Global View Investment Blog

How Serious Illness or Disability Can Affect Your Retirement Plans

The hope is for retirement to be a smooth, seamless transition. But the truth is, real retirement financial stories don’t always go that way. Unexpected issues pop up. This is just another reason why finding a financial advisor for retirement is key.

For example, what if a serious illness or disability prevents you from working as long as you had planned – this is a common worry in today’s environment. How can sickness and disability affect your finances, your future and your plans for retirement? What do you do in this circumstance?

At Global View, we incorporate different “what if” situations into our clients’ financial plans. Having a discussion about what can happen in life can better prepare you if one of these scenarios should actually come to fruition.

If you plan your retirement years effectively, you will be able to live your life without money being a thought on your mind. Unfortunately, there are real retirement financial stories of seniors who are suffering from medical conditions or disability but are forced back to work even after the age of retirement because they ran out of money shortly after retiring.

Dealing with a disability or sickness can be tough. Having it affect your retirement doesn’t have to be an added challenge.

Knowing your monthly expenses before you retire will help you determine what your monthly budget should be in retirement. Of course, the cost of healthcare should be included, as should any known conditions and medical needs that you’ll want to plan for. When you receive an unexpected diagnosis, your finances may not be enough if you haven’t considered this scenario into your plan.

Obviously, no one really plans on having to deal with a sudden medical issue or a serious illness in life. Being diagnosed with illness can be shocking and can turn your life instantly upside down. Even tasks like driving to seek frequent medical attention that may seem small can quickly add up in time and money. It would be hard to estimate the number of times or funds these emergencies would generate, so establishing a plan ahead of time can help lessen the amount of stress that a serious illness would generate.

Long-term care insurance, for example, can help in the event you need to move to an assisted living or medical assistance facility. A requirement like this could financially burden not only you in retirement, but your family as well. Making sure that the right policies are in place could save everyone a lot of heartache and frustration. Remember to discuss any insurance needs with a fiduciary financial advisor to ensure your best interests are put first, and policies are not being suggested simply for commission.

Estate planning should also be a component to your financial plan. Many people don’t like to talk about their imminent death, but not factoring in the plans you have for your assets after you pass away can be a tragic mistake. (Read this recent blog post written by our in-house estate-planning attorney for common mistakes he sees when it comes to estate planning.)


Talk with us. Contact Global View to find out how our family-office style services can help you create a comprehensive financial and retirement plan.


What To Do

For individuals with serious illnesses or disabilities, the best place to start planning is with your doctor. Determining whether you will be on medication (and if so, for how long) or if you will need another form of assistance is a crucial step. It’s important to learn as much as you can about the long-term prognosis of your diagnosis and needs that you will have.

There are common illnesses that affect older adults that can have financial impacts, from arthritis and hypertension to stroke and cancer. Different conditions require different care. Expenses can include costly treatment plans and extra doctor visits, medications, upgrades to your home to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility assistance devices, long-term care, vision care, surgery, etc. Unfortunately, the list can go on.

Step two should be sitting down and discussing your situation with a fiduciary financial advisor you can trust. A financial advisor can help incorporate your fears, concerns and medical needs into your overall financial plan. A financial advisor can work with you and adjust your financial plan if necessary. There are special programs, tax breaks and benefits available that can help.

For example, if a wheelchair is needed in your future, and you’ll need to do work on your home to accommodate it, a financial advisor can help you budget for projected costs. There may be tax strategies that help you write off the costs of upgrading your home. Will you qualify for disability insurance? If you’re not already retired, your financial plan may also need to be updated with an earlier retirement date.

Long-term care insurance may also be of interest. While these policies can be expensive, especially if purchased after you’re diagnosed with illness, the long-term savings if needed can be monumental. Again, make sure you discuss any insurance needs with a fiduciary financial advisor as opposed to an insurance salesperson who can take advantage of your emotions to sell you something that may not be right for you.

Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be scary and overwhelming. Making emotional decisions about your finances at this time can have long-term devastating effects for both you and your heirs. A financial advisor can help take on the financial burdens of a disability or illness, which can ultimately help calm nerves during this time.

As your financial circumstances change and goals are met, your financial advisor should review your plan, re-strategize your goals with you and re-adjust when necessary.

Sickness and retirement planning can be confusing and overwhelming. Finding a financial advisor for retirement can be a game-changer. Real retirement financial stories show what can happen when you don’t (or do) have the right financial advisor to help. Setting yourself up for a successful retirement often comes down to making sometimes small, powerful choices that quickly add up and ultimately build momentum that will propel you forward.


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Joe Hines

Written by Joe Hines

Joey's primary focus is working with clients in the goals setting and financial planning process. He has extensive experience is in helping clients facilitate the decision making process, leading them through the implementation of their financial plan and contributing to their peace of mind. This includes helping clients gain an understanding of estate planning, charitable giving, and helping them implement these plans by working closely with estate planning attorneys.

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