My Comments: This is certainly a different slant on things. As a financial planner and advisor these many years, running out of money has been the major threat for those of us thinking about retiring or who are already retired. How do we make sure we’re not broke before we die?
Just what I need; something else to worry about.
May 15, 2013 • Robert Laura
Some say retirement’s greatest threat is inflation, the cost of adult children or the potential of getting ripped off. As financial professionals, we try to warn clients about these downsides to retirement life by suggesting ways to combat the rising cost of living, to keep Junior from squandering the family fortune, or to run away when something sounds too good to be true. Yet retirees face even greater threats, some of which never get discussed and are rarely planned for, including the loss of one’s ability to see, hear, taste, touch and smell.
When was the last time a client cancelled or rescheduled a meeting because of a 3-cent rise in canned peaches, they needed to pick up or drop off an incapable son-in-law, or they had a meeting come up with a charming snake oil salesman? On the other hand, if your practice is like mine, a week doesn’t go by without at least one appointment change because of a client’s eye, ear, nose, mouth, hand or foot problem. Much to my surprise, many new retirees still don’t realize that medical costs attributable to the three most common senses — vision, hearing and dental — are not covered by Medicare and can siphon much needed savings out of their retirement accounts if problems arise and persist.
I wish I could tell you I always discussed this issue with clients, but its significance has only come to light in recent years. As I have shared before, much of everyday life in retirement is like an iceberg, wherein a large portion of what takes place remains below the surface, or out of mainstream conversations and preparation. The more time I have spent engaging clients and prospects at my Naked Retirement workshops, the more I learn about retirement life. Last year I asked one group to discuss what their biggest retirement fear was. A woman in her early sixties replied, “Losing my hearing and the ability to enjoy my friends.”
I had never heard that response before, so I asked her to expand on her answer. “I’m losing my hearing in my right ear,” she said, “and have trouble following group conversations.” She put an exclamation point to the subject by saying, “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t communicate with my family and friends!”
It’s an eye-opening perspective, to be sure, making it more important than ever to encourage clients to do things now instead of assuming that time and their five senses will be on their side throughout retirement.