Market Watch, of The Wall Street Journal, recently published an article on the financial costs of aging in place (in our homes). As the article points out, “Because so many people want to stay put during retirement, it’s becoming more common for financial planners to put extra focus on the unique costs involved with aging in place when formulating their clients’ financial plans…” Frankly, I am glad to hear that, but in our experience, at Support For Home In-Home Care, the number of financial planners who really have a grasp on what aging in place means – and costs – is still pretty small.
The article does make some pretty good points, to which all of us should pay attention, and the earlier we do so, the better. Those points include:
- Make sure you understand – and plan for – your cash flow needs, as you age. That may mean delaying retirement, or at least full retirement, including delaying use of Social Security. It can also mean taking a look at a reverse mortgage, when you reach the appropriate age.
- Pay attention to what your health care needs – and costs – are likely to be, as you go through the aging process. If you have health conditions that need to be managed, even before you retire, what will be the case as you continue to age. Are you in the right health care system – or even the right community – for aging in place, from a health care perspective?
- Take a hard (and early) look at Long-Term Care Insurance. This item does not receive as much attention in the article as we wish it did. At Support For Home Senior Care, we believe Long-Term Care Insurance should be part of every individual’s and family’s planning for the aging experience. If you wait to long, it may be too expensive or even – if you develop certain medical conditions – impossible to purchase. Our advice is find a good company (there are several), find them early and buy enough (with inflation riders) to protect your other assets. The article talks about investing money targeted for long-term care, but we do not believe most folks have the assets or ability to make this a winning strategy.
- Make sure your home either is now or can be modified to enable safe, secure and comfortable aging in place. That may mean spending some serious money on modifications, or it may even mean looking for a home to move to, as you approach senior status, that meets your needs. If you are living in a 4000 square foot home on two levels, you may need to explore smaller, single level homes – early enough to make it feel like home. At the least, you will probably need to invest in a stair lift, if that two story home is just to dear to you to sell.
What suggestions would you make – or what have you done – to ensure a safe, enjoyable aging in place experience?
Best wishes. Bert