If you don’t have a personal plan for yourself, you may wish you had given it some thought when and if you come to an age and stage where other people want to make decisions on your behalf. There are many choices to be made before, during and after retirement, but without a clear picture of what you want, it’s easy to get sidetracked. This message from The Press-Enterprise is very clear in the article “Aging seniors: Make decisions before someone makes them for you.”
Here are some of the choices you’ll face:
Where to live. Waiting to move to a location you want to live in early on could make it difficult or impossible for you to move there. Do you want to stay in an area where you have friends and belong to social and civic circles?
Do you want to relocate to live closer to family members? What will you do if you move and then learn that your family’s life is busy, and you don’t see them very often? Be prepared for that scenario.
What do you like to do? If you visited Arizona or Texas and loved those places, do you want to move there for recreational activities or climate? If you have more time for hobbies and interests, you may be able to fulfill those dreams.
Moving also needs to take into account taxes, sales taxes, inheritance taxes and property taxes.
What kind of living space do you want? If you prefer to live in your own home, that raises questions. Will the house be safe as you age? Does the home have stairs? Are the hallways wide enough for a wheelchair? Do you have enough assets to support the house’s upkeep, make repairs and any major fixes? Will you take care of the house, or have to hire someone to maintain it? Finally, if you live with a spouse or a partner and that person dies, will you be able to manage the house on your own?
If a personal plan isn’t made now, you might regret it when other people are making choices for you.
Do you have a transportation plan? At some point, you will likely have to give up the keys to the car. How will you get around? If you live in a place with adequate buses, subways or taxis, you’ll be able to remain independent.
Taking care of yourself. The idea of not being able to take care of ourselves is not a happy one. At some point in life, we have to accept the fact that we’ll need care. As we age, it takes an effort to enjoy socialization and meals and planned activities become very important. Does that include adult day care, a Continuing Care Retirement Community or assisted living?
Don’t be afraid to look into the future. By thinking about what you want and planning in advance, you are more likely to enjoy your retirement life.
Reference: The Press Enterprise (Aug. 31, 2019) “Aging seniors: Make decisions before someone makes them for you.”