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4 Essential Retirement Planning Tips

Retirement is a stage of life you can look forward to, and you’ll get the most out of this time if you’ve carefully planned for it. If you begin to budget and organize things ahead of time, you can be sure to live out your golden years in comfort. To help you achieve this, we’ve listed some helpful retirement planning tips.

1. Start Saving Now

People commonly think about their finances in the context of the present as opposed to how they’ll use this money in the future. However, the earlier you can start saving, the better. You’ve hopefully already built up a substantial 401(k), but setting aside any extra money to further pad your nest egg can be beneficial.

2. Set Aside Money for Health Costs

In today’s environment, the costs of health care in retirement can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s important to plan for the fact that a substantial amount of your retirement savings may end up going toward your health. As such, you might want to consider opening an additional account in which you keep money exclusively for this purpose.

3. Hire a Financial Advisor

Even if you only meet a few times, we recommend that you commission the help of a financial advisor, particularly one that specializes in working with seniors. They can help you strategize how to use your retirement funds or tackle any remaining debt you may have. Getting an outside perspective from a professional will help you identify any financial areas you may want to focus on.

4. Look at Retirement Communities

There may come a time when you find you’re exhibiting signs you may have to move to a retirement home. This is a sensitive subject for many people, but it’s important to know that a retirement comunity is designed to keep seniors comfortable as they live out their golden years. It may be helpful to look at some retirement homes ahead of time so that you can start planning for which one will best suit your needs.

How Seniors Can Maximize Their Social Security Disability, Auxiliary, Retirement, or Survivors’ Benefits

Those who have reached or who are nearing retirement age understand the importance of living on a budget. If you are a senior citizen who has become disabled, you may not know whether to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or whether to go ahead and get your Social Security retirement started. You can apply for retirement benefits when you are 62, but your monthly benefit amount will be reduced because you are receiving benefits before you reach your full retirement age.

If you receive disability benefits, you will get your full benefits even when you switch from your disability benefits to your retirement benefits later. So, if you have found yourself unable to work because of medical problems as you near your retirement age, it is better to go ahead and apply for disability benefits. That way, you will continue to get your full benefits and will not end up getting reduced payments. The additional funds can make a significant difference in your overall financial situation. The funds you receive from SSDI can cover the cost of living in a senior community.

How to Handle Auxiliary or Survivors’ Benefits

If you receive auxiliary or survivors’ benefits, you will want to maximize your benefits. If you have been married, or if you were married in the last year, you might be able to receive spousal benefits. If you decide to take spousal benefits, the amount you receive is based on your spouse’s full benefits, your personal work history, and when you start receiving payments. If you have been married at least a year or if you were married at least 10 years then divorced for longer than two years, you can receive as much as 50 percent of your spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you start receiving benefits early, it can reduce your payments.

However, if you have a good work history, you will either receive your own benefit or your spousal benefit – whichever pays more. Auxiliary benefits are payable if your spouse is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The amount received is based on the claimant’s SSDI benefits. You cannot receive auxiliary benefits from a spouse and then draw your own retirement benefits at the same time, but by taking auxiliary benefits, you can wait to start drawing your own benefits when you reach full retirement age and would be eligible to receive the full amount.

Choosing Wisely

You should review all the options and determine which kinds of benefits you would be eligible for. If you can receive auxiliary benefits or SSDI, you should take those benefits until you reach full retirement age. That way, you will be able to maximize your benefits and get more money in the long run. Most seniors live on a fixed income, so you will want to make sure you are getting the funds that you need to cover living expenses and medical needs. You can learn more by visiting the SSA website at www.ssa.gov, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting a Social Security field office near you.

Ways Caring for Your Aging Parent Can Impact Your Children (And What to Do About it)

Most adults understand that becoming a caretaker to their aging parents is something that should be considered with care. There’s a lot of content out there for adults caring for their parents that explain the physical, emotional, and financial strain this could have on them. Yet, what isn’t covered is how it impacts their families – especially the children. 

