I recently talked to a well-respected retirement planning expert, who recommends that people brace for a hodgepodge of expenses during their golden years, making sure they have enough resources to cope with the invariably pricey cost of living. If you're nearing retirement or still active in the workforce, taking specific questions and asking the right questions can help you be one step ahead when it comes to saving for retirement and planning. These key questions touch on things like affordability of medical expenses; whether you could travel to your favorite destination or indulge in that Broadway show you so relish; how to care for relatives, such as elderly parents or grandchildren; and whether you can afford housing.
Would I Have Enough Money to Cover Healthcare costs?
In an era when medical expenses increase by the day and the debate over healthcare affordability permeates the political ambiance, you must figure out the best way to supplement government medical coverage, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has developed a comprehensive guide to help consumers estimate healthcare costs in retirement. The guide covers a wide assortment of factors, including projected healthcare costs, disadvantages and advantages of various healthcare options, ways to deal with medical expenses, and how to adjust to average costs.
Would I Be Able To Afford Travel and Entertainment?
Whether you could afford travel and entertainment in retirement depends on factors like the destination, travel class – premier, economy or business – your situation and location, and a mishmash of things that touch on personal feelings and lifelong dreams. Most travel and entertainment companies have discounts for retirees, so make sure to talk to your travel agency about such price reductions during the reservation and booking stages. Some airlines and cruise companies also offer specific discounts to clients in a certain age bracket, so it might be a good place to inquire also.
Could I Take Care of My Elderly Parents?
Besides the love and emotional commitment that elderly supervision often requires, you also need to have enough money to take care of day-to-day needs. This is especially true if your elderly loved ones live with you rather than at an assisted living facility, nursing home or continuing-care institution. Put aside extra cash for the care of your elderly parents, but don't forget to associate your next of kin in the conversation.
How Much Do I Need to Set Aside for Retirement Housing?
You really don't need to set much money aside if you finish paying your mortgage by the time you retire. That's the goal of most people, but if for some reasons – including personal financial trouble or the uncertainties of the economy – you find yourself with no home at retirement, you can always move to a lower-rent area of the country, in a retirement community or in social-housing unit. Talk to your banker or insurer about housing products and services, especially the best way to build a nest egg for old-age living. U.S. News and World Report has compiled a comprehensive list of the best places to retire, the 10 sunniest places to retire, and the 10 fast-growing retirement spots, among others.
How Can I Make My Money Last during Retirement?
In this modern era, people tend to live longer and healthier, thanks to massive advances in areas like medicine, technology and social security. So you could live a good 20 or 30 years after retirement. The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that the best trifecta to make your money last includes more saving, more investing and less spending. Besides allocating money to retirement instruments like 401k, IRA and savings account, talk to your insurance company to learn more about its retirement products and services. Insurer MetLife provides an online tool to evaluate, calculate and assess your retirement needs.
Who Can Help Me Figure out Retirement Planning?
Various professionals can help you figure out the most important retirement expenses to look for as well as how to properly save to meet them. These experts include certified financial planners, certified financial managers, estate lawyers and retirement advisers. Personal financial advisers also can help you with retirement-related questions, especially when it comes to taxes, insurance decisions and investments. Talk to your financial institution to determine the best way to move forward, depending on your situation – that is, whether you're young and just getting started, are in your mid-forties and actively planning, are nearing retirement, or are in retirement.
Planning for your golden years takes commitment, spending restraints while you're working, professional expertise and a knack for numbers. The preparation covers everything from healthcare expenses and housing to travel, entertainment, elderly parents, children and grandchildren.