The last thing most people want to worry about after they retire is money. (That’s what working and raising a family are for.) Retirement should be a time when we see the financial plans we made throughout our careers come together, allowing us to enjoy the fruits of our labor according to our own preferences and priorities. Whether or not we can have the retirement we once envisioned, having skilled, trustworthy financial advisors to call on and a caring retirement community to live in can make all the difference.
For many seniors, the largest part of their retirement savings calculation is housing, particularly if medical conditions make it difficult for them to stay in their home. Often, seniors in assisted living communities pay the facilities with their own funds for all or part of their stay.
“We have private-pay residents in all levels of care, so the amount of financial planning can differ from situation to situation,” says Ron Lindow, Waunakee Manor’s marketing director. “Being a continuum, we also assist with state funding enrollment processes when the time comes for our long-term residents. We assist with guidance on the enrollment process.”
Waunakee Manor is a continuing care retirement community that provides options in terms of cost and medical and nursing care. It offers four levels of care depending on the individual needs of each resident: independent, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehab.
While exceptional medical and nursing care are crucial to Waunakee Manor’s formula of success, many of the retirement community’s other amenities also make the environment attractive and welcoming for seniors and their families.
“We attract seniors by offering many activities and events open to the community,” Lindow says. “What residents value most about Waunakee Manor is our consistency in staff and our exceptional care. Our residents really feel listened to when they voice a concern, and they appreciate that it is always resolved promptly.”
Waunakee Manor believes retirement should be relaxing and enjoyable, filled with all the things that made life fun before retirement. That’s why residents are provided with entertainment options literally every day, including coffee meetups, live music and game nights, among many others. In August, the staff threw a block party to celebrate the start of new renovations throughout the grounds.
“Good food, good company and good entertainment,” Lindow says. “That’s why our residents choose to live here — and why they stay.”
Summit Credit Union
Summit Financial Advisors has three distinct roles when advising members on financial planning, and the credit union’s employees take all three roles very seriously.
“It’s often a broad-based role. Depending on the circumstances or need, I may serve as a financial counselor, coach or an advocate for the Summit Credit Union senior members I work with,” says Steven Mueller, financial services advisor with the Summit Financial Advisors team.
As a financial coach, Mueller helps members navigate financial tools and markets by looking at their individual plan to see what works best.
As a financial counselor, he helps members find suitable returns in an era when returns may be hard to find using traditional tools. Mueller introduces and educates members on the different tools that are currently available and likely to assist them in reaching their financial goals in retirement.
As an advocate, Mueller has access to the resources, experience and research to anticipate scams or faulty investment schemes that seniors might be offered.
“Sometimes seniors are at risk of being taken advantage of financially, and at these times it is helpful to have an advocate working on their behalf,” Mueller says. “As an advocate, I position myself outside the scope of stocks and bonds and mutual bonds, and make sure there are not fraudsters or criminals preying on them. Sometimes clients will get an email or phone call with some kind of offer and they ask me if they are legitimate. The threats can be different at that age.”
Even seniors with solid, low-risk retirement portfolios need to review their plans at least once a year, Mueller says, and maybe quarterly for retirees whose portfolios are more complex. Interest-rate risk and inflation risk are unpredictable and can cause large fluctuations in retirement income and savings.
“New things creep in, like the changing face and costs of healthcare and long-term care,” Mueller says. “We might not make any changes or adjustments, but it is still a good idea to do a review.”
Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with
the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, may lose value, no financial institution guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America. FR-2663759.1-0719-0821
UW Credit Union
Financial planning for people who are retired or very close to retirement is different than other financial planning because it allows you to plan with fewer unknowns, for better or worse. You are no longer dreaming about how much money you “might” earn in your career or how much money your investments “might” earn for you. You are working with the money you have on hand and figuring out how to use it to live the retired life you want to have.
“There is a heightened sense of awareness about what is real and what is likely,” says Tim Schiefelbein, CFP®, a UW Credit Union financial consultant. “It is no longer theoretical. Plus, there are all of the pieces of the puzzle you have to consider when you think about how much money you need every year and how much you can risk.”
Those puzzle pieces can include the retiree’s spouse and family structure, Social Security, retirement accounts, liquid savings, parents, adult children, grandchildren, vacation homes or other properties, charitable giving, gifting and inheritance, and household spending habits.
“After that is all organized, we develop a plan and make sure we include the things we don’t know,” Schiefelbein says. “For example, long-term care. Our longevity. What can I expect from my retirement portfolio? Inflation. How these things apply to your life or lifestyle is going to differ from one person to the next.”
When these decisions and their potential consequences are finally real, it can be stressful. Sometimes other, subsequent decisions are necessitated by big life changes that are themselves stressful, such as an economic recession or the health of the retiree or a loved one. What makes the decisions less stressful is having a trusting relationship with your financial advisor.
“The foundation of any relationship is trust,” Schiefelbein says. “When we are working with individuals and families on their financial matters, it is of utmost importance that we establish and maintain a level of trust. As an organization, UW Credit Union has spent years building that foundation with our members and with the community. When members meet with me to plan out this critical area of their lives, this is the bedrock on which we build the relationship and plan. This is directly in line with one of our core values of acting in the members’ best interest.”•
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