With nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population aged 65 and above by the year 2030, Americans are aging into retirement faster than any other generation in history. And with most people living longer, remaining financially sound through the retirement years is now a high priority.
In response to this rising demand for elder care planning, the field of financial gerontology has expanded rapidly in the past few years. The American Institute for Financial Gerontology was established in 1988 and “provides unparalleled continuing education and...designation to professionals who advise older consumers and their families.” For many financial gerontologists, this means that in addition to helping you plan for retirement and investments, they also help you plan for caregiving needs, housing options, and health care options that pertain to end of life care.
Many of these planners are also starting to work directly with Caregivers to help them figure out the best and most cost-effective methods of care for aging parents. So just what do elder care financial planning services include?
Medicare and Veteran’s Benefits
Often times, the bureaucracy and complicated fine print make it difficult for seniors and their loved ones to navigate the ins and outs of both Medicare and VA benefit programs. A financial planner who specializes in Gerontology will have both the expertise and the network to consult in order to help you get the most out of benefits you are entitled to.
In-Home Care, Assisted Living or Nursing Home Living
Making a decision for how you want to age, often includes where you want to age. Whether your desire is to remain in your own home, move to an assisted living community or need to plan on eventually ending up in a nursing home for a chronic condition, a financial gerontologist can help you plan for the costs associated with whichever option you choose.
Should you stay at home, you can set aside funds for in-home caregiving should you need it. And if you choose to move into an assisted living residence, they can help you figure out how to downsize, or how to be able to afford community fees that you may be required to pay.
Long-term Care Insurance is a new kind of insurance that you can purchase as you near retirement age. The earlier you opt in, the cheaper your rate. Long-term care insurance helps to cover the cost of health care beyond Medicare or traditional health care policies.
According to the website LongTermCare.gov, long-term care insurance “is designed to cover long-term services and supports, including personal and custodial care in a variety of settings such as your home, a community organization, or other facility.” This type of extra insurance has proven to be indispensable to thousands of people.
Your estate is comprised of everything you own--your home, car, furniture, personal possessions, savings accounts, and investments. Estate planning involves actually making a plan in advance to avoid unnecessary family feuds and monetary penalties that might apply.
According to EstatePlanning.com, a good estate plan needs to:
- Include instructions for passing your values (religion, education, hard work, etc.) in addition to your valuables.
- Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
- Name a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
- Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
- Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
- Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
- Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death.
- Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
- Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.