Finding Your Motivation to Plan
Author & Industry Influencer
When you’re reading the Jones family’s stories, you might be reminded of your own family or friends. Members of the Jones family have noticed that the grandparents are showing signs of aging, but they aren’t sure how to start the difficult conversation they need to have about planning for the future. The family uses the three steps outlined in this book to have “the talk” and navigate their options. The generations in this family are forced to pull together despite their differences. Attitudes, beliefs, habits, experiences, values, and especially communication and comprehension differ from one generation to the next. The steps in this book help them learn to solve issues together and build relationships based on learning to hear and understand one another. The goal is to effectively plan the best care outcome for their loved ones. This means they must work together as a team to address the many safety, health-care, financial, and lifestyle decisions ahead.
Is starting this important family conversation easy? No, it is not. It’s awkward and difficult, but it is absolutely necessary. Everyone needs to have this dialogue—and do so as soon as possible. There are literally thousands, if not millions, of reports, disturbing statistics, and heartbreaking tales of financial ruin, generational infighting, and caregiver burnout. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against you and time is not on your side. For most families, it takes a scary, sad, or upsetting experience to push everyone into action. By then, unfortunately, it’s often too late to avoid some of the worst consequences of the family’s delayed action. That’s why it is so important to stay ahead of the curve. Without a plan, your family risks the following:
• Negative impacts on family members’ lifestyles. What if a parent must move in with you or if you must move in with a parent in need of care?
• Diminished Social Security benefits and investment savings as the family caregiver devotes time to caregiving instead of earning income.
• Depletion of retirement savings.
• Delays in education funding for younger generations.
• On-the-job stress or employment absences due to caregiving requirements and emergencies.
• Decreased cash flow, leading to limited care options.
• Diminished assets values resulting from a fire sale situation.
• Compelled asset liquidation when the market timing isn’t good, resulting in unwanted taxation.
• Limited potential future investment growth due to diminished invested funds.
• Retirees and pre-retirees unable to preserve the money they have worked so hard to save for their legacy.
• Feeling guilty because you didn’t have the conversation with your parents or spouse, and their choices are now less attractive or not possible because of poor or no planning.
You want a funded plan in place as early as possible so that you are in control of the type of care, the care setting, and the care services you want for your future self or the older members of your family. You also want these choices without breaking the bank. The earlier your family plans together, the more likely it is that you will avoid painful outcomes as your family ages.
This book offers a generational primer to save families the heartache, financial shock, stress, discord, and ongoing conflict that the absence of long-term planning often causes.
For many people, planning for extended or long-term care lacks a driving force until it’s too late. In addition to the motivators listed, the COVID-19 pandemic and images of the shortages of health and wellness services were a wake-up call for many of us. If these realities aren’t a trigger for you, then let me be clear: You need to have these important family conversations today and move toward a plan as soon as possible.
It’s really never too early to start planning, but it’s frequently too late. Use this book as a tool and commit to starting these crucial conversations today instead of tearing your family apart.