Coffee heat rising

Dental Insurance in Retirement…or No?

Since retiring from my job at Arizona State University, I’ve gone bare when it comes to dental insurance. It’s a risk, obviously: betting on the “not come” rather than the “come.” My teeth have always been excellent. My mother died in her 60s; her mother died in her 40s, and her grandmother also died fairly young: hence, one could lay a bet that I will outlive my teeth.

I retired at about the same time a dear friend did. She and her husband chose not to enroll in the state’s plan for dental insurance. Why? Well….

The Arizona state dental plan doesn’t cover everything. For $8.52 a month, Cigna tells you you’re insured but actually covers very little; at $35 a month, the “premium” plan it actually covers things. Their fee schedule is so complicated that She Who Is Not an Accountant can’t even begin to figure it out, but it would appear the coverage doesn’t apply to everything. But following my friends’ logic, I chose not to sign up for Arizona’s retiree dental plan because my friends — one of whom was the head of the Arizona Department of Gaming, fairly large in the Bigwig Club — calculated that over a predictable lifetime, most of us would end up paying the same or more in insurance premiums than we would pay out of pocket for typical old-folks’ dental and orthodontic care (including extractions and all the other fun and games that come with decreptitude).

I’ve been retired since December 2009. So let’s start at January 2010… This is August 2022: about 12.6  years, hm?

At $8.52 a month, one year on Cigna’s low-rent plan would cost you $102.24. By now, I would have paid out around $1,288 for retiree dental insurance, on the cheap. But of course, you KNOW that if you really need dental insurance, that amount of coverage will be a drop in the bucket; so if you’re gonna buy the coverage, you’d better buy the top of the line. And that, by now, would have cost me $5,292.

AND not all dentists will accept the state’s insurance plan. Nor do those figures take into account services that would not be covered under the state’s plans. Also it’s worth noting that some of the stuff I’ve needed has been covered, to a degree, by Medicare and Medigap.

At this point, I’ve probably spent somewhere around a thousand bucks on the Adventures in Dental Science. So compared to the price of retiree insurance, probably the cost is six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. But I haven’t had to bicker with any providers. AND…it must be remembered that many providers will not accept the low-rent coverage one gets from the State of Arizona. So for the amount I’ve paid, I’ve retained my choice of providers. And that, it develops, is big.

Very big.

Also very big is the fact that not everything appears to be covered on the State’s plan, meaning that a fair amount of one’s Adventures in Dental Science are likely to be paid for out of pocket. How much might that be? Difficult to calculate. But even a small figure would cut in to the value of the premium-supported insurance scheme.


By now, I’d guess that over the past couple of years I’ve spent about the same as or a little more than I would have shelled out to Cigna for dental, what with the present Adventures in Medical Science. However, that may change as things get worse.

Or as they get better…

Our extended amalgamated family’s beloved dentist, Dr. D. was forced to retire for medical reasons. He sold his practice to a guy who moved here from Baltimore.

This fella has taken over and, as of course he should, is now doing things his way. Not Dr. D’s way. He’s canned all of Dr. D’s excellent dental assistants and office staff (or maybe they all fled?). And I see he’s building an empire of low-rent offices over on the West Side: exploiting the impoverished set.

I’ve now seen the guy several times. And truth to tell, I don’t like him. Nor do I trust him.

Evidently for good reason, come to find out.

He told me the stake another practitioner — an orthodontist specializing in rather eccentric restorative work — had installed in my upper jaw was infected. He would like to take that thing out and…what? Rebuild it? Put in a fake tooth? A bridge?? Argha!

Not to say…innaresting.

So…couple weeks ago I got a referral from another medical doctor to an orthodontist, who herself specializes in these sorts of shenanigans. Today, I finally got in to see her — coincidentally, on the first day the damn tooth hasn’t either hurt like hell or ached vaguely.

She shot a set of X-rays. Inspected them. Let her assistant inspect them, apparently by way of pedagogy but in fact putting another set of eyes on the scene.

Then she showed the X-rays to me and said, “Look. There’s no infection around this thing at all.”

“Why,” quoth I, “does it hurt?”

“Because,” quoth she, “the implant is too long. It’s grinding against your lower teeth. Especially when (as indeed is my habit) you clench your teeth.”

She picks up a handy-dandy little whizzer and, zzziiip! Drills off the upper surface of the crown.


