A friend of mine recently told me that their financial adviser recommended they buy a long-term care insurance policy to cover the cost of nursing home care in case they need it as they grow older. This seemed like good advice, until they realized that the premiums were - expensive.
This is always a difficult topic, and to be honest, everyone has a different point of view. Statistically, after age 65, most of us may need caregiving services at some point. No one really wants to think about this, and we all say, “it will never happen to me.”
What we don’t consider, is that it absolutely could happen to you, and someone will need to pick up the bill.
Currently, the cost of caregiving can run as low as $2,500 to more than $10,000 per month. For at home care, it’s approximately $30 per hour. These costs get higher every day. So, if you’re 55 now, just imagine what they will be when you’re 75.
Unfortunately, there are only three ways to pay for long term care:
Which is why many financial advisers will recommend that a long-term care insurance policy should be part of your retirement plan. The good news is that you can still find an affordable policy up to 65, but after that it starts to get expensive.
There are some other options to consider, and depending on your situation, you may be able to find less expensive alternatives. The key is to start planning as early as possible, so that you can be prepared. Where we see the greatest costs are when someone has no plan in place, and unexpected situations arise.
Come to one of our FREE workshops to learn more about long-term care options, and much more. You can register HERE. Or call to schedule a FREE consultation.
The pattern has been the same for the past several generations here in the U.S. After high school and maybe college you embark on your work life. You spend four decades or so in various jobs. Then at some point you have enough resources to retire. Stopping your regular job and enjoying a new lifestyle with fewer demands, less stress, and more time to do what you love. That might have been our typical conception, but these days – in the minds of as many as one in four American workers – that final step, retirement, will probably never happen.
No Plan to Retire?
At least that’s the conclusion from a study that was just released by AP-NORC, a collaborative partnership between the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Researchers at the AP-NORC center surveyed over 1,400 adults nationwide about their retirement plans. What they found confirms that the dream of a secure retirement is “elusive for many in the U.S.,” according to study author Andrew Soergel. Almost half of respondents consider themselves financially unprepared for retirement, and nearly one in four claim they will never retire at all. As the study concludes, a few of these could be motivated by their love of work, but the majority simply consider retirement unaffordable.
As we read stories like this, we’re reminded once again of the absolute necessity for people to plan properly for retirement. How many of those who say they are unprepared to retire have done any actual planning at all?
Andrew Soergel’s article on the AP-NORC study says that the data about never retiring “suggests a disconnection between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce.” In other words, those workers who expect to stay on the job indefinitely are in for a rude awakening. “Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like.” Other studies suggest that once older workers lose their jobs, they have a much harder time finding a new one, and often never manage to get back to the earning level they had enjoyed previously.
The biggest reason so many people never expect to retire comes down to one factor: they consider themselves financially unprepared. “For many, money has a lot to do with the decision to keep working,” says Soergel. As one expert from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College told him, “People have to live in retirement much longer, and they may not have enough assets to support themselves.” That’s why AP-NORC shows that fewer than 30 percent of respondents over 50 consider themselves “extremely prepared” or “very prepared” financially for retirement – leaving seven out of ten describing themselves as either somewhat ready to retire or not ready at all. Among current retirees, the numbers are slightly better but not great: roughly 60 percent said they felt somewhat or not at all prepared for the fiscal realities of life once the paychecks stop coming.
The bottom line from the AP-NORC study, in our view, is that planning is the key, because let’s face it, a plan of “working forever” as a solution is unrealistic.
At Tacoma Elder Care we help you think about all the critical aspects of solid retirement planning – finances, housing, medical coverage, legal protection and family communications.
Join us for one of our FREE workshopsWorkshop Registration, where we will help you begin planning for all aspects of your retirement, and learn how you can find a way to not, “work forever.”
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What subjects in a will are interchangeable among all states? Is guardianship the same no matter where you live? How about real estate? If I move frequently due to my company, is there anything in my will I know will always be valid or do I have to make changes every time I move?
Due to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, which reads "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State," your will executed in one state will be honored if you move to another state. Which means you don't have to get a new will every time you move. This is also true of revocable trusts; they will be honored in all states.
However, this is less true of durable powers of attorney and health care directives. While they should be honored from state to state, sometimes banks, medical professionals, and financial and health care institutions don't always accept documents and forms they are not familiar with. In addition, for some purposes the execution requirements may be different.
Some states require witnesses on durable powers of attorney and others don't. A state requiring witnesses may not allow a power of attorney that doesn’t include them to be used to convey real estate, even though the document is valid in the state in which it was executed.
Finally, guardianship is an issue when moving from state to state. If you have guardianship over another person in one state and you both move to another state, you will have to terminate the first guardianship and get a new one in the new state. This is because the courts in the first state will no longer have jurisdiction over the person in the new state.
If you are the court-appointed guardian for a parent and the guardianship was created by the courts in their state, but you feel they’d be better off in a facility in a different state (possibly where you live), the assisted living facility may require you have the guardianship transferred.
We recommend working with an elder law attorney to help you prepare all your legal documents and provide advice on what to expect in your state, and anything that may need to be adjusted if you should move to a different state.
We recommend calling for a FREE consultation to discuss your specific situation and needs. Or join Tacoma Elder Care at one of our FREE Workshops! Where you can learn about the vital legal documents everyone should have.
You still might be working full time, yet retirement is drawing closer every day. The idea of no longer working full time used to seem so far off, and now, as more and more of your friends retire, you find yourself counting down the days with a mix of eager anticipation and possibly some trepidation. Retirement is like the Great Unknown, so how can you adequately prepare for something you’ve never experienced?
