Baby Boomers, born in the years following World War II, have made quite an impact on the world. It is staggering to think that 76 million Baby Boomers will move into retirement all around the same time, and they will require many expensive aging-related logistical and medical services. The picture might be more hopeful if more Baby Boomers had actually planned for getting old.
Here’s what Baby Boomers can do to get ready for a financially safe, long, healthy and meaningful retirement:
1. Acknowledge the Realities of Retirement
As it stands, 45 percent of American workers are not saving for retirement at all. Of those who are, most do not have enough put away to last them the 20 to 30 years they are expected to live into retirement, says Leading Age Magazine. Now is the time to save, even when it pinches. Now, while you are young enough to cut corners in order to put a little more away. Now, while you are strong enough to work a part-time job in order to be better funded for your golden years. Now is the time to save.
2. Don’t Count Your Chickens
Mary R. never bothered to plan for her children’s education or her own retirement. The Michigan nurse relied upon the fact that her aging mother had a large estate, which she would inherit and then use to finance her retirement. Mary boarded the first plane to the West Coast upon hearing of her mother’s death, imagining the art work and other items she would ship back to Michigan once the funeral was over. Boy, was she surprised to learn that her mother had invested badly in the real estate market and had left her only a few thousand dollars and a complex probate headache. When planning, you need to minimize guesswork and assumptions to protect yourself from unexpected setbacks. Avoid banking on positive outcomes, such as an inheritance or a high return on an investment portfolio.
3. At the Very Least, Take Care of the Basics
According to Forbes, half of all Americans have not done the most rudimentary estate planning. They do not have a will, a living will, or financial and medical powers of attorney. Nothing. Unless you want your assets to be spread around like chicken scratch or allow strangers to make decisions for you, complete at least the basics of your estate plan.
4. Work on Your Relationships
Consider the fictional case of Linda and Bob S., who have been married for nearly 40 years and who are within striking distance of retirement. Although the couple attended college together, raised kids together, and experienced all the highs and lows of life together, they drifted apart over the past decade. They’re nervous about the prospect of spending so much time with each other as seniors. As you approach retirement, assess your relationships, and work on making them more fulfilling and vibrant.
5. Make Social Connections
A University of California – Berkeley study showed that socially active seniors enjoy more mobility, suffer less depression, and experience less cognitive decline. If you have been too busy raising children or building a career to support a strong network of friends, it’s not too late to get started. Consider joining a book or hobby club, church, or civic organization. Prioritize creating connections with others and with the community.
6. Seek Advice from Qualified People
Moving into retirement is a lot like starting a new job – there’s a learning curve. Prepare yourself by asking advice from others who are already there. Learn about your health care options, explore possible places to live, and speak with a qualified estate planning attorney about you options. Your financial strategy should serve your broader purpose and life vision.
As you move toward retirement, please call the team at McChain Miller Nissman at 501-221-7776 for a free consultation and insight into your choices. Our simple, effective three step estate planning strategy will give you much needed clarity and reduce future uncertainties.