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    Insuring Your Retirement

    When you retire from work, you do not retire from financial needs. Obtaining the right kind of insurance coverage can help you protect those needs. The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) recommends that you review your insurance policies before you retire. Here’s what you should consider:

    • Funding health insurance: Medicare does not cover all health care expenses. For broader coverage, you need to purchase a supplemental Medigap policy. In addition, you will need to pay for your own health insurance if you retire before Medicare eligibility at age 65. Your former employer may provide medical benefits, particularly if you retire as part of an early retirement package. An alternative is COBRA, the federal law that entitles you to continued coverage in a former employer’s plan for up to 18 months, although you will have to pay for coverage. You also may qualify for a group policy through your alumni association or a trade or professional organization.

    • Keep homeowners and auto insurance current: The need for homeowners insurance doesn’t change when you retire. If cost is a factor, you may be able to save money by raising the deductible.

    • The need for life insurance may lessen: If your children are grown, your mortgage is paid off, and you can cover all final expenses, consider reducing or eliminating your term life insurance.

    • Consider long-term care insurance to protect your assets: When you retire, you have no paycheck to protect, but becoming disabled could still pose a significant drain on your assets. Long-term care insurance can help you manage the cost of lengthy illnesses without jeopardizing your nest egg.
    Source: The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), in Money Management; www.picpa.org.

    Beware the Phantom: NASAA Warns of Fake Regulators

    Want to check out a hot stock tip before you invest?

    Make sure you aren’t getting bad advice from con artists posing as regulators, warns the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). The Association warns that several fake “regulators” have been brought to the attention of state securities regulators. These “regulators” claim to be based in the United States and often target overseas investors. Each had Web sites, and addresses and telephone numbers in the U.S., but none have any relation to real regulatory agencies. The Web sites lure investors into buying worthless securities from unlicensed stockbrokers, who are typically “verified” by the phony regulators. To help determine if you are dealing with a bogus regulator, check for these warning signs:

    1. You can’t find information about the regulator at the International Organization of Securities Commissions site (www.iosco.org).
    2. They endorse or approve investment products—legitimate regulators will never do so.
    3. They say that paying a fee to “release restricted shares” is anything other than an attempt to steal your savings.
    4. Little or no information about the “regulator” appears in Internet search engines.
    Source: The North American Securities Administrator’s Association; www.nasaa.org

    Stop ID Theft in 30 Minutes

    What do you do if you receive a credit card bill in the mail and realize you have become a victim of identity theft? TrueCredit, a provider of consumer credit management services, recommends these quick steps:

    Step 1—10 minutes: Call the creditor to notify them of the fraud right away. The creditor should reverse the fraudulent charges and lock your account. You should have photocopies of your credit cards and credit contact numbers stored in a safe place just for this kind of emergency. Be sure to record the times, dates and names of the people you contact in a log for future reference.

    Step 2—10 minutes: Your next step is to contact the credit reporting agencies to report the crime and request that a 90-day fraud alert be placed on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax or Experian) to have fraud alerts placed on all three of your credit reports.

    This 90-day alert will notify creditors that you may be a victim of fraud and advise them to verify your identity before opening any new accounts. This alert also entitles you to a free credit report from each bureau for your review. Fraud resolution experts with the credit reporting agencies can also help you check your credit data for other signs of identity theft and can help you restore your account security. Don’t forget to record the results of your contacts in your identity theft log.

    Step 3—10 minutes: Your last 10 minutes should be spent on the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site filling out an ID theft affidavit. Once you complete this worksheet, you can use it to report fraud to creditors and can keep it in your records for future reference. If your identity theft goes beyond credit card fraud, you should also contact your local law enforcement agency to file a police report. Add copies of your affidavit and police report to your identity theft log and store these documents in a safe place. How quickly you spot and report identity theft can make all the difference. Source: TrueCredit (a subsidiary of TransUnion);www.truecredit.com

    Information YouCan Bank On

    A new service on the FDIC’s Web site enables individuals to quickly and easily answer questions such as: Is a particular bank insured? Where are its branches located? How can I find a bank’s Web site? And, has a bank closed, merged or changed names?

    To use the Bank Find page, go to www2.fdic.gov/idasp/main_bankfind.asp.

    Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s FDIC Consumer News; www.fdic.gov.