Retirees spend less as they age. This is true for all items except one – health care. A recent EBRI (Employee Benefit Research Institute) study has shown that households between ages 65 and 74 spend $4,383 on average for their annual health care expenses (excluding health insurance premiums and over-the-counter drugs). That number goes up to $6,603 for those ages 85 and older. Fidelity estimates that a couple, both age 65, could expect to spend $245,000 on health care throughout retirement. And that doesn’t even include long-term care, which could be catastrophically expensive. All these expenses are above and beyond what is covered by Medicare. These numbers are published to make people aware of the awaiting retirement health care costs and with the hope that they will take proper actions to meet these expenses. But such large numbers can have the exact opposite effect, especially for those who are far behind in their retirement preparations. They might give up on saving thinking they will never be able to catch up. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it starts with the recognition that health shocks are uncertain and not everybody will be hit by the same health shocks. Even those hit by similar health shocks will face different degrees of impact lasting different durations. In short, not everybody will need that large sum of money. Some will need less and some will need more. But there is a minimum amount that almost everybody will need and that might be a good starting point for those lagging behind in the saving game.