Guide
Financial Guide
Phase 5: Retirement Reset - Planning For Our Future Care
Written by Suzanne Boutilier

Phase 5 can—and really should—start happening alongside Phases 1 and 2. That’s when we can start applying what we learn during our financial journey through caregiving to our financial plan for our own care later in life. For extra security, we can start this plan before we become a family caregiver.

A solid financial plan for aging will help us afford the care we need, and protect our children or other loved ones from having to shoulder the financial strain of our care. Here are the three most important things we can do now to set ourselves up for successful aging.

Purchase a long term care insurance policy

Yes, they can be expensive. But the younger and healthier we are when we start a LTCI policy, the lower our premiums will be. And we don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive policy with the most coverage. Even a policy offering half that could take a bite out of our care costs. And, if we want the flexibility to be able to pay a family member to care for us, we should choose a LTCI policy that pays “informal caregivers" so our future caregivers may get paid.

Contribute as much as possible to our 401(k)/IRA

A 401(k) with an employer match gives us the best bang for our investment buck. That employee match is free money. And any money we contribute to a 401(k) or IRA is pre-tax, so it lowers our taxable income now. Just remember, we’ll have to pay taxes on it when we start taking distributions upon retirement.

Draw up a will

A will is a legal document that coordinates the distribution of assets after death. The benefit? It clearly identifies our wishes. It should include:

  • The name of the executor 
  • An advance directive that outlines what medical treatment we do or don’t want in various health scenarios
  • Preferences for funeral arrangements
  • The name the person we will appoint as our power of attorney in the future 
  • A complete list of assets, including financial accounts and insurance policies
  • A list of beneficiaries
  • An appointed guardian of minor children, if there are any 

A will should not include property we’ve already listed in a living trust, joint tenancy property, and certain retirement plans. It's always smart to work with an estate lawyer when creating a will. This will help ensure that the will complies with the relevant state laws and accurately reflects  distribution intentions. It should be reviewed and updated regularly.

Consider a trust

Different kinds of trusts can protect assets in different ways. When working with an estate lawyer to draw up a will, we can ask them to advise us on what kind of trust(s) would align best with our current and future circumstances and goals. It’s also wise to talk with an accountant about this.

Organize Financial Information

Gathering all of our financial information is a great task for a dreary day. Where we gather it doesn’t matter as much as making sure that everything is in one place. This place could be a drawer in a file cabinet, a banker’s box, an excel spreadsheet on a password-protected computer, or a folder on google drive. We also need to make sure that someone trusted (as well as the executor of the will) is aware of it and has access to this information, as well as account login credentials and the password manager, if there is one.  

Here’s a list of what should be gathered:

  • Copy of Last Will and Testament
  • Copy of Trust (if we have one)
  • Copy of Power of Attorney
  • Copy of Advance Healthcare Directive (a.k.a. Living Will)
  • Safe deposit box information
    • bank location
    • key location
    • contents
  • List of Assets with estimated value for each
    • all property
    • bank accounts
    • investment accounts
    • all real estate, and its location
    • any other assets we own
  • List of Debts
    • mortgages
    • loans
    • credit card balances
  • List of Additional Assets Received After Death
    • life insurance policies
    • retirement accounts
    • other sources
  • List of Expenses
    • taxes
    • outstanding debt payments
    • funeral costs
    • potential executor payments that will need to be paid by the estate
  • Planned and/or Completed Bequests or Beneficiary Distributions
    • any gifts or distributions we plan to make or have already made from our estate
  • Supporting Documents that pertain to each asset
    • check copies
    • account statements
    • closing statements
  • Contact information for any relevant individuals
    • attorney
    • accountant
    • financial advisor
    • insurance agent(s)

A Journey Without A Map

Caregiving can feel like a journey without a map. It takes you by surprise with its sharp curves and circuitous route. But if the five phases that are part of this journey are part of an overall plan, joy, connection and even success can be found along the way. 

At RubyWell, we’re building tools to help family caregivers save, find, and earn money while providing care. Right now, you can access coupons for up to 80% of prescription prices with our prescription savings tool. And we’re currently building a comprehensive and easy-to-use MA benefits navigator, where you’ll be able to discover unused Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits. If you’d like to be among the first to hear about future products, join our waiting list. 

Review:

Introduction: What to Expect on the Financial Journey Through Family Caregiving

Phase 1: Oh! I’m a caregiver - The early days

Phase 2: In the trenches - The daily challenges of providing care

Phase 3: End of life - The transition out of caregiving

Phase 4: Post-caregiving - Tying up financial affairs after death

Phase 5: Retirement Reset - Planning For Our Future Care

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Written by Suzanne Boutilier
Suzanne Boutilier has been working and writing in the caregiving space since 2021. She also helps her sisters care for their aging father.
Reviewed by Elyse Dasko
Elyse Dasko is a leading communications strategist in age tech, caregiving and the longevity market.