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Long Term Planning 101: When to Start and What to Consider for Retirement Years

Cropped shot of a senior couple sitting together and going through their finances at home

It’s only natural to put off things we know we should do but don’t really want to do: organizing the garage, going through your closet to get rid of clothes, or having a difficult conversation with a friend. However, once you’ve done it, you almost always feel better. The same is true when it comes to creating a long-term plan for your retirement years. You know it’s a good idea, but it also requires thinking and talking about things like financial planning, power of attorney, estate planning, living wills and creating a health care plan, which can be uncomfortable.

According to a survey from The Conversation Project, 90% of Americans say that talking to loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27% have actually done it. To help you get started, here are the essentials of a proper long-term care plan and the key documents and advisors you’ll want to have set up to ensure your wishes are followed.


Retirement Planning

One of the staples of long-term financial planning is figuring out your transition from your working years to your retirement years. Your career, family size, age at retirement and goals will all factor into your plan. However, proper financial planning can ensure you’re able to enjoy life on your terms. Your retirement plan should include:

  • Determining your retirement timeline
  • Planning your retirement budget
  • Calculating required after-tax returns
  • Figuring out your investment risk tolerance
  • Understanding how life insurance can help fund your retirement

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives the authority to make decisions on your behalf to someone you trust like a child, sibling or other trusted family member or friend. To be valid, it must be signed while you are mentally competent. Your power of attorney arrangement is essential to managing your financial and health care affairs in the event you unexpectedly become unable to manage things on your own.

The type of power of attorney you choose also matters because it will determine when such authority takes effect and when it is rescinded. For instance, non-durable powers of attorney are automatically revoked if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. However, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated.

With any type of power of attorney, you have the right to revoke or change your agent’s authority at any time as long as you are not mentally incapacitated. If you decide to change or revoke your power of attorney, inform any parties that may rely on it as soon as possible.

Living Will

A living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive — like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, tube feeding and dialysis — as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management, organ donation and more.

When drawing up a living will, you should address a number of possible senior care and end-of-life care decisions. Would you want treatment to extend your life in all situations? Would you want treatment only if a cure is possible?

NOTE: You don’t need a living will to have a do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders. To establish DNR or DNI orders, tell your doctor about your preferences. They’ll write the orders and put them in your medical record.

Estate Planning

Having a plan for your estate can dictate the distribution of your assets, relieve your heirs of mountains of paperwork, reduce taxes on the assets you leave behind, avoid weeks or months of legal entanglements and avoid family disagreements and arguments.

Choose Freedom and Peace of Mind

A few decisions now will help ensure your wishes are followed. At Freedom Pointe, our vibrant community features resort-style services and amenities that allow you to get more out of today while our continuum of on-site care and Life Care contracts provide peace of mind for the future. Come learn how we’ve helped thousands of older adults like you enjoy a more worry-free retirement by using our Community Assistant chat feature or contacting us here.