When Olympic Gold Medalist Wendy Boglioli competed in the 1976 Montreal games and won a gold and a bronze in swimming, her father -- and coach -- wasn't there. He was too ill to travel from their home in Wisconsin. Even working together, the seven children in the family were unable to come up with enough money to get Boglioli's father the kind of care he needed before his death, leaving their mother widowed and financially strapped. That gut-wrenching experience turned Boglioli into an advocate for retirement planning.
As a national spokeswoman for the last five years for long-term-care insurer Genworth, Boglioli speaks about her own experiences and the importance, especially for women, of taking control of their finances as they near retirement.
She and her six brothers and sisters all kick in to make sure that their 90-year-old mother continues to be able to live in her own home. When boomers get to that stage of life, it is unlikely that they will have that kind of support, Boglioli believes. Boomers had fewer children and, in general, attitudes toward family life have changed over the years. "I hear from many women today. They say they will never do to their kids what their parents have done to them," Boglioli said.
By not getting a grip on their retirement finances, especially failing to manage the issue of long-term care, Boglioli says people not only leave their family an enormous responsibility that they may not be able to handle, but also the choices they make for you may not be the choices you might have made for yourself. This is a particular issue for women because they live longer than their husbands, she points out.
Boglioli, who is 55, says she and her husband bought long-term-care insurance for themselves when they were both 42 -- "It was dirt cheap," she says.
Other advice that she has for people undertaking retirement planning includes:
- Take charge of your finances, including saving as much money as you can.
- Keep control of your medical records. If you've moved around a lot, this can be more difficult than it sounds.
- Put your retirement plan in writing.
- Have a conversation with your spouse, your grown children or other concerned family members so they know what your intentions are and how to find the necessary paperwork.