For much of the 20th century, retirement in America was traditionally defined in terms of its relationship to participation in the active work force. Our parents and grandparents worked full-time until a certain age, and then left employment to spend a few years quietly rocking on the front porch. Sadly, the reality was that declining health often made retirement brief and unpleasant. As such, retirement planning typically focused on saving enough to guarantee minimal survivaI for a relatively short period of time.

THIS IS NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER'S RETIREMENT

retirement milleniumMuch has changed in the short time since the turn of the century, and many individuals are beginning to recognize, the ideas of retirement they grew up with are not applicable in today's society. In the new millennium, retirement goals can be radically different. For example, some individuals are v oluntarily choosing and planning to retire as early as their 40s or 50s. Others, because they enjoy working, choose to remain employed well past the traditionaI retirement age of 65.

Many retirees also now endeavor to do more than just rock on the front porch, and retirerment today is quite often defined by activities such as travel, returning to school, volunteer work, or the pursuit of favorite hobbies or sports.

LONGER LIVES

The single most important factor in the new millennium retirement picture is the fact that we are now living much longer than before. For example, this storyboard of US mortality trends shows that as of 2013, a child born in 1940 had an average life expectancy of 62.9 years. For a child born in 2010, average life expectancy had increased to 78.7 years. 

cdc deaths vschart

 

 

Want to know your life expectancy? Use the Social Serurity simple Life Expectancy Calculator to get an estimate of how many years your retirement plan should allow for.

Planning for a much longer life span involves addressing problems not faced by earlier generations. Some of the key issues include the following:

Paying for Retirement: Providing a steady income is often the key problem involved in retirement planning. Longer life spans raise the issue of the impact of inflation on fixed dollar payments, as well as the possibitity of outliving accumulated personal savings. Income from pensions and employer-sponsored retirement plans are no longer commonly offered and Social Security typicalty provides only a portion of the total income required. When income is insufficient, a retiree may be forced to either contiue working, or face a reduced standard of tiving.

Health Care: The health benefits provided through the federal government's Medicare program are generally considered to be only a foundation. Often a supplemental Medicare policy is needed, as is a long-terrm care policy, to provide needed benefits not available through Medicare. Health care planning should also consider a health care proxy, allowing someone else to make medical decisions when an individual is temporarily incapacitated, as well as a living will that expresses an individual's wishes when no hope of recovery is possible.

Estate Planning: Retirement planning inevitably must consider what happens to an individual's assets after retirement is over. Estate planning should ensure not only that assets are transferred to the individuals or organizations chosen by the owner, but also that the transfer is done with the least amount of tax.

Housing: This question involves not only the size and type of home (condo, house, shared housing, assisted living), but also its location. Such factors as climate and

proximity to close family members and medical care are often important. Completely paying off a home loan can reduce monthly income needs. A reverse mortgage may provide additional monthly income.

Lifestyle: Some individuals, accustomed to a busy work life, find it difficult to enjoy the freedom offered by retirement. Planning ahead can make this transition easier.

SEEK PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE

The new definition of retirement, with all of its possibilities, does not happen automatically. Many of the issues naturally associated with aging and retirement, such as ill health and the need to provide income, still exist. Enjoying the retirement you have earned and so richly deserve involves careful consideration of your goals and strategic planning to hedge against potentiaI problems that threaten to interfere with your security and well-being during this time.

With early and proper planning, Great Bay Insurance Agency can help ensure your needs are best met. It is never too early to get started.