According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 1 in 5 adults age 65 and older is now in the workforce. A recent poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also found that nearly 20% of those over 50 don’t expect to stop working and approximately 25% say they will continue working beyond their 65th birthday. There are many reasons that people decide to work in their “retirement” years, but regardless why, it is important to make plans for aging well that consider your emotional, financial and legal issues.
Some older Americans choose to work because they enjoy it. As health and longevity improves, there are many who prefer to stay active and remain employed. Unfortunately, there are others who have no choice. They cannot afford to live on social security and their savings and need to stay employed to support themselves or help their children financially. The other side of this are those who would like to work or need to work, but cannot for various reasons.
If you think you will work in retirement for any reason, you should consider these questions:
Will you be able to work? You may not be able to work because you or a loved one has health issues. Also assess your employability. Are you in an industry or job that may make it hard to continue to work? Could you start your own business or change careers? Even if you are healthy and employable, it is a good idea to plan for the worst.
Can you afford to continue to live where you are now if your income drops? Now is the time to review your costs and how you could save money if necessary. If you plan to move, don’t just analyze your housing costs. Look at the total cost of living, taxes, access to health care and community services, alternative transportation options, distance from family members, and what type of third-party care is available and affordable.
What are your financial resources? Your savings may not be enough especially if you face a health crisis. Speak with a financial adviser about what you may need. In addition, long-term care planning is essential. Consult an attorney about what you can do to help ensure Medicaid eligibility and whether you may be a candidate for long-term care insurance.
Who will care for you if you need help? This is not just about a full-time caregiver, but having someone who can check on you, handle errands or chores, and make decisions for you if you are not able. This is an important part of elder law planning. You will need legal documents, including a will, health care proxy, power of attorney, trusts, and other relevant documents. It is also crucial to choose trustworthy “agents” who will have the power to access your bank accounts or make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you cannot.
The best advice is to educate yourself on your options. Talk with experts, consult your family, and prepare your legal and financial documents to help ensure you are in control of your future as much as possible.
I believe strongly in being a PRO CHOICE SENIOR. That means saying YES to –
- Aging with an informed Attitude
- Creating an Aging support system
- Having ‘difficult conversations’ when necessary!
I am available to support older Americans and their families in creating choices, avoiding challenges and raising awareness about positive aging initiatives. For help planning for your future, contact me for a consultation.