About the author: Lamar Watson, CFP®, is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor in the Washington, D.C. area that works with clients virtually across the country. Lamar's work with his clients focuses on budgeting, optimizing employee benefits, starting a family, investing, and retirement planning. Dream Financial Planning is a Fiduciary Financial Planning firm specifically designed to help individuals in their 30s and 40s take control of their finances and fulfill their dreams. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we use the DREAM Financial Planning Process ™ to help our clients achieve their goals.
Older Americans Month is a month to celebrate the older Americans in our country and honor the lives they've lived and the accomplishments they still have ahead of them. It was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy to bring awareness to the types of programs and support older Americans need to succeed. Believe it or not, at that time, there were only 17 million living Americans that had reached their 65th birthday!1 Today there are 54.1 million.2 This goes to show the importance of recognizing and supporting our older population and why programs like this are vital.
Every year, the Administration of Community Living sets a theme for Older Americans Month. This year's theme is "Age My Way," which is an "opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities." 3 Community support, participation, and accessibility are important for people of all ages, but especially for our older Americans.
If you identify as an older American, we have some tips to help you take care of your mind, body, and finances.
Say "Yes" to Fiber and "No" to Salt
As we age, our bodies need more fiber to stay regular. You can find fiber in a number of healthy foods such as beets, Brussel sprouts, lentils, kidney beans, oatmeal, almonds, chia seeds, and even dark chocolate. Adding these fiber-rich foods to your diet can help you add variety to your palate and get all the nutrients you need as you age.4
In addition to increasing fiber, you should consider decreasing your sodium intake. As we age, we become more sensitive to salt, which can have a negative impact on blood pressure. It's more important than ever to make sure blood pressure stays within a healthy range.4
Physical activity is important for people of all ages, but it's especially important for older Americans. Regular physical activity may help prevent health problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.5 If you don't have complete mobility, you may still want to add some gentle physical activity into your routine. Even a walk around the block or a short bike ride can help you stay healthy. Before starting any exercise regimen, it's important to talk with your doctor to learn which options are right for your health and activity level.5
Grow Your Community
Socialization is an important way to keep your mind sharp as you age, but making new friends can seem daunting. There are many ways to grow your community, from volunteering at a local animal shelter to picking up a new hobby. If you have a passion, it's likely that someone else shares that passion, too.
Build a Budget
Most older Americans live on a fixed income supplemented by retirement savings, Social Security, pensions, or other income streams. Because of that, it's essential to have a strict budget and stick to it. If you've noticed that your budget is slipping out of control, take this month to reevaluate your expenses and get the lay of the land. Thanks to technology, budgeting apps can help you stay on track.
Refresh Your Estate Plan
As you age and life changes, it's a good idea to meet with your financial advisor or attorney to ensure your estate plan is up to date. No one wants to think about what happens after we're gone, but it's essential to have these conversations when possible. Now's a great time to have those conversations with your family members to make sure everyone knows what your wishes are.
Dream Financial Planning Process ™
Do you know how much you need to retire? The DREAM Financial Planning Process™ for established professionals is tailored to the unique needs of those already retired or 20 years or less from their ideal retirement date. Since many established professionals are approaching retirement age, we wanted to create a more customized way of tending to your financial needs and goals. With this process, we're able to uncover untapped opportunities and discover gaps in your current strategy that could prevent you from enjoying a long and fulfilling retirement.
With uncertainty surrounding the economic stability of our country, it's okay to have fears and anxieties surrounding your savings and investments. The most productive course of action from here is to reach out to Dream Financial Planning (or whoever your trusted advisor might be) and discuss your options. It's easy to have knee-jerk reactions when it feels like the bottom is falling out, but it is imperative to make decisions using research-backed data and a level head. If you'd like a Complimentary Review and risk assessment of your investment portfolio, feel free to send me an e-mail.
In the January Newsletter, there's a chart that shows you how often you should expect a market correction. I discuss how a Financial Advisor can help you avoid emotional decision-making with U.S. News and World Report and how to know if your Financial Advisor is the right fit for you. There's also a blog post where I share a PDF checklist, What Issues Should I Consider At The Start Of The Year 2022, to help guide you for the rest of the year. If you find any of this information helpful, feel free to sign up to receive future newsletters via e-mail.
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