Boomers following the advice given here at about.com and my sister blog Who Moved My Dentures? might actually start thinking that they are feeling so good mentally and physically that they could live to be 100! Well yes you can. But are you prepared? Let’s look at some tips providers can offer their communities and individuals can follow for their own well-being.
When I say prepared, I mean financially and legally. Now is the time to get your house in order while you have your faculties and safe in the knowledge that you have laid out your choices. The information does not just apply to you the boomer but also to mom and dad who you may be providing caregiving. As you look to do some of these for yourself see if mom and dad have their house in order as well.
- For younger boomers and older ones too, save aggressively for retirement. So if your employer offers a matching 401(k) plan, participate. And if they don’t, open an IRA. No one has any idea where Social Security will be!
- Get your investment house in order. Consult a financial professional to help you sort through your options. I don’t know about you but I have six different 401(k) plans sitting around and know they should be rolled into one and my investment strategy revised. This is the money that will get you through retirement and maybe even let you retire early, so get on track early.
- Get the right insurance for your needs. One of the interview subjects in my book, Who Moved My Dentures?, commented that you don’t need life insurance, you need living insurance. It doesn’t take that much to bury you but it sure can take a lot to keep you alive, especially if a spouse passes. It’s important to know what your health insurance covers while you are employed. And it is important to know how you are going to pay for health insurance after you retire, especially if you retire before you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits. What is the right amount of life insurance that you need? And should you be looking at long-term care insurance? Find a trusted insurance professional to handle your needs. Ask your friends whom they use. And embrace technology. The Internet has a wealth of information to help you in your research.
- Make a will. Realize that others will have to suffer the consequences of sorting out your estate and your kids bickering over it if you don’t.
- Prepare a living will. A living will spells out your wishes for how you want to be cared for should you become sick and unable to make decisions for yourself. This is also referred to as an advanced directive. Check out Five Wishes.
- You can also appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf by giving that person healthcare power of attorney. Durable power of attorney for healthcare allows others to make medical decisions on your behalf or you on your parents’ behalf. A living will stipulates only what kind of care you want when recovery is not expected.
- A touchy subject here but the last thing you want is to have to go to court to possibly be declared incompetent or to have mom and dad declared the same. Avoid court. Draw up a durable power of attorney for finances. This authorizes you or your kids (at the appropriate time) to pay bills, manage investments, collect government benefits, and file taxes.
- For the powers above designate your spouse but have a backup as well and review the plan every three years to see if your situation has changed. You could be taking care of a loved one for longer than it took you to raise your children.
- I hold my breath as I write this next one but consider making your funeral arrangements sooner than later. OK Anthony, you say, that is just morbid. Maybe so and I have not done it yet but my brother-in-law and sister-in- law, mid 50’s, have their plots picked out and the arrangements made. Of course they are practical. It will save your beneficiaries money.
Above all, check with a good estate attorney, your financial planner and your accountant as you embark on this journey.
Oh and I thought you might chuckle at this anonymous quote I found: “Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home.”