NEW YORK - Americans worry that inflation and the rising cost of health care are increasing the risk that they will run out of money in retirement, according to a study released Monday.
The survey by the Society of Actuaries found that people already retired were most worried about inflation and affording long-term care. Pre-retirees, meanwhile, ranked affordable health care as their top concern, followed by inflation and long-term care coverage.
Overall, pre-retirees showed greater worries than those already in retirement, the study found.
Anna M. Rappaport, a consulting actuary based in Chicago and supervisor of the biennial report, said that one theory for the difference in the levels of concern could be that “for the pre-retiree, retirement is still an unknown.”
Rappaport said she was surprised that people weren’t more worried.
Concerns about health care costs, inflation and nursing home care expenses rose strongly in 2003, after the economy went through a recession and the stock market fell sharply, she pointed out.
“Now they’re not as concerned as we think they should be,” Rappaport said. “It’s kind of out of sight, out of mind.”
Rappaport also said that Americans appear to be underestimating the financial impact of the death of a spouse. About 60 percent of those responding to the survey felt there would be little impact when a spouse dies, but Rappaport said that surviving spouses often experience significant drops in income and benefit coverage, especially women.
She said that Americans need to be more aware that longevity is a significant risk. She pointed out that among today’s 65-year-old population, the average man is likely to live an additional 17 years and the average woman, 20 years.