By damn! Now my jaws fit together straight! The teeth do not whack each other when I close my mouth. And the implant does NOT hurt.

So…uhm…howcum the Philadelphia Wonder didn’t notice that?


She fixed the damn thing in under ten minutes! Probably under five, actually: all she had to do was polish the excess porcelain off so that the fake tooth FIT, same as all all the other teeth in that part of the upper jaw.

The bill was a couple hundred bucks. A far cry from what I would have spent on Cigna’s dental insurance over the past twelve and a half years.

Unfortunately, she’s a specialist and so doesn’t do routine dental maintenance. But she gave me the name of a colleague, whom I intend to track down next week.




The Cancer That Is Not a Cancer

So…a couple, three months ago, I trot out to the beloved dermatologist — halfway to Yuma — for a regular check-up. When you’ve lived as long as I have in the desert subtropics, you have a continually budding crop of cancerous and precancerous growths on your hide. So what you want to do is get every new excrescence excised before it does develop into skin cancer. She goes checkity-check-check-check and then she sees a little mole on the side of my nose. It’s about a 16th of an inch in diameter, something I never noticed because I’m covered with spots, rather like a two-legged leopard.

She says oooohhhh that’s suspicious! We’d better biopsy that.

Okay. Nothin’ new there.

Time passes: a week or so. They call and tell me it was a melanoma, and now I must come in and get it and a chunk of my face removed.

So I arrange to traipse across the Valley and have a plastic surgeon slice up my nose and then repair the damage. She does an awesome job — truly amazing. Friends who have had this kind of surgery have ended up with their faces…well, shall we say, defaced. I expected to come away with some baby-scaring scars, at the least. But hallelujah, brothers and sisters! When the incision heals up, after some weeks, it heals with NO scars.

Seriously: you would never know that my face had been laid open from the top right side of the nose to the bottom left side. I’m told it was a good thing I came in, because the thing was a malignant melanoma.

As a side-show to the hypochondriac’s jamboree, whilst searching the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest That Is The Internet for something, anything that might relieve the crazy-making peripheral neuropathy, I discover that PN can be caused by the presence of a malignancy. Like, for example, a melanoma.

It all begins to make sense, right?

Time passes.

And now it’s time to re-up my Medigap insurance. I call my agent. She asks me the usual litany of nosey questions, one of which is “have you had a cancer diagnosed in the past year?”

Well, yeah: a malignant melanoma falls into that category.

The upshot is that, even though insurance companies are not legally allowed to deny Medigap coverage, what they can do is charge you piratical rates, at the drop of any hat that comes along.

I end up with a bill of something over $3750 for one (count it, 1) year of supplementary coverage!!!!!!!

You can’t do without this, BTW. Because “supplementary” is not exactly le mot juste. If you don’t have it, you will be gouged THOUSANDS of dollars for medical bills that regular Medicare doesn’t cover. Many thousands of dollars.

Okay, so…there’s the backstory.

Yesterday, I go to call the dermatologist’s office, having realized that I forgot to ask them to forward a report of their activities to MayoDoc. When I ask them to send their records about the malignant melanoma they removed a month or so ago, the clerk there says, “Oh, that wasn’t a melanoma.”

Say what?

“Uhm…they told me it was…”

Are you kidding? you put me through all that sh!t for a tiny black spot on the side of my nose, totally benign, one that if I thought it would make me feel too ugly to go to the ball, I could cover with a dab of make-up????

It’s a 40-minute drive each way, plus the fun and games of injecting anaesthesia and laying on a table stock-still for 30 minutes while they hack the thing off  my face and glue and sew me up plus three weeks of healing time plus having to keep applying topical medications…but that ain’t the half of it!

No, indeed.

Now, we’ve fucked up my insurance record! Because when I went to renew my Medigap policy a day or two ago, the broker asked me if I’d ever had cancer, and of course I had to say “yes, a melanoma.”  If it was really nothing, then chances are my Medigap insurance won’t cover it — because removing it would be deemed “cosmetic.” But that is as naught compared to the amount I will have to pay, going forward, for Medigap coverage. The $3,700+ I sent to the insurance company the other day was, no doubt, just a starter.

Reached the broker as dawn cracked this morning. — she said she hadn’t sent any applications in. Looks like we’ll recover this time.

But what happens next time?

