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Re-Thinking Retirement Includes Planning for In-Home Care

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Are you re-thinking retirement? Odds are the answer is yes, because “retirement” today has taken on a whole new meaning. In generations past, retirement might last four or five years – but today’s retirees need to plan for a phase of life that will very likely extend four, five, or six times that long. That makes the process of re-thinking retirement an absolute necessity.

We were reminded of this important fact as we read this recent Kate Ashford column from NerdWallet.  Ashford, whose background as a reporter is financial, provides some specific areas in which the evolution of retirement is causing folks to re-think their plans. With an eye on the future, you may decide to invest differently, work longer, and be more aggressive about your health.

But Ashford also adds an area which seems to get too little attention: figuring out how to make aging in place a reality by saving for in-home care. Let’s dive in to see what Ashford has to say about re-thinking retirement.

Re-thinking Retirement: a “Significant Chunk” of Your Life

Writing in NerdWallet, Ashford begins, “Now that retirement spans more years than ever, you might need to rethink how you’re envisioning that stage of your life. Although Americans are retiring a little later than they did 30 years ago, they’re also living longer.”  Her point is clear: “Retirement isn’t a blip on the life radar — it’s a significant chunk of time.”

Ashford reflects on a reality many of today’s boomers recall: the retirement of our own folks a generation ago. “While your parents may have retired and never worked another day in their lives,” she writes, “you may find that part-time work when you get older fulfills your mental needs and helps your retirement savings last. You may have to be more aggressive with your investments than you expected. And staying healthy is crucial.”

She spoke with Texas financial planner John McGlothlin, who echoed this generational shift, “The questions I’m being asked are different, and the conversations clients are bringing to me are different,” he told Ashford.

Re-thinking Retirement Might Mean More Aggressive Investing

With retirees living longer, many are reconsidering so-called “conventional” investment wisdom. “People used to enter retirement with a conservative-leaning portfolio that held a solid chunk in bonds and cash alternatives,” Ashford explains. “Although advisors aren’t suggesting clients throw caution to the wind, they’re tweaking the investing plan at this life stage.”

She spoke with another financial planner, Jonathan Swanburg of Houston, who agrees. “We may just stay a little more aggressive, because the day you retire, you don’t need all this money,” he said. “Some of this money is for 30 years from now, some of it is for your kids and grandkids because you’re never going to touch it.”

Both planners said they worry that new retirees can get too conservative, abandoning stocks for “safer” bonds to a degree they feel is unwise. “While bond yields are much better than they were a few years ago, I don’t necessarily think I can get clients 20 to 30 years of sustainable withdrawals if I’m that bond heavy,” McGlothlin told Ashford.

Re-thinking Retirement Could Mean Working Longer

The trend is clear, says Ashford: today’s seniors are staying in the workforce at a much higher rate than in previous generations. “The number of adults age 65 and older who are working is almost twice the number who were working 35 years ago, according to a 2023 Pew Research report,” she says.

Many retirees choose a more flexible route, such as consulting or working part-time. The income from these gigs protects savings and can even make it possible to delay taking Social Security. For many, working brings the advantage of flexibility in spending down assets – and it also adds peace of mind.  “The thought of moving to no more income coming in — that’s really stress provoking,” said financial planner Catherine Valega.

Of course, retirees are going to need to find more than part-time work to fill unstructured time. Valega also encourages clients to stay busy. “You’re going to have 10 hours in the day that you didn’t have before,” she says. “You can exercise, and that’s great and you should, but beyond that you need some amount of mental stimulation.”

For more on using your time well in retirement, check out this article posted recently on the Blog.

Re-thinking Retirement: Planning for In-Home Care

We’ve written many, many times here on the Blog about the topic of aging in place, and Ashford includes it in her article. Her advice is much like Rajiv’s: if you want to age in place, you need to plan for the day when you fall ill and need care, so that the care will come to you.

“Most adults age 55 and older want to age in place, according to a 2023 survey from the McKinsey Health Institute,” says Ashford. “Eighty percent wish to live in their own home, and 71 percent of older adults who aren’t living in their own home wish they could.”

