In July, I told you I was signing up for “The 40 Day Pledge,” an interactive online program that is part of AARP’s Decide.Create.Share. national initiative to help boomer girls plan for the second half of their life. (See “Taking Charge of My Future” blog post, for part I.)
I was especially pleased to be asked to participate as a member of AARP’s Decide.Create.Share. Kitchen Cabinet on long-term planning.*
As a widow with adult children, I feel it is very important for me to take the lead on:
– Deciding where I see myself for the future.
– Creating a comprehensive plan that includes my home, health, finances and wishes.
– And sharing my decisions with my daughter A and son D so they know my preferences.
I was quick to complete the sections on home and health. I filled out the worksheets the day I signed up. But, I left the hard part about my finances and advanced directives for the end. Not to fear, a reminder was near.
“You promised us a blog post on retirement planning,” said my friends at AARP.
“You’re right, I did say I would write a post and a promise is a promise,” I replied and off I went to open up my plan for “The 40 Day Pledge.”
“It’s Day 39 of the Pledge” were the words that shined in bright colors on the website.
OMG! OMG! OMG!
How can that be? It was just July and now it is the end of August. Next week is September. Time flies when I’m at my condo on the corner at the shore watching the sandpipers scurry along the beach.
I have two more days to complete my plan for “The 40 Day Pledge.”
OMG! OMG! OMG!
Can I do it? Will I finish? Am I up for the challenge? Am I ready to face the facts about my financial future?
Oui, oui, oui, here I go…
Retirement Worksheet: This afternoon, I filled out the worksheet with my estimated monthly expenses. As with all plans, certain household expenses may go down as I age. For example, when I pay off my mortgage(s) over the next 15 years, the cost of my properties will be lower. Certain expenses may go up too – like my taxes if I stay in New Jersey later in life. (Ooh, ooh, ooh, New Jersey is an expensive place to live. So is NYC. I may need to take up primary residence in Florida or Pennsylvania, since those and some others do not tax pensions or Social Security income. There are other tax considerations I’ll need to review as a retiree as mentioned in this helpful article by US News & World Reports author Emily Brandon on “How To Find a Low-Tax Place to Retire.”)
Long-Term Care: I also did my long-term care planning needs assessment. I plugged in a private room in an assisted living residence in about 30 years from now. Up popped an estimate of the $$$ I am going to need according to the Genworth 2013 Cost of Care Survey.
Wow-o-wow! $$$ (I practiced mindfulness meditation and tried to bring myself back into the present for a few moments. Stop. Breathe. Be.)
“Relax Judi,” I told myself. Yes, yes, yes. I intend to sell my home years from now and use the proceeds to move into a nice assisted living residence when the time comes. (My sister N and I always parked in the spots at my late mom’s place that said “future residents.” We liked my mom’s place. She had lots of friends and did lots of activities. Maybe I will teach yoga or meditation or even blogging to seniors when I am in my 80s. I’ll likely be wearing Google glasses or an Apple wristwatch by then to communicate with my children or grandchildren who hopefully will want to visit me often.)
Valuable Documents: I completed the information about my doctors, dentist, pharmacy, bank statements and other details and saved the form in a safe place.
End of Life Documents: I still have work to do in this area and need to contact my lawyer to address these statements. Who will be my healthcare power of attorney? Who will be my power of attorney? Is my living will up-to-date? These and other questions need to and should be answered.
It’s 4:00 p.m. on day 39 and my plan for “The 40 Day Pledge” is about 90 percent complete. I feel good where I am and plan to share my plan with my daughter A and my son D the next time they are visiting.
I spent last week at my ‘condo on the corner’ at the Jersey shore catching up with lots of good friends. Many of us have known each other since our kids were young. Some have been my friends for more than 25+ years. As working moms the past 25+ years, we talked about finally having the time to slow down, reconnect and enjoy the second half of our lives.
While my bucket list is overflowing for my life after 50, it feels good to have my plan for “The 40 Day Pledge” almost complete.
And now my fellow boomer girls – what about you? Are you ready to take the plunge and do some long-term planning? It’s never too early.
*I am a member of AARP’s Decide. Create. Share. Kitchen Cabinet on long-term planning. All opinions are my own.
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