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Millions of baby boomers who do not have children are retiring — and the trend is projected to continue. The AARP estimates that by 2040, more than 20% of retirees won’t have children.
When planning for the future, those retirees have some different considerations than their friends who have children. If you don’t have children, follow these four steps to ensure your needs are met in retirement.
According to most experts, seniors without children need more traditional health care services, on average, than their counterparts with adult children. Though reasons aren’t clear, it may be due to less family assistance with such tasks as monitoring health conditions, scheduling appointments, and following doctors’ suggested care regimens.
Medigap insurance can help pay for those additional health care services. While Medicare Parts A and B offer seniors solid baseline health coverage, Medigap plans fill in the coverage gaps. Medigap policies may also help you pay your Medicare co-payments and deductibles and cover routine checkups. You can buy Medigap plans from private insurers, so shop around — coverage and costs vary.
Studies on aging populations reveal that most seniors without children will eventually need long-term medical care. In part, that’s because adult children often help care for their aging parents when they can no longer continue living alone. Long-term care coverage can help defray the costs of assisted living arrangements, if that’s what you ultimately need.
A health care power of attorney document appoints someone else to make health care decisions on your behalf. Seniors with children typically designate a son or daughter to handle this role, granting their children the ability to make treatment choices and life and death decisions when the senior no longer can.
Those without children must carefully consider who can perform those tasks in times of crisis and be trusted to honor their wishes. If you choose a sibling who is about your age for that sensitive role, be sure also to designate a younger, trusted backup. If you don’t have family to serve in the role, a professional trust officer at a bank or your estate-planning attorney could be good choices.
Some seniors who don’t have children decide to leave legacies for extended family members, caregivers, or longtime friends. Others leave bequests to charities. Some even designate money to cover the care and feeding of their pets.
Whichever path you take, make sure your wishes are spelled out clearly in your will and that it is legally binding and current. Your designated executor should know the details of the document and where it is located. Without the original, legal document, your estate can be challenged in court, or a judge who does not know your preferences will decide how your assets are distributed.
Follow these simple steps to mitigate the risk factors that could complicate your retirement, so you can focus on enjoying those years instead.
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A Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.