Before your parents ride off into the sunset, it’s important to have a conversation with them about the new chapter in their lives. Even if your parents are completely self-sufficient and of sound mind and body, you’ll want to check in with them to see what plans they’ve made for the future. An extra set of eyes never hurt anyone when it comes to retirement planning, and some of their plans may directly involve you as well.
You also want to make sure they have all their bases covered so they can truly relax and enjoy their golden years. Here are some of the things you might want to discuss with your parents as they head toward retirement.
Financial Planning for Retirement
It’s hard to enjoy retirement when you have financial stress and worries, so it’s important to make sure your parents are on the right track when it comes to retirement and their money. Make sure your parents aren’t overlooking any retirement accounts they might have, such as forgotten pensions or 401(k) accounts that were left behind when they switched jobs. Talk to them about their Social Security claiming strategy and help them calculate how much they should be able to live on annually.
Finances are critically important when it comes to a happy and successful retirement, but so is state of mind. Ask your parents what their life goals are in retirement. One of the dangers for some retirees is having nothing to do, which can cause both physical and mental impairment. Find out what interests your parents intend to pursue and what makes them happy. Do they want to travel the world? Take up writing the great American novel? Spend more time with you? Understanding what your parents are striving for in retirement will make it easier for you to help them achieve those goals.
Many retirees make a major lifestyle change by moving away from their pre-retirement home. This can be due to a desire for a better climate, a different lifestyle or simply a more affordable environment. Talk to your parents about what their intentions are for their residence after they retire, as that will affect you as well. Help talk them through the benefits and consequences of such a move, in terms of everything from tax consequences to how much time they will gain or lose with their family.
Insurance Coverage and Caregiving
The sad truth is that many retirees are underprepared when it comes to health costs during retirement. This is an important area you should discuss with your parents. Make sure they understand the benefits and shortcomings of Medicare or any supplemental insurance programs they may have. Talk about what their desires are should the need for caregiving arrive. For example, would they like to live in an assisted living facility if needed, or are they counting on you to provide caregiving assistance? Do they have a durable power of attorney indicating their end-of-life wishes if the need arises? These discussions are not always easy but can help make your parents’ retirement a bit less stressful, as all arrangements have been made for their health and security.
No one wants to talk about end-of-life issues, but the more you can discuss estate planning with your parents while they’re still alive, the fewer problems there will be after they pass. From the perspective of your parents, estate planning gives them peace of mind that the right heirs will receive the proper distributions. If you are your parents’ executor, you’ll want to know where all of their important documentation is so you can facilitate the processing of their estate.
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