How does one find trustworthy financial help?
TLDR: Find a fee-only financial advisor that doesn't do commission business with anyone. Not my last guy, who said "Oh, you want a fee-based advisor? OK, pay me $2000 also."
I suppose I should get some professional help, but a friend of mine is a "financial advisor", and I know that all she does is recommend investments that provide her with the biggest kick-backs, so I'm very wary.
I believe you have "the nut of it" right there. The fact is, for most people's needs, finance is not that complicated. Many vendors artificially make it complicated in order to confuse customers - so they will surrender and blindly follow the advice of people like your friend. The complexity is to hide overhead costs, which fund sales commissions.
And it worked - you are thoroughly convinced that finance is "too complicated for you to ever understand". It's actually quite simple, unless you choose to make it complicated either by gambling or by letting people fool you. John Bogle's book "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" makes the case that "one stock" is a gamble but "all the stocks" is a market. Markets do well overall, and the best way to make money is to cut costs. Your worst enemy is the 5% front-end load and 1.5% expense ratio of the average "stock picking" mutual fund. After all, that's a lose unless it lets the stock picker beat the market by >1.5%. Does that work? There's science on that! One guess what it concludes LOL. Anyway, that's what index funds are all about.
So yeah. Every complex product they try to make, is only a way to drive up those overhead fees, which benefit the offering company at your expense. When you hear words like "whole life" and "variable annuity" you're looking at one of those. Blending insurance and investment is a favorite trick: I say if you want insurance, just buy insurance.
"Boy, that makes things simpler!"
Step up to learn a bit - it's within your reach. Anything complicated is probably baloney.
Am I even worrying about the right issues?
You are. You're worried about money and not health. Very typical of age 70. You'll be singing a different song at 80 :)
Late-life healthcare costs a fortune.
I'm not talking "donut hole". You have health events. The hospital stays proper are mostly covered by Medicare. But the after-care is not. You end up spending a fortune on home health care aides ($25/hour before COVID), being in assisted living or skilled nursing ($150-400/day for months), etc. You are burning through your "nest egg" hand-over-fist.
Generally, Medicare assumes you have family for all that.
Even worse, if you are funding this with Traditional IRA, 401(K) and 403(B) withdrawals, that is taxable 'income' which means very high tax years. For some I know, the highest tax years of their lives. After watching this happen to them, I am fleeing Traditional and moving into Roth for this reason alone. With Roth, these "hell years" don't create anything special with taxes; the withdrawals aren't even a reportable event.
Won't the younger wife help?
Maybe, but that's not generally what younger wives sign on for. They expect the benefits of fine living in their young-midlife, and a well-financed "good life" after you're gone. They imagined spending their 60s doing world travel, not being a home healthcare worker. And it doesn't make sense to why someone with $5M doesn't hire home health care workers.
But it's more than that. Your wife will be very much thinking "How will MY medical be provided for?" That's a pretty good question, actually.
And the wife may also be uncomfortable seeing the expected inheritance being vaporized by late life medical spending.
So I would say it's important to research late-life medical insurance options for both of you to cover things like assisted living and long-term care.
Get to a quality independent living community.
Seriously. The #1 threat to getting to 90 will be an unexpected medical problem which is treatable. You live or die, or are disabled or not, based on whether EMTs arrive in 60 seconds vs 60 minutes.
That's where a good retirement community will save you. I took care of some elders who lived in a really nice condo type facility. They were on the same floor and a 3 minute walk from the main clubhouse. Every room had a pull cord, and yanking it brought on-site EMTs within 60 seconds. It worked. The heart attack did not lead to death. The stroke did not lead to long-term physical and mental disability. The fall did not lead to lying in extreme pain for countless hours. That's the stuff to be having nightmares about. "It's a good thing EMTs got to you right away" was a regular refrain from the doctors. This added 10 years to their lives. Having seen their experience, I wouldn't really contemplate aging any other way.
It helps to have a community that also has "assisted living" or "skilled nursing" units (or "memory care" read: Alzheimers care, but that would be more for your spouse's benefit; you won't care at that point.) The financial structure varies, but in some communities, if you move into one of those units, you can stay for life even if your financial resources exhaust.
I can tell you that very good communities of that nature were available to people whose life assets were less than $1M; I assume people with $5M have more options still.
"Independent living" communities are NOT decrepit. They are typically upscale condos (with some standalone houses like the Bay Area's famous Rossmoor) but with extremely well-behaved neighbors and no kids. A good fraction still work for a living. Many were "snow birds" who wintered in Florida or Hawaii. They are fabulous places to live overall.