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Do You Have a Housing Plan?

Laurie Turner February 15, 2024

How many of you have a financial plan?
How many of you have a retirement plan?
How many of you have a health plan?
How many of you have a housing plan?
A Housing Plan you say.  What’s a Housing Plan?  A housing plan is a comprehensive step by step program that realistically identifies the most appropriate place (or places) for you to live as you age and your needs and abilities change.  And, like any good financial or retirement plan, it should have flexibilities and contingencies built in, in case there’s an emergency or a sudden change in your health.  And like any good plan it should include input from your family and advisors (your lawyer, Realtor®, financial adviser, accountant and the like), to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
When thinking about a housing plan it’s best to start early.  We typically start discussing the concept of a housing plan with our clients in their 50’s and 60’s: Where do you want to live the rest of your life?  Of course, most people say, “I want to live in my home”.  In fact, 77% of adults ages 50 and up hope to stay in their homes long term, according to AARP.  In some communities that percentage is as high as 90%.  But wanting to age in place or saying you’re are going to age in place isn’t a plan, it’s a goal.  Only 37% of people think they will need long term care as they age but 69% of people actually will need care.  What’s the plan that’s going to allow you to age in place?  What modifications do you need to make to the house to allow you to age in place?  What home care services have you identified to hire if the need arises.  Are you prepared for the expense of aging in place?  The median annual cost for in-home care is approximately $62,000 for a home health aide to provide hands-on personal care and $60,000 for homemaker services to help with household tasks.  It may cost as much as $240,000 a year or more to stay home if you need 24-hour care, and that’s in addition to regular household expenses.  Is your decision to age in place just “rationalized inertia”, giving yourself an out when it comes to confronting other important aging decisions?  When is it time to call it quits and eventually move; what are your thresholds, what’s your line in the sand?  Do you know or will you “know when it’s time”?  Have you outlined and communicated your wishes in all potential circumstances or will the decision be made for you?  You may want your children to promise not to put you in a assisted living or a nursing home but there may come a time when it’s more cost effective and safer to go to a care unit.
Answering these and many other difficult questions, honestly, with yourself, your spouse and your family is how you put a housing plan in place.  Its all about asking and answering the questions nobody wants to ask.  It’s about having the difficult conversations that no one wants to have.  Its putting in the hard work now while you are in control so that everyone knows what your wishes are should you ever not be in control.
That’s exactly what we can do for you; talk about all the things nobody wants to talk about to make sure you have a housing plan.
In this series, we are going to look at several real-world examples from our own past clients’ experiences.  Some are examples of what to do right and some are examples of some common mistakes.
The first case study is from my own family…
If this sounds like you, or someone you know, we are here to have these conversations with dignity and tact.  Contact us at  (626) 483-5269 or [email protected]
Stay tuned for the rest of the series…

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