In “In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better… It’s Brutal” from the New York Times, February 3, 2013, Catherine Rampell outlines a perfect storm of financial shocks that has eroded the financial security of Baby Boomers – those nearing retirement but not yet covered by Social Security and Medicare.
A summary of the article explaining the oncoming financial/health/lifespan catastrophe, appears below. There are two big crimes I believe Boomers are guilty of. One is avoidance of saving, replaced by living beyond their means. The second is being champions at denial.
The combination of high unemployment, depressed housing values, and low interest rates has reduced older Boomers’ household incomes by 10% since the recovery began three years ago. Many of those who lost their jobs during the Great Recession are too old to be seriously considered for another and too young to collect Social Security or begin living off their retirement savings, which in many cases are paltry. In addition, the unemployed lost the crucial benefit of health insurance and consequently cannot afford routine checkups and preventive maintenance. New research suggests that they may not live as long as expected because of untreated medical problems and financial stress.
What a depressing state of affairs!! But, as the infomercials exclaim, “there’s more!” Nearly 70% of this age group will eventually need some form of long-term care. And even more disturbing is that only 10% of Americans have planned for this potentially staggering additional financial burden by purchasing reasonably priced long-term care insurance (LTCi). The remaining 90% are in denial and counting on blind luck that they will be one of the fortunate 30% who need no extra care in their final years.
My advice to these financially stressed Boomers, AND their younger counterparts who have more time to plan responsibly – explore LTCi as soon as possible! Yes, it will cost you some of your scarce dollars, but take a close look at what you are spending your money on now. Do you really need cable TV? What about eating at home more often or drinking home brewed coffee? Is that expensive vacation trip worth more than the financial assistance that LTCi can provide if you need long-term care?