Would it surprise you to learn that my husband and I do not give each other gifts at Christmas? Or birthdays? Instead, we give ourselves the gift of living debt-free. We made this decision when we semi retired. We give gifts to family members and donate generously to charities. We decorate and bake Christmas goodies and swap them with neighbors. Some years we buy something for the house that we both would enjoy such as a small appliance or furniture, but in general we are content with what we have. The important thing for us is that we pay as we go.
Many seniors will never have a comfortable retirement because they carry more debt than they can handle. While the media drives everyone’s attention to what we should be outraged about, I pay attention to financial newsletters. The pensions promised to retirees are in a precarious situation. This is the time for wise seniors to reduce their debt-load or get out of debt completely. A good way to start is to reduce the family’s expectations around Christmas. No more striving for “the Wow! factor” in gift-giving or at least limit the number of them. Almost every senior I know is nostalgic for the Christmases of their childhood when times were tougher and gifts were more meaningful.
My memory behaves a lot like a Magic 8 Ball
these days. My thoughts stay on the surface of my mind briefly and then retreat into the background and are difficult to summon again. This is common with aging, but it is something to be fought. There is too much at stake. I look for ways to adapt and compensate for memory loss. I have developed some systems for keeping track of paperwork, things, and time. They all involve the same items:
- a calendar
- a tickler file
- file folders labeled with the months of the year
The calendar represents the present, orienting me in time. The tickler file represents the future, helping me keep track of upcoming events and needed actions. The labeled monthly file folders keep track of the recent past…here is where I find proof of a paid bill or correspondence.
Invest now in making your present home adaptable to your changing needs as you age in place. Think of it as your long term care insurance.
Ten Most Expensive States for Assisted Living Care Washington, D.C.—$82,674 Alaska, Delaware tied—$66,000 New Jersey—$65,160 Connecticut—$63,468 Massachusetts—$62,964 Maine—$59,400 Rhode Island—$58,740 Hawaii—$57,000 New Hampshire—$52,470On the other end of the spectrum, Georgia and Missouri are tied for cheapest states for median annual assisted living costs at $30,000, with Arkansas, South Carolina, and Alabama all coming in beneath $35,000. Median costs for a private room in a skilled nursing facility are even steeper, ranging from $57,000 on the low end in Oklahoma to $130,670 in New York and nearly $5,000 more in Hawaii, topped by $240,900 in Alaska.While home healthcare is often touted as a less expensive alternative than institutional care, Genworth’s cost of care map for home health services demonstrates that it’s only cheaper if round-the-clock care isn’t needed for a long period of time. The national median annual cost for home health aide services is $45,188, with Louisiana on the low end of the spectrum at $34,320 and Massachusetts and Hawaii at the high end, above $57,000 a year.
via 10 Most Expensive States for Assisted Living – Senior Housing News.