Wealthy Retirees Greatest Fear: Becoming a Burden

In a new survey from UBS’s “Investor Watch” report on finance topics, more than four in 10 respondents cited a burdensome retirement as their greatest fear in advanced age. The survey posed that question, among others concerning retirement saving and spending goals, to 1,849 high net worth investors with at least $1 million in assets. Their answers reveal surprising and personal details on the wishes of some of the most wealthy future and current retirees.

Common concerns

While 42 percent cited being most worried about a stressful financial situation for their children, almost all of the respondents said that this was one of their concerns. This sentiment trumped the fear of living on life support or even dying alone and removed from their family. Meanwhile, only 39 percent of the investors surveyed said they had talked with their children about plans for their future care. About 23 percent said they had even saved for the costs of such care.

The report cites a U.S. Census Bureau study that estimates the population of Americans over the age of 65 will grow to more than 80 million by 2050. Nearly 27 million of that population will require long-term care over that period, up from only 12 million currently. This follows the trend of people generally living longer, a factor that was at the forefront of investors’ minds in the UBS survey.

Long-term care is a big part of many people's retirement.

Planning ahead

Many respondents said they intended to outsource their care to in-home caretakers, easing the burden on their children and thus their own conscience. As many as 80 percent of these high net worth investors hoped their spouses would be able to handle the bulk of the late-life care, but 67 percent said they would rely on a home health aide. Again, the concern of covering these costs becomes troublesome, with only 48 percent of investors saying they were confident they could cover the costs of long-term care as they stand now.

The findings of this report point to a growing concern among even some of the wealthiest individuals that caring for loved ones is a complicated and expensive endeavor. The question of who will care for them and how to accomplish that care in the easiest way certainly weighs on the minds of these investors. Financial professionals can use these common concerns as a starting point for sustainable, practical goals for saving and investing.

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Highland Capital Brokerage

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