WTOP Interview: Aging Parents, Aging Us: How To Prepare for the Next Stage of Life Part II


SHAWN ANDERSON: Now the second part of our special series ”aging parents, aging us”. Dawn Doebler; Senior Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda and cofounder of Her Wealth is with us again. Last week we talked about our parents moving into their 70s and 80s and the tough questions we have to ask while looking after them. Dawn here we go, looking at our own well-being here, we’ve been helping our parents many of us, we have to think about our own aging process, so give us an idea of what we need to do that might be similar to what we were doing for mom and dad?

DAWN DOEBLER: Shawn, a lot of our Her-Wealth clients are struggling to help their parents and that begins to make them aware of planning they should be doing for themselves. So we suggest the first step for 50 and 60 somethings is to simulate the conversations you’re having with your parents and if you haven’t had those conversations yet, you can look at our article from last week for some ideas. But really think about what your expectations are for your own old age, what are your wishes and what’s possible given your level of wealth. Also we want to make sure we remind people to designate someone to make healthcare or financial decisions for you. Everyone, no matter their age should have powers of attorney because frankly accidents can happen, sudden illnesses can happen and that’s a big part of being prepared.

HILLARY HOWARD: Since women generally outlive men Dawn, what should they consider now as they start to plan for the years ahead?

DAWN DOEBLER: There are really two main areas; the first one is what your long-term care needs might be and there are many considerations, it’s a complicated area but four things and four questions you could be asking yourself;

1.     Do you have enough money to self-insure? The average lifetime cost of long-term care in retirement is over $250,000, so it’s a significant number.

2.     What level of care should you be planning for, would you stand in your home, assisted living or nursing home?

3.     Would you be seeking care in the current area, so would you stay where you are currently located or maybe relocate to perhaps where you grew up?

4.     And lastly, are you insurable? Many people become uninsurable in the early 60s so that’s something to consider, it can be very expensive.

On the second area is estate planning, if you don’t have an estate plan, that’s your top priority and if you do have one we find many of our clients have outdated estate plans, so it’s important to have that reviewed every 3 to 5 years.

SHAWN ANDERSON: When is the best time to start planning and long-term care options should we be considering?

DAWN DOEBLER: Well, that’s a big question when should you start planning and because things can happen at any point, we say the sooner the better. One statistic that’s important to keep in mind according to AARP; they say 52% of people who turned 65 today will develop some form of severe disability and will need some long-term care support. So certainly you want to start establishing a plan well before age 65 and certainly significantly sooner. If you’re divorced, we do have people in their 40s looking for long-term care if they’re divorced. And to your question about what are your options, those are largely dependent on where you’re located and how much money you have as well as your current health situation.

HILLARY HOWARD: Dawn, always great to have you, great information, thanks so much.

DAWN DOEBLER: Thank you.

HILLARY HOWARD: Dawn Doebler; Senior Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda. By the way, we’ve got a lot more information for you to look at WTOP.com search Her Wealth.