For one reason or another, you’ve ended up heading towards retirement with no kids in tow. And you’ve probably realised by now that that comes with its advantages. By all accounts, having kids is an expensive hobby!
But it does make some things a little more challenging. But with some careful planning, you can definitely smooth out the ride. Think ahead to increase peace of mind as you head towards your childfree retirement.
I’ve picked out some key concerns for childfree retirees. Building these into your financial plan should get you well on your way to that rich, rewarding and worry-free retirement you’ve been hoping for.
Power of Attorney and Guardianship
If you were no longer able to make important decisions on your own, you’d want to know you could really depend on whoever was going to start taking control of your affairs.
It’s a bit of a worrying prospect, right?! But it doesn’t have to be. It’s a really good idea to deal with this head on, way in advance of when you might need to rely on someone else’s help. A sudden illness or injury could happen at any time, leaving you unable to make decisions for yourself or look after your own affairs. Or it may happen more gradually.
It’s estimated that one in ten of adults over 65 in the States will develop some form of dementia and the symptoms can be as subtle as just a slight loss of executive function.
This means you’d see a decrease in the ability to organise and plan, to evaluate situations rationally and make decisions. So having someone on hand to assist is a really good way to feel reassured that you’re not going to get yourself into any difficult situations.
You might instinctively want to partner with your spouse for this kind of support. But it’s worth also considering younger friends and relatives. The benefit is they are less likely to be dealing with the same age-related challenges at the same time. Nephews, nieces or younger friends and relatives are ideal. They don’t have to live nearby – but it’s important you choose someone you can trust.
Remember, if you don’t make these decisions early but something unfortunate and unplanned happens, the power to choose who is going to be assisting you may be taken out of your hands.
Right now, the chances are you’re fit and able. You might exercise several times a week and look after your health and your body, with the goal of remaining strong and capable for as long as possible. But we can’t fight that eventual, and probably gradual, decline forever. Come on, admit it – you’ve been noticing those physical signs of aging since your thirties, haven’t you?
A study by the National Institute on Aging revealed that once we hit the grand old age of 85, 40% of men and 53% of women need help with one or more personal care tasks and so struggle then to live independently. From my conversations with friends and clients heading towards retirement, knowing that they’ll be able to afford quality care is one of the most pressing concerns of childfree retirees.
Plan Your Support Team
You may have younger relatives and friends that can help you as you get older, but as a DINK or a SINK, the earlier you can build paid care into your retirement plan, the more funds you’ll be able to allocate it. That’ll mean that you have the peace of mind knowing that you can make the best choices for yourself while your money will stretch out to cover care in those later years of retirement.
One of the most reliable ways to plan for all of these eventualities is to take out a long-term care (LTC) insurance plan as early as possible. This will help you to pay for all kinds of care as you age, including things like personal care at home, the costs of a nursing home or an assisted living arrangement.
These things are all costly, so having a long-term care insurance policy is the best way to protect your funds from being completely drained. It’s worth bearing in mind that you can spend more than $100,000 a year for a private room in a nursing home.
Transfer of Assets
According to Forbes, nearly half of Americans over 55 haven’t made a will. Are you one of them? The chances are, at that age you’ve already accumulated a fair bit of wealth. It can be harder as a DINK or a SINK – assets are normally handed down to children, but one of the principal concerns for childfree retirees is where your remaining assets should go after you’ve died.
I suppose you could hope that you’ve used up every last dime on having the most fulfilling retirement you possibly could – with some impeccable planning. But let’s face it – it’s unlikely to go that way.
Seek Trustworthy Help
You might choose nieces, nephews, godchildren and other close relatives or friends to be the beneficiaries of your estate, but whatever happens, it’s often a good idea to talk to family members about your intentions. It can just make things clearer, and you can be reassured that there won’t be any complicated situations for people to handle.
You could also decide to make charitable donations, or even set up a charitable foundation. Tax implications can be tricky, in that there are ways to help the charity to avoid or reduce taxes on this income for them – you may want to talk to an advisor to make sure it’s as beneficial as possible.
Just don’t be like Michael Jackson. Or Aretha Franklin. Or Prince. Write a will!
Childfree and Worry-Free Retirement
There are many pros and cons to going through life with no children, but heading towards retirement as a DINK or SINK can feel a little unsettling. After all, this is when people with kids can get some payback for all the care and attention (and money!) they’ve had to give out for decades.
All it takes to be able to look forward to a relaxing, worry-free retirement is some thoughtful planning and that’s exactly what I’m here to help with. If you need to get any of this in place, let’s chat. We can look at all these concerns for childfree retirees together and get you looking forward to the retirement you deserve.