New Study Shows That Having Children Financially Challenging for Retirees

Parents may have numerous challenges as they shift into senior citizen years. However, a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, determined that children can be a detriment to saving enough for retirement. Children are expensive because they require clothing, food, child care, and education.

The overall family income can be negatively affected by one parent, in particular, taking a lesser job or staying at home. This means less of a chance that that parent will be able to set aside money for retirement. Within a family, every child is associated with up to 4% less wealth. If the parents are in their 50s, each child increases by 2 percentage points the parent’s risk for not having enough support financially to get through retirement.

It’s estimated that nationally approximately 50% of couples do not have enough assets like a pension payment, retirement plans, or a house that is completely paid to sustain them through a full retirement, which could last as many as 30 years given recent longevity numbers. With this information, you need to be prepared to protect yourself and consider all of your financial obligation as you near retirement.

Retirement and estate planning are well worth the time and effort put in to ensure you’ve got something that reflects your needs and goals. Engage the services of professionals to get peace of mind with your planning.



Financial & Estate Planning for Women More Important with Increasing Longevity

While general financial and estate planning advice is intended to apply to all investors, the truth is that women statistically live longer than men and may face unique issues such as ensuring that the assets they have set aside will continue to last them throughout their expected lifetime. This also confronts the challenges faced by many women given that they are likely to earn less over the course of their careers compared with male counterparts due to the gender pay gap and taking time off work to be caregivers.

Although the gender pay gap is decreasing, women still earn 83% of what men are in 2015, according to research collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This often leads to women saving less for retirement, receiving smaller pensions, and getting less in social security benefits.

Women are more likely to live on their own in their golden years due to their own choices, or divorce or death of a spouse. It is crucial that they take individual responsibility and planning opportunities as seriously as possible because their financial decisions may have repercussions that influence them for many years to come.

Scheduling a consultation with a dedicated Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help give you a broader perspective over the issues involved in financial and estate planning and the necessary documents that may be required to assist women to provide for their own care and lifestyle over the course of retirement.



What Do Job Satisfaction, Work-Life Balance, and Retirement Have to Do with One Another?

Anyone who is thinking ahead to retirement has probably invested a significant amount of time into their career as well as planning ahead for what their retirement will look like. Having consultations with a broad range of different professionals can help you to articulate your goals and ensure that your current plan is in line with your needs. Two of the major issues that affect the employees in their 50s and 60s include job satisfaction and work life balance.

At the recent 2017 Retirement Research Consortium Meeting, new studies were shared regarding a perspective on both of these issues. Researchers in a California study found a strong connection between women stepping out of the workforce when their spouse had a health shock.

The same desire to leave the workforce occurred whether the woman was employed on a part time or full time basis. In fact, up to 14% of people who retired earlier than planned said that their reason for doing so was having to care for a family member such as a spouse.

When a spouse gets sick, this often causes a reprioritization and indicates that life may be interfering with work. According to the research study however, men were unlikely to follow the same pattern as their wives when the women had health shocks.

The study shows that women bear a lot of the responsibility when life intervenes around retirement. If you have questions about how to connect your retirement planning and your estate planning, scheduling a consultation with an experienced professional is strongly recommended.

An estate planning attorney in Massachusetts can help illuminate you about some of the most critical issues to pay attention to during this vital time.



Older Americans Significantly Affected by Debt

Debt is a problem for people of all ages, however, a new research from the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center indicates that debt is a particular problem for baby boomers. The study has been conducted every year since 1990 and looks at the experiences of more than 20,000 Americans over age 50. Magnified Money identified that 33% of Americans over the age of 50 currently carry non-mortgage debt from one month to another.

The average amount of non-mortgage debt was almost $12,500 and approximately $4,800 in credit card debt. Any type of high interest debt can make it problematic for an older American to have a quality lifestyle in retirement. This is particularly true if they are exposed to any costs associated with long term care.

The rising costs of health care needs as people age is extremely important to consider, particularly for a couple that may have counted on the joint retirement to fund their retirement needs. Their assets can become quickly decimated by the health care costs linked to just one long term care event, such as the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a broken hip.

These issues can jeopardize the retirement of the other spouse as well and require careful and complex planning. If you are concerned about how to protect what you’ve accumulated over the course of your life, estate planning is a must. Consulting with an experienced lawyer sooner rather than later is strongly recommended if you have estate planning questions.


Dealing with An Aging Parent Who Shows Signs of Cognitive Issues

It is very difficult to realize that your loved one may be losing his or her faculties. In fact, many children who find themselves in this situation as adults will try to do everything in their power to step in and assist with this situation as long as they can. However, after a certain point you may be unable to handle this situation on your own.

