What happens when you turn the light switch from career woman to retired lady? It doesn't matter if you had a career, a job, or were a stay at home with your children, it is still a major shift in your life. As my mother says, “I was forced into early retirement when my children decided to be independent.” Sorry mom, never thought of it that way, but better us out in the world than still at home. Although I have an inkling she would secretly love that! No matter what you are retiring from, you will go from having a purpose every day to everyday being a Saturday. Although that sounds pretty nice, I’ve heard it can get old if you don’t know how to fill 365 Saturdays a year.
So what will be your reason to wake up every morning? It might take you a few weeks, months, or even years to get a grasp on what you want for your new, retired life. And everyone is different! Some women want nothing to do with ever working again while others want some part time work, maybe consulting here and there. A common theme I’ve found from interviewing tons of retired women is: to have options to try and to have a plan. It can be a much easier transition if you have an idea of what you want to be doing with all your days.
I will warn you, you might start out too ambitious and have to start cutting back. I can’t stress enough to give yourself some time. If you join a club or volunteer somewhere, you might get asked to be secretary, treasurer, or president. And it might be more work than you thought, and you might find yourself working more than at your paying job. You are forewarned! But please, don’t let that deter you from joining. You will meet so many wonderful people that you may never have met if you weren’t part of it. Volunteering or joining a club is a great way to meet people, especially if you are moving to a new place, so get involved and benefit from giving back.
Let’s switch to family and how much time you will give to helping your family. It can be babysitting your grandchildren or helping more with your parents. Your family might assume that you’ll now be able to help out more with parents or other family members, so it is important to be honest with them. Don’t let them automatically give you their share. Retirement is a time to put the focus back on your, for YOUR health, YOUR hobbies, and YOUR interests. You’ve been putting everyone before you for most of your life, so embrace this time to give back to yourself. Let’s face it, if you aren’t healthy, wealthy, and wise, your family isn’t either.
To make sure you are healthy, wealthy, and wise, let’s go through the top 5 retirement concerns from my Ladies Who Retire survey:
A great way to get started is to set up a family meeting so everyone knows your hopes and expectations. If you'd like to set up a meeting, email Jessica.Weaver@raymondjames.com or click the button below:
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jess Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice.
Life Transitions Part 1: Ladies Who Retire
Retirement sometimes comes out of nowhere, and sometimes it comes along very, very slowly. Maybe you are going kicking and screaming or you are counting down the days, but are 10 years away. I’ve seen both, and both can be an overwhelming time. You might think once you get a few questions answered, you can have the retirement you’ve worked so hard for. But the reality is, there are so many moving parts to retirement along with so many ages and dates to remember. Once you know when you can and want to retire, the floodgates will open with hundreds and thousands of questions and concerns.
Sorry didn’t want to make it even more daunting of a transition, but it is a major life event you are planning for. You’ve received a paycheck for most of your life, and now you aren’t going to be on the receiving end of one. That in itself is a huge concept to process. You will go from having a purpose to your day to having to create a purpose day after day. If you are able to leave work on your own note, then you have time to prepare yourself for this idea. However, if you leave work from a job cut or for health, you might not be as lucky. Don’t worry, take time to really find out what you want to do with your life. It might take you a few months or even a few years, but one day it will hit you. It might be a compilation of hobbies, volunteer work, family help, and your own health. My recommendation from helping other women in retirement is to not say NO right off the bat. Try it out for a bit, don’t worry if it doesn’t work out. Remember, “Every day in retirement is like a Saturday” as our one client always says.
With this posting, I’ve decided to put together two different checklists, one for your money and one for your lifestyle in retirement.
So here is what to think about as you come up to retirement as well as in retirement for your money and finances:
These are just six areas of retirement to start thinking about. Remember the process only starts when you decide when to retire, and once all these questions are answered, trust me, you will have many more pop up! An example is what the heck is the exit tax for New Jersey? Guess what it isn’t a penalty for leaving like everyone thinks. You really shouldn’t go into retirement blindly with your money or with your life. Get a partner to help you navigate all these questions and the other ones that come up along the way. If you worked so hard for 30 plus years to finally retire, shouldn’t you put a little planning into how it will all work together? The social security question alone is over a million dollar question, so don’t just do what your neighbor has done or what your family tells you to do. Take some time to really understand your options before making a decision. Oh by the way, some of these questions don’t allow a do over. I think you owe it to yourself to get a plan in place, and to have someone there when a bump (or enormous boulder) in the road comes up. I’m just saying….
For Part 2 of Ladies Who Retire, come back next week when I will go through the Retirement Lifestyle Checklist and the Top 5 Concerns from the women who took my Ladies Who Retire Survey.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Raymond James does not offer tax advice or services. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Be sure to consider all of your available options and the applicable fees and features of each option before moving your retirement assets.
My husband hates snowboarding, as much as I hate not shopping. You probably know how much I love to shop, so he must really hate it! I thought it would be fun to take a lesson together when my family went to Vermont one year. He started the day with a ton of doubt in his mind. He didn’t believe he could do it, and his actions proved him correct. When all the little snowboarders and skiers were passing him on the slopes, he started to doubt himself even more. And when I say little, I mean 4 and 5 year olds! I started skiing when I was 3, so I’m not nervous or overwhelmed at the top of the mountain. When you do something consistently for over 25 years, it becomes second nature. Your beliefs and behaviors are aligned with each other. So instead of avoiding the slopes like Eric does now, I embrace them, let them challenge me, and finish with a beer in celebration. Trust me, I still have my fair share of falls.
