Danielle blew me away with her knowledge of retirement planning and the medical needs our parents and we will soon face as we enter retirement. I'll be 50 this year. Thinking about my medical needs in 15 years wasn't on my radar, but Danielle says it should be.
Danielle Roberts and Boomer Benefits help people and families to plan and transition into their retirement years. Many of us fail to plan for our medical needs in our retirement years putting stress on the entire family. Danielle shares a little of wisdom and several steps to make the transition much less stressful and smooth. Retirement doesn’t have to be scary or difficult, and a little wisdom from a mentor really helps.
Discover more about Danielle Roberts and Boomer Benefits at https://www.boomerbenefits.com
For a complimentary copy of The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose. and the Creating Millionaire Families eBook, visit themillionairechoice.com.
Retirement Benefits Talk With Danielle Roberts, Boomer Benefits
Announcer: Is money slipping through your fingers. Are you missing your opportunity to become a millionaire? Welcome to the millionaire choice where we talk to millionaires and future millionaires about how to build wealth and what to do with it once you have it. We're here to help you do two things, make your millionaire choice and create your own millionaire plan. Here's your host, speaker, wealth coach, and author of The Millionaire Choice. He made his choice, and he created his millionaire plan at age 25; now it's your turn. Welcome your host, Tony Bradshaw.
Tony: Well, hello again, and welcome back to the millionaire choice show today. I have on the show, Danielle Roberts, with boomer benefits, and I'm excited to have Danielle on the show because she's going to help us learn a little bit about transitioning into our later years around insurance, Medicare, and those kinds of things, as well as if you're like me and have some older parents who are moving into those years, it's going to be really good for you to learn about those things and the insurance and how to help your parents out and migrate them into the, you know, the golden years and not the worst years of their life. Danielle, thanks for coming on the show.
Danielle: My pleasure. I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Tony: Yeah. So I'm really excited that the little bit of time I've been able to spend talking with you about this whole topic of insurance. I think a lot of times, uh, you know, in the financial world, everybody's guilty of this, right, is you kind of stumble along through your life and you make the mistakes and make the mistakes, and you just keep making mistakes financially. Probably some of the worst mistakes I think you could make is to be 65 years old. Ready to quit working, ready to retire, and just be in a real mess and not be prepared for that. And one of the great things you do is obviously help people get prepared for that. Talk to us a little bit about some of the big mistakes you've seen, um, that people have made in those pitfalls as they get ready for that.
Danielle: Yeah, you're right. If people put it off until the last minute, and we've certainly seen them, you know, the ones that call us the day before they're turning 65 and they know absolutely nothing, and they need the crash course, we can certainly help them with that. But it's better the earlier you learn. I often like to say that there should be a mandatory class at 50. That every American must go through so that they can have enough time to prepare for everything they didn't know about Medicare. Um, one of the most common misconceptions is that Medicare is free. And of course, people believe this because their whole working lives, they have deductions being pulled out of their paychecks. FICA deductions for social security and Medicare. And they then assume that because they've paid those deductions when they get to age 65, Medicare will be free and it will cover a hundred percent of everything. And that really couldn't be further than the truth. Medicare does have one part that will cost you nothing at 65 because of the taxes that you've paid. But there is a whole other part which is very necessary if Medicare is going to be your primary insurance that you'll pay for out of pocket. And then there's also things that you have to add on like supplemental and drug coverage to pay for all the things that Medicare doesn't. So someone that is turning 65, a married couple, you know, they may end up spending anywhere from 300 to $500 a month between them for both their Medicare benefits and their supplemental and drug products. And if you didn't plan for that earlier with your financial planner, you might learn that at 65 and say, "Oh wait, I need to keep working for another five or ten years here, because this was not in my budget for retirement." I actually get some really funny emails and posts about this from people with very colorful language, explaining how they feel about the federal government after being surprised by the fact that Medicare isn't free. So the sooner that you can know that upfront and plan for those healthcare dollars that you're going to need in retirement, it really is the better.
Tony: Yeah. And I've heard, I don't know if this is true. Um, I've heard that you can plan on about $300,000 in medical insurance expenses during
your retirement years.
