Skip to content

Planning For Retirement

Two of the biggest concerns most people have after retiring are not having enough money and not having good health.

There's real danger in that considering that you've invested a lifetime in work and when you retire, you should be able to enjoy all you've worked for.

Do I have enough money to retire?

If you're like about 75% of all baby boomers, you probably won't have a pension that amounts to anything when you retire (unless you work for some level of government) and you'll have to pay for retirement on your own. Social Security may be able to contribute some to your retirement but it won't be nearly enough.

You might have some difficult decisions to make about retiring.

How much you enjoy your retirement depends on how you plan for it. Most people have to save money for retirement but many people won't realize how ill-prepared they are until it's too late to make any significant changes to improve their retirement situation.

You're going to have to ask if you've saved enough, and can you spend it efficiently enough to avoid outliving your money. Can you afford your current lifestyle? These are the questions I asked. The answers weren't always comforting.

If you look at it realistically, almost every concern retirees have is related to having enough money. While maintaining health is a concern, paying for health care was listed as the top worry for seniors. And there is good reason for the anxiety. I read somewhere that research estimates that the out of pocket healthcare costs for a 65 year old will range from around $200,00 to $300,000. This may be a lifetime estimate, but the amount exceeds the total savings of most retirees.

There may be good reason for anxiety but there are some things you can do to improve your financial situation before you retire. Many seniors find that by reducing debt, cutting expenses, working longer, down-sizing or if you have enough equity in your home, securing a reverse mortgage can dramatically improve their finances.

Reducing debt and cutting expenses are about the only ways that work. If you still don't have enough money, then continuing to work might be the only real option you have.

When I retired, several of the methods mentioned were used to improve our financial situation. We eliminated our debt (except for housing), down sized and cut expenses until we got comfortable with our situation without changing our lifestyle a great deal.

Think about it a while and see what options you can come up to reduce the anxiety of retirement. Working longer or finding ways to increase your retirement income has become a necessity for a lot of people. But that's a subject for another post.

Two things you need when preparing for retirement is good information and sound advice. There's tons of both available, but you have to dig through a lot of it to find information that applies your situation and that you can use. There are literally thousands of books on retirement, most of them have some good information and tips, but the best book will be the one you write for yourself.