It is very important to prepare for old age. It turns out that it is frequently more than looking after your financial situation. It is also a good idea to prepare to remain independent and in good health, according to The Mercury in “REINVENTING RETIREMENT: Your most important asset—it’s not what you think.”
We hate to think about becoming dependent upon others. However, that is often what occurs with aging. This is an asset that needs to be planned for and managed, like any other. Here are some tips for each decade:
Health Care Directives in Your 50s. You need to have a will and you need to have it updated as the years go by. However, in mid-life, you need to make sure to have a health care proxy and a power of attorney. Estate planning is a tool used to protect your independence and your wishes as you grow older. These two documents are a critical part of your estate plan. A health crisis or an accident can happen to anyone, but planning can ensure that your wishes are followed. Put your wishes on paper with an attorney so that they are enforceable. Just telling someone what you want is not going to do it.
Home and Belongings in Your 60s. The kids are out of college and have their own careers and families. Do you still need that big house? Downsizing could bring you tremendous freedom now. Yes, you have to go through all of your belongings, which is a lot of work. However, consider how your life would change if you had less stuff, a smaller home and lower bills? This one move could change how your retirement succeeds—or fails.
Stay Connected in your 70s and 80s. Connecting with your community is critical at this time of life. When you are actively engaged with your community, you’ll be busy with activities that you enjoy. You will hopefully be making contributions that draw on your years of experience and knowledge. Hope and having a purpose in life is not just for the young. The healthiest and most independent lives are lived when people are engaged with other people, with a life that has meaning and purpose.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your specific circumstances and takes into account future finances, independence, and good health planning.
Reference: The Mercury (Feb. 10, 2019) “REINVENTING RETIREMENT: Your most important asset—it’s not what you think”