The top retirement concern cited by financial planning clients of CPAs is running out of money, according to a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs.

The latest AICPA PFP Trends Survey found that running out of money was cited by 41 percent of CPA financial planners as the top financial concern of their clients who are planning for retirement. Maintaining their current lifestyle and spending level was the next biggest financial concern for clients, at 29 percent. A distant third was increasing health care costs, cited by 11 percent.

“Since people are living longer, not having enough money in retirement is a legitimate concern and financial planners should have those difficult conversations with clients about planning for unexpected events and curbing spending if necessary,” said AICPA PFS Credential Committee chair Susan Tillery in a statement. “Developing a comprehensive financial plan, which is flexible and includes tax strategies to increase income in retirement, can address many financial worries confronting retirees.” 

During the first decade of retirement, the biggest fears of clients were a sharp decline in the value of their investments (52 percent), followed by serious illness, including dementia and diminished capacity (24 percent), and helping their children or grandchildren (11 percent). 

After 10 years of retirement, serious illness, including dementia and diminished capacity, was the biggest concern of clients (44 percent), followed by a sharp decline in the value of their investments (28 percent) and then moving out of their home to live in assisted care (19 percent).

Only 18 percent of financial planning clients are taking proactive steps to address the issue of diminished capacity, while 35 percent are weighing the issue but have not yet determined a particular course of action.

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