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Dollars & Sense: Independence Throughout Retirement

By Roberta L Nestor

Maybe it will take only a few questions to have a glimpse of how dependent or independent you will be throughout your retirement.  Joseph Coughlin, the director of MIT AgeLab created three basic questions to identify quality of life issues for retirement:  Who will change my light bulbs?  How will I get an ice cream cone?  Who will I have lunch with?

These questions illustrate how our lives will change as our bodies slow down and health issues or other aspects of aging make us less mobile.  As we grow older, the importance of living somewhere that has transportation options, quality health care, long term care services and options for social connections becomes paramount.  Where you decide to live during retirement can determine your financial and emotional independence during retirement.

A survey conducted by AgeWave found that 85% of pre-retirees want to age in place.  In other words, they want to be able to stay in their homes for as long as possible and remain as independent as possible.  Aging in place also refers to being able to remain in your home despite functional or cognitive impairments.  Home characteristics and renovations for aging in place are many.  Renovations could include a walk-in shower, single floor living with no stairs, and wheelchair accessibility that will allow for ramps to the home, wide doors and hallways.  Kitchens that have accessible cabinets and lowered countertops.  Abundance of light in case sight is diminished.  New technologies to monitor health status and use of prescriptions.  And don’t forget to eliminate rugs or other floor items that could become a tripping hazard!

The infrastructure of your community can also lend itself to independence.  Will you have support for snow removal, lawn care, and general maintenance of your home?  What is the availability for transportation options if you can no longer drive?  Will you be able to have grocery delivery services and/or meal preparation if needed?  Finally, will you have access to family and friends so that you will be able to socialize and enjoy social activities?  One of the major problems for older Americans is social isolation.  People deteriorate faster both mentally and physically when their social connections are reduced.  Older people who are active socially tend to be happier and healthier.

Aging in place requires careful and comprehensive planning.  It is not enough to say, “I just want to stay in my home until I pass.”  To stay in your current home, or to relocate during retirement, means preparing now.  Don’t be among those who defer the important decisions about aging because they think it’s too early.  If maintaining your independence throughout retirement is important, start planning for that future today.

Roberta L. Nestor is a financial advisor practicing at 759 Boston Post Road in Milford, CT offering retirement, long term care, investment and tax planning services.  She offers securities and advisory services as a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network – a member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser.  Fixed insurance products offered through Nestor Financial Network are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.  Commonwealth Financial Network or Nestor Financial Network does not provide legal or tax advice.  You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.  Roberta can be reached at Nestor Financial Network, 203-876-8066 or roberta@nestorfinancial.com.

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