Danielle: Yeah, that's right. That came from a study that Fidelity put out. And I think the surprising part that people don't realize why it's so expensive is that something Medicare doesn't cover as longterm care. So in addition to all the money you need just for medical and retirement, you also, if, if you or your spouse at some point, the chances are that at least one of you will need a stay in an assisted living or may need some in-home support someday with keeping on living independently. Um, none of those things are paid for by Medicare, and Medicare also doesn't cover dental vision or hearing. So they computed just what all those things might potentially cost the average couple turning 65. And that was the number that came out. It's pretty astonishing.
Tony: Yeah, it is shocking because when you look at the American savings rate and how much wealth people have actually created a $300,000 is way more than most people have when they retire. And it's not enough. And even if they did have it, it's not enough. So if it all goes into the insurance, it's just a miserable place to be. You also mentioned the number 50, and you talked about that is when people should start looking at that. Why 50 versus some other age.
Danielle: I guess, I feel like when someone turns 50, it's sort of a milestone birthday, and the horizon begins to open up. You're, you're looking out at what's coming at you, and you realize that you're closer to retirement than you were when you first started your work journey. And now is the time that they start to get a little more serious about, "Hey, you know, I'm not going to be able to continue working forever." A lot of them won't want to work forever and are looking forward to being retired. Some of them think they're going to retire at 62 because, of course, they can get social security that early, although it greatly reduces their benefit. And so I want people to know about this before. You know, they don't have enough time to make a difference in what they put away. We tell people, start looking at learning how Medicare works when you're 64 or 64 and a half, give yourself six to 12 months to kind of learn how things function and that way you'll be prepared to make the decisions that you need to make about what type of supplemental coverage to purchase or whether or not you're going to need drug coverage. And you can learn that piece at 64, but at 64, it's really kind of too late to start saving for the $300,000 that you'll need in retirement. And you don't want to be in a position where you have to rob Peter to pay Paul because you're choosing between food and rent. And that is something that if you find out that Medicare isn't free and that there's going to be some expenses to you and you learn that when you're 50, you still have enough time to really buckle down and make a difference to how comfortable you're going to be in terms of your lifestyle and affording healthcare when you retire.
Tony: Yeah. And I think, uh, you know, just speaking from experience, uh, my mother passed away from cancer. It's been, uh, I guess four years ago, but she didn't even know she had cancer. Found out, yeah found out when she had already retired. And so she was retired. She was staying at home, mostly helping with grandkids and, and was on the insurance and Medicare insurance and things like that, paying all that. And I think the Aflac or some kind of supplemental program that she had had, and, yeah, found out she had cancer in August and then passed away and was buried in November. So very quick. Yeah, by contrast, my mother-in-law, she also in retirement age, she passed away at age 70. My mother, my mother, was 67. The same year, by the way. And my mother-in-law spent about a year and a half fighting cancer a year and a half, two years. But by contrast, my dad and my father-in-law both in their seventies, still alive, still working. Well, my father-in-law's not, but my, my dad is working.
Tony: But he's not really, I don't know that he's doing anything with the insurance and stuff. I mean, he's still a full-time guy, 70 hours a week. He's one of those old school guys that just, he gets, that's what his motivation is. Get up there to work every day.
Danielle: Wants to work.
Tony: He doesn't know anything else. And you know, that's what he does. But I'm thinking about those things. He can't do that forever.
Tony: Like it's just not going to happen. And, you know, he wasn't taught by anybody to, you know, manage his finances or, you know, do investment or retirement thing. So I'm going to have to be the one to step in and help him out. You know, there's not another family member to support him. I haven't thought about those things. You know, I would have loved to have, you know, started thinking about those things with my parents back when they were probably in their fifties and helping them plan for that. I just wasn't in a place to do that. How would you advise somebody like me, as you know, they've got parents that are getting into those elderly years and helping to, you know, just bring the family tighter together to make sure everything's kind of shored up. What're some of your best advice for that?
