PROBLEM: Howard would like to retire now, but she's two years away from qualifying for Medicare. She's eligible for retiree health benefits through a former employer, but her premiums will rise from $1,200 a year to $1,800.
And she's expecting a big jump in out-of-pocket expenses. With a cardiac condition requiring frequent doctor's visits and multiple prescriptions, "I'm worried about how much higher my costs could go," she says.
SOLUTION: Detroit financial planner Damon Dyas says Howard should assume that health care costs will increase at least 5% a year. He'd like to see her keep the retiree benefit even after she turns 65, as it will cover the gaps of Medicare.
To handle these costs, she may have to scale back plans to help fund her granddaughter's college education, or she might ask family to pitch in for upkeep on a vacation cottage they all use.