De-Banking and Re-Banking

Possibly the term is de-credit-unioning…but that’s a little clumsier than de-banking, for a title. 😉

The plan under way just now is to abandon the Arizona State Credit Union, now annoyingly called “OneAZ,” and move my vast wealth over to the Desert Schools Credit Union. Probably I should have done this a long time ago, but out of inertia I’ve remained with the state employees’ credit union. Closing out a personal account and a corporate account represents a substantial amount of hassle, especially since a LOT of direct deposits come in and even MORE automated direct payments go out. Canceling each of these and re-establishing them at a new institution presents a lengthy series of headaches.

However, OneAZ (isn’t that cutesiness enough to  just gag you?) has gone too far in its latest manifestation of customer disservice. They’ve decided that we no longer will be allowed to deposit checks by scanning to a computer and uploading to an account. All electronic deposits now must be made by smartphone.

Well. I don’t have a smartphone and I don’t want one and even if I did want one, believe me, there’s no way in Hell I could afford one. I’ve tried an Android smartphone and after several expensive months of wrestling I simply could NOT learn how to work it. We’re told the iPhone is more OldBat-friendly. Yeah: for a thousand bucks.

Jayzus. A thousand dollars for a telephone!

At any rate, what this means is that every time a check comes in, I have to traipse across the city to hand the damn thing to a teller, in person. The nearest branch is at the ASU West campus, a 15- or 20-minute drive through a depressing slum — so, 30 minutes to deposit one check, with no other errands to do on that side of town.

I get a constant flow of little nuisance checks. Medicare and Medigap do not accrue all the eligible payments for any given Adventure in Medical Science. They send you a tiny little check here and a tiny little check there and an even tinier check again. Most recently, they sent me a goddamn check for $3.17! The gasoline to drive to the credit union and back would cost more than that!

Desert Schools is located in the North Central corridor, putting it reasonably close to the Funny Farm. And, more to the point, putting it in the general direction of other errand destinations where I go several times a week: two grocery stores, an Ace Hardware, drugstores, a Costco…. And several more or less acceptable restaurants;. It’s halfway to a Sprouts; a Nordstrom’s Rack; the FedEx guys, an upscale Fry’s and a downscale Fry’s (the local name for Kroger’s); and the now much-discombulated Biltmore Fashion Square, home to a Macy’s, a Saks, a Williams-Sonoma, a Pottery Barn. L’Occitane, a Cost Plus, a Pier One, and on and on.

So as a practical matter, Desert Schools is much more convenient, now that I’m not working at the West campus. I’ve stuck with them for a good 20 years, because their service has been primo, and for many years they had a banker stationed in the lobby who was about the best thing that ever came along. But recently they promoted the guy, and they replaced him with one of the dumbest cows I’ve ever seen. She is just stump stupid, and when you have a question or a problem, she not only is no help, she’s actually…shall we say, counterproductive.

This leaves as the only reason to drive out there the depositing of checks, which one really should not have to do at all because in any reasonable system one would be able to upload a jpeg or two and be done with it.

LOL! Desert Schools has also changed its name, but at least not in an annoying way: they now call themselves simply “Desert Credit Union,” presumably signalling that potential customers no longer need be educators to qualify for membership.

One must admit, the products they offer are significantly better than OneAZ’s. They can take wire transfers, although only to personal accounts. Since we recently de-incorporated The Copyeditor’s Desk and turned it into a sole proprietorship, that won’t matter: clients can simply wire direct to me as a human being rather than as a business entity. This, oh hallelujah, would revive my China trade!

WonderAccountant wants me to keep a separate business account, though I fail to see why I couldn’t simply segregate CE Desk transactions into a savings account within the personal account. You can make electronic payments directly out of a credit-union savings account; besides, I charge business expenses to the corporate AMEX card, so you’d think that would maintain enough of a corporate veil. As it were. Why do you need a corporate veil for a sole proprietorship, anyway? All its assets belong to the proprietor…

At any rate, this little  transfer scheme looks to me like a long, sticky mess.

BECAUSE…I have quite a few automated direct deposits and quite a few automatic payments, not the least of which are the utility bills, which are engrossed by each utility provider from their direction. This means I’ll have to call the city water department, the power company, and the gas company to give them new account information…and as you know, anything that sounds as simple as that invariably turns into a headache-breeding tangle. And I have Metlife ripping off $128 a month for long-term care, which I need to cancel anyway.

