David Lerner Associates: Issues Unique to Older Americans
Many Americans may view getting older with mixed emotions. While retirement is generally something to look forward to there’s also the concern about the cost and availability of health care and the worry about what might happen if one becomes unable to live and care for oneself independently.
Managing retirement income needs
The income any individual needs in retirement and how much income is available go hand in hand when planning for retirement. While some expenses may decrease in retirement (for instance, there may no longer be a mortgage payment), some may increase (such as health care expenses). It’s important to evaluate one’s retirement lifestyle and consider how inflation may affect savings. The main sources of retirement income will likely be Social Security, a retirement plan and pension income, and income from investments and one should determine whether the income from these sources will be meet one’s retirement needs
IRA and retirement plan distributions
If a distribution from an IRA or an employer-sponsored pension plan is in the cards decide how and when to take this distribution, considering income needs and the income tax consequences.
Most older Americans will likely be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits that provide much-needed income during retirement. How much benefit depends mainly on the age of retirement and one’s average lifetime earnings. Although one’s Social Security benefit is important, this should not be the sole source of retirement income. View it as a piece of the total financial picture.
Most Americans age 65 or older will rely on Medicare to pay for their medical care. There is also the option to purchase a supplemental Medigap policy to help defray the cost of services and items that Medicare does not cover or to help pay the deductibles and co-pays required by Medicare. Should there be a need to enter a nursing home and one’s income and assets are limited, care may be paid for by Medicaid. Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces may be entitled to care in Veterans Administration (VA) facilities, as well.
Tip: Health-care reform laws passed in 2010 contain some provisions that directly affect older Americans Every US retiree or senior should be aware of how these reforms may affect their access to health care and insurance benefits.
Planning for incapacity
Medical directives: In the case of an older American becoming too sick to direct their own medical care, it’s important to know their wishes are carried out. Execute a medical directive for health care, such as a living will or health-care proxy that can be followed in the event that one can no longer make one’s wishes known. Such directives not only protect a patient’s rights but also can prevent family disagreements and court battles over care.
Managing property can become an issue and a durable power of attorney or trust can be set up to ensure that money and property are managed properly in the event that one becomes incapacitated and are no longer legally competent to manage one’s own financial affairs. Planning for incapacity is also a way to avoid burdening adult children who may be caring for a parent as they grow older.
As one grows older, housing needs change considerably. Although it is possible to remain in the rambling four-bedroom house in the suburbs or the brick duplex in the city there may be a need to move for social, economic, or physical reasons.
Dealing with the loss of your spouse
Another situation older Americans may have to confront is the death of a spouse. For many people, losing a spouse is a life-changing event that requires a lot of decisions regarding the future while dealing with immediate financial concerns such as claiming survivors benefits and settling the spouse's estate.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Some of this material has been provided by Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, Inc.
David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.
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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website: http://www.davidlerner.com