While serving a senior mission differs in many ways from serving a mission as a young elder or sister, it also requires thorough preparation and decision-making.
BYU Education Week speaker Craig Judd, who has experience helping people retire, explained that when Utahns retire, they usually want three things: to spend time with grandchildren, serve a mission and travel. In his presentation, Judd said all three wishes can be granted, but not without preparation first.
As Judd explained, the main worry is often what to do with the house. Judd narrowed it down to three solutions.
The first option is to sell the house. It’s a good opportunity to go smaller and donate to D.I., Judd said.
A second option might be to keep the house and rent it to family members or strangers. It is crucial to anticipate house-related costs while away. Judd grouped those needs into a power list including house items such as county taxes and mortgage payments.
A third, and less common, option is to stay in the house. Some senior couples might envisage the option of serving locally. “Not everybody can go to Hawaii or Nauvoo, but wherever you serve, the blessings are the same,” Judd said.
Health can sometimes be an additional worry. It is important to inquire regarding life insurance, meet with Medicare experts or ask church employees about the church life insurance policy, Judd said.
Although it is essential to plan for perfect health, it is important to plan for the opposite as well. Death happens on a mission and should be considered. “You can’t prevent it, but you can prepare for it,” Judd said.
According to Judd, one way to prepare for such outcome is to have a “peace of mind” book. He suggest gathering trust, will, insurance policies, business interests and investments in one book. This can be given to family members to answer simple questions such as “Where will your wedding ring go?” Furthermore, it is important to address taxes or health policy changes upon death or sickness.
When people need care they often use money from their 401k account to pay the bills; however, Judd said there is a better option. The “Pension Protection Act” (PPA) of 2006 covers multiple cares and is 100 percent tax free in case of long-term care. There are options and it is important to cover it all, Judd said.
Going on a mission comes with intense thinking and preparedness. It is crucial for senior couple missionaries to start planning in advance. It is never too early to call with questions or read the “Senior Missionary Opportunities Bulletin” available on lds.org.
Missions brings many blessing upon families. Senior missionaries have the opportunity to mentor young missionaries and grandchildren, regardless of where they serve, Judd said. Senior missionaries have the power to get the future generations excited to come to Christ and serve him.