As I get older, I’ve been thinking about what it might be like to be elderly and childless. Sometimes it is at the forefront of my thoughts, sometimes it is in the back of my mind. Either way, getting old and having no children is on my mind constantly. Not in a negative, overpowering, or dreaded way; but more like a low, just audible hum. I wonder as an elderly woman if I will be properly taken care of by strangers, if I must enter a long-term care or elder care facility. What if my mind goes and I am at the will and whim of strangers?
Those are valid thoughts and fears, aren’t they?
I am constantly thinking about the childless not by choice woman, at all ages and stages of her life. I am regularly asked what age group I have in mind when dealing with the childless, not by choice demographic. It’s all ages. From the time a woman finds out she cannot have children and on into her elder years. I don’t believe a woman ever heals from the hurt of childlessness. In fact, I am noticing more (affluent) women in their 40’s and 50’s, adopting or surrogating babies. Hoda Kotb, Janet Jackson, and Tyra Banks; to name a few.
But those of us who were just not able to have children or to adopt must have a plan. I interviewed Reshell Smith, a financial services advisor to discuss finances for the childless not by choice woman around the world. Click here to listen to our interview: Global Finance for Women
The plan can and should range from having a solid financial plan which includes but is not limited to the following: a life insurance policy or enough saved to bury yourself and pay off your debts. Purchasing a long-term care insurance plan. Having an idea of where you would like to live as you age. There are assisted living facilities where you still have some autonomy, but there is staff on hand if you need assistance. Then as you get older, a full-fledged nursing home. You cannot wait until you are too advanced in age to purchase insurance. At that point, insurance would be unaffordable or unattainable.
Our human nature tends to make us ignore the fact that if we live long enough, we will become elderly. The plans we need when we are elderly should have been obtained when they were affordable, during our younger years. There is a saying, ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’–Benjamin Franklin.
You remember when you were young don’t you and you thought you would be young forever. You probably even thought you were invincible. I know I did! And now I look ahead, reminding my Podcast listeners and my blog readers, to plan; hoping we make it to our end with our dignity intact. All while not having even one child to at least in part rely upon.
We don’t have children to take care of us in our elder years but because we want them. We want to love and nurture them into wonderful adults. At least that is the general idea.
What of elderly and childless, women and men, in countries where there is not even the minimal governmental plan, i.e. social security, Medicare, Medicaid? If you live in a country where at least social security exists, you have the opportunity for some semblance of a plan. Remember the elderly who live in countries where elder assistance does not exist, when you think you are too broke to have a plan.
And yes, even those with children, have no guarantee that any one of them would spare, create, or have the time to help them. Children are not a retirement plan, at least not in the Western world. No matter where in the world you live, have a plan.