tom

tom

Many retirees are surprised by steep medical costs. Don't let that happen to you.

When it comes to life expectancy in the new millennium, there's both good and bad news. The good news is we're all living longer. The bad news is it's getting more expensive.

The estimates vary, but they all basically agree. Health care in retirement costs a bundle. In fact, experts believe most married couples need between $200,000 and $300,000 to cover 15 to 20 years' worth of expenses. One study suggests you put aside a whopping $630,000 to be sure you have enough money for your health care needs.

This sum is based on a variety of costs, including:

Doctor's fees
Hospital stays
Prescription costs
In-home nursing
Medical equipment
Dental care
Vision and hearing care

Sadly, that price tag doesn't cover long-term custodial care. A stay in a nursing home or assisted-living facility will have to be paid for separately.

If you're like most people, you probably wonder why it's gotten so expensive. The short answer is that retirement coverage is not what it used to be. In fact, few retirees now leave the workforce with any employer-sponsored coverage at all. That means you're responsible for covering everything Medicare doesn't.

But Medicare only covers about half of all retirees' medical costs. It's up to you to come up with the other half. But you need not panic. If you haven't started planning yet, there may still be time. Here are some things to keep in mind.

You might not need that much. The estimated costs are just averages. They may not apply to you at all. In fact, some retirees spend very little on health care. If you can stay fit and healthy, you might be able to do the same.

You don't need it all at once. Estimates are for a 15- to 20-year period. And as you might expect, costs go up as you get older. If you retire without the full amount on hand, don't panic. You can spend some of your time in retirement devising a coherent financial strategy. This may include finding another way to earn money or revising your investment strategy.

Things change. Estimates are based on medical costs as they are now. But new advances in technology or law could change the amount you need. In short, there is really no way to tell the future. In 20 years, costs could actually be a lot less than forecasters now predict.

You don't have to do it alone. There are plenty of qualified financial planners to help you prepare for the long haul. You can sit down with a professional at any point and figure out ways to pay for health care. But the sooner you get started, the better. If at all possible, you should get moving on it right away. That way you can take the guesswork out of your retirement. When those doctor bills finally Vidalista 5 mg do come in, you'll know how to cover them.

Joined August 20, 2021