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It Takes a Family to Plan a Retirement

Financial Advisor Jason Mardinly co-wrote this report.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It is no secret that we have an aging population: Each day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 and start collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits. This trend is expected to continue for the next 19 years.

However, what's less well known is that the vast majority of retirees are underfunded for retirement. The reasons for being underfunded are many: lack of savings, poor investment choices, excessive spending or unforeseen expenses.

No matter what the cause, it is becoming clear that neither they nor we can rely on the federal government to take ample care of our senior citizens.

In fact, it truly does take a family to care for their elders and we are seeing more and more situations where children are pitching in to help out parents with both care and financial support.

To facilitate this, having annual family financial meetings is a critical yet simple step that can help a family find the best available solutions for their finances. Every situation is slightly different, of course, but we see two specific areas that seem common to most situations where it pays to be proactive in getting all members of the family on board, before a crisis hits.

The key areas to discuss are long-term care and real estate because they are two areas that often cause the most significant pressure on the next generation of a family.

One of the biggest financial burdens of a retiree is long-term care, which can run around $100,000 a year with an average stay of three years. Who is going to foot the bill? Who is going to manage the parents' transition into a nursing home? With the right planning, the next generation can provide the care needed without a slew of sudden emergency expenses.

As a part of the family planning process, options for long-term care insurance should be investigated. Traditional long-term care insurance is a use-it or lose-it type of insurance policy with premiums that are inexpensive relative to the benefit amount. Another option is a life insurance policy with long-term care benefits, in which case you will use the long-term care insurance for elderly needs or a loved-one will receive a death benefit upon your passing.

Thinking about long-term care needs today can save you both dollars and heartbreak and/or financial discomfort in the long run.

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