What is an Asset Care Annuity with Long Term Care Benefits

Asset Based Long Term Care Insurance

I had not heard this term before and came across when looking at long term care options. From what I have read the term “asset-based long term care” means a combination or hybrid long term care products. For example you might combine your life

First, asset-based long term care products are not the same as health-based LTCI policies. With a health based product you make payments on your policy and receive benefits when you need long term care. Nothing else is involved. The policy is straightforward. You pay premiums for long term care. If you don’t use it you get no other benefits from the policy.

Asset-based products are underwritten and issued by life insurance companies, and have life insurance or an annuity involved. This means that the money for benefits comes from the death benefits and cash values, if you need long term care. They are commonly funded with a one time payment that you get from your savings such as other annuities, CDs, rainy day funds, or qualified money. This money should not be money you need for income as it will be tied up for quite awhile. For more detailed information see our post Annuities with Long Term Care Riders

Life insurance policies with long term care use the death benefit to pay for the long term care. At death, any unused benefits pass income tax-free to heirs, and tax-qualified long term care benefits are also income tax-free. Life insurance options include both whole and universal life. While universal life insurance can sometimes offer slightly higher benefits, whole life-based products typically offer many more guarantees.

Annuity-based products have an advantage in that they are covered by the Pension Protection Act, which states that if specific criteria are met, annuity withdrawals for qualifying long term care expenses can be taken income tax-free. Annuity-based products accumulate value which will be used to pay for future LTC expenses.

How to Monetize a Free Website or Blog

How to Monetize a WordPress Blog

Blogging for money is an ideal job for stay at home moms or anyone who doesn’t want to work in a office environment or retail setting. If you don’t have the first idea about how blogs make money, this article is for you. If you search on the term internet marketing you get a lot of people wanting you to buy their system or promising you quick easy ways to make money. Honestly, it is not easy and it is not quick but it is doable.

If you look at sites about how to make money online you will find a lot of information about how to get visitors to your site which you need to know about eventually but first you need to figure out when they get there what it is you want them to do that will earn you some dollars.

Google Adsense – When you sign up for the adsense program Google automatically puts ads on your site. Google analyzes what your site about and then puts ads on your site that relate to what you are writing about. In other words if your blog is about cooking, you will have ads relating to baking products, kitchen appliances and cookbooks etc. When the reader of the blog clicks on the ad you get paid. Google does all the work as far as they advertising goes, you just find the people.

The only drawback is that Google pays different amounts of money for different types of ads. For instance if you are selling insurance you could get as much as $40.00 per click and that sounds good. But you may not want to blog about insurance you may want to blog about cooking. The cooking ads though only pay .50 cents a click or less. So adsense is good if your clicks are worth a lot of money otherwise it is hard to get enough visitors to your site to make any kind of money. Plus high paying ads like insurance tend to be very competitive.

Sell a product – Here is where the term affiliate marketing comes from. If you have done any research on making money by blogging you will have come across this term. You have to do more selling with this method than you do with the Google Adsense approach but you will probably make more money.

Affiliate marketing companies have a vast variety of products that you can sell and you make a commission. The marketing company will give you the ad for the product you are selling. You just copy and paste it into your article. If your reader clicks on ad and buys something you make money. These blogs work best if it is a product that you would be interested in. For instance is you have pet birds, you might have a blog about your kind of bird or maybe a few kinds of birds and sell products such as toys for those birds. Check out Shareasale.com

You can still have Google adsense even if you sell a product. Most bloggers will have some adsense ads but also ads for products related to the topics on the site.

Contribution sites – If you don’t want to sell anything but just want to produce quality articles about your topic, you can ask for contributions. It’s simple to add a PayPal link to a website, and many people are willing to pay something to a site that is advertising free and has just plain good information. A contribution site should have information that is not easily found elsewhere. In other words the site should be focused on something fairly specific. Usually this is personal experience you have because you have been interested in this topic for a long time.

If you are looking for other work at home opportunities see our post Are There Work From Home Jobs That are Real and BBB Approved

Are Home Inspection Business Profitable

Home Inspection Franchise Opportunity

Professional home inspection is a job many people consider when going out on their own. The question is can you make any money at it? So many home based businesses people tell you about turn out to be not so great. Mostly that is because they are not working in them they just “heard” that the particular occupation is a good thing to do.

