All of your legacy planning will come to naught if big chunks of your assets are squandered attending to your old age. You will get old. Probably very old.
Someone very smart once said to me that it’s a good idea to live like you have a lot of things to do. I like that idea. I can’t die now or any time soon. There is too much to be done. There are things that my grandchildren need to know that only GrandFather can teach them (most of them haven’t been born yet). For that reason, I/we exercise, eat right, drink moderately, save invest. We live as though we believe that we have to be alive for a long time. It works too. We are probably going to live to be very old.
Being old is expensive though. Being a caregiver for old people is expensive. It’s stressful too. You know it is. You have parents. It’s either happening now or it’s coming. On average, caregivers in the US are 49 years old. That means you have jobs, and children and clubs and sororities and boards and in-laws and…as well as aging parents who need to be cared for. You’ll get it all done too. It’s got to be done so you’ll get it done. One day it will be your kids and your grandchildren taking care of you. They’ll be spending your money to do it too. You know how hard it is, how expensive it is. The average caregiver spends $7k annually on caregiving. Those taking care of someone living on another state spend $12k annually. When there’s dementia, the costs double. Why not make it easier on your progeny, and your estate’s assets? That is money that can and should be put to better use.
Proper long term care insurance will keep your assets where they belong and not diminished, or even desecrated by medical expenses. (Since most people won’t get this right, it’s probably a good idea to have some of your diversified investment portfolio in healthcare related stocks.) Proper communication and planning with your family will spare them all a lot of grief and confusion. Make sure all involved know who’s who, what’s where and when to do what needs doing. Have these conversations now. While you’re sane and able. Have them again every couple of years. Things change. You’ll want to adjust as needed.
If you’re inclined to think in terms of multi-generational wealth and legacy, then most of what needs to happen will take place after you’re gone. You have to leave money, a thoroughly thought out plan and a bunch of energized, enthusiastic, true believers behind to execute. Don’t make it harder or more expensive for them than it needs to be.
William S Jiggetts