Retirement Planning Blues
My grandmother lived to be 101. I used to reflect on all the things she had seen in her lifetime and how she was able to adapt to change. I am not yet close to that milestone year, but in retirement I am learning that adaptability may be the key to successful living.
As you near retirement, you are told to plan. Plan for your expenses, plan where you want to live, plan for your health and plan on living life and having fun. Plan for the future.
Unfortunately, planning for the future based on today’s circumstances is a risky proposition at best. As older Americans we have learned that no matter how much we plan, the future is likely to be different. The adage the future is now has never been more true.
If someone had told me that I would see some of the auto companies go out of business, that my local newspaper might be a thing of the past, and that a major recession would change life for nearly everyone, I wouldn’t have believed it, and certainly would not have planned for these things!
A recent survey by AARP Magazine targets 45-64 year olds as a high anxiety age group. They are preparing for their retirement, but they are worried about other generations as well.
The AARP Survey called A Closer Look was last done about eight months ago, before the full effect of the recession was felt. New findings show:
- 30 percent of those surveyed have stopped contributing to their 401 (k) or IRA
- 18 percent have prematurely withdrawn funds from their retirement accounts
- 12 percent say they have, or a family member, have lost a job in the last year
- Nearly half, 49 percent say they are not confident that they will have enough money in retirement.
So, with those sobering statistics, it is more important than ever to plan. Chances are things will not go like you thought, but it is the successful plan that allows for change and our ability to adapt to it. Once you realize that you can react and adapt to your life’s many challenges, life becomes a very exciting journey.