Each phase of life brings a new set of priorities to bear, and as changes in lifestyle and circumstances alter our views of the world, the most pressing issues for senior adults are quite different from concerns merely a decade ago. Becoming a senior member of society is full of new challenges, which prompts new concerns.
The Most Pressing Issues for Senior Adults
Among the issues that tend to become most prominent as we reach the senior years are financial ones. Advancements in health care and a greater awareness of the importance of health maintenance and overall fitness has lengthened the lifespan of the average person, extending the retirement years. This means good financial planning for those years is more challenging than ever before.
Entering retirement usually requires adjusting to a lower, fixed income, which is certainly not an easy task. Priorities must be reassessed and budgets reevaluated accordingly. Often, lifestyle changes are necessary to compensate for lost income, such as a move from the family home to less expensive senior housing.
Health Care and Prescription Drug Costs
Health care costs and availability to quality care are certainly among the most pressing issues for senior adults. Even those who enter retirement with a substantial nest egg can have their financial security threatened by the expenses associated with treating unexpected health issues. Estimating the costs of future health care needs is by no means easy, as prices of both medical care and health insurance have seen increases well above the rate of inflation.
Prescription drug prices are still a big issue for many seniors, despite the advent of the Medicare prescription plans. The complexity of choosing among the prescription plans offered has caused a great deal of confusion among even the most financially-savvy consumers, making it difficult to determine which option is to one's best financial advantage. And many seniors pay more out-of-pocket expenses for medication than anticipated.
Even with the best possible choices made among these plans, lower income seniors who have a continuing need for a variety of medications often struggle as the costs of the premiums and co-pays add up. For some, it becomes necessary to choose basic food and shelter needs over essential medications. Still others are unable to afford to participate in these prescription programs at all, as the premiums too steep for their monthly budgets.
Added to those everyday financial concerns is the uncertain future of the Social Security and Medicare programs, which threatens the financial security of many retired seniors. Today's senior population is growing at unprecedented rates, with the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age and longer life expectancies, placing more pressure on an already strained system. As many lower income seniors flounder financially even with these programs in place, the loss of them could be financially devastating for a wide range of senior adults.
Avoiding the Traps
Often, seniors in financial hardship during retirement are not in this position due to a lack of planning, but from underestimating critical factors like inflation, medical needs, and the length of time they may spend in retirement. Obtaining the help of a good financial expert that specializes in retirement planning is well worth the time and expense involved, helping to ensure that future needs are assessed accurately.
Another good reason to seek the advice of a financial professional is the rather unstable economic climate that has prevailed in recent years. Investments that have traditionally been considered safe, conservative ones have become questionable in today's economy. Hiring an expert to help you choose the safest means of building a secure retirement nest egg that will remain solid even in troubled financial markets may be the best investment you can make for your future.
Plan for a Rewarding Retirement
Seniors today are certainly not satisfied with the prospect of becoming the stereotypical grandma or grandpa watching the world go by from the porch swing. Modern seniors have redefined aging by increasing exercise, busying themselves with travel, art, volunteer work, and countless other activities, and celebrating their freedom from the daily grind of career and child-rearing duties.
Living this more fulfilling lifestyle requires financial security, making it necessary to plan early and wisely to avoid those common traps that can make the retirement years a struggle.