Five Surprisingly Common Planning Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making in Droves
Baby boomers - we are the first generation tasked with the responsibility of planning for and funding their golden years. This generation, which includes those of us born between 1946 and 1964, have entered and continue to enter into retirement. As we make this financial transition into retirement, many of us are learning that we have made some of the most typical retirement mistakes.
But, even if you have made a financial mistake or two, there is still time to avoid or correct these five surprisingly common planning mistakes baby boomers are making in droves.
Mistake #1: Believing Estate Planning is Only for the Wealthy - While baby boomers are not the only ones guilty of this mistake, the common misconception is that only the ultra-rich need to have an estate plan prepared. By some reports, about half of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 do not even have a will. Because estate planning encompasses not only protection of your assets (regardless of how much you have accumulated), but also helps you avoid "living probate." Estate planning includes your healthcare choices, if and when the time comes you are incapacitated. The lack of planning can leave you and loved one in a dire situation should any medical issues arise.
Mistake #2: Checklist Mentality - For many, estate planning is just the preparation of legal documents. Once the documents are signed, the client crosses off the item from his or her to-do list and moves on. But, your circumstances may (and usually will) change. And the likelihood of this happening increases the longer time goes by. To ensure your estate planning objectives are carried out, you should update your estate plan every time a major (or minor) life change happens, such as retirement.
Mistake #3: Not Completing Your Estate Planning Homework - Just because the estate planning documents have been signed does not necessarily mean the planning is complete. It is important any assets that need to be retitled are done so as soon as possible, before you forget. If the ownership or designations on financial accounts and property do not align with your estate planning strategy, there can be major problems in the future. Improper titling of financial accounts or property can result in an unexpected or undesirable distribution. This can happen because you may make one plan through your will or trust, but the ultimate determination of who inherits will rely on the ownership or beneficiary designation of those assets upon your death.
Mistake #4: Leaving Out Little (And Not So Little) Things - It is important to consider all forms of property, not just the high-value assets when putting together an estate plan. Some of the most commonly overlooked assets include digital assets and family pets. If not expressly addressed in your estate plan, your family may end up fighting over valuable assets, abandoning those they deem worthless, or not even realizing certain assets existed. Interestingly, we have seen some of the largest arguments over sentimentally valued and not dollar valued assets, e.g., a father's warped vinyl collection, a rocking chair mother nursed all the children in, nana's roasting pot that she used every Thanksgiving, granddad's Purple Heart, etc. Consider everything.
Mistake #5: Not Preparing for Life Events & Emergencies - No one has a crystal ball. However, with proper estate planning, you may be able to weather the storm brought on by some of life’s unexpected events or emergencies. With long term care costs increasing year after year, planning for the future possibility of a nursing home can save you money and reduce worry if the time comes.
Estate Planning Help
Although many baby boomers have made these mistakes, you do not have to be one of them. And even if you have, it is never may not be too late. Call us today at 301.892.2713 to learn about estate planning options and to make sure you and your family are protected from these common mistakes.
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