Sure, your kids may have a close bond with grandma and grandpa. They may even be excited about the idea of having them move in. Be that as it may, this transition is going to impact your children psychologically. As a parent, it is important to know how to get your children through this transition while also tending to their emotional needs. 

How Children are Affected

Having your aging parents move in with you isn’t all bad. In fact, having them in the home can help to strengthen your family bond, provide another source of support for your children, and even help to teach your children about responsibilities and caring for those in need. 

Unfortunately, however, this transition isn’t without some downsides. When you become a caretaker for your aging parents, your children do not have the same access to you as before because you now have to divide your time, energy, affection, and support. They are also often asked to help out more around the house, which is great for developing responsibilities, but can lead to resentment and even frustration. 

As not all children are vocal with their feelings, they bottle these feelings of rejection, abandonment, anger, and resentment inside and lash out in other ways. They might start misbehaving at home or in school, picking fights with their siblings, isolating themselves from everything and everyone, and even taking risks like abusing substances (for attention and/or to numb the pain). 

How to Make Things Easier for Your Children

If you’re presently in a situation where your children are acting out or even suffering from substance abuse, you should immediately get them help from a school guidance counselor, a therapist, or look for adolescent treatment in California (or wherever you’re located) to get to the core problem and learn effective solutions. At the end of the day, however, prevention is key. So, if you’ve decided that the best thing is for your aging parents to move into your home, here are some tips for making things easier on your children. 

Talk with Your Kids Before the Move

Not to say that you need your child’s permission to move your aging parents into the home, but letting them know in advance and getting their input can make a big difference. Express why you’ve made the decision, what’s going with their grandparents, and even discuss how things will change. After talking, listen to what they have to say and try as best you can to debunk or resolve any fears and apprehension they may have. 

Be Mindful of How Much Assistance You Ask for

It’s one thing for the kids to pitch in as a family and another for them to start feeling like assistant caretakers or babysitters. This can cause resentment between you and your children and the kids and their grandparents. So, don’t overdo it on the responsibilities when it comes to caring from grandma and grandpa. If you need assistance, it is often best to look to other adults or home care

Allow Them to be Kids

The worst thing you can do when caring for your aging parents is forcing your children to sacrifice so much that they can’t enjoy life. Their lives have already changed dramatically and they need the carefree moments of just being a kid to get through it all. Don’t keep them from participating in activities, hanging out with friends, or simply playing around at home. 

Find the Time for Them

Last, but not least, you have to find time to be there for your kids and also spend quality time with them. While they understand that you have a lot going on with their grandparents’ care, you don’t want them to feel abandoned or like less of a priority in your life. No matter what it takes, it is important that you find time to dedicate to just your children. Whether it’s one-on-one conversations in the mornings, scheduled outings, or weekly family nights, they need to know they still matter. 

Taking care of your aging parents in your home may be the best decision, however, it will have its challenges. That’s why it is not only important to take care of yourself, but to be mindful of the psychological impact this has on others you care for such as your children. Use this advice to ensure that your children’s mental wellbeing remains intact as you go through this transition.

5 Ways to Earn a Passive Income as a Senior

Retirement sits in the back of everyone’s mind as they navigate life. When one reaches that point, however, they may wish to continue bringing in an income to occupy their time and make money on their own schedule. If you retired and want a low-maintenance way to supplement your income, look through our list of ways to earn a passive income during retirement.

1. Rent Out Property

If you own any extra property, or are willing to invest in some, we recommend you rent out a home or two. The effort that goes into maintaining a real estate business depends entirely on the goals of an individual, so you should know what this endeavor may entail. Depending on the amount of properties you have, a management company can handle all the hard work.

