Published On: Thu, Apr 2nd, 2020

A Look at the Top 5 Retirement Concerns in Florida

For many years, Florida has ranked highly as the retirement capital of the nation, and according to the latest research, the Sunshine State still holds the top honor. According to Pew Research, Florida has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 of any state in the country. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that life for retirees isn’t always a bed of roses no matter where you live. So, what are the leading concerns among retirees in Florida? Here are the top 5 to be aware of.

1. The Rising Cost of Healthcare

Although seniors get Medicare, this doesn’t always cover the cost of healthcare. Not only are there deductibles, but there are many services which just aren’t covered. Many retirees can’t afford supplemental insurance. so the amount of money they pay out of pocket can quickly add up, eating into whatever savings they were able to accumulate over the years. Even though this problem isn’t specific to the State of Florida, it is a huge concern taking into consideration the sheer number of retirees living here. With 19.1% of the state’s population being 65 or older as of 2015, you can see what an impact this might have on the senior population.

2. Lack of Geriatric Services

All around the world, there is a general lack of medical professionals. The shortage of doctors and nurses is critical, and Florida is no exception to the rule. According to the Medical Economics website, Florida ranks 17th nationwide in the shortage of doctors and the shortage of nurses is fairly consistent with this number. Then there is the concern that fewer doctors and nurses are going into specialties like geriatrics, which makes this particular issue even more significant. It has come to light that one of the underlying causes of such a lack of trained professionals is the cost and effort to get a degree. 

Fortunately, schools like Carson-Newman University offer both undergrad and graduate programs for nurses. This makes it more cost-effective to get that degree and easier on those who need to work full time while studying. Today, many nurses are continuing their education with the goal of becoming nurse practitioners, so graduate programs like that just might be the solution to such a shortage of geriatric providers in Florida as well as throughout the entire nation.

3. Supplemental Income

Maintaining an income stream is also worrisome for many seniors no matter where they live. Although Florida’s cost of living isn’t as great as it is in many states for an elderly population, seniors still fear being unable to meet growing expenses such as those mentioned above in healthcare. Many had planned a retirement fund but found it insufficient due to the way in which the cost of living skyrocketed beyond what had been projected in earlier years. Some seniors are unable to work even a part-time job and so they seek ways in which to stretch their already limited budgets. 

According to fool.com, the most common ways in which retirees can supplement their income would be:

  1. Work full or part-time.
  2. Open a business, brick-and-mortar or home-based.
  3. Sell their homes and downsize.
  4. Rent their home to provide an income stream.
  5. Put a reverse mortgage on their homes.

…among other things such as cashing out insurance policies, investing, and buying municipal bonds. 

Many seniors are truly worried about ways to bring in a supplemental income because the cost of living just keeps going up. Although it isn’t rising as fast in Florida as it is elsewhere, it still is a leading concern.

4. Controlling Debt

All of the above concerns have led to a huge number of retirees to borrow more than they can comfortably pay back. Credit card debt, personal loans and mortgages have been a quick fix altogether too many times. Unfortunately, all that money needs to be repaid and without a supplemental income, they get in debt over their heads. 

Consider for a moment the fact that in 2003, the average amount of debt retirees owed was roughly $34,000. In 2015, that amount jumped to more than $48,000 for those 65 years of age or older. This is based on figures released by the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel. This has prompted the need for credit counselors specializing in retirement finances. If you are a senior seeking to raise capital to cover even the basic cost of living, it would probably be in your best interest to seek the services of a licensed financial advisor or credit counselor before getting into debt beyond what you can comfortably repay.

5. Home Healthcare and Assisted Living

Also, a chief concern is the availability and cost of such things as home healthcare and assisted living facilities. While some seniors have no issues living independently, others need regular care to live a quality of life. While there are many assisted living facilities in Florida and a number of agencies that provide aids and nurses for home healthcare, the need is becoming greater than the availability.

However, the cost is also a key concern because some insurance will not cover the cost of these services. Medicare is very specific as to what they will pay, and sometimes the services needed are more expensive than their coverage or simply not covered. Some seniors are still self-sufficient but worry about a future date when they may require home healthcare or assisted living facilities.

Florida Is Still the Sunniest of Retirement States for Seniors

One thing you will notice is that the key concerns facing Florida retirees are the same, or similar, to those which face retirees everywhere. Fortunately, the cost of living is not rising as rapidly as it is in many other states, and with a long history of being the retirement capital, senior services in Florida surpass those available elsewhere. If you are going to retire, why not make the Sunshine State your home? You could do much, much worse!

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