Retirement - Part 6: More Retirement Help
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 guiding you down this new lifestyle journey.
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 retirees and prospective retirees)
In our previous article, “Transitioning Into Retirement,” we presented a step-by-step approach to prepare for this new stage in life. The next section provides you with a variety of resources that may be helpful as you begin to formulate a retirement plan that suits your individual needs. Of course, the professionals at Spectrum Financial Services welcome the opportunity to help you identify and address the concerns you may have along this new life journey so you can structure your retirement accordingly. You can call us anytime at 515.255.3306.
Various Retirement Web Sites and Organizations
Looking for general information about retirement? Want to check out governmental organizations for retirees? Check out the resources below!
- The Social Security Administration answers many Social Security and Medicare questions: www.ssa.gov , or 800-772-1213
- Senior Citizens’ Resources on www.USA.gov pulls together information on all government programs related to older Americans.
- AARP’s site touches on almost any topic of particular interest to people 50+, from legal to social to personal: www.aarp.org
- Medicare’s phone number is 800-MEDICARE. Their Web site is: www.medicare.gov
- Medicare Rights Center is an independent source of healthcare information with a free e-newsletter (subscribe on the Web): www.medicarerights.org . A telephone hotline is available through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation site has, among other retiree information, up-to-date information about Medicare and the drug benefit: www.kff.org
Additional Legal and Financial Resources
If you have general legal and tax-related questions, the resources below will help direct you.
- IRS tax forms and publications, such as #527 for renting out a second residence, #533 for self-employment, or #575 for pension and annuity income: www.irs.gov
- Find a former employer by contacting the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered agency that insures the traditional, defined-benefit pensions of private-sector employees: www.pbgc.gov . It may have taken over your former employer’s plan and have the money waiting for you.
- Find an accredited elder law attorney in your area by contacting the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: www. naela.org
Help in Starting a Business
If you are thinking of starting a business or want information on financing or managing one you already have, the Small Business Administration has vast resources: www.sba.gov
For free e-newsletters on starting or growing a business, sales and marketing, e-business, and franchise news, subscribe to www.entrepreneur.com/newsletters
Don’t want to spend hours looking for answers to your health care questions on the World Wide Web? Listed below are some websites that may be helpful resources for you.
- Prescription drugs: www.talkaboutrx.org and www.bemedwise.org
- Understanding health terms/issues, otherwise known as “medispeak”: www.intelihealth.com
- Medical information with many departments and services: www.mayoclinic.com
- Comprehensive background information on diseases, medications, tests, and advice on healthy living: www.medicinenet.com
- E-newsletters on medical news, food, specific diseases and nutrition: www.webmd.com
- Background information on licensed physicians in the U.S. This tool now requires membership: www.ama-assn.org/aps/amahg.htm (Doctor Finder link) Quality ratings on hospitals, physicians, health plans, nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospice programs (for a fee): www.healthgrades.com
- Discount drugs, both name-brand and generic: www.aarp.walgreens.com/healthessentials/pharm.jsp
- Medical dictionaries, a drug reference guide, detailed information on specific medical conditions, and a link to the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trials: www.medlineplus.gov
- Senior health and access to selections from Harvard’s e-newsletter on health: www.familydoctor.org
Help With Care Giving
Your retirement may include caring for others. The resources below will assist you in providing care for those you love.
- Community assistance, especially when you’re a long-distance caregiver, use the Eldercare Locator: www.eldercare.gov
- Assessment of home care providers, call for or download the National Association for Home Care and Hospice’s booklet “How to Choose a Home Care Provider”: www.nahc.org
- Support, information and practical resources, contact the National Family Caregivers Association: www.nfcacares.org
- Spouses and care giving, including chat forums, mentors, links to friends and support groups are available through the Well Spouse Association: www.wellspouse.org
- Caregivers of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association has a multitude of support and educational services: www.alz.org
- Find someone to oversee an elderly person’s home care if you can’t do it or live far away. Contact the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers: www.caremanager.org
- Legal issues and end-of-life choices as well as care-giving articles and support groups, go to the Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org
Home and Moving Information
Retirement may include a change of residence. Check out the resources below if you will be making an address change.