Danielle: Yeah, it's really good to sit down and have a, just a frank conversation with your parent. Um, sometimes that can feel really uncomfortable because maybe you haven't discussed finance with your parents before, but I think an easy way to lead into that for any of your listeners would be to say, "I heard this podcast the other day, they talked about Medicare and got into some of the things about social security and what all this is going to cost someday. And I just wanted to make sure that you have the support that you need, mom or dad. For preparing for some of those things, uh, it sounded like some of that is really confusing stuff. Have you made plans for how you're going to afford healthcare and retirement? Is there anything I can do to help?" You know, just trying to open up that conversation in a nonthreatening way. You will find some parents probably are going to be more likely to discuss it than others. But I think the question needs to be asked because sometimes people don't plan for this stuff at all. And in addition to Medicare, there's a million questions about social security. And when do I take it? And how much is it going to be and how long will it last me and all of those things can be difficult to handle on your own. And you may not understand all of it. And so if you can, um, help your parents, uh, if for someone that's our age and you're helping a parent age into that you're a little more familiar with how insurance works because you're in the thick of it with your own coverage and you can translate that into, "Okay. So let's go, Mom and Dad, and see if we can find a course that we can take that will teach us a little bit." Or, "Hey, I picked up this book about Medicare and stuff that's really good. I thought it would be helpful for you." All of those things are ways that you can lend support without prying or making them feel like you want to know how much it's going to be leftover for you. I think people worry about that sometimes and asking their parents that some of the times their parents will take that the wrong way. And I think it all goes about how you ask the question. So that's a good way to phrase it. And I have really found in my business that a lot of the beneficiaries that work with are very open to having their adult kids on the phone call with us. Sometimes they feel more comfortable actually talking with an insurance agent or broker like us to learn those things when they do have their kids on the phone. And. If you can provide them just that little bit of relief to have another set of eyes looking at this and knowing, and you can also approach it from the aspect of, uh, you want to make sure that you follow their wishes. "What if there comes a time, mom, dad, when you aren't able to make a decision on your own, and if that time ever comes, I want to know what your wishes are, and I want to be able to carry those out. So have you given any thought to that?" And start the conversation that way. I think it's a good way to approach it.
Tony: Oh, that's very helpful. And as I'm sitting here listening to you, I'm talking about these people, like they're 50 years old in the future and I actually turned 50 this year.
Danielle: And so real for you and me.
Tony: I should be listening to Danielle here, you know, getting ready. My kids are going to be the ones who are going to be having these conversations with me before too long.
Danielle: Yeah, that's right.
Tony: Yeah, my oldest, I have six children, and, uh, my oldest is 20 in college right now. So I'm trying to mentor them up properly with finances, but, uh, this insurance thing, it's, it's sad, but a lot of times where we just deal with the problems when they surface, and I'm a firm believer in trying to get out ahead of the problems and solve them. And I think this insurance thing, especially the boomer benefits and the retirement age stuff, you got to stay out in front of it. To really be successful with it. It's not one of those problems that you can try to solve. You know, when it, when it happens, when you're there in the moment, that's like the worst time to be dealing with the insurance issues. Now, um, question, do you have a blueprint or anything, you know, for family planning? Like that's what went through my head as you're talking, I'm like, cause I'm, I'm very much a, a roadmap kind of structure guy. Yeah. What would, what would that roadmap or that plan look like for somebody like me to help walk their parents through those financial issues? At age 50, what should be the steps to actually take care of? Do you have a blueprint for something like that?
Danielle: And I can recommend a really great book. It's a friend of mine. Her name is Cameron Huddleston, and she has written a book that is called mom, dad, we need to talk. And she describes in the book how, when her mom turned 65, there had been some memory issues. And then there was this particular moment when they were having a conversation, and it became very clear to her that her mom didn't remember something that happened just five minutes ago. She just, in the nick of time, while her mom was still semi with it, she was able to go and meet with an elder law attorney. And have her mom do the power of attorney paperwork and the amount of stress that, that itself takes off you as a child, dealing with a parent that has Alzheimer's just to have that power of attorney to be able to make decisions for them when you're not ready. And so in the book, she walks you through all of the things that you should be thinking about. She talks about what happens if you don't have certain documents in place, the different types of questions that you do need to go over with your parents, and gives you some tools for doing that. I had her on my YouTube channel, and she was phenomenal. And I really thought the book that she put together was excellent. So that might be a good resource. If somebody really wants to know, like what, what do we start with? And that's also something that you can make an appointment with an elder law attorney for. So if you really don't know where to begin, find a good elder law attorney in your area or in your parent's home area, make an appointment, go sit down with them. "Hey, what are the things we need to be thinking about now? When mom is getting ready to turn 65 or dad's getting ready. My parents are getting ready that... that are going... do we need to put in place so that in five years, ten years, 15 years if it's not as easy for them to make these kinds of decisions, you know, they're going to have my help." Or if you have siblings, maybe you have a family meeting and sit down and decide how you're going to have that appointment. Um, but that's a really another good way to go about it. And they'll have, of course, a protocol that they'll walk you through to make all those decisions.
