Jul 28 • 36M

How do you value your time?

In a new book, a hospice physicians shares the lessons he's learned from the dying about values and purpose, and how we choose to spend our time on earth.

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Journalist and author Mark Miller on getting retirement right - featuring downloadable guides and podcast interviews with nationally-recognized experts.
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Jordan Grumet

This week on the podcast, let’s talk about the value of time.

Time has value to us - both in personal and economic terms. It’s something we often fail to consider when making decisions about how long to work and when to retire. These decisions often focus only on the financial aspects of retirement planning. But as we get older, time becomes a more limited commodity - it’s just that we don’t know exactly how much of it we have left. And, deciding how to use the time available to us involves much more than money.

My guest on the podcast this week has had hundreds of conversations with people nearing the end of their lives. They often talk about the things they wish they had spent more time on, and what they wish they had worried about less. 

Jordan Grumet has an unusual career profile. He’s a physician who specializes in hospice care. And, he is a personal finance blogger and host of the Earn & Invest podcast - and the author of a new book, Taking Stock: A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life.

In his medical practice, Jordan often talks with patients who may have only weeks or months to live. And the lesson he draws from these conversations is that most of us spend too much time thinking about money, and not about our purpose in living, our identity and personal connections. In his book, Jordan draws out the lessons from those conversations in a way that we can all start using now. 

I think there are some really useful points here that can be especially helpful for people thinking through the issue of retirement timing - when to do it, how to manage it financially and how to do it in a way that is personally meaningful.

Click the player icon at the top of the newsletter to listen to my conversation with Jordan Grumet.

How Medicare reforms could help retirees facing high inflation

Seniors tell pollsters that high inflation is one of their top worries - and that makes sense. Aside from Social Security, which is adjusted annually to reflect consumer prices, retiree income is fixed. 

Policymakers have talked over the years about making the Social Security cost-of-living formula more generous, but that would just be a tweak. If we really want to help seniors cope with inflation, we need to tackle the rising cost of health care, which historically has increased more quickly than general inflation.

Congress is considering an important step in this direction with a proposal aimed at containing prescription drug prices. The proposed legislation would empower Medicare for the first time to negotiate the price of some high-cost drugs with their manufacturers. That approach has been in place for a long time in the Medicaid program, and at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it has proven effective.

Just as important, the bill would place a hard cap of $2,000 on out-of-pocket costs for Part D enrollees. And it would require pharmaceutical makers to pay rebates if drug price increases exceed general inflation.

But we need to do more. I offer some further suggestions in my latest Reuters Money column.

What I’m reading

How being an older worker pushed me out of my comfort zone . . . Multi-generational housing arrangements are taking root . . . Social Security data show pandemic’s toll — and a path forward . . . A neurologist’s tips to protect your memory . . . Endemic COVID-19 looks pretty brutal . . . Promoting climate change activism among older people.