When you hear the term “retirement planning” mentioned you’re generally going to envision the period of time immediately after your working career when you have the opportunity to enjoy your free time. Many people do a lot of traveling and indulge various passions and hobbies like golf, tennis, boating, gardening, etc. And of course most retirees are going to recognize the need to have an estate plan in place, so retirement planning and estate planning essentially go hand-in-hand.
When you think about retirement planning you anticipate the good times ahead, but the fact is that there may come a time between your active retirement and the final days of your life, and this interim should be prepared for as well. Statistics that have been released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services indicate that somewhere in the vicinity of seven out of every 10 individuals who reach the age of 65 will someday need long-term care. Many people are surprised when they hear that the average cost for a year in a private room in a nursing home in the United States is more than $83,000. The average length of stay is 2 1/2 years, so when you do the math you’re looking at a pretty hefty expense, and in fact the average cost for long-term care in the state of New York exceeds that of the national average.
In addition to the realities of long-term care it is important to prepare for the possibility of incapacitation. People are living longer than ever, and the segment of the society that is at least 85 years of age is growing faster than any other. Clearly people who reach such an advanced age often suffer from diminished mental faculties, and in fact four out of every 10 of the oldest old are Alzheimer’s disease sufferers. As a response it is important to have durable powers of attorney in place that empower agents of your choosing to act on your behalf should you become unable to make sound decisions for yourself.
It is possible that you will never experience a moment of incapacity or spend a day in a long-term care facility. However, you never know what the future holds and it is always better to be safe than sorry.