- Relocation information, average home prices, and clues to the local cost of living in various cities: www.homefair.com
- Reverse mortgage information from an independent authority: www.reverse.org
Travel Discounts and Information
If travel is in your retirement plans, you’ll want to check out these resources that can save you time and money.
- Last-minute air and hotel getaway packages: www.lastminute.com and www.lastminutetravel.com
- Lifetime free pass (if you’re 62 or older, for a one-time fee of $10) to all federal parks, forests, refuges, and recreation areas, check in at the entrance to any national park facility. (You will need to show proof of age, such as a driver’s license or passport.)
- List of festivals and fairs — art, music, culinary, country (and more) worldwide: www.festivals.com
- Theatre, movies and sporting events for most major cities in the U.S., as well as many international ones: www.citysearch.com
- Name your own price for a hotel or airline ticket and hope that it can be matched go to: www.priceline.com . (If there’s a match, you have to accept the Priceline choice, however.)
- Obtaining or renewing a passport and what documentation is needed when traveling abroad: www.travel.state.gov
- Up-to-date health information when considering travel abroad, such as required immunizations and health notices: www. state.gov/travel and www.cdc.gov/travel
Renting or Exchanging Vacation Homes
If you are comfortable with swapping out vacation homes, the resources below can help connect you with people who may want to trade.
- International destinations, click on the Housing Exchanges link of the Expatriates Website: www.expatriates.com
- Home-swappers who want to list and search for properties to stay at in the U.S. and throughout the world:
For the adventurers and earth lovers who like to volunteer, there are specific opportunities where you can share your skills and love of the land. Check out these resources!
- Volunteer in national parks, forests, and ranges to construct or rehabilitate trails, cabins and shelters, contact the American Hiking Society: www.americanhiking.org
- Connect with scientists to work on different projects and expeditions throughout the world, contact Earthwatch Institute: earthwatch.org
- Work in the U.S. and a number of countries throughout the world constructing homes, teaching English, assisting with health care and more, contact Global Volunteers: www.globalvolunteers.org
Selected Volunteer Opportunities
- SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) provides in-person and e-mail counseling by retired executives for small business owners: www.score.org
- The Corporation for National Community Services Senior Corps matches older volunteers with community organizations that need their help with disaster relief, education, homelessness, literacy, technology, eldercare and more: www.seniorcorps.org
- The Peace Corps solicits older volunteers in relatively good health because of their experience, maturity and demonstrated ability: www.peacecorps.gov
- Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver meals for the homebound in the community: www.mowaa.org
- Points of Light Institute links volunteers with organizations to solve serious social problems: www.pointsoflight.org
- Habitat for Humanity International builds and rehabilitates homes for needy families: www.habitat.org
- Experience Corps mobilizes older Americans on behalf of children and schoolchildren by mentoring, helping build support for public education, etc.: www.experiencecorps.org
Think about the national and local organizations that you have always supported philosophically or financially. Many have volunteer opportunities that match your skills and time availability.
Books That Speak to Retirees
Age Power: How the 21st Century Will be Ruled by the New Old by Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. (Penguin Group). Paints the picture of what “retirement” will look like globally for baby boomers and challenges them to change their current views of aging (and by extension, their future actions) and think about how to spend their extra years of life.
From Aging to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald Miller (Warner Books). Shows readers how healthy aging may be more like the process of birth than a reminder of mortality if it is characterized by adventure, passion and fulfillment.
The Complete Eldercare Planner by Joy Loverde (Three Rivers Press). A comprehensive resource that takes you from the early care giving days through the end of a person’s life. It covers legal and insurance matters as well.
Consumer Reports Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors by Trudy Lieberman and the editors of Consumer Reports. Covers all aspects of finding and paying for health care.
Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can’t Get Unless You’re Over 50 by Joan Rattner Heilman (McGraw-Hill). The title says it all!
RETIREMENT…THE FINAL CHAPTER
We hope you have found this series of articles helpful as you begin to plan your retirement. For more information, or to review previous articles, be sure to return to the Spectrum Financial Services website www.sfsplanners.com.
You may contact the investment professionals at Spectrum Financial Services by calling 515.255.3306, or by e-mailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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