Securing a measure of predictability in a world that seems pretty unpredictable doesn’t have to be hard. While there are always risks that come with having to make a split-second decision, the “wait and see” approach to retirement planning won’t cut it when it comes to quality of life once you’re aged 65+. Unfortunately, retirement doesn’t always pan out the way you expect. Everything from major home repairs and surprise senior health care expenses to losing a spouse and being alone changes the retirement picture. And even if you think you have the answer to how to pay for future care, life often has a funny way of changing the question. Like most things in life, the best way to be ready tomorrow is to prepare today.
“In my experience with retirement planning, people don’t plan to fail. The trouble comes because they fail to plan,” says Christopher “Skip” Buchanan, a financial advisor with Questar Capital in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “It all comes down to planning. You have to look at the whole picture, from car payments to 401Ks. Nobody wants to find themselves in a situation where their future is at the mercy of Medicaid or another single source that’s out of their control.”
Skip says that everyone will approach their own situation in their own way, but the one constant that he would advise is to protect one’s assets. “No matter your individual case, if you have assets, you’re going to spend them. But you can still take steps to protect what you’ve earned,” he continues. “It makes sense to invest one percent of your assets in order to save the other 99 percent.”
So how can you begin to plan to avoid failure? To start, consider these helpful tips, then ask yourself again, are you ready for your future?
How much do you bring home every month? How much have you saved? How about retirement accounts? Are you a homeowner? Multiple homes? Knowing what your assets are worth will put you in better position to understand how far they’ll carry you in retirement. Once you know how much you have, you’ll be prepared to figure out how much you may need for unexpected developments.
WHY A HEALTH CHECK-UP IS IMPORTANT
They say an apple-a-day keeps the doctor away, but regular check-ups will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while aging. A little preventive attention can make a big difference to your overall health. Start setting up your annual visits and exams now. Everything from a physical to a tooth filling keeps you and your doctors in-the-know when it comes to your health. That, along with a healthy diet and exercise can keep you physically fit and mentally sharp well into your retirement years, and lower your future medical costs.
CONSIDER LIFE CARE
Preparation brings comfort and Life Care community provides more comfort than many senior health care options, giving you the security of a plan that’s in place long before one is needed. Should the time come that you do require additional support, you’ll know where you’ll receive it, the doctors you’ll be relying on, and how much it will all cost. Where and how you live are your choice, but the responsibility of finding qualified caregivers is lifted from your loved ones’ shoulders and replaced with invaluable peace of mind, knowing you’re in good hands at a community that offers Life Care. Find out if Life Care is the right fit for you by completing this easy assessment.
KNOW WHEN TO COLLECT
After you’ve capped a long and satisfying career, the hope is that you’ll have saved and invested enough to be financially independent throughout retirement. For many, however, the reality is that Social Security will become a necessary cushion for their retirement nest egg. The key to getting the most from Social Security is knowing when to start collecting. Don’t act too soon. The longer you wait to begin claiming, the more money you and your family will receive. When it comes to Social Security, it literally pays to wait until you’ve hit full retirement age. If you do choose to collect early, however, careful thought and professional guidance are always helpful.
BUILD A BUDGET
Take a few months and create a realistic budget based on your current income and expenses. Then, take what you’ve learned and do the math to determine how much you’ll need to maintain the lifestyle you hope to lead in retirement. If you have a diverse investment portfolio, try to forecast the returns you’ll receive. And of course, keep track of the debt you’re carrying and ensure that your budget leaves room to continue chipping away at that debt month after month. An accurate budget could be your own personal crystal ball, giving you some insight into what your financial future could look like, and how it can be affected by unforeseen changes.
Even if you’re a decade or more away from retirement, it’s never too soon to put your plans into action. Nobody enters retirement expecting the worst to happen, it just happens. Rather than being caught unaware, early planning can help ease the worry. Take time to consider how you would pay for — and respond to — an unexpected shift in financial status, regardless of severity. Everything from a roof replacement to a root canal or more serious medical situation can throw things off course, but a bit of planning early on can help you weather the storms that may come your way.