Although aging is a fact of life, losing the ability to make important financial decisions or decisions about your own care is not! As you think about aging you may have general ideas about where you would like to live, how independent you hope to be, and what kind of help you would like to receive if your abilities begin to weaken. To put these ideas into action, you will need to have discussions with your loved ones so that they can help facilitate your plans. You might also need to use some financial planning strategies to ensure you can afford the lifestyle you hope to live. You do have choices beforehand, and here are some tips to help you with some of these decisions.
Make Financial Decisions Early
Making financial decisions about your long-term care is possible when you plan ahead. You should make decisions while you are healthy so that they are within your control. Some things to think about are your living arrangements, medical treatments, and transportation. Remember that your arrangements down the road will cost money, so use financial planning strategies like retirement saving and budgeting to ensure you can afford your expenses later.
Include Others in Your Decisions
Throughout the decision making process, it’s important that you involve family and friends that are closest to you so that they know your wishes and can support your decisions. You will also want to make sure your debt is paid off so that you don’t burden these loved ones with extra financial responsibilities.
Choose Living Options Wisely
Think about living arrangements. You may hope to receive in-home assistance from a caregiver or family member, or you may decide to move into a family member’s home. Another option is to move into an assisted living residence or nursing home. Whatever it may be, you will need to think realistically about how changes in your abilities may signal that it is time to change your living situation.
Seek Other Opinions
Speak to your physician about referrals and what he or she thinks would be your best option. Also, speak with your family, friends, or even your place of worship to see how they feel about the living arrangements you are seeking out.
You may decide to transition into a new living situation, or maybe you are comfortable at home but want to prepare for the changes that come with aging. Either way, these are some financial planning strategies available to help ensure that you and your family are prepared:
Make sure important financial and medical information is organized and in a safe spot so you and a trusted individual can access it as needed.
Finances to cover your new living arrangement or to help with regular expenses will likely come from savings, company and government pensions or retirement funds, and Social Security. Keep a record of these items and how much they provide each month so you and your family can budget effectively.
Evaluate your health insurance. Make sure you are covered under Medicare or a supplemental health insurance plan so your family is not left with unpaid medical debts. Make sure your family members or caregivers understand your insurance coverage and are aware of where your personal documents are stored.
Check with friends or family if you receive phone calls or mail asking for money or personal financial information. A lot of scams today are aimed at financial exploitation of the elderly. You may receive mail or phone calls asking for money or information, and these might appear to be from a reliable source. Don’t hesitate to tell friends or family about this before giving away your money. Your loved ones may be able to research the source and help protect you from identity theft or other consequences.
Aging is a part of life and happens to everyone. While it can’t be avoided, planning can help you make financial decisions about your future. Start making these decisions now and have detailed discussions with your loved ones. Doing so will help ensure you are comfortable and financially healthy as you grow older. If you need further assistance or would like to speak to a certified credit counselor, please call 888.737.2933.