By Michelle Y. Graves, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor
Special to Frost Illustrated
I recently attended the 2014 Forum on Aging as an industry professional. Times have truly changed. I left the conference asking myself “If seniors knew today what was going to happen to them tomorrow, would they be full of joy or sorrow?” Aging should not be a sorrowful event. But, unless steps are taken to prepare for that certainty, it will be. But what steps should you take? Retirement strategies that worked even ten years ago will not work today. Our economy has gone down. What was a good way to save for retirement is not anymore. The market had become too risky. We must change with the tides so that we can survive.
Seniors are living longer, much longer. Our income is fixed. Our health is deteriorating. Living expenses have gone up. When you are living on a fixed income, you cannot afford to lose money. We need all of the money that we have worked so hard to accumulate! We need our monthly pensions and income checks to pay our bills and enjoy our retirement. We need to know that our money won’t run out 5 or 10 years down the road (which can easily happen with stocks and mutual funds) and then all we have left is Social Security.
I am now ‘officially’ a senior citizen. I love what I have done for the past 35 years as a senior financial advisor handling pre and post retirement concerns. My practice includes income planning, insurance, Medicaid issues and more. I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon. Experience matters. I understand your concerns with regard to health care, aging, losing your savings, and long-term care. I know you worry about your children and grandchildren. I do as well. I understand what happens when sickness comes and you do not get well. Not having enough money to live on while the bills keep growing makes me nervous too. Who can you really count on to help? I take pride in the fact that my name is a name that you can trust. None of my clients have lost any money in their investments. In fact their gains have been good in a bad market, steady and most importantly secure.
Here were some of my clients concerns when they came to me:
• I worry that my pension or 401K money may run out and I don’t have anything other than that and Social Security.
• I don’t want the nursing home to get my house and money if I have to go there.
• I don’t know about this life insurance policy that I have that I got years ago.
• I need a will so my family won’t have to fight the court for my house, car and cash.
If you have not asked yourself these questions, you should. Times are not good. You can and will lose everything that you have worked so hard to keep. If you are unclear as to your options, please seek the guidance of a seasoned senior advisor. It is worth the time and money you will spend. Joy comes when you “wake up.”