So let’s look at the numbers and see if professional home inspection is a possible profitable home based business. An estimated 5.37 million home inspections were conducted in the United States last year and the percentage of homes inspected is steadily increasing. There is a strong, long-term demand for qualified individuals to start careers as home inspectors. Employment for home inspectors is expected to grow faster than average compared to other fields, according to the BLS.

In areas with high numbers of resales, home inspection is a volume business where home inspectors can earn $1,000 or more in a single day by inspecting several homes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for the entire category of construction and building inspectors in 2009 was $53,550 (www.bls.gov).

What home inspectors do is set by a national standards of practice. So if you want to become a home inspector you have to get the training to learn what the standards are. If you choose to buy a franchise all the training will be part of the franchise fee. If you decide to go out completely on your own there are several training programs that will help you get started.

The ASHI American Society of Home Inspectors offers them, as does the National Association of Home Inspectors Inc. (NAHI). Some community colleges also offer extension courses in building inspections, or you can look into private home-study courses. Be sure to ask about any financial aid you may qualify for.

Courses typically cover standards of practice and systems, such as exterior, interior, structural and heating. Other areas of study may also include state-specific regulations and codes in the home inspection field.

State licensure usually requires that a home inspector have a minimum of relevant coursework, experience in the form of previous employment in the construction field, successful completion of an exam and liability insurance.

After you get your training what do you need to get going?

1. Business license or certification, as well as bonding and insurance for errors and omissions, if necessary.

2. A website, vehicle signage, business cards and print and online advertising to promote your home inspection business.

3. Strong networking skills to develop relations with real estate agents, contractors and homeowners.

For more work at home ideas see our post Call Center Inbound Work at Home

Different state have different requirements for licensing and course hours required. So check with your local chapter of home inspectors and talk to someone already working in the business to find out.

Call Center Inbound Work at Home

Home Office Inbound Call Center

There has been a lot of attention in the media about home based call center jobs recently. They are usually referred to as “Virtual call centers.” Typically you think of a call center as a large group of people in one room with a bank of phones but now most employees work from their own homes.

One of the things you should know before you consider an at home call center job is that most of these employers want a quiet work environment. Background noises such as children, music, television or pets is generally not tolerated.

Generally these companies are looking for people with a professional, pleasant phone presence, a reliable personal computer, a wired high-speed internet connection (DSL or cable connection) and a traditional corded telephone plus a corded headset that is attached to your phone.

To begin the process of getting one of these jobs you usually complete an online application and Pre-Interview screening. Then you have a “voice Audition ” and finally an over-the-phone interview. The whole process is either online or over the phone.

Almost all virtual call center companies provide online training, but some companies wants their agents to undergo training at their call center for few weeks. A background check may be required by some centers after being selected for employment and you may have to pay this fee. The majority of virtual call center companies want you to be of minimum 18 years old. Most of the companies hire you as independent contractor, but many companies hire you as employee with complete benefits and perks. Compensation runs from $8 to $20 per hour, some also pay you on per minute or per call basis.

Here are some other factors you should consider:

Geographical restrictions – Some companies have geographical restrictions meaning you can only work for them if you live in a state that is on their list.

Experience level – Some companies want experienced workers others are willing to train you. You may need to have already worked in a customer service job or have specific technical skills for trouble-shooting support jobs.

Equipment cost – You may also be required to purchase some equipment or use a particular phone service.

Hours – Some companies require you work a minimum number of hours.

Fees – Background check fees are common. Less common are drug testing fees but they can be required.

Here are some names of companies that have in home call center jobs:

Access Marketing

Accolade Support

ACD Direct

All Time Favorites

Alpine Access

Arise (Formerly Willow CSN)


Beyond Marketing


Contact Central


Customer Loyalty Concepts


GE Retail Finance



Kelly Services



Smart Office Solutions




Working Solutions

Be careful about the companies you apply to and don’t get scammed. Scammers like to prey on people looking for work at home jobs. See our post Google Work From Home Scam

Restrictions and Medicare Coverage and Long Term Care

Long Term Acute Care and Medicare

Long term care is an issue everyone worries about and because most of us have not used long term care insurance few of us know all the details of how long term care insurance works. Another part of long term care that most people don’t understand again because they have not had to use it is how it works with Medicare.

