We all know that having a retirement budget is one of the best ways to ensure you retire comfortably. But then, one item that’s difficult to plan for in a retirement budget is medical expenses. However, this is also one of the biggest expenses a person incurs in old age.
Therefore, this article can be quite helpful if you are still young and would like to plan for your retirement. It will focus on this important item in your retirement budget to help you prepare for it well. By the end of this post, you should know and plan for it to minimize financial risks.
Let’s get started.
Fitting Health Care Into a Retirement Budget
We already stated that medical expenses will be your biggest budget item in retirement. This is the case for most people aged 65 or older after they stop leading active lives and spend time at home. Thus, you cannot overlook the need to prepare for it early when you’re still working.
You might think that Social Security funds will be enough to keep you afloat in retirement. It is, however, not right because in 2021 it only paid a maximum of $3,148 for people who retired at their full retirement age. This amount is only expected to rise to $3,345 in 2022.
In short, Social Security funds will only replace about 40% of your income once you retire. This means that these funds can only supplement your retirement savings. You cannot depend on them fully for all your retirement budget, including medical expenses, which can be high.
Thus, you’ll need to look beyond Social Security to stay comfortably in retirement. You will need retirement savings and to specifically budget for your medical needs. This brings us to the next section, where we’ll explore how to prepare for medical expenses in retirement.
Ways to Prepare for Medical Expenses During Retirement
We have compiled a list of options that you can consider when preparing for your health care in retirement. The ways mentioned above are in no particular order. Thus, you will choose what to prioritize. The aim should be to ensure you get it right before your retirement knocks.
Here’s what you should do:
- Choose a Healthy Lifestyle
You can save significantly on health care in retirement by living a healthy lifestyle. It will be good to defer the chances of needing medical care to even 20 years after retirement. This will mean that you won’t need a huge medical budget and you will live a happier life.
One way to live healthy is by eating nourishing foods. Having enough sleep and exercising can also help. You should also consider going for regular medical checkups especially as you get older. All your worries are put to rest if you have a primary care provider you can go to any time you experience discomfort. Start by finding a doctor by conducting an internet search for a “primary doctor near me“.
Going for regular checkups will help you discover and solve issues early. You might be tempted to overlook mild symptoms that could be warnings of chronic illnesses. But it will be vital to ensure that you get tested for illnesses anytime you have symptoms, however mild they might be.
- Save As Much As You Can.
You also need medical savings to plan to ensure you have an extra source of health care expenses during retirement. These accounts are made for people with high-deductible health insurance plans (HDHP), but they can be worth considering for anyone.
The good news about health savings accounts is that their balances can roll over every year. It is also possible to contribute 1000 dollars in catchup contributions to your medical savings account at 55. This can help you offset out-of-pocket health care expenses.
- Use a Whole Life Insurance Policy
This insurance policy isn’t cheap, but it is worth having because it doesn’t expire, premiums remain fixed, and has cash values. You will find it to be a better pick than an ordinary insurance policy or even Medicare. It is worth considering, so you should invest in it and even overfund it.
- Understand Your Medicare Options
Medicare can be lifesaving at times, especially during retirement. Thus, it is vital to know the options you have in your Medicare. At retirement, most of your medical costs will go to Medicare Part B and Part D premiums. So, it’s worth knowing where to invest most.
You might also look at other options like Medigap and Medicare Advantage when planning for your Medicare. These options will also save you a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
- Delay Taking Your Social Security Benefits
You are allowed to collect your Social Security benefits at age 62 and above. But then, the age at which you decide to collect these funds will determine how much you get each month. You can increase the amount you receive as Social Security benefits by delaying the benefits.
Your money will increase by 7% annually between age 62 and full retirement. But there will be a permanent reduction if you collect the benefits before reaching full retirement. It is therefore vital to ensure you delay for as long as you can.
- Start Planning Early
Early planning can help ensure that you can cover your medical expenses in retirement.If you have a healthcare savings plan, you will have a lot of money by the time you are done saving. Planning early enough will help ensure you get the desired results.
The Bottom Line
You will not regret the time and effort you spent learning and planning for your retirement medical expenses. Mental and financial preparedness is vital for anyone looking to ensure they don’t get a rude shock once the medical bills start trickling in during retirement.
Besides, proper preparation will help your family members live comfortable lives. They won’t have to spend their finances on your health care, nor will they use their inherited estate. This article has provided all the best ways to prepare for your medical expenses before retiring.