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NS-Boomers Will Not Have Retirement Cushion of Yesteryear
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: My wife and I are in our 70’s and have accumulated a house, two rollover IRA’s, a few bank accounts and CD’s, and a small brokerage account. We both receive pensions and Social Security. All told, our assets approximate $1,300,000.00. We have no debts. Our lawyer told us we had nothing to worry about, but we are still concerned about estate taxes and other planning. Do you have suggestions?

Answer. Yes. See a lawyer who will help you complete a plan that will take care of you due to disability, incapacity, and death.

As of today, you do not have an estate tax problem at either the first or second death. In 2010, there is a moratorium on estate taxes. No one really knows what will happen in 2011 due to the government’s need for money.

For the vast majority of us who won’t have taxable estates, the planning process should involve not just “financial planning” or “estate planning” but also “life planning,” “long-term care planning (nursing home planning),” “death planning”, “burial planning”, and even “pet planning” if we own animals.

Times have changed, and so have our priorities. This is true not only for seniors, but also for Baby Boomers. Planning your future is more essential today than ever before given tough economic times and the ever increasing financial abuse of seniors by loved ones and caregivers .

Until now, each preceding generation of Americans was better off economically than their parents because of job opportunities, a thriving economy, and inheritance.

Recent times, however, don’t bode so well for our progeny. When you couple a frail economy, a schizophrenic stock market, and the “running-on-empty” Social Security and Medicare systems with the rising costs of living, medical care, prescriptions, and long-term care -- then add in the prospect of fewer jobs -- it’s a good bet that Boomers will inherit little, if anything, from their parents. And Boomers’ children may get even less.

At the same time, Boomers live much differently than their parents. Many have incurred significant debt and live beyond their means, skip from job to job, and wait for the retirement ship that may never come. In addition, because they have been marrying and having children later in life, Boomers are still writing checks for children’s college educations and incurring debt well into late middle age and beyond. And divorce and remarriage are further thinning assets and available cash flow.

In today’s uncertain economy -- company loyalty and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, loyalty to the company, are things of the past. Jobs are being cut, and Boomers are being “put out to pasture” early. Many have lost much of their wealth and retirement because of sour real estate deals and stock markets.

What all this means is that seniors and Boomers must develop plans for life, for the possibility of incapacity, and for death -- in that order. Creating and implementing this plan must be a multidisciplinary effort through a qualified team of professionals.

Taking the NextStep: Due to space limitations, the next two or three columns will complete the answers to this reader’s question.

Our book “Next Steps: A Practical Guide to Planning for the Best Half of Your Life “ is available at

This book addresses the various issues associated with aging and also facilitates the process of choosing professionals who can help with concerns as well as aids in the development of a plan that is sufficiently flexible to maximize options. This comprehensive guide ensures that aging and retirement are dealt with as seamlessly as possible. With topics ranging from how to avoid family power struggles and dealing with Medicaid to discussing the viability of a nursing home and knowing when to update documents, this resource is an essential tool in creating a detailed plan to deal with the problems and crises that aging inevitably brings.

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".

Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions

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Planning Your Future with 20-20 Vision™

Today, more than 36 million Americans are age 65 or over. There are more than 22 million family-member caregivers. Then there are the Baby Boomers. All are grappling with the major decisions that accompany the latter stages of life. This book is for them. Written by two experts with decades of experience between them, it is a comprehensive guide that instructs readers about how to create a plan to deal with all aspects of aging, helps maximize options and ensure wishes are carried out.

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Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions
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