Most of our Oakland County readers would like to have a financial plan. But what does that mean, really? Does it just mean saving for retirement? Or how about budgeting household expenses and saving specifically for "splurge"-type expenditures like vacations? While these types of steps can absolutely make up part of an overarching financial plan, some people don't think to take care of what can be the most important parts -- long term planning and estate planning.
Ever heard of the "sandwich generation"? Most of our Michigan readers probably haven't, but apparently this is the term that some use to refer to the children of baby boomers, mostly because these are the people who will find themselves supporting both their parents as they age and require long-term care, and their own children as they set out to attend college.
Previous posts have encouraged Michigan residents to account for long-term care when developing an estate plan. It is often one of the most overlooked aspects of future-needs planning. Arranging for long-term care often includes scheduling affairs to ensure elder years are comfortable and that assets are maintained to pass down to designated beneficiaries.
Elderly citizens in Michigan may soon see more options for long-term nursing home care. State health officials plan to file for approval of a system that aims to better manage long-term care for seniors who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
In the case of America's population in general, and Michigan's especially, statistics show that people are living longer. Michigan's population percentage of people 65 and older is greater than the national average, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. What the statistics don't show is that not everyone is preparing for this new reality in their early-life estate planning.
The latter years of life, lovingly dubbed the "Golden Years," aren't always as easy as they should be. Unfortunately, many people reach these late-in-life years only to discover that a lack of long-term planning has left them unable to pay for the care they will need to combat failing health. While it is natural for one's health to deteriorate with age, for some people failing health is a more serious concern than for others. That is why planning ahead for necessities like long-term care should be considered vital to maintaining a good quality of life, not only for residents of Michigan, but for people all over the United States.
Michigan residents who are considering long-term planning may be interested in a recent report by the Wall Street Journal. The report highlights the fact that the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) is short on funds. This means that the group's retiree healthcare trust fund is in jeopardy, making the process of long-term planning for auto workers that much more important.