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Retirement planning: getting your house in order

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If it hadn’t been for my parent’s unfortunate experiences, I would never have considered some important aspects of retirement planning. I’m sharing my experiences to help others make choices while they still can.
 
Being a deputy head teacher, people assume you have serious things like retirement planning covered. However, if it wasn’t for my own personal experiences with my parents, I would never have been aware of many of the key elements to plan for.
 
If it wasn’t for my parent’s unfortunate circumstances, and the beauty of hindsight, I would never have taken such a reckless approach to retirement planning.
So what do I wish I’d known? Let me set the scene…
 
On Boxing Day, eight years ago, my Mum experienced a very severe stroke, ultimately leaving her in a position where she has carers visiting her at home four times a day.
 
As she had savings, we were told that she would have to pay for her care until it dropped to a threshold of £23k. This came as a real shock, but the rest is history. When I asked what the situation would have been had my Mum had less than the threshold, I was told that the State would pay.
 

Retirement planning: Getting your House in Order

Should you save or spend?

 
So there’s a consideration, do you make the most of your money and spend it? Or do you keep it in the bank, so that if the time comes, it will automatically be taken from you to pay for your care?
 
Yes, perhaps you were thinking your hard earned cash would become your children’s inheritance? Think again! Having carefully explained the situation to my own children, they are of the opinion that we should spend it on ourselves and enjoy.
 
Of course there are policies out there to cover the cost of care. I’m not sure if you would consider using your retirement money for this, but it is an option.
 
Hopefully, though, you will have a good number of years ahead to do things you’ve previously dreamed about. If I hadn’t experienced some ‘eye-opening’ experiences via my parents’ situation, I would not have been aware of some very important decisions.
 
For example, what considerations have you given to the need for ‘care’, should you get to a stage where you need it?
 

Retirement planning: What else should I consider?

 
We all hear stories about what others get up to once they retire, but to do that, you need finances in place to cover your day-to-day living and leave you with enough disposable income.
 
Hopefully, you’ve accrued a pension ‘pot’ to allow for this and with the help of a financial adviser you can plan together to make it work for you.
 
I’d hope that any adviser you speak to would draw your attention to such matters, but if not, have you thought of considering issues about Estate Planning, covering things like Lasting Powers of Attorney, Severance of Property Tenancy, Discretionary Trusts etc.?
 
While I can't give advice, ask yourself the question, do I owe it to myself to at least explore these areas, before it gets too late?
 
I’m sure that if I hadn’t experienced certain situations via my parents, I would not have felt it necessary to consider such things. Nonetheless, I now have a sense of relief that all these matters have been dealt with and I have plans in place should anything happen to me or my wife.
 
Have you experienced a similar situation? What do you think about the rules on paying for care? Will you be saving for your care or spending while you can? Or, do you have another plan in place to ensure your retirement money lasts? Share your comments, tips and comments below. 
 
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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