For anybody retiring in the next five to 10 years, there's good reason to be optimistic about the future of retirement. Retirees continue to enjoy better health care and innovative financial solutions that can support a better quality of life. Some of the biggest drivers of these benefits include advances in technology, calls for greater transparency for consumers and the emergence of additional personalization options.
Many of the classic elements of retirement planning remain the same — you have resources that fund your needs, and for most people, health care plays a significant role. What's changing is the retiree experience, as previous generations often had to work harder to meet their needs, and a person's chances of getting favorable results have increased significantly.
Here we'll highlight some of the most exciting developments in the retirement industry and how they may affect tomorrow's retirees.
Accessible Financial Education and Solutions
The availability of financial education and planning continues to increase, and that trend is likely to continue. Consumers who want personalized guidance from both skilled professionals and automated systems have more options every day. While these services may have been out of reach previously, they're now accessible to all, not just wealthy families. As a result, a comfortable retirement is attainable for a growing number of U.S. families.
Financial advice is becoming more holistic as well. Instead of just managing investments, financial services companies are striving to help people manage the big picture. Ultimately, the focus is on customer happiness and satisfaction, and that's a big win for consumers.
In addition to excellent advice, retirees have access to a growing lineup of financial and investment options, such as new insurance products, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other vehicles that are taking fresh approaches to risk management — a particular concern for retirees who have already saved as much money as they're going to save.
Furthermore, many approaches that utilize sophisticated strategies and technologies which were previously inaccessible to many individuals and organizations are now available to any retail investor.
New and Improved Insurance Products
Insurance companies continue to evolve and improve their offerings to consumers. In many cases, the result is lower costs and easier-to-navigate customer experiences. Let's take a look at two of the more popular kinds of insurance: health insurance and life insurance.
Health care is critical for retirees. Fortunately, modern technology is continually improving medical outcomes for seniors. For example, medical providers and patients are more accepting of virtual visits than ever before. While remote care is not right for every situation, it can replace some office visits, benefiting both patients and providers. Patients can speak with a doctor virtually to keep up with treatment plans more conveniently, and virtual visits can be easier to attend for people with mobility issues or individuals who would otherwise have to travel long distances to access health services. Plus, virtual visits can help keep costs low and make it possible for more people to get the care they need.
Additional cost savings are on the horizon, too, as many popular drugs are coming off patent and becoming available in generic forms. New medications that can improve seniors' lives will also continue to come to the market, offering previously unimaginable relief. Meanwhile, Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen over the years, and we expect to see low premiums and increased services in the years ahead.
Traditional Medicare will undoubtedly change over time, and the details remain to be seen. There's a decent chance that payments into the system will increase, though retirees may not face a dramatic financial burden as the working population could provide much of the funding through payroll taxes.
Life insurance may be something you're considering or have already considered, and we're seeing advances in technology and personalization in this area as well.
Insurers are increasingly using automated tools for underwriting, which is enabling them to manage risk better and offer the best pricing available to qualified customers. This could even make it possible to get a new life insurance policy without an invasive medical exam or lengthy review.
Insurance companies are also engaging with their customers throughout their lives. For example, many insurers will continually offer tips on how to manage health issues and obtain the care needed to thrive at every stage of life. There may even be more financial incentives offered in future years, such as lower premiums for those who stay active and participate in an insurance company's health management program.
More Assisted Living and Aging in Place Options
For those who need help with daily living tasks, assisted living services and facilities are crucial. While demographics do require a substantial workforce in this field, new technologies are also enabling seniors to live their lives with surprising levels of safety and independence.
Assisted living is another aspect of retirement that's moving toward more holistic and personalized care. In addition to new ways of managing symptoms, residents can expect better access to mental health counselors, nutritionists and massage therapists, with the overall goal being patient wellness. And with more tools being designed with seniors in mind, such as mobile devices and laptops with larger inputs and voice-activated assistants, it's easier than ever to stay engaged and get essential care.
These advancements will undoubtedly continue to improve outcomes for seniors in a number of ways. For instance, monitoring technology can alert caregivers and loved ones about potential problems, helping to prevent catastrophic outcomes. Meanwhile, retirees can live independently and keep costs low under normal circumstances with technologies like wearable devices that feature advanced communication and monitoring capabilities.
Whether seniors choose to age in place or in a facility, maintaining good health in retirement is becoming more accessible and convenient by the year.
Tips for Pre-Retirees
If you expect to retire in the next few years, it's smart to make a plan, understand the resources available to you and know the details of your monthly and annual spending. It might also make sense to consider tax planning strategies, as the federal government may need to raise funds to pay for Medicare and other programs, and a portion of your Medicare costs depends on your income. By managing your taxable income, you can minimize expenditures and keep more of what you've saved.
Many time-tested retirement planning concepts are still helpful as well. For instance, it's important to stay physically healthy and connected to others as you move toward retirement, as the happiest retirees tend to retire to something, as opposed to just retiring from work. Take time to consider how you'll spend your time, and identify activities that will enhance your retirement experience.
The Future of Retirement
Today's pre-retirees who take a thoughtful approach to planning for their future can look forward to a rewarding retirement. Thanks to medical advances that can enhance the quality of life for many seniors, there has never been a better time to experience aging. In addition, emerging technologies and procedures will continue to improve health outcomes for retirees, and health care workers will have increased access to tools that can help them monitor and care for patients more efficiently.
Meanwhile, financial services firms are competing to offer excellent products and services with a focus on risk management and well-being. More customizable solutions are being developed to fit unique needs, and consumer-friendly features are making it easier to understand what's going on with your money.
Ultimately, all of this means you can focus on spending time and energy in the ways that are most meaningful to you, so visualize how you want your retirement to look, and rest assured that people are working hard to help you enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.