You’re not alone in your mixed feelings. After a long time spent in the workforce, retirement can cause a lot of anxiety for some. Unlimited amounts of free time may sound like heaven to some, for others all they see is a difficult transition punctuated by stress, uncertainty and maybe even grief.
At Tacoma Elder Care we work with many retirees and talk with them about their experiences, and we’ve found that with a little guidance and some insight, transitioning into retirement can be one of the easiest transitions you’ve ever made in your life.
Here are Seven Tips that might help Make the Retirement Transition Relatively Easy
One: Plan for a longer transition period than expected. Expect there will be some trial and error until you get it right. It may take weeks, months, maybe even years to get used to retirement. That’s ok. The good news is, you have time!
Two: As your retirement kicks off, take a mini vacation. An opportunity to breathe. By taking a week or two to relax before you move into your new routine, will better prepare you for your new lifestyle. You’ll be well rested and ready for the challenge.
Three: Keep telling yourself, “this as a new beginning.” This mental preparation is an important component for a healthy transition. Rather than seeing retirement as the end of your career, view it as the beginning of an exciting new phase in your life. Begin reading retirement-related articles, talking to current retirees about their experiences, taking classes you’ve always wanted to take, or pursue volunteer opportunities.
Four: Work on getting fit. This should be fairly obvious, but it’s vitally important. Committing (or recommitting) to a healthy exercise routine, a healthy diet, plenty of water and rest, will help to reduce stress, build self-confidence, and benefit every aspect of your life from attitude to cognitive ability. You have no more excuses, and you have the time.
Five: Maintain your friendships. Friendships and social activities can help to reduce stress and provide emotional support. Having a strong network has been shown to improve physical and mental health as we age.
Six: Build a strong mental foundation for change, and develop a strong sense of identity, nurture (or create) a strong social network, and discover a strong personal mission and purpose. Now that you are no longer associated with a work title or career, begin to develop an honest sense of who you are as a person in this world.
Seven: Remember to always follow your dreams. Retirement isn’t an end, but a beginning, and the best way to ease yourself through the transition to retirement is to rediscover the world through a new lens. Explore being an optimist, not a pessimist!
The Retirement Transition is Really about the Right Retirement Plan
Regardless of how old you are or what your circumstances, a solid retirement plan is always the best solution. Even if you worry that you aren’t prepared or don’t have enough, a well thought out plan can show you the way forward toward a better retirement , including not only a financial strategy, but all the essential elements that matter most, including legal, housing, health and family. With a plan in place you can be prepared, and anxiety can be replaced with confidence and a sense of optimism towards this new chapter called “retirement.”
We encourage you to Join Us for a FREE Workshop! Tacoma Elder Care is all about helping you prepare for the secure retirement you deserve. Sign up for one of our Workshops today. Or call for a FREE consultation.
Unfortunately, many retirees are unprepared for financial emergencies. While they may manage their day-to-day budgeting well, a significant percentage are completely unprepared for a financial crisis, and when an unplanned expense comes along, they are often forced to choose even more expensive financial decisions just to cope.
How An Emergency Expense Can Catch Retirees Off-Guard
Since most retirees are on a fixed budget, planning for monthly expenses such as your mortgage, utilities, transportation, food and other necessities is relatively easy. You might even build in a little cushion for discretionary fun. The problems arise when unexpected expenses hit, catching many retirees off guard. When it comes to retirement budgeting, expect the unexpected. Most retirees in their mid-70s and older say they can’t come up with the cash to cover an unplanned expense of $10,000. Even those in their 60s would have difficulty with a situation such as this. In fact, in 2018 CNBC reports that only 39% of Americans had enough in a savings to cover a $1,000 emergency, so how would someone who is retired and on a fixed income handle something 10x that size, or more?
A solid financial plan for someone who is retired is to make sure you have enough cash in an emergency fund to handle something like this. There are two surprise expenses that typically take retired folks off-guard, their house and – surprisingly – their teeth. “What tends to slip through the cracks are dental work and home repairs, two pricey expenses that often catch people unawares,” Money Magazine reports. “These two categories topped the list of financial shocks in retirement, followed by significant spending on prescription drugs.”
When Facing Emergency Expenses, Insurance Doesn’t Always Help
Many retirees seem to believe that homeowner’s insurance or Medicare will cover emergency expenses, but that isn’t always the case. Your homeowner’s policy typically covers damage from fires, floods, earthquakes and the like – depending on the terms of your coverage – but it generally doesn’t step in when you need to spend $15,000 on a new furnace or $10,000 to replace a worn-out roof. As for dental, Medicare doesn’t cover most routine procedures, and even Medigap and Medicare Advantage dental plans have severe limitations and co-pays that can cost thousands.
The solution is to have ready cash on hand, even if it’s in a savings account that earns meager interest. Your financial advisor will typically recommend that you keep three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a liquid account to deal with unforeseen expenses. Having ready cash is important whether you’re working or retired, since unplanned expenses can occur any time. If you don’t have cash available to meet the emergency, you’re often left with two unattractive options: either you are forced to liquidate part of your retirement, or you decide to pull out your credit card and borrow to pay the bill. In the first instance, you sacrifice your nest egg and the earnings it generates, and you might find yourself with a tax burden that makes the situation even worse. In the second situation, those credit card fees tend to pile up month after month as the hole grows deeper.
To make sure you have all the documents and plans in place for your retirement, we recommend joining us for one of our FREE Workshops where we partner with local groups such as Sound Options and Cay Care. We work together to help you find the solutions you need, so that you can rest easy that all your bases are covered. So that you can get on with enjoying your well-deserved retirement!
Sign up for one of our Workshops today! Or call for a FREE consultation.