Countless seniors look back and wish they had taken steps to make life easier when certain life-changing medical or financial issues arise later in life. A good time to do this is in your 50s, or at least as soon as possible. How about now?
Consequences of Not Planning to Grow Older
- Leaving a spouse penniless and or in a home they can no longer support or sell
- Leaving a spouse paying medical bills (in community property states) or poised for bankruptcy
- Becoming disabled without enough support, either financially or medically
- Facing a serious illness, even if temporary, without any caregivers to step up to the plate
Financial Planning for Growing Older
So many people stay in denial about growing older and end of life realities. Perhaps this is a good time to review your life insurance policy, or if you do not have one, get a term policy. Also secure long term care insurance if you have not yet done so, and review your policy if you have one already.
If you are still working, be sure to have disability insurance, as it is such a small investment compared to how much it would help should you need it.
Even when the economy is not tight, it’s hard to save for retirement. However, it is well worth saving something each week or month toward the future – which is sure to come. It may mean giving up a special coffee so be willing to brew it at home.
There are ways to pinch those pennies and still have something to save. The foundation of a good economy, whether national or personal, rests on savings. Look into an IRA, money market, or other savings vehicle and stay with that goal.
Legal Steps for Seniors To Prevent Financial Catastrophes Later
Update your will, and if you haven’t made one, get on it today! Often that one document stands between a spouse being able to manage financially and the specter of almost unbearable financial agony.
Consider taking longer than you take to choose tires for your car, or a new purse, to research and contemplate possible future needs for an updated will should life come to an end stage, as it surely will.
Consult with an attorney regarding end of life decisions and be sure those are in order, including a DNR (do not resuscitate) if you so choose, and any other documents indicated by your specific life situation.
Preventive Health Saves Money in the Long Run
Everyone knows to eat right and maintain mobility, yet many don’t apply what they know by their food choices and exercise routines. Seeing your doctor regularly will assure that there is baseline information in your medical records. Having a doctor who knows your health situation means changes in patterns will be noticed and acted upon. It also causes you to have regular blood work and medical consultation, a savings of both money and suffering in the long run. And of course flossing is but one of many regimens known to extend life.
Put Support Systems in Place as You Age
This comes in handy when help is needed. It can include family, someone in a younger generation, church, community organizations, neighbors, interest groups, or put more simply, friends. Help others as you go along (remember the golden rule?) and someone may be around to help you when tough times hit.
Part of each life is aging, so consider the consequences of not planning. Then plan to grow older, take financial and legal steps to prevent catastrophes later, practice preventive health, and build support systems for growing older. As they say, the best is yet to be. Make it so by planning.