The Sunset Years

As the saying goes, there is nothing more certain in life than death and taxes. The minute we are born we are on a gradual path towards the inevitable, while paying taxes along the way! Around the age of eighty people start to become conscious of their mortality. Beyond this point, a traumatic health event, such as surgery, a critical illness or a serious fracture, can trigger a sudden decline in overall health which may be difficult to recover from. The incidence of dementia doubles every five years between the ages of 65 and 90 and by age 95, dementia affects about 20% of people.

Reaching the golden age of eighty is a good time to take stock and prepare. The basics that need to be covered are:

  • Make sure your Will is up to date
  • Set up Enduring Powers of Attorney for your financial assets and your personal welfare so that your partner or a family member can act on your behalf
  • Simplify your financial affairs by reducing the number of bank accounts you have and consolidating your investments.

In the late stages of retirement, most people spend less. Take stock of how you wish to use your remaining financial assets. Have a plan to spend money on travel and comfortable living while you still have good health.

Where do you wish to spend your last years? Many retirement villages have long waiting lists. Moving to a cheaper house may allow you to free up funds to enjoy your last years or you could look at a home equity release loan. If you are worried about outliving your money, a variable annuity which provides a guaranteed income for life may be worthy of consideration.

As with anything else in life, things work out much better if you plan ahead.

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Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.  For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com

Getting Back on Track

Here we are half way through the year, with distant memories of summer, the start of the New Year and all those resolutions that were made. In the middle of winter, everything seems like a hard grind. In the darkness and cold it is easy to let go of promises made to get fit, lose weight and save more. Whatever your goals, here are some simple tips to get you back on track.

  1. Measure your progress. There is a saying in management that what gets measured gets done. For financial goals, measurement is easily done in dollars. However, where most people fall down is they don’t look at the measures. Make a date for yourself once a fortnight or once a month to measure your progress.
  2. Review your goals. If your progress isn’t what you hoped it would be, break down your goals into small steps that can be easily achieved. The sense of achievement that comes from succeeding with a small goal is highly motivating. Reaching a big goal is nothing more than achieving a series of small steps that take you closer over time to your end goal.
  3. Focus on your results. Make a graphical representation of your goal that you can keep in a prominent place to remind you of your progress. A creative way to do this is to draw an image of a flower with each petal representing a dollar amount which is a small step towards your goal – whether it is debt reduction, savings or investment. As each step is achieved, colour in a petal until your flower is complete.

The difference between setting goals and achieving them is being able to change your habits. This requires time, persistency and discipline but once you change your habits, you will change your life.

Liz-Koh-new.jpg

Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.  For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com