Senior Couple

Here’s a Halloween riddle: What really scares Americans 50 and older?

Answer: The stock market and their retirement.

According to several recent financial security studies, including the Country Financial Security Index, as a result of the 2008 market meltdown, baby boomers are terrified of investment risk and another market crash. In the latest Country survey, which polled 1,000 adults, 81% of people 50+ have financial fears. Their biggest worry is the cost of health care and the realistic possibility that they might not be able to retire comfortably. Not surprisingly, women who are 50 and older are more likely to worry about being able to retire comfortably than men, 34% men compared to 39% women. We think the men just aren’t sharing their fears as easily.

Health care expenses are the main concern among Americans who are 65 and older, according to the last Halloween story of the season, “What Spooks Us Most About Money“, from Forbes. In comparison, millennials have their own financial worries, chiefly the ability to pay their rent or make mortgage payments.

But here’s the scariest part of the survey: about 21% of the 50+ respondents said their financial fears are holding them back from reaching their goals. That’s gotta give you some estate planning chills! Many people 50+ are also undoubtedly scared of what will happen to their financial assets after they die and whether their loved ones will receive proper care.

The whole subject of estate planning gives some people the willies. It is scary to think about dying and planning for what may happen after your death. But not thinking about it could wind up haunting your family for years to come.

If you fail to name guardians for your children in your will, the court might name them for you. And if you don’t have a written estate plan, your wealth could go to heirs you hardly know or do not want to have an inheritance.

Sit down with a qualified estate planning attorney and have him or her draw up a will or trust, if you haven’t done so already. Ask if it would be wise for you to have one or more trusts, which can be extremely helpful if you have children or grandchildren with special needs.

Reference: Forbes (October 30, 2015) “What Spooks Us Most About Money

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.