Here are five scenarios that should scare you witless, and what you can do about them.
1. A war between the generations
Today, there are almost four people of working age for every person over 65. In 50 years time, it’s expected there will only be two people working for every person over 65. In other words, taxpayers will either have to shell out a lot more money for pensioners, or the Government will have to reduce spending on the elderly. This is a ‘pensions timebomb’.
Already, various thinktanks are proposing solutions, but it's likely that benefits for pensioners will be increasingly scaled back (see number 3 for more on this).
2. Not enough money for care
Life expectancy is getting longer. That's fine if you stay healthy and can continue to live in your home or with family.
But if you have to pay for long-term care, it could cost a fortune. And if you can't afford a decent care home then your health, as well as your wealth, could suffer.
3. You can’t support your family
You might be thinking that your old age is a long way off so there’s nothing to get scared about just yet. However, many families should be scared about a more immediate threat.
What if a parent lost their job or became ill or, worse still, died?
Various surveys regularly show that around half of parents don't have any form of financial protection.
If anyone depends on you, you should seriously consider taking out life insurance. Also think about critical illness cover or income protection insurance. These are policies that could give you an income if you become ill.
4. The State Pension is cut...and cut again
The Government is set to introduce a flat tier state pension worth £144 a week in 2016. This is a significant sum of money and the Government's rule changes are very welcome.
That said, you can't assume that the Government will continue to pay out as much money in 2036. Governments will remain under financial pressure and they may feel obliged to cut back on the State Pension at some point. So where will your money in retirement come from?
5. House prices won’t rise so fast. They may even fall!
The changing make-up of our population could have a big impact on house prices. Recent generations of homeowners have been able to make money by selling up and moving to cheaper homes when they retire. Thanks to strong demand from plenty of young workers, this has been an easy way to make money.
But all that could change. Going forward, there will be more people in their 60s trying to cash in and sell up, and fewer people in their 30s and 40s trying to buy. That means house price growth will slow and we may see more years where prices fall.
Lower house prices will be great for younger folk who are currently in their teens or twenties. But the days of selling and banking a huge profit could be gone.
These nightmares are scary but the worst response is sticking your head in the sand. Taking action is the best way to reduce the financial fear.
Planning for the future now is the best way to tackle it head on.
Think about how much money you might need in retirement to live the life you want to and where it might come from. The more you can save now, the more you will have later.
If you don't think you can generate enough cash, you may need to revise your goals. But it's better to be prepared now than have a nasty shock later.
If you want some help getting started, have a read of How to work out how much you need to save for retirement.
This is a classic lovemoney article that has been updated
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