Preparing for our senior years isn’t something we typically enjoy thinking about. But for the sake of our loved ones, it’s necessary to begin that process as early as possible. With the current US life expectancy being around 78 years old and the average age of retirement being at 62, it’s no wonder many seniors are faced with the worry that they’ll be a burden on their family.
Nearly half of Americans haven’t begun planning for retirement, with twenty percent of workers saying they’ll never be able to retire. And thirty-eight percent of all workers have less than $10K saved. AARP says “the conventional wisdom” is that most people should aim for a nest egg of $1M – 1.5M for retirement, or that your savings should total ten to twelve times your current income.
There’s a misconception that planning and saving for retirement requires a lot of sacrifice, but the truth is, slow and steady wins the race. The earlier you begin, the less your loved ones will have to sacrifice on your behalf.
Whether it’s due to financial hardship or a desire to remain at home, many seniors call on their children to help them in their later years. From personal caregiving to financial management, many family members feel required to take on this active role, especially when age begins causing a physical or mental decline in their parents. Factor in any financial assistance required on top of that, and your retirement can become a big stressor in your family’s life.
Even if you haven’t saved the recommended amount or made all of the plans for your senior years, it’s never too late to start. Here are some easy ways to not only get the ball rolling, but also to include your loved ones:
Research separately, plan together.
From financial advising to government services, there are lots of resources to not only start you down the right path, but also help define what those paths may be. Some cities even have an Aging in Place Council to help with your planning. Initiating some of this research on your own will not only save time for your family members, it will also let them know that you’re doing your due diligence – making planning together much easier, and perhaps something you may even enjoy.
Take the stress out of planning.
Even though the subject matter may not always be pleasant, you’ll be spending time with your loved ones. Have a planning date at your favorite restaurant, or simply plan a fun, rewarding event with your family after you hit some of your planning goals. This will make some headway in your planning, so you won’t have to become reliant on your family members later in life.
Get help from the experts.
Your loved ones may not always be the best resource for certain complex situations, like your finances or even insurance. But if you take the time to get those questions asked ahead of time, you can keep some of your matters private, and know that your affairs are still in good hands.
Be wary of situations that sound too good to be true.
Unfortunately, senior scamming is a very common occurrence. Always get a second opinion and inform your loved ones before you make any risky decisions with your nest egg — if something happens to your savings, it might be your entire family that ends up having to pay for it.
Define expectations with your family.
Is your family counting on you to cover all costs? What kind of caregiving are they willing to provide? Should you rely on them for financial management? Set limits of how much they can expect to support you as you age. And have backup plans in case things don’t always go as planned.
Discuss senior living facilities early on.
This is important so you can have a better idea of potential costs – it’s more than just rent. Be prepared for additional costs such as medications, doctor visits, treatments and procedures, caregiving, and everyday assistance with personal care and daily tasks. Once you know where you’d like to go, you can discuss it with your family and agree on when it may be necessary. Including them in this decision will show your loved ones that you have both of your best interests in mind.
The more you can plan and communicate with your family, the better. And keeping your future in mind is the best way you can help protect theirs. For more information on how you can plan ahead for senior living and how we can help you begin your journey at Brookdale, give us a call at 888-221-7317.
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