2. Sell Your Crafts Online

Do you have a hobby such as sewing, knitting, or woodworking? If you do, you can turn your favorite hobby into an income. You can set up an account on an online selling platform, such as Etsy or iCraft. These sites focus on individuals who want to create their own side business selling their handmade items, and it’s an excellent way to bring in a few extra dollars each month.

3. Babysit

It’s likely that your social circle includes a selection of individuals that need someone reliable to care for their children once in a while. This is something that you can do as often as you’d like, and it can give your neighbors or friends an extra date night or two.

4. Teach Local Classes

If you have a skill for something such as cooking or painting, consider teaching a local class on the subject. Partner up with a senior center, a local college, or a local senior community, and advertise your classes in your county’s magazine.

5. Invest in Stocks

Investing in the right stocks is one of the simplest ways to make a passive income, as you essentially wait for the best time to either collect your dividend or sell your shares. If you never purchased stocks before, you may want to consult with a financial advisor before making the investment.

5 Ways to Keep Your Love Alive After 50 Years Together

Your golden years are called this for a reason: they’re a time to step back from decades of hard work and to enjoy life’s most precious treasures. This time in your life is best enjoyed alongside someone you love. If you’ve been by your spouse’s side for fifty years, you likely know each other inside and out. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t still have some magic in your relationship. If you’re looking for that extra something, follow our guide on how to keep your love alive after 50 years together.

1. Celebrate Your Golden Anniversary

Many couples welcome the next era of their lives with a bang, and this is often comes in the form of their fiftieth anniversary. When this time comes, make it a celebration to remember by getting your family and friends involved in recognizing this monumental milestone.

2. Go on a Date

Couples should never stop going on dates. These are the special moments in which you get to treat yourselves and enjoy each other’s company. Hit up your favorite restaurant or a museum, or go see the latest movie in theaters. Even if you are in a retirement community, the staff can help you set-up a special date night in a private dining area.

3. Share Memories

An important way to keep your love alive is to recollect the time when the two of you first started seeing each other. As you bring up these memories, you may feel some of that initial spark and excitement you experienced all those decades ago. It’s important to take the time to cherish old memories as well as to create new ones.

4. Surprise Each Other

A surprise is exciting at any age, and your better half will be elated to receive one every so often. Whether it’s making reservations at a restaurant, giving a bouquet of flowers, or even planning a weekend getaway, the unexpected is sure to keep the excitement alive for both of you.

5. Volunteer Together

Use the extra time you have in your retirement to give back to the world. Getting involved with a charity is an opportunity for both of you to get out and foster kindness side by side. Working together to do good will deepen your love for one another.

Attaining Guardianship for a Parent with Alzheimer’s

Guardianship for an individual with Alzheimer’s is imperative when the patient has reached the point of mental incapacitation. People living with Alzheimer’s will reach the stage wherein they lose their memory and cognitive skills, which are vital for carrying normal day-to-day interactions. Their ability to make decisions regarding their health care, living situation, money, and other personal matters can be severely affected.

It can pose problems for the patients because it puts them in serious physical and financial risks. They can also become vulnerable to physical and financial abuse. At this point, guardianship can be an essential tool to safeguard the patient’s well-being.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a court process of appointing a person, the “guardian”, to supervise a disabled person’s property and to manage his care and living set-up. The court-appointed guardian will have the legal authority to make personal, financial, and medical decisions on behalf of the disabled person, or ward.

A guardianship lawyer can help with this process, especially since state laws differ when it comes to guardianship processes. The guardianship lawyer will guide you through the legal procedure of guardianship and helps you get approved by the court.

The process of guardianship is often lengthy and can get quite tedious. To gain guardianship for your parent with Alzheimer’s disease, your guardianship lawyer will need some information to establish the need for it. The information should help the court understand why your parent’s situation necessitates a guardianship. It should also clearly show why you are the best person to be your parent’s legal guardian.

When is Guardianship Needed?