So that will be a hassle. Nay, a series of hassles.

Vaguely, I recall that we were told, when we signed up for long-term care insurance originally through TIAA-CREF, that paying into it created a kind of fund that would be paid back to us if we decided to stop paying premiums. However, TIAA-CREF abandoned the long-term care insurance business and transferred their customers to Metlife, which subsequently also abandoned LTC insuring. They kept their existing customers, but we’re told customer service is execrable and they do everything they can to get out of delivering the coverage you paid for half your life. So even if they don’t return some of the money I’ve poured into their coffers, at least I won’t be wasting any more money there.

Getting through to Social Security to have those monthly payments moved over surely will mean a major bureaucratic runaround, and probably a trip to a Social Security office and several hours wasted sitting around a waiting room.

And heaven only knows how long it will take to move all those automated deposits and payments around and make them work properly.

So. My plan is to leave about a thousand dollars in the OneAZ personal account and maybe about $500 in the business account. That should (…i hope…) be enough to cover about a month’s worth of auto-payments until such time as I can make SS change its records, but it also should put enough in the new accounts to cover the credit card bills and the auto-payments that get changed with minimal argument or foot-dragging.

It’s going to be a project, probably extending over several weeks…maybe even a couple of months. But I expect the result will represent an improvement.

Could a Smart Home Reduce Your Insurance Premiums?

The growth of the Internet of Things (IOT) has seen a rapid adoption of smart technologies within the home. Over the past 40 years, not much changed in basic functions of the home, such as lighting, temperature control, and security, until the developed of connected devices, which have suddenly opened up the market and given the average homeowner access to technologies that once were reserved for the rich and famous.

A survey reports that 77% of the British public know what connected devices are, and a massive 79% have a smartphone with which to control their Smart Home should they so wish.

The benefits of a connected home often form the butt of jokes, with the punchline being someone asking Alexa or Siri to carry out some menial task on their behalf, saving them a task that would have required them only to reach out their arm. But there are much wider benefits to their smart devices than just changing the radio channel, turning on the lights, or changing your fridge temperature by one degree. The main benefit is in home security. This is how it affects your home insurance.

Films of the past decades have made us aware of the high technology solutions for security adopted to secure priceless pieces of art or diamonds. Such systems used by art galleries and museums are now readily available and affordable for the average home, greatly increasing security measures for many who once relied on just locks and bolts to secure their home.

Which smart devices have brought the home security market so far in such a short period of time?

Video Doorbells

Look down your road and you will probably find one or two neighbors who’ve already adopted a smart doorbell such as a Ring system. The bell doesn’t look much different from a standard doorbell or small intercom system but look closely and you will notice that it has an integrated camera. What is really different is the technology behind the doorbell device ,which connects it to your home WIFI and your other smart devices, including your smart phone, even when you’re outside the home, even abroad.

The smart doorbell notifies your phone when motion or sound, depending on your settings, indicate that someone has either pressed your doorbell, or has even just walked up your driveway. A live video stream can then be viewed from your phone or tablet, allowing you to communicate directly with the person at your doorstep through the device, asking them to place your parcel in your porch or call back when more convenient.

The advantages of this to security are obvious: you have eyes and ears on your front door 24 hours a day even when you’re not home. And the recorded footage can be used to deter or identify uninvited intruders. But what about the rest of your home?

Smart Sensors and Cameras

Other smart sensors and cameras, often as inexpensive as £30 ($37) per device, can be placed around your home and property to notify you of movement at windows, doors, or inside the building. Again, notifications can be sent to your phone so that you can respond to a would-be burglar, call the police, or trigger another smart device that turns on lights or plays noises. Automatic responses to triggered sensors can also be set up such as security lights turning on.

Will this Reduce Your Home Insurance?

Insurance companies like are starting to provide a reduction in home insurance premium for homeowners who have installed security devices, particularly those of well-known manufacturers, so check with your insurer before choosing your devices. The advantages to you and the insurer are obvious, with damage to property and contents likely reduced in a home where connected technologies are deployed.

What Is the Future of Connected Devices?

Interestingly, a spokesperson for Insure4Retirement, a UK insurance broker, pointed out that 30% of home insurance claims result from water damage from internal leaks, not flooding, according to the Association of British Insurers. Technologies that sense and notify of water leakage are already on the market that sense and notify of water leakage; some can shut off the water supply to the leaking system. Although many homeowners are unaware of these technologies and insurers have yet to lower premiums for homes where they are installed, once some insurers innovate in this area it is likely that the devices will be adopted by homeowners.

