Though I'm nowhere near retirement, I imagine it's a magical day. Better than graduating high school. Better than buying your first home. Better than selling that boat you never should have bought in the first place. Retirement is supposed to be the time for you to finally exhale, knowing you made your contribution to the world and letting someone else take the reins.
But, as we're learning, "exhaling" doesn't mean you get to put life on hold. As today's new retirees are learning, all those lazy mornings and relaxing walks need to be tempered with smart health and financial management, so your retirement funds can last.
Maybe that intro sounded like a little bit of fear-mongering. But that's not the case. According to a recent survey from the Nationwide Retirement Institute, 90% of recent retirees experience significant health issues "sooner than expected."
How soon? Of those respondents, roughly 60% experienced health issues five years earlier than expected.
Of course, health care problems don't come with a schedule or agenda, so a lot of these numbers might be speculative. But it doesn't change the fact that preparation should be first and foremost, front and center of your planning… before and during your retirement years.
One key tip offered up by the author? Knowing exactly what Medicare does (and doesn't) cover for your retirement. In a different NRI survey we learned that nearly 75% of Americans don't fully understand the way Medicare works (with a shocking number believing Medicare coverage is free).
Education first, folks. With Medicare, you'll still be paying premiums, deductibles and copays. Even some routine preventive treatments aren't covered, and you'll need additional coverage for prescription drug discounts. In other words, these are costs you need to be ready for, otherwise that nest egg can deplete pretty quickly.
Also, while you might be nowhere near the typical age for long-term care needs, life isn't a straight line. A need for long-term care can come earlier for some people, and can be a catastrophic hit if you're not ready. (That's right, Medicare doesn't cover this, either.)
The article goes on to highlight health savings accounts (HSAs) as a smart way to bolster your retirement funds -- something we can really get behind. But while it might not be the happiest of topics, the article is an eye-opening read that might have new retirees rethinking that month-long European cruise. It's time to think about the "long game" and whether or not you've really budgeted your funds the right way.
Fridays (with Benefits) is a weekly roundup of the latest headlines about employee benefits -- from FSAs to fitness programs and everything workplace wellness. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.