Although the divorce rate is trending down for the general population, it is trending up for those aged 50 and older (the “baby boom” generation). Some baby boomers may remarry … others may not.
If you find yourself in the latter category, then this checklist is for you. Here are eight items to address if you are a newly single baby boomer.
1. Change beneficiary information. Your divorce may have been amicable, but that may change if your ex remarries someone who is difficult. If you do not change your beneficiary information, your life insurance benefits may end up with the new spouse instead of your children.
2. Update your will with an estate planning attorney. Even if your estate is simple, spend the money and see an estate planning attorney. Many do-it-yourself wills have a disclaimer — read the small print. Retaining an estate planning attorney protects against mistakes that could be expensive for your children or other beneficiaries.
3. When updating your will, ask your attorney to draw up a healthcare directive and HIPPA authorization. Without the healthcare directive, your children may make expensive medical decisions that you do not support. Also, HIPPA authorization is necessary to allow your designated person to access medical records if you are not mentally alert.
4. Save for updates to your home as your mobility decreases, especially if you envision staying in your home as long as possible. For example, a stair lift system can cost between $2,000 and $4,000 to install for a straight staircase. If your stairway has landings or curves, plan for the system that costs twice as much. Also, plan for annual maintenance costs. Another common cost is making bathrooms handicap accessible.
5. If you plan to live in your home as long as possible, save for ongoing or less frequent home maintenance. For example, roof repair, hot water heater replacement, new HVAC systems, etc.
6. If you plan on driving as long as possible, save for a newer car every five years or plan to spend a lot in repairs and rental car usage.
7. If you plan to live in your home as long as possible, save for home care which can average around $20 per hour (depending on where you live). Also, adult day care averages $70 per day.
8. Document your usernames and passwords for all your online accounts. Store this information in your safe deposit box or somewhere other than on your hard drive. Make sure to tell someone you trust where to find this information in the event you are in an accident and not able to take care of online bill payments.
Being single after years of being married can be a daunting experience. Take this change one step at a time but make sure to get the items listed above completed sooner than later.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Her firm bridges the gap between financial planning and coaching. As a Transition Consultant, she offers sage advice in all aspects of life – financial, personal and professional. Niv does not manage money and does not sell financial products. Her services include spending plan development, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”