Candace: As the vice president and editor-in-chief of AARP Viva can you tell us about the Decide. Create. Share. initiative?
Gaby Goddard: "Yes, AARP had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of all different ages but mostly around the boomer age 45+. 75% of these women told us that they are already starting to think about their future; starting to make plans and really think about how they want to live their second youth. And they're very concerned, you know they don't want to become a burden to family and friends, so they are deciding to create a plan that they will share, this is then the Decide. Create. and Share. We put together a website, Candace, that sort of walks people step by step through the questions that we need to ask ourselves to think about this plan and there's four specific areas as well – these are health and these are finance, legal and looking your dwelling; looking at your house and the community in which you are living today to see if this will work for you for the future."
Candace: An AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) recent survey revealed that of the 40 million boomer women, many will face significant challenges living independently as they age. What can women of this generation do to prepare?
GG: "Well, this is where being proactive comes in really and being aspirational, and what I would say women can do is look at those four areas that have an impact on our lives. I started with health; both my parents live in Argentina so I called them up and said 'look how are you living your second youth? How is it with health? What are the problems that you are experiencing?' My mom told me about a little bit of arthritis on her neck, so I went to see my doctor. I'm now prepared, I've been told what to do so that I don't age and have problems with my neck in the future. Same thing with diabetes, I"m already anticipating that. In terms of finances, I took a deep look at my finance today and what I might need in the future. I know in my family women live very long. My grandmother died at the age of 95 (both sides) so I might have a long life to live; is my money going to outlive me? Am I putting enough money into my 401(k)? Is it time to downsize? I am a single woman with a house- five bedrooms, four bathrooms. Did I really need that? No, I downsized. I went and moved into an apartment and now I'm renting that house out, putting additional money away into my 401(k) and retirement accounts; then I spoke to a lawyer. I want my daughter who is a 23 year old to be able to know exactly what it is that I want to do with my future- medical directives, living will, trust; all those things are in order for her so that it's not a wondering game. It's really a time in your life where you are in control of your life, instead of being reactive you're enjoying it."
Candace: At what age should young women start saving and preparing for retirement?
GG: "That's an excellent question; women of any age. It's never too late and it's definitely never too early to start. We don't want to find ourselves again having to react and not having the paperwork ready or having to make rush decisions about moving to a smaller house for example. So in the case of my daughter, she's 23 and she's already halfway down that checklist that we provide on the Create. Decide. & Share. website at AARP.org/Decide. So there's really no age to start."
Candace: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
GG: "Well, planning. Planning for your future in order to make sure you are in control of it is a very good idea for anybody at any age and it's a way of insuring that you can do this planning in an aspiration fashion and proactive fashion instead of reacting at the last minute, so don't be overwhelmed. We have your back, we have a checklist, we have resources. Come visit our website, also our last issue of AARP Viva magazine which is a bilingual magazine that I edit; we have an insert that explains for women to women how to plan for their future. We actually had a conversation with four of these women at different stages of their planning and it's really good advice, so I invite everybody to visit that as well."
Candace: Where can we go for more information?