Six risks to be prepared for in retirement years

As baby boomers approach retirement, many may find themselves in different economic circumstances than what they planned for. Recent economic events have taught us the downside of risk, yet careful planning can help soften the impact. Northwestern Mutual says your retirement plan can stay on track if you focus on these six key risks —

Health care risk: Rising medical and prescription drug costs, fewer employer-sponsored retiree benefits and limitations of Medicare are all affecting income and retirement savings. According to, estimated health care costs for a 65-year-old range from $3,000 for someone in excellent health to $10,000 for someone in poor health, including premiums, deductibles and co-pays but not including long-term care, vision or dental expenses.

Inflation and taxes: With inflation reducing purchasing power and taxes impacting liquidation strategies, less money will be available to spend or invest in retirement planning.

Longevity risk: Americans are living longer and the possibility exists that they could outlive their resources. There is a 10 percent chance that a 65-year old male will live to 97 years of age and a 1 percent chance the same male will live to 105 years of age. Yet, the “average” life expectancy is only 85 years, meaning half of the population will die before that age and the other half is expected to live longer.

Legacy risk: Many Americans want to leave a legacy, making an impact beyond their lifetime by leaving a financial gift to a loved one or a charity. It is necessary to balance this desire with the need to fund an individual’s retirement.

Long-term care risk: The cost of care for an unexpected event, or long-term illness not covered by private insurance or Medicare is requiring more Americans to prematurely deplete their assets. A 2009 Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association, or LIMRA, survey of pre-retirees and retirees aged 55 to 75 found health care and long-term care expenses together account for between 12 and 15 percent of retirement expenses, depending on the household income.

Market risk: Participating in the stock market can give an individual’s retirement savings and income the potential to keep pace with inflation; however, volatility in investment markets can significantly affect retirement income and savings.

Northwestern Mutual has a range of online resources to help individuals think about and plan retirement needs. Go to

Rikki Parent is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, and its subsidiaries. Parent is based at 724 Carpenter Ave. in Iron Mountain.