40 year old SWF planning for the future.

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As my 41st birthday approaches, I realize, gulp..that I may be alone. I have not found a man to marry. I am not close with my old brother and his family. WE DO NOT GET ALONG. I have 5 months salary saved up and 401k. I wonder what will happen to me. My parents are 74 and 75. I will have some inheritance. What does someone like me do? If I get sick? What happens if I live alone and run out of money? It sounds so easy so say get a husband but that has not be true. How will I find myself a nursing home?
Am I nuts to be stressing this early? Or late?


Do you have long-term-care insurance?
Not at this time, I do not.
Well, that is one thing you could do. In fact, that would be something you could/should do even if you had a spouse.
Stella: Do you have a really good CPA? Sometimes a financial planner can be helpful, but you really have to be selective in choosing one. They can be more interested in their future than in yours. Still you need some financial guidance.

You are just hitting the 41 year old mark so you have a long way to go before you will qualify for Medicare. The way things are with the economy, our polarized politics, health care and the many soon to be elderly people coming into the forefront over the next 20 years, it could be that Social Security won't be available to you until you are 70 years old. I couldn't even guess what Medicare will be like in another 25 years.

I think your question is interesting. I'm 63 years old, so in another 25 years, me and my contemporaries may be gone or at least have one and half feet on a banana peel and the other in the nursing home. I hope that's not true for me. I'd rather do the big heart attack and get it over with than drag it out for years.

I have a son who is 43 and a granddaughter who is 22, so I think about the future as it applies to them, the same way you are pondering it. When I was younger and investing in my retirement fund every month, I use to wonder what would happen when the baby boomers retired and all that mega money was no longer going into the monthly coffers of 401K's and so many other stock related investments. Now I wonder what kind of glut of houses will be coming on the market when those in my age group and older can no longer stay in their homes.

So I guess I am talking about trends and how the future will be affected by those of us who are 15 years, and more, older than you. Jeanne mentioned long-term care insurance and that's not a bad idea, but I'd be interested to talk to someone who really understands long term care policies and how many of those companies will be out of business in the next 30 years. They are expensive policies and the premiums do go up. Add that cost to the ever escalating cost of health insurance premiums and you may be living on a park bench. With the boomers coming on, can long term health companies withstand the claims? I don't have the answer, but it would be interesting to talk to people who really understand the business. The problem is always finding someone who will share honestly with you and not just try to sell you something. So that pretty much leaves out the long term care industry. Has to be someone with a well connected understanding of trends. Someone willing to talk about differing trend philosophies. No one has a crystal ball, so at some point it is up to you to make decisions based on well rounded information.

How is your personal health. Do you exercise, eat healthy and get regular mamo's and check ups. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That doesn't mean you won't get hit by a run away bus, but you can only do what is within your power. Still, what is in your power can be significant. Keep a good eye on your blood pressure. High BP can do a lot of damage over time and it creeps up so exercise and keep an eye on it. Be mindful of any drug that a doctor suggests. Statins for cholesterol have been the rage for 20 plus years now, but current science is doubting the benefit of them for people who do not have heart disease. In fact, in many cases, especially for women, the bad they can do can outweigh the good. Of course it's taken decades of use and current studies to get these findings. If you can do your part to stay healthy, then you don't need to worry about drugs for many years to come or the studies that follow them.

You are going to have to work for a long time so keep your skills current and be mindful of the industry you are in and what future it has. Take the time to research current trends and what businesses will be outsourced. Look at what is coming and try to anticipate or at least understand what jobs are good for the future.

Try to live with a small footprint. Keep your costs down and save. I have had 3 cars in the past 35 years. My current car is a 2002 Acura. Not so many miles now, since I retired in 2004, but the car has over 100,000 miles and still looks like new. It's been paid off for the past 8 years. We had the timing belt changed a year ago and it will do another 100,000 miles easy.

Look around you and see if you have other single women friends. The goal would be to form a small intimate group who can meet once a month at each others homes for dinner and discussion. The discussion would be exactly what you posted here. We are alone and looking at an uncertain future. How do we take steps to protect ourselves.

I had a friend who thought it would be awesome to retire with a few girlfriends and live in a home that would accommodate them all. Split the costs and have the company of good friends. Maybe you can all get a deal on the house due to the glut on the market from all the past baby boomers.

I can't really tell you what will happen if you get sick next year. It could happen, but the odds are it won't. Do what you can to take care of yourself and build those close friends. Family can be many things and love is good for your health.

Best wishes for a wonderful life. Cattails

Thanks for the quick replies. I can't tell you how much it means.
I am in good health. A local health fair said that I have high blood pressure and low iron and vitamin D but have not seen the doctor about them. I need to get a mammogram. I exercise a few times a week and ski. Sure, I have my pains but I consider myself healthy. I am no medications. I fear going to the doctor because it could influence my health insurance once COBRA runs out. I am on COBRA while I do contract work.
I have large group of friends a few close friends. I will look into a CPA. Are they expensive? Like many, I have struggled during these tough times. I am dong contract work.
Assuming that I am not too burned out, i would like work into my 70s.
I guess that I am most fearful because my grandfather and now, possibly mother have Alzheimers. Sometimes, I forget names and things at the grocery store. That is what scares me the most.

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