Dr. Mor's Column - July
Making the Golden Years Golden Tips

By Eva Mor, PhD, Author of Making the Golden Years Golden

As one of America's baby boomers, I am acutely aware of how little time we spend preparing for our retirement. We tend to spend much more time planning our vacations than our retirement. In my book Making the Golden Years Golden I provide the reader with many tools and guidelines as to how to prepare for the retirement years. Here are some easy steps to help you prepare and protect yourself.

  1. Wills: Every American should have a will in place, eliminating any ambiguity and misunderstanding among the people you love. This Legal Instrument need not be expensive. You can find many sites on the internet that cost no more then $49. All you need is two witnesses that will attest that you signed it of your own will.
    Make sure to review your will every 2-3 years to make sure that it still reflects your wishes.
    Choose executors that will follow your wishes.
  2. Health Proxy: Designate a person to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. If you do not have a health proxy representative to speak for you, strangers will make decisions about your care, such as doctors who do not know you or your wishes. Review your Health Proxy every 2-3 years to make sure that your representative is still available.
  3. Medical Records: Keep all your medical records, from all specialists who are providing you with health care services. Ask for copies of all tests and reports. It is your right.
    Keep copies of all medical records in a file, and let someone you trust know where you keep the file, so they can retrieve it in a time of need, such as a medical emergency.
    List of Medication: Keep an up to date list of all medications that you are taking, including dosages, and times of taking them. You can include added information such as: with food, before your meal, etc. Take with you this list to all doctorsí appointments, so each will know what the other prescribes. Keeping list of medication with you at all times is very helpful if and when emergency occurs.
    List of Doctors: Make a list of all the specialists that provide you with health care. List them by name and specialty. Make sure to include their phone numbers and addresses.
  4. Make Your Home Safe: Review your home for safety. Install safety bars in the bathroom. Keep a chair in the bathtub or shower. In the kitchen and bathroom, make sure that items that are used daily are placed low and within easy reach.
    Remove all area rugs, etc.
    Keep a list of emergency phone numbers, such as family members, friends and neighbors, pharmacy, etc.
    Keep on hand extra candles, butteries, a flash light, bottled water, food and medication, that will serve you at times you are unable to leave your home.
  5. Financial Plan: Create a financial plan early. When investing keep an eye on future needs when you retire. Estate Planning should be developed, regardless of the size of your estate. Check if Trusts are appropriate for you. Use a financial adviser that is licensed and recommended. Be careful when giving someone Power of Attorney. Protect yourself from Scams: If you do not initiate a call, and you do not know the caller, hang up. The longer you stay on the phone the greater the chance that you will give out more information than you need to. Check solicitations from fund raising organizations carefully. Many look very similar to known and legitimate organizations but are actually scams to get your money. Never give out your Social Security number or your bank account number over the phone.

The above tips are simple to implement, with little or no cost to you, but disregarding them or keep postponing in putting them into place for yourself or for your parent may proof costly in the future, both monetarily and physically. Few easy steps taken today will provide you with a great deal of protection tomorrow.