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Old 07-29-2012, 08:49 PM   #21
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Wow.. what a great thought...
"What do I do when I get stupid"

Am there! ret. '89. age 76.

The forum is my last stop before going on the AZ support websites. no kiddin'. A place to go to share the day to day loss of what was a pretty fair functional intellect.

The good things-
- Emphasis on rote. Conscious stabilization of decision type functions. For better or worse, finished all the legal things... Will, Living will, power if attorney, trust items, and changing to low risk investments.
- Teamwork with my bride for everything from social calendar, to driving.
- Prepare my kids and my friends for the change. Hate the whispering about "losing it". Friends understand.
-Work hard to keep what is still there... news, current events, biking, canoeing, and maintaining my camp in the woods.
- A concentrated effort over the past three years, to avoid entangling alliances... (contacts with old, distant friends)
-Courage to accept what I cannot change..

The bad things-
-Too many "things"... Camp on lake, Florida senior community, Illinois senior community ... three older cars,
-Still too much paper... address changes screw up electronic billing, TV, internet, utilities, insurance, credit and debit cards, bank accounts etc.
-Everything takes more time. Learning and staying abreast of changes in Medicare, Medicare D, Doctors appointments and the inevitable problems that occur when USPS forwarding is too slow.
- Time wasted in looking for "things"... Ending up in the garage, or the den, knowing that I came in for "something" but forgot "what".
- Coming to grips with not just memory, but physical things... aches, pains, neuropathy, and (just this year)... noticing a loss of physical strength.


So much more, but the forum is for fun and enjoyment... so will leave it there. Fascinating trip into another part of life.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:59 PM   #22
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When someone's cognitive function is declining why would anyone expect them 1) be aware that this is happening, and 2) know to make the choice of annuities, or Wellesley, or whatever the plan is. As I see it the only effective plan is the one that is implemented before the onset of cognitive decline. Once the decline begins rational behaviour no longer assured.
I don't know about specifically financial literacy, but in my limited experience--a choir mate who was developing some type of age-related dementia--she knew perfectly well what was happening. But even with actual dementia, one doesn't become totally incompetent overnight. The graph shows a steady but rather gradual decline in financial literacy, not a sudden drop off the top of a cliff. Up until the mid-70's, one is still semi-literate, and I would think still able to carry out plans one had made earlier in more competent days.

To me it all seems like one more reason to develop a personal Investment Policy Statement (and no, I haven't done mine yet ) before age 60 or so when financial competence is still high, so all you have to do when older and not so savvy is follow the path you've already marked out for yourself. Maybe in view of this article, that path should include having everything on autopilot by age 80.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:14 PM   #23
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When someone's cognitive function is declining why would anyone expect them 1) be aware that this is happening, and 2) know to make the choice of annuities, or Wellesley, or whatever the plan is. As I see it the only effective plan is the one that is implemented before the onset of cognitive decline. Once the decline begins rational behaviour no longer assured.
My Dad was aware of "slipping memory" but didn't believe that it could affect his independence until well after it was too late.

He was living very cheaply, spending less than half of his pension & Social Security, so finances weren't an issue. He knew he had trouble balancing his checkbook so he kept $25K in his checking account in case he forgot to carry a digit.

He kept buying more investments with his excess cash and he let his mutual funds reinvest, so by the time I took the reins his AA was 85% stocks and 10% bonds.

But the insurance agent managed to talk him into doing a 1035 exchange on some whole-life policies that had been giving him trouble. His files had a rejection for some other kind of insurance so he might have been trying to buy more life insurance. And he really didn't have the cognitive ability to do more than say "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea" or "No, I don't think I want to do that". Unfortunately you can't predict which response is going to come first... and it can change.

Today I still don't think he realizes the extent of his cognitive decline, but he says that his chores were getting too hard and taking too long. He's happy to let the care facility handle the cooking & laundry, but he still thinks that he's doing OK.

I'm turning all the financial management over to my spouse when I'm 60. And when our daughter turns 60, our spouse is going to put her name on a joint checking account to make it easier to start the turnover.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:12 AM   #24
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My experience with someone suffering from declining cognitive abilities is similar to that which Nords has generously (and I'm sure painfully) shared. There is awareness of failing short term memory and also that "some things are now harder to figure out" but no real understanding that the ability to reason and deal with complex matters is also going away.

In this situation an investment policy statement sounds like a good idea, because it creates a written plan that can be followed. My fear, however, is that the plan gets lost, or set aside and forgotten, or discarded as unnecessary. With the change in brain function long term memories and habits are strong as ever, so people continue (well) doing the same things they have been doing for decades. So, the carefully thought out plan may never see the light of day.

