WTOP Interview: Are you ready for 8,000 days in retirement? Part II


Interview Transcript:

Hillary Howard: It’s 5:12. We’ve been talking about the 8,000 of retirement and whether we’ll have enough money to comfortably get through that period.

Shawn Anderson: Well joining us for part two of our conversation; we started this last week.

Hillary: That’s right.

Shawn: We go to Dawn Doebler, co-founder of Her Wealth and Senior Wealth Advisor at The Colony Group in Bethesda. Welcome back Dawn!

Dawn Doebler: Thank you Shawn!

Shawn: So, let’s start with this refresher about the 8,000 days in retirement and the phases each of us will eventually face.

Dawn: Well a group of very smart MIT scientists in the Age Lab, suggest most of us will experience a more complex retirement lifestyle lasting on average 8,000 days. And they break that up into 4 phases and that’s because we’re living longer. So, they recommend we add longevity planning to our readiness checklists and it’s why MIT titles the 3rd phase of retirement “Navigating Longevity” and the 4th phase “The Solo Journey”. And you know as a career financial advisor, I think it’s interesting to realize that the Age Lab is suggesting that in these 2 latter phases, it’s important to ponder the non-financial types of resources required to live well in old age. Things like maintaining cognitive abilities, physical well-being and enjoying social networks to keep you connected.

Consider how paying attention to these non-financial aspects really can lead to preserving more of your wealth.

Hillary: What else do we need to know about these 3rd and 4th phases?

Dawn: Phase 3 navigating longevity can be challenging if you’ve procrastinated on assessing how much money you have or how you’ll age in place. And that’s because usually during this phase one or both in a couple will encounter health challenges if they haven’t already, and it’s why we talk about ensuring your finances and your legal documents are in order before physical or cognitive health declines. And in this phase, you can also begin to consider potential caregivers, and of course, spouses often step in, but that stop-gap doesn’t last forever. Stats show that 1 in 4 American families provide nearly 21 hours a week of care to loved ones.

And in the best cases, couples enjoy financial security and are able to live in their home through phase 3. So, in phase 4 though, the solo journey; someone passing away often brings an abrupt change to the living arrangements. We see this can happen as a result of changes in the financial situation. This occurs oftentimes if the main source of income is a pension benefit that’s lost when someone passes away or for couples depending on both social security checks to make ends meet.

Sometimes becoming a widow also begins to get other family members involved in your decisions about living and it’s why we recommend that women start planning ahead for their old age.

Shawn: And in our final 30 seconds. How can we prepare ourselves for the end of the journey?

Dawn: Well we have a lot more information in the article on The Age lab’s work about ways to use technology in the last 2 phases of life. As you age, staying connected is important for social stimulation as well as for staying safe. And so go to our article for some more ideas on that and just to summarize; the MIT Age Lab has a lot of research and interesting work and it’s meant to give us insight on how retirement is changing in the face of living longer and more engaged lives. And we’re here to help you think about what these trends mean for you and your family.

Hillary: Alrighty, thank you so much Dawn. That’s Dawn Doebler of The Colony Group in Bethesda. For more information go to WTOP.com, search Her Wealth.