When we’re young, the last thing we want to think about is what will happen when we get older. Being young is all about living in the moment. And while there is nothing wrong with that notion, it also wouldn’t be bad if we considered our later years, too. Kind of like, living in the moment but preparing for the future.
We can’t change the inevitable, and the inevitable is that we will all get old at some point. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan for your later years and not leave everything to chance.
Here are 7 ways that can help you plan for your future to make sure that you’re comfortable in your later years.
Keep your records and affairs in order
Start your planning by simply keeping all your records organized and all your affairs in order. Keep all your important documents such as bank statements, financial accounts, and other legal documents organized and keep them somewhere safe. Also, always have copies of these documents and files close to you. Personal records should also be organized and kept somewhere safe.
Since, nowadays, we keep most of our important information on our computers and laptops, it’s crucial that you have all your passwords and files backed up on a cloud or an external hard drive. Make sure all your files are updated and always current.
All this information and passwords, you should share only with a trustworthy person such as family members or close friends.
Make a will
Everyone should have a will. Making a will is important in case something happens to you. As we get older, we can expect the inevitable at any moment, and in case the inevitable happens, we should have a will made up.
If for some reason you fail to make a will, the law will dictate how all your money and assets will be divided. This also means that your final wishes may not go according to plan.
So, to make sure your last will is respected, and that your estate, assets, money, and everything else you own gets appropriately divided to your loved ones, you should make a will.
To draw a will, you can hire wills and estates lawyers who can help you prepare a legally valid will and power of attorney. This document will ensure your and your family’s peace of mind.
Assign someone who will manage your affairs
With the will drawn and all your affairs in order, it’s time to think about assigning someone to manage your affairs in case you’re not able to.
It’s always a good idea to have someone who will have your permission to make legal and health-related decisions on your behalf. As we get older, life gets unpredictable, you may or may not become mentally or physically incapacitated and you’ll need someone to make all kinds of important decisions for you.
You can appoint someone from your family to be your guardian and you can give them the power of attorney. The power of attorney is an important legal document that will allow anyone you choose to do different activities legally. Without the power of attorney anyone handling your legal affairs may run into series of problems that can be complex and expensive.
Decide your living arrangements
No one wants to think that they will need to abandon their home one day, but sometimes when we get old and frail, staying alone in a home is not an option. Consider all the possible situations – what if you end up in a wheelchair, will you be able to function, how would you move around your house, who would help you?
Don’t immediately dismiss living in a retirement home. There are many good retirement homes or communities where you’ll have the proper care.
A retirement community is a residential community intended and designed for seniors who can take care of themselves. Of course, some of these communities also allow care agencies who will help you out in case you can’t do it on your own.
So, before you bring any rash decision, think about all the possibilities and of course, if and what you can afford.
Pay all debts before you retire
Retire with a clear conscience and with all your debts paid off. This of course goes without saying but since you’ll no longer be working, paying off debts will be difficult. That’s why the best idea would be to repay all your debts before you retire.
With all your debts cleared you won’t have problems finding a good retirement home and you won’t have debt collectors chasing after you.
Avoid using join bank accounts
Many seniors make the mistake of adding their family or people close to them to their bank accounts. Adding another person to your bank account, for whatever reason, makes that person the co-owner. This means that the money on that bank account is no longer only yours.
You can still enable a family member or a friend to pay your bills and write cheques without adding them to your bank account. You can appoint an attorney-in-fact to manage your bank accounts. The attorney-in-fact doesn’t have to be an actual attorney, it can be anyone authorized by you to handle your bank accounts.
This way, you can rest assured that no one will abuse your trust and spend your money.
Discuss the plans with your family
Last but certainly not least, is to bring your family into all the planning. There will be a lot to consider and having another perspective is always a good idea.
Talk about everything with your spouse or partner, or with your children. Listen to what they have to say, but also don’t forget that you’re doing all of this for yourself.
Your plan will indeed affect all of their lives, but you’re the one who worked all your life to get to where you are now. The last say should always be yours.
It’s never too early to start thinking and planning your future. As much as life is amazing it’s also unpredictable and we don’t have tomorrow guaranteed. That’s why we need to keep all our affairs and records straight and in order.
Make sure you spend your retirement years carefree and thoroughly enjoying the rest of your life.