Tony: Yeah, those are great resources. I think it's important to seek those out. I mean, I'm really focused on building wealth. That's been my focus for a while, and, you know, raising kids and paying for college, I guess paying for college is not really focused on building wealth for me, but hopefully for setting my kids up for success. But I think just pausing and having those kinds of things in your financial plan, or, you know, as I call it your millionaire plan. That are insurance-related that are not, you know, forgive my phraseology here, but they're not that sexy in the financial plan. It's really the best way to look at that is really just protecting whatever wealth you've built or are trying to build. And I think a lot of times we don't put enough thought into that protection aspect of the wealth that we have. Whether it's the retirement benefits or, you know, the disability benefits, any of those kinds of things that go along with it are just so important.
Danielle: Yeah. There can be a tremendous loss of wealth. If you don't have the right documents set up and you don't have a plan for that with your parents, and for yourself, um, you want to think about it for yourself and your own kids as well. Um, that. That you don't ever want to be in a position where you have to rely on a court to give you a judgment that you can help your own family member with some of this, and so just a little bit of preplanning could go a long way.
Tony: Yeah. So when you say that you kind of made children down my spine a little bit, because I just envision these kinds of horror stories. When you said you don't really want the court to be addressing these things are going through that. Do you have a horror story that you'd share with us?
Danielle: Yeah. In fact, and the example that, um, Cameron shared with me about her mom, I had an opportunity to visit with her and really get into the nitty-gritty of the story at a conference to financial conference. I went to, um, late last year and, uh, you know, she shared a friend of hers lived further away from his dad. Wasn't there an in touch enough to realize just how far into dementia his father had gotten. And he did have to go to court. It took him almost a year to get approved as the guardian for his own father so that he could help his dad pay his bills. By the time he walked into it, it was progressed to the point where there were bills that hadn't been taken care of. And then there were, you know, overdue notices because he wasn't able to manage his own financial affairs any longer. This man, he couldn't even sit down and just start writing checks to help his dad. He had to go to court and get that taken care of. And so that whole year, while he was waiting to get approved as the guardian, he was paying all of his father's bills out of his own personal checking account paying for all that, hoping that there would be money left over at the end that he'd be able to get, to reimburse himself, of course. Um, and also have enough leftover to take care of his dad's longterm care needs. And so when he finally did get the guardianship, that was certainly a relief, but now he still has to go to court at least once a year, and in front of a judge provide evidence that he's being a good steward of his father's finances. So it literally is, it is, it's spine chilling to think about that you would have the government so messed up in your own personal affairs between you and your parents and making sure that the best things are being done for them. You can just save so much hurt and heartache and financial distress by taking care of it. Sooner than rather than later, if you don't live near your parents, make sure that you're having regular conversations with them and that you're can evaluate, um, how they're doing. But also sometimes it might be even something a lot more simple. It might not even be that someone is having memory loss, but it could just be that. They don't understand. So they make a poor choice with their Medicare, for example, and they're embarrassed at having done that. They don't want to tell their kids that they can't handle this, or they don't understand anymore. And they enroll in coverage where they can't see their doctor, or they find out they have cancer, but they can't get to the best hospital in Texas for cancer because they chose a plan that has a network. And that hospital is not in it. And those are all things that are very easy mistakes to make. If you don't work with a broker or have someone, you know, helping you like an adult child or a spouse that really is insurance savvy, to make sure that you make good choices about that. Um, sometimes people will try to do it on their own because they're just afraid to ask, and that too can also have, uh, consequences.
Tony: Yeah, that is scary. If you come up with one of those episodes, you know, the one thing would be the problem would be the insurance not covering it. And then as you, as we talked about, it's going to come out of your pocket. Like if the insurance doesn't do it.
Tony: It's coming out of your pocket, and it doesn't take the people that I've talked to or counseled, it doesn't take a whole lot. Like you run out of the insurance money. If you don't have the right policy, you run out of money pretty fast. Yeah. That is a horror story. I think anything to have to do with courts. I have, I get chills when I just have to go to court over speeding tickets. Not that I get too many of those. I haven't had too many in a while.
