How to Prepare Your Aging Parents for Retirement
American continental final expense review list is a resource to share with aging parents to help start the discussion about a difficult topic — what happens when they're gone. Most don't look forward to the conversation about getting one's affairs in order during retirement as it references finality. But it is a necessary part of life and happens to all of us if we are lucky.
So is there a right way to prepare your parents for retirement? I think it's a very subjective discussion and a very personal one. It is a topic of conversation based on personal finances, personal health issues, and personal goals. Here are a few essential topics to cover with your aging parents to prepare them, and yourself, for their retirement.
Encourage an Open Discussion about Finances
The first and foremost financial goal is to encourage your parents to be honest about their finances, including all expenses, income, and debt. Generally speaking, this is not your business if your parents can take care of themselves, and it isn't a conversation that will happen without some reservations. But it is a necessary evil.
Go into the conversation knowing that it's going to be difficult but has an end goal. Then approach it from a very straightforward point of view. Your job is to listen, not demand, and then to encourage your parents to make a plan.
Get Financial Affairs in Order
Work with your parents to review their finances and to make a financial plan and a daily budget. Consider any benefits, debt, and expenses. Make the budget livable, so they don't have to worry about everyday expenses.
You may need to take a close look at their spending priorities and make changes where you can. Look at investments, and take stock of insurance benefits and retirement benefits. Determine if there is equity in their current home. Make sure they enroll in the Medicare program if eligible.
If your parents have health concerns, look into the cost of prescription drugs, and find a plan to help them manage those recurring expenses.
Discuss Retirement Goals
It is important to talk openly about your parents’ goals for retirement. If they don’t have goals, then take some time to help them make some. Goals should be attainable, realistic, and involve all aspects of life. This includes plans for aging in place, if that is something they desire.
Oftentimes, people will say they look forward to retirement so they can travel. But financially speaking, it isn’t always in the budget to live out your days traveling. Maybe a change of scenery is in order though, whether it be in the form of a permanent move or a bucket-list trip to celebrate retirement.
Figure out with your parents if they plan to work part-time or are financially stable being unemployed. If they do want to work part-time, help them determine what they want to do if they don’t have an idea of where to start looking. Some people go stir-crazy sitting at home without a job so obtaining part-time employment keeps them sane. Ask your parents which side of the spectrum they fall on, and make a plan accordingly.
Set Up Important Boundaries
Some parents retire and figure that you will become their new beck-and-call person. While it may be true to a point, it is vital to help your parents understand that you have other obligations. You may have a family to take care of, a full-time job/career, children to raise, a spouse, and now have aging parents; don't let the pressure overwhelm you.
Keep in mind that aging is no picnic for most people. The less you make your parents seem like a burden, the less of a burden they will be. These decisions are hard to make and probably feel a little like giving up their freedom. So be sensitive to that, yet make sure they are aware and responsive to the fact that you have a life that must continue.
Assess Living ARRANGEMENTS
Your parents may have a home that they have owned for many years. They have made memories, raised a family there, and designed it to have all of their comforts. As they age, your parents may need to make modifications or upgrades to their homes or find a new one.
Consider their health issues. Does their current home make aging in place a viable option? If not, discuss the necessary steps and gather estimates to see if they are financially feasible. Determine if it is time to consider senior living or if finding another home is appropriate.
If their home can't be modified, have a conversation about potentially selling the house and moving to a more suitable location. If your parents require more intensive physical care, they may want to consider moving closer to family members who will be able to care for them.
Make sure your parents are living close enough to necessary facilities such as groceries and healthcare. Above all else, make the best choice about living arrangements, and be understanding and supportive of your parents' wishes.
Gather Additional Resources
If there are gaps in the retirement plan, reach out, and help your parents gather additional resources to get educated. If they need to speak with a financial advisor, take the time to help them find one that won't take advantage of them. If they need to discuss their life insurance benefits, reach out to an insurance specialist.
When and if the time is right, find a skilled real estate professional to sell their home and find a more suitable home to live out their retirement years. Choose someone who understands their physical and emotional needs during what will likely be a difficult transition. In-home safety is essential and should always be a priority.
Encourage your parents to stay physically active. Help them to find a gym to join or a walking group, for instance. Make sure they are staying socially active as well. By encouraging them in these areas, you can help ease them into retirement and enjoy their golden years.
About the Author
Robyn Flint writes and researches for the insurance site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She is a licensed realtor, a freelance writer, a published author, and an entrepreneur. Robyn has an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has previously worked in skilled nursing facilities.
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