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Senior Finances: Preparing for the Golden Years

The `simple’ plan of starting and ending a career with the same company and then retiring with a good pension is no longer so simple. Many of us no longer stay at one job for more than a few years and fewer companies are still offering robust pension plans.

After footing the bill for your children’s education and trying to keep up with a mortgage and the daily expenses of life, many of us have done little to save for the future. In fact, a survey by GoBankingRates.com showed that one in three Americans has not saved for retirement and 56 percent have less than $10,000 saved.

Being financially prepared for the days when we are no longer able to live independently can be daunting. And when you consider that New Hampshire is one of the fastest aging states in the country, this is a challenge facing more of us every year.

The good news is that resources are out there to help you or a loved one.

Speaking to a financial planner or an elder care lawyer is advisable, but there are free resources that can help guide you, or at least get you started.

Understand where there is help on a state level and know how to access it.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the umbrella for state services and other information for older adults, family members and caregivers. Going to www.dhhs.nh.gov is a good way to start any search. Their NHCarePath page provides a wealth of information and they have a toll free line (866-634- 9412).

Specialists trained in the national State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) are available in every county to provide free, confidential and unbiased health insurance counseling, and offer other advice, including finding the most cost effective Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Find out what veteran benefits are available to you.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov) is the most comprehensive resource for veterans and their families. Some veterans, for example, are eligible for pensions to help offset the cost of living in a nursing home. You can call the VA directly at 844-698-2311.

Find out if LongTerm Care Insurance is right for you.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance is designed to assist in the cost for care generally not covered by your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Policies can cover the help a person needs at home, in an assisted living facility or a nursing home.

You can take out a long-term care insurance well before you ever need it, which will likely get you a better rate. However, policies vary, so ask for guidance if you are thinking about this kind of insurance. SHIP is a good resource.

So, if you are among the majority of people who may feel financially unprepared for their golden years, there is help out there. You just have to know where to look.

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