or her spouse was or is confined to a health care facility; 3) the prior residence was condemned in an eminent domain proceeding.

The surviving spouse of an individual who previously qualified is someone who was married to a senior who met each of the application requirements on January 1 of the year of application.

Qualifications for the surviving spouse option are listed under “Long Form Qualifications.”

The application deadline for either form is July 15 of the year for which you are seeking exemption. (If the application is not filed by July 15, the assessor is authorized to accept late applications through September 15; however, applicants will not have appeal rights for applications filed after July 15.) The exemption must be applied for only once, and it remains in effect for subsequent years as long as the property ownership and occupancy do not change. Your county assessor has a brochure containing additional information about the exemption.

Short Form Qualifications

The application deadline for the attached Short Form is July 15.

The form can be used by applicants who meet each of the following requirements.

  • Age Requirement: You are 65 y ears old or older as of January 1 of the year for which you are seeking exemption.
  • Ownership Requirement: You are the current owner of record, and you have owned the property for at least 10 consecutive years prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are seeking the exemption. (You do not have to be the sole owner of the property. You can own it with your spouse or with someone else. You can also own a life estate in the property.)

If Your Spouse is/was the Owner of Record

For the purpose of the exemption, you are also considered an owner of the property for periods during which your spouse was the owner of record, if, during those periods, your spouse and you were married and your spouse also occupied the property as his or her primary residence.

  • Occupancy Requirement: You occupy the property as your primary residence, and you have done so for at least 10 consecutive years prior to January 1 of this year.

Long Form Qualifications

If you qualify based on one or more of the following statements, you must use the long application form. The Long Form can be obtained by calling your county assessor at the telephone number listed on this brochure. The deadline for applying is July 15.

  • Surviving Spouse Option: Did your spouse apply for and receive the exemption on your residence prior to passing away? Could your spouse have received the exemption on your residence had he or she applied? If so, you qualify as the surviving spouse if each of the following statements is true:

On January 1 of this year, your husband or wife met the age, ownership, and occupancy requirements stated above under “Short Form Qualifications.”

You currently occupy the property as y our primary residence, and you did so with your spouse.

SENIOR PROPERTY TAX HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION SHORT FORM

APPLICATION DEADLINE JULY 15

The property has been owned by you and/or your spouse for at least 10 consecutive years prior to January 1 of this year to present.

If your husband or wife passed away prior to January 1, review the Surviving Spouse Option to see if you qualify.

Exceptions to Ownership & Occupancy Requirements:

If Property is Owned by Trust, Corporate Partnership or Legal Entity:

The ownership requirement may be satisfied if your property is owned by a trust, a corporate partnership, or other legal entity solely for estate planning purposes. You and/or your spouse must be the maker of the trust or a principal of the corporate partnership or leg al entity. If the property was not owned by the trust, corporate partnership or legal entity, it would be owned by you and/or your spouse. or

If Confined to Healthcare Facility:

The occupancy requirement may be satisfied even though occupancy has been interrupted by confinement of the applicant or spouse to a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility. While confined to the health care facility, the property was/is unoccupied, or it was/is occupied only by the spouse of the person confined or by a financial dependent. or

If Prior Residence was Condemned:

The ownership and occupancy requirements may be satisfied if the reason for not meeting the 10-year time frame is due to the condemnation of the prior residence by a governmental entity in an eminent domain proceeding. Had that not occurred, you would still live in the prior residence, and you would meet the 10-year ownership and occupancy requirements for that property, or you would qualify as a surviving spouse for that property. Since condemnation, you have not owned and occupied any residence other than the current residence. or

Surviving Spouse Option, Spouse Passed Away Prior to January 1:

If your spouse passed away prior to January 1, you can still qualify if y our spouse met the requirements stated in “Short Form Qualifications” on January 1, 2002, or on any January 1 t hereafter, and you otherwise meet the requirements for the surviving spouse option.

Disabled Veterans Exemption

In November 2006, voters enacted an amendment to the Colorado Constitution extending the senior exemption benefit to disabled veterans. Qualifying veterans are those who have a 100 percent permanent and total disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a result of a service-connected disability and who have owned and occupied the property as their primary residence since January 1.

Application forms are available from the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs,Division of Veterans Affairs,1355 S. Colorado Blvd., Bldg. C, Suite #113, Denver, CO 80222. Their telephone number is (303) 284-6077. Forms can also be obtained from their web site at http://www.colorado.gov/dmvaor from the web site of the Colorado Division of Property Taxation at www.dola.colorado.gov/dpt. The filing deadline is July 1.

