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Washington Post: 5 Unexpected Shocks to Your Retirement

Washington Post: 5 Unexpected Shocks to Your Retirement
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By    |   Thursday, 29 October 2015 06:00 AM

As John Lennon sang 35 years ago, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

So when it comes to your retirement, there are the inevitable bumps in the road you won’t be able to avoid, regardless of your planning and diligence.

One big fallback is an emergency fund, the Washington Post reports. Advice varies, but financial planners generally recommend that an emergency fund cover six to nine months of expenses.

Here are five things that can unexpectedly derail your
so-called golden years, according to the Post:

  • Unexpected job loss. “The biggest shock you will have is unplanned unemployment,” says Joe Ready, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust. But 49 percent of respondents to an upcoming Wells Fargo poll said they retired earlier than planned, mostly for reasons beyond their control. Only 7 percent retired early because they had saved enough do so. Another issue, Ready says, is that “people may not have the physical or mental capacity to continue to do what they are doing.”
  • Health insurance. Even if people have saved enough money, the costs of health insurance are a wild card. One important factor: Medicare doesn’t start until age 65.
  • Taxes: One scenario that will affect your taxes is the loss of a spouse, says Herb White, president of Life Certain Wealth Strategies. Property taxes are another issue, and can pile up even when the mortgage is paid off.
  • Your children. Everyone wants to help their children, but it can be risky. The Great Recession and difficulty getting work for recent college graduates has resulted in a dramatic increase in children moving home after graduation.
  • Medical costs. Fidelity Investments estimates that a 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need $240,000 to cover future medical costs, excluding extended health care. That’s up 11 percent from 2014 and up nearly 30 percent in the past 10 years. One reason is increased longevity.

To be sure, American workers are less prepared for retirement than they were at the beginning of the millennium as the number of companies offering 401(k) plans has declined, according to a study of Census data.

Almost half of employees didn’t have a company-sponsored retirement plan in 2013, compared with 39 percent in 1999, Bloomberg News reports, citing a study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Middle-class professionals and managers are increasingly joining the ranks of low-income people who rely mostly on Social Security, but the average Social Security benefit of $15,700 a year can’t replace the earnings for people with mid-five and six-figure salaries, according to the news service.

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So when it comes to your retirement, there are the inevitable bumps in the road you won’t be able to avoid, regardless of your planning and diligence.
retirement, invest, shock, washington post
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2015-00-29
Thursday, 29 October 2015 06:00 AM
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