Put the daughter on the accounts is a great option. At the same time give her an investment policy statement or plan is even better. I would add a third item: a letter to myself that they can have custody of and hand back to me when I am suffering this terrible condition that affirms to me it is real and I need to step aside and let them take over the finances.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:33 AM   #25
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..............I'm turning all the financial management over to my spouse when I'm 60.......... .
Gulp! I just turned 60.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:47 PM   #26
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He knew he had trouble balancing his checkbook so he kept $25K in his checking account in case he forgot to carry a digit.
I am so screwed.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:41 PM   #27
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(snip)Put the daughter on the accounts is a great option. At the same time give her an investment policy statement or plan is even better. I would add a third item: a letter to myself that they can have custody of and hand back to me when I am suffering this terrible condition that affirms to me it is real and I need to step aside and let them take over the finances.
That's all very well for people who have a daughter (or son), but not everyone does. The only persons other than my (non-existent) children that I would consider trustworthy enough to take over my financial affairs are my seven nieces, but I don't know if they will have acquired any more financial savvy than I have left, when I reach the dangerous age (and I suspect one of them definitely won't, given her track record so far). Besides, they have their own parents, my siblings, to concern themselves with. With anyone else, IMO there is just too much possibility for abuse.

I do think the letter from my 60-year-old self to my 75-year-old self, reminding me to get everything set up on autopilot before I turn 80, would be a good addition to the investment policy statement. Once I get the IPS done and the letter written, I guess I should give copies of both to each of the seven so if they notice me doing anything lame-brained, they can show me the letter.
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Wow.. what a great thought...
"What do I do when I get stupid"

Am there! ret. '89. age 76.

The forum is my last stop before going on the AZ support websites. no kiddin'. A place to go to share the day to day loss of what was a pretty fair functional intellect.

The good things-
- Emphasis on rote. Conscious stabilization of decision type functions. For better or worse, finished all the legal things... Will, Living will, power if attorney, trust items, and changing to low risk investments.
- Teamwork with my bride for everything from social calendar, to driving.
- Prepare my kids and my friends for the change. Hate the whispering about "losing it". Friends understand.
-Work hard to keep what is still there... news, current events, biking, canoeing, and maintaining my camp in the woods.
- A concentrated effort over the past three years, to avoid entangling alliances... (contacts with old, distant friends)
-Courage to accept what I cannot change..

The bad things-
-Too many "things"... Camp on lake, Florida senior community, Illinois senior community ... three older cars,
-Still too much paper... address changes screw up electronic billing, TV, internet, utilities, insurance, credit and debit cards, bank accounts etc.
-Everything takes more time. Learning and staying abreast of changes in Medicare, Medicare D, Doctors appointments and the inevitable problems that occur when USPS forwarding is too slow.
- Time wasted in looking for "things"... Ending up in the garage, or the den, knowing that I came in for "something" but forgot "what".
- Coming to grips with not just memory, but physical things... aches, pains, neuropathy, and (just this year)... noticing a loss of physical strength.


So much more, but the forum is for fun and enjoyment... so will leave it there. Fascinating trip into another part of life.
You, sir, are quite a guy. I wish you all the best in this "fascinating trip into another part of life". imoldernu, you phrased it so well. You just nailed it.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:35 PM   #29
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That's all very well for people who have a daughter (or son), but not everyone does. The only persons other than my (non-existent) children that I would consider trustworthy enough to take over my financial affairs are my seven nieces, but I don't know if they will have acquired any more financial savvy than I have left, when I reach the dangerous age (and I suspect one of them definitely won't, given her track record so far). Besides, they have their own parents, my siblings, to concern themselves with. With anyone else, IMO there is just too much possibility for abuse.
My sister/BIL are child-free. My sister has also been in significant caregiver role for our grandmother and her husbands parents (at different times since they were divorced). She has been grooming her nieces on her husbands side, and my sons for their eventual roles. She explains regularly that one of the reason she spoils them is so they'll take care of her in her dotage.

She's got a few decades, and has most everything financial on autopilot... but she's more worried about the point she and BIL can no longer care for themselves... she wants to make sure someone will visit her at the care facility.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:50 PM   #30
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This article in the WSJ concerns services that help elderly people pay their bills and take care of day to day money issues, such as paying bills, track medical claims and resolve payment issues. I am not sure I would be comfortable with this myself, but it is an idea.

Conquering Retirement: Hiring a Bill Payer - WSJ.com
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:28 PM   #31
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Out of curiosity more than anything else, would you be comfy paying a trustworthy advisor to mind your affairs as you became less able? What would be a fair price?
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:26 PM   #32
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I do think the letter from my 60-year-old self to my 75-year-old self, reminding me to get everything set up on autopilot before I turn 80, would be a good addition to the investment policy statement.
But, when you turn 75 or 80 and have lost a few marbles would you just shrug it off as blather from some young snapperwhipper? How do you mitigate that risk?
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:10 PM   #33
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Very good point. I tend to think I will have the same mental capacity when I am older, but I should know better. I have no children. I need to think about how I should handle my finance in my later years.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:28 PM   #34
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That's all very well for people who have a daughter (or son), but not everyone does. The only persons other than my (non-existent) children that I would consider trustworthy enough to take over my financial affairs are my seven nieces, but I don't know if they will have acquired any more financial savvy than I have left, when I reach the dangerous age (and I suspect one of them definitely won't, given her track record so far). Besides, they have their own parents, my siblings, to concern themselves with. With anyone else, IMO there is just too much possibility for abuse.

