Baby Boomers on Health Issues During Retirement Baby Boomers on Health Issues During Retirement

Baby boomers are growing older, and by 2010, 76 million will begin reaching retirement age. As boomers age, it is expected that 42 percent who reach age 70 will need some form of long term care, such as an in-home caregiver or a nursing home, which is expensive. The average annual cost of a nursing home today is $57,000 (1).

Growing older is inevitable, but many Americans are not planning for their long term care needs. According to a survey commissioned by the GE Center for Financial Learning and conducted by Goodmind, LLC, almost half (46 percent) admit they have done nothing to develop a plan for themselves, yet almost the same number (45 percent) of those surveyed have had a personal experience caring for an aging or ill relative.

Dr. Kathleen Gurney, advisor to the GE Center for Financial Learning and chief executive officer of Financial Psychology Corporation, believes one reason people do not adequately plan is because long term care is something that is likely years or decades away and feels more abstract than issues they face today.

"Even when we know something is important, we have difficulty translating it into actions we should and can take today," says Dr. Gurney.

To make the task of preparing for your long term care less daunting, Dr. Gurney recommends taking gradual steps towards planning, which will reduce stress and make the process empowering. Examples include:

  • Visualization -- Spend time visualizing the quality of life you'd like to have during retirement. Drawing pictures or writing down descriptions makes planning less abstract and more concrete.
  • Develop a "Quality of Life" Game Plan -- Determine all the elements needed to cultivate and maintain the quality of life you want during retirement, including everything from retirement income planning to care giving. Dividing these chores into weekly or monthly actions makes it more manageable.
  • Develop Good Money Habits -- Schedule time on a regular basis (at least monthly, but preferably weekly) to discuss the status of your game plan and make adjustments. Those who take consistent and consecutive steps, no matter how small, are better off than those who do nothing at all.

Taking the fear out of such topics as aging, nursing homes, long term health and retirement planning will help Americans take the necessary steps towards protecting their assets in retirement.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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