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‘Tis the Season…to Plan Ahead

Todd D. Heckman

Shoppers are busying themselves with last minute deals and savings with less than a week left until Christmas. This flurry of consumer activity, both online and in person, should result in happy gift recipients on the 25th and a review of your financial statements on the 26th as we all look forward to the next season…planning season! OK, there is no official planning season, but should there be?

Now is the time to look ahead and start the process of planning for the future. There never seems to be a good time to sit down and think about such things as retirement, long-term care and nursing assistance or even death but there really is no better time to get your future house in order than the present. Being surrounded by family and loved ones should give you the impetus to protect your future, that of your spouse or significant other and leave a legacy for the next generation.

A Dickens Tale…

As Baby Boomers continue to age, prospects for a comfortable retirement are mixed for many of the generation’s members. I came across an interesting article in Bloomberg Personal Finance that illustrated what is essentially the tale of two retirements (in a manner of speaking). The article featured a 61 year-old middle manager and entrepreneur living in Cape Cod and her 87 year-old father who spent his work years in corporate America. The eye opening part of this story was the fact that the father had just returned from a three-week trip visiting Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia while the daughter lived in the basement of her friend’s cottage in order to save money.

While one, who was of the Depression-era, saved and stayed with the same company for years, thus allowing for a more predictable retirement income (helped by Social Security); the other took risks, forewent retirement savings to pay for business ventures and now faces a retirement prospect that, as the article termed, will be more austere than that of her father. The takeaway from this is that no one plans to fail they just fail to have the conversation about the future.

What Discussion Should I Have?

No one wants to have “The Talk.” I don’t care if it’s a boyfriend and girlfriend, wife and husband, friend-to-friend or parent and child having the discussion; it never seems to be a welcome thing. The consequences of not having the talk however could be detrimental to the stability of your family and/or family finances should a need arise for long-term assistance, medical care or ongoing financial support in retirement.

13 percent of the U.S. population today is aged 65 and older. This number will grow to 18 percent of the population by the year 2030. Baby Boomers, at over 74 million, comprise 24 percent of the current population and will make up the entire population of individuals between the age 65 and 85 in the year 2030. This numbers should give you a perspective on the future and what we all are facing in terms of aging.

The talk you should have (whether you are the one facing the retirement or will be providing support to someone else) should answer these questions like these:

  • What assets are available for the future (and how much)?
  • What is the plan for meeting healthcare needs as I/we age?
  • Do you wish to stay at home or be placed in a facility when you are no longer able to care for yourself?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Do you have a medical will?
  • How much insurance do you have and what type?

This is by no way an exhaustive list and any advisor worth her or his weight will be able to lead you through the myriad of questions necessary to create a plan. The conversation has to be initiated at the family level, either by you as the adult child or you as the adult older parent. The best gift you can give your family this holiday season is the gift of life, through planning.

Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!!

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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