I do think the letter from my 60-year-old self to my 75-year-old self, reminding me to get everything set up on autopilot before I turn 80, would be a good addition to the investment policy statement. Once I get the IPS done and the letter written, I guess I should give copies of both to each of the seven so if they notice me doing anything lame-brained, they can show me the letter.
I 'm in the same boat but I only have one competent niece, and I am sure she will have her hands full taking care of my older sister who's health is already starting to fail. My executor is sharp lawyer my age, but I doubt he'll be in much better shape by the time we are in our 70s.

There are couple of young dreamers on the forum who've impressed me enough that I might be comfortable giving them control and even willing to pay 1% but that seems unlikely to actually occur.

I think probably some managed payouts funds and pray I don't get Alzheimer are my best bets.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:30 PM   #35
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I do think the letter from my 60-year-old self to my 75-year-old self, reminding me to get everything set up on autopilot before I turn 80, would be a good addition to the investment policy statement. Once I get the IPS done and the letter written, I guess I should give copies of both to each of the seven so if they notice me doing anything lame-brained, they can show me the letter.
But, when you turn 75 or 80 and have lost a few marbles would you just shrug it off as blather from some young snapperwhipper? How do you mitigate that risk?
You're right, maybe I will. You know what the poet says, the best-laid plans of mice & men gang aft aglee. But what else can I do? ISTM that as a childless, single person, I have a choice between having my money managed (when I'm old) by potentially incompetent me and potentially dishonest financial "advisors". Of the two, I'll take me any day, because I'm a chicken, and a lazy chicken at that, and I don't expect that to change. Even if I do lose some of my marbles, I expect to be still too much of a coward to put more than 25-30% of my assets in the stock market, and still lazy enough to get as much as possible of my finances on auto-pilot. And even an honest financial advisor (assuming that in my semi-competent state I can tell the difference between the honest ones and the scammers) will charge me management fees etc that will cut into my return, perhaps as much as my own incompetence will.

Do you have another alternative to suggest?
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:32 AM   #36
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This is a tough nut. If someone is unwilling to hire a financial advisor when they are 40, they are just as unlikely when they are 70 and mentally declining. Involving someone else in one's affairs is a process that takes time and isn't just about the finances.

I think the most important part is not managing the portfolio but being aware that one is declining and being able to deal with it.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:59 AM   #37
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I may be hanged in the town square for suggesting this, but in response to the OP's question about what to do when one loses cognitive function: what about kids? If one is fortunate enough to have kid(s) who share similar opinions about money, hopefully they could be counted on to "take over". In a purely economic sense, could one look at the expense of having kids as insurance for cognitive decline in old age?
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:04 AM   #38
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Power of attorney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and Attorney in Fact.
IMHO, understanding the many alternatives is very important.

Decision should come early on. Note "Capacity of the Grantor".
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shades of gray
Old 08-01-2012, 11:01 AM   #39
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shades of gray

This is not as simple or black and white as it appears. What about someone who goes in and out of being competent? I can tell you from direct personal experience this happens often. What if you are fine most of the time, but in a period of cognitive incapacity, you sell assets at way below market value or make some other foolish decision that you never would have when "fully there"?

Also, those of us with SO's typically designate her/him, but what if he/she isn't all there either?

The bottom line is that in only a few cases, there is a clear and nearly-instant switch from "ok" to "not okay". Most of the time, though, there are infinite shades of gray and a more gradual decline.

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Power of attorney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and Attorney in Fact.
IMHO, understanding the many alternatives is very important.

Decision should come early on. Note "Capacity of the Grantor".
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:57 PM   #40
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This article in the WSJ concerns services that help elderly people pay their bills and take care of day to day money issues, such as paying bills, track medical claims and resolve payment issues. I am not sure I would be comfortable with this myself, but it is an idea.

Conquering Retirement: Hiring a Bill Payer - WSJ.com
Good article. As you mentioned, "Comfortable"? No... Needed? Oh yes. A few years ago, as a voluntary caregiver where the kids were too far away to help, I discovered just how important hands on help was needed. Not as a policeman to foil senior scams, but just to stay ahead of the normal day to day errors that occur with normal bills and services. (In one case, a medical bill for many thousands that was paid twice).

In another case, an older lady who was forced into bankruptcy for $200K of med bills for the cancer care. Her husband had died, and there was no one to defend her interests. As I went through 3 paper bags filled with old bills. ( a two week process)... she was forced from her home to a medicaid home. For all of that... no representation.

The article mentions $50 to $150 an hour for basic, mostly common sense help with with daily living and paperwork chores. My entrepreneurial instincts see a great opportunity. For relatives who may be hundreds of miles away, this expense would seem very nominal.

For those who are still in the marketplace... How does that sound?
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