A recent Forbes article asks “You May Live Longer Than You Expect: Are You Prepared?” The article notes that, according to a survey of seniors conducted by the National Council on Aging, 80% of those contacted said they plan to age in their homes. Some 40% of the respondents believed that they’d need a child or grandchild to care for them at some point. About one-third said they didn’t know if their money would last through retirement, and some didn’t even have a financial plan.
There are several things you can do in preparation for a good quality of life as you age. First, begin as soon as possible, so you can take full advantage of resources that can help you have a longer, healthier life. You should start with financial planning. It is important to share your current financial situation and describe your goals for both before and after you retire. This will allow you to design a workable plan that will help you achieve those goals.
Next, look at legal and estate planning. Depending on your individual circumstances, your plan can be relatively simple or complex, but should be tailored to your needs and objectives. At a minimum, make sure that you:
- Create a complete estate plan. That includes a Living Trust, a Living Will, Durable Powers of Attorney, Healthcare and HIPAA Power of Attorney, and estate planning letters;
- Designate guardians for minors and dependents;
- Create written instructions for locating important documents, like your insurance policies, bank accounts, and other financial assets;
- Designate your retirement plan, 401(k), and IRA beneficiaries; and
- Make funeral arrangements, whether pre-paid or pre-planned.
Your comprehensive estate plan should ensure that your assets are distributed how, when, and to whom you say. This can relieve loved ones of the stress and emotional impact of making difficult financial and medical decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so because of incapacitation.
With your financial health in place, remember your physical health and well-being. Talk to your doctor and get moving. Advances in nutrition and healthcare make the chances of living a longer, healthier life much more realistic for many. With proper planning, your quality of life can improve in every aspect.