This is even more difficult when your loved one is uncomfortable with getting help and may even fight you about it. Relying on your support network of other relatives is extremely important but particularly if there are cognitive issues with your loved one, it is imperative that you discuss these with the family member’s physician and develop a plan for how you and others will assist with this.

Alzheimer’s, plus unclear estate planning, can also generate a great deal of problems down the road when your loved one may no longer be able to make decisions for themselves. Finding advisors that you can trust to help with this situation – including an attorney, accountant, and financial professionals – can give you peace of mind. If something were to happen to your loved one where they were no longer able to make decisions on their own, someone is available to help guide you through the decisions that need to be made.

Unfortunately, elder individuals who are starting to suffer from cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s may be easy picking for scammers who will do everything possible to carry out fraud for people who are unable to make decisions for themselves.

Having the right family and professional people in positions of assistance and who care about your loved ones early on in the process is important. Furthermore, you need a clear plan of what will happen if the condition continues to worsen is crucial for protecting you and your family member.

An estate planning lawyer in Massachusetts is a great resource to turn to during this difficult time.


Planning to Phase into Retirement? New Study Says It’s Rare

Many people looking to retirement don’t want to suddenly stop working altogether either for financial or personal reasons. They instead want to phase into it by switching to part-time hours first. However, there’s a gap between what employees want and what employers expect.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies recently identified that 77% of employers believe that the majority of their employees will want to continue working after they retire. However, up to 47% of employees envision a phased transition to retirement. Very few of them actually end up phasing into retirement. Many employers do not want to allow their employees to shift from full-time to part-time.

Just 27% of employers allow workers to take on positions that are less demanding or stressful so that they can prepare for retirement. These phased retirement programs are rare even though there is clearly interest in the market coming from employees directly. More than 1,800 for profit company employers were interviewed for this study. Although 71% of those employers believe that they were aging friendly with regard to work arrangements, opportunities, and training for all ages to be successful, many of them do not provide a comprehensive or clear program for phasing into retirement.

The US Government Accountability Office recently completed their own study for the US Senate Special Committee on Aging. They’ve identified that phased retirement programs offer a great deal of flexibility for employers and workers, but that they are extremely rare. If you have questions about the retirement planning process and how it works alongside estate planning, schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer today.


Don’t Make These Retirement Planning Mistakes

Millions of baby boomers are headed into retirement and unfortunately, some may discover that they are not as prepared as they thought they were. Thinking about retirement is a great opportunity to evaluate mistakes you have made up to this point or to avoid them in practice altogether.

The first and most common mistake with regard to retirement planning is failing to get an early jump on planning. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the easier it is to accumulate the necessary resources. Young individuals who are settling into a career, purchasing their first home, and getting married will frequently defer retirement planning, which could cost them in the long run. The next major mistake in retirement planning is underestimating your retirement needs.

Most people don’t realize how much money they will actually need to acquire in order to retire comfortably. A person will usually need to replace close to 90% of his or her income before retirement to maintain a standard of living and as longevity numbers are increasing, this becomes even higher. Furthermore, many people overestimate their ability to continue working past a certain age. People with desk jobs are most likely to assume they can continue working, but this is often not the case. Reasons outside of their control such as poor mental or physical health, losing their job or having to care for an ailing spouse or a loved one are just a couple of the reasons why you may need to stop working sooner than you anticipated.

Want more information about retirement and estate planning? Make a call to a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer today.

What You Should Know About Accepting an Early Retirement Offer

After you’ve been working your entire adult life, when a company presents you with an early retirement offer, it seems wise to take it. It can even be tempting if you’ve been planning to get out of the job for some time. But you should never accept an offer without first carefully reviewing your options.

Many people dream of early retirement, but the decision to take it can be a complicated one. There are both emotional and financial considerations to evaluate. There is a psychological impact of early retirement. If you are not fully prepared to transition from your full-time job to a more leisurely schedule, the adjustment can be challenging. You can even face more health issues as a result.

Experiencing mental health problems like anxiety is extremely common for someone who has not planned for the transition from working to early retirement. This is why it’s beneficial to determine whether or not you are psychologically ready to make the jump from your job to being retired sooner than you anticipated. Breakdown the offer that you were given by your company to determine whether or not it is worthwhile to retire early. The offer should include a breakdown of this important information and you are in particular interested in any post-retirement medical insurance and a severance package.

Compare the severance package provided by the company to the earnings you would make if you stayed employed. Since Medicare coverage does not begin until you turn 65, you will need to have health care insurance that will protect you from your early retirement until your 65th birthday.

