One of the questions that John and I ask our new clients is, “What keeps you up at night when it comes to your finances?”
We get many varied responses, especially from our senior clients.
Here are a few that we often hear.
“I worry about Social Security.”
Nearly every day there is something in the news about the poor financial condition of Social Security.
Many retirees count Social Security as their primary source of income in retirement.
According to the 2015 Social Security fact sheet about 52 percent of all Social Security recipients receive about half of their income from Social Security and with 47 percent of unmarried seniors it represents 90 percent of their income.
Social Security is projected to face default by 2033. This fact is a big worry for Social Security dependent retirees.
“I worry that the low-interest rates on my savings and CDs will not provide me with enough income.”
The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates historically low for the past six years. Low-interest rates help borrowers for mortgages and big ticket items, but it is a devastating blow to folks who are relying on interest payments to supplement their retirement income.
Also, most of the interest rates paid by CDs, money market accounts, savings accounts and other fixed income rates may not be exceeding inflation rates. In effect, many account holders when you subtract income tax, and inflation are going in reverse.
“I worry about the constant rise in healthcare costs even with Medicare.”
One area neglected healthcare cost is dental expenses. We have had several clients that needed to liquidate investments to pay dental costs of more than $10,000.
Co-Pays and other out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare can play havoc on a fixed-income budget.
The high costs of medical devices and medications also contributes to these worries.
“I worry that I might have to return to work.”
Working longer or returning to work is a valid and overwhelming concern for seniors. The job market for seniors is also not particularly welcoming. The next time you go to a fast food restaurant, look around for seniors. They are there.
“I worry about my kids and grandkids’ finances.”
A Pew Research Center report said that 43 percent of seniors over age 60 are helping to pay adult children’s bills. Helping is one thing, but helping to the detriment of your lifestyle is worrisome.
There are no easy answers.
Some say that seniors should invest in stocks. Most have had experiences that evoke bad memories for them.
Others say, don’t retire. Work longer. That idea works for many, but not for others. Some seniors look to reverse mortgages for financial relief. There may be significant costs when you analyze a reverse mortgage alternative.
An abundance of savings and investments is always a good alternative, but this effort requires a long-term commitment and discipline.
It may work if you start early and are consistent.