Practical Tips and Tools for Retirement Preparation


We all aspire to retire comfortably. For most of us, that aspect of our life seem so far away. But time flies so fast that one day we would just see ourselves facing its door. We might also be faced with the prospect of caring for an elderly relative, so a retirement lifestyle is not so far as we thought it would be. Thus, it would be best to know the different practical tips and tools we can use to effectively prepare for it.

Financial planning also deals with the qualitative, aside from the quantitative, aspect of life. As such, we need to be engaged with non-financial tools in tandem with experts to give a holistic approach towards retirement. Here are some them:

Take care of your body. As a person ages, there are natural changes he experiences. Cumulative effects of habits and lifestyle may also appear such as high blood pressure, obesity, high blood sugar, and the likes. Aging is not an excuse for the body not to be taken cared of. In fact, it is even recommended to have it in optimal health, to minimize the risk of lifestyle diseases such as stroke, heart attack, or diabetes.

These, among other dreaded diseases, can cost your whole life savings. For instance, a cardiovascular operation can cost up to a million. That estimate does not include the cost of maintenance medicine and long-term care. Apart from the body, one should also take care of his mind. This is to minimize risk of cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Living a comfortable retirement means living it fully in a mobile and healthy body with full mental faculties.

Advanced medical directives, health care proxy. Imagine the situation in which you are in a coma, unable to decide whether to pull the plug or continue the fight. Who would then decide for you? How should they decide? An advanced medical directive (AMD) or a health care proxy (HCP) can take care of that. The AMD is an instruction which establishes a situation in which you would no longer desire life-support;. HCP designates a person to decide on your behalf. These tools would greatly lift the burden, doubt and responsibility among your relatives who would decide for you in the event of psychological or mental incapacity. Moreover, they would enable you to carry your wishes even though you cannot communicate them any further.

Memorial plans. A typical metal coffin nowadays can cost up to P80,000. There is a preneed plan as little as P400 a month. Now imagine having paid P4,800 in one year and then you die. You already have a coffin. That’s P4,800 against P80,000.–a huge bargain. A preneed memorial plan is cost-effective to prepare for burial expenses. Moreover, some plans give free insurance as well as return on capital. It is not only recommended for one’s anticipated own use, but also for persons who expect to support their elderly’s burial. Better to prepare now when it’s still cheaper than to do so later when its already costly.

Special and/or durable powers of attorney. A special power of attorney and a durable power of attorney can assign a person to act on your behalf in the even of physical, psychological or mental incapacity. It would be better to draft them with a lawyer for effective use them and avoid abuse.

Group tours. Retirees who want to use their years travelling can do well in joining group tours as this would be more economical than the do-it-yourself fashion. The local community, church and even friends may organize it, so be in the loop to catch some travel bargains.

Document storage. Critical documents such as insurance policies, land titles, stock certificates, bank passbooks, etc. should be stored in one safe location. Back up copies should be uploaded securely in the cloud. This will enable your surviving relatives to secure and process them for eventual estate settlement or insurance claims.

Philhealth benefits. The Law mandates that all senior citizens be members of Philhealth. Membership, nonetheless, is not automatic. If you are not a member, you have to go to the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs or Local health Insurance Office to be registered and avail of benefits that include assistance for dreaded diseases, operation procedures, and consultation.

Each person is unique. Solutions can be made tailor-fit. A professional financial planner can help.


Rienzie P. Biolena is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. He’s president and chief financial planner of WealthArki and Consultancy, a financial planning firm.


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