Is Your Contractor Insured? Really?

So here’s another little life lesson I learned from the Olde Folkes yesterday. Decided to present this in a separate post, because it is a VERY big effing deal. Y’ere ’tis:

Whenever you have a contractor of any kind working around your house, ALWAYS BE SURE THEY’RE INSURED!

That’s even if you think they’re the nicest folks to come along since God created the Angel Gabriel. Even if they seem honest as Abe. Even if they work as hard as a plow horse.

Got that? Don’t just ask if they’re insured. Demand to see the policy. You want proof positive that they have general liability insurance or that they’re licensed and bonded with your state registrar of contractors.

When J & L sold their home of 40 years and moved to the Beatitudes, a life-care community, they hired two women who are in the business of helping elders move into old-folkeries. There are a number of these places in the Valley, and the pair have registered themselves with a bunch of them. For J & L, who are in their nineties and were moving to an apartment that was — maybe — two-thirds the size of their home, only with no garage and no garage storage and a tiny kitchen and no room for L’s office, these two ladies were a godsend. They advised on what furniture could fit into the new digs and where it could be fit, they packed up as much as could be stuffed into the apartment and arranged for movers, they put stuff away in closets and cabinets, they even got someone to custom-build a way to hang the expensive draperies J wanted to take with them.

As part of the bargain, once the couple was moved out the moving helpers were to arrange and supervise an estate sale, to sell off the (many) possessions that simply could not fit into a tiny apartment on the fourth floor of an old-folks’ home.

I remember thinking, as the two women were telling me this, I don’t recall seeing any ads from your outfit in the estate-sale listings to which I subscribe in gay profusion. Are you trying to say “yard sale,” dears? If so, how’s about telling the client that? But I kept quiet. Maybe, after all, they did their estate-sale business under some other moniker.

Okay. So this gigantic project chugs along and eventually they get the folks moved. They tidy up the remaining goods, and now this estate sale is supposed to take place the following day.

That night, the house is broken into and everything of significant value is stolen. The women say the lost items were appraised (really??? Who are you kidding?) at $5,000.

The house is locked up behind mighty iron security gates, brain-banging deadbolts, and an expensive and efficient alarm system. Sooo…WTF, say I.

J says the two women “forgot” to turn on the burglar alarm when they left that evening. The perps, who magically knew the alarm company’s stickers on the window alluded to nothing, broke a window, climbed in, and made themselves to home.

“Forgot:” Yeah. R-i-i-i-g-h-t.

So now the women tell them that they — J & L — will have to make this claim on THEIR homeowner’s insurance!

Say what?

Can’t you just hear the insurance adjustor’s reaction?Ohhh no. Not a chance in Hell. You had already moved out of the place and you had consigned the property to these people; therefore the consignee was responsible.”

And…say what? Five. Thousand. Dollah? Don’t think so.

I’ve done a lot of yard sales in my life. And neighbors who used to live across the street from me, a  pair who became dear friends, were in the yard-sale business. And…well…y’know what? The entire contents of that house including all the stuff they moved into their new home were totally absolutely not worth $5,000. They had a few works of art that were worth something…but they took those with them.

So. IMHO we’re lookin’ at a scam here.

But that’s just IMHO, eh?

The point is, once the possessions had been handed over into the care of the assisted-moving business, they became the assisted-movers’ insurance company’s responsibility, not the homeowner’s.

Dollah to donuts, that is what my friends’ insuror will claim. And several dollahs to donuts, these women have no business insurance or anything vaguely resembling it.

At the risk of repeating myself…

Whenever you have a contractor of any kind working around your house, ALWAYS BE SURE THEY’RE INSURED!

Discoveries: A couple of life lessons learned

Yesterday my agèd friends who just moved into the Barbizon Plaza the Beatitudes, a very fancy life-care community where business is booming, invited me join them at the institute’s fanciest dining room (it has three!) for lunch/dinner. The Beatitudes, in its current incarnation, is very nice indeed: much like living in a first-class hotel or on the Queen Mary.

(Yes, I once did cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary. That ship personified luxury accommodation.)

And in that visit, I gained several valuable insights.

