Most older Americans fall short on retirement savings.
Joyce Park stashed this in Saving money
Health problems for self or family are a big cause of early retirement.
Are health problems the reason many Americans fall short on retirement savings?
Wellll... it's probably a little more complicated than that. The article sort of makes it seem like the vast majority of people in the Baby Boomer generation didn't feel like they were able to save until they were getting quite close to retirement -- I'm guessing largely due to expenses involved with having kids, since that age group had very little student loan debt and enjoyed a massive expansion of the economy.
The problem is that their make-up plan is to keep working later in life... and that is what often is screwed by health issues. "Half of retirees said they retired earlier than planned because of health problems, changes at their workplace or having to care for a spouse or another family member." Half is kind of a lot!
I guess that is compounded by things like pensions and social security moving the retirement age.
Even medicare not kicking in till 65 keeps a lot of people working longer than their health might warrant.
Your explanation that their kids ended up costing them more than they realized sounds right.