By Michael Fliegelman, CLU, ChFC, AEP, RFC
Mr. Peter Stahl is author of the book called Top of the First – the Convergence of Healthcare and Financial Planning. Healthcare and financial planning is interesting subject matter as more and more people are approaching retirement
I recently met Peter Stahl at an event and he provided to me some great food for thought. The topic of health care is prevalent in our nation, in both the political landscape and certainly in the financial services industry. People approaching retirement increasingly cite the cost of healthcare as their top financial concern. Many retirees will spend the largest percentage of their income on health and medical costs, larger than recreation and housing combined.
MF-Peter, as we are talking to our clients who are approaching retirement, what would you suggest they do as far as a checklist, so that they can best prepare the way for retirement.
PS-The place to start is with an honest recognition of the enormity of the cost that retirees will be facing with regard to healthcare and retirement.
We certainly see a lot of concern and confusion in our country as it relates to retirement health care. A survey I most frequently cite states approximately 2/3 of American’s close to retirement say that they are terrified about what healthcare could do to their retirement plans. By some estimates, your healthcare cost over a 20-year retirement, could be a couple of hundred thousand dollars per person.
Secondly, recognize that Medicare is what creates a lot of the confusion. We need to recognize that Medicare is means tested. That means that the higher your income during your retirement years, the more healthcare is going to cost you. You can prepare and plan for this to try to minimize some of these taxes.
And I guess the last thing I would say is the importance of recognizing the whole custodial care picture. When I say custodial care I’m talking about caring for someone with a physical or cognitive impairment that prevents them from completing their normal activities of daily living (ADL). Many of us are involved in caring for a spouse, a parent, a grandparent. This is entering our lives in ways that we never expected and we’re seeing that it is much broader than just a financial discussion. This has real quality of life impacts on people that are providing the care, so we need to take an honest look at preparing for this potential need for custodial care.
MF-Peter, I can tell from talking with you at the recent meeting, this is an often overlooked area. People just don’t dig into what all these costs will be during retirement. As I mentioned at the top of this article, Peter has written a very interesting book called Top of the First – The Convergence of Healthcare and Financial Planning. You can check out his website at www.bedrockresults.com to learn more about his book.
Michael Fliegelman, CLU, ChFC, AEP, RFC is Founder / President, Strategic Wealth Advisors Network