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Spending your retirement savings too early.

You may have a plump 401(k). Your house may have appreciated. You may have a wonderful family with many members close by and not too busy with work and kids.

What you don’t have is an appreciation of retirement health care costs (the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 7 out of 10 of us don’t) or, perhaps more importantly, the cost of things which Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and even long-term care insurance won’t pay for.

In time, you may need help with the yardwork and the housework. You may need help with the laundry and the grocery shopping. You will almost certainly need help getting to and from the doctor, scheduling appointments, taking notes before and after, organizing your medicines and remembering when to take what.

Think about these costs. Being able to pay them can keep you independent longer.

Terry Garrett is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.


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