Do have you any idea what you’ll need to spend after you retire to maintain the lifestyle you want? That’s harder than ever to guess with the uncertainties about Medicare and Social Security. What you can do is minimize your risk for some of the most likely and most expensive things you’ll have to manage once you retire. Here are three potential expenses that can spoil retirement.
1) I’m sure you’re already thinking of health care bills. One thing for certain is that you will have to pay for part of your health care once you enroll in Medicare.
Part B premiums are $104.90 for most people this year, but people with higher income see higher premiums for that coverage. Everyone has the same annual Part B deductible of $147 this year.
Part B only covers doctor services, though. If you want insurance for prescriptions, you’ll need to either switch to a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription coverage or add a Part D plan. Either way, you’ll have an additional premium beyond the Part B premium.
What important health care cost does everyone have that’s not covered by Medicare? It’s routine dental work. If you’re keeping up with health research, you’re aware how bad dental problems contribute to heart problems. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology says people with periodontal disease have almost double the risk of coronary artery disease compared to those with good oral health. Medicare covers other preventive health care, but not dental care. You’ll need a Medicare Advantage plan to get that kind of coverage, or a separate dental plan.
2) And, at this time of year, you probably guessed that taxes could be a problem during retirement. Did you know some of your Social Security might be taxed? That can happen if one-half of those benefits combined with your other income exceeds $32,000 and you file jointly, or $25,000 if you file individually in 2013.
3) This one may genuinely surprise you. What if your kids or grandkids need help because they lose their job or their house? Know anyone whose adult child has had to spend some time living with their parents after having their house taken away or having to file bankruptcy? Now days, those kinds of expected costs are becoming more frequent.
Research is also showing that some ways of preparing for these expenses are more successful than others. For instance, when saving money is the default, more people are saving with a new program in Vermont. Employers have teamed up with the local United Way to loan employees money for things like a car to get them to and from work. Once the loan has been repaid via payroll deductions, most people choose to continue the deductions as an automatic way build a savings account. It turns out that humans find it hard to save when they have to make that choice every paycheck. Saving money is just easier when it takes care of itself and you don’t have to take that money in the bank.
Jim McFadden has over 11 years of executive-level experience in the health insurance industry, is a youth baseball, softball and football coach, and has one of the worst fantasy football records in the world.