Though I’m pretty sure I will never get Eric back on the slopes, He will at least come along on the journey to Vermont with my family. We went to Stratton to celebrate my parent’s 35 wedding anniversary the other weekend. Happy Anniversary mom and dad! They went skiing on their honeymoon, so all they wanted was for all of us to be together on a mountain somewhere. While Eric stayed mostly inside nursing a beer or five, my family charged the slopes!
Maybe you are like Eric with some financial or money related issue in your life. You are terrified of it, too overwhelmed to look at it, or just want it to go away. If you are like this, don’t worry, you are NOT alone. We all have something we like to avoid like the plague, like stepping on the scale after all the holidays. We don’t want to do it, we wait until the last possible moment, but when we finally do, it isn’t so bad. So to get you to take action and address your money issue or fear, here is my step by step guide to get over your fears!
Below is a brief description of the program and if you would like more information on it, please click here:
Chief Financial Officer of your life is a hefty title to promote yourself to. There isn't a doubt in my mind that you can do it, and succeed in doing it. All you need is the right program with the proper tools, support, and guidance to get you there and to stay there.
Become the CFO of Your Life is a six month community program to shape the new chapter in your life to be what you deserve. My vision for what I believe will be a breakthrough program is to bring women together to create a bond for their next adventure in life. It is geared towards women who are going through a major life transition such as divorce, losing a spouse, or starting a career or a new career. By having a community, it breeds beliefs and confidence in each other and within yourself. Balancing life, family, and a major life transition, can be overwhelming and daunting at times. We need to carve out time to bring the focus back on ourselves because if we aren’t managing, our family isn’t either.
The program is built on 4 Pillars: Confidence, Comfort, Control, and Clarity. Confidence to take action today with empowerment from knowledge on money and investing. Comfort from having a community of support and guidance to keep you moving in the right direction with your life. Control over your life and your choices, so you aren't making one bad financial decision after another. And finally, clarity of what you really want for the next stage of your life.
All it takes is a decision to start living your self-worth and level up your life. Let’s take action together, and create a new life worth living for you and your family. There are more choices, opportunities, and ways to live out there for you. Don’t you deserve to find them? Click below to set up a call to see if the program can transform your life.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jess Weaver and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected.
Have you heard of this new phenomenon called the “Medicaid Divorce”? Ok maybe it isn’t a phenomenon, but it is a new concept some couples are doing, not very successfully I might add. I’m sure you are wondering what on earth is a Medicaid Divorce, so let me explain.
As people get older, and need assistance, they might have to go to a nursing home depending on their health and condition. Nursing homes can be a great option and sometimes the only option for people with dementia, or if they can’t perform the “activities of daily living.” These activities include: using the restroom, eating, transferring from one place to another, dressing yourself, and bathing yourself. However, as great as these homes are, they can be very expensive. How expensive? In New Jersey, the average nursing home costs $10,000 a month. That is a lot of money to dish out! So who pays this large bill? There are different ways to fund the monthly costs, such as using your assets, using your social security benefit (for part of it), any pension or annuity income, Long Term Care Insurance policy, or Medicaid.
Sure Medicaid looks like a great option, right? Let’s keep our money and income and have Medicaid pay for it. Sorry to burst you’re nursing home bubble, but the only way Medicaid will pay is if you are poor? How poor? You can have $2,000 to your name, and not a penny more! Your spouse is allowed to keep a certain amount of assets, but it isn’t much. So what happened when people realized this? Of course they found a loophole, I’ll just “gift” my money away and go on Medicaid. Well Medicaid realized this, and created the “look-back” period, which states that you will have to wait 5 years to qualify for Medicaid from the time you gifted assets away. There is a whole formula to figure out your waiting period, and if you want more information on this, click below. Warning: don't try to figure it out by yourself. It is more than worth it to do a little planning first.
Now back to the Medicaid Divorce…One family thought outside the box with transferring money to qualify for Medicaid. The husband/father was becoming very sick with Alzheimer’s, and the children came to their mother with a proposal. They told the mom to “divorce” the father so he can qualify for Medicaid. The mother had inherited a large sum of money before the marriage started, and there was even a pre-nuptial agreement stating her money was hers and his money was his. I have to give the children some creativity points on this one! On the other hand, I’m not sure this was a great scheme to put their father through especially since he was dealing with Alzheimer’s.
Subsequently they got divorced, and the father applied for Medicaid with the children’s help. The state of New Jersey said Whoa, stop the clock…NO WAY! The division of assets is not deemed a “fair division,” and hence you will not get Medicaid coverage. Uh oh…what a mess! The family had to lawyer up, spend lots of money, and try to fight that there was a pre-nuptial agreement stating how the division of assets was to be. The state did not care about the agreement, and the judge ruled in favor of the state. A lot of time, money, and emotions spent for nothing.
The point of my tale is to get a laugh over a very serious and boring topic, but more importantly, to say there are much, MUCH better ways to plan for elderly care costs than getting a “Medicaid Divorce.” My advice is to speak with an elder care attorney or estate attorney, not your real estate attorney. Talk to them about your situation to find out your options. And schedule a call with my firm to find out ways to fund a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at home-care costs. There are more ways out there than you think, so schedule now! Your spouse and children will be so happy you did some planning. As anyone who has been through it with their parents can attest, it can be a complete mess when you are in the midst of it. Why put your family through it when you don’t have to? Remember the legacy you want to leave your children and grandchildren, and get the conversation started.
Happy Long Term Care Planning!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®