The idea of retiring and enjoying one’s “golden years” is a simple enough concept. But as with all things in life, the devil tends to be in the details. What makes retirement tricky – and making plans for retirement challenging – are the many unknowns and myths surrounding this inevitable stage of life.
Let’s clear the air a bit and look at some of the most common myths that trip up people about the realities of retirement.
Myth No. 1
Social Security (SSA) is something I can’t rely upon.
We start with some happy news about Social Security. People have been floating this myth for decades – that SSA is about to collapse at any time, and it “won’t be there for me by the time I retire.”
Not true! SSA is a pillar of the American system and arguably the most successful program ever implemented by the United States. When first introduced, SSA reduced poverty among the elderly by 45%.
Despite the constant warnings of “running out,” no significant number of politicians are ever going to abandon SSA.
Myth No. 2
All my heath bills will be taken care of by Medicare.
This one is not so true. First, Medicare is what is called 80/20 insurance. That means the program pays 80% of your healthcare bills while you must pay 20%. We all know that just 20% can be a huge pile of cash considering today’s medical costs. You also must shell out extra for prescription drugs and pay for your own extended nursing homestays.
Myth No. 3
I can just keep working as long as I want to.
This is simply not as easy as it sounds. The older you get, the more susceptible you are to injury and illness. No one is immune from a bad turn. Many people over the age of 65 simply assume they can keep working when suddenly they find themselves too sick or disabled. It’s only common sense. No one lives forever and, sooner or later, your physical body is going to run out of steam. Just when that might happen is highly unpredictable.
Myth No. 4
I can live in the same place throughout retirement.
Even for people who own their own homes free and clear, the situations that prompt a move are many. That can be the need for assisted living to a desire to move closer to family. Don’t count on staying where you are because life has a way of throwing numerous unexpected changes at you.