Death and taxes can be fairly grim topics, however, as the saying goes, “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” They are inevitable and they have a big impact on us and our loved ones. We would be doing ourselves an injustice by not planning for old age.
Planning for your future encompasses much more than retirement planning. Proactive aging, as we like to call it, includes planning for the unique challenges that come with aging and determining how best to manage the responsibilities that you have now under these different circumstances.
Growing older is a fact of life and with the right plan in place, this process does not have to be fraught with uncertainty. You may never need the plan, but if you do, it’s good to know that you’re covered. Here are some thoughts to help you develop the vision you have for your lifestyle as you age:
Prepare to be brutally honest with yourself
One of the biggest challenges in planning for old age is confronting truths that may be uncomfortable. Many people have a hard time thinking, much less talking, about the story they are living and the impact they hope to make. Things like health and the life expectancy of your spouse or other family members are topics that most people would rather avoid. Many even find it difficult to consider what their purpose will be when they are no longer working for a living.
We like to start this discussion early, to tread slowly into these topics that, while challenging to talk about, are incredibly valuable discussions to have. As your age progresses, your life will change. Being able to discuss what your vision and dream looks like will help you to prepare a plan with which you and your loved ones are content.
Evaluate your options based on your expected physical capabilities, financial resources, and the vision you have for your lifestyle
One of the things that many people consider when thinking about aging is the eventual need for assisted living or some sort of help. There are quite a few options for long-term care or assisted living. Below are some selections that you may consider.
Staying at Home
Some people wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible. When considering this option, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into how “aging-friendly” your home is. At MFC we have access to a document that we believe provides a checklist of the things your home needs to have in order to be aging-friendly. A couple of examples include handrails in the bathroom and an elevator to get upstairs.
The other part of this discussion is when should you consider moving into an assisted-living type community. If your family or friends begin to worry about your safety, would you hire an in-home aide or consider moving to a different facility? Having a documented plan in place can help keep you accountable and your friends and family content in knowing that you will keep yourself safe.
Adult day care
You may be living with your family, but to help keep you involved in the community and engaged with others, there are options for attending day care centers with other seniors. These facilities offer a variety of activities and have staff members to assist with medications and other needs.
Nursing homes are what most people think of when you mention Long Term Care. This is for those needing 24-hour care and assistance in most activities of daily living. Residents typically have either a private room or a shared room within a larger facility. They have a nurse or aide with them around the clock and 24-hour access to medical care.
Assisted living is a more independent version of Nursing Home Care in that you can typically have your own or a shared apartment or home within an Assisted Living Community. Prices vary based on the type of accommodations, but you are usually in a community with many other elderly individuals with whom you can socialize and interact. You are also close to medical care and the communities typically have shuttles or other forms of transportation to take you to the grocery store and other places that you may need to go.
The Role of Family
Spouses and children are often looked to for support in old age, but not everyone has these support systems or wants to put their care in the hands of these people. There is no “right” way to plan for your care, but being mindful of your anticipated support situation is important in the planning process.
Consider Resources Available
As you begin to develop the vision and the legacy you hope to live, you should examine your resources to determine how best to fund that vision. Financial planners can help you determine how you can continue the lifestyle you envision while also covering the extra expenses of the long-term care that you desire and/or need.
Medicare has very limited coverage for Long Term Care, but private policies may be an option depending on your age and health. It is useful to consult with a financial planner to help decide how best to use your resources in order to maintain your standard of living and cover the costs of future care.
Tools for Implementing Your Legacy Vision
Proactive aging is a topic that will likely morph and change as you continue to grow and learn about the things that are most important to you. As you begin to develop the vision you have for yourself, you can take steps today that will help you get there. At Morris Financial Concepts, we like to say this is Legacy Living; you are living your legacy every single day and we want to help you match that legacy to your vision.
Our team members have access to Whealthcare Planning, a service that presents thought-provoking questions to clients to enhance the envisioning process and provides guidelines and checklists to ensure that that vision is feasible and attainable. This service, combined with the guidance of a financial planner, can assist in shaping your ideas.
Planning is empowering. You will not be able to predict all that the future holds, but having a baseline to work off of can do wonders for your sense of security and peace of mind. If you would like more information on planning for old age, contact a Morris Financial Concepts Charleston, SC financial advisor. Our Certified Financial Planner™ professionals would be happy to assist you in taking control of your financial future.
The opinions expressed herein are those of Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. (“MFC”) and are subject to change without notice. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. MFC is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about MFC including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. MFC-19-22.