When I started caring for my father, I was lucky in that he had always been very astute with his retirement financial planning. And it was something he'd always taught us about when we were young. Working with a financial planning was something I was used to -- in fact, I had literally worked for one years ago. That was quite an education that I will always be grateful for.
I was also lucky that it was my brother who has the power of attorney for Dad (he is also a certified financial planner) and was taking care of the big-picture matters. But still, I had to take care the every day financial issues, the paying of bills, doing the banking, etc.
And I came to realize just how intensely important it is to have one's retirement financial planning in order. Including and especially for one's family members. Thank heavens my father did. Because at age 93 when I started caring for him, it would have been pretty difficult to get matters in order then.
So you may be reading this for any of several reasons – you are already a senior citizen and retired and just checking in on financial planning; you are ready to retire soon and want to know more about financial planning for retirement; or you're a baby boomer planning ahead (or planning on planning); or perhaps helping with elderly problems of a loved one. This page may offer a few helpful hints that I have learned along the way, both as a caregiver, and in a previous career.
So…do you really feel like you’re on top of your finances?
Then there may be the matter of finding a financial planner -- that is, a good one. Do you currently work with a financial planner who you believe in and trust? If so, do you thoroughly know what they are talking about and doing with your money?
Do you have debt?
We recommend the services of a certified financial planner to help establish your financial goals and meet them. The purpose here is to help you plan The Plan. Or review the one you may already have in place, if necessary.
From Here to There
Is saving even possible?
You may have heard that an important goal is to put away three to six months worth of monthly expenses as a cushion. Remember, this is not extra spending money. It is your emergency savings fund and should not be touched unless really necessary. This should be maintained as part of your basic retirement financial planning.
Where is "There"?
You’ve probably heard the old sayings…Shoot for the stars and you might hit the ceiling; or don’t shoot too low…you may get what you want. (That’s the point).
Ask yourself the following questions for each of the categories of Financial, Health, Relationships, Recreation, Spiritual, Professional, Other.
What is your ultimate destination or Goal?
How far away is that Goal?
One a scale of 1 to 10, where are you now?
Where do you want to be in 6 months?
In one year?
In three years?
In five years?
In ten years?
What are some steps that you can begin doing right now?
assess how much time you have as of now to accomplish your ultimate goal. Time must be factored into investment, just as with planning a trip. There are more, very technical questions involved in this, that a professional specializing financial retirement planning can assist you with.
If you have no idea what you really want or are afraid to truly ask yourself, if you kinda know what you really want but have no clue about the How, or if you do not really know how to set goals, see our (really) fun page on Goal Setting. It’s a great little retirement exercise, and not just for retirement financial planning. You may find it very eye-opening, even if you believe you have set good goals.
So you’ve got your Here and your There. You’ve set some financial retirement planning goals. You’ve got a good start on your road map. But what is the best vehicle to use? It depends on what stage of the trip you’re in, your retirement age, how far you have to go and how long you have. Again, you may need some professional retirement advice. Don’t let financial retirement planning issues become serious problems in the future. And if they already are heading that way, seek advice. You may qualify for free services as well. Ask your senior center or other resources.
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