All aspects of planning for your future are important, but considering your financial choices should be one of your top priorities. Some put it off, thinking, “There’s still plenty of time.” However, it’s never too early to deliberate the options you have, make a plan, set goals, and be prepared.
Taking the time to plan means that as the years go by, it’ll be easier to attain the lifestyle you imagine. Besides from having a budget for recreation and vacations, you’ll know where you stand with your health care options. You’ll have more wiggle room when it comes to your living situation, like needed home repairs to make your house more accessible. It’s less likely that you’ll need to rely heavily on the support of adult children or other family members.
Here are a few questions to consider. These are a great starting point when looking ahead to your financial future.
Do I need a financial planner? Financial advisors can help with savings and retirement planning. They use their years of experience to help you formulate a realistic strategy. Remember, if you find the thought of devising a financial plan overwhelming, a professional can relieve the pressure.
Choose one who is ethical, professional, and shows that they’ll put your interests first. FDIC Community Affairs Specialist Ron Jauregui cautions, “Before you follow the advice of a supposed ‘expert’ who claims to have special credentials for advising seniors, research what that title may or may not mean and the advisor’s background.”
Consulting with an advisor as well as discussing it with family will ensure that all your bases are covered. They can help you decide if you should have a power of attorney. This allows chosen people in your life to make financial and personal decisions for you. You control what aspects they can decide on.
What are my future life goals? It’s not possible to plan wisely for the future unless you have an idea of what that future actually entails. What are your priorities as you age? Some might want the resources to travel and go on cruises. Others might like to move to another state in time, perhaps to be closer to family. Many simply want to remain reasonably independent as long as possible.
Where are you now? Whether you’re still working, retired, or disabled, you can create a reasonable plan. Start by examining where you are at this moment. Make a list of your current expenses, your savings, and what you anticipate in the near future. If you’re still living independently in your own home, what’s the cost of that? Is it feasible to continue?
Perhaps you’re receiving home care or have moved into a senior community. Contemplate those long-term expenses. If you’re retired, you might need to make changes now in order to secure your financial future successfully.
Don’t forget to consider whether or not you’re eligible for government benefits. This can be very useful! Another consideration is credit card debt. Avoid the mistake of accruing interest charges by paying your balance in full. Be cautious about it.
Many older ones choose to get reverse mortgages on their homes. The FDIC recommends that you need to be aware of its advantages and disadvantages. Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC’s Outreach and Program Development Section, suggests, “Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 or older to borrow against the equity in their homes without having to make monthly payments as long as they meet the terms of their loan agreement, such as staying current on property taxes. However, the money borrowed plus interest must eventually be repaid, usually when you or your heirs sell the house.”
The ultimate key to making wise financial choices is careful consideration of all your options and knowledge of your unique circumstances. When you do this, you will absolutely find solutions that work for you.