First off, after much worried clucking about how far the eateries are from their apartment (in their 90s, they both have their share of infirmities), they both said — out of the blue — that after having to walk around for just a few days, they’re each feeling a lot better. J. said her back and joints are actually improving, and she’s experiencing noticeably less pain. L. said he also was feeling, overall, better than he had in a long time.

So (said she, while loafing in front of her computer): those daily walks are not an option! If you want to feel as well as you can feel, get off your duff and walk around the neighborhood. Or the park. Or the indoor mall, if that’s what it takes. Apparently, the more you move, the longer you’re likely to keep moving.

Next: as to the long-term care insurance conundrum:  A lady came up and said hello to us, then disappeared into the scenery. In passing, my friends remarked that she had not bought into that place…that she rented an apartment instead.

Whoa! Hold the phone. That puts a whole new complexion on the long-term care insurance issue. Now that they mentioned it, I recalled that my father once rented an apartment at an old-folkerie associated with a nearby hospital (it’s quite a story…one day I’ll have to write it up for your delectation!). And it was possible to rent an apartment at the old-folkerie where he had used the entire proceeds of the sale of his home to buy in, though at his LTC commnity  renting was a short-term arrangement.

If you could live at the Beatitudes, on a long-term basis, as a renter rather than as a member of their buy-in “community,” and if renting there would give you dibs on a bed in their nursing home, then it might make sense to keep up the LTC insurance. Here’s why:

If you’re living in one of those life-care communities, you’ve got access to its nursing home (in these parts, a VERY big deal, because decent nursing homes are few and far between here). You’ve got twice-monthly housecleaning. You’ve got daily access to prepared meals as part of the deal. You’ve got a secure environment that’s safe and free from bums and burglars. You’ve got a whole staff keeping an eye on you and likely to notice when you don’t show up because you fell in the shower and broke your hip. You’ve got staff who fix things that break.

But these outfits charge a huge entry fee, basically about what you would clear on sale of an upper-middle-class home. That entry fee effectively serves as nursing-home insurance: by getting you into the life-care community, it pays for access to the institution’s on-campus nursing home: if and when you need it, for however long you need it.

But what if they let you just live there as a renter, with no pre-paid nursing home care? (Pre-paid, we might say, on the come….)

If you did not have to fork over your entire damn life savings to put a roof over your head with guaranteed access to competent nursing care — if instead you could be pretty sure you would end up in a specific nursing home for a period that could range from a number of days to a number of years, as long as you paid for it as needed —  then it would make sense to keep the MetLife LTC policy.

It would, of course, depend on what the institute charges for rent. And whether it gives renters the same preferential access to its nursing home that it gives to residents who give them a giant buy-in fee. (These outfits generally guarantee residents access to the on-campus nursing home or, if the place is full when you need it, to a nursing home of comparable quality.)

For people who buy in, in addition to its stiff entry fee the Beatitudes charges around $3000 a month per person. Together, these charges act as de-facto nursing home insurance. The money buys you a bed in the nursing home should you need it, without an increase in your monthly ding. Of course…if you never need it, then that’s money down the drain. If you do need it, the arrangement could in fact save your heirs most of their inheritance.

But if you could rent to live there, without having to cough up a buy-in fee, it would make sense to keep the nursing-home insurance — that is, assuming a rental agreement includes access to the on-campus nursing home. The Beatitudes supposedly charges people who live in the wild something in the range of $10,000 a month for nursing-home care. This would quickly drain your assets.

It costs me $2,000 a month to live in my home, and I don’t get anyone else cooking my meals. Another thousand bucks to feed me, clean the house, change the sheets, and guarantee availability of nursing care is within reason, more or less….but only if I don’t have to give up whatever I would make on the sale of my home! If renting made that possible, with the understanding that I’d have to pay out of pocket for any nursing home care required, then…

a) Living there would be do-able; and
b) It would make sense to keep the MetLife LTC insurance, because $130 a month, even if I live into my 90s, is one hell of a lot less than the $350,000± that I’d have to fork over from sale of my house.

I’d really like this house go to my son so that he can either sell it and bank the proceeds, rent it out to generate some cash flow, or move into it if he pleases. That means I do not want to have to sell it and spend the proceeds to get myself into an old-folkerie when I can no longer manage the place. Next week I’ll call over there and arrange to listen to their sales pitch. And be sure to ask them whether you really can rent without having to buy in, and if so, what you get for the rent.