Danielle: You know, it really just doesn't take very much at all. That was one of the things that I really learned about the process is that an appointment or two with a good elder law attorney and a couple of documents, those things don't take power away from your parents and the here and now. It's just a backup so that if there comes a point that they are in an accident or end up in a coma even long before they reach any age-related memory loss, you know, you don't have to do this right when someone turns 65, and you're worried about their mental health as they grow older. You can do this a lot earlier in life with your parents. I've already done all of those documents with my parents. Um, and they are in their mid-sixties right now. And so, uh, they make all of their own decisions, but when the time comes, if it ever does that, they're not capable of doing those on their own. Uh, I have copies, they have copies, their attorney has copies, and I know this from dealing with Medicare beneficiaries. My agency has a number of clients in their eighties and nineties who either don't have adult children or the children are far away, and they're not very close with them. There's a lot of situations where I can see just how much they rely on our agency with the phone calls that they make to us and the questions. And so it's very evident that not everybody has someone to rely on to help them with that information. And you never want to put them in that situation. You want that help to be there. Those contacts that you set up ahead of time for your parents or for yourself if you're a little older and listening to this call, can do you a world of good later on.
Tony: So for the listeners, a lot of times it goes we're into this stuff all the time. We kind of gloss over these terms, and let's take a minute and just explain a few of those terms. I think the one I would love for you to kind of explain for the audience is a power of attorney. What exactly is that document?
Danielle: Yeah. So if you, if you work with an attorney to set up what they call a "power of attorney," there's a "durable power of attorney," there's "power of attorney for healthcare." What this document says is that in the event that you are incapacitated and cannot make your own financial decisions or a court deems you to be that way. Um, then the person that you name to handle your financial affairs and, or handle your healthcare affairs is you can set one of your children. You can set up a backup person. If you want to, it can be, it doesn't have to be a child. It could be a family member or your friend. And this is a document that is really important. For instance, if, if you were to call me and you were wanting to help your dad, and I don't know your dad, and I'm trying to assist you with making healthcare decisions for him, I can't even speak with you about his insurance, unless you first provide me as the broker of that power of attorney. And when they enroll in certain plans, you have to send a copy of that power of attorney, um, on in with the application. So that the insurance company that you're dealing with knows that you have been appointed by your parents to handle those affairs for you. These are documents that you could even do. I think you can go to legal zoom and probably download a version of these documents and do them yourself. Although, uh, I think it's probably better to visit with someone locally that really knows what they're doing, but they're not hard. They're not particularly long documents or usually only a page or two, but the power that they hold in order to make those decisions is really important. You know, if you needed to call Medicare about something with your parent and you didn't have that on file, they won't speak to you at all. Even if that's really your parent. They have no way of knowing that. And so then things can't get done. They can't update their drug plan. They can't make changes from one plan to another because you don't have the authority to sign off on documents for them. And so those two are the super important ones that you want to. Get in place, but there are other things like your living will resuscitation orders. Usually, a good attorney will put together a whole packet of those forms for you—that sort of covers every scenario. You can usually take care of those. And just one or two appointments.
Tony: Yeah, and ballpark was how much would it cost for somebody to get those documents put in place?
Danielle: I think if you were probably meeting with an attorney, it might cost you several hundred dollars, maybe up to a thousand dollars, depending on which type of attorney you meet with and where you live and what the going rate for those services are. Um, but boy, the comparison of that cost, you know, let's say you have to spend five, six, $700 on this compared to what it would cost you to go to court and try to go for nine to 10 months, getting those things approved. And what if you don't live where your parent does, and you're having to fly back and forth to those court appointments, the amount of money that you could spend in the meantime could be substantial.
Tony: Yeah, into the thousands for sure. Fortunately. Our family is all in Nashville, Tennessee. So I'll have to drive about 20 minutes to get to my dad.
Danielle: That's good.
Tony: Yeah. Yeah. But you know, I'm just sharing a little bit of transparency and vulnerability here. You know, we did not put those kinds of documents in place. My mom was, you know, we thought she was healthy. And as I mentioned, we were dealing with my mother in law that passed away from cancer in 2016 in July. And then. I found out my mother had cancer in August, and she was buried in November, and she really didn't. She didn't pass away from cancer. She passed away from complications from cancer. She actually had diabetes slipped into a diabetic coma and never woke up from that. And so that was what ultimately, you know, did her in. But, uh, you know, my dad was there. He was 70 years - was actually at the time, he was probably about 66 when she passed away. So he took care of all that, but if he hadn't been there, it probably would have been a real nightmare for us, my sister and I, since we didn't have those documents in place.
