Forty years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5847 and marked August 21 as the day seniors will be celebrated. The majority of seniors being celebrated at the time were people who lived through world wars and difficult economic times, banded together to protect freedom and the American way of life, and preserved a path to prosperity for generations to come.

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As the proverb goes: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Forty years have passed, and those original seniors may not be alive to sit in the proverbial shade they created. We stand on the shoulders of those giants and their sacrifices still.

Forty years later, we celebrate a new generation of seniors, and they did not sit on hands. They reformed and transformed the world. The current generation of seniors accomplished the things dreams were made of and made the impossible into what is now taken for granted. They created the technology for cell phones and for the world wide web, so we could have instant communication across the globe. They went further than had ever before and launched Voyager 1 to have a space probe leave our solar system. They delved into the tiniest details and developed DNA fingerprinting. They created substantial progress for human rights around the world. All of these achievements among many others come together to create the underlying background of our prosperous society.

Senior Citizens Day is a great time to celebrate these accomplishments, and to take a moment to reach out to family members who are seniors, or even volunteer at a local senior facility. As President Reagan proclaimed, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”

Hopefully, once the younger generations have the experience and honor of being called seniors, they will have added to the tapestry of success just as our previous and current seniors have done. It is something to aspire to.

Services when approaching becoming a senior and retiring

Being a senior can be the golden years of life, when bucket list items are finally getting the attention they deserve. There may be new grandchildren needing support, or new fun and engaging hobbies to participate in. There are also potential pitfalls, such as running out of funds, or losing some mobility and independence. Although these may be unavoidable, in many cases better care can be ensured by working with a client advisor who helps manage finances. One of the largest growing expenses for seniors is healthcare and assisted living. One way to increase the likelihood a senior will be able to stay in their home for longer, or be able to choose the facility they want is to plan ahead with long term care insurance.

When approaching retirement and just starting to become a senior, a client advisor can also conduct a holistic analysis to discuss whether someone is financially stable enough to retire, and review how much they could spend monthly if they retired right away. They could also help explore the pros and cons of waiting to collect Social Security payments.

Enhanced services for Seniors

Beyond healthcare planning and retirement income management, there are particularly helpful services Arvest can provide seniors. This phase of life generally involves more travel, which might mean delegating the management of investment accounts to avoid worrying about them when access is limited.

Revocable trusts.  With a revocable living trust, the grantor or creator of the trust remains in control, but should they become incapacitated, the trustee can step in immediately to manage trust assets according to the grantor’s wishes.

Marital trusts.  In many situations one spouse handles the family investments and finances even in dual earning households. A trust for a surviving spouse will provide continuous financial protection during a difficult time.

Inheritance planning. A trust can also be the foundation for inheritance planning, keeping the families’ finances private, creating a smoother transfer of assets, and creating a financial structure consistent with the goal of passing family values from the senior to future generations.

If you would like to learn more about how our trust services might help you, please reach out to one of our trust officers.

What to give for Senior Citizens Day?

Money is not the only element of a fulfilling retirement and optimal senior years. Retirement means having a lot of unstructured time to fill. One nice thing to consider for Senior Citizens Day could be to fill some of the free time by spending the day together. They say it is better to teach a man to fish then to give him a fish, so that day might be spent trying a new hobby such as painting, golf, or even actual fishing. While to some it may seem like imposing work on a senior, it can actually be a blessing and gift for them to care for grandchildren or nieces and nephews. It is time well-spent, and they get to impact another generation of young minds.

From all of us here at Arvest, happy Senior Citizens Day!

This content has been prepared by The Merrill Anderson Company and is intended as a general guideline.

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