Get Ready for Retirement By Expecting the Unexpected

Why It Matters:

  • The projected healthcare costs for a healthy 65-year-old couple are $363,000 1
  • There will be an estimated 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses in 2018 2
  • A financial strategy that includes Wealth + Health may help secure your retirement

Rebecca Griffith tkc.profilePicture Written by: Rebecca Griffith | Transamerica
Nov. 02, 2018

2-3 Min readClock Icon

Life is unpredictable. We all know it, yet we often approach our lives as if we could see the future.

The reality is that none of us really knows what the future holds. So how can we plan for it? With education and preparation. As the old adage goes, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

This is especially true when it comes to our Wealth + Health, as both are key to a successful retirement strategy. The journey to retirement is made up of a number of small, but important, decisions along the way.

In a survey that asked workers what concerns them most about their financial futures, the top answer was “an unexpected personal or family health crisis.”

“Transamerica Wealth and Health Survey,” Luntz Global Partners, 2016

It’s normal to wonder if you’re making the right investments and saving enough for retirement. But have you also wondered what would happen in the event of an unexpected health crisis? Or what you can do now to increase your chances of successfully getting through it? By implementing a financial strategy that addresses both Wealth + Health, you’ll have the right tools to effectively navigate your journey.

See one possible path to retirement:

Expected and unexpected health care expenses can significantly impact your retirement. Let’s look more closely at potential ways to plan for, and adapt to, changing financial and physical needs.

Protect Your Health, Protect Your Wealth

For example, did you know you can carry your HSA balance into retirement to pay for some health care expenses tax-free? It can also be treated as supplemental retirement savings. Although withdrawals are taxable, they can be used for more than healthcare.

In addition, the cost of your medical expenses will likely increase over time due to your changing needs as well as health care cost inflation. Establishing healthy habits today can do more than save money now, it could help prevent the development of tomorrow’s chronic health problems and their associated financial burdens.

Navigating the Role of Caregiver

In 2017, more than 16.1 million Americans provided unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. 3 A dementia diagnosis can affect both the patient and their caregiver physically, emotionally, and financially.

To provide care for their loved ones, caregivers may cut back on their work hours, quit their jobs, or use their own money to help offset costs. In fact, in 2016, caregivers spent an average of $10,697 out-of-pocket to help someone living with dementia. Caregiving can also take its toll in other ways, with 59% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rating the emotional stress as high or very high — and even up to 40% reporting symptoms of depression. 3

If you are a caregiver, the good news is that you’re not alone, and there are support groups, hotlines, and community providers that can help. Learn more about the resources available to you when you’re caring for someone with dementia.

What to do after a Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer is the second leading cause of adult mortality in the U.S., with a lifetime risk of 39% for men and 37% for women. In addition, 87% of diagnoses are in individuals over 50, which is when many are just starting to think about retirement. 2

If you’re navigating a cancer diagnosis, you’ll need to identify the things that are most important to you. This easy-to-use, interactive field guide can help you to understand your options and make educated decisions throughout the process.

Finding ways to alleviate financial stress during unexpected difficulties may seem impossible. However, a financial professional can help you explore available income, insurance, and other assets, as well as intentions and legacy.

Things to Consider:

  • Prioritize both your fiscal and physical wellness today to help protect your tomorrow
  • Consult professionals to help with finances, legal matters, and providing care for a loved one with dementia
  • Seek expert guidance as you navigate potential resources following a cancer diagnosis

Find out more in our helpful guides:

A Caregiver’s Field Guide to Financial Strategies for those Living with Dementia

A Field Guide to Life After a Cancer Diagnosis


1 “2018 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report©,” HealthView Services, 2018.

2 “Facts & Figures,” The American Cancer Society, 2018.

3 “2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” Alzheimer’s Association, 2018

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