Retirement is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, but sometimes that’s not the case. Older people who spent most of their lives working can have difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle. Although they’re physically and financially ready to retire, they’re still mentally unprepared. Here are some ways you can help your parents prepare for retirement and ease their transition.
Start With an Honest Conversation
Sit down with your parents and talk about their retirement plans. What do they envision for the next chapter of their lives? Do they want to travel or pick up a new hobby? How do they feel about not having to work anymore? Do they have any final things they want to do before becoming full retirees?
This conversation is especially important if your parents are nervous about the transition. They worked for decades to put themselves in the position to enjoy a quiet retirement. Act as the voice of reason. Don’t pressure them with a deadline or ultimatum, but tell them why you think the time is right.
Understand their Financial Situation
You need to get a solid understanding of your parents’ financial situation. They might not be as transparent as you’d like, but be patient with them and get enough information to paint a clear picture. Here’s some valuable info that will help you determine if they’re financially sound:
- Outstanding debts
- Monthly expenses
- Insurance plans
- Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings
If your findings show cause for concern, settle the debts first. You want them to enter retirement debt-free with no obligations to lenders. Talk with other family members and explore revenue streams that your parents can pursue during retirement.
Assess their Living Arrangements
One of the main catalysts for retirement is physical deterioration. Older adults start to feel the effects of their long careers and can no longer keep up. However, retirement won’t make those physical ailments disappear. You need to assess their living arrangements and make sure your parents can live on their own full-time.
If you’re worried about your parents’ health, consider looking for a retirement community to watch over them when you’re not around. Your parents might not like the idea, but communities have a wide range of amenities that enable them to continue practicing their hobbies and lifestyles.
Consider retirement communities in good faith. It’s a valid option if they require special care or have trouble completing basic tasks, but don’t throw them under the bus if you can take care of them.
Locate and Finalize Essential Documents
Gather your parents’ essential documents and make sure their information is up to date. Do your best to find the originals, but copies will also suffice. Make sure you include these documents in your search:
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Bank accounts
- Wills and trusts
- Durable power of attorney
- Healthcare proxy
Consolidating these documents will make retirement planning much easier. You can consult any resource you need with all of your parents’ essential information in one place.
Determine Which Benefits They Qualify For
Retirees often qualify for benefits from their local, state or federal legislatures. Requesting government assistance is a humbling experience, but your parents should take advantage of it if they’re eligible. Here are some benefits they might qualify for:
- HUD public housing for citizens 50 and older
- Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for 62+ citizens
- USDA Housing Repair Program fo 62+ citizens
- Mortgage/reverse mortgage assistance
- Utility/phone bill assistance
- Property tax assistance
- Food assistance
- Federal income tax credit for 65+ citizens with limited income
Gaining access to just a handful of these benefits will take a significant load off your parents’ shoulders during retirement. You will also sleep easier knowing that your parents have guaranteed basic necessities and don’t need to buy them on their own.
Update Their Insurance Plans
Your parents need sufficient protection during retirement. Their risk of injury is higher in old age, and the risk will only increase once they start living more independently. Update these insurances to make sure they have full coverage:
- Long-term disability
Hopefully your parents will remain healthy and never have to rely on insurance coverage, but you can’t leave anything to chance. Take the proper precautions and review their insurance plans.
Inform Them About Scams
People aged 60+ are the most frequent victims of scams. They’re five times more likely than young adults to fall for phishing, fake tech support and other online schemes. These scams rob older people of their hard-earned money and their peace of mind. Inform your parents about the various online scams and how to spot them.
You should also drill them with general safety rules. Make sure they never share their private information to strangers online or over the phone. Show them how to spot suspicious activity in their bank and credit card statements. Be a resource for them to ensure their financial and personal security during retirement.
Prepare for the Next Chapter
Retirement is supposed to be a celebration of hard work and dedication, but sometimes the transition can be stressful. Help your parents manage that stress by applying these seven tips. They will prepare your parents for the next chapter in their lives and set everyone at ease. With a secure financial situation and support from their loved ones, they can enter retirement with confidence.