April Lewis-Parks | November 7, 2012

Retirement and Healthcare Costs Remain Key Concerns for Americans

Millions of Americans continue to live paycheck-to-paycheck, which can make planning for future financial needs more challenging. The need to build a retirement nest egg and prepare for rising healthcare costs have not been lost on Americans, and many are citing these two issues as their primary concerns.

New data reveals that 74 percent of Americans are fearful they won’t have enough savings to last them through the duration of their retirement, according to a Harris Poll. Another 73 percent said they worry about managing their healthcare costs during their post-working years. Finally, 71 percent – a mixture of retired and working individuals – said they are concerned about rising medical expenses in the future.

“There is clear anxiety on the part of the American public regarding their day-to-day finances and those related to their futures,” says David Krane, senior vice president of Harris Interactive. “Yet rather than creating products and services that could alleviate these concerns, bringing peace of mind to their customers, the financial services industry continues to focus its marketing on products and services related to spending and further debt accumulation.”

Combating financial fears

Forty-seven percent of consumers admitted to living paycheck-to-paycheck, and noted that their financial situation has made it difficult to put money aside. There are several measures individuals can take to start preparing for their futures.

For example, eliminating credit card debt and other loans can free up more income to put toward retirement savings. Paying off balances requires consumers to develop a money management plan that prioritizes these accounts. Some people also pick up a part-time job to help them build their savings, pay off debt or meet other needs that will contribute to their future financial safety.

Consolidated Credit advises that consumers who are not contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) or IRA should enroll as soon as possible if they can. Those who are already participating may also want to increase their contributions to maximize their overall savings.

It’s also important that individuals tackle their healthcare concerns by using tools and calculators to estimate their future needs. This information can be critical in shopping for insurance, enrolling in pharmacy loyalty programs and choosing the most affordable prescriptions. While health insurance can be expensive, there may be several local and state programs that can help reduce these costs and make securing medical care more affordable.

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