Health care represents one of the most significant challenges for people trying to plan their retirement. For one, it’s a variable that can be hard to plan for.
Not impossible, though, says Michael Schweitzer, global head of sales and distribution at HSBC. The firm surveyed over 18,000 workers and retirees to learn how they manage — or plan to manage — their health in retirement.
“Retirement can often invigorate and remind people of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, but it is equally as important to consider adopting a healthy lifestyle in advance of retirement,” Schweitzer said in a statement.
Over two-thirds of respondents said they were unable to predict how much they would need to save to pay for health care in retirement, including 63% of households with more than $80,000 a year in income.
Over three-quarters of respondents see poor health as the No. 1 barrier to saving for retirement, with their partner’s serious illness a close second.
When you consider less than half of respondents consider themselves to be in good health for their age, it seems even more likely that poor health will prevent people from fulfilling their retirement goals.
So people recognize that they aren’t at an ideal level of good health and they acknowledge that it could present a problem when they’re ready to stop working; what should they do about it?
The report identified four actions pre-retirees can take to help them save more and have a healthier retirement.
1. Start saving.
Most important of course is that they start saving, and early. The paper found 72% of respondents over 45 want to retire in the next five years, but 37% say they won’t be able to. That’s mostly due to not having enough saved, although about a quarter said they had too much debt, or that they had dependents relying on them.
2. Start building healthier habits.