Elements of Retirement: Aging

Elements of Retirement: Aging

Charlie Jordan, CPA, CFP®, CeFT® | Partner in Charge, Retiring Well | Lead Advisor

“Age isn’t a number, it’s an attitude.” - Anonymous

Today, we continue our look into the 10 Elements of Retirement (See the entire list and take the self-assessment here: 10 Elements of Retirement). With every Element, we want to examine how we can identify opportunities for using your wealth to improve that area of your life. Today, we will take a deeper dive into the Element of Aging.

For centuries, human beings have fought against the reality of life: that we are aging and will eventually die. Entire industries are devoted to extending and improving our lifespan and even our mindset regarding getting older. The area of aging and its implications are a central theme throughout the other Elements of Retirement (i.e., Health, Home, Social, etc.). For our purposes, we will focus on three areas for the Aging Element:

  1. Long-term Care
  2. Estate Planning
  3. Legacy Conversations


Long-term Care
According to a recent study of Baby Boomers, 60% stated that long-term care and aging in place were a “top-of-mind” concern of theirs in their retirement years. This is an area where you can use your wealth to improve your life and that of your family. Some opt to fund long-term care insurance policies to transfer the risk to an insurance company. Many wealthy families can “self-insure” by utilizing their portfolios to cover any significant expenses. 

A great number of Baby Boomers have been or are currently the caregivers for their aging parents. They may even be responsible for them financially. This experience has and will continue to inform how they plan for their own long-term care needs and the impact on their finances and their families.

Regardless of the tactics, consideration for the cash flow, family, and housing challenges can be addressed through the planning process. Your wealth can be utilized well to provide peace of mind to your planning for the unknown.

Estate Planning
Ensuring the orderly and effective distribution of your wealth to your heirs and causes you support has long been the goal of good estate planning. Estate taxes have been a lesser concern over the past decade. However, with potential tax code changes looming, more and more retirees are focused on their estate plans. 

An often-overlooked area of estate planning is the selection of people or institutions to carry out the plan. So much of the conversation revolves around who gets what and how. As a result, the critical executor and trustee roles get taken for granted. That may need to include the services of a corporate trustee. Using your wealth to improve this area of your life also means engaging the services of a competent and trustworthy estate attorney and their team.

Legacy Conversations
Does your family know what you want to leave them? Not just the money and stuff, but what you hope to pass to them in terms of values, heritage, lessons learned, family history, your story? So many families miss this opportunity. We believe a critical part of Retiring Well is Finishing Well. That will certainly mean something different to each person. But studies show that people have a desire to share what matters most to them to those they care the most about and to hear the same from others. 

Nothing can replace face-to-face family gatherings, but technology now exists to have these conversations effectively when those are not available. There are even companies now that can facilitate the process of collecting and distributing the stories of your loved ones for future generations. So how can your wealth be used to pass along those intangible treasures to your family?

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