Will medical expenses derail your retirement?

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Much has been written about Australian retirees being too conservative with their spending, particularly in the early years of retirement. After all, we’re living longer and should expect a healthy, active retirement that could span twenty or thirty post-work years.

Some people, however, don’t have the luxury of a contingency fund to meet life’s unforeseen expenses. We’ve had a number of people come to us to help them fund unexpected – and often large – medical expenses. In some cases, they don’t want to tap their retirement savings, in others, they don’t have sufficient savings to access.

Jim* lives in Brisbane and had to have two operations – one on his eyes, the other on his heart. He knew they’d put him out of pocket, despite having the highest level of health cover. While he has savings, he didn’t want to draw on capital that would then affect his future retirement income. In his words:

 “I do have savings that I use to pay for my general expenses, but the extra costs would’ve taken a fair amount of the cash I’m sitting on. Everyone has a quality of life they want to maintain and taking the money out of savings would have mucked around with the quality of life I’d worked out I was going to have, so I didn’t really want to touch that money.”

More recently, Elaine from Melbourne approached us, needing money for a life saving lung transplant. The surgery was $20,000 plus sundry expenses.

“There are so many variables, this could come in at $25,000 or could be $40,000. I don’t know how to pay for it.”

Both Jim and Elaine were able to draw on their home equity to pay for their medical expenses and recuperate with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they didn’t have to worry each time the postman delivered.

*not their real names

Using home equity to complement super and the age pension can help you live a more comfortable lifestyle and enjoy greater wellbeing. It can also provide lump sum payments to meet unanticipated medical or other expenses. 

If you’d sleep easier knowing you had a ‘rainy day’ fund to fall back on, try Household Capital’s calculator to see how a Household Transfer® could improve your retirement funding and help you to Live Well At Home.

Applications for credit are subject to eligibility and lending criteria. Fees and charges are payable and terms and conditions apply (available upon request). Household Capital Pty Limited is a credit representative (512757) of Mortgage Direct Pty Limited ACN 075 721 434, Australian Credit Licence 391876.

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