Survey: Most Americans Underestimate Retirement Healthcare Costs

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This is the new retirement plan: Work out, eat right and hope that you can keep healthcare costs to a minimum.

Americans are so freaked out at the prospect of going broke to pay medical bills that the majority of them are making lifestyle changes now, according to the Sun Life Financial (SLF) "Flying Blind" survey released Wednesday. A whopping 53% reported dieting and exercising more, quitting smoking or reducing stress in order to reduce medical costs later. And it's not just the 40 to 50 crowd -- thirty-somethings are also taking action.

They'd better do something, given how clueless the majority of those surveyed were in terms of how much healthcare would cost during their golden years. More than 90% didn't have a clue as to how much money they'll spend on healthcare after leaving the workforce. About 75% are not formulating any kind of strategy to meet expenses from illness or even the common maladies of old age. And 43% reported being "not at all confident" that they will meet healthcare costs.

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"People will live happier, more fulfilling lives in retirement if they can better plan for unforeseen healthcare needs," said Janet White House, senior vice president and general manager of Sun Life Financial's Individual Life Insurance Division. "If you take action because you've reasonably anticipated your future healthcare needs, your sense of well-being increases, and you can focus on living life to the fullest."

So it looks like it's time to dust off the stationary bike and put the cake back in the fridge, America. Your retirement plan awaits you.
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