Aging may not be something we look forward to, but compared to the alternative, it signifies a successful life. With age comes wisdom and many years of life experience. Once we embrace aging and accept all the value that comes with it, we can age with dignity and grace.
As we get older, we may reflect on our vast experiences. Some memories bring us great joy and pride, while others create feelings of resentment or regret. Each offers a unique perspective of a life well-lived. Coming to peace with the years that have passed helps us commit to living the remainder of our years to their fullest.
Planning for the Future
Thinking ahead and appropriately planning for retirement is the best way to ensure that our later years provide us with a comfortable lifestyle and a means to pass our legacy to the next generation. We want to live independently for as long as possible and reduce the financial burden of potential health care so it won’t impact other family members. Whether you have already begun planning or are just in the beginning stages, there are a few key considerations.
Considering what type of lifestyle you desire to live is essential when planning your retirement. Think about your current spending and social habits.
- Are you frugal with your spending? Or do you have liberal spending habits?
- Do you enjoy spending time out with friends? Or prefer to stay in?
- Do you travel often? Or like being home?
Be truthful with yourself in regard to your current lifestyle. Then, look at your future. Is this the lifestyle you want to continue to live? Or are you looking forward to a different approach in your senior years? Lifestyle is one of the most critical factors when financially planning for your future. An elder law attorney and financial advisor can help determine what that will look like.
The desired location also plays a significant role when planning for retirement. When deciding on potential retirement locations, there is much to consider. First, look at the cost of living in your desired area to determine if it fits your retirement budget and preferred lifestyle.
- Ensure that you choose a location with a climate that meets your aging and health needs.
- Choose a location closer to friends or family if you want to spend quality time with your loved ones. As we age, we may become more reliant on our family.
- Consider access to different senior resources. Different states provide a variety of communities and assistance programs for senior citizens. Certain locations have more active retirement communities or larger retirement populations than others.
Worst Case Planning
Adverse health problems and unforeseen life events happen. Many of us avoid thinking about these potential occurrences. However, the outcome can be much more positive if we plan for these undesirable events.
- Long-term care insurance can help prepare for potential age-related health issues and expenses. But it is important to purchase it while you are still healthy and eligible.
- Medicare does not generally cover long-term care expenses except in limited cases.
- Medicaid planning is an alternative but requires a few years to develop a legal strategy to protect assets and qualify for benefits. An estate planning and elder law attorney can explain the details of your state’s look-back period and create a plan that is ready when you need it.
In addition to Social Security, most save for retirement with 401(k) benefits provided by full-time employers. However, other options exist for those who want more financial security and those who do not have a 401(k) or an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
Passive income sources are gaining popularity in recent years. It allows you to make money without actively working. One popular form of passive income is real estate investment. If you have the means or plan on selling your current home to downsize, investing in a rental property can be a lucrative form of passive income.
You may also have a business that can be managed or sold but allows you to remain a consultant or continue earning income with little involvement. Business and estate planning attorneys can protect your investments from personal liability, transfer ownership to trusts, minimize taxes, and ensure they are preserved for family members if you become disabled and after you pass.
The Next Step
The process of aging does not have to be a scary one. Even if our life takes unexpected turns, proper planning and a positive outlook can make any circumstance manageable or fulfilling. Retirement requires careful thought, planning, and decision-making for the best outcome possible. We are available to help you with this process. Contact our office at (718) 979-7477 to set up a time to discuss planning opportunities.