Because an Alzheimer’s patient cannot make intelligent decisions for himself, a trusted guardian must be appointed to protect the patient’s interest. A court may decide if a guardianship is warranted based on factors:

  • When a person (in this case, a parent with Alzheimer’s) lost his legal capacity to make crucial decisions for himself;
  • When a person, in some cases, agree that he might benefit from having a guardian to help manage the situation;
  • When a person living with Alzheimer’s is no longer capable of legally signing a power of attorney forms because of his mental state;
  • When the ability to carry out basic daily routines like eating, maintaining hygiene, taking the necessary medications, and the likes, are lost.

Attaining Guardianship

You can easily gain guardianship for your parent with Alzheimer’s by meeting the court’s basic requirements for guardianship. Having a guardianship lawyer is a significant advantage as he can help make these proceedings a lot easier for you.

Usually, the court’s primary choice for guardianship is a close family member of the ward. In this case, the spouse or domestic partner or the adult child is the more likely choice. Secondary choices include close relatives or friends. In some cases, when a spouse, adult child, close relatives, or friends are not available for guardianship, the court will appoint a qualified attorney to handle the guardianship part.

You can petition for guardianship of your parent by:

  1. Making a petition to the court and establishing the fact that your parent suffering from Alzheimer’s has lost his mental capacity to function normally;
  2. Obtaining the Notice of Hearing from the court;
  3. Confirming that the ward receives the Notice of Hearing and the copy of petition documents filed in court;
  4. Come on the appointed date of hearing (this usually takes place in an informal setting).

During the hearing, you must be able to convince the judge why you should get the guardianship of your parent with Alzheimer’s. You may choose to go through the whole process without a guardianship lawyer, but having one can be a great advantage.

Why Guardianship Proceedings Can Get Problematic

As a guardian, your core responsibilities include managing the ward’s living conditions, maintenance, and care. You are also expected to make financial and medical decisions, and to see that the ward gets the necessary medical care. You are also required to submit updates about the ward’s condition to the court.

But sometimes, guardianship can be problematic for various reasons:

  • The ward may sometimes feel like he has lost his freedom to make decisions for himself;
  • The ward may feel forced to live in a new living environment that he may find uncomfortable;
  • The ward may feel hurt and may become resentful because he is declared physically and mentally incompetent;
  • The ward’s personal and financial situations become a public record;
  • Attorney’s and doctor’s fees and other fees can get costly, all at the expense of the ward;
  • The ward is losing his life savings due to the mishandling of his finances.

As long as the right and trusted person who truly cares for the ward’s best interest is given guardianship, things will be less problematic. With the right legal guidance of a guardianship lawyer, problems like these can be foreseen and avoided. Guardianship should be beneficial to everyone concerned, but most notably, to the ward.

Guardianship of a parent with Alzheimer’s, especially in an advanced stage, may need a little more involvement to ensure proper care. But in these busy times, it can be a challenge. You might want to opt for the service of a caretaker to assist you in caring for your parents. He may also benefit from memory care services to lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s so he may still be able to enjoy his life.

Live Well on Less: 9 Easy Ways for Retirees to Cut Costs at Home

When you’re living on a fixed income, saving money is a must. However, sticking to a budget doesn’t have to mean giving up the things you love. There are a lot of painless ways that seniors can save money on everyday living expenses, like these!

1. Take advantage of senior discounts

Many of your everyday purchases could be eligible for senior discounts, but you won’t know if you don’t ask. Brad’s Deals points out Walgreens, Kohl’s, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, and Lens Crafters are just a few of the nationwide retailers that offer senior discounts.

2. Swap cable for low-cost TV

Cable packages are expensive and, odds are, you only watch a fraction of the channels you pay for. These days, more households are opting to get their TV fix from inexpensive streaming services. Not only are the monthly fees lower, but you don’t have to buy or rent costly equipment either. For less than the cost of a month of satellite television, you can buy a streaming stick that broadcasts your favorite entertainment apps right to your TV screen. Just make sure the device you choose is compatible with your TV before buying.