First let’s look at how Medicare works. To be eligible for Medicare’s benefits you must be either 65 years old, disabled, or in need of financial assistance. Unlike Social Security however, Medicare payments are not sent to you but sent directly to your doctor or the hospital. These payments are meant to pay for medical services and prescription medications. In some cases you have to pay a premium to help with the costs of Medicare.

If you have Medicare and you find out you are going to need long-term care – will Medicare pay for any of the cost?

If you are unfamiliar with the term long-term care it generally refers to the medical and non medical care for people who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. People who are in assisted living facilities and nursing home are receiving long term care. Also, you can have long term care in your home.

Long-term care can be needed at any time in your life, not just when you are older.

Generally speaking, Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Medicare is supposed to pay only for nursing home and in-home long-term care that is deemed medically necessary. Medicare does not pay for what is known as “custodial care,” the care for daily living.

More specifically, after a hospitalization of at least three days and three nights, Medicare will cover a portion of the cost of care in a skilled nursing facility for up to 100 days. If the care you are receiving is considered custodial (meaning you need help getting dressed, bathing, eating etc. (and 85% of nursing home care is) rather than skilled medical care, then your stay is not covered.

Similarly, Medicare will cover medically necessary home health visits by skilled medical workers, e.g. occupational or speech therapists. However, again Medicare does not cover “custodial care” and typically you must be showing improvement, i.e. demonstrating that the care is rehabilitative.

Insurance companies developed products to provide coverage for the situations Medicare does not cover. Long term care premiums are expensive as insurance premiums go and can be a financial strain for most of us. There are several ways to reduce cost. One way is to use an HSA account to pay your premiums for long term care. Learn more by reading our post Are Long Term Care Premiums HSA Contribution

Top 10 Heart Healthy Foods

There is so much information on the Internet these days regarding the types of foods that people should eat for optimum health. But each article is slanted in a particular direction for particular needs. For example, the best foods for people with diabetes might not be the same as the best foods for people who want to lose weight. Heart healthy foods are yet another category. While you’ll discover that many heart healthy foods overlap with foods that should be eaten to control other conditions, you’ll also learn that the heart has very particular needs. Here are the top ten heart healthy foods.

Salmon is among the top ten because it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 from fatty fishy such as salmon is essential to lower triglyceride levels as well as to increase levels of good HDL. This super-food can also protect the arteries of the heart from plaque build-up and it can also lower a person’s blood pressure. Salmon is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner, and can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways. However you prepare it, it is sure to be the centerpiece of your heart healthy meal.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in ground flaxseed, but this heart healthy food is also rich in fiber. Fiber has been shown for years to help flush bad cholesterol from the body, and when that fiber is found in ground flaxseed, you can enjoy the benefits in many ways. Add it to your cereal each morning or bake it in muffins or other baked goods. You might even enjoy it sprinkled on a salad or mixed into yogurt.

Oatmeal is another fiber powerhouse food, but it brings so many other beneficial nutrients to your breakfast or snack-time. Magnesium, niacin and calcium are just a few of the nutrients that you’ll take in when you eat hot oatmeal. All three will help to lower blood pressure, which is good for the entire cardiovascular system. If you prefer, you can enjoy an oatmeal cookie, although you should limit the amount of sugar you take in each day.

Black beans or kidney beans are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and B-complex vitamins. The B vitamins can protect the body against blood clots as well as hardening of the arteries while it increases good HDL cholesterol. And black or kidney beans are delicious. Enjoy them at every meal, including breakfast, and you’ll quickly start feeling the health benefits. A breakfast burrito is delicious, and these beans go with many lunch and dinner dishes as well.

For snacking, you can’t beat almonds when you are considering the health of your heart. Eat a handful to get the advantages of mono- and polyunsaturated fats—they are good for you. Almonds also contain plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, fiber and vitamin E. If you don’t enjoy almonds, walnuts are just as healthy, and delicious when added to baked goods or salads.

