If you’re like me, you’ve worked hard your whole life and tried to save along the way. But you’ve also been hit with unexpected expenses from time to time that have chipped away at that hard-earned nest egg. It happens to the best of us, even more so in a volatile economic environment. That is why it is so vital to plan for retirement and beyond, especially as the cost of living is going up, as is health care, long term care, and transportation, among other things. In fact, the only thing that seems to be going down is mortgage rates, but who knows how long that will last? So, just how do you cover those post-retirement expenses, when it is hard enough just living paycheck-to-paycheck? I’ve recently been trying to answer that question myself.
In my research, I’ve discovered that there are many valuable resources available that can help you set goals and help you can take control of your future, such as this recent SmartMoney article, “How to Catch Up on Retirement Savings.“ Another thing I learned, is that it is important to think about your long term care options, even if you are years (or decades) away from retirement and are still in good health. For one, Americans are living longer lives than ever before, and the percentage of Americans who need care is rising rapidly. Not to mention the fact that the cost of care is rising faster than the rate of inflation, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. Many factors can influence the cost of care, including your age, health status, location, and the type of care needed, so it behooves you to define a long term care plan now rather than later.
While Medicaid and Medicare may help, it’s important to know that Medicaid is for the indigent and Medicare has restrictions so numerous that you might not qualify. If you want to ensure that you’ll be able to live where you like and receive the type of care you need, long-term care insurance may be the only way to pay for it.
It can difficult to grapple with the thought of aging and losing the ability to be self-sufficient. It hits very close to our own mortality.Yet it is important to have conversations about long term care with your family – to give them a sense of what your expectations are, and know whether you can count on their help. You should also explore the current and prospective long-term care landscape to determine a care plan that is right for you. Once you understand what your options are, talk to an advisor who can guide you in making a decision to fit your needs and lifestyle.