There are so many questions that you have when you’re facing retirement. One of them is: What are you going to do in retirement? What will that life look like? There is a site called www.LifePlanningForYou.com, and it prompts you with these questions about, well, what would you do and what if you only had five to ten years left? What would that life look like? There’s even an AARP site called www.LifeReimagined.org. It’s so important for us, you know, we think about preparing financially, but you need to prepare mentally for retirement, and think about what that life will be like when you’re not getting up every day and going to work.
Then, of course, we always want to know, well, how long will we live? None of us will know that for sure, but believe it or not there are some helpful sites out there. There’s one called the “Vitality Compass” from Blue Zones, and it forecasts a healthy-life expectancy. It also gives us estimates of what our healthcare will be and long-term care expenses, because we know in the last few years of our lives, that’s where we spend the most of our money. Another calculator is www.LivingTo100.com, and yes, more and more of us are living to 100. We need to plan for that.
A big question I hear all of the time: When should I take Social Security? There is a website to help you with that, but it does charge. www.SocialSecuritySolutions.com will help you try to figure out when the best time is to start collecting, and that will charge anywhere from $20 to $250.
Then, we have to understand how much income we will have. There is an ESPlanner that gives you guidance on portfolio and income production (an annual fee for that), and you can hire an online advisor. And another site, Retiree Income, where you get three phone sessions with an advisor.
Another issue, as we see people aging, then it becomes harder and harder to keep up with your bills, and those grown children start to worry about problems with that. There is a site called BillGuard; it is free. And it will send charges—anytime a charge is made on the account—to a mobile inbox so that caregiver can monitor that and can even go in and cancel transactions. It sends alerts if there are any scam related purchases. We know that many times, elderly people are subject to a lot of that.
Another is True Link Financial Inc. They have a prepaid debit card service; it’s $10 a month. That helps you monitor spending for your older family member. You can even block spending on certain merchants or charities.
Then, of course, how do you talk to family members about your last days? The Conversation Project will help prompt those questions (“How much information do you want your doctor to share with your family?” “Are there important milestones along the way you want to reach?”). Have those tough conversations.
Finally, for after we’re gone, estate planning. www.Everplans.com ($75 a year) gives you access to all kinds of forms (healthcare proxies, powers of attorney, do not resuscitate orders, and even some types of trusts). So, all kinds of things out there that we can use technology to help us as we face retirement and our end of days.