By 2029, more than 76 million baby boomers will be 65 or older, according to recent Census estimates. While there is great upside to increased longevity, there are also challenges. Inflation, climbing health care expenses and ebbing safety nets are complex dynamics to navigate through an extended retirement.
One key aspect of longer lifespans many Americans overlook is caregiving. In fact, the government estimates 70 percent of adults 65 or older will require some form of long-term care (“LTC”). Recent findings from Northwestern Mutual’s 2015 C.A.R.E(Costs, Accountabilities, Realities, Expectations) Study underscore this reality.
Nearly four in 10 Americans (36 percent) are currently or have been caregivers to adults who are aging, ill or with special needs. The study further reveals caregiving, while rewarding, can have significant financial and emotional implications.
The good news is that whether boomer or any other generation, it is rarely too late to create — or adjust — a financial planning strategy that will help you live your desired lifestyle through your lifespan. Rebekah Barsch, vice president, planning and sales, Northwestern Mutual, suggests the following:
Face the financial realities. The Northwestern Mutual 2015 Planning & Progress Study found outliving their retirement savings is among the top financial fears for Americans. Moreover, a solid portion do not feel at all financially prepared to live through their 80s and 90s. Combined with rising costs and the potential long-term care needs, avoidance is no longer an option.
Speak up. Though finances are an uncomfortable topic for many, a candid dialogue is essential to making important decisions. This is especially important when it comes to difficult topics like long-term care, which could impact the entire family. Understanding the concerns and wishes of your loved ones is the cornerstone of effective planning.
Know when you need help. When it comes to financial planning, half of the boomers (age 50-68) in the 2015 Planning & Progress Study said they were either informal or non-planners. Considering the correlation between planning and financial security in retirement, as well as the added complexities of longevity, a self-directed approach can be a risky bet when the stakes are high. An expert can take an objective look at your finances and tailor a strategy that adapts as your financial needs evolve.