Planning for Your Retirement


Filed under Planning & Money

Most of us envision retirement as a time to relax, spend time with loved ones, travel or start a new hobby. But it’s difficult to reap the rewards of our hard-earned years of work without some careful financial and health benefits planning. A new national survey of pre-retirees and retirees reveals that Americans are not spending enough time planning for their retirement.

Plan for Your Health, a public education program from Aetna and the Financial Planning Association, sponsored a survey of more than 1,000 Americans ages 45 to 75 with health insurance to find out about their attitudes and habits regarding retirement planning. You may be able to relate to some of the findings.

• Of pre-retirees surveyed, nearly 20 percent have spent “no time” in the past year actively planning for retirement, and more than 30 percent don’t know what to anticipate for health care needs.

• Sixty-six percent of pre-retirees who have spent time planning for their retirement, spend the same amount or more time on home improvement than on retirement planning. And 60 percent spend the same amount or more time planning for their children’s college education.

• What’s even more amazing, 31 percent of pre-retirees would rather clean their bathroom or pay bills than plan for retirement.

It’s clear that pre-retirees have a lot of other financial priorities; however, it’s important to start thinking about planning for retirement needs now because planning ahead protects your family’s resources from what can be considerable health care costs.

One of the best steps you can take to protect and secure your financial future is to plan for your health and well-being. While both pre-retirees and retirees agree that “good health” is most important to them in retirement, nearly 40 percent have spent less than one hour in the past year planning for health benefits in retirement.

Although most pre-retirees focus on the financial aspects of retirement planning, researching and understanding health benefits options seem to be left out of the equation.

• More than one-third of pre-retirees are most focused on contributing to a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA.

• Although 74 percent of respondents said they factored Social Security and Medicare benefits in their retirement plan, 77 percent are concerned about the financial issues facing these programs.

But, planning for retirement is not just about finances; it involves everything from reevaluating your daily routine and budget, to your health care options — including Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), long term care and life insurance.

• Eighty percent or more of pre-retirees and retirees expect to pay for prescription drugs and doctor’s visits in retirement. Twenty-nine percent even anticipate costs related to alternative medicine and five percent plan for cosmetic surgery, a snapshot of consumers’ health care preferences today.

• However, 52 percent of those surveyed expect to spend less than $300 a month on out-of-pocket costs and health care-related expenses during retirement — less than half of the $640 a month the average retiree actually spends.

It’s obvious that many Americans have a lot to think about when it comes to planning for retirement, which may be why 63 percent say that “people they know” are very or somewhat confused about health benefits. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Now is the time to start planning and learning all about your health benefits and financial needs for retirement. Planning now will serve you well in the future. After all, your goal is for a long and happy, healthy retirement — exactly what you’ve always dreamed of.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

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