Fantastic front page New York Times article about older Americans carrying for their elderly parents as people live longer than expected lives:
Saving money is a vital part of survival, but it can be overrated. Yes, it is wise to make sure you’re financially stable through retirement, but it’s also important to enjoy the money you’ve made instead of using it all on living expenses. Without pleasure in life, you’ll end up regretting the time you spent trying to be frugal. As a baby boomer, it’s important to value your happiness while also protecting your finances. Before you start living it up, consider what you need first.
If you’re still bringing in a steady income and you have a comfortable retirement fund, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in something fun. If you’re living off retirement savings and investments, you’ll need to calculate what you have in your savings and allocate what you need for monthly expenses. As you make these calculations, always include entertainment and activities into the mix. A monthly budget should be more than just house payments, bills, food, and transportation. It should also include the things that make you happy, but the practical move is to pay for life’s necessities before enjoying yourself.
Besides the obvious survival expenses, another responsibility seniors must account for is medical care. Everyone needs medical insurance, even when you’re not sick. All seniors need healthcare for screenings, tests, and preventive treatment. As for your Medicare options, turn to online resources to find a plan that’s right for you. These resources provide more than just Medicare enrollment information. You can also find supplemental plans to add to your private insurance so all your medical needs are covered. For example, vision and dental are some of the services that are covered under Medicare supplemental plans.
You might be considering whether to take out a life insurance policy or purchase burial insurance to help with final expenses (a funeral costs on average around $7,000), pay for any lingering debts, and care for your family. Everyone your age seems to have a life insurance policy, but is it really for you? If your family has adequate income and assets to take care of them financially, then the money you’re putting into life insurance premiums could be spent elsewhere. If your children are financially independent adults, then they probably don’t need your life insurance benefits. The money could be put to better use in your life right now like for medical bills or for long-term care insurance instead. Or, some people also use life insurance benefits to pay estate taxes, but if you don’t anticipate this expense for your heirs, then life insurance might not be needed.
When your needs are taken care of, you have the freedom to make the most of your life. Here are ways to live a good life without spending a fortune:
Make time for fun — If you have a mountain of chores to do around the house, it may feel as though you simply don’t have time for fun. That’s where outsourcing the work comes into play. For example, if you’d like to hire someone to cut the lawn for a week while you explore other options, it’s easy to arrange and affordable to boot; in Akron, you will pay between $35 and $248 on average for a lawn service, though this number will likely depend on the size of your yard and how much work it requires.
Join a club — Gather with friends to discuss books or play games. Those activities are not only fun and social, but they are also mentally stimulating. It’s a great way to foster positive relationships while keeping your mind sharp.
Become a trailblazer — Hiking is a great form of exercise and an opportunity to spend time in nature. The best part is that it’s free. Find the nearest hiking trail by searching your state on All Trails.
Bring home a furry companion — You don’t need to have adventures and social gatherings in order to feel fulfilled. Sometimes all it takes is a pet to care for, especially if you’ve been feeling empty nest syndrome since the kids moved out. Rather than buying from expensive breeders, opt to adopt a dog instead. A mixed breed mutt is likely to have fewer health problems than a purebred puppy. The best part about adopting your best friend is that you’ll save money on adoption fees while saving the life of a rescue animal that needs your love.
Preparing your future for the worst shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your quality of life in the present. Be open-minded about what you need in order to lead a fulfilling life with no regrets. You can protect your finances while nurturing your happiness. It’s a balancing act, but you owe it to yourself.
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Great article about Washington state (and Hawaii) taking up the issue of caring for the baby boomers. Congress has failed to act. There are 43 million unpaid caregivers now and 10,000 people retiring each day.
Who is going to take care of this population —- especially when long term care insurance is prohibitively expensive. Read more . . . .
Very interesting article about millennials becoming the new caregivers. In fact, one third of those that are age 40 are caregivers today.