“We’re not trying to humiliate the best players in the world. We’re simply trying to identify who they are.” – Sandy Tatum

Retirement is full of risks and hurdles, as it can span 30 or 40 years for many Americans.  Certain risks are well known:  running out of money, long-term care, health care and investment risks.  We always touch on these.  However, within these broad categories lie hidden or overlooked sub-risks.  For instance, within investment risks are what we call sequence-of-returns risk or liquidity concerns.  And within long-term care is public-policy risk if Medicaid is cut back in your State.  These types of risks carry some weight when evaluating your financial picture.

One often overlooked sub-risk of health care is senior depression.  It’s not well-documented or understood by the financial services industry so my neighbor’s comments caught my attention.  In my experience, depression, is underdiagnosed, under planned for and under recognized – even though it affects millions of Americans.

Happiness in retirement is complex.  Some research shows that many retirees are happier than they were before retirement, and as a whole are happier than any other group.  But at the same time, retirees can suffer from depression at rates higher than the average person.

In general, deaths of high-profile and respected celebrities over the years caused by depression have brought the mental illness into the broader public consciousness, but senior depression remains behind the curtain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression rates can triple for older people receiving home health care, to 13.5%.  Isolation in retirement is a substantial risk for women, as nearly 37% of senior women live alone, as opposed to 19% of men.  Over age 75, that percentage jumps to almost half of women.

40% Increased Risk of Depression Once A Person Retires

And, the poverty rate is two-thirds higher for senior women than men – 12% as opposed to 7% according to the Social Security Administration in 2017.

Depression is not and should not be viewed as just a normal part of aging.  For some, depression is an illness they struggle with throughout life.  In these cases, depression can be diagnosed, treated and managed like other mental illnesses.

But for others, it’s important to identify factors that can exacerbate or cause depression.  Isolation, health-care concerns and wealth issues can cause stress and ultimately lead to depression that should be recognized and treated.

Oddly enough, after a wonderful Memorial Day Holiday spent with neighbors and friends, I had the opportunity to ask someone in the field.  My neighbor works as a pharmacist for a major regional hospital.  When I asked him which medications tend to go out the most, he didn’t even hesitate in his answer and said that depression or anti-anxiety prescriptions went out the most.

Give us a call if you are already retired, about to retire, or simply haven’t heard from your advisor often enough.  Golf and sunsets don’t always fit into the daily routines of people who are retired and perhaps we can be of assistance in most things financial for you.


Blake Parrish, CFP®
Senior VP, Portfolio Manager
Phone: (503) 619-7237
E-mail: blake@bpfinancialassoc.com

Certified Financial Planner Boardof Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.”