Finance for Seniors

You’ve spent your entire career saving and planning for a long and happy retirement. You’re counting on your Social Security benefits to represent a significant portion of your assets upon retirement. The question is, when should you begin claiming Social Security in order to maximize your benefits? Let’s review some of the basic Social Security claiming strategies so you can take full advantage of your benefits.

Last time, we discussed the various reasons affluent retirees are being overly cautious in spending their savings and fully enjoying their retirement life. Reasons ranged from concern over the financial stability of the US economy to emotional responses that prevent retirees from spending. All of them lean towards retirees not taking advantage of living life to the fullest at a period of their lives when they have both the time and resources to enjoy it.

Tips for Spending During Retirement

How do we address this? How do retirees overcome their fear of spending down their life-savings? We have a few tips that should help, so that you can relax and enjoy your well-deserved golden years without depleting your resources.

After years of being focused on managing personal finances to ensure they have the resources available during retirement to sustain their lifestyle, there is a new trend growing in America. Instead of kicking back and enjoying spending their life savings, affluent retirees are cutting back and being frugal.

A Vanguard study estimates that affluent retirees spend only 60 percent of the money they withdraw for retirement. They are spending the majority on routine expenses (mortgage, household transportation, etc.) or discretionary expenses (medical, entertainment, credit cards).

Summertime is the time when many of us think about vacations. But maybe you’re retired and vacations just haven’t lived up to your expectations. Is something missing? If so, you might want to consider a volunteer vacation.

It’s a testament to human compassion that so many retirees are choosing to use their vacation time to volunteer nationally and internationally. But these unique options are about more than that. Retirees aren’t just looking to sit back and relax on vacations these days. More and more retirees are opting to immerse themselves into local cultures and do something meaningful. And if planned correctly, volunteer vacations, like other forms of giving, can also mesh with a solid, retirement financial plan.  

Life transitions can be complicated, which is why we decided to write a series on how they affect finances and financial planning. This series will look at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. Each one is a process, with specific strategies that have been used to make the transitions a success.

Retiring is a major life event. There is no one path to follow in order to ensure a perfect retirement. However, planning and focus have been shown to make a difference when preparing for and entering such a challenging transition.

Let’s face it – as we age, maintaining our health comes more into focus. And even if we stay healthy in our golden years, insurance premiums will continue to rise. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for rising healthcare costs as you prepare to look at the full picture of your retirement budget and what you need to save now.

Social Security is not a program intended to replace your full retirement income, but in many cases, it can give you and your spouse a foothold on economic security as you grow older. In May of 2016, Social Security changed many of the rules for collecting your benefits. However, there are still ways to maximize your financial security from the time you retire through the end of your life.

We scrimp and save (ideally) every day of our working lives to lead up to a pivotal event: retirement. But once you reach retirement, your first thought might not be “Hurray!” It might be, “Now what?”

There are so many positives to retirement, many of which are financial, but many of which are not. If you’re nearing retirement or if you are just trying to set some goals, here are some benefits to retirement that warrant your consideration.

Savannah was having a difficult time. Her 85-year-old mother was injured so badly that she was unconscious and had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance. Once there, Savannah approached the doctor to find out what options were available for her mother and how she could make sure her mother’s wishes were honored regarding potential, necessary life support. Guess what? The doctor could not tell her much because Savannah didn’t have legal authority to be informed or make decisions on her mother’s behalf.

Retirement is meant to be a time to enjoy life without the 9 to 5 toil. But after working for the majority of your life, it can be difficult to find a new normal. You may feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose in the world, and living without a sense of purpose can actually be detrimental to your health. According to a study from Psychological Science, researchers found that of 7,000 Americans (from the ages of 20 to 75) tracked for 14 years, those who felt they had a direction or purpose in life lived longer than those who did not.

Just because you’re out of the workforce and you’ve raised your family doesn’t mean that you have nothing left to accomplish. The new retirement is a time when you can think about what you truly enjoy without worrying about earning regular income. Here are some excellent ways to reintroduce new goals and ambitions into your life so that you can lead a meaningful existence post-retirement.

Often we will read or hear about an elderly person or couple unwittingly defrauded by a contractor, service provider or a family member, causing them to lose substantial money from their retirement savings. This kind of crime is known in general as financial abuse.

Seniors are particularly at risk for being financially abused. Sometimes this susceptibility is the result of diminished financial capacity, when aging conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia impairs someone’s ability to make sound financial decisions. But older adults are often targeted also because they control the majority of the nation’s wealth. They frequently have homes which have appreciated over time, and they don’t realize the value of these assets.

Our last blog post explored diminished financial capacity, or the decreased ability to make sound financial decisions as we age due to cognition factors like dementia, Alzheimer’s or other illnesses. In this post we want to look at the numbers of seniors with cognitive impairments, what’s happening with these older investors and what families can do to help. We hope you find this information useful when putting together a plan for your aging loved one.

Numbers of seniors with cognitive impairments is on the rise

If demographic trends continue, the number of people with cognitive impairments (and in turn diminished financial capacity) will rise greatly in the coming years. By 2020, about 55 million baby boomers will join the older population. Within the elderly community, the number of people 85 and over is also growing quickly, and should reach approximately 6.6 million by 2020.

Alzheimer’s and other dementias are occurring more and more frequently. Trends predict that by 2050 there will likely be 13.5 million Americans 65 and older with Alzheimer’s. Other diseases are responsible for dementia, such as Parkinson’s or vascular dementia. Cognitive impairment gives people a lower quality of life, increased disability and increased neuropsychiatric symptoms, all of which contribute to the decrease of ability to make sound financial decisions.  

Making sound financial decisions can be a challenge, even when you’re young. But as we age, cognition factors like Alzheimer’s, dementia and other illnesses can diminish our capacity to make good financial decisions. When you lose the ability to make good financial decisions, it’s known as diminished financial capacity, and it’s sometimes a hard thing to face.

Warning Signs

Hopefully, you and your loved ones have a financial (and legal) plan in place in the event of a health decline. However, this is not always the case, so it’s crucial to understand what diminished financial capacity “looks like.”

If you notice an aging parent or loved one with credit difficulties, irrational purchases, inappropriate investments, unpaid bills or other major financial troubles, these could be warning signs that he or she is having a cognitive decline that leads to diminished financial capacity. In this state, a person is more vulnerable to dishonest people who may take advantage of them.

Get New Posts Emailed to You!
*required
 

Finance Made Simple

Contact Wood Smith Advisors

(703) 753-8222

Email