Planning Ahead to Age in Place

parents aging on the beach

Around 75% of older adults want to age in place, remaining in their local communities as long as possible. However, many of them don’t see how that will be possible. A Harvard Joint Center for Housing report reveals a shortage of housing stock offering features designed to improve accessibility and, in general, many seniors are finding that retirement doesn’t isn’t live up to their expectations. Life isn’t stress-free. Seniors may be experiencing unexpected health issues, and they are finding it difficult to maintain a good standard of living.

Make the Most of Your Savings

Health issues in later life are harder to predict and plan for. But ensuring adequate funds are available in retirement can mean access to better health care. Plus, it allows money to adapt a home or move to a retirement community. Generally, Americans are behind with their retirement savings.  Those in their mid to late 40s having saved on average $80,000 saved and plenty with no savings at all. Create a budget and committing to saving a reasonable amount for the rest of your working years. It will allow you to still make up for lost time. Even once you’re in your 50s, you can take advantage of catch-up contributions to IRAs that can help boost your savings. This allows you to save an extra $1,000 on top of your contribution limit each year.

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Benefits and Assistance

The longer you keep working, the more money you will be able to save and even though it might be tempting to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, in order to receive them without any reductions you need to wait until age 66. Approximately one third of states have financial assistance programs, designed to help pay for home modifications that enable elderly and disabled persons to remain living in their homes. However, many only offer assistance for care services and not for home modifications. With an adequate pension from savings and working longer, you will have the freedom to adapt your home yourself in order to suit your changing needs, fitting simple additions like ramps and grab rails, to more extensive changes to a kitchen or bathroom.

Downsizing Your Property

Another option for security in retirement is to downsize sooner rather than later.  One benefit of downsizing early in retirement is that mortgage payments and other household expenses could be lowered. However, even if you no longer have a mortgage, getting a move out of the way instead of waiting until it becomes absolutely necessary could still be beneficial. This way you can establish yourself in a home that will see you through your later years.  Plus, you do not have to worry about moving at a time in life when it could be more disruptive, disorienting and indeed, more expensive.

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There is little sway over variables such as the future of social security and potential health issues. But, saving for retirement is one aspect of preparing for the future that you can have control over. More money in retirement sustains a comfortable way of life filled with outings, hobbies and travel, but, more importantly it can ensure you have a secure home suited to your needs and in familiar surroundings.

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