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Financial Planning for Caregivers

Here are 10 tips to make sure you're financially ready for retirement.

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Investigate long-term care insurance. The longer you wait, the more expensive it becomes. If you lock in a policy at age 50, for example, you may only pay between $10 and $50 a month, depending on coverage. If you wait until 65, the same coverage will cost between $40 and $150 a month. The AARP offers one such plan through MetLife; find out more at www.metlife.com/aarpwww.metlife.com/aarp .

Consider what you'll do after retirement--and when you'll retire. More and more boomers are saying they plan to retire after 65, or work at least part-time past retirement, says the NCOA's Parkin. "Think about what you want your life to look like after retirement. What do you want to do with your time?" says Dauphine. "Don't leave the workforce until you're really sure you want to and are ready to financially, because it's a lot harder to get back into the workforce than it is to change jobs or ask a current employer for more flexible options."

Choose a good financial adviser. As tax laws, savings options, and benefits become more and more complicated, it's almost impossible to understand your options on your own. You'll navigate the confounding waters of retirement planning better with an experienced guide. "Hire a planner before you retire, someone who'll look at your whole financial picture, from wills and trusts to insurance and advance medical directives," says Dauphine. To find a good adviser, talk to neighbors and friends for references, and interview several. Your best bet, says Dauphine: a Certified Financial Planner (www.cfp.net), who must pass an examination and live up to a code of standards and ethics.

Get an advanced medical directive and financial power of attorney. Without an advance medical directive, your estate may be depleted by extreme medical measures you never wanted, since you neglected to put your wishes in writing. And a carefully crafted financial power of attorney will put your money matters in the hands of someone you trust should you become incapacitated. You can learn more about these issues on the AARP's site at http://www.aarp.org/estate_planning/.

Organize your estate. It's uncomfortable to think about a time when you won't be here anymore, but better to do it now, when you have time to reflect and get sound advice. If you don't yet have a will, now is the time to make one out. You should also consider a living trust so your heirs can avoid probate, as well as ways to limit estate taxes.

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Reviewed on October 01, 2005

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