The more you learn about personal finance, the more complicated your questions are likely to get. But never fear: hosts Robert Brokamp and Alison Southwick named their podcast Motley Fool Answers for a reason, and the Oct. 29 episode -- the monthly mailbag show -- the co hosts will tackle a whole bunch of money conundrums with a bit of help from Motley Fool Wealth Management Director of Financial Planning Megan Brinsfield, CPA, CFP, and all-around fine human being.
In this segment, they reply to an email from Matt, who is looking at some recommendations from the experts at Fidelity that have him a bit confused: If the average retired couple will spend $285,000 on healthcare, do they need it all at the start of retirement? Does the 10-time-your-income nest egg recommendation include those funds for medical care? And where does long-term care insurance fit in?
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This video was recorded on Oct. 29, 2019.
Alison Southwick: The next question comes from Matt. "I often hear that Fidelity estimates that a retired couple will need $285,000 to cover healthcare costs. Do you know if this number is an average total amount spent over the course of retirement or would this be how much is recommended to have saved at the beginning of retirement?
"Secondly, Fidelity gives out the rule of thumb that one should save 10 times their income for retirement. For the median U.S. household, that's over $565,000. Does this figure include the healthcare estimate or would one need to save for the estimated healthcare costs on top of that 10 times earnings?
"Finally, do you know if either of these figures assume long-term care insurance? I know rules of thumb are just that and it's better to talk to a financial professional to figure out my unique position, but all the same, any insight you can provide would help me relax."
Robert Brokamp: Well, I reached out to Fidelity to get the answer to the question...
Southwick: That's so you!
Brokamp: ... just to make sure I understood it. So the $285,000 is for a married couple, so it's about half of that each if you're single. A little bit more for females because they live longer. But it is the total amount spent over your retirement. Ideally, it is better to have that saved up before you retire, but you can get by having less than that as long as that amount grows enough to cover those costs over the course of your retirement.
That 10x your savings guideline for how much you should have before you retire is inclusive of the medical care. That's the good news. The one thing I want to point out, though, is that 10x assumes you retire at age 67, which is actually higher than the average retirement age these days, so according to Fidelity's guidelines if you're 62 and you want to retire, you should have 14 times your salary and if you're retiring at age 65, it should be 12 times your salary. I always worry about that with this 10x guideline. People think they can retire at age 62, but at 10x. You actually need more.
It is important to point out that that healthcare estimate covers Medicare premiums, out-of-pocket costs for lots of medical stuff. It does not include the things that are not included in Medicare, which includes dental, hearing aids, and stuff like that. So Medicare doesn't cover that and that's not included in Fidelity's estimate.
And then finally, neither is long-term care. Long-term care is not covered in that $285,000 or in that savings guideline. So if you think it's possible you'll need long-term care -- and most people should assume they'll need a little bit -- you actually should have even more saved up.