Travel & Living

Planning Ahead for Your Golden Years

Most of us would prefer to live long and happy lives, but how many of us are planning for our own long-term futures? According to the experts, far fewer than you might assume. Studies show that many of us are saving too little for retirement. It’s a problem that’s true all over the world, from the United States to Australia.

And it’s not just savings. Planning, too, is being neglected. When it comes time for families to help aging loved ones with decisions related to care and housing, for instance, they often find themselves with little to go on other than their own instincts.

These facts paint a grim picture of our own futures, but we don’t have to see things go this way. We can make our own saving and planning decisions and protect our golden years, ensuring that we enjoy them to their fullest.

Saving, investing, and pre-paying

 It’s no secret that we need money to get by in our golden years. Life is expensive, and aging individuals deal with new costs, including healthcare costs, particularly those that are not covered by socialized healthcare programs and insurance, lifestyle costs such as improving one’s home with health and safety features or getting the extra legroom that it takes to travel when older, and more. Then, of course, there’s housing itself. If you end up deciding to move out of your current home and into a more senior-friendly neighborhood, you’ll want to have a nest egg on hand to make sure you can afford the most comfortable and attractive options.

Saving up means spending less than you earn, of course. It also means growing your nest egg by investing. Don’t steal from yourself by keeping too much cash in low-interest checking accounts. Instead, aim to grow your wealth by stashing cash in high-interest savings accounts and, better yet, a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds that allows you to grow your nest egg without getting too risky.

Make sure that you have an emergency fund and a growing stash of retirement funds. Don’t touch those retirement funds, of course — just let them grow, and add to them when you can! You can also consider things like life insurance and pre-paid funeral arrangements to minimize the burdens on your loved ones when you pass, especially if it happens unexpectedly or sooner than you’d planned.

Making plans ahead of time

 You may not yet have spent much time thinking about how you want to spend your golden years. Maybe you’ve considered what hobbies you’d like to spend more time on when you retire, or perhaps you have some sense of where you want to live — but what about the specifics? What about all possible eventualities? You need to make these plans now.

Now is the time to start looking at retirement living situations and care options. Not all retirement communities are created equal, explain experts at a retirement community in Melbourne, Australia. The beautiful spaces managed by these experts offer seniors ways to live with minimal upkeep chores to worry about. They’re gorgeous, well-located, and affordable. If this is the sort of place you want to end up, though, you should act early. Consider moving before you need to so that you can do so in a less stressed and rushed way. Speak with your family about your preferences for independent living, as well as your preferences for assisted living and other options. The more you communicate now, the better equipped your loved ones will be to make necessary decisions if you are unable to make them.

You can and should also work with experts to create a will and other legal and personal plans. The more guidance you prepare for your loved ones and the legal system, the surer you can be that your legacy is protected in the way that you want it to be.

Your golden years can and should be a beautiful time. But, like most things in the future, they will be better if you prepare for and plan them. Save money, invest wisely, and determine and communicate your preferences ahead of time. You’ll gain better golden years if you do.

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I Started out in 1976 trying out to sing in bands but no bands were interested in me. In 1977 I started playing guitar. The individual that was teaching me (who for now will remain anonymous) told me that I would NEVER learn how to play guitar because I had no sense of rhythm. I joined my first band in 1978 called "Dead Center" in Jacksonville, Florida. I played an Aspen guitar, black; a Les Paul copy and in 1981. I gave that guitar to the teacher who said I'd never learn to play. I wrote my first song in 1979 or '80. Over the years I have been in many bands but my passion has been songwriting. I have written well over 100 songs and though the early ones were kind of rough around the edges, I think that most of them could be dusted off and given a new facelift. Today I am still working on my songs. Currently I can play guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, harmonica, and Native American flute. The flutes that I play are ones that I made myself. My guitars are the Epiphone G-400 faded, an Ibanez RG370 DX, an Epiphone G 1275 double neck guitar. My acoustic guitars are an Alvarez 12 string and an old Kay guitar. My drum set is a Peace drum set. I do my recording on a Zoom HD16.
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