How many years do you expect to live? Although most people don’t like to think about such questions, the result is that when they do, many people underestimate their lifespan. Living longer should be a blessing, but what if your financial strategy falls short?
Retirement financial planning is a complex field, made even more challenging as life expectancy increases. When we refer to ‘average life expectancy,’ remember that it’s a median figure – half will surpass it, half will not. Life insurance actuaries estimate that a 65-year-old has about a 50% chance of reaching 85. If you enjoy good health, practice safe habits like careful driving, and have a spouse, your life expectancy increases further. Modern actuarial tables even extend to the ripe age of 100!
Another common misconception revolves around total life expectancy. The often-quoted life expectancy for an American typically refers to a newborn’s projected lifespan. This average considers all factors, including childhood fatalities, urban violence, illnesses, and military casualties. As such, surviving past the perils of youth significantly enhances your likelihood of attaining a venerable old age. Numerous studies have suggested that many people fail to appreciate how long they might live due to a host of misunderstandings. The key takeaway is that if you’re in good health at 65, there’s a good chance you’ll see 85, and it’s sensible to plan for 90.
Knowing that you’re likely to live longer than you might have initially thought, what steps will you take to ensure financial security? Here are a few strategies to consider:
1. Minimize Debts: Strive to clear debts, including mortgages, to reduce monthly outgoings.
2. Social Security: If possible, defer taking social security benefits. Working longer can enhance the amount you’ll receive later in life.
3. Invest Wisely: Maximize contributions to 401K and IRA accounts. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these options with a financial advisor.
4. Annuities or Longevity Insurance: Consider investing in annuities or longevity insurance that guarantees income for life, no matter how long.
5. Financial Planner: Seek professional advice to develop a comprehensive plan and optimize your existing assets.
6. Long-Term Care Insurance: Plan for long-term healthcare by investing in long-term care insurance to prevent medical expenses from depleting your savings.
7. Back-Up Plans: Always have a contingency in place.
The earlier you start planning for long-term senior care, the better. There’s nothing more disheartening than watching your savings deplete prematurely, causing financial worry during the years meant for relaxation and enjoyment. Open discussions about your needs and wants with your spouse, family members, and a trusted advisor can help align everyone towards the same goal. The process might seem overwhelming, but remember, a long life awaits you – ensuring its quality lies in your hands. Searching the internet or phone book and asking your medical provider about available resources can help you gain an understanding of the landscape, particularly if you anticipate wanting to take advantage of home health care. Try looking for “long-term care near me”, “assistance for elderly at home”, “at-home care for seniors”, in-home care services, home healthcare services, or home aide services, but be wary of anyone trying to sell a predetermined solution or care package. Our Geriatric Care Managers are happy to discuss your long-term care goals, and can refer you to eldercare specialists such as financials planners or attorneys. Your happiness in the golden years depends on the choices you make today.