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Soaring retirement healthcare price tag calls for some careful planning

How much will healthcare cost you in retirement? Your mileage will vary - but this much is clear: the forecast is getting more intimidating.

A new report from Fidelity Investments estimates that the cost of healthcare throughout retirement for a 65-year-old opposite-gender couple retiring this year is $300,000, some 30% higher than it was a decade ago. The report relies on longevity projections by the Society of Actuaries, which currently forecasts that men will live to 87, and women to age 89.

A dollar figure like this can freeze you in your tracks. It is so large you might prefer not to even think about it. “It can create an ostrich-in-the-sand response,” said Hope Manion, senior vice president, Fidelity Workplace Consulting, adding it could prompt people to think, "I’ll never be able to save that much, so I won’t even try."

But retirees do not need all that money at the start of retirement, because in fact they will spend it across a retirement of 20 or more years. And to a great extent, these expenses can be managed very well, as they are predictable, and a good chunk will be covered by Medicare.

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