Retirement - Part 3: Life's Other Realities
When it comes to retiring, some people have been waiting for years and are well prepared for it both financially and emotionally. But, there are many others on the cusp of retirement who are troubled by doubts, questions and uncertainties. That’s where Spectrum Financial Services can help.
Your Financial Professional: An Invaluable Resource
At Spectrum Financial Services, we understand the emotional conflicts, financial concerns, and practical questions that accompany this stage of life. No life transition is simple, and retirement is no exception. That’s why we put together this series of articles —to help you sort through the complexities and to address your concerns. Be sure to check back frequently to learn information that can help guide you down this new lifestyle journey. We want to teach you how to retire.
Articles in this retirement series include:
- Imagining the Possibilities – Examine your personal characteristics
- Gathering the Financial Facts – Get a clear picture of your net worth
- Life’s Other Realities – Health concerns and family responsibilities
- Overcoming Roadblocks – Financial and personal strategies
- Transitioning Into Retirement – Steps for a smooth transition
- More Help (valuable resources for prospective retirees)
In our previous article, “Gathering the Financial Facts,” we provided you with information and fact-gathering worksheets that will help you identify the financial facts you need to gather to develop a clear picture of your net worth. The following information addresses the issues you may face beyond your financial statement, such as health, caring for a spouse or other family member and changing relationships. The professionals at Spectrum Financial Services want to help you identify and address the concerns you may have at this new stage of life so you can structure your retirement plan accordingly.
Life's Other Realities
Paying for Health Care - Medicare
In addition to your health changing in the retirement years, your health care coverage will change as well. Retirees are often anxious about healthcare coverage whether it be coverage between retirement and Medicare or understanding Medicare itself.
If you retire before you’re eligible for Medicare, you probably have to foot the entire cost of health insurance until you’re 65 (unless you’re covered under your working spouse’s policy or your former employer continues your coverage). That can amount to a tidy sum annually. If you are entitled to Medicare coverage when you retire, you get somewhat of a break, financially. Medicare provides quite a bit of hospital coverage with Part A. But you do have to pay something (albeit less than with individual insurance) for Part B (which covers physicians’ services), Part D (which covers prescription drug services), and Medigap insurance, which fill in what other Medicare insurances do not pay.
It’s estimated that more than 54 million people in the United States provide informal, unpaid assistance to ailing family members and friends…maybe you’re one of them. And, even if you aren’t now, you could be a caregiver to another family member at some time in the future.
As much as you might want to be accept a care-giving role for a family member, you should never underestimate the toll that care giving can take on a person’s physical, psychological, or financial well-being. Most caregivers at some point will experience a combination of sadness, anger, grief, guilt, pain, regrets, fright, love and resentment, depending on the day and the situation. And if you aren’t careful, you can sacrifice your own health and well-being. Depression, insomnia, back pain, headaches, stomach disorders and the flu are some common ailments that affect caregivers. No one knows how many households are damaged by one party’s resentment when the other spends too much time caring for or overseeing the care of an elderly parent or relative.
On top of the emotional wear and tear, there are the financial concerns. These are some of the questions you may have to face:
- Will you be able to keep the person at home rather than in an assisted living facility or a nursing home?
- Will you be jeopardizing your own financial future if you have to sustain prolonged expenses on behalf of your loved one?
- Will you be forced to retire earlier than you had planned because of the additional responsibility?
- How might retiring early reduce what you had hoped to accumulate in retirement accounts and what you receive in Social Security benefits?
All of these are real concerns with no “right” answers…just personal decisions based on your feelings, your finances, the availability of additional support, and your other responsibilities. Even though there might be real psychological rewards or comfort in caring for a loved one, home healthcare can be exhausting, emotionally, physically and mentally. Perhaps the most important advice that care giving organizations dispense to people in this position is to not forget about your own needs.
Achieving Balance as a Caregiver
Finding the right balance will be a challenge; but that balance can be achieved by asking for help from professional organizations, trusted advisors, friends and family members.
As with any major life change, the transition into the retirement years may have a ripple effect on your entire family. If you are married, your retirement might signal a new and rewarding relationship between you and your spouse. You will likely spend more time together and share activities you both enjoy. On the other hand, the additional time in each other’s company may offset routines and could cause a bumpy transition. That’s where the “three Cs” – conversation, compromise, and creativity — may be called on to find solutions that pave the way for a new relationship. (More about this in our next article, “Overcoming Roadblocks.”)
Adult children frequently are affected by their parents’ retirement as well. Their concerns may include:
- Seeing too little of you (especially if you move away from them) or whether they’ll be
- Seeing you too much (if you’re the type to drop by frequently whenever you have some time).
- Your finances — whether you will have enough to live comfortably, or whether they’ll be asked to assume some financial responsibility for you at a later date.
- Their own finances — whether they can still count on your financial support for their children’s college expenses or for a down payment on a home.
- Your availability to help them with baby-sitting, dog sitting, home repairs and other functions.
Discussions with adult children about financial issues, medical conditions, places to live, or plans for these years can be uncomfortable; however, these conversations are often harder in anticipation than in reality, especially if you have a generally good relationship with your adult child. These conversations are worth the effort, because they allow adult children to see how you view the future, and what part you hope they will play in it.
RETIREMENT…TO BE CONTINUED, “OVERCOMING ROADBLOCKS…”
Hopefully the information presented in this article helped you realize that your retirement income, retirement age or general finances aren’t the only concerns you may face as you transition into the retirement years. Personal health and wellness challenges, along with your changing family dynamics will influence how your retirement years are structured.
Be sure to return to the Spectrum Financial Services website www.sfsplanners.com to read the next article in this series, “Overcoming Roadblocks.”
If you want to get started right away with your retirement discussion, you may contact the investment professionals at Spectrum Financial Services by calling 515.255.3306, e-mailing us: email@example.com, or visiting our website at www.sfsplanners.com