Post-Retirement Considerations

Nursing home costs in the United States can easily top $70,000 per year! Assisted living centers may cost as much as $4,000 per month for a one-bedroom private-pay facility. We discuss these lifestyle changes as part of our planning process for retirees. It is not always a popular subject to broach with newly-retiring people because they think of it as a negative. However, as specialists in retirement planning, we believe in educating our clients about all facets of the future that they might control.

Let’s think about the options and find a few methods of mitigating these possible future costs. For one, by maintaining an active lifestyle and sensible diet, one may escape these options or, at least, delay them. Many of our clients have seen the impact on their families’ and friends’ budgets from admissions to a nursing home. These facilities are of great assistance when transitioning our loved ones that experience a period of life in which continual support is warranted. 

Another option to utilizing these types of facilities is to accumulate sufficient funds that will allow you to remain in your own home with assistance provided by nurses’ aides and other medical providers. This option appeals to most of our clients that may simply have mobility issues and cannot provide for all aspects of their daily lives. We evaluate each client’s capabilities to accomplish their activities of daily living (ADL) and assist them in analyzing the impact of potential nursing care in their future financial planning budgets.

The six routine activities of daily living are: eating, bathing, getting dressed, toileting, transferring and continence. Each of us participate in these activities daily. To lose your capability to perform one of these activities may not be the deciding factor to start searching for an alternative to remaining in your home. However, when you lose the ability to conduct three or more of these activities, it is critical that the family consider nursing providers in the home of the individual or seek a nursing home.

To determine the appropriate level of support for a loved one, it is critical that the level of care replaces the daily activities that are not being performed by the individual. It may mean that you simply require an aide in your home for twelve hours per day. As the person’s abilities become more impaired, additional support and possible relocation may be needed.

One of the greatest ramifications of assigning a loved one to a nursing home is the emotional effect on the person. Too often this process is decided without input from the impaired person and the children simply need some relief from the care being required of them. Those of us deciding the fate of any person must consider the infirmed person’s wishes and desires. These decisions are some of the most difficult to make. By keeping the person informed of each step and soliciting their acceptance with the process, you may experience a better transition.

These types of decisions can have a significant impact on your retirement plans. Seek out a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner who understands all aspects of retirement. It is too important of a decision to simply guess.

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Your Health — The Greatest Asset You Own

If you are concerned about running out of money during retirement, there are several steps you can take now to avoid this catastrophe. Healthcare costs continue to rise at an alarming rate in the United States. Based on estimates provided by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), total health care spending grew by an average of 4.6% in 2017, reaching nearly $3.5 trillion. Prescriptions are arbitrarily sacrificed by some retirees as if they had a choice in taking this life-extending medicine. The reason for such a drastic decision is the required choice some people make to purchase food, shelter and car fuel instead of their medications.

To mitigate the rising cost of healthcare, start making a few small changes in your lifestyle. One simply has to look around to notice many of us carry far too much weight on our body. This result was not realized overnight. We suffer, or enjoy, the results from our choices we make. 

As a teenager, I enjoyed a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, hash browns, fruit, pancakes and, sometimes, chocolate gravy (more on this delightful dish later). I consumed, at least, four thousand calories per day and could not gain weight. Oh, to be young again. Eating this breakfast today would be tantamount to physical torture for my knees, hips and feet. A more sensible approach to eating must be subscribed to at the age of 54. Now, I eat high fiber, low fat meals that are limited to 1,500 calories or less per day.

Another area of choice is activity. Unless you are physically incapable of walking, this form of movement is one of the easiest and best exercises anyone can perform. You can lose a pound of weight for every 3,500 calories you burn walking. Simply calculated, if you burn 350 calories a day, you would lose one pound every 10 days by doing nothing more than walking.

How does this relate to retirement planning? As a retirement expert, we use a factor of 20% of the person’s retirement income for medical purposes. This may seem like a lot of money but the rising cost of healthcare could require significantly more of your income in retirement than you think. Included in the 20% factor would be medicine, physician costs, dental costs, nurses aide expenditures, and, potentially, nursing home needs.

Oh, back to the chocolate gravy. This southern dish consists of Hershey’s Chocolate Baking Powder, sugar (lots of sugar), flour and pure vanilla extract. Mix in a big stew pot on the stove, add water and stir until it boils. Take from the stove, add a hot, home-made biscuit with lots of butter and you have a rib-sticking delight that is out of this world. Also, this is obviously not healthy. So, I only allow myself this treat for breakfast at Christmas. To offset the effects of the calories and sugar, I run a 5-K or complete a CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD). Don’t tell my doctor!

If you wish for your money to last longer than you, make some simple changes in your lifestyle. Consult your physician before starting any eating or exercise programs. Hope to see you out walking and exercising in our Southeast Oklahoma outdoors!

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