The Hidden Costs of Dementia Affect the Next Generation

Dementia is the gradual detoriation of mental functioning that affects memory,  thinking, language, judgment, behavior, and a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities.  According to a study by the RAND Corporation published in the Wall Street Journal, “Dementia is one of the country’s most expensive medical conditions, costing the  U.S. between $157 billion and $215 billion a year in medical care and other costs, such as lost wages for caregivers..”  click here to read, “Dementia’s Cost to Nation Piles Up.”

More often than not, people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (a form of dementia) are often cared for by spouses and children.  The emotional, physical and financial effects of caregiving can be devistating on the caregiver and add to significant costs and demands on our health-care system.  As one caregiver noted,  ”These are hidden issues that…are wiping out families.  It doesn’t stop at just the person with Alzheimer’s and their spouse. It’s going to the next generation.”



7 Unexpected Retirement Expenses

Congratulations!  You are ready to retire.  You have develop a solid plan with your finanical adviser, your estate is in order, you have long-term care plan,  but wait!  People are living much longer thanks to advances in medicine.  What if you need extended long-term care insurance?   What if your children still need help?  What if the tax code changes?

No one has a crystal ball but retirement is a long journey and you are likely to run into these and other unexpected expenses in your Golden Years.  Make sure you have the right guidance to assist you and enough money in your budget to manage unforeseen expenses.  Click on this U.S. News article to learn more: 7 Unexpected Retirement Expenses.


What should I have in my estate plan?

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the two things in life that are certain are death and taxes.  Well, here’s a third.  If you own assets and do not have a private estate plan, then you still have a state estate plan.  This means that if you do not have an estate plan in place, upon your death your assets will be distributed in accordance with state law.  The court’s decisions may or may not be to your liking, or in the best interest of your loved ones but hey, you’ll be gone anyway!

On a more serious note, creating an estate plan need not be complicated if you have professional assistance.  If you are serious about planning for your loved ones after you pass then you should get an estate planning attorney to help you sort through the legal and financial issues. For example, should you establish a will, a trust or both?  Who will take care of your children if both parents die?  Should you involve your heirs in your planning process?  These issues can be emotionally charged and are best sorted out with the assistance of a professional estate planning attorney.  Further, be sure to review your plan regularly, as lives tend to take many twists and turns and estate laws vary by state.

Here is an interesting article to get you started, Twelve Estate Planning Questions That Might Make You Squirm.  I don’t particularly care for the title but the author makes some interesting points.  Do you have any advice or articles you’d like to share about estate planning?  Your comments are welcomed.


The Life Planning Exchange and Holistic Estate Planning

In June, I was part of a panel of speakers at the Life Planning Exchange (LPX) launch party in Boston. LPX, founded by Lisa A. Maini, is designed to help Baby Boomers & Gen X transition successfully through life changing events by exchanging knowledge, experiences and inspiration with industry professionals and peers in a casual, friendly atmosphere. The launch was a great success and reminded me yet again of the powerful need for holistic planning within the elder law sphere

… Read the rest of this article by by Matthew Karr, Esq., an LPX speaker, on his blog on MassHealth Planning and Elder Law.

Will I have enough money to live the way I want when I retire?

This is an interesting question because some people don’t feel as though they have enough money to live the way they want to live now!  Sure, we live in the land of opportunity but mortgages are hard to come by, rents are skyrocketing, social security and pension benefits are disappearing and health insurance is expensive.  Further, individuals are living and working longer and for some, retirement might not be an option until they are in their 70s.

As my advisers are fond of saying, “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.”  Similarly, it’s not how many years you live, but how you live your years.  So if you are planning to live comfortably (however you define comfortably) for many years after you retire, then you need to start planning now.  Start by thinking about the life that you would like to live and work backwards.  Others might have a different approach by if you can dream then you can achieve, it is just a matter of how.

Planning for retirement is not easy.  It requires that you to make plans without having a crystal ball.  How long do you expect to live?  How much money will you need to live?  How do you adust for inflation?  Will you need long-term care insurance?   These questions are best discussed with a financial planner who can help you put the best plans in place to achieve your dreams.  Perhaps your dreams are unrealistic, perhaps they are not. But one thing is for sure, finding out whether or not you will be able to retire the way you want is best determined when you are healthy and able to produce income vs. when you are demended and living on fixed income.



Do I need long-term care insurance?

Facing your own mortality and acknowledging that one day you might become demented is not easy.  However, given the fact that aging is a fact of life, making provisions for end of life care will help to insure that your needs will be taken care of emotionally, physically and financially.  If you plan well, then you will gain peace of mind knowing that your end of life care will not be a burden on your loved ones.

Medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid will pay for some of your expenses, but not all.  Long-term care insurace is very popular and something to look into while you are still healthy and independent. The more information you gather now, the more options you will have for living out your final years as confortably as possible.  Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance? is a good primer for considering long-term care insurance.  Do you have any articles you’d like to share?  Your articles and comments are welcomed.