From early childhood, we are taught and encouraged to save more than we spend, adhere to a budget, and put away money so that our investments have plenty of time to grow and cover our needs during retirement and beyond. There are those who heed this advice—and those who don’t. Anyone who has carefully and intentionally saved for retirement through the years is excited about having something to look forward to—a well-deserved break from the daily grind, extensive travel, and spending more time with loved ones.
However, even the best-laid plans fail, including retirement planning.
“You simply can’t plan for every scenario,” says Frannie Gardner, a Certified Financial Planner® and managing partner at Gardner Wallace. “Serious illness, caring for an aging parent, having a child with an illness or addiction, or raising grandkids can all postpone retirement or even drain retirement funds. For some, the golden years aren’t so golden.”
Whatever the size of your retirement nest egg, it’s important to enlist the help of a Certified Financial Planner®. Not only will they assist with financial planning and investments to maximize their potential, but they will also provide insight based on years of experience about potential life circumstances that can negatively impact your retirement. While you don’t know when or if an unexpected life or family crisis will occur, you can take a big-picture look at your financial situation and take steps toward minimizing financial risk.
“This can be your health, the health of a child, the health of a parent, or the health of your spouse or partner,” Gardner says. “This can be a huge derailer. Any scenario requires time off from work for caregiving, coordinating end-of-life care, and medical visits. What’s your game plan? I often suggest that my clients save as much PTO as they can as ‘insurance,’ because any of these instances can evolve into a long-term situation. If possible, ask your company for a work-from-home schedule, at least temporarily. And, of course, make sure everyone in the family has health insurance.”
Unexpected needs of adult children and grandchildren.
“We would all like to think that our adult children are responsible enough to have adequate health and life insurance. An accident, death, job loss, or even addiction or other health issues may create a situation where the parents of the adult children must care for and raise their grandchildren. There is no aid or assistance for this. Have a transparent conversation with your grown children and make sure they are well-covered when it comes to health insurance, disability, and life insurance.”
Caring for aging parents.
“If you are the caregiver of an aging parent and you have siblings, treat it like another job, because in many ways it is. Keep meticulous records of finances. Be transparent, especially if there is significant money involved. Consider putting all of mom or dad’s expenses on a separate credit card so everything is documented. Make sure your parents have a DNR, directives to physicians, and end-of-life documents in place. And make sure you do the same for yourself. There is no insurance policy available for a child to take care of an aging parent, so it is wise to make a plan together while you can.”
Buy/Sell agreements for business owners.
“I always tell my clients who own their business with a partner or partners to establish a buy/sell agreement. This way, if something happens to you or one of the partners, there is no question about what happens next with the business. You get to make a lot of decisions when you own a business, but an accident, illness, and death are not among them.”
Overlooked big-ticket items.
“Teeth, vision care, hearing aids, and transportation—these are big expenses that often take people by surprise. For young people, their eyesight, hearing, and teeth are in good shape, and a corporate health insurance policy usually covers them. Without insurance or with limited coverage, this can get very expensive. Often, insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids or dental implants. When it becomes too dangerous for you to drive, do you have enough in your budget to afford regular transportation? Do you have a plan in place stating who will take care of you? These are all things to plan for, which is why working with an advisor is important. We can’t always answer these questions, but we can uncover your risks.”
“I often tell clients who are nearing retirement or who have underlying health issues or a family history of health issues to get a ‘big job.’ By this, I mean that there comes a time when you can no longer afford to go through life haphazardly. You can reduce your risk financially with big-company insurance coverage, as opposed to being self-employed or working in a job that doesn’t offer a comprehensive insurance plan. If you don’t have much saved in retirement and don’t plan to use the proceeds from the sale of a longtime home for a retirement community later, you may need to look into long-term care policies or a similar product. Bottom line: You have to consider all the potential problems and insure against risk.”
The experienced team at Gardner Wallace Financial Solutions provides a wide array of financial solutions to clients, working closely with them to identify needs, develop appropriate strategies, and implement a plan that evolves with them through all life stages. Because no two individuals or businesses are identical, the Gardner Wallace team crafts customized plans to help clients achieve their financial goals, so they can focus on fulfilling their life’s purpose. Learn more at gardnerwallace.com.