Complete Retirement Survival Guide, 2nd Edition
Peter J. Strauss, Esq., and Nancy M. Lederman
on File, ISBN: 0816048045; $18.95 softcover; 420 pages
by Mitchell Sorkin
I was delighted when Peter Strauss and Nancy Lederman
produced a guide from their earlier publication, The Elder
Law Handbook. As a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS),
I’ve been involved in elder-care planning on many levels
and worked with Peter Strauss on several elder-care cases.
Advisors need quick answers and have relied
on such resources as the Master Tax Guide and the Tax
Facts. The Retirement Survival Guide is not only a
new must-read reference for all financial planners, it is
also a great tool to give to individuals planning for retirement.
The book takes a reader through everything
about retirement and elder-care planning, including health-care
costs and needs, long-term care financing, lifetime planning,
gifts, estate and income tax, employment and benefits issues,
housing, and how and where to get help. Each chapter is
filled with pertinent questions and answers.
The book does an excellent job explaining
the Medicare and Medicaid benefits and their limitations,
and even includes a pro forma New York State health-care
The book helps readers negotiate the entire
Medicare maze, starting with the eligibility requirements
of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical insurance).
It also explains prescription drug benefits, deductibles,
and copayments. How to appeal a Medicare decision is discussed
step by step. Another chapter explains the long-term care
features of Medicare, followed by the most sought-after
information regarding Medicaid and long-term care. The questions
of how much someone can have or give away, and the effect
of these gifts on Medicaid eligibility, are addressed in
detail. This is a hot topic because most older individuals
want to protect their assets and pass them to their children.
The most important questions concerning one’s home
and spousal assets are reviewed. In addition, the guide
explains the type of long-term care insurance coverage now
available and how to evaluate the insurance companies that
offer this fast-growing form of insurance.
Because the majority of most older Americans’
net worth lies in their home, the guidebook conveniently
explains how to use reverse mortgages to “unlock”
that value. The chapter on wills explains estate planning,
bequests to charities, burial instructions, and what happens
when someone dies without a will. Many people have pensions,
IRAs, and annuities that they will use in their later years
to provide cash flow. Questions and answers concerning distributions,
taxability, and eligibility are reviewed and explained.
The appendices provide a complete listing
of organizations and state agencies throughout the United
States, including addresses and phone numbers, and a wonderful
index to quickly find topics covered in the book.
Mitchell Sorkin, MBA (Tax), CPA,
PFS, is a member of the NYSSCPA’s International