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Health and Retirement Planning: Top Tips

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Posted on August 24th, 2020 by Guest Blogger, under Sandwich Generation, Take Charge, Tips & Resources

The process of planning for long-term health in retirement often boiled down to a few simple efforts. You might simply be anticipating a switch to Medicare when you turn 65, putting money away in a retirement fund when you’re able to, and leaving it at that. And if that’s the case, you’re doing about as much as most people do! The truth, however, is that while these are certainly productive steps to take, there’s more you can be doing to plan for long-term health and eventual retirement — some of which we’ll cover here.

Credit: Pixabay

Calculate Your Retirement Number The idea of calculating a “retirement number” is somewhat polarizing. Some believe it’s an essential aspect of planning for retirement and something that everyone should attempt to do. Others think that the number is so likely to change over time that there isn’t much point to it. But we have a simple recommendation: Calculate a number, and adjust it as needed on a regular basis.

How you go about doing this is up to you, and there are various calculation methods worth looking into. But we suggest placing a particular emphasis on expenses. Get a feel for your month-to-month expenses so that you have at least a general idea of what you’ll need to live on in retirement. From there, subtract various benefits (like Social Security), anticipate retirement-specific expenses as best you can, and you can land on a general number. Even if it’s bound to change, a vague idea can help you to plan your savings strategically.

Anticipate Expenses Beyond Medicare

We just mentioned the idea of anticipating retirement-specific expenses, and some of these will inevitably relate to healthcare. While Medicare provides fairly comprehensive health coverage for seniors, there are additional healthcare retirement expenses that go beyond the program. For example, hearing aids, dental work, certain drug prescriptions, and some care-related accessories are unlikely to be covered, meaning you’ll need to plan for related expenses.

In some cases, this may mean looking into a separate insurance plan. There are programs that exist to cover the gaps in Medicare and offer insurance for additional health considerations. Alternatively, an HSA (Health Savings Account) or personal savings account can also help you to prepare for some of the expenses that may come your way beyond the scope of Medicare.

Prepare to Embrace Artificial Intelligence

This tip is less about budgeting or expense planning, but it’s still one that people looking ahead to retirement in the 21st century should pay attention to. Simply put, artificial intelligence is revolutionizing care for aging individuals in some respects, and this is something people should plan on embracing at some stage of retirement.

This does not mean that humanoid robots are providing in-home care, necessarily (though that’s not as far-fetched as some might think). But AI is being applied to senior care in numerous ways. It is helping to monitor homes, predict health issues, and even offer company and help people record thoughts and memoirs. All of this can help with both physical and mental wellbeing, and it’s all worth getting comfortable with.

Plan for Care for Elders

It is also a simple reality at this point that people planning for retirement should at least consider the idea that they might have to care for others beyond themselves — such as their own elderly parents. In an article on this subject in 2018, the author noted that he and his wife were joining a population of 15 million family caregivers who, despite being unpaid and untrained, are supporting older adults.

Naturally, a significant portion of those 15 million caregivers are themselves below retirement age. But with people living longer and longer, there are plenty of younger retirees who will still be called on to support their own elder family members. In the best of circumstances, those elder family members will have adequately prepared for their own retirement — at least financially — such that the support needed is more social in nature. However, it’s wise to consider all possibilities when planning ahead. Anticipating potential health expenses for your family should be part of the process.

At the end of the day, health and retirement planning is a complex process — and one that never truly stops. With these tips though, you can better anticipate various expenses and complications, and plan as best you can for a smooth retirement and good health. 

Article solely for the use of northshorern.com by Alexie Therese

Teri’s Corner

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