Don’t Let Your Health Put Your Retirement at Risk

Published on June 24, 2013

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photo courtesy of apoxapox, used under Creative Commons license

It wasn’t that long ago that the average life span was 20 years less than what it is today. Both men and women are living longer and therefore spending more years in retirement than ever before. This means the need for larger nest eggs to sustain us through that longer period.

Living longer also means we have a greater chance of having health issues and the infirmities of old age eat away at our retirement savings. Even with Medicare and supplemental insurance, there are lots of health needs that Medicare does not cover. That means paying for them out of our accounts. We aren’t talking about catastrophic illnesses or conditions but rather, the more common infirmities, ailments, and conditions associated with aging.

Many of the fixes, devices, and services available to meet these challenges are necessary in order to maintain happy, healthy, productive lives. For example, hearing loss might lead to needing hearing aids (which are not covered by insurance and are pricey). Poor vision means no driving and the need to hire a transportation or companion service to get to social gatherings, run errands, or get to appointments. These expenses add up quickly.

For those retirees who are married or with a life partner, if one person’s abilities and independence start declining, this could have significant impact on the other, more robust spouse/partner—which also might trigger the need for companion or other support services that are often paid for out of pocket.

Don’t forget your chompers—plenty of older adults need dentures or extensive bridge work to replace teeth lost due to bone loss or dental disease. Even with dental insurance there will be out-of-pocket expenses that most people simply don’t think about in advance.

Long story, short—be sure to fund your retirement account not only with your basic living expenses in mind but with those unforeseen or unplanned health-related expenses as well. Medical and dental needs, and therapies and treatments not covered by insurance will take a bite out of your savings if you don’t plan ahead. At Next Generation Trust Services we always say it’s never too early to start saving for retirement—and it’s always a good idea to keep your future needs beyond paying the rent in mind!

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