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Cat’s in the Cradle…

Todd D. Heckman

There’s a great Number 1 song from 1974 by the late artist Harry Chapin called: “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Written as a poem for Chapin by his wife Sandy, it tells the story of a father’s relationship with his son. More importantly it describes how the march of time robs us of our intent to take care of the things we need to take care of in the here and now. Predictably, as the song’s melody plays on, the father is struck by an observation of his son that has grown up and become a man:

“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me…”

Are you in or nearing your retirement? Do you have a loved one who you are worried about how they will care for themselves or be cared for as they age? Have you grown up to be just like your parents or relatives and put off for tomorrow the planning that should take place today for your retirement or long-term care? In my own family, I watch as ‘Adults’, who should ‘Know Better’ care completely unprepared for the future, despite watching their parents’ economic demise due to lack of sufficient retirement savings, poor health or both.

What Do I Need to Do?
The question, “What Do I Need to Do?” to address my future situation can be answered by starting the planning process today. It is important to take a moment to think out loud about your life at age 65 and beyond, first alone then with others that will be most affected by your situation (i.e. a spouse, children, close relative or friends). Make a list of your priorities, things you have yet to accomplish (“bucket list”) and the legacy you want to leave behind. Review or think about any end-of-life directives such as a medical power-of-attorney and will, and make a list of your assets available to meet your retirement and aging needs. Plan for the Need of Long Term Custodial Care and how you would wish to have that care provided (ie. at home, in an assisted living facility, etc.) and how to pay for it.

How Do I Need to Do It?
Your assets include equity in your home, life insurance policies that are in force and have a living benefit or cash value (such as a universal life or whole life policy, as examples), deferred annuities, pensions and other retirement plans (both private and public like Social Security). You need to gather information on all of these assets and determine how much will be available at retirement and for how long. You may rely on Medicare for your health insurance needs, but Medicare alone will not cover everything nor will it provide for your nursing home or assisted living needs. These expenses alone could wipe out a lifetime of savings!

Consult with a qualified planning expert and have that all-important conversation about your future. Find out where you stand and make plans to meet any gaps and prepare for the uncertainties of your future.

When Do I Need to Do It?
The song captured the father’s lament in the last lines of the chorus, “He’d grown up just like me, My boy was just like me…” Don’t have thoughts of regret years from now or not taking advantage of the opportunity to say something and do something now.

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” wrote Ben Franklin in a letter to a scientific colleague in 1789. These words are as true today as they were 224 years ago. These certainties should motivate you to take action immediately and bring focus to the future. To “Ben’s List”, I would like to add one more “Certainty”…“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and change”.  You can impact your future by making even the smallest amount of change today.

To learn more from this annuity professional, simply click here (Todd Heckman).

About the Author:

Todd D. Heckman CLU, ChFC, CFP®, AEP®, MSFS is the President of Life resource Planners of the Treasure Coast (a division of  the Estate Planning Advisors) , a firm specializing in Retiree Healthcare and Retirement Income issues is located in Vero Beach, Florida. He can be reached @ 772-567-7970 x102 or a


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