Here are topics that will get you going. You'll learn how to think about retirement, develop a personal investment and income plan, and evaluate your financial and healthcare options.
KNOW THIS NOW: Get in the driver seat by learning what investment vehicles are available and how to draw upon them in a tax-efficient way in retirement. Here's a way to think about this: Managing Account Withdrawals
KNOW THIS NOW: Visit the federal government Social Security Administration website. Don't be afraid. This resource will introduce you to what you can expect and is very easy to understand (it's not the IRS!): Social Security
This isn't your grandparents' retirement. When Social Security and Medicare were devised one was expected to retire at 65 and die by 70. Today, the average person retires at 62 but could expect to live another 30 years! Yikes! What if the money runs out? What if Social Security isn't enough and what if healthcare costs keep skyrocketing? How do we bridge the gaps?
KNOW THIS NOW: Retirement calculators can give you a fair guess at what you'll need based on how much you're likely to spend and how long you can expect to live. Let's test this: Retirement Income Calculator
KNOW THIS NOW: Let's find out what long-term care services are provided by Medicare (little) and what our options are for bridging the gap: Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance
money matters much
Options dwindle when the money is gone. If circumstances lead to depleted savings and limited assets then immediate action is called for. Going back to work may be the only solution but what if health issues make that impossible. What can you do?
KNOW THIS NOW: While Medicare typically pays about 80% of your medical bills the remainder is up to you and has NO CAP. So you'll need a Medicare supplement to cover most of the rest. Find out how all this works and what will it cost: Medigap
KNOW THIS NOW: All is not lost. In a worst case scenario there are options that run from obtaining a reverse mortgage to accessing Medicaid. Look here for help
Unless you plan to inherit your uncle's limitless fortune you'll most likely need to rely upon the resources you've saved and invested for retirement. You may have an IRA but do you know what it's composed of (stocks, bonds, cash?). Or perhaps you're an educator or you have a government position with a pension. How does that work?
Up front it's important to know that Medicare is not FREE health insurance. In fact, you may well discover that the check you receive from Social Security may be fully cashed by your Medicare Supplemental Insurance Provider.
How Much Do I Need?
This truly is the $64,000 question, or more likely 30 times that amount! Depending on how much you're seriously willing to downsize your lifestyle you'll find that you'll need to replace as much as 70% of your working income to live as comfortably.
and Long-Term Care?
There's a lot of confusion as to whether long-term care insurance is essential or if Medicare will be sufficient. The easy answer is: no, Medicare doesn't provide long-term care. But that doesn't mean that resources aren't available and that you're likely to need prolonged care in later life.