Americans More Afraid of Retirement Health Care Costs than Death

Americans of all ages are more worried about future health care costs and their finances than they are about death, according to a recent online survey by TD Ameritrade.

Completed by Harris Poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade, the survey “Redefining Aging” asked about 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 for their thoughts on aging perceptions, aspirations and retirement.

As for general concerns about getting older, declining health was the top fear Americans had in regards to aging, with the biggest concerns being losing mental and physical functions, which were tied at 58%. These fears were followed closely by health care costs at 43%. Death was at 26%.


Michael Daley, the product marketing manager for HealthView Services & HealthyCapital, told RMD earlier this month that home equity is a crucial piece of the equation when planning for in-retirement health expenses.

“The fact that much of one’s wealth may be tied into their home leads directly to two solutions often implemented to cover health costs: equity loans and reverse mortgages,” he said.

And its not just health-care costs that prompted fears. Respondents did not feel they had adequately prepared for their post-working life finances.

“Seventy-two percent do not believe Social Security will cover their spending; 60% have/had no idea how much to save for life beyond 65; 51% do not believe they’ll have more than enough to cover their needs,” according to the survey.

With these financial concerns in mind, more than 82% of respondents said they expect the retirement age to increase in the coming 10 years as people work to maintain longer lifespans.

Respondents had a variety of reasons for why they feel people will work longer, but the overwhelming majority — 74% — said it was because they needed to save more. Thirty-seven percent said they would work longer to be able to qualify for social security, and 23% said it was to qualify for Medicaid. Others said they were afraid of getting bored, or they needed to take care of their kids or parents.

While 50% would like to retire by age 60, only 33% expect that they will be able to do this.

Written by Maggie Callahan

Join the Conversation (1)

see all

This is a professional community. Please use discretion when posting a comment.

  • To read this article is to read into something very sad. Unfortunately so much of what is said in this article is happening and is fact!

    There are things seniors can do about health care costs, providing they have the income to pay for it!

    If a senior is on medicare, there are gap insurance plans that can take care of a great deal of what medicare does not cover. There are dental, vision and prescription plans that will ease the health care expenses as well!

    Again, the problem lies in how many seniors are in a position to afford all the coverage’s I just mentioned?

    With all the pit falls we have faced with the HECM over the past 3 or 4 years, the HECM and proprietary products out there can still solve many of these seniors problems! Unfortunately, we can’t solve them all, in fact, fewer and fewer today can be than we were able to solve 5 or 10 years ago!

    The point I am making however, is that we can solve some and that sure makes it worth wild, especially if you in the reverse mortgage space for the right reasons!!

    John A. Smaldone

string(109) ""

Share your opinion