3. Borrow, don’t buy, books and movies

Why pay full-price for something you’ll only use once or twice? Instead of buying books and movies or ordering pay-per-view, visit your local library for free book and movie rentals. While some libraries still loan DVDs, many have switched to digital media libraries so that members can stream and download media from home.

4. Get rid of your landline

Cable TV isn’t the only overpriced service you’re still paying for. While many seniors still have landline phones, most households are transitioning to cell phones only. Doing the same could save you $30-$40 a month, but as The Nest suggests, consider the pros and cons before making the switch.

5. Save on utilities with a programmable thermostat

A warm house keeps the chill away, but cranking up the temperature 24/7 can lead to high utility bills. If you have trouble staying warm, use a programmable or smart thermostat to turn the temperature up during the day when you’re home, and down at night and when the house is empty. Used properly, a programmable thermostat could save 20-30% on heating and cooling costs.

6. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages

Choosing water instead of sweetened beverages like soda, juice, and sweet tea is good for your wallet and your waistline. However, you’ll lose out on the savings if you spend money on bottled water. If you’re not a fan of your tap water, buy a faucet filter to improve the taste.

7. Grocery shop with a friend

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on groceries and household goods, but as a one- or two-person household, it’s sometimes hard to use up a bulk purchase before it goes bad. By grocery shopping with a friend or neighbor, you can split bulk purchases and save on transportation costs too!

8. Plan fun nights in

When shopping with your friend, why not pick up cocktail supplies and games for a fun night in? Socializing at home costs far less than going out for dinner and drinks, and it’s a great way to build a strong social network to carry you through the senior years.

9. Move closer to town

Does living in the suburbs make it hard to maintain an active social life? If your suburban family home is no longer working for your lifestyle, move closer to town. While centrally-located homes are often more expensive, downsizing can put you in a great downtown home, or senior community at a great price. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get rid of your car and use public transportation to save even more.

 

Think through these ideas and how you can apply them to your life. None of these tips require a major lifestyle change, but by following them, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year! That means more money to spend on the things you love, and fewer financial worries during your golden years.

 

Image via Unsplash

Guide to Caring for Elderly Parents at Home

It’s tough to watch your parents get older. They may experience health issues or need more help performing day-to-day tasks. One way to ensure your parents get the care they need is to have them move in with you. These simple tips on caring for elderly parents at home will serve as a guide for anyone thinking about making the decision.

Prepare your Home

One of the first things you should do if your elderly parents will move in with you is to prepare for their arrival. Make sure you have an extra bedroom your parents can sleep in, and it should be as comfortable as possible. As we age, our skin becomes more sensitive and we can’t retain heat as easily. Use the smoothest sheets available and well-insulated blankets, so your parents stay comfortable. Also, use sheets without any added bleaches or dyes; they’re gentler on aging skin. If possible, let your parents have a separate area (close to the main living space) for themselves in the house. That way, they can have their own space, and you can quickly reach them if they need assistance. Also consider grab bars, shower seats and other safety precautions as needed.

Hire In-Home Caregivers

People who want to keep their elderly parents at home but still work may want to hire in-home caregivers. Many services, like New LifeStyles, can help you find someone to care for your parents. Research websites that have lists of caregivers in your neighborhood. Another option is to utilize neighborhood advice websites for testimonials. Lots of towns have websites structured like open forums so that you can get recommendations. Have parents meet with the person you decide to hire before you make things official, though. You want to be sure whoever you choose gets along well with your parents.

Call in the Calvary

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Switching roles with your parents is really hard. Children don’t think that one day they’ll have to do what their parents once did for them, so home care can cause stress for some people. Join support groups with others who also care for their parents. Research online forums for answers to any questions you may have. Also, if you have siblings, come together as a unit. Lean on each other when needed, and make decisions as a group. If you’re an only child, talk to your friends, and get out of the house for a break when you need to. There’s no reason to pretend that things are easy all the time, and everyone needs support.