Danielle: Yeah, that's right.
Tony: Yeah, you're giving me chills now. I'm like, I need to go down and see my dad right now.
Danielle: It's a good thing to get on the horn with them about and see if you can't line up an appointment to see what he has in place and just get those taken care of.
Tony: Yeah. So if somebody's joining up with you, your insurance advisor, and so instead of a, like a financial advisor, you're an insurance advisor. And so if somebody engages with you, walk us through what that process might look like, whether they engage with you or someone else in your expertise, field of expertise.
Danielle: Yeah. So usually people will work out, uh, reach out to Medicare insurance broker, right around age 64. You're eligible for Medicare at 65, regardless of whether or not you are taking social security benefits yet. And so if you're planning to retire at 65, you need to start thinking about Medicare and how it's going to work and what the moving parts do. At the latest, we tell them to contact us about three months before they turn 65. That's when their initial enrollment period for Medicare begins. And so the process that we have is we walk them through some Medicare education first, and we just really show the person how Medicare works, what the four parts are, what they cover, what they cost, what they don't cover so that you can be aware of what type of supplemental products you may need talking about things like dental, vision and hearing expenses, which Medicare doesn't cover. Longterm care. We do a lot of education with that client upfront so that they really understand how their government benefits work first. And then when their Medicare card arrives, that's when we get into, "okay, let's hit up our quote engine and Mr. Jones, you indicated that you think you prefer a Medicare supplement over an advantage plan. Let me pull lists of plans in your area. And let's just start taking a look at some of the prices and show you what these cover, and does that seem like that's going to work for you?" We often will contact their doctor's offices for them on their behalf to find out which plans that their doctors participate in. We'll get a medication list so that we can help them enroll in a drug plan. That's going to cover their most important medications. And when you use a broker. Uh, you can do all of that in one place with one person. So they'll work with one person on my team. Let's say they're in Pennsylvania. Connect them with one of my agents in Pennsylvania who knows all of those plans and is familiar with them. And we worked through that process of education, plan selection, and then service. So after we get all the policies set up and they're good to go, we provide the support on the backend, and that's an important piece that a lot of people don't know about. It's very common for Medicare to deny claims because they have something wrong in their database. They either think you're still working and they're paying secondary, or they didn't get the update that you switched insurance plans. And so if you're somebody in your, at home and, and you're 68 years old, and then I'll slew of Medicare denials come in your mailbox, you're not going to be sure about where do you go to get those solved? Do you call your doctor? Did they submit the bill wrong? Can you call Medicare and find out, "Hey, why did you deny these? What do I do?" When you work with a broker, that's the broker's job. And so you call your broker and say, "Hey, this happened, what do I do?" You would fax that into us. We would take a look and see what's going on, get to the bottom of it, and then advise you how to fix it. Those are all the things that working with a broker can provide you. Whereas if you try to do this on your own, you'd be set calling one insurance company at a time, finding out what products they offer, getting quotes. And on the back end, you wouldn't have anyone do those things for you. Cause an insurance company's customer service doesn't do that. So the benefits to working with a broker, an agent on Medicare, is just like it would be on auto insurance where you say, shop my rates, let me know what's going to be the best plan for me. Here's what I want. And the broker comes back to you with suitable products that would fit that it doesn't cost you anything to work with a broker, but it really does benefit you so that you don't have to be making multiple phone calls just to get the basics that you need.
Tony: Yeah. And just for clarity, you said something was very powerful, though. It doesn't cost you anything to work with a broker. And so that means your service is actually free.
Danielle: Yeah, that's right. And people wonder how could that possibly be? And it's because the insurance company that you ultimately choose compensates the broker for bringing you into their fault as a client. A big broker, like us, we'll work with more than 30 carriers in every state. So that we can be unbiased and recommend a plan that's gonna work best for you, and we can hunt down the plans that give you the best, most cost-effective money for you.
Tony: Yeah. And so clarity there, just to restate it, you work with 30 different insurance providers to find the best fit for the client.
Tony: And so, yeah. And best price, best fit.
