Livens & Reed, PLLC

Take advantage of smart steps for elder law planning

The amount of money a person will need to survive in old age is not something that can be precisely pinned down – indeed, determining age expectancy involves a bit of guess work. However, based on one's background, general health, genetic predispositions and current lifestyle, it may be possible to get a ball park figure that's fairly accurate. The amount needed will usually turn out to be significantly more than the individual had in mind. In Texas and other states, individuals will be best served by consulting with an elder law attorney and devising a long-term care plan as early in the game as possible.

There are some smart steps that experts recommend in generally establishing one's sufficient reserves for the future. One of the first suggestions is always to consider putting off the year that you first claim Social Security retirement benefits. In general, the benefit amount can go up by 8 percent per year for each year delayed up until age 70.

The bottom line is that if a person is healthy and reasonably expects to live for many years, it makes sense to hold off on taking your Social Security benefits as long as possible. At the very least, it is recommended that a person wait to claim until reaching full retirement age, which is generally 66 to 67. There are other strategies to increase Social Security benefits, depending on one's marital status and other factors.

A second major piece of advice is to consider purchasing a simple annuity to provide additional monthly income. Annuities are stepping in to replace traditional pension accounts as fewer employers can maintain traditional pensions. A fixed immediate annuity involves paying a lump sum up front and taking out monthly income right away.

A deferred income annuity provides for paying premiums in installments to build up the later distributions. The longer an annuity is deferred, the more retirement income it will build up. There are several variations on these basic models. Consulting with a financial planning expert and an elder law attorney is recommended. These general considerations are applicable in Texas as well as nationwide.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Source:, "Can You Afford to Live to 100?", July 2, 2015

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