Over 80% of retirees feel health is the most important part of a happy retirement, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch. By comparison, 58% of respondents said financial security was most important.
The study, “Health and Retirement: Planning for the Great Unknown,” was conducted with Age Wave in May 2014 with responses from over 3,300 adults 25 and older, and an additional sample of over 2,120 respondents 50 or older with at least $250,000 in investable assets.
There are three major forces affecting health in retirement. First, boomers are more empowered health care consumers. Second, as life spans get longer, the risk of chronic disease increases for retirees. Finally, longevity is putting pressure on health and wealth in new ways.
Health care costs can be expensive and unpredictable, but health can present a “double threat” if an illness or disability forces an early retirement, according to David Tyrie, head of retirement and personal wealth solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Over half of retired boomers stopped working earlier than they thought they would, and of those, 37% said it was due to a health problem.