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We definitely want to age in place, experts say. A recent AARP report shows that 85% of respondents age 65 or older want to stay in their current residence for as long as possible.
Retirement-focused financial advisors can help you with the financial and non-financial preparations to do so.
“We are often the only professionals people consult when planning for this phase of their lives,” said certified financial planner Howard Pressman, a partner at Egan, Berger and Weiner in Vienna, Virginia. “I have seen my clients in difficulty [with this issue] and I wanted to help them think about the aging process.”
Helping retirees fulfill essential roles as caregivers
Pressman has had what he called “very pointed conversations” with clients, particularly those without children, about who will fill critical roles in helping them age in place. These roles include decision makers for health issues, drivers for doctor’s appointments if customers are ill or injured, housekeepers for routine home maintenance, and friends for regular socializing.
“My goal is always to help my clients enjoy a happy retirement – mind, body and wallet,” he said.
“A lot of [retirement-related] the conversations we have with clients revolve around the non-financial aspects,” said Jason Sapirstein, CFP and president of Eliot Rose Wealth Management in West Warwick, Rhode Island. “You can’t talk about money without talking about life.
“You can’t separate the two.”
He directs his clients to on-site aging resources, such as Medicare brokers, discount prescription drug services, and a personal concierge service that performs a wide variety of errands and handyman services. Sapirstein also teaches customers how to use Zoom and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.
It encourages clients to build maintenance and finance teams and modify their homes five to 10 years ahead of their estimated need, to avoid disruption later.
Some advisors deepen their non-financial expertise with advanced degrees. Sandy Adams, CFP and partner at the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Michigan, has a master’s degree in gerontology and serves as the firm’s subject matter expert. One of his responsibilities is to develop an aging plan for clients that focuses on housing (as they age), care (how and by whom), finances and personal legacy (how they want to share values, stories, photos, etc.) .
Adams also directs customers to support services, such as:
- Licensed professional attorneys who assist with health management and advocacy and can act as health care proxies for clients who do not have friends or family in the area
- Local Aging Agencies and Community Centers for Seniors – non-profit organizations that help people navigate local resources
- Local transportation programs for seniors
- home improvement companies
When should people start this type of planning?
“The sooner the better,” Adams said. “None of us know when this event might occur and cause us to suddenly need help.”
“Another very important question to consider is, ‘Do you trust your decision maker to do what you want if your circumstances change?'” said Patti B. Black, CFP and partner at Bridgeworth Financial Management in Birmingham. , Alabama. “Would they be influenced by different financial ramifications?
Navigate the ins and outs of aging in place with advisors
Financial advisers can guide clients through these and other questions, such as what kind of future care they want and end-of-life care, she said.
Black, who cared for his own elderly parents, refers his clients to professionals such as:
- Home-based aged care agencies, which perform background checks on potential caregivers
- Consultants to help clients choose a facility (if needed) who know the quality of care, personality and reputation of a care community
- Geriatric Care Managers, who act as private social workers, perform in-home assessments, deliver programs, provide care monitoring, medication management, advocacy and more.
“It’s important to communicate to clients that there is a list of resources available when the time comes,” Black said. “Let your decision maker know that they need to contact [your advisor]. “We have a lot of experience with our own families and other clients and our aim is to establish a [helping] relationship with you before there is a crisis.”
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