Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Preparing for Retirement

Experts give advice on preparing financially and emotionally for the retirement years.
By
WebMD Feature

For years, many Americans have looked forward to their retirement, when they can stop working and relax. Instead of respite, however, many of today's retirees are starting to find their golden years fraught with financial difficulties and emotional woes.

Today's retirees can expect to be considerably more on their own than their parent's generation was, says Clare Hushbeck, an economist for AARP.

Recommended Related to Women

Live Well On Less

Just because the economy looks bleak doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself and your family. Here's how to spend less, but have more. You don't need us to tell you times are tight. Between the rising cost of gas and groceries, a disheartening recession, and the shaky job and housing markets, you've probably spent more than a few hours worrying about your finances. But tightening your belt doesn't mean choking your spirit; you can still enjoy the things you love. "You don't...

Read the Live Well On Less article > >

"For people near their retirement, in their late 50s and 60s, it's probably not such a radical change from what their parents had," Hushbeck explains. "The younger boomers and the people behind them face a radically different sort of environment."

Anticipate the Cost of Retirement

After years of pumping money into the U.S. economy, baby boomers are beginning to leave the workplace and to use the same social and health benefits awarded their predecessors. Yet expected to support the boomers is a smaller labor force. This has analysts worried about the solvency of services such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, especially with people living longer than ever before.

The expanded life span also has people worried about being able to save enough money for retirement.

"The biggest challenge financially is health care costs," says Dan Blazer, MD, PhD, MPH, president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. He says the unknowns -- the number of years a person will live, and the quality of his or her health -- make planning for expenses more difficult.

For instance, some people fail to account for extensive stays in nursing homes, a cost that is not covered by Medicare.

Improving Your Financial Outlook

To improve your financial portfolio, the experts advise the following actions:

  • Consult with a financial planner. To get unbiased advice, pay a flat fee for a visit, recommends Jack Vanderhei, research director of the fellows program for the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In free financial planning sessions, the consultants have the burden of trying to sell you something.
  • Do a self-audit of finances every year. Starting at around age 30, Hushbeck says it's a good idea to take a few hours every year to assess your financial situation. Think of where you are financially, where you want to be, and how much you expect to have and spend during retirement. This may sound like an unpleasant task, in the category of "eat your spinach," says Hushbeck, but it's a worthy action that can put you on the road to financial security.
  • Take advantage of trusted resources. In addition to staying abreast of current events regarding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, read informational brochures published by government and nonprofit agencies. Educate yourself at retirement workshops sponsored by your employer, unions, credit unions, churches, nonprofit groups, or government organizations. Also take advantage of tools such as retirement calculators that can be found online.
  • Think positive. Your attitude can help determine your path in life, including your financial situation, says Robert Hotes, PhD, a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), noting that even the stock market is vulnerable to the outlook of investors. "Take a look at the assumptions you make and what you tell yourself," he explains. For example, if it turns out your pension and Social Security benefits will not cover your retirement, think of taking on a part-time job in retail as an opportunity to fulfill a long-held desire to pursue a career in sales.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

woman looking in mirror
Article
Woman resting on fitness ball
Evaluator
 
woman collapsed over laundry
Quiz
Public restroom door sign
Slideshow
 
Couple with troubles
Article
cat on couch
Evaluator
 
Young woman being vaccinated
Slideshow
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow
 
Blood pressure check
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
intimate couple
Article
puppy eating
Slideshow