Danielle: That's right. And, you know, you'll have people that will call and be like, "You know, I'm a blue cross person. I've had my insurance at Blue Cross for 40 years. I want a Blue Cross Medicare supplement." Well, okay. We could do that. But at the same time, we can also show you that, uh, maybe United healthcare or Humana or Cigna, or Mutual of Omaha, has exactly the same plan for $10 less a month. At least that information can be provided to you so that you can make a decision on which carrier and which plan is really going to be best. But even before that, there's multiple options with Medicare. You can do a Medicare supplement. You can do an advantage plan. You can do a drug plan separately, or you can roll that into an advantage plan. You can't have both an advantage plan and a supplement. And that is really confusing for people because they get tons of mail. When they're getting ready to turn 65, all these insurance companies soliciting them. And I like to come in and say, "Okay, you see this stack of mail? We're just going to take that to the side. Let me show you first how your regular benefits work. Let's get a handle, you know until you feel solid about how your Medicare works. Now, let me walk you through these two main routes that you can go." And we kind of ask some questions that get us to help us get a feel for which kind of insurance consumer are they. Do they like to spend a little more money upfront and have everything covered on the back end or do they prefer to kind of pay as they go because they're really healthy and they'd rather have something less expensive now, and then pay later a little more when they have the healthcare services? Um, those are the kinds of the things that we're getting to the bottom of. And then once we know which route you're headed, then we can go into our fancy quote engine and pull all those numbers that we can get for you in one place. And we can even research things like which company had the highest rate increases last year, who has the best financial ratings, all the type of things that a broker would do for you that you wouldn't know how to do for yourself.
Tony: Yeah, as you're talking about all that. It's like, Oh man, that sounds like a lot of easy ways to get confused and lost in the whole process. And it kind of reminds me of like, when you first go to buy a new car, and you've got all these different options, you don't know, like, it's just like, please, I just want a car. I don't want like to have to figure out all these different things, bells, and whistles. It seems like from the car perspective, the... the newer, the cars are now the more bells and whistles you have to pick from.
Danelle: So true.
Tony: Back in the old day, it was like power windows or automatic manual transmission. I wish I wish the insurance was that simple, but it's not. It's really not. And I think that's a key because you can actually, that's where you make the mistakes, right? So not understanding, not feeling like you need help, you make bad choices, and you don't know you've made bad choices until you really need the insurance. And it's too late at that point. Right?
Danielle: It really is. And so sometimes people don't know that there's election periods, that if you miss them, can result in penalties down the line. And there's also periods where you can apply for certain policies without any underwriting. And if you miss that policy later, you might try to get that policy. And the insurance company turns you down for health conditions. So those are all the things that you've got to know upfront. It's how to use an exercise, those election periods, enrollment periods, to set up the policies when you're supposed to. Um, and you can have a bunch of things that can, sort of, you know, throw a screw in there, like, um, you know, maybe you're still working, and you have employer insurance, but you're supposed to sign up for Medicare at 65. If you don't, are you going to get a penalty? How do you structure that? Um, those are all the kinds of questions that people often have, and they're looking for guidance on. You know what they need to do and do. And when so that they don't get stuck either having missed an election period and owing a penalty or not knowing about a period when they could have got a policy easier than they're going to be able to in the future.
Tony: Yeah. That's great. And I think with all the knowledge you shared, just on the show so far, Oh, I know you have a course. And so it sounds like if you really want to learn more about this, you've got to study. I believe you've got to, if you want to learn about money, you got to spend time studying about money and really this insurance deal is not any different is a, it is a piece of the money picture. Tell me about the course you've got.
Danielle: Yeah, we put together a really pain-free course. It is a six-day email mini-course that people can sign up for on our website. And so for six days in a row, you'll get an email that has both kind of a blog post style description of some part of Medicare, as well as a video of me explaining something. And so over the course of those six days, I take you from zero Medicare knowledge to at the end of that course, you understand what Medicare costs, what it covers, what it doesn't cover, what your options are for covering the things that it doesn't and whether or not you need a drug plan and what are your next steps. So it's a course that takes very little time. The videos are relatively short, and we give you some additional reading that you can take with you, if you are more of a heavy research kind of person, you can go and do a little bit of further digging. But the course is designed to put you in a place where at the end of it, you know, kind of what pieces you need to sign up for. You'll have somewhat of an idea which route you want to go on the supplemental coverage, and now you're ready to go and sign up and get your Medicare card and take your next steps. And we have hundreds of people go through that course every month, and we get lots of great feedback on it because I think it's very, um, It's nonthreatening. It's a no-hassle course. It's not something you have to show up to live. And if you're not a big reader, you can watch the videos. And if you're not a video person, you can do the reading part. And so we provide the content to different formats so that people can kind of choose. And then at the end of that, if you're ready for some help, you can reach out to us and give us a call, or there's additional things that you can go and do like attending one of our webinars or hitting up our YouTube channel to do some kind of learning in your own time.
