Selome Samuel

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Tag: the best way to save for retirement

Retirement Budget Worksheet

Cuts to the Medicare budget may be the most threatening surgery of all for patients in need of medical imaging services.

Congress made deep cuts earlier this year in reimbursement for many medical imaging services that Medicare patients receive in physician offices and independent imaging centers.

Experts fear these cuts will mean less access and higher costs for many patients, especially those in rural areas.

Congress, say advocates, should impose a two-year moratorium on the cuts in order to more fully understand their impact on patients.

Starting in 2007, imaging services will be reduced by Congress by some $8 billion over 10 years. Those reductions represent more than one-third of the total Medicare cuts in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act.

The payment reductions affect a wide range of medical procedures and tests provided in physician offices and imaging centers. For example, reimbursement would be cut:

35 percent for ultrasound to guide less-invasive breast biopsies;

50 percent for PET/CT scans used for diagnosing and managing tumors;

40 percent for bone density studies for diagnosing osteoporosis; and

42 percent for MR angiography that detects aneurysms in the head.

Given the size of these and similar cuts, advocates warn that many physicians will likely discontinue or cut back on the imaging they provide in independent imaging centers or their own offices. If this happens, patients will have to seek these services at hospitals, which can be much further away and often involve higher out-of-pocket costs for patients. As a result, convenient access to services that many Medicare patients rely on will no longer be available.

Its believed that patients in rural areas are likely to be the hardest hit.

Unfortunately, say advocates such as the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition, these reductions were made without public hearings, public debate or open discussion. The reductions were made without public participation, even though they will likely affect the lives of many Medicare beneficiaries.

Instead, the Coalition believes Congress should impose a two-year moratorium on imaging cuts, so the Government Accountability Office can study the issue.

Retirement Tips

Flowering landscape trees are the crown jewels of the yard.

Perhaps no other plants, individually, can have as great an

impact on how a yard looks in spring. Browse the articles to

which Ive linked below for information on particular varieties

of flowering landscape trees. Pictures are included.

Crape Myrtles: Landscape Trees of the South

A popular choice in flowering landscape trees for Southerners,

crape myrtles have a long blooming period (mid-summer to

fall). The blooming clusters of these flowering landscape trees

come in pink, white, red and lavender. The clusters appear on

the tips of new wood. Northerners can sometimes get away

with treating these flowering landscape trees as perennials

that die back in winter but come back in spring.


Not all specimens with a weeping habit are flowering

landscape trees, but this article looks at several weeping

varieties that do bloom, headed by four types of cherry.

Saucer Magnolias

The size and shape of the blooms are what suggested the

common name for these flowering landscape trees. Want a

specimen with a brilliant bloom as big as a saucer? Access

information on these beauties here.

Rose of Sharon

Although some people think of it as a landscape “tree”

(because it gets tall and can be pruned so as to have a single

trunk), rose of sharon is, in fact, a flowering shrub. The fact

that it blooms relatively late — and for a long time — makes it

a valuable plant for those looking to distribute their yards

color display throughout the growing season.

Top 10 List of Flowering Landscape Trees and Shrubs for


This article features information on ten flowering landscape

trees and shrubs that brighten our spring seasons. Included

are redbud, callery pear and crabapple.

Hawthorn: Late-Blooming Landscape Trees

This article offers information on Washington hawthorn trees,

which are perhaps most valued for the time at which they

bloom (late spring to early summer). Many of the popular

flowering specimens bloom earlier in the spring, and while

their blossoms are pleasant sights for eyes sore from winters

barrenness, they desert us too quickly!

What Is The Average Retirement Savings

When applying for a mortgage loan, down payments are generally required as part of the financing. Many traditional mortgages will only finance 80 percent of the home price. Thus, home buyers are obligated to provide the additional 20 percent. Having a down payment of 20 percent is ideal in a perfect world. In reality, few people have access to this type of money. For this reason, mortgage lenders are offering 80/20, or piggyback mortgage loans.

How Do 80/20 Home Loans Work?

The concept around 80/20 home loans is very simple. Ordinarily, if a home buyer did not have a down payment of 20 percent, they would have to purchase private mortgage insurance, (PMI), to complete the home financing. On average, PMI increases mortgage payments by $100.

If accepting an 80/20 home loan, PMI is not required. Instead, home buyers receive two loans to finance the home purchase. A first mortgage is approved to finance 80 percent of the home cost, whereas a second mortgage or home equity loan is approved to finance the remaining 20 percent.

Who Qualifies for an 80/20 Home Loan?

Any home buyer hoping to avoid private mortgage insurance may qualify for an 80/20 option. Piggyback loans are especially beneficial for first time home buyers. Young couples will also benefit from these loans. Usually, these individuals have not been able to build a large cash reserve. This way, they do not have to put off buying a home.

An 80/20 home loan is also offered to individuals with poor credit. Mortgage lenders vary in their loan qualification guidelines. Traditional lenders such as banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies prefer applicants that have a high credit rating. Thus, they may not approve loan requests for credit scores that fall below 640.

On the other hand, many lenders offer a range of bad credit mortgage loans. These consist of loans that provide assistance for down payments, closing costs, low mortgage rates, etc.

Applying for an 80/20 Loan with Bad Credit

Mortgage brokers are very effective with helping bad credit applicants find a fitting home loan program. To smooth the process, brokers have websites available, which offer explanations on various bad credit home loans. Moreover, you can request a mortgage quote online, and receive up to four offers from different lenders granting piggyback loans to people with bad credit.

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