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In retirement, will medical expenses be your lifestyle?

In retirement, will medical expenses be your lifestyle?

May 28, 2017 | Andy Blandford

For many years, retirement planning has been about securing a lifestyle after we finish our working life. Such rhetoric could not anticipate or expect that healthcare costs would progressively transfer from the State to the individual. Perhaps the next phase will be to transfer that liability over to our children these next 20-30 years? Countries like Japan and Germany already have mortgages that can pass generation to generation. Would it really be such a surprise of this happened to healthcare and retirement?

Each of us can see that the public healthcare provisions are under significant threat, and not just in developed countries. Through the last 20 years, we have seen citizen entitlements and public service quality deteriorates almost beyond recognition. With ageing populations; accelerating healthcare costs, and unsustainable Government debt; we can expect the situation to further deteriorate. Indeed, by 2040 we might well be looking back at 2017 with nostalgia!

Much of the ‘entitlement’ and State systems were born in the 1960-1970 era. While the global economy was not as wealthy back then compared to now, society was more of a community, and this was reflected in many of the social programmes that came into being, such as public healthcare. In the decades since, much of that culture has disappeared in practical terms, despite the contexts still being perpetuated, and our lamentations for what ‘used to be’. For our grandchildren, there is the reasonable expectation that the public healthcare services we once knew will no longer exist. All treatment will have a price tag and you either pay by cash or insurance or be left untreated or even abandoned. Healthcare is more about money (not people) these days, and it serves us no purpose trying to ignore this anymore.

If we accept this prognosis, healthcare insurance cannot be your only solution going forward. Your property, cash and retirement funds need also to operate as a part of your healthcare provision. After-all, many Governments already have the power to seize and liquidate your assets (by auction) to cover your healthcare bill if they want. So it makes sense to anticipate this prospect in your planning and arrangements today and organise accordingly. Addressed objectively, it shouldn’t mean one way or the other, and nothing in between. Provisioned adequately, you can avoid your medical bills becoming your retirement lifestyle…!

Above all, we need to re-think our approach and attitude in how we arrange our healthcare and retirement. If relying on your Government is not feasible or sustainable, we instead need to install affordable and sustainable solutions for ourselves and our family. Not just for now, but for when we are older and retired. Our solutions need to operate like a marathon runner, not a sprinter. There is also the matter of your children and grandchildren, and the risk of becoming their dependent in your retirement because your assets were spent on medical bills instead of a lifestyle. I have been advocating this ‘re-thinking’ approach already for years with so many clients. There are affordable and sustainable international healthcare available if you look objectively or talk to someone who knows what he is doing [for you].