Tick tock ...... tick tock
Every now and again, life, in its own special way, reminds us of time passing – children are born, their first day at school; one moment they are holding your hand at the zoo, the next they are all grown up, settling down and perhaps offering the joy of grandchildren. Your parents, once so confident and able, now look to you for support. Simple tasks they once took in their stride, are now stress points for them – and you. They worry about their future – will they need long term care ? And more importantly, can they afford quality care? Now you worry about them when they used to worry about you. And so life perpetuates to a constant melody - the unshakable belief that it will all work out in the end. Does that resonate with you ?
In a recent survey by Demos Think Tank, 25% of Brits believe social care is free and only 5% of over 40s have a plan in place to fund long term care in later life. Add in the fact that most people look forward to being able to leave something for their children when they pass, and you can soon build a picture of future financial frailty. Many believe ‘the state’ will find a way to fund it all – many believe the world is flat!
Care costs have risen 5 fold since the 1950s and doubled in the last 2 decades and whilst there are many reasons why, like better standards of care and vastly improved retirement communities with all manner of comforts, it remains a fact. We will live longer, pushing demand, further increasing costs. The state, already proven, will move the retirement goal posts to relieve the national financial burden. State pensions have not kept pace with earnings either. Then there’s the disparity of geography – the amount your local council is prepared to fund varies wildly from county to county – by as much as 60%. Just think for a moment about this next statement - many of us will spend as much of our lives in retirement as we did working. OMG.
The good news is, it’s never too late to improve the situation. Relying on the state to pick up the tab in its entirety, is a real gamble. Just as now, future governments will have to pander to the new tax paying generation to ensure their own electoral success. Will they listen to your pleas for help ? With around 20% more pensioners in 30 years’ time, can the country afford to care for everyone ? Who can say ?
Looking on the bright side, many of us will live in perfect health even after we have received our telegram from the King. But, the earth is most definitely spherical and planning for our sound financial future, whatever our wants, needs and desires maybe, is vital. It’s all about choice. Opting for the ‘Plat du jour’ can be rewarding, but in my experience, ‘A la carte’ or choice, as with life’s menu, is the sweetest feeling. Save for your children, or spend it while you can. Gamble on the state finding a safety net, or bask in the satisfaction of knowing you have planned for the worst and will always have a choice.
My advice? However you see your future, plan to have a choice. Make an appointment with an Independent Financial Advisor who has the freedom to offer ‘cashflow plans’ and advise on ‘whole of market’ products and rest easy, turning future financial frailty into future financial flexibility – that’s choice !