Research Studies
Countless unknowns accompany planning for retirement. Economic conditions, long-term market performance and inflation are all uncertainties that baby boomers grapple with as this milestone draws near. But one of the most pressing — and indeed most personal — issues people will contend with on their path to retirement is the state of their health.

Recent changes in health care policy stemming from the enactment of the Affordable Care Act have put a spotlight on the rising cost of health care in the United States. Around the country, Americans are sorting out how much money they need to set aside to cover health care related expenses, and how they’ll keep pace with future increases.

For individuals nearing retirement age, this issue is particularly important. According to data from the Employee Benefits Research Institute,* a baby boomer couple retiring in 2020 will spend an average of $227,000 on medical expenses in retirement. The total cost for an individual can vary dramatically.

There are numerous dimensions to the connection between current and future health status, health care costs and finances. The Health, Wealth and Retirement study digs deeper into how baby boomers perceive these connections and which lifestyle and financial steps they are taking to help prepare. View More
Women are continuing to gain more and more power economically, politically and socially. Today there are three times as many women earning college degrees than in 1970, and 71 percent of mothers with children under age 18 are working.1 Only 40 years have passed since the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for lenders to discriminate based on gender, and the number of women-owned businesses rose 44 percent between 1997 and 2007 – and has likely continued to grow since then.2

But when it comes to household finances – saving for retirement, managing budgets and making insurance and investment decisions – how are women involved, and what motivates their role in making financial decisions? That is what the Women and Financial PowerSM study set out to understand. The data uncovered that nearly every American woman surveyed is influencing these decisions or making them on her own; and those women nearing retirement, one of life’s biggest milestones, are most engaged in and confident about their finances.

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Americans juggle multiple financial goals through various life stages, but it can be a challenge for many to strike a balance between pursuing short-term needs and wants while saving for the future. People of all ages and incomes make lifestyle choices that affect their immediate financial situation — and often these decisions have long- term effects.

We conducted the Financial Trade-Offs study among three generations of Americans to discover which financial needs and goals they prioritize, and which trade-offs they consciously make to meet these goals. What we found is that most people say they are generally willing to make trade-offs today in order to save for tomorrow. However, their financial actions — and the bills they have yet to pay — suggest they may not always be thinking about what will have the biggest long-term impact.

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