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The Good News and The Bad News About Retirement

The good news is that Americans are living longer, the bad news is that it costs a whole lot more to retire than it used to. But the rising cost of retirement has more to do with just longer life expectancy. As this recent article in the New York Times points out, “Social Security and Medicare are being eyed for cutbacks and 401(k)’s produce ever-varying lump sums.” This means that people are learning to think differently about saving, to think differently about planning for the future, and especially to think differently about when and how they will retire.

Another related article from U.S. News and World Report mentions that “the average expected retirement age and been gradually increasing over the past seventeen years from age 60 in 1995 to 64 in 2005,” and most recently to 67 in 2012. In addition to influencing your financial planning, this shift in the retirement age can also influence your estate planning in some of the following ways:

1. Gift-giving. Parents and grandparents may now choose to hold off on giving significant cash gifts to their heirs; socking that cash away for a longer retirement, if necessary.

2. If your estate plan includes a Retirement Trust you will absolutely want to talk to your estate planning attorney before making any significant decisions regarding your plans for retirement.

3. Long-Term Care Insurance. The longer you’re working, the longer you may be able to contribute to a long-term care insurance policy. Consider adjusting your contributions accordingly.

Everybody’s happy about a longer life expectancy, and there are many people who are happy to push off retirement a few years as well, but it does require a little extra planning. “If life expectancy continues its upward curve, you’ll have your work cut out for you, because you may need to think about what you want to do in your 10th and 11th decades.”

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