Hurricane Ian reminds us that the subject of how to effectively prepare for the dangers of where we live in retirement is much more crucial than determining how much money we will need in retirement.
Managing and predicting risk is necessary for retirement preparation and maintenance. Market fluctuations need adjustments to investing strategy, spending habits, or both. Chronic health disorders that develop over decades can threaten one’s health and those of one’s loved ones, but their effects can be mitigated through healthy practices and early intervention.
However, few of us view our choice of retirement residence as a calculated risk. Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida’s Gulf Coast serves as a reminder that deciding where to live in retirement requires taking into account the multifaceted hazards of extreme weather and other natural disasters that everyone encounters in every place.
Here are just three risk considerations:
Natural Catastrophes and Financial Dangers
Living in a region where frequent extreme climatic occurrences necessitate considerable financial planning. After a big disaster, the cost of repairing or rebuilding a house is a substantial blow to any retirement portfolio. How many of us truly have an emergency fund? For instance, temporary relocation expenses, such as transportation, lodging, and house rental fees, arise from a hurricane evacuation order or a snow-laden roof collapse.
After a big storm or wildfire, insurance rates may skyrocket. Changing weather patterns and re-zoning flood and fire zones can significantly increase insurance premiums. After a large disaster or series of major incidents, obtaining proper insurance may be difficult or impossible in some locations. Moreover, insurance might not cover everything. For instance, wind damage is frequently covered by homeowner’s insurance, while flooding-related water damage may not be. Over time, greater public attention and anxiety about weather changes may influence the value of a property, endanger valuable equity, and ultimately diminish the wealth that can be passed on to adult offspring.
Assess Your Retirement Community’s Preparedness Threat
Whether deciding to age in place, move to a new location, transfer to a retirement community, or move into senior housing, it is essential to analyze the community’s ability to adjust. While many retirees pick a place based on good memories or facilities, retirement planning may also involve assessing the community’s readiness to meet the special requirements of older folks. Do police, fire, emergency medical services, hospitals, transportation providers, and senior housing personnel have adequate capacity to fulfill the needs of seniors with medical, mobility, or cognitive impairments? For instance, some towns provide shelters for elderly individuals with mobility and medical issues; does yours?
Consider A Location For Retirement That Is Adaptable To Your Personal Health Conditions.
Few of us correctly evaluate our health and fitness. Aging is defined as a process of change; however, we typically overlook or justify functional reductions. For instance, how many of us can recall the first time we wore glasses? Despite age and health-related changes that may impede our preparedness for or flee from a disaster, we are more likely to believe, “I’ve survived storms before, so I’ll handle this one, too.”
These alterations make individuals less resilient and less likely to survive a catastrophic catastrophe. Historically, elderly folks constitute the vast bulk of natural catastrophe mortality. Navigating what to do and how to make a quick, safe escape is tough for everyone, especially those with modest to severe mobility or cognitive impairment.
Chronic health issues acquired over time may necessitate specific devices, drugs, and frequent treatments, such as oxygen therapy and dialysis – all of which are in jeopardy if the power goes out or transportation becomes impractical. Cognitive function becomes even more important when all the systems and coping mechanisms we rely on are no longer available, such as when neighbors cannot assist. Calling an adult daughter is difficult, or a power outage disables the elevator, heat, and air conditioning. Additionally, elderly persons, especially older women, are more prone to reside alone. Who ensures her safety in case of communications and transportation systems breakdown?
While the impact of Hurricane Ian on the residents of Florida is now in the headlines, severe weather and other natural disasters are not restricted to the southern United States. Note the effects of Hurricane Fiona in the Maritimes of Canada. There are natural calamities everywhere. In the northeast, snow and ice storms with names like bombogenesis and bomb cyclones visit individuals aging in place. The Midwest is subject to heat waves and tornadoes. Wildfires and mudslides frequently endanger western residents.
Planning for retirement cannot control the weather. Nonetheless, critically and realistically, examining our resilience and how to effectively prepare for the potential hazards of where we live is essential when considering how you will live in your later years.