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Aaaaaugh! He did it AGAIN!
Old 03-14-2009, 03:21 PM   #1
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Location: North Oregon Coast
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Aaaaaugh! He did it AGAIN!

Last year I started a thread about "Financial Malpractice Radio" -- a local radio talk show host who does a Saturday afternoon show about money matters who was getting some basic things horribly wrong (such as stating he thought last year's $15,500 401K contribution limit was per employer and not per individual). He had been pretty good lately, but man, he really blew it again today.

A caller today recently turned 65 and became eligible for Medicare and he has had an HSA for a few years with a few thousand dollars in it. The caller mentioned he heard he couldn't use the HSA for Medicare premiums (wrong!) and asked if he should withdraw the money from the HSA and pay taxes on it. The host asked if the caller saw himself in a lower tax bracket in the future (by itself a good question under different circumstances). The caller said "no" and the host said he saw no reason not to pull it out and pay the tax!

Hello? Even if Medicare PREMIUMS weren't payable tax-free from the HSA (which is wrong), copays and deductibles ARE. As are OTC medicines and some medical supplies you buy at the drug store. Tax-free. Yes, even when you're on Medicare. But instead, the host is saying "go ahead, take it out and pay the taxes on it." What's worse is that you CAN pay your own Medicare premiums with an HSA tax-free; the one restriction is that the IRS has ruled that an under-65 spouse can't pay the Medicare premium for an over-65 spouse from their HSA. And he took the caller at face value that he couldn't use the HSA to pay Medicare premiums -- which, IMO, a decent financial planner should know or at least research before giving the answer if they don't know.

In short, someone may be eating a lot of taxes unnecessarily.

I'm starting to feel like I'm in the wrong line of w*rk.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Talk Radio
Old 03-14-2009, 07:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 302
Talk Radio


Call the station and take the guy on. That's what I did on Friday as I was driving up to the ranch.

The host was the main financial reporter for a super large radio station in my area.

I call in and say to her producer/screener, "My question is basically the same to her as John Stewart had for Jim Cramer. Why didn't you warn people about all the leverage, credit default swaps, fake rating agencies and lack of SEC oversight. Instead of being a cheering section for Wall Street. That's your job isn't it?

The producer said to me, "Now, that's a great question."

So after she took a few calls with me on hold the producer comes on my line and says, "Your next."

I hung on for forty minutes and she never took my call. She must have seen my question on her computer screen.

So Ziggy, if you call, give the screener a fake question or you will never get on.

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Old 03-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by boont View Post
I hung on for forty minutes...
Wow. You must have really really wanted to straighten her out.

"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
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Radio Show
Old 03-14-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
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Radio Show

It's a two hour drive from SF to the wine country where my ranch is. I just listened to the show while I waited, which I would have done anyway.

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