- Expect the unexpected. The EBRI findings revealed that Americans are pushing back their retirement dates, but that this strategy doesn't always work out the way they might hope. The fact that nearly half of retirees responded they had retired earlier than planned, and 55% of those cited a health problem as the reason they couldn't continue working, illustrates that too often Americans don't get to choose when to stop working. Saving early and often and anticipating there might be bumps in the road (such as an unplanned early retirement) can make all the difference in planning for retirement.
- Focus on health care costs. The EBRI data highlight that 29% of workers say they're not at all confident about paying for medical expenses in retirement. That's no surprise, considering all the talk about health care in Washington and rising medical expenses weighing on the minds of baby boomers. But understanding such things as what Medicare covers, the costs associated with long-term care assistance and how family medical history may affect future health care costs and decisions are important steps pre-retirees can take.
- Crunch the numbers. About one in four (23%) Americans told EBRI they didn't know what percentage of their income they should save each year to live comfortably in retirement, de Baca says. "We also found in our own Retirement Check-In survey that 38% of pre-retirees (workers age 50 to 70) haven't even estimated what their expenses may be in retirement," she says. "Doing the math can be daunting, but beginning to do so might be more simple than what people anticipate."
How to Restore Confidence in Your Retirement Fund
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