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Solvent until 120

Sara Glaz

A frightening trend has emerged over the past few decades, as retirees have begun to outlive their wealth. But while some may see their nest egg disappear due to extravagant spending, most see another culprit: high health care costs. How can you ensure that your wealth will remain protected in your golden years?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shmuel and Nechama had it all planned out. They had worked hard all their lives and spent frugally along the way. Now, when they approached retirement, they owned a sizeable nest egg in the form of an investment portfolio and a mortgage-free home. They planned to live off their accumulated savings and pass on what was left, including the house, to their children. But within a decade of retiring, their nest egg had all but disappeared.  “We had worked so hard for so many years. But now, during our golden years, we’re poor. We expected to enjoy our life in retirement and even pass on the house to our kids, like our parents did with us. Not anymore.”  Although most babies born in 1900 did not live past age 50, life expectancy at birth now exceeds 80 years old in most developed countries, according to the National Institute on Aging. This increase in life expectancy is due in part to an improvement in human health and a shift in the leading causes of death and illness. While people once died from infectious and parasitic diseases, they now die more of chronic conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. And these conditions can sometimes require ongoing medical care, with attendant high costs, as a person ages. With the average retirement age in the United States at 62, according to a recentGallup poll, people spend 20, 30, and sometimes 40 years in “retirement.” But can their accumulated financial savings last them throughout their nonworking years, especially while living with a serious illness?  
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