Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®
We are living longer – like it or not. Currently, one in four Americans is over age 60. And according to a 2012 report on mortality in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy for a person age 65 years old in 2012 is 19.3 years – 20.5 years for women and 17.9 years for men. And if you are lucky enough to have good genes, access to good health care, good food, etc., the sky is the limit. Good news, right?
Surprisingly, the longevity conversation most commonly brings about negative feelings and topics when discussed in client meetings. Thoughts immediately come to mind of diminished mental capacity or dementia, physical limitations, need for long term care, nursing homes, etc. Clients immediately default to an aging future where they have limited control or limited abilities and it is not a future they are looking forward to. Longevity is NOT a good thing (they say)!
But what if we changed the way we thought about those extra years we might have? What if we, instead, viewed them as a gift of extra years that we weren’t expecting to have? Extra years to do those things we never had time to do when we were working or raising families? Those bucket lists that never got checked off? Those adventures left unexplored? Yes, of course, we need to plan for those “what if” scenarios that might happen later on in life, but let’s make those plans and put them away for later. And in the meantime, let’s enjoy the extra years we are being given. You can get some great ideas from some folks who are making the most of their extra years by going to www.growingbolder.com.
Of course, all of this takes good financial planning. Living longer means stretching your income sources and your investments for your (even longer) lifetime. And having clear strategies for funding your longevity adventures, as well as any potential long term care needs, will be important. Contact your financial planner to begin having your longevity planning conversations now. The sooner you begin to plan, the sooner your adventures can begin!
Sandra Adams, CFP® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.
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