By now, you may have learned as much as possible about your illness and its progressions via Google search, and you are aware of escalating medical costs and the costs associated with possible home modifications, medical equipment and future home care. In Part 1 of this series, you learned where to find additional income and tips for risk reductions, now you’re about to learn what a CFP practitioner can do for your investment, cash flow analysis and other related matters.
Your CFP may modify your asset allocation and shift the focus from growth to more income-generating strategies. One idea is to add a deferred income annuity that may kick in a higher income later just when your medical cost starts to surge. With the QLAC implemented last year, it surely gives flexibility to use that in your IRA and/or 401(k) account for this purpose.
Another idea is to consolidate all of your financial accounts. Instead of having multiple 401(k) and IRA accounts from various financial institutions, consolidate them under one roof with one trusted advisor. You’re really doing yourself and your power-of-attorney (POA) for finance and beneficiaries a big favor here. When the RMD time comes, you can withdraw from one account, instead of gathering all IRA accounts and deciding which one to take. As opposed to spending a tremendous amount of time and effort complying with the plethora of required paperwork from multiple financial institutions, they only have a couple to deal with. (For related reading, see: Consolidating Your Retirement Money.)
The third idea may be to designate a special health care fund. Financial planners don’t want you to live like a pauper simply because you don’t know how your illness will progress. Separating one fund from the rest of the portfolio specifically for your illness helps alleviate unnecessary stress.
If you have a waiting period for any type of disability benefits, you need to know how much your monthly expenses are so you can start tapping your emergency fund or selling some investments to pay the bills. Your CFP can help you decide where to withdraw the funds from to pay the expenses without triggering a high tax burden, which would just add insult to injury.
In case you’re thinking of residing in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), you need to know that not all places accept applicants who are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thus, you may have to shop around to find the right one. Furthermore, if you suspect your illness is a slow-progressing one, you may opt for a CCRC with a large entrance fee but a lower monthly charge and no added costs for care. Conversely, a higher monthly cost but no big entrance fees may be suitable for people whose health is declining quickly. (For related reading, see: How to Find the Right Retirement Community.)
Social Security Claiming Strategy
With this new diagnosis, your Social Security filing strategy may need to change. Your CFP can modify the claiming strategies to provide the best possible benefits for you and your loved ones.
Take advantage of the technology available:
- Set up the auto-pay. The more you can automate routine financial tasks, the more time you have for yourself and your loved ones.
- Download all important documents online or in clouds for easy access.
- While you’re online, why not put all of your passwords in one safe place too? The last thing you want is to leave your loved ones scratching their heads and contemplating what your eight-letter password could be while the billings keep pouring in.
Those are just a few tips to get you started, and there are more to come as I continue to introduce the rest of the team members to support and organize your life more effectively post-diagnosis. This is not a DIY project you can tackle alone; you need each team member’s expertise and knowledge to help you move forward smoothly. Stay tuned for the next article. Cheers!
(For more from this author, see: Financial Planning in the Context of Chronic Illness.)