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Angel M. Latterell, Esq.

10 Steps to Take Now to Secure a Comfortable Retirement: Part 1

Retirement is more than just an end to the working years; it’s an exciting new phase of life that requires thoughtful preparation and strategic planning. Since May is Older Americans Awareness Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore 10 steps you can take now to ensure a comfortable and fulfilling retirement. In this article, we’ll discuss the first 5 steps, why they’re important, and how to implement them. Next week, we’ll continue with the remaining 5 steps. 

Let’s dive in, shall we? 

Step 1: Plan for the Transfer of Your Assets

Why It’s Important: Effective estate planning ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, potentially reduces estate taxes, and can prevent a lot of legal complications for your heirs. Proper estate planning also helps to avoid the public, often lengthy and costly process of probate, ensuring that your heirs have quicker access to the assets you leave behind. Moreover, clear directives in estate planning can prevent family disputes (sometimes resulting in irretrievably broken relationships) and ensure that your specific instructions are followed, preserving your legacy exactly as you intend.

Practical Steps: Consult with a Personal Family Lawyer. A Personal Family Lawyer (“PFL”) always starts the client relationship with education about your options that align with your specific family dynamics, assets and wishes. From there, your PFL will help you create a tailored Life & Legacy plan that works when you and your family need it to, keeping you and them out of court and conflict. Importantly, a PFL can also help you avoid unnecessary taxes before and during retirement (and who doesn’t want that?).

Life Insurance: Having adequate coverage to handle any debts and funeral expenses can provide a financial cushion for those who depend on you. As part of the PFL Life & Legacy Planning process, your PFL can educate you about how much insurance you need and how to pass the funds to the people you want, while avoiding unnecessary taxes and ensuring the funds are available as soon as possible.

Find a PFL in Your Community. Go to personalfamilylawyer.com to find the nearest PFL and make an appointment for a 15-minute consult call on their website. Many PFLs have virtual offices for your convenience, so if there isn’t a PFL listed in your locality, choose the closest one. 

Step 2: Prepare for Long-Term Care Expenses

Why It’s Important: As we continue to live longer, so does the probability of needing some form of long-term care. These services, whether in-home care, assisted living, or nursing facilities, can be costly and are not typically covered by Medicare. Without proper planning, the high costs of long-term care can quickly deplete retirement savings, potentially leaving less financial support for spouses or other family members. Furthermore, preemptive financial planning can significantly ease the emotional and logistical challenges of arranging for long-term care.

Practical Steps:

Research Long-Term Care Insurance: Investigate different policies early, ideally in your 50s or early 60s, before premiums rise significantly. Compare benefits, coverage limits, and the reputation of insurance providers.

Learn About Government Programs: Understand what Medicare covers and explore Medicaid eligibility for long-term care, which varies by state but generally requires spending down your assets.

Find a PFL in Your Community Who Offers Elder Care Planning. Preparing for long-term care can be tricky because the laws are quite complicated. However, a PFL who offers elder care planning can help you navigate your options and create a plan that preserves your assets for your loved ones, rather than draining them for health care costs. Go to personalfamilylawyer.com to find the nearest PFL who offers elder care planning and make an appointment on their website. 

Step 3: Pass on Generational Wealth

Why It’s Important: By ensuring that wealth passes effectively to future generations, you can secure their financial future and teach them how to manage and grow that wealth responsibly. Furthermore, generational wealth can enhance the lives of future family members and their communities by providing educational opportunities, fostering entrepreneurship, and supporting philanthropic efforts. It also instills a sense of responsibility and stewardship, which are crucial for maintaining family wealth over generations.

Practical Steps:

Educational Trusts: A PFL can help you set up trusts that release funds for your children or grandchildren based on milestones such as graduation from college. These trusts also have tax benefits, and a PFL can educate you about how they work.

Create a Family Investment Plan: Include younger family members in discussions about family investments to educate them about financial principles.

Find a PFL in Your Community. A PFL can not only help you create an educational trust but also asset protection trusts so you can create generational wealth for your family. Go to personalfamilylawyer.com to find the nearest PFL and make an appointment on their website. Keep in mind that many PFLs have virtual offices for your convenience, so if there isn’t a PFL listed in your locality, choose the closest one. 

Step 4: Leave a Legacy

Why It’s Important: What your family will treasure most is not the financial gifts you leave, but your life lessons, values, and memories that define your family heritage. A well-planned legacy can inspire and guide future generations, providing them with a sense of identity and belonging to a greater family story. You can ensure that your philosophical and ethical beliefs continue to influence even when you’re no longer present, helping to shape the character and choices of your descendants.

Practical Steps:

Record Life & Legacy Interview with a PFL: All PFLs include an interview as an important part of their unique Life & Legacy Planning process. The interview ensures your family has a piece of their family history they can hold onto long after you’re gone. They’ll also treasure being able to see you and hearing your voice whenever they want.

Step 5: Cultivate and Share Family Values and History

Why It’s Important: Continuing the idea of leaving a legacy, know that strengthening family bonds through shared history and values helps maintain a sense of continuity across generations. This cultural and historical continuity enhances their psychological resilience and emotional well-being. Additionally, a well-documented family history can serve as a valuable asset for educational and genealogical purposes, enriching the lives of current and future generations. Here are some steps you can take outside of recording a Life & Legacy Interview with a PFL.

Practical Steps:

Create a Family Archive: Gather photos, letters and important documents in a digital format to ensure preservation and easy sharing. Enlist the help of a younger family member (Gen Z, anyone?) if you need to. Also consider writing down recipes, stories, and holiday traditions that can be passed down as family legacies.

Compile Family Histories: Write or record stories about family elders, significant events, and the origins of family traditions. Note that writing these down the “old school” way, i.e., pen and paper, will be meaningful to younger generations. They’ll love having a piece of paper with your handwriting on it.

Host Family Reunions: Regular gatherings not only help reinforce family bonds but also allow older generations to impart wisdom and traditions firsthand.

So whether you’re a few years away or are about to retire now, it’s never too early (or too late!) to start planning. Be sure to check back next week for even more steps you can take to ensure peace of mind when the time comes. 

Let Us Help Secure Comfort in Your Retirement

At our firm, we do more than just guide you through estate planning; we provide you with peace of mind, knowing you are free to enjoy retirement. However, understanding the complexities of retirement—from estate planning to ensuring long-term care and preserving generational wealth—can be daunting. That’s why, as your heart-centered Personal Family Lawyer Firm, we streamline the process, making it as easy on you as possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a Life & Legacy Plan that secures your comfort in retirement, we invite you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call with our office. Let us help you live your best life, every step of the way.

This article is a service of Latterell Law, a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life & Legacy Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Life & Legacy Planning Session™.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

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