Tags: Retire | protect | assets | will

Consumer Reports: How to Protect Your Assets in Your 60s

By    |   Monday, 27 April 2015 07:20 AM

When you get into your 60s, guarding the assets you have built up over the course of a lifetime becomes a paramount issue.

Catherine Fredman of Consumer Reports examines risks to your retirement savings to consider as you enter your 60s. They include:
  • "You let insurance coverage lapse," she writes. If you downsize from a house to an apartment, don't forget to obtain renters insurance. It provides financial protection against loss of your possessions from fire, vandalism, theft, explosions and windstorms. The average annual premium is less than $200, Fredman says.
  • "You don't make your wishes known." You may not have a will, or you may not have given someone power of attorney should you become disabled. The solution: "update your legal documents and estate plans every four to five years," Fredman recommends. "If you have more than one adult child, consider making one the point person on healthcare decisions and give another the responsibility for financial decisions.
"Many times you might not even think about these risks until you wake in a panic and wonder, 'Did I ever remove my ex's name from my 401(k) beneficiary form?' Or 'Should I have listened to my agent when he tried to sell me umbrella insurance?'"

Meanwhile, you're probably well aware of studies showing that many retirees have amassed inadequate savings, but you may not know that many also are saddled with big debt loads.

You're probably well aware of studies showing that many retirees have amassed inadequate savings, but you might not know that many also are saddled with big debt loads.

As of 2010, U.S. households enduring the highest levels of debt were those whose heads were aged 55 to 64, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. They had average debt of $107,060.

That's obviously a major problem. In addition to harming retirees' financial health, it also can affect their mental and physical health.

"Large debts which are hard to imagine paying off directly contribute to symptoms of depression and chronic stress, both of which may lead to poorer physical and psychological outcomes," Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist and consultant for AARP, tells USA Today.

"The stress of debt can worsen every chronic medical illness."

So how can you cope with a big debt load?

"Start with credit cards," Melissa Richey, vice president of Fragasso Financial Advisors, tells USA Today. "Pay more than the minimum amount. That [debt] does nothing for you. You don't get a tax deduction and the interest rates are high. Then consider paying down your mortgage."

"More retirees have debt than 20 years ago," Jamie Hopkins, associate director at the American College in New York, notes. "Having debt is not necessarily a bad thing — it's just if you're prepared for the expense, if you have enough income. Debt in itself is not a bad thing, but not being able to meet your debt and the other life issues is. You need to plan for that challenge."

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When you get into your 60s, guarding the assets you have built up over the course of a lifetime becomes a paramount issue.
Retire, protect, assets, will
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2015-20-27
Monday, 27 April 2015 07:20 AM
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