Amy & Dan Smith's Planning for Life: Five Key Retirement Questions

Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goals are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role in planning for your future.

Where Will You Live?
Whether you’re bound for a dream home or planning to stay put, housing likely will be your biggest expense in retirement. While aging in the comfort of your own home would be ideal, modifications to the home-or your plan-could be necessary as mobility and transportation challenges arise. Points to consider:
Do you want to stay in your home? Will it need to be modified?
What housing options are available to you, and what will they cost?
Would you want to downsize? Relocate to a pedestrian friendly neighborhood?
87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. (AARP PPI, “What is Livable? Community preferences of Older Adults,” April 2014)

How Will You Get Around?
It may come as a surprise, but transportation is the second largest expense for individuals older than 65 and accounts for about 15 percent of their annual expenditures, according to the bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s why we make sure to account for it as a part of your long-term financial plan. Points to consider:
How will you get to your favorite places in retirement?
Who will assist you if you can’t drive yourself somewhere?
What transportation options are available in your area?

How Will You Safeguard Your Health?
Your health and your finances are intertwined in complex ways. Most expect Medicare to pay for their healthcare expenses in retirement. But, in reality, Medicare pays only 60 percent of healthcare costs* you will have premiums, copays and deductibles. As you age, healthcare costs can add up. Points to consider:
Do you have an existing condition? What will treatment cost over the long term?
Do you know what costs Medicare will cover?
How will you pay for what Medicare doesn’t?
Have you considered Medigap?

Will You Have Enough?
Giving yourself every opportunity to save enough for a long, fulfilling life requires careful, detailed longevity planning-strategies for saving, investing and taking withdrawals. Making the right Social Security claiming decisions is vital to optimizing your retirement income strategy. Points to consider:
When are you planning to retire?
What sources of income will you have in retirement?
How much income will you need in retirement?

Who Will Take Care of You?
As we all live longer, chances are you may, at some point, provide care for a loved one or receive care yourself. Becoming a caregiver can be not only stressful, but also can have financial consequences if it requires taking time away from work. And long-term care is not covered by Medicare. Points to consider:
Do you understand the full impact of being a caregiver?
How will you get the care you need as you age?
Should you consider long-term care insurance?
70 percent of Americans age 65 in 2014 will need some form of long-term care.
(Department of Health and Human Services)

As you continue planning for your future, your financial advisor can serve as your center point, helping you consider every facet of a long and happy retirement – from healthcare and caregiving to transportation and housing.
*Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015

From "Amy & Dan Smith's Planning for Life" column appearing monthly in the Blue Ridge Leader, Loudoun County, VA.

The foregoing article contains general legal information only and is not intended to convey legal advice.  For legal advice regarding estate planning, the reader should contact his/her lawyer.

Daniel D. Smith is a partner in the law firm of Smith & Pugh, PLC, 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (Tel: 703-777-6084, He has practiced law in Loudoun County since 1980.