If you want to gain heart health through beverages, the best choice is red wine. One glass consumed on a regular basis can improve your good HDL cholesterol levels. It can also relax you, and anyone knows that easing stress is a major way in which to improve your overall health. So enjoy a glass of red wine with your dinner each evening, and then relax and enjoy a healthier heart.

Tuna is another fish that you should add to your diet if you’re interested in the health of your cardiovascular system. This fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids as well as folate and niacin. It’s an easy fish to eat—simply open a can and dig right in. Or add it to your lunchtime salad. Even better is a grilled tuna steak for dinner. Use your imagination and improve your heart health with this versatile food.

Tofu is the last item on the top-ten list of heart healthy foods. Made from soybeans, water and a curdling agent, this food is high in calcium and protein as well as heart-friendly nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and niacin. It is also one of the most versatile foods around. It can absorb the flavors of spices, marinades or other foods that are blended with it. So dream up your own recipes or look up some tried and true ones to incorporate tofu into your meals.

There are many other heart healthy foods that you can enjoy. Berries such as blueberries and strawberries bring you beta-carotene and lutein, which are heart-protecting antioxidants. Spinach brings you more lutein, plus magnesium and B-complex vitamins. Broccoli and sweet potatoes add beta-carotene and vitamins C and E to your diet. These latter vitamins are excellent at protecting cells from the damage that can come about from free radicals.

As you can see, there are plenty of choices available when it comes to feeding your heart in a healthy way. Pick your favorites and dig in today.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications. We urge you to discuss any current health related problems you are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.

Pat Summers is freelance writer who writes for several health institutions such as Main Line Health. She is also knowledgeable about minimally invasive robotic procedures such as robotic heart surgery

Are There Work From Home Jobs That are Real and BBB Approved

Legit Work at Home Site with BBB That Are Free

There are a few ways that you can legitimately make money from home. Here are some websites that have been checked out with the Better Business Bureau.

Call Centers

Many companies can save money by having people work from home as customer service reps. These are recommended by many work at home sites and highly regarded by the BBB:

Alpline Access.com/en
If you are hired you train online. Competition for jobs is stiff, however, they are one of the most respected in the industry.

Call Center Careers.com
This site lists job at call centers throughout the US. The Featured Employers section is where you will find the highest rated jobs. This is a good way for you to apply for a job with a company that is recommended both by people who currently work there and those who have left it.

Tutoring Companies

For graduates AND current students. You need strong content knowledge in English, Math, Science or Social Studies. You should be able to teach the subjects from the 4th grade level up to 1st year of college.

For people with strong math and reading skills, who are either already certified or have strong experience. You get 6 hours of training on how to use their online tools and interactive instructional program.

This site calls for qualified and certified teachers to teach online. If you are a course author or course writer, you can also work as an author for original educational site content. You need four to six years (or more) work experience (outside of school) in the area of interest being instructed. A BA or 4 years of college is required.

Selling Your Gold or Crafts

You have probably seen the commercials on television but I always wonder how legitimate they are. So here is a list of vendors that are highly-rated by Better Business Bureau:

Empire Gold Buyers and Gold Fellow
Both highly ranked by BBB. Both highly ranked by BBB. They list charts on their websites for what you pay and very clear thorough instructions of how to go about sending in your gold. Important thing: they pay for and insure your shipping. You send them the gold. They value it. Let you know. And you have the option to sell it to them, OR to have your gold returned. Usually gets shipped in the same day.

Your Local Jeweler
If the gold is still part of a piece of jewelry you may get more money from your local jeweler. Plus if you have a good relationship with them you know you are getting a fair price. You can also take your gold to the jeweler FIRST and get their estimate so you know if the online company is offering a good price.

FOR HAND MADE AND VINTAGE…art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks and toys. The vintage items on the site have only one rule to follow: they must be 20 years or older. The site mimics a craft fair in that each seller has their own storefront where they list their goods for a fee of $0.20.

eBay also works as a site to sell your stuff. You can sell handmade crafts, but you can also sell older goods…books, CD’s, clothing, cameras, you name it, you can sell it. It’s fairly simple to do, and a lot of people have found success.

