NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When financial experts talk about retirement challenges, it's usually savings, debt and taxes at the top of the conversation.
That's as it should be, as each issue can have a significant impact on your ability to meet and surpass your retirement goals.
But there's another lurking issue that can threaten a decent retirement: inflation. And retirement savers need to recognize it as the threat that it is, and craft a strategy to deal with it, one financial adviser says.
"Inflation is commonly referred to as the 'silent retirement killer,'" says Joshua Kadish, a financial planner with RPG-Life Transition Specialists. "Everything from grocery bills to utilities to real estate is subject to inflation, and unless your retirement savings will take this adjustment into account, it could pose a threat to your retirement plans."
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If inflation is that big a threat, why do so many retirement savers downplay the issue?
The simple answer is there is a lack of education in the investing population, Kadish explains.
"People are busy being sold products by the financial services industry, and there is not enough push to focus on the fact that a financial plan is much more valuable and important to future success than a particular investment," he says. "Most people don't understand things in percentages. They don't realize that if long-term inflation has been about 4% that means that if you think you need $100,000 to live your life today, you better plan on spending $148,000 to buy the same basket of goods in 10 years and $219,000 in 20 years just to keep up with inflation."
At a historic rate of 4% inflation, what costs $1 today will cost $1.48 in a decade, Kadish says. In 30 years it will cost $3.48. "This means that the money you've saved for retirement today will have to work even harder to buy the same basket of goods during your retirement that could last upwards of 30 years," he says. "Unfortunately, we also know that the future levels of inflation may be higher, especially for health care, which we'll need in our later years."
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Another part of the problem is that some investors take a "whistling past the graveyard" mindset with inflation.
"People may be hesitant to pay to have a plan done because they are afraid of the potential news or outcome," Kadish says. "It's similar to the number of people who don't go to the doctor for regular checkups because they feel good now and don't want any bad news like they may need to exercise, adjust their eating habits and lose 20 pounds to avoid diabetes or heart issues."
Your key takeaway as a retirement investor? Kadish says to confront inflation head on.
"My advice is this," he says. "Stop listening to all of the general guidelines out there when it comes to saving and investing and get your own plan. Get that full financial physical, become educated as to what your financial ailment and prognosis might be and then get a prescription to fix it."