The word “retirement” used to mean settling into a comfortable armchair, kicking up one’s feet and enjoying a well-earned relaxation. Nowadays, it’s becoming an increasingly-distant future prospect fraught with danger and uncertainty in a time where economic stability has more questions than answers. For those intending to pull up those footstools, there a few common concerns which need to be taken into account.
The general specter which hangs overhead when discussing economic future in the 21st century is inflation. Basic cost of living has steadily increased over the past few decades, and there are few indications that it will decline any time soon. Combine that with the generally longer life expectancy of current generations, and assumed living costs might soon turn out to be severely underestimated in twenty years’ time.
2) Medical and Health
The biggest difficulty in this sector is that healthcare is a complex system with many interweaving threads which become a knot impossible to untangle. Health insurance plans, private or public, have reams of paperwork which can be incomprehensible, with multiple constantly-shifting variables dependent on things outside of one’s control. By far one of the most misunderstood illnesses when it comes to coverage, for instance, is cancer, which is becoming alarmingly common in senior citizens, and comes with its own horde of hidden costs such as new clothing, hospital parking, long-distance bills, etc.
Family can be many things: loving, supportive, doting, frustrating, complicated, lively… One big adjective on that prospective list, of course, is expensive. Aside from costs such as travel or gifts, the biggest cost that family represents for retirees is related to inheritance. Wills seem simple on the surface but the many interlocking legalities surrounding inheritance, particularly tax, means that retirees will require a lot forward thinking to make sure that their families stand to inherit profit, not debt.
This is an independent concern from family in that it is increasingly normal for retirees to pay tuition fees not for grandchildren but for themselves. Be it to polish new skills in an evolving job market or for an encore in their personal achievements, returning to college is a very enticing possibility that prospective retirees should definitely consider accommodating in their financial plan, if for no other reason than to have the option available.
And ultimately, that is the underlying theme that runs throughout planning for retirement. While one could save money and then play it by ear when the time comes, forethought and preparation will keep options open in the future, so that regardless of situation there is always a back-up plan.
Of course, planning ahead for multiple possibilities is by no means easy, and it’s tempting to just settle on a few simple goals. However, even the simplest goal can open up multiple avenues, but only if you took the time to scout out the paths ahead.