Retirement is a time of freedom and exploration. However, it is important to plan carefully for your later years with the aim that you have the best possible quality of life. When planning for retirement, you should be thinking of how you might financially deal with you or your spouse needing additional healthcare, assisted living, or a nursing home.
Eldercare planning can help you make the most of your retirement by addressing important topics like financial and medical planning, housing, and lifestyle decisions. It can help you maintain independence, make sure you have access to appropriate care and services, and manage any associated costs. Developing an appropriate eldercare plan includes determining the type of care you may need, understanding your financial resources and the tax implications of spending them down; taking steps to protect your assets, and creating an estate plan. Taking the time to create a comprehensive eldercare plan now can help you and preserve control and your dignity as you age.
These are the steps we take to help our clients plan for retirement and the possibility of a Long-Term Care Need.
1. Take stock.
We first inventory your assets, liabilities, spending, and retirement goals.
2. Understand the systems available.
Medicare and Medicaid are often discussed as if they are similar programs. They are not. Medicare is the Federal healthcare system for those over 65 years old. There are others that are entitled to use Medicare, but that is not the point of this article. Medicaid is a welfare program that is offered to those who qualify by being ‘needy’. This generally means that if you have assets, you need to first spend them down before you apply for Medicaid. For those who have a spouse that needs a long-term care facility, this can be disastrous to their own financial health in retirement. If you are a Veteran, the VA may offer some benefits as well. This will depend on when, how long and where you served. Additionally, you will find some lesser benefits such as senior centers, transportation, etc. in your community. With all of these resources, you will need to understand what is available to you and how you qualify.
3. Learn possible strategies specific to your situation.
There are many strategies to protect your assets from a sudden higher income need due to a health issue and a long-term care need. There are some creative ways to insure against this risk. Years ago, there was only Long-Term Care insurance. While that still exists, there are some other compelling solutions. There are many strategies that could be customized to your particular situation to help lessen the impact that a long-term care need might have. The key is to plan early. Unfortunately, many wait until they have a need and it is often too late, at this point to do anything meaningful.
At Empowered Financial Strategies, our process is to look for ways to create a plan that offers you strategies meant to build wealth while also looking to protect against all types of wealth erosion factors. Some of the major wealth erosion factors are long-term care, taxes, inflation, and longevity; or living a long life.
4. Bring in the Legal Expert
In addition to a financial advisor, you will want an attorney who is well-versed in Eldercare planning as well as Estate Planning. It is a best practice to have collaboration between the financial advisor and attorney, so there are no gaps.
5. Create a plan
No one has a crystal ball to see what will happen in the future. The best you can do is to build a financial plan that offers you the income you want, in retirement, with a contingency plan should there be a long-term care need.
Retirement is a new chapter in life; it's an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But for many, getting there without proper eldercare planning can be daunting. It is hard to relax and enjoy when you know there is a possible large financial risk to yourself or your spouse.
This is why it's so important to start planning early so you can make the most of your retirement years. With careful early planning, you can build a strategy for financial security and the appropriate care services that you need to live a happy, healthy life. By taking the time to consider your options and make a plan now, you can rest easy knowing that you have the resources to make your retirement years a time of joy and relaxation.
Note: At Empowered Financial Strategies, we understand how important it is to have a good foundation of basic financial knowledge. We offer retirement planning workshops with this end in mind. If you have a group or association and would like us to speak, please reach out to us at Contact (empowered-fs.com)
At Empowered financial Strategies, we Listen to Learn and Educate to Empower.
About the author:
Carolyn Humphrey is a Financial Advisor, with licenses in areas of Life, disability, health and Long-Term Care Insurances as well as a number of Finra licenses allowing her to work in various areas of Wealth Management. She has earned the RICP®, (Retirement Income Certified Professional), from the American College. This designation helps Financial Advisors learn about how to guard against the 18 risks that clients face in retirement. She has also earned the WMPC®, (Wealth Management Certified Professional), which is designed to help Financial Advisors build efficient portfolios for goals-based investing. Carolyn has also earned the CLF®, Certified Leadership Fellow, which has helped her in various leadership positions such as being a national trainer as well as a manager of a team of advisors. She has been married and caring for rescue pups since the early 1990’s and has been an avid Buffalo Bills fan forever.
The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or insurance product.