Families have always come in different shapes and sizes even if our country only recently recognized that. As one of the many queer families without kids, our primary financial concerns is preparing for the latter portion of our retirement years.
Though not a guaranteed strategy, traditional families can often rely on their younger offspring to take care of them in their older years. Straight and queer families without kids, however, must prepare appropriately because we definitely won’t have children to take care of us.
These four points are critical to the long-term financial success for straight and queer families without kids.
Pay Off Mortgage
Today’s retirees are retiring with more debt than their predecessors. The majority of that debt is mortgage debt. An Employee Benefits Research Institute study showed that between 1992 and 2010 the number of 75-plus age households with mortgage debt increased from 10 percent to 24 percent. This is due to a combination of American’s buying their dream home later in life, upsizing their homes even as they approach or reach retirement and taking out home equity loans.
After paying off over $51,000 in credit card debt, we’ll never let debt put our financial security at risk again. We won’t let our mortgage payments compete with our medical care or our travel. We, also, don’t want to have to consider moving out of our home because we have no money.
Know What Retirement Means to You
The best decision we ever made was deciding what we most want out of life. This gave us the focus and determination to get out of debt and stay out of debt. We got into credit card debt because we spent unconsciously.
The same goes for our retirement. The definition of retirement has changed nearly as much as the definition of marriage. Some retirees manage their lifelong jobs on a smaller scale. Some take on new careers or dive into charity work. Some spend their years on the links, others on the porch.
We want to continue traveling the world as long as we can. We can’t have it all and, therefore, we must plan accordingly. If we try to have it all and live unconsciously again, we’ll outlive our retirement money.
Long-Term Care for Queer Families without Kids
Long-term care (LTC) is one of the most complex components of medical expenses because, until robotics advances, it requires other humans. LTC can range from help in your own home with basic needs, such as cooking, eating, cleaning to retirement villages that manages the physical labor of home ownership to assisted living, which focuses on patient’s physical well-being.
It’s critical to understand our expectations at various stages of our lives and health. Life, of course, may have other expectations. We need to know what we want if we want to live our remaining years on our terms.
Straight and queer families without kids likely won’t have the option to defer or completely avoid LTC expenses. We need to plan for such expenses now; the average nursing costs about $80,000 annually.
With insufficient finances or insurance, decisions on how we’re taken care of may be left to a state or a guardian assigned to our care. We want to live out our remaining years on our terms, not that of some third-party.
This point isn’t a direct financial concern, but it’s important nonetheless. Social interaction is important at every stage of life.
The benefits of regular social interactions include reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer, high blood pressure and depression. Avoiding such risks lowers the expenses for their remedies.
Straight and queer families without kids who also have kids, which creates an inherent social circle, need to put forth extra effort to stay social. Staying active in our local and broader communities will be important to help us thrive personally and financially when we’re older. Joining clubs and organizations will be important. Volunteering will be a perfect give and take.
Even though many in the queer community are now having and adopting children, queer families without kids must make financial planning for our golden years a top priority.