By: Alisha Collin
For Mennonite Village

Market Watch reports that a staggering 46% of Americans are pessimistic about being financially comfortable upon retirement. This data taken from a report by analytics and advice firm Gallup highlights the growing financial security issues of the nation’s elderly. This underscores the need for people approaching retirement age to take financial safety into their own hands. In the same report, researchers found that much of this financial concern stems from not putting enough money away to cover future medical emergencies.

Medical Care Could be Difficult in the Future

This coincides with certain developments in the U.S. healthcare industry. Current data suggests the country could soon face a shortage of professional healthcare providers. Maryville University, in their analysis of the healthcare industry, report not just an impending shortage of primary care physicians by 2025, but also shortages in the number of advanced practice or specialist nurses. On one hand, this means that those who are studying to be medical professionals have a bright, high-income future to look forward to. On the other hand – and more to the point – these impending shortages highlight the need for seniors to be financially safe as they approach retirement age. With fewer specialists available, healthcare prices could increase even more due to demand.

Make Sure to Get the Medicare Plan That You Actually Need

Understanding the state of retirement in the U.S. is just one part of the picture. The next step is to plan for medical coverage via Medicare. We’ve previously provided a comprehensive overview of the different types of Medicare plans that can offer the type of medical coverage you need. Original Medicare, or Parts A and B, represent the basic package, covering skilled nursing facilities, hospital visits, laboratory tests, and medical equipment. If you want more extensive coverage, you might want to opt for Part C instead of the Medicare Advantage Plan. And if you’re looking for something in between, there’s Medigap.

Deciding on which plan is best should be based on the long-term outlook of your physical and mental health. The fewer medical conditions you have, the less medical coverage you’ll need, and the less you’ll have to pay in the long run. It pays to be thorough in this regard though, as some plans will try to overcompensate and provide coverage for things you don’t need. The best way to make this decision is to consult a doctor who’s familiar with your medical history and health-related habits. They can determine which type of coverage you will likely need during your retirement.

Continue Your Journey of Financial Knowledge

The old saying that health is wealth becomes much more apparent as you approach your senior years. This is why Medicare coverage should be your priority. Of course, this doesn’t just stop at getting the optimal medical coverage. Financial knowledge means understanding your options in terms of investment accounts. This includes knowing your employer’s policies in terms of your 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans. The New York Times provides a simplified overview of how you can cross-check your employer’s policies with regards to investment/retirement accounts, and how you can develop them by optimizing your savings into a good financial plan for your future.

Beyond reviewing actual investment accounts/plans, you should also read about compound interest. Understanding this deceptively simple investment concept will give you more reason to invest as early as you can, and as much as financially possible. Find out how you can systematically eliminate debt by always working within a strict budget for your daily and monthly expenses. The key to financial safety in retirement is being aware of the fact that your decisions now will inevitably affect your financial future.