While young people who are just venturing off and finding their feet may find themselves without money, this brings to mind an image of positivity. It brings to mind carefree days, huge potential, unlimited possibilities and is indeed a happy picture.
When you flip the coin and look at a senior citizen who has no money, what is the image your mind conjures up? Is it of loss of dignity, dependence, despondence and tension caused by uncertainty about the future?
We all know the importance of being self-dependent in the twilight years. Yet somehow you find many a senior citizen cash strapped and living a very cautious, uncertain life, and depriving themselves of small luxuries which are so rightfully theirs, earnt over a life time of prioritizing everyone’s needs above theirs and being thrifty.
When I look around I find so many senior citizens who are asset rich but are having a tough time making ends meet. These are seniors who have real estate worth lakhs, but think very hard before booking a ticket to the music program that they have been really looking forward to.
In most cases while savings of their lifetime lies locked up in the form of a house, the children contribute towards their day to day needs. This automatically gives the children the upper hand and the parents think and rethink basic wants and needs since they have to dip into the pockets of their children.
On rare occasions where I have approached these senior citizens to monetize their house, seek professional help to invest the proceeds and live a life of a much better standard in a rented house, I am met with shock and disbelief. In all these cases the children are well settled and the estate is not going to make much of difference when its time. However the same has a potential of giving a wonderful, carefree life filled with much cherished experiences to the seniors. ‘
The common objections to this are
- This is our hard-earned asset. How can we sell it?
- At this age, you want us to shift houses every year or so? We are too old to manage house hunting, shifting etc.
- What will we leave behind to our children when we are gone?
Each of us have our own belief systems. I feel shifting to a better house even if you are doing it repeatedly is worthwhile, especially given the fact that your second innings is with financial independence.
Of course, you are not expected to do the actual hunting and shifting, you will be surprised at the level of service available when you can afford the cost. All it takes is a proper real estate agent and a good mover and packer to get you settled.
Why worry about leaving behind something for your children? The greater worry should be of being at their mercy and expecting support in your life time. As for estate, I am sure your children will not have a problem when you leave behind wise financial instruments as compared to a tax-unfriendly, illiquid difficult-to-split piece of real estate.
I am sure there would be other views and would love to hear them. Do drop a comment on what path you would like your parents to choose if they are caught in a similar situation.
Finwise has significant experience working with retired customers and helping them live their second innings with financial security. We are a personal finance solutions firm that helps people plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence. For consultations, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +91 9870702277.