When I was a kid, sometime around the Battle of Gettysburg, I had run up a pretty good comic book collection. I was addicted to comic books and had first editions, first issues of Batman, Superman, Joe Palooka, Little Lulu, and The Katzenjammer Kids, to name a few. The dimes I got from my grandparents went a long way then.But, alas, you know exactly what happened to them, don’t you? I left for four years of college, plus a couple of years in the service (it was mandatory at that time), and by the time I came home (along with many of my neighborhood friends), those cartons in the garage? Well, where they are, I’m unsure but it could have been income in retirement.

A recent report from the Library of Congress says that for 40 percent of elderly recipients, Social Security contributes more than 90 percent of their income. And to take it a little further, 25 percent of recipients claim it is their only source of income. So, what this means is that people need to take another look at their retirement planning and perhaps get a little more serious. Or is “perhaps” too loose a word?

Actually, back in September author Marilee Driscoll appeared on the cable show "Money Matters Today," and she ticked off six important steps that she says is vital to successful aging:

    1. Find a trustworthy financial advisor who can look at what is and what isn’t critical to you. This is particularly relevant to married couples that may not always be on the same financial page.
    2. Make finances simpler. She says that you don’t need money in five different mutual fund companies and you don’t need an equal number of credit cards. What you are trying to do is to simplify your life.
    3. Where’s long-term care come into the equation? In particular how will you pay for it? The LTC Partnership educates people about developing a plan to project against the catastrophic financial and emotional costs typically associated with long-term care. Michael Fitzpatrick, its co-founder, notes that many of the most attractive options are private pay only. He feels that people should look into purchasing long-term care insurance that, he says, is the only insurance designed to cover home-based or facility-based care.
    4. Advance Care Advice. If you cannot communicate your wishes, what happens? Stressed here is the health care proxy, which is deemed a must.
    5. Distribution planning. It’s strongly suggested that you must review all of your assets as well as the beneficiaries on all insurance policies and din all accounts including pension and profit-sharing plans. Cited is the fact that many assets are passed along to stated beneficiates no mater what the will say.s  So, you need to have a valid will. Driscoll says that estate planning is not solely for the rich but for everyone.
    6. Finally, get rid of the clutter. It’s a given that when a person moves into retirement mode, he or she generally begins to downsize. They don’t want too much stuff. They may opt for an apartment where the super fixes everything rather than a large house where the weekend summer weekends are tending to get lawn and garden and the inter is shoveling snow.

By the same token it’s advocated that any of your valuables must be appraised and specifically designated to a certain beneficiary. I keep remembering how my mother tossed out all those first edition comic books some 55 years ago. Ouch, did that hurt!

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