New York elder law estate planning is all about putting plans into place to designate inheritances, account for taxes, plan for disability, and otherwise provide peace of mind to account for long-term financial concerns. However, part of the challenge of the process is realizing that the future is unknown. It is impossible to determine with precision how long one will live, what finances are needed, and what care is required as one ages. Not only is speculation inherent in some of this planning, but changing government policy, medical advances, and societal cultural changes must be taken into account when conducting this estate planning.
No More Retirement Age?
For example, a recent Business Times article discussed statements made by representatives from Wells Fargo that the concept of a retirement age "is going the way of the typewriter, another 20th-century relic." Instead of retiring at 65, say the executives, most won't retire until age 80 or beyond. The claims were made following a Wells Fargo survey which found that at least ¼ of all respondents did not believe they'd be able to retired until they were 80 years old. On top of that, most thought that they'd never actually be able to stop working with some extra income needed after retirement.
What caused the retirement concerns? Financial insecurity.
Recent Gallup polls find that today's average age of expected retirement is far and away the highest it has ever been. In the mid-1990s, the average age that Americans expected to retire was 60 years old. Today only 38% of non-retirees believe that they will ever have enough money to comfortably retire--only ten years ago that number was at nearly 60%. Most believe the the "Great Recession" is to blame for the financial setbacks and subsequent retirement pessimism.
Of course, these surveys only measures perception, but observers are quick to note that perceptions have societal and economic impact. Estate planning, for example, is concerned with planning for potential life situations down the road. Goals and perceptions about working and living impact how the planning is conducted. Yet, it is important that local residents not make judgments about long-term financial stability, risks, and future costs on their own. Help is needed. While some uncertainty is inherent in the process, professionals can explain how inheritances, taxes, retirement, and long-term care planning can be planned for with flexible parameters to account for unexpected events.
All of this complexity should not be reason to avoid planning altogether. Instead, it should be reason not to take chances, but to seek out assistance from those who work on these issues every day.
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