The retirement conversation that “terrifies” most Americans

Two-thirds of affluent older Americans say they are “terrified” of what health care costs may do to their retirement plans. But more than half aren’t discussing those concerns with their spouse, children or financial advisor.

That’s according to our fourth annual Nationwide Retirement Institute survey of nearly 1,300 adults ages 50 or older.

Older adults say they aren’t talking with their spouse about these concerns because they don’t want them to worry. One in five feel it’s too personal of an issue or they don’t know enough about health care costs in retirement. One in 10 say they just don’t want to think about it.

The survey finds that too many people view health care as an individual decision. But in reality, it’s a family issue. Significant changes in health don’t happen in isolation — as every family member is affected.

Initiating tough discussions with loved ones is hard. Most people, young and old, avoid talking about long-term illnesses and death. However, even though it can be difficult, discussing these issues during times of good health is much easier than during a crisis or emergency.

Don’t Put It Off, Have the Conversation Today

While only 10 percent of respondents have talked with a financial advisor about health care costs in retirement, more than half say they plan to have that discussion with them. At Nationwide, we believe financial advisors are key to overcoming what for many Americans is a looming retirement crisis.

If you haven’t had this conversation with your advisor, there are a number of tools to help. Nationwide’s Personalized Health Care Assessment uses proprietary health risk analysis and updated actuarial cost data to provide a meaningful, personalized cost estimate. This tool allows your advisor to provide a fact-based estimate for your financial plan to help prepare for future medical expenses.

Financial advisors can visit to learn more.

The information collected on the Personalized Health Care Cost Assessment will be kept confidential and used to provide an estimate of a client’s potential health care costs in retirement. The estimate is based on a client’s specific financial situation and goals, as well as their current overall health condition. The client’s financial situation and health conditions may change over time and this may affect their future changes. Please keep in mind that the estimates resulting from this fact finder are for hypothetical purposes only and are not guaranteed

Nationwide Investment Services Corporation (NISC), member FINRA. The Nationwide Retirement Institute is a division of NISC.

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