Inflation and Lost Purchasing Power

By Estate Planning attorney Rick Law of Law Elder Law. Serving Chicagoland’s seniors, retirees, and their families.

Recent findings in a survey done by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) found that almost 63% of older Americans reported that they are not confident that they can save enough to handle healthcare costs in retirement. In fact, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed stated that they could manage an annual increase in healthcare costs of only 1 to 5%.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare costs are actually expected to increase, on average, by 6.3% annually until the year 2019. And that could make healthcare costs even more difficult for senior Americans – enough to affect their ability to maintain their current standard of living in retirement.

In addition, seniors received no cost of living increases in their Social Security checks in 2010 or 2011, even though many costs are still rising – especially costs that can affect seniors.

Healthcare, nursing home, and assisted living costs are just a few of these expenses. Other expenses include daily necessities like food and utility bills, which are actually rising faster than the moderate rate of general inflation. This could put many seniors in a financial bind.

Topping things off are those seniors who have stock accounts, IRAs and 401(k)s who have seen their income drop due to market losses – some for over a decade now.  Seniors who depend on interest payments from their savings are suffering from historically low interest rates.

There’s no denying that seniors’ purchasing power will decline if they are living on a fixed income – especially in light of the fact that their healthcare costs will rise.  Purchasing power will decline even more so if the need for long-term care arises. On average, once an individual reaches the age of 65, their chances of needing long-term care at some point are nearly one in two, with the average length of care being two and a half to three years.

If an individual is diagnosed with certain conditions, there is a good chance that the length of care will be even longer. On average, an individual with Alzheimer’s disease could need long-term care for eight years. At an average cost of over $70,000 a year – and rising – it doesn’t take long to see that healthcare costs could wipe out even a large investment portfolio in a very short amount of time.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 630-585-5200 or 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

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