As Teddy Roosevelt once observed, "Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young."
The challenges seniors have met throughout their lives have made them wiser and stronger, preparing them for the unique challenges that come with aging.
As we age, the potential for cognitive decline increases, ranging from simple forgetfulness to dementia. Long-term illness can sap time and energy from tending to your financial affairs in retirement. Even a decline in vision may make it harder to manage your financial affairs.
Fortunately, you can look ahead to help protect yourself and your family against the financial consequences of deteriorating health, and in many cases, insurance may play an important role.
Let's examine some of the ways you can employ insurance to help protect your financial health.
For some, healthcare costs represent a larger share of their budget as the years pass.
Recognizing this, you may want to consider Medigap insurance to cover the expenses that Medicare does not, which can add up quickly. You also might want to consider some form of extended-care insurance, which can be structured to pay for nursing home and home healthcare services—two services that Medicare doesn't cover.
Managing Your Wealth
The involvement you have with managing your investments may change as you age. For many seniors, that sort of day-to-day responsibility is unattractive and even untenable.
If that's the case, you may wish to consider what role annuities can play. Annuities can be structured to pay you income for as long as you live, relieving you of the concern of outliving your retirement money. Certain annuities even offer extended-care benefits, which allow you to address two concerns with one decision.1
Transferring Your Estate
If you're like many seniors, you have a strong desire to leave something to your children, grandchildren, and perhaps a favorite charity. Through the use of life insurance, you can pursue these objectives. For example, life insurance can be used to create an estate or to equalize an estate transfer among your heirs.2
Insurance will never be able to prevent the health issues that come inexorably with age, but it can be used to mitigate their potential financial consequences.
1. The guarantees of an annuity contract depend on the issuing company’s claims-paying ability. Annuities have contract limitations, fees, and charges, including account and administrative fees, underlying investment management fees, mortality and expense fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most annuities have surrender fees that are usually highest if you take out the money in the initial years of the annuity contact. Withdrawals and income payments are taxed as ordinary income. If a withdrawal is made prior to age 59½, a 10% federal income tax penalty may apply (unless an exception applies).
2. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance.