These Are Retirees’ 5 Biggest Financial Fears in 2021

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Worried retirees reviewing financial documents /

From COVID-19 to climate change, Americans are worried. And for retirees, the anxiety reaches a fever pitch once it reaches their wallet.

Recently, Personal Capital and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance surveyed nearly 800 older Americans and asked them about their biggest financial fears. The average age of respondents was 65, and 76% of them were retired, with the rest planning to retire within five years.

The good news is that 75% of survey respondents say they are confident about having enough income to live comfortably throughout retirement despite the pandemic.

The bad news is that such optimism hasn’t erased their concerns. These folks still worry — a lot. And 2021 has brought them a new top financial fear, with health care costs no longer No. 1.

Following are the financial fears that most keep these retirees and pre-retirees on edge right now.

5. A recession in the next year or two

Seniors stress in a recession
Monkey Business Images /

Respondents who cited this as a major concern: 62%

Over the past 15 years, Americans have lived through two severe recessions. So, it is no surprise that nearly two-thirds of survey respondents worry that another downturn might be around the corner.

The best way to overcome your fears is to confront them. So, check out Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s podcast “How to Prepare for the Next Recession or Market Crash.”

4. Financial strength of Medicare

Home health aide
Monkey Business Images /

Respondents who cited this as a major concern: 67%

Most of us have heard that Medicare is running out of money. While some contend that the potential demise of Medicare is exaggerated, there is widespread agreement that the federal health insurance program that primarily serves people age 65 and older faces significant financial challenges.

Whatever the reality, many retirees are concerned that Medicare is on shaky ground.

3. Financial strength of Social Security

Social Security payments
Steve Heap /

Respondents who cited this as a major concern: 71%

Social Security also faces major financial hurdles, and nearly three-quarters of retirees worry about the federal retirement program’s financial health.

Worries about Social Security do not end there. Many older Americans struggle to determine the best time to claim their benefits. If you need help, Money Talks News partner Social Security Choices offers low-cost, expert assistance.

2. Cost of health care

A senior patient receives health care
BlurryMe /

Respondents who cited this as a major concern: 74%

Most of us require more health care services as we age. As the cost of care surges, retirees grow ever more concerned about their ability to pay the bill.

Wondering how much you will need to pay for medical services? The average couple retiring in 2021 will spend a total of $300,000 on health care over the course of their retirement, according to Fidelity Investments’ projections.

1. Rising inflation

Older woman with empty wallet
AJR_photo /

Respondents who cited this as a major concern: 77%

After decades of tame inflation, retirees now face the prospect of much higher prices. Many experts believe the recent trend of rising costs is temporary. Others aren’t so sure.

You cannot control where prices go, but you do have the power to boost your own income so you can better handle inflation. For tips on bringing in more cash, check out “21 Ways Retirees Can Bring in Extra Money in 2021.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.