When developing retirement plans for my clients, I include a section about frailty risk, the deterioration of mental or physical health.

In my last post, “How to Keep Aging ‘Just A Number’,” I addressed physical deterioration. In this post, I’ll address mental deterioration.

A University of Michigan study shows one-third of those aged 65 and older suffer from frailty. Frailty in retirement is a real risk and impacts people early on in retirement.

The majority of retirees will suffer from frailty at some point during their retirement.

For my married clients, I encourage them to discuss how they will recognize frailty in each other. The conversation begins with humorous comments about senior moments.

But then reality sets in when they think about caring for their own aging parents.

For my single clients, I encourage them to identify several family members or friends that will help them recognize frailty as they age.

This deterioration is a reality and shouldn’t be viewed as a taboo subject.

When you know your mind is deteriorating, your judgment will not be as sound as it once was. As a result, you may be more prone to scams and other poor financial decisions.

At this stage, someone else will need to make financial decisions, including paying bills. This authorized person could be your spouse, another family member or close friend.

Giving someone else control is generally done with a legal document, a power of attorney. This document can be as limited or as broad as you want it to be.

It can be enforced immediately (durable power) or become effective only when you are no longer able to make decisions (springing power).

Most financial institutions have their own power of attorney documents and prefer using them instead of one drafted by a third-party attorney. Check each financial institution that holds your checking, savings, money market, brokerage, and other financial accounts.

Our brain begins shrinking in our 30s and the rate of shrinkage increases around age 60. It’s normal for our cognitive abilities to change subtly as we age.

However, if the change impacts our judgment, then we need to let others help. Continue to learn something new regularly to keep your brain active. But also, prepare the necessary legal paperwork if you need help down the road.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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