Why You Should Have a Roadmap for Your Aging Years

I was asked to speak on a panel of professionals recently on the topic of “11th Hour Planning,” which is essentially planning steps that should be taken when a person nears the end-of-life. Much of the discussion revolved around the vast differences in the resulting situations when a client has planned ahead for their aging years versus when they have not. It was certainly the consensus of the professionals on the panel that those clients who plan in advance have a much more pleasant experience overall, their families are generally less stressed and panicked, and, more often, there are better financial results.

What, might you ask, is involved in “planning for your aging years?” I am referring to planning that goes beyond traditional retirement planning, where we are talking about cash flow projections and making sure your money will last as long (or longer) than you will. The financial aspect is an important piece, and as we discuss what I call the Roadmap for your Aging Years, the financial piece will focus largely on how to pay for funding during the later years of your retirement. We hope that those later years continue to be filled with travel, hobbies, and fun, but they could involve expenses focused on healthcare and long term care.

The Roadmap for your Aging Years covers the following topics:

  • Housing
  • Care (Where will you receive Care/Whowill Care for you)
  • Family
  • Legacy
  • Financials

Within the context of the above topics, you design your plan by exploring the Challenges you see yourself facing as you age, the Alternatives (i.e. solutions) you have for facing those challenges, the Resources you may have at your disposal for facing those challenges, and ultimately envisioning the Experience you would like to have as you age. We call this the C.A.R.E. planning method that was developed by Dan Taylor, author of The Parent Care Conversation. Ideally, you design your Roadmap with the guidance of a professional (your financial planner can help) and in collaboration with your family, so that everyone is on board and part of the plan from the beginning.

The 11th hour can come for any of us at any time, but for most of us comes later in life. Planning ahead can make end-of-life a less stressful experience if there is a plan in place.  If you do not yet have a Roadmap for Your Aging Years, contact your financial planner today to start the conversation.

Sandra Adams, CFP® , CeFT™ 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.

The opinions expressed are those of Sandra Adams and are not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. and its advisors do not provide advice on tax or legal issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional. Raymond James is not affiliated with nor does it endorse Dan Taylor.