Medical expenses a key concern for baby boomers, poll reveals
Financial fears for elder years test many in 50s
WASHINGTON - The “golden years’’ may lose some luster for many baby boomers worried about the financial pressures that come with age.
Many of the nation’s 77 million boomers are worried about being able to pay their medical bills as they get older, a new poll finds. The concern is so deep that it outpaces worries about facing a major illness or disease, dying, or losing the ability to do favorite activities.
Another major concern among the boomers: losing their financial independence.
The struggling economy, a longer life expectancy, ever-increasing health care costs, and challenges facing Social Security are putting added pressure on the boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964.
According to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll, 43 percent of boomers polled said they were “very’’ or “extremely’’ worried about being able to pay for their medical costs, including long-term care. Almost the same number, 41 percent, said losing their financial independence was a big concern.
“I always say I am going to work until I’m in the ground,’’ said Ellie Krall of Manalapan, N.J., one of the boomers polled. “I don’t see myself being able to fully retire like people were able to do years ago.’’
Krall, 50, manager of an orthopedic office and mother of an 18-year-old son in college, said she is worried about paying for health care down the road and is not banking on Social Security.
“Boomers are not all created equal,’’ says Olivia Mitchell, professor at the Wharton School and executive director of the Pension Research Council.
“The youngest boomers - the people who were born in the 60s - face more uncertainty about their pensions, their Social Security, their housing, and their medical care,’’ Mitchell said.
Her advice: “Push your retirement back two or three or five years if you can. As long as you are still working then you’re not drawing down on your nest egg,’’ Mitchell said. “What most people don’t realize is how expensive it is to live in retirement.’’
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 29.1 percent of people 65 to 69 worked at least part-time last year.