Your Insurance Matters: Planning for Post-Retirement Challenges

Your Insurance Matters
Planning for Post-Retirement Challenges
By Shirley Lamdan, CLU

Retirement planning has become more challenging. It is no longer unusual for people to live more than thirty years in retirement. This is because more people are retiring early and also because people are living longer. The longer the timeframe spent in retirement, the more difficult it is to predict how well retiree finances will fare.
To plan for retirement, it's vital to understand the many challenges that could potentially affect your financial security during retirement. An event I witnessed this autumn might help illustrate one of these retirement challenges: choosing a place to live.
From my kitchen window, I have a view of an enormous and beautifully shaped maple tree. It has been there as long as I've lived in our house, some twenty-plus years. But this year was different. An extremely wet spring brought record-breaking growth of lawns and of foliage on bushes and trees. (Allergy sufferers will also remember 2009 as one of the worst years ever experienced.)
This maple tree was no exception. It was full-to-bursting with gorgeous yellow leaves. Most of them were now on the ground just below. The man of the house, an older retiree, was pushing a motorized lawn mower on his lawn covered (at least ankle-deep) with yellow leaves.
This spectacle of the enormous tree, beneath which the miniscule figure of a man pursuing a futile enterprise: removing a never-before seen quantity of leaves with an utterly inadequate tool. Man against nature.
Perhaps never before had this type of task confronted him at this residence. How would he solve this problem? Did he have the spare cash for a lawn service? Did he have the energy for hours of effort on his own? Did he have friends or family to help?
In the course of retirement, points of vulnerability arise. This maple tree is really a surprisingly apt metaphor for the unexpected events and expenses that can arise. These types of issues can also occur to retired homeowners in the form of ongoing home maintenance and repair costs.
Rather than a maple tree overloaded with leaves at a long-time residence, a retiree who moves to a new location might experience other types of issues.
Year-round weather can be a big concern. A couple that I've served for many years moved to the Phoenix area for its sunny access to golf. They purchased and made significant improvements to a gorgeous home near other friendly retirees.
Recently, though, the wife's health has worsened. She can't tolerate Phoenix's heat at all anymore. Handling their large motor home for visits to their family has become too difficult for both of them. They've recently put their home on the market. They plan to leave Phoenix this spring and head East to live near their family.
Access to healthcare and healthcare facilities can be another concern. A man my husband attended college with moved to a prime vacation attraction in Massachusetts. The first year they moved there, his wife experienced a new and totally unexpected health issue. Nothing life-threatening but nonetheless requiring a specialist and several outpatient procedures. The choices were limited as far as her selection of a specialist. She'd have to travel by ferry and additional miles by car to seek alternative choices elsewhere.
It's probably impossible to come upon a perfect location for one's retirement living. Perhaps a wise approach might be to focus on an area that meets most of your most important needs. You might concentrate on needs relating to your health. When you reach your eighties, you just might not feel like raking and bagging leaves, shoveling snow, or getting into your car, which has soared to 130 degrees in the sunshine.

Since 1982, Shirley Lamdan, CLU, of Hagerstown, MD, has been furnishing professionals, corporations, and nonprofits with independent insurance and retirement planning services. Her email is slamdan@lamdanselect.com. The website is www.lamdanselect.com. She can be reached at 800 628 3449.