From a Wall Street Journal online article:
“many people are poorly prepared for unexpected expenses” in later life, the study notes. Even worse, about one in five retirees (19%) and one in four retired widows (24%) experienced four or more shocks during retirement. The good news: Many older adults who get hit with stealth expenses appear to bounce back.
• Replacement costs. Big-ticket buys—a new furnace, updated appliances, a fresh coat of house paint—can put sizable dents in your nest egg. But most people don’t consider that these outlays can follow them into later life or that such costs can continue to add up for decades. A contributing factor: Many retirees underestimate their life expectancy.
• Relatives in need. This can hit you from two sides: aging parents feeling a financial pinch and younger family members who suddenly find themselves in a bind. With the latter, perhaps it can be an adult child who gets laid off or divorced, or a grandchild who needs help with tuition.
• Required distributions. Most people know that, after reaching age 70½, they must begin withdrawing funds from tax-deferred accounts (like IRAs). What they fail to understand are the ripple effects from these payouts. Required minimum distributions can, first, push you into a higher tax bracket and, second, translate into increased Medicare Part B premiums (which are tied to annual income).