Financial planning is about money. Every decision we make every day includes money. The most significant relationship we have with money is learned much later in life. When we are young, we view "survival" as having the ability to just pay our bills. As we mature and experience life, we begin to view money in a different way. Having a career and the financial resources to care for our family, our health, our church and whatever else we view as important becomes our central focus.
I realize now through my clients that continuing to live with dignity, being self-sufficient in later years, and remaining financially independent are critical issues. It is not that you want less of a family relationship as you age; it is that you choose to spend your energy enjoying your children's company, not "burdening" them. You want your every day, life-pressing issues such as health care, hygiene, finances, doctor's visits, meals, housing, accommodating memory loss and other necessary details to be your responsibility, not theirs.
For those seniors who have not been able to develop the financial means, the answer may be to live with their children. When we continue to extend the longevity of life through modern medicine, reuniting the family under one home (a strategy that developed many years ago) becomes one solution. The parent and the child become the wiser for it, and a special type of maturing takes place. For some families, this can be the best workable solution. This generally calls for a dramatic change in lifestyle and the family's daily habits for both parent and child. Perhaps a new home must be considered for more living space. Open communication and respect for each other's privacy becomes a necessity and the parent must adapt and change to a new environment after living independently for a lifetime.
Collier County is a very special community. For years, I have referred to it as my "fantasy land," paradise or dream life. It is extraordinary, and people here, most of whom have achieved financial independence, have choices. The stages of life choices we have are either being self-sufficient and living independently, or the tragic possibility of needing full-time, 24-hour, nursing home care.
Retirement communities are abundant and can be a solution to maintaining your dignity and lifestyle. Seek alternatives and understand your options and financial situation before you make any decision.
Kim Ciccarelli Kantor is president and founder of Ciccarelli Advisory Services Inc., a family owned and operated firm in Florida and New York, which provides comprehensive financial investment and estate planning services for individuals, families and businesses. Her book is "Preserving Family Wealth & Peace of Mind."
Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. is at 3066 U.S. 41 N., No. 202, Naples. Information: 239-262-6577 and www.casmoneymatters.com.