October is Financial Planning Month – A Great Time to Take a Fresh Look
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released estimates showing the nation’s 65+ population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by aging Baby Boomers. The 65-and-older population grew by over 34.2% during the past decade, and by 3.2% in just one year from 2018 to 2019. This diverse group is projected to live longer, retire later and be trailblazers as to what it really means to “grow old”. Many want to create new careers, buy more real estate, and help their children and grandchildren financially. Still others may be facing new life challenges such as death of a spouse, long-term illness, or a need for long-term facility medical care.
No matter where you are in your life, you need a life plan. While most of us don’t like to think about aging, preparation is key to well-being as you grow older. The good news is that you can do specific things to secure a healthy and financially sound old age.
Your Life Plan
With some foresight, your later years can be healthy, wealthy, and happy. A checklist for your personal plan can start with the following three areas:
- Health and health care
- Legal and financial matters
- Work life and retirement
Each segment of your plan should be examined annually so you can adjust and make changes to ensure your financial stability and health care needs are met. For example, many seniors believe that long-term care is covered under Medicare. However, it is not. Rising prescription drug costs can also be an area you need to plan for if you suffer from chronic conditions or you have been diagnosed with a disease.
Planning for Worst Case Scenarios
Developing a life disaster plan is also worth reviewing. Many older Americans who have done some financial planning feel secure with a will and basic health and financial powers of attorney. In many families, that might be adequate. But what if you have a large or contentious family? Or an extensive estate or business assets? Or if all of your family lives far away from you?
In these cases, more customized, detailed personal planning is a good idea—for a rainy day or a full-blown financial disaster. Envisioning various scenarios such as health problems, business problems or family problems that might be addressed with various planning strategies is a tool many seniors use with their financial planners.
Some areas to consider:
- To prevent potential disputes, adult children or other close friends or relatives should be brought into the planning process so they can be assigned oversight “roles” that are established, communicated and documented well ahead of time and in writing.
- Establishing definitive choices about long-term care and end-of-life issues are also necessary for a solid plan.
- Planning ahead for the sale of the family home and other assets can help to maintain peace in the family and avoid stressful arguments and estrangements.
- Giving friends and family a chance to choose furniture, jewelry, mementos or larger assets they would want after the older relative’s death can be vetted and documented and placed with will and estate documents for easy access when necessary.
Planning Can Be Fun, Too
As you examine your three segments, your work life and retirement plans may be the most enjoyable to review! Do you want to continue working another five years? Are you ready to transition? Are you retired but considering a new venture that takes capital? These are all things you can review and discuss with your family and advisors in the annual “reminder” month. Some seniors also have a great passion for travel and are sure to plan for one to two grand vacations annually.
Every situation and wealth level are different and there are as many visions of happiness and success as there are people. By taking a look at the road ahead, you can hopefully make your later years some of your best!Your local Oasis Senior Advisor can connect you with resources in your community to assist with financial planning, elder law issues, health care planning and more. We have extensive knowledge of senior service providers in our region and are happy to help. Find out why we say that one call to Oasis can bring you many solutions for senior care.