How do I plan for retirement?
Today Americans are living longer and retiring earlier than at any other point in the country’s history. Financial planning is critical to a comfortable retirement. Most planners suggest a “three-legged stool” approach, retirees should account for retirement income from Social Security, pensions (if applicable), and personal savings. But finances are not the only facet of retirement planning. Two other issues to consider are: Housing: Where will you live? Do you want to stay in the same house, the same neighborhood, the same climate? Talk this over with your family. One couple moved to another state to be closer to their daughter without discussing it with her. Their daughter moved to get away from them! Use of Time: Do you want to continue working for pay? Is it a financial necessity? When not working for pay, consider using your time to volunteer in neighborhood, religious, or professional organizations. Research indicates if you want to stay mentally alert in your later years you have to exercise your brain through activities such as labor force participation and volunteering! Thinking beyond finances will increase the likelihood of an enjoyable retirement.
Deborah B. Smith, Ph.D. Sociology, Family Studies Program, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006