Many women that are now retired or will retire soon are not prepared, especially when it comes to paying for any long-term care that they might need. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons why a lot of women are not prepared for retirement is the belief system they were exposed to early in life.
In one study about half of the women surveyed were brought up to believe that a man would care for their financial needs throughout their lives, but only about 3% of women now believe this. About 97% of women now believe that they have been given no choice but to take control of their own financial situation.
Obviously one of the lessons here is that for women to have financial security, they must be financially independent. Unfortunately many of the women that are getting ready to retire did not learn this until later in life because of what they were raised to believe. The result is that a lot of retired women will have a much lower standard of living than men, and most will not be prepared to pay for any long term care that they need.
The good news is that it is never too late to start preparing for the possibility that you may need long term care in the future.
- Reduce your risk for chronic illness. Find out as much as you can about your family’s medical history and if there is a particular illness or disease that you are at risk for, take measures to reduce your risk now.
- Will your house be adequate if your needs change? One of the main problems that you may face later is that the house you live in won’t be adequate if your needs change. For example, if you have a lot of stairs that you’ll need to climb, this could be a problem later. It is best to have your bedroom, bathroom, and all other areas of the house you’ll need access to on a regular basis, on the same level.
- What community services are available? It is important to take advantage of the services that your community has available for the elderly, such as transportation. Getting around once you are older won’t be as easy as it is now, so you’ll want to ensure that you have a means of transportation to doctor appointments, the grocery store, and important activities.
- Talk with your family. Communicating with your family is important; you’ll want to talk with them about what your wishes are as far as medical care when the time comes that they must make these decisions.
- Take stock of your financial situation. The one thing you’ll want to do is see where you sit financially right now and what you can do to improve your financial situation in the future. Find out what you need to know about long term care, such as what is available and the cost. Think about ways that you might be able to pay for this care, such as long term care insurance, or estate planning that would help you quality for Medicaid.
When it comes to retirement and long term care, the most dangerous thing you can do is to ignore the problem. If you face it now and do what you can to prepare, you and your family will be in a much better position in the future.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.