Telecommuting Jobs

tjobs.com – A well organized site that has been in business for fifteen years and lists a variety of partial or full-time work-at-home jobs, including data entry, transcription, writing and other creative types of work. The site, which the BBB rates as A+, offers helpful articles and lets you post your resume for potential employers.

There are tons of scam work at home websites out there. The scams generally fall into a few general categories. See our post Google Work from Home Scam to learn how to spot them.

Google Work From Home Scam

Stay At Home Mom Jobs

If you do a Google search on “work from home,” 99.9 percent of results will be someone trying to scam you, according to the Better Business Bureau. Because the internet is impossible to police it is easy for people to advertise false information.

Why do people fall for these scams? Because they may need money and may be desperate for something to work out. The people writing the advertisements know this and they slant the copy to appeal to the emotional distress of the reader. The rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some of the common scams:

You see a too good to be true story about some stay-at-home mom making $4,000 a week from an at home job. You click on the link and get more details about the story in the form of a “news” website. The story may talk about making money from google adsense or selling products online from a website. The Better Business Bureau said it has received hundreds of complaints from consumers who say they’ve been scammed by Web sites advertising work-from-home opportunities that appear to be affiliated with Google.

After the article, you’ll be offered a free CD-ROM trial to learn how to make the money. If you keep the CD-ROM for more than a few days, you start getting charged — sometimes hundreds of dollars, just to have it in your possession.

Another common one is the Secret Shopper scam. You get a letter or see an ad or e-mail saying you can be a secret shopper, shopping different stores, acquiring different products for a company. You sign up and get a check in the mail from the company. You deposit the check and buy the items. Whatever leftover cash you have, you wire back to the company. The problems is the “company” bounces and you are out the money.

The re-shipper scam is also popular and advertisements frequently appear on Craigslist. You sign up and you receive packages and all you have to do is put new FedEx labels on them. Then you send them out to the addresses indicated. Most reshipping scams promise employees a monthly salary and cash bonuses. But usually communication with the “company” stops just before the first payday, usually about a month after the first package is shipped. Generally the goods you are shipping are purchased with stolen credit cards.

In general watch out for these tactics:

You shouldn’t have to spend money to make money. Don’t pay for information kits, lists or directories or product assembly kits. You can get this information free elsewhere.

Don’t buy into the “secret.” You are usually told a story about someone who made hundreds of thousands with a secret method. Now, they are letting you in on the secret. Who would sell such a lucrative secret? And if they make so much, why do they need money from you?

Don’t believe you’ve been selected for a payment processing position without submitting a resume. Legitimate companies interview potential hires. Most won’t ask for personal information before the interview. If your potential job involves handling money, expect a thorough background check.

Multilevel marketing can be a real business but many scammers just try to recruit new distributors, not sell products. Often, only the victims buy the products. They must sign up others to recover their costs.

All the blogs I surveyed say it is very important to research any opportunity carefully. Always check out what the Better Business Bureau has to say. See if there are any complaints about the company and see what sites the BBB recommends.

If you want to learn about legitimate sites for work at home jobs see our post Are There Work From Home Jobs That are Real and BBB Approved

Financial Wellness Kit

Personal Financial Checklist

Here is your financial wellness kit. Some of the question may not apply to you if you don’t have investments. Just skip over the questions that don’t apply. After answering the questions you should be able to formulate a plan of action to improve your financial situation. Just reading through the questions is a big step.

For some of you the first order of business will simply be figuring out what your monthly expenses are and what is the value of your assets. Don’t worry if it takes awhile to do that. The fact that you are taking that step means you are on your way.

1. Is your net worth growing?

Your net worth is basically your assets (your home, stocks, bonds, IRA’s etc.) minue your liabilities (mortgage, credit card debt, car loan etc.). Your net worth will increase if your assets go up i.e. your savings increase, your stocks go up, your home value increases etc. or your debts go down. That is why financial planners and advisors are always talking about paying off debts.

