NU Online News Service, July 14, 2004, 7:03 p.m. EDT

Results from a new survey confirm that U.S. residents nearing age 65 still have unrealistic expectations about retirement finances.[@@]

When researchers polled 500 U.S. residents between the ages of 50 and 65 through the Web in March for AARP, Washington, and MetLife Inc., New York, they found that only 14% expect to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during their retirement and that 40% expect to use their regular health insurance to pay for long term care if they do need ongoing care.

In reality, the survey sponsors say, few ordinary health plans cover LTC expenses.

Another 62% of the participants said they thought that Medicare would pay for LTC services. Medicare does not pay for LTC services, although it does pay for a few weeks of skilled nursing care for some patients.

Only 47% of the survey participants have a plan to manage their savings and spending in retirement, but 79% said they have little or no concern about having enough money to live comfortably in their retirement years.

Researchers also asked participants about retirement housing preferences.

Although 86% of those surveyed said aging in their own homes would be their first choice, 72% said they might be interested in living in adult retirement communities if they needed day-to-day assistance, 50% said they might be interested in assisted living facilities, and 37% said they were interested or very interested in a basic life care system that, in exchange for a monthly fee, would provide whatever services were needed throughout the resident’s time at the facility.