At Keil Financial Partners, we do retirement planning day in and day out.
So, when we came across this great article by Anne Tergesen on How Covid-19 Will Change Aging and Retirement, we thought that we had to share it with you!
We are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has affected us in ways which we didn’t even imagine. Now, several months into COVID, many people have started adapting to our “new normal.”
Will this adaption extend to our retirements, too?
Read on to learn to find out about the major changes this crisis has brought to aging and retirement planning!
1. Getting Care at Home
Did you know that 40% of COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care facilities? It’s very unfortunate. At the same time, it has encouraged a lot of people to avoid long-term care facilities and to instead age in their homes as long as possible.
If you, too, want to stay at home as you age, one way to make sure you can do this is by being proactive and not waiting until something big happens. Do what you can to make your home more accessible, safer, and easier to live in. If you’ve got the ability, rehab your house in a positive way so that you can age in place.
A lot of people refer to long-term care insurance as nursing home insurance. However, if you ask anyone working in that industry, they’d probably call it “stay out of the nursing home” insurance. Why? Because 90% of claims are made by those in their own home.
When you have this type of insurance and somebody else is going to help you pay for the care that you need, you’ll most likely get that care sooner. By being proactive with your care, you can avoid health deterioration that often leads to a need for greater, more intensive care outside of your home. Plus, by making slight changes and modifications to your home, you can live happily and safely at your own home!
2. Using Technology To Stay Healthy
If you can meet with your doctor without leaving the comfort of home by talking to them over video chat or through a phone call, you’re a lot more likely to check in with your doctor, stick to your medicines, and even get your long-term symptoms taken care of.
But that’s not the only increase in health technology we’ve seen throughout this pandemic. Another emerging trend has been the increasing use of smartwatches. They are capable of tracking your sleep, oxygen levels and activity levels – which is especially important for COVID!
There are all kinds of wearable gadgets available, too. For instance, the NBA has offered players a smart ring that can track their health data and possibly detect any sickness early on. This was also experienced by one of our friends, where the parents had COVID-19 and their daughter was able to detect that she might possibly have it too, even before the test results came back, all thanks to her ring that could sense that something was off!
3. Planning for Your Eventual Death
Death is not something that you look forward to. But now that we’re witnessing countless people dying due to COVID-19, the reality that we could die before we think we will has become clearer than ever.
Because of this, we encourage you to plan ahead for your passing and to use this opportunity to take some more control by getting your wills, estate plans, and power of attorneys (POAs) in order. Getting a POA for healthcare and finances can be especially helpful when you’re in a hospital and you require some important decisions to be made.
It’s good to have a gut check now, get everything in place, and check a few boxes. You can make life easier for the ones you love by getting some things down on paper in case the unexpected ever does happen!
4. Deciding When To Retire
One of the things Anne mentioned in her article was that because of the pandemic, people might work longer. Given the uncertain times we’re in right now, many people might not want to add to that uncertainty right now by retiring.
However, we disagree with this point. In fact, we’ve had four clients who were planning to retire in 2020 — and they all did! With guidance and assurance that they had planned for the potential ups and downs in the market, retirement was still an achievable goal for them.
If you have short-term and long-term money, your Social Security, and your pension plan in order, then a two-month or even two-year hiccup in the market shouldn’t change your plans.
However, at the end of the day, you should do what makes you most comfortable, whether it's retiring now or working longer.
We also had one new client who came to us because he hadn’t planned for retirement early on, and consequently, he had to wait for another year to retire, only because he wasn’t prepared for a potential market drop. This is why we recommend everyone to start planning at least five to seven years ahead of time.
As a result of COVID, a lot more people are saying to us that if life is uncertain, and if they could die any time, then they might as well do what they want. If they want to retire, they can feel free to do so, as long as they have a proper retirement plan in place!
5. Leading a Healthier Lifestyle
It is undeniable that COVID-19 tends to affect people with preexisting health conditions more than it affects those who are healthier.
Because of this, many people have been encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles.
In fact, a record number of people are showing up at national and state parks, and we’ve seen an increased focus on getting outside and walking in order to stay fit. A lot of people are also eating more home-cooked meals from the grocery store, which are probably healthier than the ones you’d get at restaurants.
COVID-19 has set a great trend of having a more proactive approach to health, which will hopefully continue even after we are out of this pandemic.
Now what? Rework Your Approach to Life
There are three questions we want you to think about:
What would you do if you had all the time and money in the world?
How would you live your life if you knew you had only five years left to live?
And what would you most regret if you died tomorrow?
It’s a great time to reflect upon these things and to think about how you want to live your life going forward.
COVID-19 is not fun for anybody, but hopefully this whole experience is going to help people rework how people approach their life and their retirement.
If you have any questions about how to approach retirement during such uncertain times, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help you plan for your ideal retirement!