Declines in net worth are not always a bad thing, your assets may be lower because the market went down or you are paying for college or starting a business. Sometimes you just can not help the decline as you may have lost your job or quit working to take of a child or relative.

2. How are your ratios?

Look at your debt-to-income ratio, your savings rate and emergency funds.

Financial planners say younger people should dedicate no more than 30 percent of gross income to pay for all debt (car payments, mortgage, student loans, revolving debts).

As for savings, everyone should aim to save 15 percent of their salaries, while empty-nesters preparing for retirement should try to save 20 to 25 percent. Understandably, you may miss these targets when you are struggling to pay for your children’s college or saving for a home (especially on the coasts) or have a financial disaster like loss of job or serioius illness in the family. Meanwhile, your emergency fund should contain about six months of expenses in cash, while retirees should set aside one year’s worth of fixed expenses.

3. Are you spending more than you earn?

Some people use automated tracking systems like Quicken, Mint.com, Wesabe.com or YouNeedABudget.com. Most people don’t do it though and so they never realize what is going on in terms of spending. Even if you just do it with pencil and paper – you need to find a way to show yourself what your expenses are each month.

4. What has changed in your life in the last year?

Big life events can disrupt even the best strategies. Getting married, having a child or even becoming eligible for Social Security or Medicare will require that you make many financial decisions. You want to ask yourself what has changed in my life that might require me to makes changes in my financial plan.

5. Do you have enough insurance?

Evaluating the costs and amounts of your homeowners’, renters’ and auto insurance policies should be an annual or biannual exercise. Consider raising your deductibles because that can lower your premiums. Make sure you have enough life insurance and if at all possible disability insurance. A good rule of thumb: about 20 times salary for life insurance (for one or both spouses) minus any other resources you may have.

6. Do you need to make any changes to your estate plan?

Are your beneficiaries you have named — on things like your retirement accounts or your life insurance policies — up to date.

Estate planning documents like wills and trusts also need to be reviewed and possibly updated.

Also make sure your advance health care directives and health care proxies or medical powers of attorney are in place.

7. How are you sleeping?

If you have investments are you comfortable with your level? Because the stock market has been so crazy many financial planners say consider asking whether you can meet your goals with fewer risky investments like stocks.

If you are in severe financial distress don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. It has happened to so many of us and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not worth losing sleep and days of your life worrying about it. See our post What are the Pros and Cons of a Debt Reduction Plan

8. Have your outlook or goals changed? Are you happy?

At its core, financial planning is not simply about money. It is about finding the best way to finance what you want out of life.
What could you do to be happier and better off a year from now.

If debt is really getting you down see our postHow To Defeat The Debt Monster

What is a Financial Wellness Kit

Financial Health Issues

Suze Orman once wrote: “In our culture, it’s okay to talk about therapy we’ve gone through, marital problems we’ve had, our deepest intimate secrets, but telling the truth about money, confessing our worries to our children, our parents, our friends, just isn’t done. Money is our secret both in private and in public.”

Money is an emotionally charged issue for most of us. For those of us who are not financially successful there is so much shame in admitting our mistakes or exposing our financial status, or admitting to others that financial matters are out of control.

We are not alone in our problems with money. The issue of keeping your finances under control is so important that many companies have begun financial wellness programs for their employees. Here are some of the statistics that a survey of companies revealed regarding employees and concerns over money:

• 90% of the nearly 128 million workers in the US have
difficulty managing their money and are not consistently
saving for retirement.

• Up to 50% admit to wasting 21 hours per month while
on the job dealing with personal money matters.

• Two–thirds say “They have trouble paying their
bills on time and worry about money”.

• Employees regard financial stress as their
number one concern, 5 times greater
than personal health.

Source: National Institute of Personal Finance
Employee Education

So many of us turn to the online sources where we may remain anonymous. This is what I did and I found some helpful information on what you need to look at to figure out what shape your finances are in and how to go about restoring them to better health.

These are questions a financial planner would ask their clients. Many financial planners call these sets of questions – A Financial Wellness Kit. See our post Financial Wellness Kit so you can give yourself a financial wellness checkup and start making your way toward better financial health and as a result better physical health too. You are not alone and there is no reason to be ashamed of anything.