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  • Archive for August, 2008

    Healthier and Wiser: You and Your Family

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
    Healthier and Wiser


    Many people who have health insurance obtain it through an employer. However, there may be times in your life when you are without coverage, facing coverage choices or grappling with retirement health issues. The “Healthier and Wiser” series will address some of the main health care coverage issues women encounter at different stages of their lives. It will point you in the direction of where to go to find more information. It is not intended as legal advice. You can check out the “Healthier and Wiser” series on Wednesdays.

    This Week: You and Your Family

    1. What are your rights to health care coverage through your husband’s job if you and your husband separate or divorce? If your husband dies? What are your children’s or step-children’s rights in these cases?
    • In general, a divorce or the death of the spouse with the plan qualifies you under COBRA to remain covered under the plan for up to 36 months, but your own circumstances could lengthen or shorten this period. Children covered under the plan may be able to retain coverage even longer in the event of a divorce. If you are getting a divorce or need to enforce child support, you should also ask your attorney about filing a qualified medical support order (QMSO). A QMSO can be used to require employer-sponsored group health plans to extend health care coverage to the children of a parent/employee who is divorced, separated, or never married when ordered to do so by state authorities.

    2. Can you or your family qualify for health care coverage through the military if one of you served and was honorably discharged even though s/he did not serve a full 20-year career?

    • Depending on your family’s income, you and your family may be eligible for health care coverage through the military, even if the one who served did not serve a full career. You should contact your local Veteran’s Affairs office if you think you might qualify; their phone number and address is in your telephone directory in the federal government section, or go to US Department of Veterans Affairs website to find the office nearest you.

    In Memoriam: Stephanie Tubbs Jones

    Tuesday, August 26th, 2008


    WISER mourns the recent passing of our dear friend and colleague, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Jones’ was the first African American woman to represent Ohio in Congress. She made a name for herself as an outspoken, passionate politician who frequently advocated for lower and middle income women during her five terms in Congress. This past February, Jones’ joined forces with WISER during the release of WISER’s publication “The Female Factor 2008: Why Women Are at Greater Financial Risk in Retirement and How Annuities Can Help.” Stephanie Tubbs Jones joined fellow congressmen and women as well as WISER president Cindy Hounsell, both pictured left, in calling for public action to mitigate the real risk of poverty that American women face in retirement. She is remembered not only for her political accomplishments, but for her incredible warmth and sense of humor. She will be greatly missed.

    Perfumes, Pedicures, Pricey Dinners: Are They in Your Budget?

    Thursday, August 21st, 2008

    “If women put the average amount of money they spent on monthly manicure-pedicures ($50) into an interest-bearing retirement account every year for 10 years, they would have almost $10,000 saved.”

    Flipping through any women’s magazine, you are sure to find countless advertisements for make-up, hair products, and expensive perfume that will make him fall for you before you say hello. A glance at the tabloids, a night in front of the television, even an innocent trip to the grocery store can encourage you to indulge in all those little luxuries that make you feel beautiful, whether it’s a manicure, an eyelash curler, new make-up, or that $30 bottle of lotion that promises to make your skin look young forever. The truth is that those advertisements and commercials fail to highlight one very important thing about these products: they cost money, and when you are buying these products that are supposed to make you feel better, look younger, and snag the guy of your dreams, you are spending your hard-earned money that could be used for better purposes, such as….you guessed it, saving for retirement.

    According to a YWCA report mentioned in a Los Angeles Times article, Americans spend around $7 billion a year at cosmetics, beauty supply, and perfume stores. Moreover, one of the factoids in the report noted that women on average spend $50 a month on manicures and pedicures. If they put this money into an interest-bearing retirement account every year for 10 years, they would be able to accumulate approximately $10,000. To put this number in perspective, that would almost pay for one year of college at a state university, or one semester at a private university.

    This is not to say that you should never get a pedicure again, or that you should stop buying make-up, perfume, soap (if nothing else, please leave soap on your shopping list!). However, budget your money, and keep track of where it goes. Is it typical for you to spend your entire monthly paycheck? Can you save money by eating out less, or forgoing a new pair of shoes? Can you cut expenses by dealing with the mediocre office coffee instead of picking up an extra-large non-fat French vanilla latte? To learn more about budgeting your money and how to save, visit the Saving and Investing portion of WISER’s website. Also, remember two things: you need your money in retirement more than your favorite make-up company needs it now. And the guy of your dreams? He probably can’t tell the difference between an $80 bottle of perfume and a $10 bottle of body spray.

    WISER

    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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