Fortunately, good home care is available – but it’s not without cost. As Ashford explains, “With home health aides having a national median cost of $27 an hour, according to Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care data, planning for in-home care may require working longer to build the nest egg to pay for it, or even relocating to a city where home services are cheaper. Renovations to make a home more accessible or single-story livable are also helpful.”

“I think the generation that’s retiring right now, they’ve seen their parents or their family members go into nursing facilities or assisted living facilities and are pretty much unanimously like, ‘I really don’t want that,’” financial planner McGlothlin told Ashford.

Rajiv’s Take: This Advice Doesn’t Go Far Enough

We asked Rajiv about his view of this particular issue – how to pay for in-home care – and he suggests Ashford raises a problem without offering a complete solution.

“It’s naïve to think that all you have to do to pay for in-home care is just to set aside a little extra cash,” he says. “The article is right about the need to prepare, but there’s a lot more to it than this reporter suggests.”

Rajiv says that the time to sit down with a home health care expert is long before you need the care. “Get a real handle on projected costs,” he says. “You might find that a safe harbor trust is the way to go. This may also be a good reason for a reverse mortgage. Just have your eyes wide open: you CAN age in place, but you have to plan ahead. We can show you how.”

Re-thinking Retirement Means a Greater Focus on Health

Staying healthy as we age has always been important. But with today’s retirees potentially facing two or three decades of living, the stakes are higher than ever.

“The average 35-year-old woman today can expect to live to about age 81 — which means many will live even longer,” Ashford writes. For her NerdWallet article, she spoke with David Foster, a St. Louis- based financial planner. He said he now includes articles related to physical fitness and health alongside financial tidbits in his email newsletters to clients.

“That probably just wouldn’t have been on top of people’s minds 30 or 40 years ago because they weren’t likely to live until they were 90,” Foster told Ashford. “Exercise is good for avoiding cognitive decline and helping with your heart.”

There are dollars-and-cents reasons to stay healthier longer. “Although it may feel a long way off, safeguarding your health now can lower medical costs later,” the article advises, “plus help ensure you can work (and play) as long as you’re able. That means exercising regularly, eating reasonably healthy foods, and getting enough sleep, among other things.”

As the old line says, if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.

Stay Healthier by Choosing the Right Doctor

Here, too, Rajiv adds his sage advice. “I tell my clients and radio listeners all the time: once you reach your 60s, find a qualified geriatrician to be your primary care doctor,” he urges. “With a geriatric specialist on your side, your odds are far, far better that you’ll stay healthier, because you’ll have a medical team who understand the physiology of an older patient. A geriatrician will help you avoid unnecessary medical tests. They’ll take the time to listen to you and give you personalized care. Having a geriatric physician is a game-changer!”

If you’re interested in learning more, contact us. We can help refer you to a geriatrician in your area.

Breaking News: Rajiv’s New Book is Here!

We have big news! The long-awaited book by Rajiv Nagaich, called Your Retirement: Dream or Disaster, has been released and is now available to the public.  As a friend of AgingOptions, we know you’ll want to get your copy and spread the word.

You’ve heard Rajiv say it repeatedly: 70 percent of retirement plans will fail. If you know someone whose retirement turned into a nightmare when they were forced into a nursing home, went broke paying for care, or became a burden to their families – and you want to make sure it doesn’t happen to you – then this book is must-read.

Through stories, examples, and personal insights, Rajiv takes us along on his journey of expanding awareness about a problem that few are willing to talk about, yet it’s one that results in millions of Americans sleepwalking their way into their worst nightmares about aging. Rajiv lays bare the shortcomings of traditional retirement planning advice, exposes the biases many professionals have about what is best for older adults, and much more.

Rajiv then offers a solution: LifePlanning, his groundbreaking approach to retirement planning. Rajiv explains the essential planning steps and, most importantly, how to develop the framework for these elements to work in concert toward your most deeply held retirement goals.

Your retirement can be the exciting and fulfilling life you’ve always wanted it to be. Start by reading and sharing Rajiv’s important new book. And remember, Age On, everyone!

(originally reported at

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