Does planning for retirement especially the parts dealing with long-term and health care costs confuse you? Do you become frustrated when reading or hearing the guidance given by some financial advisors who say, “Make a plan to know your future costs?” For me, that’s very confusing.
Here’s a question that I read the other day from a financial consultant, “It’s imperative for seniors to evaluate their future health care costs when planning for retirement.” That bothered me. First, how does one contemplate such question? Secondly, where does one begin to think through such a plan? When it comes to the matters of health, both physical and mental, that’s quite a burden to put on an individual to figure out. It’s tough enough to forecast what will happen this week much less what condition the body will be in a decade. But that advice stays constant, no matter who gives it.
It’s old news to read articles giving advice on saving and planning for retirement. We see subject matter pointing to this every day. Financial advisors tell us to save money, even offer calculators to help you figure out a monthly budget. But don’t they know we need more information and direction than that?
In order to simplify the strategy of future health care needs, I asked the aging experts at SeniorCare.com to help me out and give clear-cut examples. Here’s what a few have to say:
What do you recommend people do now to measure or evaluate their future health requirements?
The Aging Experts Give Specific Tips
- Get a health check-up! Determine your health status and then take steps to change your current lifestyle to manage and obtain optimal health. Chronic disease and polypharmacy increase long-term care needs in aging. Becoming physically active and eating a healthy diet can improve the likelihood of healthy aging! It’s never too late to make healthy changes. Kathy Birkett, Senior Care Corner
- I think people who are still working need to consider that the better health they have when they retire, the less money they will need for an enjoyable retirement. As a fitness trainer, it makes me sad to see people working so hard they end up with ill health and, therefore, need more money for caregiving services instead of enjoying retirement. Margo Rose, Body Aware Grieving
- While it is not possible to predict all possible future medical issues, those who worry about “inheriting” a disease can be tested. For instance, those of Eastern European descent can be checked to see if they might develop Lynch syndrome which can lead to numerous cancer diagnoses. With the progress made in modern science, seniors can undergo testing for a host of hereditary illnesses. David Mordehi, Advise & Protect
- Be honest. We all think we won’t be the one who will have to deal with a chronic illness. Talk with your family about finances and your wishes honestly so you can plan. And discuss the “what ifs” of care. Donna Schempp, Family Caregiver Alliance
- It is important for people to perform a “reality check” and think about the end of life issues. They need to look at their health situation, financial status, and their relationship with family and friends. They should also take a look at The Starter Kit from The Conversation Project to help understand and sort out their values and feelings for their end of life. Laurie Miller, Apple Care & Companion
- My prescription: “ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM”. Find the folks that will provoke thought, bring savvy, and suggest a strategy. Build in contingency planning, as having a Plan B along with YOUR TEAM will serve you well. Since most people seem to fear losing independence and control why not have the satisfaction of planning wisely? Nancy Ruffner, NavigateNC
The suggested tips are meant to give you guidance. Think through each one, and hopefully you’ll walk away with a better understanding and ways to make a health care budget.