The Piece of Retirement Planning Often Overlooked

By on November 14, 2018

Planning for retirement can be overwhelming with so many things to check off of your list. When to retire? Where to safely leave your investments? With so many pieces of the puzzle to factor in, retirement planning tends to be done in a piecemeal fashion or put on the back burner for many.

In the shuffle, there is often one piece of retirement planning overlooked, perhaps because it’s the piece of retirement generally considered taboo—deciding your end of life wishes. There are quite a few options that exist for after life care, and they range from minimal to high investment. It’s important to include this in your retirement planning and make your wishes known to family. Among the topics that merit open and frank discussion are: 

  1. Whether you would like your organs donated 

Thinking about what happens to your body after death is not an easy thought, especially with donating your organs. Although a personal choice, one person can donate up to eight lifesaving organs.

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  1. Would you prefer to be buried, cremated or donate your body to science

It’s forecasted that 54 percent of Americans will choose to get cremated by 2020. Although this stat is high, many aren’t aware that they can donate their body to science before being cremated and save on the costs of cremation and/or burial while also advancing medicine. 

One completely cost-free option is through accredited organizations like MedCure, a leading non-transplant AATB-accredited tissue bank that specializes in whole body donation. The organization takes care of everything from contacting the funeral home to picking up your remains within 12 hours of your passing to cremation, and you can choose to have your ashes scattered at sea at no extra charge. Donating your body to science can be an economical option and a way to leave a lasting legacy by contributing to the advancement of science and medical research. The average funeral costs over $7,000 or more, so if you haven’t budgeted this into your retirement plan, free resources like body donation could be a great option for you.

  1. What type of funeral or memorial service you envision

Sharing how you envision your service can help take some of the burden of planning off of your loved ones during a difficult time, while also instilling some joy in them knowing you had a voice in how they will celebrate you. It will also help your family ensure they are not making unnecessary expenses on things you would not want.

  1. Any phone, email, computer and social media passwords to devices and websites you would like them to be able to access, should you precede them in death

Although strange to think about, your social profiles and email addresses still exist after you pass. Deciding whether you’d still prefer your online presence lives on as a memorial or is taken down is something to consider.

  1. If you would like money donated to a cause in lieu of flowers

If you’re someone that likes to give back, choosing a cause to have loved ones donate to in your memory is a great way to leave a lasting legacy. 

  1. If you would like extraordinary medical measures taken to keep you alive, and who should make your medical decisions

Leaving your healthcare decisions to someone else when you’re no longer able to make those choices is hard on all parties involved. Take the time to think introspectively on what your preferences for things like DNRs or being put on life support, and write it down. Share your personal medical preferences with your family and designate a decision maker who will follow your instructions and ultimately take a lot of burden off your loved ones.

Discussing these manners with loved ones can be a daunting but necessary task. A few tips on how to bring up and discuss your end-of-life planning choices with family include: 

  • Find out who you want to discuss this with, when would be a good time to talk, and where you would feel most comfortable discussing this topic
  • Start your talk with, “I need to think about the future. Will you help me?”
  • Be patient with your loved one, this can be a difficult topic for them to consider

Ultimately, remember that nothing is set in stone and you can reconsider these choices at any point. No matter what you decide, the important thing is to plan ahead. Do the research on your options (if you’re looking to explore options on body donation click here), and don’t overlook your end of life planning! It’s a step that can help take the burden off of you and your loved ones.

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The Piece of Retirement Planning Often Overlooked