EPC Module 3 - Financial Issues
Chapter 1: Social Security & Medicare Programs
The EPC will have a better understanding of the social security benefits and programs that are available for America’s elders in today’s environment. While some of these programs are federally regulated, many are dictated by the State ministry in charge of distributing the proceeds from these programs.
It is important to remember that elders may not be eligible for all benefits. As an EPC, you should always recommend consulting with the proper State government departments that oversees the eligibility of receiving any additional benefits.
After completing this chapter, the EPC will have acquired the knowledge to best describe how government benefits and programs can enhance an elder’s lifestyle. In many cases, these benefits have to be requested through an application process. This is another area where the EPC can bring additional value when dealing with our aging society.
Upon completing this chapter, the EPC will have a better understanding of the American Medicare system that will assist them in explaining the role that Federal and State Medicare has in providing health insurance coverage for the future American aging society.
The EPC will acquire knowledge through studying Medicare from its beginnings to where it has evolved in today’s society. The responsibilities for each level of government will be looked at and discussed through the study process. The student will look at how Medicare is funded, what the eligibility criterion is, and what benefits an elder will receive when qualified.
Chapter 2: Financial Planning Basics
There are many challenges for elders who are facing their retirement years. Some have planned, and some have not. The purpose of this chapter is to show the EPC in general terms how to develop the various strategies that can help their clients come to terms with their financial position and needs.
The EPC will look at the various stages of financial planning, taking into consideration the elder’s objectives while looking at the challenges and many stages that elders will have already experienced prior and throughout their retirement. Professionals from many occupations realize that the key to financial independence can be found in the type of planning and investments the elder should have already made.
At the same time, many risk factors should be considered. The role of the financial planner, as well as the steps to financial freedom will be investigated. It is hoped, that by now the elder has completed many of the prerequisites in order to have a healthy and wealthy retirement.
Chapter 3: Retirement Income Basics
The main focus of this chapter is for the EPC and the elder to recognize that planning in the early years allows for a comfortable retirement. Assuming that this has been done, when it comes time to enter the ‘twilight’ period there will be an income available for the elder to maintain the lifestyle that they were accustomed to.
The EPC will look at some investment vehicles and retirement choices that the elder could use to provide an ongoing income for the retirement years.
Chapter 4: Legacy Planning
A key principle in legacy planning is that you cannot eliminate the big mistakes in an estate plan until you have identified them. Every elder should stage a financial fire drill with the assistance of the Elder Planning Counselor community. The same caution should be exercises with estate planning as with financial planning—if you are not a financial services professional, work with someone who is, or stay away from this area completely.
This chapter will investigate the process of planning the accumulation, conservation, and distribution of an estate in the manner that most efficiently and effectively accomplishes the elder’s personal tax and non-tax objectives.
Upon completing this chapter, the EPC will acquire the ability to gather accurate, comprehensive, and useful information that is efficiently developed using a data gathering system.
The EPC will study the major areas of estate planning such as: lack of liquidity, improper disposition of assets, inflation, inadequate income, or capital at retirement / death / disability, stabilization and maximization of the value of assets, excessive transfer costs, and special problems.
Chapter 5: Income Tax Planning
The objective for the EPC in personal income tax planning is to minimize or defer income taxes payable for the elder. This requires a general understanding of America’s Income Tax Act, and rulings put forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with other events, such as tax rulings in the courts.
The EPC will be in a position to recommend various tax saving strategies that will keep the elder’s goals front and center, thereby maximizing any spendable income.
Again for this chapter, caution should be exercised. If you are not in a profession that will allow you to provide complete and accurate tax information, please let the experts handle it.
Upon completion of this segment, the EPC will be able to understand which income sources constitute earned income, and which ones do not. You will study tax deductions and tax credits, and how they will affect your clients’ and prospects’ net income.
This chapter will look at how indexing can affect an individual’s tax situation. You will be able to tell the difference between being an employee of a company, and being self-employed.
The complex taxation of Life Insurance will be studied in a way that makes it simple to understand.
You will have a working knowledge of Capital Gains, Capital Losses, Deductions, Credits and other various different terminologies pertaining to taxation.