Failing to plan for longevity can hurt your finances

Personal Finance


Wolf looked at her extended retirement horizon in terms of extra expenses and services. For example, she said, if a new roof lasts 20 to 30 years, living until 90 instead of 80 means budgeting for one new roof at age 60 won’t cut it; if they tend to keep cars for 10 years, their retirement might entail an extra purchase.

Although the couple does plan to downsize to a smaller home at some point, they may need to factor extra help into the budget for things like lawn care or housekeeping. That number crunching came from talking to other retirees and observing what aging relatives needed.

“Talk to people who retired, and say, what expenses did you miss? What didn’t you plan for?” Wolf said.

Plan ahead of aging-related conditions…
Don’t procrastinate on putting key financial documents and policies in place. Those should be in force well ahead of retirement.

In particular, think about advance medical directives and powers of attorney and guardians to direct financial and health matters, said attorney Marve Ann M. Alaimo, a partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Naples, Florida.

Those documents are instrumental in communicating what you’d like to have happen (or not) if there comes a point where you’re incapacitated.

“A lot of people don’t want to accept the fact that they could get in that serious car accident, or face a significant illness that keeps them alive but not in a good cognitive state,” Alaimo said. “Just like people tend to put off estate planning, even more so, they tend to put off incapacity planning.”

But prevalence of chronic conditions such as hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes often rises with age. In 2014, 46 percent of people age 65 and older reported having two or three such conditions, according to CDC data, versus 26.6 percent of people age 45 to 64, and 6.3 percent of people age 18 to 44. Risk for certain traumatic events, including strokes and aneurysms, often also increases with age.



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