 

This guide on caring for elderly parents at home will make a difficult time a little easier. Remember to enjoy this time with your parents. Even though things are changing, it’ll be nice to have them in such close proximity to you. At the end of the day, you’ll appreciate the time you have together.

Can’t Wait to Become a Grandparent or Great-Granparent? Plan a Gender Reveal at Your Senior Community!

Many retirees look forward to being grandparents and even great-grandparents. Those already with grandkids are excited about having more free time to spend with them, while those waiting on their children to become parents of their own are eager to spoil them rotten right out of the gate. 

If your daughter, daughter-in-law, or grandaughter is currently expecting, chances are you’re counting down the months, weeks, and days along with her. If so, you might want to consider helping plan a shower or gender reveal party as a way to focus your excitement and anticipation. Just because you may live at a retirement community is no reason not to host. Make use of your beautiful community & the common areas & party rooms available to you.

But how do you put together a special gender reveal for your pregnant daughter? Simply follow the suggested steps below:

Ask Your Son or Daughter

Before you start getting ahead of yourself with gender reveal ideas, ask your son or daughter if it’s alright for you to host such an event. Some couples do not want to know the gender of their child until the baby is born. They may also have planned something on their own and you don’t want those events to clash. You can always consider a small shower instead.

If they agree, talk with them about their personal wants, needs, and ideas. Find out if they have any special people they’d like to invite, destinations they’d prefer, and type of cuisine. These days it is less about the surprise and more about hosting a party your expectant child will enjoy. 

Find Out the Gender

The next thing you want to do is find out the gender of the baby. Your pregnant daughter may already be aware of the baby’s gender. If not, they can certainly provide permission for the doctor’s office to provide you with the information so you can plan and keep the gender a surprise. If they aren’t aware of the gender, just do your best to hold that secret in. 

Choose a Place to Host

Where are you going to host the gender reveal party? If you have a nice size home or yard, you may prefer to do it at your place to save money. If you live in a senior home that has a community or recreational room, talk with the staff about reserving the room for the party well in advance as you never know what other events could be going on. What about your local senior center? You might also consider options like restaurants or reception halls for larger crowds or more lavish events.

Decide on Decor/Theme

Now that you’ve nailed down a place to host the gender reveal party, consider the theme or decor of the event. Are you going to keep it basic with pink and blue decor or do you want to try something different like a prince and princess, bowties and hair ribbons, or an athlete and cheerleader theme? There are a ton of gender reveal ideas you can draw inspiration from online and through social media platforms.

Menu

Next up is the menu. Decide whether you’ll be making the food yourself or having it catered. If you’re going to cook yourself, you may want to stick to things that can be cooked in large quantities easily like spaghetti and meat sauce with a side of salad. If it’s being catered, then start looking for catering companies in the area to get an idea of how much it will cost. While deciding on what will be served, don’t forget to consider any dietary, religious, or medical requests when it comes to the guest list. You don’t want anyone getting sick or unable to eat at the event. It’s always good to have at the very least, a vegetarian dish or plenty of fruits and veggies in case someone doesn’t eat meat.

Reveal and Other Activities

Last, on the list of things to do for the gender reveal party is to decide how you’ll make the reveal and what other activities will take place to keep the guests entertained. You could hand out a Chinese gender predictor to each guest and provide them with a few facts to see if they can determine whether there will be a boy or a girl. Then, for the grand reveal you might have a cake with pink or blue interior. You could host a raffle where guests are allowed to guess whether it’s a boy or a girl and the winning guesses receive a gift. 

Hosting a gender reveal party can be a fun and memorable way for retirees to share in the joys of pregnancy and the arrival of a grandchild. If you follow the suggested steps provided above, you should have no problem putting together a special event no one will soon forget.