vision of how wonderful retirement will be:
no more irritating bosses and pressure from
work deadlines; unlimited time to travel,
play and lead the good life. The reality,
though, for most folks is different, especially for those who don’t plan ahead (
financially and otherwise).
Here are some tips to help you through
☞ Plan both financially and personally. Leaving a full-time career creates big
challenges, such as what to do with all your
free time. Planning your activities is even
more important than planning financially. If
the focus during your working years is solely
on your career and saving money, you may
lack interests, friends and the ability to know
how to spend money when you retire.
☞ Take stock of your resources. Many
people worry and wonder whether they have
sufficient assets for cutting back on work or
retiring completely, yet they don’t crunch any
numbers to see where they stand. Ignorance
may cause you to misunderstand how little or
how much you really have for retirement compared with what you need.
☞ Reevaluate your insurance needs.
When you have sufficient assets to retire, you
don’t need insurance to protect your employment income. On the other hand, as your assets
grow over the years, you may be underinsured
in regard to liability insurance.
☞ Evaluate healthcare/living options.
Medical expenses in your retirement years
(particularly the cost of nursing-home care)
can be daunting. Which course of action you
take—supplemental insurance, buying into a
retirement community or not doing anything—depends on your financial and personal situation. Early preparation increases
your options; if you wait until you have major
health problems, it may be too late to choose
specific paths. C
l i s t p
Estate planning without conflict
By Rikk Larsen
THE MOST COMMON cause of family conflict in the estate planning process is a lack of
Many parents never discuss money. Maybe
you don’t either. A classic example of family
conflict is when parents decide to give a “less
well off” child more from their estate than they
plan to give their other children. The parents
would likely be stunned to know that the other
siblings feel hurt because they see this as an
expression of their love, not as the economic
equalizer it was intended to be. A targeted discussion during the planning process could easily avoid this future misperception.
What if your family doesn’t communicate
well, but you want to avoid heartache and
conflict in planning your parents’ estate?
There are a number of good practices you can
become familiar with.
dren. He might feel shortchanged, but should
he receive some additional compensation
from the estate?
Possible solution: Draw out each family
member’s ideas about fairness. Get to the bottom of anyone feeling shortchanged by past
events, and identify expectations about additional compensation.
☞ A family leadership vacuum. Mom
was always the family communications hub,
but now she just tells everyone exactly what he
or she wants to hear. She no longer has tolerance for any sort of conflict, and because of that
does not accurately relay information.
Possible solution: Strategize with your
closest siblings about how to approach the
situation, not to gang up but to change the
tone and smooth the discussion.
☞ Entrenched family dynamics.
Siblings tend to slip into old roles when they
get together, even unconsciously sitting in the
same seat for dinner where they sat 40 years
earlier. Parents and siblings need to understand that traditional role assumptions may
not apply. For instance, the oldest sibling isn’t
necessarily the smartest or a natural leader,
and may not be the best candidate to have
power of attorney or to be appointed executor.
Possible solution: With a
light touch, be transpar-
ent about the tendency -
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Try to identify the types of communication
problems you regularly encounter in the family.
Common types include:
☞ Different perceptions of fairness.
This is one of the most frequent obstacles.
Everyone brings a different definition of fairness; then feelings of inequity fuel conflicts.
Does fair mean equal, or is it tempered by
some people having different needs? For
instance, maybe Mom and Dad paid college tuition for all their grandchildren,
but one of your brothers has no chil-
Eric Tyson is the best-selling author of Personal Finance for Dummies and Investing for Dummies, and co- author of Home Buying for Dummies and Real Estate Investing for Dummies.