What Do Family Members Need to Know About My Retirement?

What Topics Should Be Covered When Discussing Retirement with Your Adult Children?

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There are at least three broad categories to cover in a conversation with your family about retirement: finances, aging and end of life issues.

While these topics are very difficult to broach, it is critically important that you share your plans with your family. While you may want the conversation to be short and sweet, you may in fact want to discuss these topics over a period of weeks or months rather than all at once.

To help you prepare for this important discussion, here is a list of subjects you may want to talk about:

What Are the Outlines of Your Retirement Plan?

Your children do not need to know or discuss the minutiae of how your budget works or how your money is invested, but it may be fair for them to be reassured that you have a viable plan.

If you have any holes in your retirement plan, it is likely that your children will need to step in to fund those holes so it may be a good idea to let them participate in the planning process.

You should be able to reassure them that your income is greater than expenses and – perhaps more importantly – that you have sufficient guaranteed lifetime income. (While you don’t actually know how long you are going to live, when planning for retirement, you want to insure that you have enough money to cover your living expenses for every year you are alive – no matter how long that will be.)

If you are not sure about how long your resources will last, the NewRetirement Retirement Calculator or the NewRetirement Retirement Action Planner can help you make this estimate.

Both of these tools may also help you assess your suitability for a Reverse Mortgage, Long Term Care Insurance, a Lifetime Annuity, Use of a Financial Planner and other services and strategies.

Discuss Your Insurance Situation and Whether or Not it is Sufficient

It may be important for your children to understand the limits of Medicare – that there are still SIGNIFICANT out of pocket costs – even with expensive supplemental insurance. And perhaps most importantly that Medicare does not cover dental, optical, hearing aids or long term care – which can be staggeringly expensive.

If you do not have Long Term Care Insurance, let them know your plan or other options for care should you require it.

Convey Your Wishes Should You Require Some Type of Assisted Living

Are you opposed to a nursing home facility? Would you like to age in place? Would you prefer to live with a family member?

Is this plan actionable and viable?

Communicate Your Preferences Should You Develop a Serious Medical Condition

  • A living will specifies the circumstances under which you would want life-sustaining medical treatments discontinued. Your family should be aware of these wishes.
  • To have an advocate for your health if you are incapacitated, you may wish to designate a Medical Power of Attorney. This is a document designating a person you trust to discuss health care with your doctors and make health care decisions on your behalf should you be unable to make such decisions.

Inform Your Children of the Contents and Location of Important Documents

Share a copy or let someone know the location of:

  • Your Will or Trust
  • Other legal documents, including Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
  • Financial documents such as savings and investment account numbers, Social Security numbers, insurance policies, pension records, contracts, mortgage papers and other contracts and records.

Give Them a List of Your Prescriptions and Doctors

Many caretakers say that one of the most difficult aspects of beginning care after a sudden illness is figuring out prescriptions and doctors.

You can save everyone a lot of hassle and insure better care for yourself by making sure family members have access to this information and that you keep it up to date.

Try to Communicate Your Priorities for Retirement

Sometimes family members think they know what is best for each other – what to eat, dress, live, everything! However, only you really know what you want out of retirement – how you want to live and how you would prefer to be cared for at the end of your life.

Perhaps travel is your priority or seeing your grandchildren.

In later life, studies have shown that adult children tend to be concerned about the personal care of aged parents while their parents are more concerned about their own protection – fraud and safety as well as access to interesting stimulus.

Whatever your priorities are, let your loved ones know what is really important to you. And keep them up to date as those priorities evolve.

Try to Understand Your Children's Goals and Priorities

It is important to remember that your children do have their own lives and families as well. Listen to their concerns and aspirations for both you and their own spouses and children.