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Your Life, Your Legacy: Proactive Financial Planning

Let’s talk finances. As you plan out your retirement years – whether you’re just beginning or comfortably settling into them – you want to make sure your finances are in such a place that you’re able to live your life the way you want. But it’s also natural to think about your heirs and what you might want to leave to them. Although you may have long planned to leave an inheritance behind, you may discover that your situation has changed over time. 

“Retirement is a very personal journey,” says Jake Quigley, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle, a luxury independent living community in the heart of Boston at the crossroads of Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue. “Although you may wish to leave a legacy to your dependents, you also want to live your best life, which may mean some adjustments to your financial plan.”

Even if you have a financial plan already in place, it never hurts to be thorough. Proactive financial planning can be the tool you need to create the best path for your resources in retirement. “Financial planning for retirement is slightly different than the path you took to get yourself towards retirement,” says Jake. “You’ll want to take a look at your current and future expenses, as well as the type of lifestyle you want for yourself moving forward.”

Here are some guidelines for helping create a proactive financial plan for your retirement.

Begin with your expenses. Even if you have a good understanding on what your monthly retirement budget is, it’s important to look down the road to what your expenses might be. “Think about your living expenses that you’re expecting as well as unforeseen emergencies, like major medical expenses,” says Jake. 

For new retirees, it’s especially important to plan on a long retirement, since more and more Americans are living lengthy lives. The average life expectancy in 2019 was almost 80 years, which is a significant increase from generations past – for example, the average life expectancy in 1930 was only about 60 years. That in and of itself means that your financial planning will encompass much more than your grandparents’ planning. You’ll want to factor in costs for assistance as you get older – for example, will you want to move to an assisted living community, or hire a home health aide? 

Don’t forget about the importance of properly estimating healthcare costs. Although Medicare will pay some of your expenses as you age, premiums will continue to increase, and a severe health challenge could cause a lot of out-of-pocket costs. Be sure to run the numbers with various scenarios in mind. 

Look at your financial assets. After looking through your expenses, take a look at the money you have available and lay out a plan for how best to use those assets. One of the biggest fears seniors and retirees have is outliving their money, and a solid financial plan is the best strategy for helping allay that fear. If you currently have a financial advisor, meet with them to discuss your retirement goals and look at solutions for how to stretch your money as much as is possible. 

Understand what you want “legacy” to mean. When most people talk about leaving a “legacy” to their children, they’re often talking about money. However, there are many different ways that you can bequeath gifts and assets to your descendants, and they don’t have to all be dollar amounts. For example, if you have a second home, you might consider leaving that to your children. Or instead of leaving a certain dollar amount to your grandchildren, you can instead set up a 529 plan and add money to it as part of your ongoing monthly expenses. 

Legacies don’t have to be tangible items, either. Memories are priceless and are a creative way to give a gift to family members while still being able to enjoy it yourself. You could pay for a yearly vacation and document that for posterity, for example. Take some time and think about what to give to those you love that will mean the most to you. 

Be pragmatic. While you want to treat each of your family members the same, it’s possible that there are some people in your family who simply won’t be smart about any funds you leave them. In that case, it might be beneficial to set up a trust and dictate conditions and schedules for how assets are distributed. You may also have family members who have serious health conditions that will follow them throughout their life, such as a child with special needs. In that case, your legacy planning should include a plan for providing for him or her, especially if they are not able to live independently. Again, besides leaving a lump sum of money, you can also look at alternate solutions such as life insurance policies, long-term care insurance or a trust to help cover future medical care and costs. 

Know that you can do both, if you want. You may be torn between the desire to leave something to your family but also be free to pursue new interests and hobbies in this stage of life. The beautiful thing about proactively planning is that you will better be able to do both. In order to make that happen, you’ll want to sit down and assess your priorities. Is it more important for you to buy a vacation home or would you rather start a college fund for your grandchildren? 

Get a financial check-up.

Just as you go to a doctor to get wellness check-ups in order to catch issues before they become serious, a financial advisor can help you iron out your plan before you get too far down the road. Here are some suggested questions to ask your advisor:

  • What guaranteed income do I have?
  • How can I optimize my Social Security benefits?
  • What can I do to ensure any future healthcare costs will be covered?
  • How will my tax situation change? How can I create tax advantages?
  • Should I stay in the home I have, or should I consider downsizing?
  • What investment risk level is appropriate for my life now? 
  • Does my legacy plan need updated?

For more information about proactive financial planning, or our luxury retirement lifestyle, contact the staff at Waterstone at the Circle

Luxury Senior Living in Boston

Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and a vibrant lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill. 

Elegant Independent Living Apartments

Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.  

Senior Living Supportive Services

As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our Independent Living residents to receive the assistance they need.

The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.

Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring. . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our vibrant Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!