Home is where the heart is…

I am writing this blog as I make my way to Thailand to attend a conference for financial planners, accountants and risk advisers.

One of the tasks Tealey and I have been working on is a case study that will put conference delegates through their paces on a diverse array of topics including aged care, retirement housing options, Centrelink benefits, superannuation and estate planning.

The case study is based on a fictitious couple, Tom and Tilly Thompson, from Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast. Tom has been assessed as needing to move into residential aged care due to advancing dementia.

Apart from the emotional stress of Tom and Tilly now having to be separated due to Tom’s ill health, there are myriad of financial issues around how to pay for the various fees associated with his care, the effect their health-induced separation will have on their age pension entitlements and the options available to Tilly in terms of her ongoing living arrangements, as the family home is too much for her to handle on her own. And if not to make matters worse, enquiries have identified a modest investment that Centrelink is unaware of, due to an unintentional oversight.

While this all sounds quite fanciful, many of the aspects have been based on actual situations Mark and I have come across in our daily work.

And to bring matters even closer to home, while waiting to board my flight this morning, I bumped into an old industry colleague (old, as in we have known each other for many years, not a reflection on her age!). She was telling me that she and her husband have just moved home and her Mum is coming to live with them.

Mum wants to sell her family home and give the proceeds to her children, however this will have significant consequences for Mum’s age pension. It will be caught under the rules that apply to the deprivation of assets. There are, however, a number of strategies that could be considered that might well achieve the same outcome, yet still preserve her age pension. We will be working through these in more depth with our colleague and will present the findings in a future blog.

So, while the case study may have appeared fanciful in many ways, my conversation of earlier today brought it very much down to earth. In fact, these types of situations occur on an almost daily basis.

Retirement planning involves many different functions of life, not just financial. This blog takes us all on a journey of discovery and is designed to help all concerned navigate the complexities of planning our life in the lead up to retirement and beyond.

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