Annual Survey by Merrill Lynch: Seniors’ Savings Accounts Not Adequately Prepared for Living Longer Lives
According to a Merrill Lynch survey taken in September 2012, the current life expectancy of 81.1 years for women and 76.3 years for men conflicts with the average savings account these days — leaving many seniors unprepared for the financial implications of living longer lives.
Concerns from financial experts are that the growing number of elderly folks that are living longer do not have savings accounts to support living longer lives.
The survey also found that almost 50 percent of 35- to 50-year-olds have “a high level of concern” for the financial welfare of their aging parents. This percentage is up from 32 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2010.
Interestingly, in 1975, women had an average life
expectancy of 76.6 years and men had an average life
expectancy of 68.8 years.
Adults who are concerned with the financial well-being of their parents may want to consult with an estate planning attorney that’s well versed in elder law. Here in California, for seniors that are ailing, Medi-Cal is available. Keep in mind that qualification for Medi-Cal is financial and medical – meaning that seniors must meet both requirements.
For those seniors who are healthy but are living longer than expected, there are ways that children can help out if they have the financial means to do so. One example is annual gifts. Over $10,000 in gifts can be given, tax-exempt, to an individual. And in fact, a couple can give close to $30,000 to their elderly parents, without a penalty. This is a good idea for couples who can afford to do so and want to help their senior-aged parents retain some independence as they age.
Keep in mind that the advice of an elder law attorney is encouraged in these situations due to the fact that gifting is time-sensitive in that it can make some seniors ineligible for programs like Medi-Cal and Supplemental Security Income.
Jim Ward, an elder law attorney in the South Bay Area of California, serves clients in San Jose, Santa Clara, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos and Gilroy. He counsels a wide range of individuals across the elder law and estate planning spectrum. He specializes in Medi-Cal planning for seniors and wills and trusts for families of all ages.
Contact Jim today at 1-800-JIM-WARD