Tony: Yeah. And your webinars, they're weekly, right?
Danielle: Yeah, we do them. We do a couple live every month, and then we also have a few that are just on a recording. So if you can't get to the live one, cause you're working or the time doesn't work for you, you can watch a replay of the most recent one. They usually last about an hour, and then I stay for 30 minutes or so afterward to answer questions that people input during the webinar. And we walk everybody through all the basics, Medicare one Oh one, what to do for still we're working, uh, what to do if you're not working. And then, again, the same end result is that we want them to come out of that with a better understanding and feel a little less threatened about these big looming Medicare decisions that they have to make pretty soon.
Tony: Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. And then, uh, your YouTube channel, I believe you have about 50 videos up there.
Danielle: Yeah, a little over 50, that's right.
Tony: That's great. I think those are great resources. I think it's; it's just so important for people to educate themselves about all the different dynamics of finance. You know, I started doing this financial journey thing when I was 25, you know, doing the same dumb stuff with money that my parents, my grandparents, my aunts, and uncles were all doing, and I had that wake-up. But the reality is that was just the beginning of my financial journey and really have to put the effort in to continue growing in all of the different dimensions. And I really do believe that insurance is one of the most neglected, especially retirement age insurance. And I'm glad you're doing this and really reaching out to the community and helping people and having an impact.
Danielle: Thanks. Yeah, we're, we're happy to do it. And, and it's a great business to be in because people are so grateful at the end when the little light bulb goes off, and they finally understand what they're dealing with, and we like them to be able to set it and forget it. When a problem happens, they know where to find us and, uh, it's free information. So even if people. You know, maybe they have Tri-Care veteran's insurance, and they'll probably never even need our services. We have videos for those things as well so that everybody that comes there can get something out of it. Even if they're not a client that eventually will need our services.
Tony: And I think, especially for your service, uh, I think the big important thing is to go, Hey, everybody wants a little bit of financial security, and this is just another piece of that financial security puzzle that people need to have.
Danielle: Yes. I think a lot of times, people will have a financial planner that will kind of walk them through some of this. But for whatever reason, sometimes having the healthcare conversation is a little bit touchy, and I've, I run across clients that never discussed this with their financial planner. Um, and so you want to make sure if you are working with a financial planner, you know, be sure you go over that piece and make sure you don't leave that out of your planning.
Tony: Yeah. And I'm glad you touched on that because I think, um, my thought and findings are on financial planners. Financial advisors is they're only going to be able to deal with what they know. The bad thing is, is the consumer, the person who's the client who's getting the help, they believe they're getting what they need. And they may only be getting 25, 30, 40% of what they actually need - the conversations they have, whether that's about insurance or different types of investments. Most financial advisors are going to push you into a stock market and type investment because that's where they make their money. And that's where they've been trained. And that's what they know. They won't tell you to go diversify into real estate because they don't know anything about real estate, and they don't have any education about real estate. And the same thing goes for insurance, right. They don't make their money off of buying health insurance. So they don't have expertise in health insurance.
Danielle: Yeah. That's so true. And so you need, you have to be your own advocate, make sure that you're, you know, all the corners here. You've got to get them in.
Tony: Well, Danielle, thanks for coming on the show. Let's make sure everybody can find you and get in touch with you that has questions about this or wants to help out their family members. How would people reach out and find more about you and contact you?
Danielle: Sure, they can find us online. We're easy to find at www.boomerbenefits.com, and on almost any social media, you can find us there as well. We have the YouTube channel boomer benefits, and on Facebook, we have almost half a million followers. I put out a lot of video content about both Medicare and social security on the Facebook channel. And if they go to our Facebook page, they can even join our private Facebook group. And so if they want to submit a question and have it answered by me, They can put their questions there in the group, and we'll be glad to answer them for them anytime.
Tony: That's awesome. Well, thanks again for coming on the show and I look forward to talking to you about my dad's insurance now.
Danielle: My pleasure. Thank you.
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