Some people dream about and plan their life from an early age. Some people have more of a come what may attitude. Even those that plan and prepare run into surprises and changes in their plans they would never have imagined. When planning for retirement, this is true as well. Plans change, unexpected things arise. During your employed life, surprises can be tough and challenging to recover from. However, if something unexpected happens during retirement, it can be much more, even impossible, to recover from it.
While you may not be able to plan for every occurrence, you can plan for some things that commonly arise during these times of your life. Being prepared for some of these frequent events can help you plan and remain financially stable during retirement.
Being There for Your Children
You raised your children. You spent your love, your energy, and your money on them. Now they are grown and responsible for themselves. Now is time for you to make sure you are the one being cared for. You can only rely on your own self to fund your retirement. What happens when your children are suddenly in a financial bind? Perhaps you want to help with a higher-end education for a grandchild. Maybe your child has gone through a divorce and is looking to recover. What could be the harm in paying some extra tuition or letting your son move back in your home while he is preparing to move forward?
If you haven’t planned for these situations, helping them could jeopardize your retirement. Paying for a mouth to feed, extra utilities, or even spending money here and there add up quickly. If you have planned and have a cushion in your finances, these additional expenses may be acceptable. Otherwise, you need to keep yourself in mind when going through these situations. If you are offering money to children, sit down and discuss a repayment plan. Make sure to take into account your savings and not taking on something that would overly impact your success.
Your Home and Moving During Retirement
What about your home? Have you thought about your long term needs? Do you have stairs or multiple floors? How many rooms do you have? How many rooms do you really need? Is there a large amount of land that needs upkeep? When you are young and your home is filled with happy noise and running children, it may seem like you don’t have much room at all. However, as you grow older, traveling up and down the stairs can get tough. Cleaning each room in the house becomes much more of a chore.
You may choose to move to a smaller home that brings you more joy in your later years. You may also choose to move for other reasons. Your children have moved away, and they are having children.
You and your children may consider you moving to be closer. A retirement home may become enticing. You may choose to make the move to a nursing home at some point.
Are you prepared to incur the costs that come along with these moves? A downgrade to a less expensive home may save you money, but paying rent or having maintenance may increase your chances of surprising financial burdens.
The first move you have planned for financially, but what about the second, or the third? Are you renting a truck as you did in your twenties, or will you need the help of a full moving team, including packers? Things change, you change, and thinking about these in advance can help you budget for these expenses early. You may even be able to be more proactive in your moves. Think about them and choose a new home before it becomes a necessity.
We have all watched the prices grow and grow in recent years. The Burea of Labor Statistics can tell you that the rate of inflation has averaged around 2% for the past 10 years. If you don’t take into account inflation, when planning for retirement, you will be in for a big shock. Food, clothing, even gasoline, will cost more and more.
The Ever-Changing Stock Market
Most retirement plans include, to some degree, if not entirely, investments in the stock market. Investing can be full of risks as well as rewards. You can back up your riskier investments with sounder, safer options too. The term diversify is simply that. Don’t put all your money into one place. Choose a reputable institution to invest with, but also choose other options. Low-growth investments, Certificates of Deposits, or CDs, and bonds are ways to minimize your risks.
Having a wallet stolen, car jacked, or home burgled at any time in your life can be a significant burden. This is even more true for someone who lives on a fixed income. Not only do you need to recover financially, but sometimes there is a psychological component that can go into your recovery as well. Retirees can have a harder time getting over these events and may resist seeking treatment if they don’t believe they can afford it.
Retirees, especially, are targeted as victims of scams. As you grow older, you may become less familiar with technology and rely on assistance from others. Unfortunately, many scammers take advantage of this by claiming technological problems that you need to pay to fix or offering you fake services for a price. Once they have sensitive financial information, they can cause a great deal of harm. They alternatively ask for payment in ways that cannot be tracked and reversed, like through wire transfers or gift cards. Once the scam is discovered, the money cannot be recovered.
Beyond having extra financial cushions set up for unexpected losses, there are other ways you can prepare and avoid falling victims to these crimes. Find someone you can trust, knowledgeable in technology and finances that can act as an advisor to you in these situations.
Events With Your Family
Birthdays, graduations, weddings, births, and every other family event is not something you might consider when planning for retirement, but that would be a mistake. Life is full of milestones and celebrations for your family and the expenses that go with them.
It’s a good idea to have a portion of your retirement funds accounted for use towards these events. Are you going to be prepared when your granddaughter is having a destination wedding? What about your great-grandchild’s baptism? These are some of life’s best times. Setting yourself up to include these in your financial cushion can make retirement a lot more enjoyable.
Along with the best things in life, you will want to consider your health in the mix as well. No one has the ability to predict the future. We will never know what life will bring. There are some health-related expenses you are able to plan for, though.
Health Insurance and Prescription Drug Costs
Once you have turned 65, your health care can be managed with Medicare Insurance. There are two parts to Medicare, Medicare Part A that covers hospital or other inpatient services and Medicare Part B that is for routine health checks at the doctor’s office or outpatient services. Medicare Part D is another aspect to consider, and that is the prescription drug plan. The rabbit hole of Medicare does get deeper when you consider alternatives like Medicare Advantage Plans or additional services like Medigap plans. It doesn’t hurt to plan in advance to see what Medicare options you are interested in pursuing as well as the associated costs of those.
There are plenty of costs associated with end of life care as well. You can plan these out to avoid having your family stuck, figuring it out at the end. Funerals, burials, and other final expenses do add up. Does your family know what your preferences are? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a full funeral service or none at all? You can preplan all these specifics and pay for them in advance. There are options you can choose like a life insurance policy that covers the costs of these included.
Another aspect to consider is long term care. You may fall ill with a hard to manage condition that is best cared for in a nursing home. Purchasing a long term care plan will relieve you and your family of these large expenses. Your plan may consist of options like living with a relative or having an in-home health aid. Discussing such options as early as possible with your family is a great idea.
There are a lot of factors to consider when planning for your retirement. If you take some extra steps in the beginning, you can save yourself, and your family, a lot of stress in the future. Unexpected expenses can add up and having a good cushion is a great idea. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen when you plan ahead? You have been waiting for this your whole life, make retirement the best you possibly can.