One More Scary Halloween Story!

Halloween

A Halloween riddle for you: What's scarier than ghosts and goblins to Americans 50 and older? Answer: Their finances.

That's the upshot of the latest Country Financial Security Index, and two other surveys I've seen lately back it up. In fact, there's a strong case to be made that many boomers have grown truly scared of investment risk as a result of what they experienced in the 2008-2009 financial crisis and market crash. The new survey of 1,000 adults from Country — a group of insurance and financial service companies — found that 81% of people 50+ have at least one financial fear. What spooks them most: being able to afford health care expenses and being able to retire comfortably. Women 50 and older were more likely than men to worry about being able to retire comfortably, 34% (men) vs. 39% (women) cited this as a fear.

Forbes recently published an article, "What Spooks Us Most About Money," in which they reported that health care expenses are the biggest fear among Americans 65 and older, according to the survey. Compare that to the top worry of Millennials, which is affording their rent or mortgage.

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"

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