If you work with a financial professional, you’ve probably had a version of “the talk.” What are your financial aspirations? What is your tolerance for investment risk? When do you think you’ll want to retire?
But a financial professional can help you in many other ways. There are a lifetime of discussions and questions ahead. There are events coming you can prepare for, like a child’s college costs. There are events you can get help to protect against, like an illness or untimely passing. And there are things nobody likes to talk about, but need to, like aging and dementia. A financial professional can be your guide for a lifetime of events.
When you're starting out, children may be in the plan, and preparing financially is a family affair. Deciding to have children is a big, expensive deal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates a middle income family will spend $233,610 raising a child to age 18 (hey, that doesn’t include college). Families with children may need to consider daycare costs, college savings, special savings plans for children with disabilities, legacy planning, and protecting family income, should the unexpected happen.
You probably know a couple that for whatever reason just didn’t make it. Divorce is rarely pleasant, and it involves complicated untangling, including child-rearing and the division of qualified retirement savings. Attorneys may do the heavy lifting, but you probably want some financial guidance, too.
Certain birthdays trigger certain things. Quick, what happens when you turn 50, 55, 59 1/2, 60, 62, 65, 66, and 70 1/2? Talk with a professional about such things as catch up provisions on retirement accounts and Health Savings Accounts; Social Security; Medicare; and required minimum distributions. Nobody is born knowing that stuff — that’s why you hired a professional.
Whether you’re helping aging parents recognize red flags, or trying to improve your own fraud protection, a frank talk about fraud and scams that stalk older people could help you recognize when something is going sideways.
Death of a parent
If you’ve never dealt with the situation, grief can be compounded by confusion. From knowing what a death certificate is (and why you’ll need multiple copies) to understanding beneficiary IRAs and life insurance, you will need help.
There’s retirement saving and retirement income. For most, income is what matters. Americans spend a working lifetime saving, but many may not understand retirement spending. Talk with your financial professional. Imagine a retirement budget and where the money will come from. There are many retirement income solutions and plans, but you may need a pro to help you work through the weeds.
How well do you understand Social Security benefits? Do you know your claiming options? And do you know you could earn higher monthly benefits if you wait until reaching full retirement age? Many people claim early, accepting a substantially reduced benefit. There’s no right or wrong age to claim, but your decision should be intentional and informed. Talk it out with a professional.
You may think of Medicare as “free health insurance.” But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Do you know what Medicare covers, what it doesn’t, and what filling those gaps will cost?
Medical expenses can devastate even a rock solid portfolio. Talk with a financial professional about your family medical history to help anticipate potential needs, especially if there’s a likelihood that you’ll need extended medical care. It may be an uncomfortable conversation at first, but more than 5 million Americans struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, a tragic and debilitating condition. Transamerica works continually with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to promote programs that lead to discussions of financial planning when coping with dementia. Preparations should include medical directives, powers of attorney, arrangements for care, and financial resources set aside for loved ones.
Americans are living longer. Early retirement may not make sense if you think you might live to 100. As Stanford University Professor of Economics John Shoven said, “Few workers can fund a 30-year retirement with a 40-year career.” Honestly, you may work longer than your parents. Advances in health care, nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits mean you may live longer than you expect. Just as important as having enough money is planning for how you will spend that time. Social engagement has emerged as a vital part of retirement planning. All of these conversations are important chances to build a better connection with your financial professional.
Things to Consider:
• Take a closer look at “future you” — How well are you prepared for changes you know are coming?
• Talk with a financial professional about your whole life, not just investments
• Make sure you know what ages trigger milestone events in your life