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The Center for Retirement Research issued a report in February that said that 61% of Americans were “at risk” of not being able to enjoy the same standard of living in retirement as they did when working. The report defines someone at risk if they retired at age 65 and their savings, Social Security and pension benefits combined falls at least 10% short of covering basic living expenses, including increasing health care costs. One month later in March, Fidelity Investments released its annual health care cost estimate, which predicted a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2008 will spend approximately $225,000 on medical costs during the rest of their lifetime. The dollar amount has increased 41% since 2002 when Fidelity first began reporting the estimate.

The fact that a majority of Americans are unprepared for retirement, especially when it comes to paying for rising health care costs, is a little unsettling. But it’s also an opportunity for credit unions to help their members recognize the challenge and overcome it through products and services such as individual retirement accounts and health savings accounts.

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