When most people think about retirement, they think of all the free time they’ll suddenly have for fun and frolic. However, retirement comes with responsibilities as well. For example, if you want to enjoy a long and stable retirement you’ll need to make sure you can stay healthy during your golden years. Don’t assume that calisthenics and a low-sodium diet will be enough to cut it — the truth is that any responsible retirement savings plan should include some provisions for healthcare.
American Healthcare in Retirement by the Numbers
The truth is that healthcare could wind up being one of your most significant expenses by the time you hit retirement age. Before we go any further, let’s take a look at some statistics that bear this out:
- Three out of every four Americans over the age of 65 have multiple chronic conditions
- It’s estimated that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2018 will need $275,000 in today’s dollars to cover the medical expenses they’re likely to face in retirement.
- Nearly 70% of American adults have less than $1000 in savings.
That’s pretty scary when you think about it. If most Americans can’t even put a few thousand dollars in the bank during their prime earning years, how are they supposed to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover their healthcare in retirement? Plus, what about all those other retirement expenses people save for — you know, the fun ones? How can you make sure you have enough money to take care of yourself without sacrificing all the things you were planning to do when you get older?
Don’t Rely On Medicare
Many people assume that because they’ll qualify for Medicare by the time they retire, they won’t have to worry about their healthcare expenses much. However, Medicare is only likely to cover a small portion of the expenses you’ll face in retirement. Medicare’s hospital insurance doesn’t cover things like doctor’s visits or prescriptions, and the portion of Medicare that works more like regular health insurance still has coverage gaps — including dental and vision care, dentures, hearing aids and more.
Take Charge of Your Finances
The silver lining in all this is that you can start improving your retirement prospects now — as long as you’re careful about your financial planning. Start by improving your credit rating, then look for stable long-term investments you can make to grow your money over time. Consider the following tips and tricks:
- If your credit rating is poor, look for easy loans you can take out — like car title loans. These loans are secured by a portion of the equity you own in your vehicle, so they don’t require good credit for approval. Making regular payments and fulfilling the other requirements of these loans can be an easy way to improve your credit rating, which can qualify you for better borrowing opportunities in the future and give you more available capital to invest.
- Use your available credit to pursue stable, long-term investments such as real estate. Since most properties increase in value over time, this can be a viable way to grow your wealth on the way to retirement.
- Look into private long-term care insurance, which is designed to cover one of the most significant gaps in coverage. This can prevent you from having to pay for any potential long term care you need out of pocket.
Planning for the healthcare expenses you’re likely to face in retirement can sound difficult, but it’s much easier when you have a strategy to follow. Use the tips provided above to make smart decisions that will benefit you well into the future, so that you can enjoy your retirement with sound body and mind.