Early retirement? It can cost you dearly

Doug had a very good job in the food service industry, but there was a logjam toward the top of the corporate ladder. He had gotten a little bored with what he was doing, had banked a lot of money, and so at the tender age of 60 he decided to retire.

Always active and healthy, Doug and his wife Frances were looking forward to mornings by the pool, afternoons playing golf, and the vacations together they never seemed to be able to find time for while Doug was working.

Doug figured he had enough money put away to live comfortably the rest of his life. What he hadn't really thought clearly about was how much health insurance and medical costs were going to impact his nest egg.

Having always live a somewhat protected life in a corporate environment, Doug was unpleasantly surprised when he started pricing healthcare insurance plans. "But," he thought, we'll be on Medicare in a few years, and we won't have to worry about that. It's a small price to pay for early retirement."

In a CNN/Money article, it is revealed that small price to pay turns out to be surprisingly large. Retiring when you're 62 rather than waiting until you're 65 will cost you, on average, an additional $51,000 in healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

If Doug had had access to a health savings account (HSA) through his employer, he and Francis could have put aside $6,000 a year (in tax-free dollars) to pay for healthcare expenses.

Doug has no regrets about retiring at an early age. But a some financial foresight into his potential healthcare costs could have made his retirement a little more comfortable.