Thursday, January 8, 2015

Senior and Real Estate: A Point of Discussion

Preparing for The Future

 Preparing for the Inevitable

With the growing number of people retiring or moving toward retirement age, more resources are coming to the forefront to assist in the retirement planning process.

Many resources revolve around financial planning and how best to use one's nest egg to fund retirement.  Other resources discuss the means to act today to attain the retirement of your dreams.

As a Realtor, I know there is more to the retirement process that just the finances.  Now the finances are important but there are more factors to resolve.

As a Senior Real Estate Specialists, I know that many of the topics
involve a senior couple working together and involving their adult children or other family members.

It is best if the Senior considers how he or she wishes to live out retirement and determines his or her final wishes prior to involving all those that may need to be included in the discussion or dissemination of information.

If a Senior has a spouse, they together should discuss the topics noted below.  They should mutually agree on those that require mutual agreement(i.e. travel plans) but be free to express their individual wishes as required.   Should a Senior not have a spouse, a trusted friend or family member could assist the Senior "thinking through" the decisions.

To be clear not all these topics are easy to discuss.  It is hard for many to consider the prospect that they won't live forever.  It can be hard even to plan for the next 20 or 40 years when one has no idea what will occur in those years.

Yet, it is so true that "Failing to Plan is a plan to fail".  

Topics to discuss:

 1. Retirement Budget
 2. Retirement Funds and Strategy
 3. Medical Condition - Present and Future
 4. Medical Directives
 5. Power of Attorney
 6. Living Will
 7. Will
 8. Travel Plans
 9. Hobbies
10. Place to Live: When to move where
11. Last Wishes

The conclusions for all discussions should be in writing.  No doubt Medical Directives, Power of Attorney, Living Will and the Will will require an attorney to complete(if you have one, it is time to review and update as needed).

An author, Tim Prosch, has defined the next step as "The Other Talk".  He actually wrote a book on the topic.  

You might imagine why he titled it the "The Other Talk".  Remember, if your parents had the wherewithal to have it, "The Talk" about the birds and the bees. No doubt, this is the most embarrassing discussion any parent or teenage had.  Frankly, my parents avoid such a discussion(I sure didn't push it).
So like "The Talk", "The Other Talk" can be very difficult for many parents.  The parent or parents should be the initiator of the discussion as they should control the topics discussed and the direction of the discussion.   They should as needed share the "why" and "how come" to provide a good understanding.  Thus, it is very important to have this discussion as early as possible.   It is hard to control topics when one is in a hospital bed.

As Mr. Prosch says, opportunities are missed for the Senior by not taking time to take stock of his/her situation, plan for those retirement years and establish final wishes.  

For example, Mr. Prosch shares that a large percentage of people believe they will stay in their home until they die.  But the reality, over 80% of people are in an institution(hospital, nursing home, assisted living, etc) at the end of their lives.  Being realistic and planning for reality is important.

Secondly, the Senior can ensure loved ones, family and friends, have greater confidence that the Senior will be well cared for and have all his or her wishes filled with a good understand of the "why" and "how come".   

 In conclusion, NOW IS THE TIME to prepare for "The Other Talk" and set a time to discuss these matters with those you love.  If you are the child in this dynamic, in love, share this blog with your parent.  Or buy Prosch's book, "The Other Talk"                                    
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