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What Retirees Worry About

A 2017 retiree survey from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave ranked health as the greatest worry for retirees over 65. Retirees under 65 tend to think that finances is their biggest worry. This is important because at 65, every retiree has to apply for medicare and many people look at that and medicaid as being their primary source of healthcare.

Medicare and medicaid will probably still be around to help ease the financial burden, but to be eligible for Medicaid assistance, you have to dispose of virtually all your assets and give up a lot of control over your finances and your life. I know this the from personal experience of a family member who had to use medicare and medicaid later in life.

The vast majority of retirees think maintaining or improving their health could help them manage or reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses in retirement. More than three-quarters report their retirement could be better if they took better care of their health.

While most retirees know what they should do to improve their health, I know from my experience, they won’t always get around to adopting steps to improve their health. Sometimes this is from current medical conditions but usually because it’s easier not to.

Happy and successful retirements don’t just happen. It’s a result of taking a realistic look at the future and making a plan to take care of the two most pressing things, health and wealth, you’ll have to consider after you retire.

Retirement won’t be happy or successful if you run out of money and have to move into your kid’s basement. It doesn’t matter much whether you outlive your investments or you have health conditions that eat up your retirement income. The fact is that you’ll still be dependent on others.

Look at retirement like it’s a change in your career. Taking time to do a little research and planning how you’ll accomplish a successful change will pay off by eliminating some of the pitfalls and speed bumps along the way. Staying financially and medically healthy should be at the top of your list, just above travel and recreation.

Financial planning was and is a big challenge for baby boomers like me. The availability of easy credit and raising a family changing priorities made it easy to put off any thought of retirement. For some reason, we seem to think that we have plenty of time to plan for a successful retirement.

One huge financial fear that most Americans have is being in debt and living paycheck to paycheck their entire lives. Debt can have a significant effect on retirement and the desire for extra income is one reason that a lot of retirees continue to work.

More retirees than ever are continuing to work, but many are rejecting the fully retired lifestyle of all leisure and no work. Speaking from experience, I know it’s not just about the money. Most retirees I know either work part-time or have started a part-time business (same thing isn’t it?). The primary reason is to stay busy, active and engaged. We’re looking for mental stimulation and challenges that help keep us young.


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