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.

The data reveals that many respondents have consciously considered the intersection of health and wealth in retirement, but few have taken financial action to address their concerns.

The study also exposes clear differences between those who have carefully planned for this aspect of retirement and those who have not, and underscores the important role that preparation plays in establishing financial confidence in retirement.
* Employee Benefit Research Institute, “Savings Needed for Health Expenses for People Eligible for Medicare: Some Rare Good News,” October 2012.

The Health, Wealth and RetirementSM study was created by Ameriprise Financial utilizing survey responses from 1,075 Americans ages 50 to 64 employed full time with investable assets of at least $100,000. The online survey was commissioned by Ameriprise Financial, Inc., and conducted by Artemis Strategy Group from June 26 – July 11, 2014. For further information and detail about the Health, Wealth and RetirementSM study including verification of data that may not be published as part of this report, please contact Ameriprise Financial.

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