Most employers focus on helping retirement plan participants build up a nest egg for a comfortable retirement, but is that what people really want?

Yes, but not primarily.

According to a report from UBS Wealth Management Americas, long-term care is respondents’ greatest personal financial concern.

Investors were asked, “How worried are you about each of the following regarding your personal finances?” The most common response was “being able to afford health care and the support I need in my old age,” which had 26% of respondents “highly worried.” Down the line, in fifth place, was “having enough money set aside for retirement,” with 14% of investors highly worried about their retirement funds.

According to UBS, the financial services industry has traditionally emphasized helping clients plan for retirement: accumulating enough assets so that they could have a steady income stream in retirement, to provide a comfortable lifestyle without outliving their money. Now, many clients may have other priorities.

In recent years, the UBS report states, “the big unknown impacting those later years in life has become health care and long-term care costs.” Steep expenses stemming from a major health problem could cause a retiree to run short of cash.

In answer to the same “how worried are you” question, related fears ranked third and fourth. “Major family health problem occurring,” had 17% of respondents highly worried while “having someone to care for me in my old age,” was a key concern for 16%. (“The financial situation of children/grandchildren” was the second-most cited financial fear, at 18%.)

Investing for retirement remains crucial for plan participants, but many of them increasingly look at their retirement funds as necessary for possible medical bills and long-term care. Moreover, UBS noted that younger investors (age 25–49) are more worried about these issues than those 60 or older, perhaps because the former are beginning to see the financial impact as their parents and other loved ones grow older.

Donald Jay Korn writes for Financial Planning, a SourceMedia publication.

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