Ready to talk options? Then it’s time to call a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer to discuss more about your retirement and your estate.



I didn’t win the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot.

You can’t win ‘em all, right? At least the winner came from Massachusetts, so that’s something we can all share in. But somehow, I’d rather share in the winnings.

Anyway, shortly after it was announced that someone in Massachusetts hit the jackpot, I came across an article entitled “5 things the Powerball winner needs to do.” Here are the five to do’s:

  • Keep the ticket close. (Makes sense to me)
  • (The author says a lottery winner shouldn’t present his or her ticket to the powers that be before contacting an attorney, financial planner and accountant. Good advice.)
  • Remain anonymous if possible. (Makes a lot of sense to me.)
  • Choose a lump sum or annual payments. (Here the author is referring to the importance of basing this decision on the advice of professionals, such as tax advisors, attorneys, accountants, etc. Again, sound advice.)
  • Take a deep breath. (The author advises not to fill your driveway with Teslas immediately but instead think about your legacy and perhaps make charitable contributions for the betterment of society. I think that’s a great idea, too.)

Unfortunately, last week’s winner didn’t get the memo. We all know who she is, where she worked, and where she lives (or maybe “lived.”) Presumably, she’s heard from quite a few dear friends and family she didn’t know existed until her name and picture appeared in the media. Did she get an email, text, tweet, voice mail or good old-fashioned letter from someone claiming to be her best friend in kindergarten—you know, the one who always happily shared her last cookie with the Powerball winner? I can’t be certain, but I suspect there were a few messages along those lines sent to the winner.

Now, I’m not saying that by failing to follow the five to do’s for Powerball winners our fellow Massachusetts resident is destined for a starring role on the show “The Lottery Ruined My Life.” She’d have to squander an awful lot of money to merit an appearance on that show.

But as an estate planning and elder law attorney, I do hope she works with qualified, ethical professionals to effectively manage and protect her windfall. In fact, a few of the tips offered in the Powerball article are equally applicable to planning for future generations and addressing the important question of whether or not they are equipped to handle sudden wealth.

To read the Powerball article I’ve been referring to in its entirety, visit



Senior Driving Safety, Part II.

There is no single, comprehensive test to determine whether a senior (or anyone else for that matter) is a safe driver. However, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has put together the following safe driver checklist:

  • Do you have difficulty seeing clearly in the dusk and dark? Do headlights from other vehicles obstruct your sight?
  • Are you easily intimidated by passing vehicles, including trucks and motorcycles?
  • Do you have difficulty reading road signs?
  • Do you have difficulty following construction detours or seeing a police officer on detail near construction zones?
  • Do you have difficulty seeing train crossing signals or hearing train whistles?
  • Do you have difficulty keeping up with the posted speed limit?
  • Do you get drowsy behind the wheel or have difficulty concentrating?
  • Do you have difficulty hearing other vehicles?
  • Do you often get lost on once familiar roads?
  • Do you forget the basics, such as putting on your head­ lights and wearing a seat belt?
  • Are you unsure of your parking skills? Can you parallel park and park in a straight line?
  • Are you unsure of your reflexes and reaction time? Is it difficult to react quickly in certain situations, such as brak­ing to avoid a collision?
  • Have your family, friends, or even police officers told you that you aren’t a safe driver?

If you answered yes to many of these questions, you may want to consider driving less or not driving at all. If you’re still not sure, many hospitals, occupational therapists and rehabilitation centers offer driving evaluations. Here is a link to a comprehensive list of driving evaluation programs and driver training classes in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire: In addition, the RMV offers free, one-hour safe driving workshops. Visit for a list of upcoming workshops.

If it is clear that you or a loved one shouldn’t be driving anymore, what are your options?

Let’s start with the obvious. Having your family or friends drive you around is fine and many loved ones are happy to do it. But what about that sense of freedom we talked about in my last post? One way to regain some of that freedom is to use ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. However, many seniors are uncomfortable with the technology involved. Ride sharing companies have begun to address this. So, too, have other entrepreneurs.

Here are links to two stories about seniors taking advantage of ride sharing options. This one discusses seniors using Uber: This article describes a newer company that tailors its services specifically to seniors: And here’s one I really like: It’s about a company called GoGoGrandparent, which allows seniors to request rides by making a simple phone call. The company even allows users to purchase gift cards for their loved ones.

I would also like to direct you to a site where you can order free booklets about safe driving for seniors: These booklets contain a number of excellent articles about the emotional issues involved in losing one’s ability to drive and how to broach this difficult topic with loved ones.

I hope you find these links and articles helpful. Drive safely.