Longer lives are great, but a longer life that includes good health, adequate resources and a high quality of life takes a lot of planning and discipline.
According to a survey of seniors from the National Council on Aging, 80% of respondents said that they planned to remain in their homes, although 40% felt that they would need a child or grandchild to care for them at some point. The survey, reported in an article in Forbes, “You May Live Longer Than You Expect: Are You Prepared?”, also found that about a third didn’t know if they had enough money to last through retirement. Here’s the kicker: some of those surveyed didn’t have a financial plan in place.
There are several things you can do in preparation for a good quality of life as you age. First, begin as soon as possible so you can take full advantage of resources that can help you have a longer, healthier life. You should start with financial planning. It is important to share your current financial situation and describe your goals for both before and after you retire. This will allow you to design a workable plan that will help you achieve those goals.
Next, look at legal and estate planning. Depending on your individual circumstances, your plan can be relatively simple or complex, but should be tailored to your needs and objectives. At a minimum, make sure that you:
- Create a complete estate plan. That includes a Living Trust, a Living Will, Durable Powers of Attorney, Healthcare and HIPAA Power of Attorney, and estate planning letters;
- Designate guardians for minors and dependents;
- Create written instructions for locating important documents, like your insurance policies, bank accounts, and other financial assets;
- Designate your retirement plan, 401(k), and IRA beneficiaries; and
- Make funeral arrangements, whether pre-paid or pre-planned.
Your comprehensive estate plan should ensure that your assets are distributed how, when, and to whom you say. This can relieve loved ones of the stress and emotional impact of making difficult financial and medical decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so because of incapacitation.
Now that your financial and legal health has been addressed, don’t neglect your physical and emotional health and well-being. Make sure to have annual checkups with your doctor, and include a fitness evaluation. The chances of your living a longer, healthier and more rewarding life are more possible today than ever before.
Reference: Forbes (March 31, 2017) “You May Live Longer Than You Expect: Are You Prepared?”