LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - When you picture your retirement, do you see yourself behind the wheel of an RV or spending warm sunny days on the golf course? You probably don't see yourself still working but that is the reality facing many retirees today.
An article in U.S. News and World Report investigates the topic and the impact of the "Baby Boomer" generation working past age 65. The Wall Street Journal also published an article about why so many seniors are still working.
Will you have enough money to retire? What happens if that money runs out? Will you have to go back to work?
If you're like me, you probably haven't thought about it much. I'm in my 30s, my husband and I recently had our first child and bought a house. We adopted a dog. We're focused on day-to-day expenses and saving for our daughter's college fund and hoping to have more children in the near future. Thinking about our retirement and what kind of life we'd like to have after age 65 was something we figured we would get around too. After listening to my parents and relatives talk around the dinner table, I quickly realized I might be behind on planning for the future.
The dinner table conversation got me thinking, how many people are waiting and hoping the money will be there when it comes time to stop working? Will a simple 401(k) be enough? That's how the idea for this story was born. After conducting interviews and doing research, I have learned a lot and I hope it's helpful to you.
On a cool, spring day in April, my videographer and I met George Vansco at a local golf course. It was the first time he was able to put his clubs to use this season. It was a bit chilly but George didn't seem to mind. He told me he was able to retire at age 65 and has since been retired for 13 years. It wasn't easy. George said he wasn't lucky enough to work for a company with a pension. It took a lot of planning for him to be able to retire.
"I had to be on my own basically to save money," said Vansco.
When I asked him how he thought retirement had changed, he shook his head. He said he'd be scared to be a young person working and planning for retirement now.
"Let's hope social security's around and Medicare... because without Medicare, the health (shakes head) is just terrible right now, the costs."
Here's his advice for those of us still in the workforce:
Vansco: "Try to find a company that has a great 401(k) plan and a pension plan."
Reporter: "And contribute to it?"
Vansco: "And then contribute to it and stick with it."
For this story, I visited a financial planning class at Purdue University. The course is taught by Professor David Evans, Ph.D. Michelle Boehle was one of his students. She hopes to become a financial planner after graduation. She said Evans' course taught her a lot.
"Mostly about the money we need which is surprising, it's a lot more than you would expect," explained Boehle.
Boehle told me she hopes to retire at age 55, like her father did. She knows though, it will take careful planning and saving.
"I think that would be an ideal age. That gives me enough time to enjoy life and to travel and do whatever I want to do but of course, if you don't have the money... you don't have the money," she said.
"Your lifestyle in retirement makes a big difference in how long you're going to have your money," said Evans.
Evans explained when you think about your retirement, you consider the fact people are living longer. Instead of planning for 10 to 15 years of retirement, you need to plan for longer.
"Even though you think you have enough at the beginning of retirement, will you have enough at the end?" said Evans.
Also, you will want to think about medical expenses. If you get sick, what kind of care will you be able to afford? Plus, in addition to planning for you and perhaps your spouse, there are more people who could drain your account: grandkids.
"The quickest ways to deplete your retirement are through grandkids. Now, I have five kids of my own so I'm going to have lots of grandkids and I understand the risks that I'm taking here (laughs). And I'll probably spoil them just like any other grandpa would," said Evans.
This topic leads to something else for you to think about, something possibly a little uncomfortable to think about: your legacy - what you want to leave behind when you're gone. Add up all these things mentioned and oh, wait... inflation. Inflation is something many may forget while thinking about retirement, according to Evans.
"Most people don't realize, 'Yeah, I'm at the end of my life and I've saved up all this money,' but I also need to take into account that inflation is going to eat away pretty quickly at what I have," explained Evans.
Are you scared yet? How can we possibly rest easy about retirement planning when there are so many uncertainties? How do we get to where George is, being able to spend a spring day on the golf course? What I've learned through doing this story is we are redefining retirement by being more in charge of it than
AARP has advice for retirement planning, including a retirement calculator, on its website.
In the second part of this story, experts weigh in on two important retirement topics: healthcare and finances. Tune in Wednesday at 6 a.m. to hear what they suggest you do right now to prepare.
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