Have you thought about how your healthcare costs might change as you age? There are many important financial decisions that will impact your retirement and healthcare planning.
Let’s talk about how you can start planning now.
Step 1: Plan for Retirement
The first thing you should do when planning for healthcare as you age is decide when to stop working. Deciding when to retire is an important decision because it impacts how much money you'll need to have saved for healthcare, among other things. The longer you work, the less time you need to prepare for.
Something to keep in mind:Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older. If you plan to retire before turning 65, you’ll need to find healthcare coverage until you’re eligible for Medicare.
If you know that you’re going to be retiring in the near future, the best way to plan for future medical expenses is to grow your financial assets, which leads us to the next step.
Step 2: Create a Budget
The next thing to do if you’re unsure how much money you’ll need for healthcare in retirement is to create a retirement budget. This includes realistic estimates of your medical expenses based on your current expenses.
Factor in the number of visits and copayments per visit that you anticipate for the next year. You should also take into consideration that your healthcare utilization will most likely increase as you get older.
Thinking of it like this helps you see that even in retirement, your monthly health costs will mostly be a fixed expense, meaning the price doesn’t change. In general, fixed expenses are much easier to plan for as opposed to ever-changing amounts!
Step 3: Open a Health Savings Account
Step three in planning for healthcare expenses as you age is getting a Health Savings Account (HSA). If you’re currently employed, check with your Human Resources Department to see if your company offers one.
An HSA is a type of savings account that lets you set aside money to pay for qualified medical expenses such as deductibles and copayments. Also, contributions to HSAs are generally not subject to federal income tax, and the earnings in the account grow tax-free.
Many employers can set you up on a payroll deduction, too, where a set amount of money of your choice goes directly to your HSA each pay period. Having that money available to you that you saved up over the years can be extremely beneficial once you retire.
As we get older, our risk of encountering various health problems increases.
Taking the following things into consideration can make a difference to your overall quality of life:
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Physical challenges associated with aging can be overcome or drastically reduced by exercising, eating right, and taking care of yourself. It’s also important to get checkups and screenings that are recommended by your doctor. Ask your doctor about exercises that can improve your balance and strength to help prevent injuries and falls.
Adapt Your Home
Is your home easy to navigate? Stairs and bathtubs can be unsafe as you age. Making modifications or remodeling your home should be considered to provide a safer home in the future. Downsizing is also something to think about, and it would help you secure extra funds for your retirement.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Do you have somebody you can call in case of an emergency? You should keep emergency numbers close by. Make preparations and provisions to develop a plan in the event of an emergency.
Decide on Legalities
Prepare care directives in advance like a durable power of attorney, a living will, and other documents that state your end-of-life wishes. If you plan to be buried, consider purchasing a burial plot so your loved ones won’t be responsible for that cost. Making these decisions yourself can reassure you that your final wishes will be respected.
Get Life Insurance
It’s wise to have an adequate life insurance policy that ensures your family and assets are protected in the event that you pass away. The cost of funeral expenses and debts left behind can add additional stress to family members that are already dealing with the loss of a loved one.
In addition, it’s a great idea to consider adding credit life to ensure that term loans will pay out at death. This adds even more peace of mind to family members that are left behind.
Remember, the key to aging is not only taking care of your health, but preparing yourself financially as well! Don’t let your retirement expenses catch you by surprise. Although many expenses in retirement are uncertain, the earlier you start planning, the more likely you are to achieve financial security in retirement.
Are you prepared to deal with the realities of healthcare costs in retirement? Our Nationally Certified Credit Counselors can help you plan for the cost of healthcare as you age. Give us a call at 1-800-351-4877, or visit our website to schedule a one-on-one session today!
Once a Pelican State CU member, always a member—through life's milestones, we'll always be there to help you with your financial needs. Your Financial Family for Life. Give us a call at 800-351-4877.