How to Identify Financial Security Goals for Later Life
Marlene S. Stum, Extension Specialist and Professor — Family Social Science
2012. Reviewed March 2017 by author.
Getting the conversation started is an important part of the process for planning for long term care. What do you want for yourself? How about your spouse or partner, or loved ones? First read “Why Sort Out Goals?” below. Then take the online quiz or print and complete the worksheet. Finally, examine your results and discuss them with others who need to know this information.
Why Sort Out Goals?
“Just tell me what the best alternative is for financing long term care.”
That’s what many people say, but what’s “best” depends on what is most important to accomplish for the family members involved. Sorting out what is most important means thinking and talking about very personal attitudes and beliefs. For most family members, deciding what is important goes beyond a dollar and cents calculation and knowing what is legally allowable. Regretfully, many people fail to sort out what is most important to them when making decisions about the use of finances in later life. As a result, misunderstandings, wrong assumptions, and conflicts among family members can result.
Not everyone will have the same goals. First, take time to identify what is important to you. Then compare your answers and priorities with your spouse or other involved family members. It is very common for parents to think quite differently about what is most important than their adult children. Finding out where you agree or disagree can help guide future decisions.
Knowing what is and isn’t important can help guide decisions about which alternatives for financing long term care should be considered. The following goals are often identified as important when making decisions about financing long term care:
- Remaining financially independent
- Maintaining control
- Maintaining privacy
- Involving family members
- Using government resources
- Leaving an inheritance
Identifying Your Goals
To figure out which goals related to financial security in later life are more or less important to you, you can either take an online quiz or download and print a paper worksheet. Each version asks you to score how strongly you agree or disagree with a series of statements. The online version finds the average score of each section automatically. With the paper version, you will have to calculate the average score by hand.
- Take the online quiz: Later Life Financial Security Goals Quiz.
- Download the worksheet: Later Life Financial Security Goals Worksheet (PDF)
After You Take the Quiz
The average score for each section indicates its importance to you. The closer a score is to 7, the more important it is to you. The closer a score is to 1, the less important it is to you. Goals typically mean different things to different individuals. What do your responses suggest about your expectations and goals?
Now that you know what is important to you, discuss it with others.
- Consider who else needs to be involved in these critical conversations and begin to talk. Learn where you agree or disagree.
- Let your goals guide your decisions about which alternatives for financing long term care to consider.
- Communicate what you hope to accomplish to individuals who may be responsible for carrying out your wishes. Doing so will help others understand your intentions and reduce misunderstandings.