Next April, I'll be presenting at the Benefits Selling Expo. Mytopic, part of the innovation track, is asking the right questions.In preparation, I've started asking myself some of the questions wemay cover. This month, I'll share a set of questions to thinkabout.

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Should employees be more concerned about dying tooearly, or living too long?

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The classic reason for buying life insurance is, in general,triggered by the risk of dying at an early age, leaving bills andresponsibilities to those left behind by the “unexpected demise.”Living too long is rarely viewed as a risk, but that's just asurface reaction to not dying. In the context of outliving your assets, theimplications of living a long life bring up images that are not sopleasant.

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According to the Society of Actuaries, the average 65-year-oldmale now has a life expectancy of 86.6, and a 65-year-old woman'slife expectancy is 88.2.

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As boomers age, the normal expenses of life will continue.Certain ones decrease after retirement (mortgages get paid off,fewer expenses related to employment), but we boomers don't want tostop doing the things we love. As long as the Stones, the Who andDylan are on the road, we'll go to concerts. We'll still want toattend sporting events and travel to fun places.

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As far as additional expenses, the frequency of medical issuesgoes up with age, so medical bills will increase. Although Medicareprovides basic health care coverage, it's well known that there aregaps in what's covered, and there are premiums due for Part B aswell as Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plans.

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Uncovered expenses related to serious issues (for example,family travel, home modifications and seeking care from providersnot covered by Medicare) will erode savings or will need protectionfrom a critical illness plan. Long-term care expenses becomeincreasingly likely as one ages.

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Social Security is unlikely to provide sufficient income even topay the basic bills. Most boomers have only 401(k) retirementsavings, and the average 401(k) won't provide the income needed forthe lifestyle most boomers desire. So boomers are deferringretirement or taking part-time jobs.

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The potential that both Medicare and Social Security funds willbe exhausted is yet another source of worry for aging boomers.

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So should we be more concerned about dying too early or livingtoo long? This is one of the many questions we'll discuss at theBenefits Selling Expo next April. Meanwhile, let me know yourthoughts—I plan at least one more column on this subject before theExpo, and will happily credit your contributions.

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