We all want to live longer, but as the average lifespan of people in the United States lengthens, how many of us are really financially prepared to live out those additional years in comfort?
According to the CDC – barring lifestyle and genetic factors – the average woman turning 65 today can expect to live until she is about 86 or 87 years old. A man of a similar age can expect to live until he is about 84 years old. And if a couple survives until the age of 65 today, then one member of that couple is highly likely to live into their 90’s.
Gone are the days when reaching 65 and retiring was reserved for a select few. When Social Security was first developed, the average person was expected to live about five years past retirement age. Today we are seeing people living an additional two decades or more past that age, but few have started budgeting for it.
How to Prepare
If you are not prepared for these additional years of life and the costs associated with it, it’s time for a reality check. Take a good look at your financial savings and the costs you expect to incur year over year, including healthcare and retirement housing costs. While many may choose to live in their own homes when they retire, will you still be able to manage your home alone in your 80’s and beyond? Consider budgeting for retirement housing such as an independent or assisted living facility in the event that you’d like a little extra help as you continue to age.
While healthcare costs will be the most rapid to rise, you should also take inflation into account for other expenses such as groceries, housing, and transportation. If you retire at 65, you may still have an additional two decades or more to live on your savings, and the one thing you can count on during those years is continued inflation. This is another reason that joining a retirement housing community may offer benefits, as many of these costs will be bundled into a monthly fee.
Retirement Housing and Continuum of Care
Often, seniors find that their biggest asset when they retire is their home. Many wish to age in place as long as possible, but when the time comes for a little extra help or a need for community, selling one’s home can often provide a solid nest egg for beginning a new phase of life in retirement housing. When choosing retirement housing, consider living on a floor with no steps, and look for wider doorframes that can accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Many retirement communities will be ADA-compliant to ensure accessibility for seniors throughout their stay as they age and their needs change. Communities which offer a continuum of care – independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care – can provide you with a seamless living experience. This ensures that you don’t have to continue moving around in your golden years, and can instead stay in a single community and enjoy life.