An individual or married couple is only entitled to one exemption, either senior citizen or disabled veteran, and only on one property. If an individual or married couple applies for exemptions on more than one property, the exemptions will be denied on every property.

If you have any questions, please contact your county assessor’s office at the telephone number listed on this brochure.

Jerry Roberts
Boulder County Assessor
P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306-0471
Phone: (303) 441-4830
Fax: (303) 441-4996
www.bouldercountyassessor.org

Retirement Living: Debt holds many Boomers back

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Baby Boomers, forget about retirement. We’ll be working for the rest of our lives.
OK, that may be an exaggeration, but not by much. We have not saved enough money. And worse, many of us will still be up to our eyeballs in debt when we do retire. We’re just one medical emergency away from bankruptcy.

According to Boomers and Retirement, a new survey by TD Ameritrade, the average Baby Boomer is about a half-million dollars short on retirement savings. And 74% of Boomers in the survey say they will have to rely heavily on Social Security in retirement. (The average Social Security check, by the way, is $1,230 a month.)

RETIREMENT LIVING: College towns lure Boomers in retirement

MONEY QUICK TIPS: Saving enough for retirement so you don’t run short

USA TODAY reported just last week that more people are delaying retirement and continuing to work past 65 mostly because they need the money. According to 2010 Census data, the share of workers 65 and older in the labor force rose to 16%, up from 12% in 1990.

“We will have to work a lot longer and get by with less,” says Olivia Mitchell, professor of economics and executive director of Pension Research Council at Wharton School of Business.

“It’s just getting a lot more expensive to be old than it used to be,” she says. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), which helps people who are having trouble paying their bills, says one-third of its 3 million clients nationwide last year were 55 or older, up 7 percentage points in two years. Nearly 15% are over 65. That’s scary.

“That is a point in life when most folks thought debt would be the last thing on their minds,” says Gail Cunningham, NFCC vice president. Even more troubling: Nearly a third of the NFCC clients who file for bankruptcy are 50 and older. “In their golden years they are filing for bankruptcy,” Cunningham says. “That is very disturbing.”

American Consumer Credit Counseling, which says 25% of its clients are 55 and older, paints a similar picture. Seniors are going into retirement still carrying debt, including mortgages, credit card debt and student loan debt. They are depleting their savings and retirement accounts just to make ends meet.

“Seniors are not able to retire when they are eligible to retire because they can’t afford to make ends meet,” says Katie Ross, education and development manger at ACCC. “They are still paying student loan debt off for their family members.”

Other troubling signs of a crisis to come:

• Most workers in a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute say they have virtually no savings or investments. And 37% of those surveyed in the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey think they will have to wait until after age 65 to retire.

• 34% of older Americans used credit cards to pay for basic living expenses, such as mortgage payments, groceries and utilities, according to research conducted AARP. As a result, they had average credit card debt of about $8,248. About half of the people over 50 in the survey were called by debt collectors, the study says.

• New data from EBRI show debt has actually increased for retirees 75 and older, including housing debt. Craig Copeland, senior research associate, says it’s not clear why, but it may be because of health care costs. This is certainly not what Baby Boomers expected.
“You would expect more people to incur more debt early in life, rather than later,” Mitchell says. “That’s when you might not have a lot of money, you have student loans, a family and a mortgage payment,” she says. “The idea was that you would pay off your house as you grow older. You would pay off credit cards when you hit peak earnings years, and when you moved into retirement you would do it mortgage-free and debt- free.”

But that changed in a dramatic fashion, partly because of the financial meltdown and housing crisis. Many people thought they had savings in the equity in their homes. People refinanced, took out home-equity loans and spent.

“The deflating of the housing bubble meant Boomers were hitting retirement age with less in assets than they expected,” Mitchell says. “That was a cold bath of water.” So, how can we get out of this mess? We can turn more to financial planners and consumer organizations for help in retirement planning. But, at this point, there are no easy answers.

SAVING: How much do you need to retire?

TAKE ACTION: Design a countdown-to-retirement plan

“Some people may have to take on a part-time job,” says EBRI’s Copeland. “They may have to alter what they thought they could do. They certainly aren’t going to be able to take a lot of vacations.”

“One possible answer is they just shouldn’t retire,” she says. “They should just wait. If you claim Social Security benefits at 70, instead of 62, your benefits are 70% higher. Some people can’t (put off retirement). But many people can do it, and you should plan to do that.”

–Courtesy of Rodney Brooks, USA TODAY