Planning early and comprehensively
If the World Health Organization is correct, many of us will experience a “longevity bonus” of 20 to 30 years at the end of our lives. Like you, I want to look forward to it, and plan for it, so that I can experience these extra years as happily and well-prepared as possible! What will be our needs and wants be during this new, undefined period of life? How will we be prepared?
A Longevity Plan is Not a Retirement Plan
A Longevity Plan is not a retirement plan, and it goes well beyond ensuring that you have a Last Will and Testament. While longevity planning considers finances and legal documents, it also addresses the importance of protecting your assets, passing down an inheritance, and understanding available options and costs of long term care.
Important elements of the plan include:
- Understanding the state of your finances and whether some of your assets can be protected
- Understanding available programs and government benefits and how to set up your assets to maximize those benefits
- Having legal documents in place, including a Will, Healthcare Proxy, and Power of Attorney to ensure that someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated
- Determining how and where you want to live, and if it will be possible to stay there if you need care
- Identifying family or friends who can help you navigate some of these difficult issues
While none of us looks forward to facing these difficult issues for ourselves or our loved ones, planning early and comprehensively can give you and your family peace of mind.
Get a start on creating your Longevity Plan with the help of this matrix. It outlines the four pillars of Longevity Planning and explains how to get the most out of it.
Consider These Questions When Preparing Your Longevity Plan
Most of the questions in one section of your Longevity Plan will directly relate to those in other sections. You will see how interdependent these considerations are as you proceed through the exercise. That is why we have to make sure everything fits together! Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Click each to open.
Use these questions to determine how prepared you are for the financial issues that may arise as you age:
- Should you be lucky enough to be 75 or older, what are your financial goals for the rest of your life?
- Do you have enough money that you’re not worried about running out before you die?
- Are you willing to spend what you have in order to ensure that you are well-cared for, should you need help when you are older?
- Do you know how much you will have to spend before you can ask for help from the government to pay for long-term care?
- Do you have a trusted advisor to make sure that all of your assets have been reviewed, that they are appropriate to keep, and how to make best use of them during your lifetime?
- If someone had to step in and manage your finances, how easily would they understand your plans? How complicated is your financial life?
- Could your spouse or children easily find all of your accounts?
- If you live to be 95, your children could be 65 or 70 years old when you die. Does that change anything about the amount you need to leave for them? How important is it to you that they receive money at your passing?
Use these questions to determine how prepared you are for the legal issues that may arise as you age:
- Do you have an updated Power of Attorney document? Have you checked that it gives your agent the authority to do whatever might be necessary to accomplish the things they will need to do on your behalf? Is the agent you have selected willing and able to dedicate the time necessary to take care of your financial situation? Have you made sure they know what your wishes are?
- Have you discussed your decisions regarding how you want your money spent or preserved with your agent and other family members?
- Do you plan on having your family go through the probate (legal) process to receive the money left to them?
- Would you rather they receive your money automatically?
- Do you want to make sure some of your wealth gets to your heirs, even if you should need to pay for nursing care?
- Have you consulted with an elder law attorney?
Use these questions to determine how prepared you are for the health issues that may arise as you age:
- What are your expectations about life if you should need assistance in your later years?
- Do you have any health conditions that may shorten your life or make it likely that you will need help in the future?
- Have you discussed your health concerns with your family? Have you chosen a trusted loved one to make your medical decisions if you are unable? If so, have you signed a healthcare proxy document?
- Will that person be able to advocate for your wishes?
- Can they be trusted to be there and to ask the right questions?
- Do you have a doctor who knows about your whole health picture? If you have a different doctor for each specific condition, is there anyone in charge of coordinating your healthcare?
- Have you considered finding a geriatric specialist?
“A little better than a year ago, my wife lost her mom. As if her pain wasn’t difficult enough, what she/we are going through to this day is unimaginable. The house finally sold—at a loss—plus taxes. The retirement plans, a mess unto themselves. The list goes on. As painful as it will be when my parents pass, the peace my sister, myself and my parents have from working with Laurie, it’s priceless.”
– David R Rice, DDS
Use these questions to determine how prepared you are for the social issues that may arise as you age: