Independence for Days to Come

By Laura Chiesman

Around this time of year we think about independence and what it means to us as Americans and as individuals. This is a concept near and dear to our hearts. Financial independence is a frequent topic of conversation with clients, and for many this means the freedom to live out life, to the end, on our own terms. Thinking through the details of this goal in practical terms is a challenging exercise that covers a lot of ground – e.g. having enough money, well thought out spending and investment plans, the right insurance, good estate documents – nice solid details that can help make the journey toward future independence somewhat predictable.

A less concrete and often heard requirement for happiness in later years is, “that we NOT be a burden on others.” For the independently inclined, the worst outcome is to have our children saddled with responsibility for our well-being. We dread the thought of others having to take care of us financially or otherwise.

Just below the surface of these concerns for others, there often lies a note of stubborn dedication to self-sufficiency and independence. We want to have our own homes, make our own decisions, and manage our own affairs. So we have, “I don’t want to burden you,” on one side of the coin and, “Don’t tell me what to do,” on the other side!

Where we live in later years is a key component of health, happiness and longevity. The community around us, opportunities for social interaction, access to physical and mentally stimulating activities are all critical to the quality of life. There are so many possibilities – everything from staying put in the family home to living on a cruise ship like “Mama Lee.”

In between the extremes there are many great living arrangements to consider. “Independent Living” is a strong buzzword in the world of senior services. What does that phrase actually mean? What’s the difference between independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, 55 and up neighborhoods and the myriad of other types of living arrangements? What might be appropriate for you?

Here is a good definition from an article on

“Independent living is simply any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over. Housing varies widely, from apartment-style living to freestanding homes. In general, the housing is friendlier to older adults, often being more compact, with easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work to worry about.” For an article that provides a great overview of the many options for happy, healthy living opportunities, click here.

Gathering information now to explore all the many options, and planning ahead so that the lifestyle of your choice is available to you can put you on the road toward a happy and independent future!

You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this publication serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from FirstWave Financial. A copy of the FirstWave’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.

About the Author:

Laura K. Chiesman, CFP® WealthCoachTM

FirsWave Financial Laura Cheisman

• Certified Financial PlannerTM Professional

• Financial Planning Association Member

• University of Central Florida, BSBA – Finance