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There are many steps that can be taken, at every stage of life, to help with the situation and make old age a lot more comfortable  - for the elderly, their partners and family members.

Be organized

Make sure all your financial documents and plans are in one place.  Keep a clear list of:

  • Everything coming in and out of household finances
  • Any savings or investments
  • Any properties
  • Any debts

Knowing exactly what finances are there will be invaluable in sorting out care arrangements in later life.

Make a will

If you want to stay in control and decide who gets what, then a will is a must. And it’s always a good idea to get it done professionally. It’s worth noting that any will that is drawn up might be invalid if you marry/re-marry post making the will. So, keeping the will updated is a very sound idea.

Make a living will

A living will is a document in which you lay out clearly how you would want to be treated in different situations in case the time comes when you can’t make those decisions  yourself.

Set a pension up now!

A lot of people resent paying into a scheme for over forty years before they see any benefit from it, but it’s important for people to set up private pension plans. Most financial experts are of the opinion that to maintain your standard of living after retirement, you’ll need at least 70% of your pre-retirement salary. So, it might be a good idea to start paying into a pension fund or life insurance plan, as early as possible.

Pay off all your debts before you retire

It may sound obvious but after retirement your ability to pay off debts will be vastly reduced compared to when you were working. Keeping that in mind, make sure you clear as many debts as possible, while you can.

 Plan a budget

A good idea when you consider the financial implications of retirement… Calculating how much you’ll need on a monthly and annual basis, post- retirement, will make a multitude of other decisions you have to take much easier. Also give a thought to:

  • What do you plan to be doing?
  • Will you be taking up any hobbies? How expensive are they likely to be?
  • Do you have a bucket list you want to work through? 

To keep working is a good idea

There’s nothing to say you have to retire at the age of 60 or 65; in fact that decision could be completely wrong for you. Obviously, the one question you need to consider is: can you afford to retire? And, there are other factors to consider before you make that decision, chief amongst them being: are you mentally prepared to retire?

When planning for retirement make sure you’ve thought about how you’ll occupy yourself.

Why not start your post-retirement plans now? Take up a hobby? Do some freelance, at your own pace, from home. Stay physically and mentally active – these have many benefits…

Stay healthy

Look after yourself by losing weight, quit smoking, drink in moderation, take up yoga or go to the gym and generally stay active. All this will not only mean you will live longer but also increase the amount of time you will remain independent and self-reliant.

 Plan for your needs…before they become critical

The last thing you need in old age is stress. Try to visualise the kind of needs you might have to deal with  while it’s still easy to do so. A smaller house will be much easier to manage as you get older. Should you consider moving closer to family so you have an extended support system? Is there anything you can do to the home itself that might make it more navigable, and easier to move around in, as you get older? These are things that are well worth considering before you reach retirement age.

 Make friends

If you don’t have a wide network of friends you could get isolated in your old age. Take stock of who you know and who you can stay in touch with easily after you retire and extend your range of social activities to widen your social circle.

 Stay mentally active

It’s not just your physical health you need to look after. Keeping mentally alert has a multitude of proven benefits  - from staving off depression to delaying/slowing down the onset of dementia.

 You can’t control everything

People get old; it’s an unavoidable fact of life. It happens to everyone one of us and it will happen to you. Plan for what you can and then just relax and enjoy your senior years…after all, you have earned it!

BY THIYAGARAJAN VELAYUTHAM, FOUNDER, IHHC | 3rd June, 2019

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