For some people, conversing with their family about the rest of their life is limited to a safety deposit box that contains a will and possibly a burial insurance policy.
I would argue that you owe yourself and your kids a much more in-depth and nuanced conversation that addresses not only the end but also all the potential issues, challenges and decisions that could come up along the way.
1. What do you want accomplish in your years ahead? One of the positive aspects of being a Baby Boomer is that we will live longer and have more assets than previous generations. As a result, “retirement” no longer means hunkering down until the end but rather finding new challenges and exploring new opportunities. As we strike out in new directions, we should share our evolution with our kids and discuss the implications for us and for them, whether it be geographically or financially.
2. Where are all the documents of day-to-day living? Moving from a more aspirational to a tactical focus, I would suggest you create a binder, either physical or electronic, that contains all the information that your kids will need when the time comes for them to begin to take over responsibilities for your living conditions. The binder should include a full financial summary, medical diagnoses and medications as well as legal documents like deeds, vehicle titles and registrations, advanced directives and wills.
3. How will you fund your uncertain future? One of the most complex and daunting challenges that we face as we get older is trying to figure out how to manage our money in the last years of life. The problem, quite simply, is that the ending (when, where and how) as well as the associated costs are unknowable. Sadly, many people deal with the financial conundrum the same way they approach other challenges in the last years of life: with healthy doses of procrastination and inertia. I strongly urge you to put all excuses aside and get serious about creating a financial plan that will allow you to afford your lifestyle until 85-90, if you’re already 65. Equally important is to share your plan with your kids now because ultimately your financial condition will end up in their lap, however good or bad. By sharing it now, you’ll be preparing them for their future.
….Stay tuned for the final three topics in my next post.
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