Getting Your Retirement Planning in Gear Print E-mail



Cecily O'Connor
RedwoodAge.com

If you've been lax about retirement planning, this might be a good time to get your financial house in order.

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It's National Retirement Planning Week, a five-day event with tips, webinars and new research to help the nation's 78 million boomers get on track.

The idea is that if you can better manage your spending today, you'll be in better shape to fulfill retirement goals after leaving the workforce. 

The first of the 78 million boomers turns 65 this year, followed by 4 million turning 60 each year for the next 18 years. However, the 60-year milestone is expected to cause more worry than cheer for some.

More than a quarter of Americans workers, about 27 percent, said that they are “not at all confident” they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement, according to a recent retirement confidence survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Increasing Awareness
Twenty-seven percent was the highest level ever measured by the survey, which has been conducted annually for the past 21 years.  Workers' negativity originates from a long list of problems, including high unemployment, the government's fiscal problems, rising health costs, a volatile stock market, weakness in Social Security and Medicare, and longer life expectancies.

"... we hope to increase consumer awareness surrounding comprehensive retirement planning and preparedness - because it is an essential step in achieving a financially secure retirement," said Ken McDonnell, director of the American Savings Education Council (ASEC), which is sponsoring the week along with the National Retirement Planning Coalition (NRPC).

For example,  workers who have done a retirement savings needs calculation tend to have a higher savings goal than workers who have not run the numbers.

There are many expenses to take into account, too. Consider that a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need $230,000, on average, just to cover medical expenses in retirement, according to a study by Fidelity Investments. Other costs like long-term care - which includes nursing home stays - would be in addition. Not to mention, housing costs and other living expenses such as travel and entertainment.

Retirement Ready?
Adding up all those costs can be enlightening and frightening. So if you feel like you need a hand, check out the activities being offered next week.

April 11: EBRI President and Chief Executive Officer Dallas Salisbury hosts a webinar on consumer retirement readiness.

April 12: Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) President and CEO Cathy Weatherford moderates a media forum with industry leaders on evolving perceptions of risk management in the insured retirement market. New IRI research on boomers and retirement will be released onsite as well.

April 13  IRI hosts a practice management webinar for financial advisors.

April 14: The coalition releases a tip-sheet for financial advisors on how consumers can formulate a plan for lifelong financial retirement health.

April 15: The Aspen Institute hosts a Washington, D.C.-based roundtable on retirement issues.

And if webinars aren't your thing, perhaps a show might resonate more? Retirement themes are finding their way into reality TV these days.

AXA Equitable, a financial services company, has produced a series of retirement reality shows. The latest is set against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty, asking people on Liberty Island how much time they spend planning their vacations versus financial planning.




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