What do you think “retirement” will be like? As we’ve discovered in our interaction with thousands of retirees, the answers vary widely. But a recent research report done by the financial firm Merrill Edge revealed that retirement can definitely hold some surprises – not all of them happy ones.
We discovered this interesting article on the financial website Market Watch (www.marketwatch.com). According to the author, the Merrill Edge study reveals that “what retirement is really like may surprise you – and not always in a good way.” The study essentially asked retirees the question, “What have you done in retirement that surprised you?” For nearly one retiree in three, the top answer was clear: they spent more money in retirement than they had planned or expected.
A few years ago a similar study by the financial firm Mass Mutual showed the same thing, although not quite so dramatically. This 2014 study revealed that one retiree in six was surprised by their financial problems in retirement. That’s still a significant number.
What other surprises did the Merrill Edge study point out? About one retiree in five had to make an unexpected move to a new location, possibly for financial reasons and possibly for health-related reasons. This number seems surprisingly high to us, since here at AgingOptions we spend quite a bit of time counseling our clients on how to plan for their housing needs as they age. From this study it would seem that, while many retirees do choose to move, nearly 20% of those who do relocate did not anticipate doing so.
Returning to the question of finances, we wondered why so many retirees find themselves surprised by their spending. According to the Market Watch piece, the chief answer is simple: the higher than expected cost of health care. “A couple, both 65, that retired in 2015 will end up shelling out roughly $245,000 — that’s up nearly 30% over the past decade – on health care throughout retirement,” says Market Watch, even though they have Medicare health coverage.
And in light of that “sticker shock,” here’s a related statistic that amazed us: Market Watch states that less than one person in four has factored health care costs into their retirement planning! In today’s environment of skyrocketing out-of-pocket medical costs, that number may indicate that traditional financial planners simply aren’t doing an adequate job of preparing their clients for the true cost of growing older. Bottom line: your retirement plan needs to be comprehensive in scope, covering all aspects of your future life.
What are these elements of a good plan – or a LifePlan, as we call it? Medical needs rank high on the list, as does a good financial plan. Your legal affairs must also be in order and carefully thought out. You need to consider your many housing options and plan for the one that best suits your needs and desires. And finally, one element many plans overlook is your family: you need to make certain they’re aware of your desires. No one wants to burden their family unnecessarily as they grow older! A LifePlan includes this entire range of considerations, allowing to you approach retirement with confidence.
Here’s how to begin the planning process: simply click on the Upcoming Events tab above and register for a free LifePlanning Seminar. These take place frequently at locations throughout the area. There’s no obligation whatsoever, and we assure you that you’ll come away with valuable knowledge and insight that will help you get started on the road toward a happy and fulfilling retirement. Following a carefully conceived LifePlan is one excellent way to ensure that all your “retirement surprises” will be happy ones.
We’ll look forward to meeting you at a LifePlanning Seminar soon.
(originally reported at www.marketwatch.com)